Yesterday I was detaching keycaps of my Commodore 64 to clean the mess under, because some of the keys were not pressing well. But while detaching the keycaps I broke 19 of them. Since the time passed, these key mechanism plastics got crunchy.
Normally this means you need to send your computer to service, and make them replace the key mechanism. Since there is no service of this brand, that mean I need to solve this myself.
First I tried to super glue the thing but it was not a good idea, since doens't work. After that, I decided to 3d print the parts that I broke down.
But first, I needed to remove the broken part inside the caps. For that, I used "wine cork technique" with a tiny screw! First I screwed it 3-4 steps into the broken part and I pulled it back.
Next, I modeled the existing part with Solidwoks by taking measures with calipers.
Before printing this kind objects that needs to be used on mechanical purposes, I make the slicing angular (about 30°). This way printing layers will be angular, so part will be more durable for the forces on the arms.
Since it is roughly 10mm to 18mm part, I wasn't sure that it will come out correctly. Because there is a rubber conductor part that needs to be attached to that part to make it work.
Recently I made an advancement on my Firepad64 design, which is the Version 3 (possibly the last update) for this device. It's a joystick replacement for Commodore 64 that has a keyboard layout for easy playing. You can check this post to see the first creation steps of this device:
I want to share the steps of the creation of this device because (except the PCBs) it's all homemade manufacturing which is a great achievement of our world has come to. I didn't even get out from home to create this "mechanic and electronic" product. So I find this important to share the details of creating an end-user product at home. It's cyberpunk! :)
Anyway, Version 3 of Firepad64 has 3 major advancements after the previous version.
Professional Outemu brand mehchanical keys with regular linear (red) and clicky type (blue) versions.
Screw Assembly instead of shrink-fit
This video shows some details of the product but it's in Turkish.
The most problematic part of this update was to adapt the Mechanical buttons to my existing PCBs. Because the pin positions are totally different. Since I have some 50 pieces of the previous PCBs, I decided made an adapter for the buttons to comply with my existing boards.
Without those adapters I was adapting the keys with prototyping boards. It was good for some 1-2 adaptations but it was not durable and it was so much time consuming to make the buttons adapt to my existing PCBs.
Wtih the help of the adapters it was easy for me to make usable mechanical switches in a fast way.
Next I 3d printed a template to make the perfect alignment for the keys before soldering them.
You can see the lighting under the keys. Best part of these mechanical keys, they are designed for to let the light under them. So I used a serial light cable which are used on new year lighting applications on homes to make the keys lit.
I assembled the PCBs.
This is how they shine like a Christmas tree :)
My next step was to finalize the 3d design and make the 3d printing. I made the whole design with Solidworks but I love how Rhinoceros show the CAD models. Look at this fast AO computation in viewport!
So I started 3d printing and assembled each set after they're complete.
Nice part about these keys is you can use regular keycaps.
So here is the army of Firepads :)
And finally the connector & cable design.
Time for boxing.
Enjoying Mr. Steven Wilson's great music while working on the stickers and product sheets.
I hope you like the steps of this home production phase for some friends from the community of retro gaming. Thanks & see you!
Hello! I made a 3d printable case design for my easyflash3.
Easyflash3 is re-programmable Commodore 64 cartridge that supports all CRT files and fastload cartridge binaries like Action Replay, Final Cartridge Etc. You can find more details about it by this link: https://skoe.de/easyflash/
I used Solidworks to measure and model the existing electronic part first. I use calipers to measure all distances and clearences while creating the model. And next I modeled the case by referencening the electronic part.
This way I had a chance to get rid of that center screw which I don't like on cartridges. It's economic and easy way for an assembly but my version is more rock solid at the end with no loose fixation between case and the PCB.
You can download the models from thingiverse. I also added some label designs as PDF file.
Firepad V2 was the same case design with linear adjusment handle and old-school click-type mitsui keyboard switches. I desoldered these switches from some mechanical keyboards that one of my friends Lutfi Öner gave me as a gift.
You can check some details about Version 2 by this link (blog post is Turkish).
And finally for best gameplay experience, I upgraded switch type with cherry buttons. For that buttons to be usable with my existing PCBs, I made an adapter board by using cheap prototyping boards. Because conductive legs of the cherry switches are not comply with my PCBs.
This is the single adapted switch for my firepad PCB.
Making these adapters and soldering the legs one by one is an overwhelming process, so I designed a PCB layout for that job. I didn't yet ordered the PCBs, so I'm not sure if they'll fit good. Until then, I will continue to make handmade adapters.
Hand made adapters work well too.
I even designed 3d printed custom keycaps!
After this progress, I wired some LEDs for keys. Because I can even use translucent keycaps with these lights now.
After this touches, I finally made some Red & Black concept with keycaps to make a resemblance with most of the joysticks of the era. Red tone of my 3d printing filament didn't match perfectly but it looks all right.
And photo time with my portable BMC and Quickjoy Turbo joystick!
