Building a Handheld Raspberry Pi Nintendo Switch
When Nintendo’s Nintendo Switch was first introduced, I thought it was the perfect platform to game on the go. Ever since my Nintendo DS I got as a birthday present during my 6th grade birthday, I haven’t found any decent replacement for my on the go gaming need.
Nintendo Switch’s design with its nice crispy 6 inch screen with detachable controller design inspired me to pursue my own handheld design.
For many years, I have been interested in having computing on the go since the PDA days and playing games on it; old games or new games, I just wanted to play games.
These are some portable hand held consoles I have always been eyeballing:
- GPH GP2x Caanoo - GamePark-Holding’s final handheld Linux console
- GPH GP2x Wiz - Predecessor to GP2x Caanoo
- Open Pandora (Now known as PYRA) - The perfect, yet super expensive for a high schooler or college Linux computer platform
- Dingoo - Some Chinese off the mill emulatinon handheld that resembles Gameboy Micro
- GCW Zero - A Kickstarter campaign that my parents didn’t let me buy and is now very hard to find.
- GPD Handhelds (Windows 10/ Android) - A spiritual copy of Open Pandora (Pyra)
These aren’t your traditional “Nintendo DS” or “PSP” handhelds. All of these devices have some sort of “open source” operating system where I can program and load in programs that other people have made on the go. All of these clock a variant of ARM processor that run Linux in its core. Unfortunately, many of these handheld gaming handhelds have been defunct since around 2013, and it seems like the support community has been dwindling since its easier to get a PSP these days and just run a custom firmware on it. I am not too sure but for a while, there hasn’t been a new contender in the field in the handheld market that provides everything I want while delivering it at the price point where it won’t cost me an arm and a leg.
This is where Raspberry Pi comes in play. Raspberry Pis are easy to come buy and relatively cheap in comparison to any of the handheld I have mentioned above, including the Nintendo Switch .With Raspberry Pi software support by the community, I can quickly deploy a Raspberry Pi as a computer and a game station. Since the software is mostly taken care of, I can mostly focus on the hardware aspect of the handheld console.
Copying Nintendo Switch (Physical Dimensions)
Nintendo Switch itself is a very slick and sexy device. Like rest of its predecessors such as a Nintendo DS or Gameboy, it is built with durability in mind. Because of that, drafting the hardware casing took many iterations due to lack of my knowledge in casing design.
Nintendo Switch has following dimensions described by the UK Nintendo’s official website. I used UK’s website since its in millimeters and all of the hardware comes from UK or China where their dimensions are in millimeters.
Nintendo Switch’s official dimensions can be found on the American Nintendo’s website
In the official size dimensions describe that the main body console’s body is “102mm x 239mm x 13.9mm (with Joy-Con attached)” or for rest of the Americans, “the body is 4 inches high, 9.4 inches long, and .55 inches deep”.