Creating a Pi1541 with a Pi Zero and Case Design

Making Of / 23 May 2020


Hello,

Previously I made a case design for the Pi1541 standard "hat" circuit to place over Raspberry Pi 3 devices. To see what is a Pi1541 and what it's used for you can check my previous blog entry:

https://www.artstation.com/blockmind/blog/n178/pi1541-case-design-hobby-project 

This time I assembled the electronic part by myself, using a prototyping PCB, by following the instructions on this page:

https://cbm-pi1541.firebaseapp.com/ 

Fİrst I started iwth this circuit diagram.

I made my layout in Excel to place the components onto the prototyping PCB.  

 I also checked the layout with physical items.


After several hours of soldering I completed the circuit (looks like some device from the "Back to the Future". 

...and I tested it out by conencting to my Commodore 64.


Now it's the fun part: the case design.

As usual, I used Solidworks to design the case. I took measures of the existing circuait with calipers and then made the case design by checking the clearences. Here is the modeling timelapse:

I printed the design with my 3d printer and applied to the circuit.







All good except I fotgot the LED holes! 

So I drilled the holes with screw driver.

Nearly ruining the print!

Fİnally better than nothing.

I soldered the LED extension cables.




And it's complete.

Working good as a disk driver on real C64.



See you on next project! Cheers!

SD2IEC Circuit and Case Design

Making Of / 26 April 2020

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).

More about SD2IEC can be found by these links:

https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/SD2IEC 

https://sd2iec.de/ 

https://github.com/rkrajnc/sd2iec

There are several revisions and variations of this design but I followed the circuit design on this link: http://pungas.space/blog/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8:build-your-own-sd2iec-with-or-without-pcb-in-english&catid=8&Itemid=102 

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.

So SD2IEC took its part on my Retro Corner.

Thanks for your time, I hope you like it.

Cem

Portable Commodore 64 Design with BMC 64 Emulator

Making Of / 21 April 2020



Hello! Check out the video first!


We were playing some Commodore 64 games with my daughter for a while. We are playing with raspberry pi zero which is a cheap hardware and runs BMC64 very smooth which is a Commodore 64 emulator.


I had made some case design for the Pi Zero before. Here is the link:

https://www.artstation.com/blockmind/blog/rRO3/micro-commodore-64-design-and-bmc64-emulator-on-c64-case 

But since it's small but it needed a powersupply to power it up and also a controller is needed to use the device for accessing menus and loading programs or games. By itself, it is just boots. You can do nothing without additional controllers. Also, connecting real C64 joysticks to that case was hard. I had created another gizmo to use it as a joyport.


This time I decided to make a compact, all-in-one system for that device. So, I included:

  • A tactile joystick
  • A chargable battery (1 x 18650)
  • DSub 9 joystick ports
  • Micro to standard USB expansion
  • Mini to Standard HDMI extension
  • And finally an On/Off Switch

I started to solder the ports I needed by connecting the to some prototyping boards.




Raspberry Pi Zero has micro USB and mini HDMI inputs. This makes it harder to connect standart USB devices or standard USB HDMI cables to it. So I made a simple micro USB converter. I made this converter to align with the end of the HDMI port converter piece.


By adding the charge unit and the battery, I gathered all the objects, made a placement on the table to use it as a starter for the case design.

I use Solidworks to make the blockout of components and make the draft case design first.

I advance the design by checkin all clearances and cables with the real object.

When I'm confident that the bottom part is ready, I 3d printed it before finalizing the top part. Because I needed to see that everything will fit, and there is no wrong measurement. Because 3D printing of the top part will take more time.


Everything is at where it's supposed to be.





Then I finished the top part design by just adding minor details.

 




Finally I made the 3d printing of the top part.


Time to remove the supports.


And close the case.


Lets charge it!

And put a label...


Here are some shots of the final device.












...and some draft renders:





BMC64 Homepage: https://accentual.com/bmc64/ 


Update!

SD card slot was inside the case (on raspberry pi), so when I needed to change the content of the SD card, I needed to open the case by unscrewing.


I used a flex SD card extension to the case by cutting the side wall.



I used some folded foam layer to stabilize the SD card slot.



And finally now it's easy to add remove backup files without opening the case.


A Proof of Concept - Portable Commodore 64

Making Of / 09 April 2020
I'm working on a Portable Commodore (with BMC64 emulator) for a while. Finally made some progress. 

First, I made a list for the electronic components and made a diagram about what I need on this device. Actually I needed everything :) Headphone jack, hdmi out, analog video out, classic joystick connectors etc.


Next I got everything together.


