This is an awesome project that takes about 6 hours to complete. Hours upon hours of endless fun thereafter!
Ideally, some prior soldering experience is advantageous but if you take your time and practice before you start it's beginner friendly! The battery will give just over 3 hours on a single charge and can be recharged via the handy micro USB port.
System updates, ROM transfers etc all possible with the Pi Zero W' built in Wifi + Bluetooth.
Full credit to:
Wermy - Original creator of the mintyPi console and custom 3D printed parts.
Helder - Creator of the custom PCB
The Sudomod community as a whole: www.sudomod.com
For a comprehensive parts list + custom .img please visit www.sudomod.com
- Altoids TinRaspberry Pi Zero W16GB Micro SD card
- Custom 3D Printed Parts
- Custom Button PCB
- 2.4' Screen Micro lipo Charger with micro USB jack
- 1200mAh lipo battery (or similar value)
- Tactile switches
- Nintendo DS Lite Buttons
- USB Soundcard
- SPDT Slide Switch
- Screws (M2 - 3mm, 4mm, 8mm)
- Wire (28AWG + 24AWG)
- Hand files
- Masking tape
- VHB Tape (0.5mm)
- Double sided sticky (3m)
- Soldering Station (temp controlled!)
- Glue gun
- Kapton tape
- Hand drill
- Spring clamps (not too strong!)
- Image writing software for Retropie custom .img
The first step - modify tin. (...and eat the mints!)
For all tin modding...drill pilot holes! The L/R buttons need to be 19mm in from the sides and 4mm up from the bottom. The final size of these needs to be about 3.6mm.
The micro USB charge port should be 20mm in from the side, 4.3mm up from the bottom, and the power switch 26mm in from the right side, 2.8mm up from the bottom. From there it’s a case of carefully widening the holes and shaping with a hand file.
Masking tape is recommended to catch filings for an easy clean out and to prevent any filings potentially shorting things out inside.
From here the custom 3D printed parts can be placed inside the tin. The top screen bracket is mounted with VHB tape so make sure it’s carefully aligned. Test close to check the fit!
The bottom 3D print is popped into place with tactile buttons lined up through the trigger holes. This is fixed into place with a drop of hot glue in each corner. Remove the JST connector from the Adafruit micro lipo charger and align with pre-filed charge port hole. Fix down with VHB tape. The battery can be fixed down with double sided sticky tape as there is not much room inside the tin so VHB is too thick for this step. Tactile switches share a ground wire, with one (L or R) having a source GND wire soldered for future attachment to the PCB. L + R pins are wired to t left and right pins for later attachment to the PCB.
The micro lipo charger is wired up via the Batt and GND pins. Batt wire (red) goes to the middle pin on the SPDT switch. GND wire goes to main GND pin on custom PCB. A third wire is attached to the third rightmost pin on the SPDT switch which also connects to main GND pad on the custom PCB. The battery is wired to the + and - terminals of the lipo charger. This completes the circuit.
The next step requires time and patience. Firstly, test your Pi to ensure it's good before you start. A generic Retropie image will do. The write the custom mintyPi SD card image to a micro SD card. This can be tested on a normal TV via the micro HDMI out on the Pi.
The SD card won't be accessible once the project is built so the easiest way to carry this out is via Wi-Fi. To setup your Pi in advance see Core Electronics' very own guide to headless setup:
Next, the soldering - A temperature controlled (I use 280C) soldering iron is advised. Align the Pis GPIO holes over the PCB. The PCB indicates which pads require soldering. Screw the PCB to the 3D printed parts using the m2 3mm screws and hold firm with spring clamps if you have them (not too firm else you may damage the 3D prints / Pi!!) PCB and Pi should be flush with no gap. Add solder into the GPIO holes so that contact is made between the PCB and the Pi. Use a multimeter to test for continuity. It's advisable to use a finer tip that can poke inside the holes. The SPI 2.4' screen is designed to have its pins soldered down however for ease a ribbon cable was added. This isn’t quite snug and a little too wide so remove the excess width on each side with a scalpel (careful of the pins!) and add 1 or 2 (max) strips of masking tape to the ribbon so that it is held once locked in by the connector on the screen PCB. Attach the white ribbon cable to the smaller connector on the screen PCB and matching connector on the main PCB. Boot the Pi via the 5V micro USB and test for output.
If you get a white screen, realign the ribbon cable.
If you get no output, test your continuity on the soldered pads and the test pads on the PCB. If you cannot get continuity, a wire (thin) can be run between the GPIO and the test pad.
Take your USB sound card and remove the USB end by heating with a soldering iron and carefully sliding it off. Carefully remove the jack and clip the metal pins off the other end. The crystal is quite large and so needs removing. Use a soldering iron to heat the 2 pins of the crystal and slowly work it off. This is reattached with wires about 1 inch long. Wire it up as below then glue it into place between the trigger buttons. The crystal is placed slightly under the L trigger button and glued down. Data wires are wired to pads 22 and 23 on the Pi. 5V and GND go to the main 5V and GND pads on the custom PCB.
Glue your speaker into the 3D print face plate. You can also add your DS Lite buttons at this stage along with the membranes. You may need to file or trim your 3D print in some areas to allow smooth operation of the buttons so test this out and screw down once happy.
You can now wire up the L and R triggers to their pads on the PCB along with the GND wire you added to either of the trigger buttons. Place your screen inside the backing 3D print already fixed into the tin lid and pop the screen cover print over the top, securing into place with your m2 4mm screws.
Keep your wires as short as possible, the pop the unit inside the tin. As you pop this inside, the 3D printed hinge attaches to the indented side of the faceplate while the top end slides up into the left-hand section of the screen print. Fix everything down with your m2x8mm screws.