Build guide step #2

One quick note, we have moved the site to its domain proper, please make a note of it!  It is now located at

Even heavily modified the front PCB of the Gameboy is too large to fit into our 2U case.  We have to take out about an eighth of an inch of aluminum to get it to fit comfortably.  I built a fixture to hold the face of the 2U unit flush to the CNC routing table.  I then used Corel Draw to line out the vector in which I planned to cut and used ArtCam to build the toolpath and then finally ran the gcode through Mach3 which operates the CNC router.  This took more time to set up then it did to actually cut out, but now that I have it done, I can repeat the same process efficiently.

I did the same process for the actual cutout as well.  I will have to keep tweaking the size of the cutout as I’m not completely happy with where everything sits quite yet.  I keep changing the design, so I hope I will get it nailed down pretty soon.  I might move the tabs in the middle around a bit.

I use them for mounting points for the polycarbonate front panel.  After a quick black enamel paint job the two are ready to go.

I can’t stress enough on how much time gets put into the hardware.  Josh and I spend hours testing, fixing and tweaking all of the components to find the best possible hardware to put into our units.  We listen to the sound output of every component and try to only use the lowest noise gear we have on hand.

Sometimes we need to de-solder components and replace them from other non-working boards to get them working again.  It is time consuming.  Once we have our components, it is now time to modify them.  Next post we will cover the very intricate cut of the front PCB and all of the details to get it running once the cut is made.

Here is a sneak peek.



Start of the build guide of Prototype II

Ok, here we go.

Need to get a few things out of the way before we start.

First we want to thank everyone who has emailed us with ideas and suggestions.  We are listening and we encourage you to chime in if you have ideas or suggestions.

Second.  We are looking for USB cartridges and used working systems.  Yes we are buying like mad off of Ebay, but if you are sitting on a pile of working used gaming systems, we would love to offer you cash or trade for what you have.  If you would like to donate, we will pay for shipping and post your name, (If you want) on a sponsors page.

Third.  Everyone is waiting for prices on our systems.  We have reached a point where we will need to generate some funding to pay for development, and research costs.  We are working very hard on a cool Kickstarter project we hope to release in a few months.  We will not release prices until the results of the Kickstarter project ends.  This will determine how much we will be able to charge for our Ninstruments.  I know there are a lot  people bummed right now, but we will need to buy in quantity in order to bring down the per piece price of our machines.  If the Kickstarter project is successfull, we will pass the cost savings directly to you.

Last thing.
This step by step Prototype II build guide is going to start slow, but please realize we are hard at work behind the scenes with testing and developing new features in both this prototype build and the upcoming Kickstarter project.

Step #1.


This may seem a boring place to start, but if you are even marginally interested in building your own, or are even slightly interested in what type of components we will use, this needs to be covered.

The main source of our audio jacks, headers, resistors and basic components is  We have decided to use them because their consistency in parts is excellent.  We won’t reference part numbers directly but if you ask us, we will supply part numbers.  There are other components we will get from other suppliers. is very close to us in Boulder Colorado, so we will support them as much as we can.  All Arduino’s, Uno’s for testing and the Pro Mini’s will be purchased from them, as well as headers and some switches. has other hard to find stuff, such as specific height stand-off’s that are tough to find anywhere else. Again we will not reference these part numbers directly, but will furnish them upon request.

The metal rack-mount cabinets are from  Full steel top, back and bottom.  The front is extruded aluminum.  These cases are easily modified and are very reasonable in cost. They come shipped in strong cardboard boxes that we will double box and custom cut additional Styrofoam before shipping the final assembled product to you.

As mentioned above we are using systems mainly found on ebay.  Prices can fluctuate, but we try and buy in quantity when possible.  We have also partnered with a few other gaming stores to buy from them when they acquire them.  We will have discounts available to you if you decide to purchase and may even be able to trade Ninstruments for just a large lot of working gaming systems, so start hunting and saving them up as you see them at garage sales and thrift stores, it will benefit both of us!

What systems are we looking for?
Orginal Gameboy DMG-01
Orginal NES
Atari 2600’s
Commodore 64’s

Remember, they need to be working, unless you just want to donate as mentioned above.  Please don’t discount donation, there are some parts we will be de-soldering off of non-working originals in order to build functioning originals.  We want to use as many original parts as possible!

Here is the case.  I have decided to build two of these during the prototype build to accelerate bug finding and fixing and to build initial parts by hand, then program the CNC router to cut them in quantity.  Again please realize these are PROTOTYPES!  These are not finished polished shipping models.  If you don’t like something, or think something could be done differently, to be more efficient or more cost effective, please leave a comment.

Dimensions are 17″ wide x 3.5″ tall x 11.75″ deep.  This is very large as far as standard rack mounted instruments go, but we plan to utilize every inch of space as we add more and more vintage gaming systems.

Next post will be focused on cutting the front face plate. I will try and post these step by step posts every two weeks. Thank you for the support with this project.

Here is a sneak peak: