Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to trick out your old gameboy Pt. 1: New Paint Job

I've been modding gameboys for some time now. I do many hardware mods for my chiptunes, but I also like to some painting for even more awesomeness!

First step is pretty simple. Take your gameboy apart. For this, you'll need a tri-wing screw driver. You can get one from many different sites, but I recommend Kitch-Bent and Nonfinite Electronics. Once the case is apart, you'll have to pull out the ribbon cable that connects the two PCBs. Just give it a gentle tug, and it will come right out. You'll also need a smallish Philips screw driver to take the PCB's out of the case. There is also a metal bracket behind the cartridge slot that needs to come off. You also have the option to take off the screen cover, but if you choose to do this you'll have to do some extra work scrapping off the old glue and re-gluing it back on. Otherwise you'll just cover this with tape, which is what I did.

The case with the primer and base coat of paint

The next step is priming and applying your base coat. It will probably help if you sand the case down, but I chose not to. I use Acrylic spray paint for plastics. Make sure to lay down some newspaper, but also I like to use some Styrofoam or chunks of cardboard egg cartons to raise the front and back parts of the case off of the ground. This allows you to better get at the case from the side. First do your primer then your base color. The back portion I painted with only one color, but the front I did two, so that's why they are different colors right now. I make sure to put on really light coats just to make sure that I don't apply too much. This means I have to put on a few extra coats, but I'm fine with that. Since I decided to leave my screen cover on, I covered it with painters tape and cut around the edges with a razor blade. But, some paint still got on the back side somehow, so now I have to replace it anyway. So, if you decide to leave the cover on, make sure you put tape on the back just in case.

The cutout stencil

Now, as I stated, the front part of the case has two colors. I decided to make an 8-bit skull design. First, I drew my design on paper and cut it out. Once you have the paper stencil, layout two layers of painters tape on a piece of cardboard that is slick, like a soda box. I used a Long John Silvers cardboard pirate hat. then put your paper stencil over the tape and tape it down with only one layer of tape. You should be able to see the stencil through the tape. Use a razor blade to cut out around the stencil. Once you are done with this, remove the unneeded tape and the paper stencil, which now has one layer of tape on it. You're now ready to take your knew double layered tape stencil and put it on your gameboy!

The gameboy with the new stencil on

Now you're ready for your last coats of paint! Do your best to make sure that all of the edges and corners of the stencil are stuck down as best as you can get them. Then, you are ready to put on your second color. Apply just as you did your base coat and then apply a couple coats of clear coat to protect the finish. After that, you're all done! You can either put your awesome gameboy back together, or continue to follow the blog for the next part which is going to deal with hardware modification. Keep moddin' chippers!