Standard resolution of the Commodore 64 is 320 x 200 pixel. And C64 has 2 different bitmap modes.
a. Hi-Res Mode
Resolution that meant by "Hi-Res" is 320 x 200 screen. To paint in this resolution, normally you can only use 2 colors in every 8 x 8 pixels block. You can't put a third color into a block if there is already 2 different colors are used there without totally overriding one of the existing colors on that block.
It maybe high (!) on resolution but it's very hard to create art with switcing colors in every block smoothly.
To create a bitmap with multi color combinations, C64 needs to limit it's resolution to 160 x 200 pixels by halving the horizontal pixel count by defining 1 x 1 pixel as 2 x 1 pixel.
Grid in this picture shows square area of 8 x 8 pixels. But you can see that since 1 pixels are 2 pixels wide, 8 x 8 area can only be represented by 4 x 8 pixels. I prefered to make my work on this mode.
Third and final limitation in Multicolor Mode is the color count in every 8 x 8 pixel block. You can use up to 4 different colors in every block, but one of this 4 colors should be a pre-defined fixed color in every block. Which is called "background color". By another means, you can use 3 different colors and 1 fixed background color.
In this picture you can see that I used 3 colors and additional Black color as background color.
After this 3 limitations you can create your pixel art for Commodore 64.
I used Multipaint Software for windows for this process. It is very useful and nice designed software for several graphics modes not just for C64 but for many 8-bit computers.
This time I designed interior stands to hold all compoenents in a way that made on the cardboard placement. So I measured all compoenents back, and designed holder skeleton stands. These stands will be able to fixed in a planar surface at the ground.
You can see some progress screenshots from Solidworks.
While designing the stands, I started to 3d print them and try to see if they fit and cables are OK starting from the bottom keypad and analog converter board.
To save space, I tried my best to place all components in 2 or 3 layers.
So I moved on to the upper part with analog controller.
I made the connections through test solders of the raspberry pi as much as I can, to get rid of using connectors. Because the consume to much of space.
Next I printed the stand that holds USB controller, Raspberry pi and the Screen.
It fit great!
Only menu navigation buttons set and the battery pack is remained.
And finally I printed the battery and navigation key stands with black PLA this time.
Everything in it's place but they are not fixed.
To fix everything on a wooden plate, first I extracted a bottom surface drawing from Solidworks.
Printed the drawing and checked if it's correctly scaled with the reference dimension on the drawing.
I glued the template to the wooden plate and drilled the holes with a screw (first I printed the mirrored template by mistake!).
And finally fixed!
Look at that screen with CRT Filter! Imho it's almost perfect for a 800 x 480 pixels screen.
This weekend I made an SD2IEC circuit with prototyping board and some more components, then I designed and printed a case for it.
SD2IEC is a device that fools Commodore 64 to read / write floppy disk images with an ATMEGA microcontroller. It's not a cycle exact emulation, so it has flows on using on real c64. But it has also a unique type of use by it's nature. Like sid file listing for a Sid player or transfering non-standard files between other C64 devices (for example transfering CRT files to the Easyflash Cartridge).
I checked the connections on the schematics and made layout by considering the best short connections for all components. Since the hard part here to program the microcontroller with a programmer, I passed this part with the help of a friend who already made the programming for me and sent the microcontroller to me. Thanks to Türker Gürevin!
Next, I made all the soldering according to the schematics with naked coppers and cables.
Nest step vas to make a cable for the IEC plug of the C64. I use and like flex cables for this kind of job.
And for doubling that din cables, I used a on-cable IDC connectors. This way I don't interrupt the flow and also can add parallel connections to the cable.
After completing the soldering and cable preparation, I connected the device to my real C64 and tested it. Works nice!
Playing some sid music from the listed files within the SD2IEC.
So after the electronic part is complete, I made a quick design for the case. By using Solidworks of course!
First I created rough geometry of the electronic part and the buttons etc. to see the critical clearances better while designing the case. I took measures with calipers and entered the dimensions while modeling.
After making the rough object, I completed the case design by making it in 2 parts with a wall thickness.
Even I don't like it, but this time I designed the case to be glued to stick the parts. Main reason is getting lazy but other reason is, making a case assembly by shrink-fit or screws needs to expand the outer boundry over the borders of the PCB. It means larger case. Since the electronic part doesn't need any maintenance (SD card is accessible from outside) I made it this way.
This is ithe simple button cap design for to use over the tactile buttons:
And finally I exported the files for 3d printing which took around 3 hours total for the whole set.
I'm so happy when the designed material is totally comply with the real object after manufacturing it :)
Top part and the button caps.
Gluing the parts (arrgh!)
And finally we have the device. I made the 3d printing in a low quaility. But it's better than nothing :)
Copying from SD2IEC to real floppy disk.
So this was a quick project but I was in need of that device because of it's extraordinary nature. It has unlimited capacy for a floppy disk, so you can save as much as "freezes". Freeze is a snapshot from a game or program by dumping the bits on the memory to a disk to load it anytime when you need a break. freezes created by freeze cartridges like Action Replay, Final Cartridge etc.