Gorgeous Controller Contains Raspberry Pi Arcade
Those of us in the maker community may claim to champion functionality, but the truth is that we're suckers for form just like everyone else.
A sophisticated robot will get our attention, but throw a bit of lipstick on it and we'll be drooling. In this community, lipstick comes in the form of beautiful industrial design. Even the simplest projects benefit from a well-designed enclosure. JamHamster is a master of the art and showcased their skill in a recent Raspberry Pi arcade controller project.
Raspberry Pi single-board computers are perfect for arcades, because they're small, affordable, and run retro video game emulators very well.
All you need for a Raspberry Pi arcade project is the computer and a USB gamepad—you don't technically need an enclosure at all. But a nice case gives your machine the appearance of a real production device. Most of us 3D-print those cases, but JamHamster broke out some serious craftsmanship for this project.
The electronic components inside of this controller are typical for a project like this. There is a Raspberry Pi with composite video output and analog stereo audio output.
The joystick and buttons connect to the Pi through a salvaged USB gamepad IC. None of those components are noteworthy. What stands out is JamHamster's enclosure design.
JamHamster chose a retrofuturistic art deco aesthetic, with polished steel and glowing light. The enclosure body is a sandwich construction with alternating layers of steel and orange acrylic. The translucent acrylic allows LEDs to shine through, while the high-polish steel provides a mirror finish.
The joystick handle and button caps are also polished steel and custom machined by JamHamster. This project sets a lipstick bar that makers will struggle to exceed for years to come.