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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Custom Gaming Case (Like Xperia Play)

by robman2122, published

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Custom Gaming Case (Like Xperia Play) by robman2122 Dec 8, 2015

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Summary

Update 5/10/2017: 3 Updates in a weeks time! I can hardly believe it! Anywho, update time. I scrapped all the old pictures and posted up to date photos of my latest tweaks. Since my last update, I've made the following changes:

  • Added a back cover to the bottom of the case
  • Added notched sections to the both main pieces of the bottom potion of the case to slot together
  • Added pressure clips on the bottom of the case to hold everything together without screws or glue, and allowing for easy disassembly if parts need to be replaced or serviced
  • Thinned the top portion of the case to make things smaller overall
  • Shortened the round rotation peg to accomodate for top case thinning
  • Cut out the controller face portion (to allow for cleaner and easier printing)
  • Created a slotted section to allow the controller face to be placed into the bottom case and secured with super glue
  • Rounded shoulder buttons for nicer feel
  • Rounded entire case for nicer feel
  • Added support pegs for easier securing of PCB boards on back of controller face

As always, if anyone has any suggestions or ideas, please feel free to contact me either by direct message or in the comments below!

Update 5/6/2017: For anyone who has been following this project, no your eyes are not fooling you, there is another new update within only a couple of days since the last one! I did some online window shopping to see what components might work for this project's controller portion. I had purchased a bunch of pieces awhile back, but have misplaced them. I also went the cheaper route and bought some less than desireable pieces from a chinese wholesaler that didn't quite fit the bill, so I will be purchasing all new pieces (once I save up the funds of course). In the meantime, I looked up all new pieces that I intend to purchase and made digital representations of them on the models so that I have a better idea of how things will fit together before printing anything. I have also made a few more modifications to the original case design. In the past when I printed the phone case portion, I never had much luck with the pieces that hung over the charging port, speaker or stylus, as well as the divider between the charging port and speaker/stylus, so I decided to remove them entirely. This should not affect the case's ability to hold the phone, as every time I printed it before, they ended up snapping off and the phone stayed just fine. I have also added a cone spacer to place under the D-Pad between it and the PCB board so that it will have a more fluid movement (similar to a traditional Nintendo D-Pad). In addition to this, I also added in a representation of a power toggle switch to turn the controller on/off at will so it will not drain the battery when not in use. At this time, I am planning on using an Adafruit bluetooth microcontroller and a battery from them as well. The other pieces, I will most likely still be purchasing from chinese wholesalers, but will be a little more strict with what I am purchasing, so that I end up with something of a high enough quality to work for what I need. Once I am closer to the end and have a confirmed working controller, I will post the list of parts/prices with links to where I purchased them from. In the meantime, if anyone has any questions/comments/suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I will do my best to respond to them in a timely fashion. As for future plans, I do also have a Samsung Galaxy S7 on hand to work with as well, but will not work on that until this one is finished. And if/when my Note 5 kicks the bucket, I will also be looking to replace that with another phone, but am undecided at this time, as I plan on keeping this one going until it no longer functions, but will most likely be designing a case for whichever phone replaces it.

Update 5/3/2017: I know... I know... I totally dropped the ball on this one... My printer was out of comission for quite some time and due to other things going on in life, I had given up on this project. But then I recently had the time and energy to get my printer back up and running. Today, whilst browsing the web, pining for a true successor to the Xperia Play, I had a thought. Maybe I was going about this project all wrong from the start. As much as I was trying to emulate the Xperia Play in style and functionality, the concept just wasn't jiving too well when it came to a 3D printed case. As I was reading through an forum of others pining for the Xperia Play, someone mentioned how Sony still holds the patent for the sliding gamepad design, and that's partially why no other company has really attempted such a phone (aside from the potential risk of investing in something that may not sell very well). Someone mentioned that they'd be happy with any gamephone as long as the gamepad wasn't visible when they didn't want it to be and then it hit me! What if I made it swivel around similar to the way the Sidekick worked? I went back to my old files and got to work, scrapping a lot of things and fixing up other areas that I didn't pay enough attention to when I first embarked on this journey. I whipped up a quick model of what I had in mind and took some screenshots. I do still have the old stuff as well, if anyone ever wanted to go down that road for any reason, but my focus will now be on the new revision. On the new model, there will a round peg that will be inserted through the top portion of the case and then fastened to the bottom portion from within by screws. I'll probably end up using some super glue on the bottom portion as well to ensure it doesn't drift after being placed. This should allow the bottom to swivel around into the desired shape for playability. I also extruded 2 bump strips on either side to allow friction to hold the phone in place, whether open or closed so that it doesn't immediately flip to the side. For the time being, I undid the rounded corners for easier design work. Once I have things a bit more finalized, I will be rounding things back out so it has a smoother and sleeker look and feel, and so that it will be more comfortable in the hands when playing. If anyone has any questions or ideas, I am all ears! Glad to be back working on this project once again!

Update 1/10/2016: Hello everyone who is following this project. I have made a few more modifications to the controller portion of the case. I now have the USB port lined up correctly with the opening on the case. This unfortunately caused me to have to extend the walls up on the bottom portion of the case, causing it to be thicker than I originally intended. I have also thinned out some of the screw posts on the bottom that extend up to the cover to hold everything together as they seemed to be just a touch too thick to fit through the circuit board for the controller. After I had a few tweaks done and everything assembled, I came across another problem. The original buttons from the Ipega controller fit through the holes I created just fine, however because they had little tabs on the backside that originally fit through slots on the original controller casing to keep their orientation, they began to get caught on each other and cause each other to stick in the down position until rotated back to a proper orientation. This for obvious reasons would not work for a controller, so I created a generic set of buttons without tabs to take their place. I did this because I am still unsure if I will ever want to reassemble the original controller for any reason and did not want to break the tabs off the buttons for this reason. So far from my testing, everything seems to work fine with this new set of buttons. Other tweaks simply involved some minor movement of things here and there to fit better when assembled. I am still considering different ideas for the slide mount to connect the bottom and top of the case. I will most likely be taking a small break from this project (only a week tops) as I am in the process of moving my printer and setting up a new workstation for everything.

Update 1/7/2016: I have completed a preliminary print of the bottom portion of the case and have fitted the controller circuit board inside. I have attached a picture of this to the thing page for all to see, however once everything was mounted I determined a few things that would need to be modified and began working on further tweaks. For one, I miscalculated the position of the USB charging port on the controller board, which ended up being recessed in by about 4mm. I also misjudged the height of this port as well and found that in the current state at that time that the USB port was flush with the lip of the top portion of the bottom piece of the case. I have since moved the entire controller mount assembly down by 4mm and raised walls of the case by 2mm and produced a new cutout for that USB port. In modifying this, I also tweaked the cover for the bottom case to match the new locations of all the screw posts and such. Back to the top portion of the bottom case, I widened the screw posts near the top (which do not interfere with the controller board at all) so that they are much thicker and less prone to snapping off when assembling the case. I have also widened the base of some of the other screw posts to also lessen the chance of snapping during assembly/use of the controller. To the sides of the controller mounting assembly, I have also added some solid support blocks that extend up to be flush with the inside of the lid to give the controller more overall rigidity when using, so that if gripping the controller more vigorously during play, you don't end up caving in the lid. In moving the entire assembly down on the design, I also moved the recessed region down with it to match, causing this region to actually cut away on the bottom of the case and end up being exposed a bit when the controller will be closed with the top case for the phone. After moving everything down, there was only a sliver left at the bottom of this portion and I felt it would only hinder play with the analog sticks and looked out of place as well. In addition to all this, I also widened the circular cutouts for the analog sticks as on the preliminary print, I noticed that I did not seem to have full range of motion with the sticks as they would hit the sides when fully extended. As for the overall design of this portion of the case, I have also decided to remove the slide portion and the friction nubs to be separate pieces that will be super glued into place as there was no feasibly way to get a quality print with them on the model already. I would either end up printing the case upside down (using a lot of support material) and have to do a lot of extra finishing work and sanding to the top to (hopefully) end up with something that was usable or print it right side up (again using a lot of support material) and risk the printer butchering the screw posts further than it already might (due to my printer's limitations). I know this may not result in the strongest bond for the slide, but I am looking into other alternatives as well (such as something along the lines of either rubber cement or JB Weld) to strengthen the link between the case and the slide. As always, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section or message me directly!

Update #2 1/1/2016: I have uploaded a couple pictures of the test fit of the controller board to what I have whipped up design wise for the inside of the case. Everything is fitting very well in my opinion. Now I just need to perfect the shoulder button area. In case I didn't mention this before, I have designed all of the screw posts and holes within the case to take advantage and use all of the screws from the Ipega controller since they are self taping and appropriately sized.

Update 1/1/2016: I have updated the pictures on this page to reflect my most current revision of the case. It now has all the holes in place for the Ipega controller I have selected to use. I am still making minor tweaks to the innards of the case as I go to try and fit everything as perfectly as possible. Once I get things lined up properly, I plan on putting some extra support scaffolding on the inside to help hold the circuit board in place a little better as well. Once I complete the fully 3D printed design, I will then begin working on the design that takes advantage of the Xperia Plays sliding bracket as well. Please keep in mind for anyone who may be interested in that version of the case when I make it, the bottom will not be detachable in the sense that the fully 3D printed version will be (it can be twisted and pulled off for when it will not be necessary to have a controller (meetings and whatnot).

As for the top portion of the case, not much has changed here, however I have removed the material that extended over top of where the volume keys were. I found that it was increasingly more and more difficult to insert/remove the phone as I dialed in the dimensions closer and closer to fit the phone more perfectly with this piece here. The last time I printed this portion of the case, i accidentally snapped this piece off, and it actually worked out to my benefit when it happened.

Once again, when I am happy with the design now that I have a controller picked out, I will update the new models for everyone to check out. In the mean time, keep checking for new updates! And leave any ideas or thoughts in the comments section!

Update 12/31/2015: Happy New Year Everyone! I apologize for the lapse in updates, but I have been busy at work tweaking my case design. I have finally selected a Bluetooth controller, and the winner is.... The Ipega PG-9017S (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BT71S4K?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01)
This particular controller seemed to fit the bill for what I was looking for and so far has not disappointed me in the least bit. I have already roughed out the button holes for everything on the controller and have been slowly tweaking and reprinting test pieces to fit to the control board of the controller itself. Once I am happy with the design, I will be uploading it along with the rest of the pieces. I have also decided to separate the bottom portion of the case into two solid pieces rather than one with a thin door. This will help overall rigidity and allow for easier installation of the controller itself into the case. This design choice should also aid in printing since the original concept would come out sloppy on the inside from poor support material on my printer. I am still developing the case with a completely printable design (with the exception of the controller of course) but am also working on a secondary design that will take advantage of the original phone this case is designed on. It will use the actual slide bracket from an Xperia Play for its sliding mechanism, cutting down a bit on its footprint (hopefully!) and increasing its durability and reliability. And best of all, since it won't use those pesky ribbon cables that the Xperia Play used, it shouldn't ever need replacement! In the mean time, if anyone has any ideas, thoughts or comments, please let me know!

Update 12/14/2015: (This one is long!) I have updated the model to reflect a recent change I have implemented. The complete case has now been simplified down to 3 pieces (I have left the old revision of the top portion of the case since it functions as a standard case for the phone however). The top, the bottom and the door for the bottom. I have created a grooved passageway on the bottom of the top portion of the case and added a complimentary extension to the top of the bottom piece. I originally tried to have the grooved passageway extend all the way to the end of the case and created a plug that could be inserted and glued in place to keep the bottom portion of the case in place, however I noticed once the bottom was printed that it could be inserted into the groove diagonally and then twisted into place, allowing it to slide, so i walled the groove back off on the side, allowing for a stronger overall build and feel. I have also added a tensioned clip to the bottom portion to keep it in place in the open position so that the phone will not slide back down and pinch your fingers when using the game controls (once implemented). This clip simply needs to be depressed to allow the case to slide closed. Because of the new design, the controller can easily be twisted off of the top for times where you may not want/need the controls (such as meetings and the such) and overall, take the the thickness of the entire contraption down a bit. I plan to create a filler piece to go into the grooved area when the controller is not attached. I would think it best to print this piece with something flexible like ninjaflex so that it can be inserted snugly and removed without having to break anything off to reinsert the controller portion. I will be uploading pictures later today of my completed print (so far) to show how it all fits together. I am still researching controllers and this part may take some time before the final design is finished and ready to print. I have also toyed with the idea in my head a bit of building in one of those USB power banks into the bottom portion of the case ( a slim one so that it fits in there nicely with the controller pieces) although I think this idea may get scrapped in the end as I'd rather slim the case down at this point rather than beefing it up any more than I already have. Although, this case is thick when both pieces are assembled, I don't find it uncomfortable to hold at all. If anything, I personally like the thicker feel as it gives me something more to hold onto when using my phone. The overall thickness may present a problem when trying to carry in a pocket however. As always, I am open to suggestions/ideas for anything and everything related to this case. If you have something to say, please leave it in the comments or message me directly!

Side note: I have found that it is best to remove your S Pen before putting the phone into the case as the lip of the case can get caught on the edge of the stylus and bend/break the case/stylus.

Update 12/8/2015: I have uploaded STL models of my current design. I have not printed this revision of top portion of the case yet, but will be doing so this evening. The only changes I have made from my last revision are that I have rounded the top corners of the case a bit more to contour the phone a bit more and I have lowered the hole in the back of the top case for the camera so that it does not interfere with the camera at all. In addition to that, I have made the corners of the bottom portion of the case match the corners on the top portion.

Included with these STL files is an example of what the bottom portion of the case might look like. The layout will be roughly the same, but spacing and shapes can/may/will differ when this project is complete.

Update #2 12/8/2015: I have successfully printed the top portions most recent revision and was able to fit my Galaxy Note 5 snugly inside! I have posted pictures of the results. The moving of the camera hole was a success as the case now does not touch the camera lens assembly on the rear of the phone, and the corners of the top of the case have been rounded down to just the right size, holding the phone firmly in place once placed inside of the case. I have done some research and may be on to a replacement idea for the sliding brackets, but am still extremely open to ideas there if anyone has any feedback. At this point, it is upward and onward to the bottom portion (or maybe it's downward in that case?). I am still researching which controller may work best for this scenario. Everyone on the internet seems to like the idea of using a PS3 controller, however, I do not have my phone rooted, nor do I intend to do so anytime soon. I am looking for a solution that will work stock with anyone's phone that will fit in the case, so a standard bluetooth controller seems to be the way to go in my eyes, so again, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I am all ears. As a side note, the bottom portion of this case may get slimmer depending on the controller setup that gets used. I tried to keep everything open for anything/everything at the moment, but will try to further streamline the case as it gets developed so it uses less material in the end, but is still durable and strong.

This is a project that was born from a lack of a true gaming smart phone on the market.

Years ago I owned a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. As any Xperia Play owner (former or current) can tell you, the phone is a unique take on a gaming smartphone, but it has its pitfalls. It was haphazardly released by Sony in an attempt to corner a niche market, and they never really gave it a fighting chance. It quickly tanked in the opinion of many around the world, but still holds a special place in the hearts of gamers. I still kick myself for ever selling my Xperia Play (both of them!).

We as a community have waited for many years for a true successor to the Xperia Play to be released, however, aside from a handful of Chinese "game player" devices that have the ability to make calls and receive text messages (although the quality of most of these devices make those features questionable at best), there has not been much in this department. Snail Games got me very excited with the announcement of their W3D phone, however it seems as if this phone will never be released as it has already been delayed once, and now as of this writing, they have pulled the product from Amazon.

So, with a phone that needs replacing, I've decided upon the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (based on specs, reviews and first hand encounters with my wife's Note 5). Feeling let down about missing out on a phone with built in controls got me feeling nostalgic for the Xperia Play. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I own a 3D Printer! I could simply create my own case for the phone and make it in the style of the Xperia Play, disassembling a bluetooth controller and building it into the bottom portion of the case for easy access.

This is still very much a work in progress and at the moment. I am making design modifications to the case almost daily at this point, taking the top portion of the case out for a spin to work and noting anything that needs to be changed. I am also still in the research phase for which controller I may use for the bottom portion (hence the blank canvas that is the bottom at the moment). I have a few controllers in mind, but if anyone would like to make any recommendations, I am all ears.

I will try to keep the models updated as best as possible, but since many changes can occur in a short amount of time, there may be lapses in updates.

