Piforce: A Pi-Based Classic Gaming Console

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Since I've been designing more physical things than digital things these days, I figured I'd make a simple project that bridges the gap a little. Piforce is a Raspberry Pi based gaming console that hooks up to modern displays via HDMI and allows you to play classic console games while emulating as much of their analog nature as possible (scanlines, native, unmolested SNES controllers, etc).

A bit about the design. Since it was going in my living room, I wanted something made from premium materials that felt more like a console than a computer case. After iterating through three full case designs, I finally landed on one that requires no glue or fasteners to hold the case together; only tension. I cut slits into the acrylic in a special configuration that allows it to expand like an accordion and hook into notches on the feet, and engraved grooves into the inside to hold the front and back panels in place. That way I can easy get into the case if I need to access / replace / add / upgrade components.

The front and back pieces are 1/4" solid walnut. The wrap is 1/8" specialty matte black acrylic sheet I got from a plastics distributor (really nasty stuff to work with but has a stunning finish). There is small acrylic plate that holds the SNES ports and LED to the front panel and a 1/8" panel that holds the Pi 3 between the front and back panels. The dimensions of the unit are 6" W x 5.5” D x 1.5" H.

Piforce was fully designed in Illustrator and all pieces were cut with an Epilog Fusion 60w CO2 laser. There are a half dozen or so components as well (terminals, fasteners, etc) which I am happy to list if anyone wants to know, as it took me forever to track it all down!

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that this little guy would not have been possible to make without the great people behind Raspberry Pi and Retropie.

Thanks for taking a look!

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