Next I take measurements of the components and made a sketch of case design with Solidworks.


There were too many boards, components, speaker and cables. I wasn't sure if the case will hold up everything.

I virtually made a placement.


Then, I simpllified it and converted to sheet metal desidn and printed the unfold surfaces as templates.



I cut some cardboards by this templates and taped the faces. 



I put every electronic components inside (I used paper to prevent electrical shortcuts :) ) and voila! It holds the components and I can move on polishing the case design by making fixing lugs and 3d print it finally :)









And this is the portable C64 up and running. I hope I finish the plastic part soon :)



Tapecart SD Case Design

Making Of / 04 February 2020

I know this is not an "art" but I love the process of this kind of "homemade" products. 

TapeCart is another retro device. which is developed for Commodore 64 to flash instant data to Commodore's memory by datasette port. This port was used to load programs or games by tape cassettes through devices named as "datasettes". But tape reading process was taking too much time more than 10 minutes sometimes to load just one level of a game.

This uses same interface but by an arduino it gets rid of the motor and tape waiting constraints. You can find additional information by this links:

This case is designed for the PCB design of Tapecart SD device that made by Metallic.

Tapecart SD Project page:

https://github.com/KimJorgensen/tapecart

Tapecart SD device by Metallic (Turkish):

https://www.commodore.gen.tr/forum/index.php?topic=17763.0

https://www.commodore.gen.tr/forum/index.php?topic=17821.0

Anyway, this is a DIY project but I bought this device from another person that assembles and I love it. Then I decided to design and print a case for it.

This is the modeling timelapse of the case design. First I'm modeling the blockout of the electronic part by taking measurements by calipers. This is vital to see the places where inside clearance is needed. Then I make a shell over it.


Some sketch-like renders:



After modeling, I 3d printed the parts with my Ender 3 printer and finally I make the assembly by 4 screws. I fits like a charm :)






PCB board of the device I made the case for is designed by a Turkish friend (Metallic). He didn't share the PCB yet, but if he will, I will update the page.

My 3d model is available by this link: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4145118 

Micro Commodore 64 Design and BMC64 Emulator on C64 Case

Making Of / 07 September 2019

BMC 64 is a Commodore 64 emulator created by Randy Rossi. It runs on Raspberry Pi devices and bypass the OS and boots very fast. 

I used this emulator as two ways:

1. in a real C64 case to use it like an old C64 





2. Using the emulator's lite version on tiny Raspberry Pi Zero device and design a case for it





1. Using the emulator in a spare C64 case


First, I embeded one of BMC64 installed Raspberry Pi 3A+ into an empty Commodore 64 Case. It uses real C64 keyboard as an input and also you can connect real C64 joysticks by GPIO pins and a CRT monitor by analog video and audio outputs (HDMI also supported).

I quickly designed some port adapters for the empty C64 case and 3d printed them.

This is video port for the analog video and audio jacks and also the HDMI output. I soldered a 3.5mm jack for the analog outputs and an HDMI cable for the HDMI output.




Next, I made a temporary placement for Raspberry Pi 3A+.

Then,  I placed joystick ports that I made by prototyping board which connected to the GPIO pins, and finally a powerbank board to make this chargable.

I used an Arduino Pro Micro clone to make the C64 keyboard accessible through USB ports of the Raspberry Pi. So emulator will recognize keyboard as input (please see links section at the end of the blog post).  



I used an old Cell Phone battery to make this device chargeble by the spare charge circuit that I keep from a malfunctioned powerbank. And printed an holder for the circuit.

Finally added joystick ports and an On/Off switch. Then I stabilized (!) whole system with paper tape (!) and closed the case.



It works even cordless!!!

Joystick ports also powers up my Firepad 64's light and autofire function! (Firepad 64 is an arrow key based joystick replacement that I made before, check the links).

After a while I made a DC input for powering the device.



Works like a charm!


2. Making a Micro C64


BMC64 emulator also has a lite version which is designed for tiny Raspberry Pi Zero devices.  It also supports real joystick connection, HDMI connection and keyboard support.

I made a 70mm x 38mm case design for this device to have it a C64 look.







3d printed it and placed the device into by adding a LED light that turns on when powered.


BMC64 Lite is complete by connecting an HDMI cable, a wireless receiver for keyboard and a USB cable for powering the Raspberry Pi Zero up.

It's very tiny for me to paint in detail but I give it a try to combine some of my colors to match a real C64 colors at the end.


I made the keyboard part demountable to use the GPIO pins beneath to connect read joysticks to the device.

Here is the real joystick connection:


And finally it can be connected to a TV by using the USB port of the TV as a power source to run the emulator.

