I am building two customized Pocket Pigrrl’s for my daughter and niece. As a kid the NES system was mine, but my younger sister owned the original gameboy which I constantly stole from her on car trips so it seemed right that both our kids have little portable gameboy like devices. I am also hoping that this device will help keep mommy’s phone away from the children.

I started out by cutting down the half sized perma proto board and laying out the buttons for a 4 button pigrrl. I used my dremel to cut down the perma proto boards and then attached the 6mm tactile buttons onto the cut down proto board. Then I layed out the Raspberry Pi A+, PowerBoost 1000C and Audio Amp boards inside the case and started cutting some wire.

Pigrrl Assembly

Next I wired up the switch and applied the heatshrink tubing, then I attached the wires to the audio jack of the raspberry pi and connected them to the PowerBoost.

Pigrrl Assembly

I made a table of all the GPIO inputs on the Pi, and where they map to in the Pocket Pigrrl project:

Wire # Pin Key Connect to
1 GPIO 3V N/A Unused
2 GPIO 5V N/A PowerBoost
3 GPIO 2 Key X Perma Proto Controller
4 GPIO GND N/A Unused
5 GPIO 3 Key Y Perma Proto Controller
6 GND N/A PowerBoost
7 GPIO 4 Key Left Perma Proto Controller
8 GPIO 14 N/A Unused
9 GND N/A Perma Proto Controller
10 GPIO 15 N/A Unused
11 GPIO 17 Key Right Perma Proto Controller
12 GPIO 18 Key Up Perma Proto Controller
13 GPIO 27 Key Down Perma Proto Controller
14 GPIO GND N/A Unused
15 GPIO 22 Key A Perma Proto Controller
16 GPIO 23 Key B Perma Proto Controller
17 GPIO 3V N/A Unused
18 GPIO 24 N/A Unused
19 GPIO 10 N/A Unused
20 GPIO GND N/A Unused
21 GPIO 9 N/A Unused
22 GPIO 25 N/A Unused
23 GPIO 10 N/A Unused
24 GPIO 8 N/A Unused
25 GPIO GND N/A Unused
26 GPIO 7 N/A Unused

I soldered all of the ground wires for the controller and clipped the unnecessary wires from the Pi GPIO cable.

Pigrrl Assembly

Pigrrl Assembly

The last step was to solder all of the controller buttons to the perma proto board and test that everything was working properly.

Pigrrl Finished

I downloaded the Adafruit RetroPi image and everything fired right up. I found that the up button was turning off the screen, so I cut the GPIO18 backlight trace on the back of both screens and the system is working properly, now it is time to load some ROMS!

Pigrrl Finished

After almost a year with my Printrbot I was excited to see the new Printrbot Simple Z and X axis upgrades they recently made available.

There have been a couple of parts that I have had to print in multiple pieces because my printer was too small. I got my new heated bed recently, and I don’t have a very large space for my printer so I decided to get the Z axis upgrade since it would not increase the footprint of my printer at all.

Z Upgrade in Progress

The upgrade kit is pretty simple, it comes with a set of 12MM smooth rods 15” long pressed into a aluminum rod plate, a 1/4” Acme rod 290MM long, and an aluminum Simple handle. I already had the handle so if anyone wants one it is yours for $20 vis paypal. I removed the existing 12MM rods and followed the original kit assembly instructions to make sure I was putting things together properly. I used some new thread locker and replaced the original rods with the new longer ones. After I completed the upgrade I found an assembly video as well.

Z Upgrade Complete

The upgrade took about an hour and after it was complete I had to update the size of my printer in the firmware and in Cura and OctoPrint. Using the control panel in OctoPrint I homed the Z axis and moved the Z axis up as far as I was comfortable going, which was 240MM. Using the M211 command I set the maximum Z height to 240MM and saved the values.

M211 Z240

I have also been waiting to try out the new v2 extruder, the v1 extruder has worked great for me and has been acceptable with flexible filaments with some extra printed parts, but I have to watch the printer too closely when using Ninjaflex and have had difficulty printing large or complex parts in Ninjaflex and the new extruder has much tighter tolerances which should prevent the Ninjaflex from pushing out from the hobbed gear.

v2 Extruder

I am excited to try and print some larger parts, and am looking forward to Ninjaflex being a bit easier to work with as well.