Ever wanted to build your own game console? MAKERbuino is what you need! This neat little device is an open source game console you can build yourself. Besides being a cool retro handheld device, MAKERbuino is also an educational device shaped like a game console. With MAKERbuino you can build your own game console from scratch! It’s assembled with ease. All of the components are easy to solder. All you need is some basic soldering skills and you’re good to go! The device is based on easy-to-find components and programmed in Arduino – one of the most popular DIY microcontroller platforms.
MAKERbuino’s hardware and software are extremely hackable. The kit was designed to encourage you to make new content and extensions for it. Building the kit is only the beginning. Program a cool retro game, add an extra analog stick, connect a GSM module, use your device to control a quadcopter or even add a Wi-Fi module and connect it to the internet. Not just for beginners MAKERbuino’s capabilities will keep more advanced users busy as well. Develop your creation even further by designing a custom 3D printed or CNC cut casing, change the button caps or even turn your device into a mobile phone. Throughout the process of hacking and customization, you’ll enter the world of electronics, CAD designing, 3D printing, programming, all in a fun and challenging way. The hardware is fully compatible with Gamebuino, our collaborative project. That means that you can play with a vast library of games made by the community and available online with source code. You can also code your own games and then share them with the rest of the world!
MAKERbuino is a STEM skills based educational device disguised in the shape of a game console. It’s aim is to motivate people to explore, learn and create something new in a fun and interesting way. It comes in a kit form. You get a box with all the electronic components necessary for building your own portable game machine. To build your own MAKERbuino the only things you’ll need are some basic tools and an interest in technology. It’s open-source, hackable and easily customizable with additional readily available hardware components and custom casings.
You’ll need some basic tools and equipment for assembling your MAKERbuino including a regular soldering iron (nothing super expensive is required) and some solder, diagonal cutter pliers, a regular screwdriver and a piece of insulating tape or some super-glue. If you’re a maker, you probably already have these tools. If you’re a maker-to-be and still don’t have these tools, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, just be sure to purchase the kit that includes tools.
All you need to do then is follow our simple online build guide at makerbuino.com. Based on our experience, an 11-year-old should be able to assemble a MAKERbuino kit with a tiny bit of help from an adult. Therefore, the estimated age group is 11+. Estimated build time: 5 hours. Build time varies and depends on the skills of the person and if the person has ever soldered before. The build time will be significantly less if you’re a skilled maker.
Building the MAKERbuino kit is just the beginning. After that, you’ll spend numerous hours creating your own games and experimenting with hardware. This kit was designed to be assembled as easy as possible. However, if you have never soldered before, it might be a good idea to get some practice first. Nevertheless, with enough patience and care, a total newbie can assemble this kit by precisely following these build instructions. Once you have finished, not only will you have a fully working retro games console but you will have also learnt how to solder properly, what are the basic electronic components and what are their functions, how can electronic components be connected and why, what are microcontrollers and some basics of digital electronics, how to program a microcontroller in C/C++, how a basic game console works and what are the basics of game development and maybe even how to extend beyond MAKERbuino’s capabilities by adding various expansion modules.
MAKERbuino is based on ATmgea328p-pu – the same chip used on Arduino UNO board. Therefore, it’s programmed in Arduino IDE (based on C/C++) – the most popular programming environment for makers. MAKERbuino is compatible with numerous Arduino related examples of manipulating various hardware and software components. In fact, it’s compatible with all Arduino UNO software libraries available online and will work with many Arduino shields and modules with minimal or no library code modifications. The kit also comes with an SD card loaded with numerous fun retro games which you can play as soon as you assemble your device. More games can be downloaded from an online MAKERbuino games gallery.
MAKERbuino was meant to be hacked. Our goal is to encourage people to become creative makers and explorers of the wonderful world of DIY electronics. It allows you to develop your hardware and software skills, make video games, explore new hardware solutions, learn from numerous tutorials and share your work with the community. Change the button caps, code a Pokemon-like video game, connect a GPS module, turn your MAKERbuino into a robot car…get creative.
MAKERbuino is fully customizable. Make your game console unique. Change the button caps, craft or 3D print a custom casing, add some expansion modules and make your MAKERbuino light up with a few blinking LEDs. The software is fully open-source and available for you to download plus the hardware’s schematics along with the bill of materials are also open-source and available online. That means that you can use our documentation to build your own clones on a breadboard, experiment with our hardware design using the provided documentation and schematics and create your own MAKERbuino compatible boards and modules.