For anyone who would like to suggest a controller, here is my criteria:

Must have:

  • D-Pad
  • Dual Thumbsticks (nub style similar to the PSP, otherwise sticks will make the case too thick to feasibly work the way I am envisioning it)
  • 4 Face buttons (A,B,Y,X)
  • At least a pair of shoulder buttons (L & R)
  • Bluetooth Connectivity for Android based phones
  • Slightly larger size than most Bluetooth controllers OR independent circuit boards for buttons and D-Pad/Analog sticks that can be rewired/branched apart from each other

Optional:

  • Dual shoulder buttons (L/R 1 & 2)
  • Start/Select Buttons
  • Home Button
  • Other additional buttons
  • An ON/OFF toggle switch for power (this is preferable, but not required as long as the device will time out and turn off on it's own from inactivity)

Cannot have:

  • Raised traditional Thumbsticks
  • Direct connection to phones via cable/connector
  • Locked down control compatibility (such as the iCade series controllers) (I will be primarily using this with emulators)

Other Plans for this project: Because the case will be entirely 3D printed (aside from the controller pieces on the inside) It will not have the tensioned slider like the Xperia Play has, so once I pick a controller and cut out the layout, I plan to have a tension tab that sticks up after the case is opened and can be depressed in order to close the case, giving it further rigidity when playing.

Also, once a controller has been picked, screw posts and holes will be added to the inside of the bottom portion/lid to allow for a secured door and further rigidity when playing.

Any and all suggestions are welcomed, but please remember, this is a work in progress and nowhere near finished in my opinion.

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This is fantastic!!! Maybe a short video of the assembly of how you go about putting in the electronics side of the controller, where and how you put it all in would be GREAT!!!!! Could you load some pics maybe of some of the later prints you have made? I am SO keen to print this!!!!!

May 4, 2017 - Modified May 4, 2017

Well ain't that a kick in the pants. I just upgraded to the s8. Guess I'm really going too have to do some work to get this to fit now.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. A more powerful and recent phone will run things better. I haven't had a chance to look anything up on the S8 yet. By chance, is it similar dimensions to the S7?

Jan 3, 2017 - Modified Jan 3, 2017

This really intrigues me but I am stuck on my 4 for certain tech reasons. But I would love to have this for mine too. I am learning cad software and printing on a Makergear M2 but I am not good enough on cad to alter this on my own. You say you don't have any other phones to try it on. But there is this.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:523805
Maybe you could build one with this?

Galaxy Note4

I have begun working on this design once again. Once I have things finalized, I will keep a generalized version before adding all the finishing touches so that I can (hopefully) port it to use on different phones. I know my Note 5 won't last me forever, and has already shown signs of aging. Once it is done (or almost done) I'll take requests for different models. Sorry for the long lapse before reply by the way, my printer was out of commission for a while and I was not checking on things here regularly.

Hey everyone!

After a long hiatus, I have resumed work on my phone case! I had it mostly complete and had the ipega controller fitted to the case pretty well, but ended up breaking my controller during some testing. At this point in time, I have decided to go a different route and will be redesigning the case a bit. I now plan on creating my own custom controller and will interface it with a Teensy v3.2 board. I am still in the process of acquiring all the materials for said controller, but will update as I can. Once I am done, I plan on releasing a tutorial with all the plans and any related code for the Teensy board as well. The case itself will remain the same size and shape, but the button placement will most definitely change. I also plan to thin the case out a little (if possible) with the new internal design and will be making any part that is not essential to leave open for circuitry a solid piece to give the bottom more rigidity. Thank you for your patience and thanks for following the project!

Keep up the good work! I've been looking for a gamepad like this for the better part of 2 years for my Note 3 and this is exactly what I want to accomplish so I'm really curious to see the finished product once you finish it.

Thanks for the support! I'm still in the process of gathering parts for the controller portion (long shipping times from China and/or funds to actually purchase the components I need). Hopefully I'll have some new news and updates to post soon, but I'm not sure when all the parts will come in to continue working on it (or free time to work on it as well). If you, or anyone else reading has any ideas for improvements or anything at all, please let me know!

Can you make it for s4 mini?

unfortunately at this time, I do not have any plans for outfitting any other models of phones. This is mostly due to time, but also because I do not have any other phones to use as testers to do such a thing. Once I am done, I will be releasing the plans for the internals as well as all related source models so that anyone can take it and make it their own as well. Once it is done, it shouldn't be all too complicated to take what I've done and refit it to another phone.

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