Mini Arcade Consoles

My son and I decided to update the Cigar Box Controller using some boxes from harbor freight.

First thing was the artwork. Not my job… Probably why it came out so nice…

Starting with a 1/8 drill bit then moving on to forstner bits.

The trick with the plexi is to use the 1/8 hole to center the big bit and only drill halfway through. Then flip it over and complete the hole. That way you don’t chip the plexi when you break through.

I had these lighted joysticks lying around. only problem is they need 12V power. I will just add a small boost converter to keep it USB powered.

the boost converter got a little 3D printed sled to protect the wiring side.

I temporarily removed the mounting plate to use as a drilling template.

Not too bad looking.


Now for the guts.

In the cigar box controller I used an AtMega8 but this time I’m using PIC 18F2550 Microchip. I used a usb feedthrough so I can use them as standard USB controllers with other consoles if I want.

Now for the RetroPi

I printed up a bunch of mounting hardware and bezels.

I re did the bezel with a collar to hide the edge of the cut. I hade the cuts by hand with a dremel.

Now to extend the HDMI and power…

turns out the threads on the power plug were long enough to make it through the box and felt padding so I didn’t use the square plate I made. I did print a nice washer for the inside instead….

The washer is just visible here. Its cone shaped to get it through the felt easily.

I still might add a headphone jack on the right side. At the retro gamer nights we sometimes use a guitar amp…..

I did add a separator to make a compartment to carry all the cables. I might make a lid for that when I get a chance.

I added a fuse and 6.8V Zener to protect the Pi in case someone plugs in a laptop power brick by mistake…

I also added a WiFi / Bluetooth hat and some silica gel packets…..

Everything on the back sits well below the hinges and feet so you can still stand them up on their edge without crushing anything.

Best part is you can connect both controllers to one Pi and play 2 player games…

Add some Xbox  or PS2 controllers for even more players…

CO2 Laser Crosshairs

I do most of my engraving using a center origin. Its so easy to line up on a cnc machine with a nice pointy bit. Not so easy on the CO2 laser. I always end up a little off…

I decided to 3D  print  a holder for a couple of line lasers to make that easier. I have a fixed focus but if I had a working Z axis (someday) I would have used dot lasers. Then you can align them so they converge at the focal point.  That would require pivots for each laser but with line lasers its much simpler. I just tilted them 15 degrees.

now its easy to get it centered every time

a couple of quick test items to be sure….




3D Printing a Cover for a Broken Honda Fuel Pump

I cant believe how ofter I 3D print a part. Every couple of days I make some small part. Sometimes its a cone shaped washer for a switch or a front panel sBezel for an arcade or even a part to fix something I tripped over.

Like this fuel pump I tripped over while draining my trucks tank. I decided to add a breakaway cord so I put a small coaxial jack on the wires.

Did a nice job destroying the case but somehow didn’t damage the contacts at all..

It came from an old 90’s Honda and still works fine. I only use it when I have to remove a gas tank. Oddly that seems to happen pretty often…

Its just a simple cup with a hole in the end but its a perfect fit.


Intelligent CO2 Laser Cutter Water Supply

I really didn’t like using a fountain pump for a laser water supply. I’ve had too many fail in water fountains to trust one to a CO2 laser. I had some diaphragm pumps left from another project. They are the type normally used for RV sinks or marine wash down.

Some had a pressure switch so I chose one that didn’t. After all the goal here is flow not pressure. I used a 24V pump but only run it on 12V….

I added a flow sensor and a simple PIC microcontroller to shut the laser if the flow stops for any reason

Nice part is I cant even test fire the laser until the pump is running.

And I added a filter to keep the water clean.


Tiny Air Compressors too

As long as I was evaluating all the air compressors I had around I figured I’d try some tests on these tiny ones..


I think most are from automatic blood pressure meters.. They can build  a decent amount of pressure.


except for this guy. he’s from a Hyundai emissions canister. It was in the evap canister and I think its just bad. I haven’t got my hands on another one yet to compare it to. the car was throwing a code foe a fuel tank leak. I think the little guy just couldn’t pressurize the fuel tank….