Very portable solution :)



Thanks for reading this photo-dominant blog post.


Those are the links that may be useful:

BMC64 Homepage: https://accentual.com/bmc64/ 

BMC64 Lite Homepage: https://accentual.com/bmc64-lite/

BMC64 Github: https://github.com/randyrossi/bmc64 

Arduino Project for Keyboard Connection: https://github.com/mcgurk/Arduino-USB-HID-RetroJoystickAdapter/tree/master/C64_keyboard 

My facebook post about the C64 case integration: https://www.facebook.com/groups/commodoresixtyfour/permalink/10156140173577172/ 

3D model files for BMC64 Zero Case: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3848621

FirePad64 - Production for Friends

Making Of / 24 July 2019

I made 16 copies of the project for distribution to the friends. They will be testing and reviewing the prototypes for feedback. 

I wanted to share some photo-details on that small mass production event.

Component assembly and cabling photos:

All 3d printing took 186 hours total (nearly two weeks).


These are the custom cable connector cases that I made for this product.





This photos show the LED and autofire testing on breadboards.

Finally, after all testing, all of them ready to be shipped.





Making of FirePad64 - Joystick Replacement for Commodore 64

Making Of / 27 June 2019

Artstation Project Page: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/xzwa3r 

Hello!

Lately as a hobbyist, I got into electronics in basic level. This time I made a keypad for joystick replacement for my Commodore 64. 

Joysticks are hard to use on many games since we got used to keyboard and gamepad use by PC and console gaming. So I tried to create a device to be used on joystick ports and will work as a keyboard arrow key arrangement.

My first attempt was just for operational stability. I used a prototyping board and used 8 x 8mm buttons and a 7 x 7mm switch, few resistors and an 555 Timer IC. 555 Tımer IC is used for making frequent flows. They used basicly for making blinking lights, for example.

It compares 2 resistors and defines on and off times by a capacitor. There is a formulation for the on and off times. Which is covered on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTn_HmzXYLo

So I decided to use this 555 Timer IC on auto-fire of my keypad. But instead of static resistors and static rapid fire, I replaced on of the resistors with a potantiometer which is an adjustible resistor. So I would be able to change the frequency of my auto-fire.

Quickly I assembled a circuit and made the connections with cables.


I used very cheap and generic buttons on this one. So it will be a challenge to make a usable keypad with these. Because production abilities are limited with my home and my entry level 3d printer :) So I moved on to create the case and the buttons for that circuit.

This is the first design of the keypad.


I printed the parts and used some double sided tapes to attach the buttons (I keep stamping that bad logo of my freelancing startup everwhere).


After that first design. I decided to add a second button for manually activate the auto fire and this was the drawing of it.

After the acceptible success of gameplay satisfaction level on that device, it was time to make a more cool design. 

To do that, first I should create a smaller design on the board. So I measured the old one with the button offsets and clearances to the button walls and finally made this circuit.


I soldered the cables by snapping them to the board this time. To make a slim case aspect to the previous one.

This is a soldering timelapse:

I revised and re-created the 3d model again to comply with this new board.



I made a resemblance with the Commodore 64C cases on an hardly recognizable level.

I added an LED to the new case with 3 adjustable modes. First I added this for to make it blink when it's fired on the keypad but many people may not love it so I decided to add a switch to disable the LED. But some friends suggested that to make it fully ON if it's needed. So I added a 3 way switch to the board.

I designed the LED window as a Commodore logo and used some foam behind the window to make the light scatter inside to get soft and well distributed light. 


  

Result is amazing!

  

And this is the usage of the device on my Commodore 64.




So this was the end of the device creation process. Next, I decided to visualize back all the details I created so far to make some practice of my texturing and modeling skills.

This time I modeled every detail of the electronic board, instead of creating blocks.

I modeled cables and even I made a one click soldering setup to paint over the board to define solder points of the cables.

After all texturing this time I rendered detail shots of the artificial one. Which is better on plastics because I materialized it as a plastic injection molding result instead of a homemade 3d print :)




  


  


  

And some comparison with the real product and rendered ones.


Finally I created an animation in marmoset toolbag and applied my Unreal Engine VHS effect to the video get this introduction commercial :)

Also I just placed the 3d models to my Unreal Engine retro scene :)


Pi1541 - Case Design (Hobby Project)

Making Of / 13 May 2019

I created this case design for the open source hardware: Pi 1541.

Before introducing the Pi 1541, I want to introduce you the Commodore 1541 which is a 5.25" floppy disk drive for Commodore computers.

