Raspberry Pi-powered handheld console takes shape on The Ben Heck Show

TheBenHeckShow_raspberrypi handheld part2

After waiting all week for part two of The Ben Heck Show, the master modder and host Ben Heckendorn is finally ready to put the finishing touches on his Raspberry Pi-powered portable gaming console. (He should really give it a name.)

Last week’s episode signed off with a pencil tracing of the general shape of the handheld device, and some of the components soldered together to form the guts of this hand-made device. Heckendorn goes one step further this week by taking this one-dimensional sketch and transforming it into a fully-playable, mini-computer inside his workshop in Madison, Wisconsin.

In addition to using his MakerBot Replicator 3D printer to print both the front and back of the case in plastic, he also hand-cuts a faceplate (the shinny black part) to give the front of the device more structural integrity. As he explained, the front plate of the plastic mold is actually quite “filmsy” due to the fact it has thin walls to make room for the large LCD display. This is similar to a LCD monitor, where the strongest part of the screen is actually the glass and not the LCD technology. 

Before he can hit “print” on his 3D printer, he needs to tell it what to print. Heckendorn recreates his sketch on the computer with Adobe Illustrator, and then takes his digital sketch to the freely available AutoDesk 123D software that automatically turns the sketch into a 3D model ready for printing.

As soon as the front case is printed, Heckendorn whips out his glue gun to start putting the controller buttons, LCD screen, and faceplate together, all the while testing every single component as he goes. After all, “it’s a lot harder to fix them when it’s all in one piece,” he advised. He’s also careful to line up his wires nicely to make sure the power flow is correct – getting this part wrong can be dangerous.

Before you know it, he’s already screwing the last screw into place and firing up his new Pi-powered portable console. Not sure what you’d play on the Linux-based device? According to Heckendorn, you can install the “Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator” by searching for it in the Pi Store in the latest distribution of Linux. There, you’ll find a robust library of retro games like the arcade version of Trojan and the NES classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The show is giving away this very handheld Pi console, so follow this link if you’d rather win it than make your own.

Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best tech gear and gadgetry that survived Shark Tank

The television show "Shark Tank" has churned out quite a few strange, interesting, and downright awesome products -- so we rounded up some of the best ones for your perusal. Enjoy!
Social Media

Going incognito: Here's how to appear offline on Facebook

How do you make sure your friends and family can't see if you're on Facebook, even if you are? Here, we'll show you how to turn off your active status on three different platforms, so you can browse Facebook without anyone knowing.
Gaming

How to Install an SSD in a PlayStation 4 or PS4 Pro

SSDs are much faster than mechanical hard drives, which is what the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro come with. Here, we show you how to replace it with an SSD, which will allow you to boot to the OS faster and load games quicker.
Computing

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX330UA -- will get the job done without digging too deep into your pockets.
Computing

Don't use streaming apps? These are the best free players for your local music

Rather than using music streaming apps, you may want something for playing your local music. Good news! There are some good alternatives. These are the best media players you can download for free on Windows.
Computing

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Gaming

Want to gift a Steam game so you can play with a friend? Here's how to do it

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.
Computing

Multi-monitor issues? Here's how to resolve them

If you're running into multi-monitor problems, you're not alone. Two screens are very useful, but they can present some difficulties. Here are some common multi-monitor problems and how to fix them.
Computing

Capture screenshots with print screen and a few alternative methods

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, but it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?