These drives can be connected to Commodore 64 to load games and programs faster than datasette tapes. I already modeled the standard and 1541C version of this drive by looking to the photos of the hardware. As a self-criticism I can say I went hard on the width of the product :)

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/rgVd6 


Pi1541 is the modern replacement of this hardware that created by Stephen White. You can connect the Pi1541 to a Commodore 64 computer and attach any C64 floppy image through an SD card to make the C64 detect there inserted a real floppy disk and make it read the disk file "cycle-exact". By cycle exact, image is loaded to the Commodore 64 in same clock timing with a real 1541 floppy drive. This means amazing compatibility!

Hardware uses Raspberry Pi's various models. Like 3B, 3A+ and 3B+. There is an IO interface for Raspberry Pi that has all magic. 

Here are some links for that product:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=11191060 

https://github.com/pi1541/Pi1541 

https://cbm-pi1541.firebaseapp.com/ 

https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Pi1541

Pi1541's Electronic part looks like this (images taken from https://www.hackup.net/2018/06/pi1541io-revision-2/)


I have the Rapberry Pi 3A+ version of this product. And I already designed a case for the RAAT #5 meeting in Turkey.

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/Ka3JOR 

My friend Türker Gürevin sent me a 3d printed version of this case and I painted it in similar 1541 colors with acyrillic paint. Also I designed a label for the front face.

Recently, I revised the design and made it compatible for both Raspberry 3A+ and 3B+ versions. 


  This time I 3d printed with my Ender 3 printer. 



I move the power and activity leds to the fron side of the case to make the resemblence with the original product.

After case design and prototype print is OK, then I painted the case with acyrillc paint by creating custom colors.



Here some shots of the final case which I fell in love with <3











  






  


  


  





  


  


  


  






  


  


  




  


  

Second device on the photo is my tapuino case design:

https://www.artstation.com/blockmind/blog/ObwD/tapuino-my-diy-electronics-and-custom-case-design-attempt 

Tapuino - My DIY Electronics and Custom Case Design Attempt

Making Of / 04 May 2019


As a person who used Commodore 64 computer with only datasette instead of floppy disk driver in 90s, I always loved to tape loading musics and screens.

For the people who don't know what is a datasette, it is a tape player that transfers data from tape cassettes to the computer by sending analog waves. Here is some technical info.

Tape loading times are huge by the way. It may take 10 - 30 minutes to load a game depending on the size of the software.

Here is a datasette image I created by measuring my own Noris datasette:

(project page: https://www.cemtezcan.com/projects/GB6qz)



Let's talk about Tapuino Project. This is a DIY project that created by Peter Edwards. Actually it is an Arduino project with a few components. 

Tapuino is an hardware emulator which connected to a real Commodore 64 and acts like a Datasette. It has an SD card reader, so you can load any .Tap files through this device to a C64. Tap files are tape images of the C64 games and softwares.

All details of the device and components can be found on following links:

Sweetlimre's Blog

Amibay

Github

My first attempt with this device is to create a large version with my limited electronics knowledge. It was real fun to make soldering first time and ordering interesting electronic components, cables, screens etc :)


I just followed the steps of the Peter's blog and created a board of the device. Next thing was to create a case for this one. I used Solidworks to make the model of the electronic part and created a shell over it by considering the clearences.



Then I 3d print it and complete this first trial of "homemade" electronics and case printing.



It worked like a charm!

My next mission was to make the compact version of this device and make a real datasette looking case for it.

I started to assemble the components on a smaller (5cm x 7cm) prototyping PCB. I designed the placement on the Microsoft Excel, and painted some cable routes on Paint Shop. I suggest you to follow the Peter's directions on cabling. My version may not be the final diagram of the connections.







Next as usual I modeled the device fisrt and modeled a shell for it. For the shell design, I tried to achieve the resemblence with the Commodore 1530 datasette design. Which is as follows:









I 3d printed the model and voila! It fits!





I painted a base with a gray spray paint. Since the material is translucent a bit, opaque paint shows all the details (and ofcourse the printing flaws) of the case.



Next painted the main color with acyrlic paint by an air brush and painted other details by brush.





Of course my daughter makes everything easier by climbing over me when I'm painting the frame 10th time.




Finally it is ready for varnishing!






After varnishing 2 layers with airbush and cut a plastic for the front frame I completed the work. 






And finally  this video shows the operation of the final device. 

I know the final result is not clear and smooth, I may gave more attention to polishing  the 3d print but it's just a prototyping. And more important than that, it's prototyping that made in "home". Which is a cyberpunk scenerio for me :) Cheers!