A nintoaster (NES inside of a bread toaster) has been done a thousand times, I am going to do another. The typical thing to do is find a large toaster, slap an NES motherboard wherever it fits and use tons of epoxy to hold everything in place. I dont agree with this considering the crap nature of the guts of a toaster, and high stress given where game cartridges and controllers plug in.
I plan on making a nintoaster using a small toaster that from the outside looks (mostly) normal, but on the inside making a entire new structure out of solid strong material to give decades of use without worrying about if the JB weld is going to snap free from the thin stamped tin inside.
No complete NES units will be used, why kill a perfectly good classic when a motherboard with a fixable issue can do the job, and save some e-waste.
Its been a crazy few days at work, but I have not been sitting my duff in regards to this project. Down side is I wont have it complete for the end of retrochallenge, but no biggie, I never do heh.
With the plastics cut and machined it is time to temporarily fasten them so I can see what changes need to be made to actually fit in the toaster. Starting with the base I haphazardly eyeballed where I needed to place screws to hold the 5 upright parts to the base. Larger panels got 4 screws, the smaller end parts got 3, once the base was drilled I transferred the holes to the appropriate parts and drilled a tad over 1 inch deep.
The screws that I am using are a "thread forming" type made specificly for soft materials like plastic, . I am using 1 inch for going though the base into the upright parts, and 1/2 inch for going into the ends of the side parts and cart slot holder.
I still have to square all the edges up, they are still ragged fresh from the saw, but with all the parts assembled I can test fit in the toaster. The fit is very good with a couple tiny notches to cut in order to clear a couple features of the shell.
once I square up the edges for a better fit I can glue and screw almost all the parts together for good... I say almost cause I still need access to the cart slot to install it, then I may or may not glue that panel in place, it does have 8 steel screws in it lol
After making my layout I took my cutting board to work, and after hours I milled out the dado's that key the parts together. Now I dont know if I grabbed the wrong bit, or there's a 32nd of an inch of a wobble in the mill spindle (it is a pretty junky and abused machine) but instead of 3/8ths inch wide dado's I anded up with 7/16ths.
Now I know the poor craftsman blames his tools, and I know I am not a master machinest or anything, but jeez, really, 7/16ths? 1/16th of an inch too wide...
Whatever its done and the only dado that really counts is the one holding the cart slot shelf, and its doing its job wonderfully, epoxy will fill in the 32nd of a inch gap on either side of everything else.
I then band sawed the components out of the sheet, and for free hand they are not too squirmy. Once home I squared off the rounded ends of the dado with a razor sharp chisel, just like in wood it sliced right down easily with hand pressure.
Despite the uneven cuts and the extra wide dado's the parts fit fairly well right now, and are able to stand by themselves with only gravity and friction holding it together (and there aint much friction on poly prop)
Next steps with the plastic is to use a block plane to square up the wobbly cuts then start pre drilling for screws, glue will only be at the very end to fill any gaps, prevent squeaks and moans and finalize the plastic structure.
I was pricing out plastic material at mcmaster carr, and by the time you start adding in shipping it starts to get quite pricey. If your project doesn't require perfect uniform thickness or a specific material A good place to check is your local discount store.
Polypropylene cutting boards are cheap, mostly uniform, flat and available in your local town. I got this one from walmart for 9.99 + tax and instantly put it to work.
Ordering the same material in a similar size would have cost 15 bucks for the stock + 10 bucks for the shipping. Even though its a tad over a quarter inch thick (my ideal) , and its not 100% perfect, it doesn't have to be.
Poly is also extremely easy to cut, drill, tap, and machine while still being really tough, the bad side though, is its nearly impossible to glue. There's some off the shelf products that can do the job, but more on that later, first I need cut parts to eventually glue and more importantly, screw together.
While I have made rough plans and had a great idea of what I wanted, I have never sat down to figure out the exact details. Armed with a ruler, pair of calipers, a sharpie marker, and my trusty TI-1000 calculator I sat down over the last couple evenings and figured it all out.
Next is to cut the parts and mill the dado's, I think I will do the dado slots first while its one big easily squared up panel on the end mill at my work (course you could use saws or a router as well)
So its been a number of days, I have been over both my NES motherboards inside and out. The first has a dead CPU, the other CPU is on its way out, off to EBAY!
I found a "dead" NES for a cheap price. The case has many busted parts in and on it, and the electrical malfunction was "flashing red light". The flashing red light 99.9% of the time is the 72 pin card edge connector, in which the cart is pressed down at an angle into a fixed set of pins (ugh).
A couple years ago I got most of a "Game Genie" cheat device in a box o junk sale. I removed its 72 pin connector and mounted it on some perf board, originally to make a cart dumper (which never happened). Since I already have it sitting around I plan on using this connector in my nintoaster, but it also makes it handy to test board out.
Getting rid of the funky stock U shaped junk connector and soldering up a good clean connector the 3rd unit instantly sprang to life. Remaining plastic parts of the NES are on their way to others who need them.
Next I need to remove the bulky RF modulator, it sticks off the board quite a bit and there is no real reason to have it. Of course its a large metal can soldered to ground plane, but honestly not that hard to remove if you heat one leg up at a time and pry at it a little.
Removing the modulator also removes the final video amp for composite, and a 7805 voltage regulator. I don't care about the regulator, they cost a whole 25 cents on digikey and should be replaced anyway after 25+ years of slowly cooking inside the console.
The video amp does need to be replaced, and one can do a simple transistor amplifier to remedy that, but I don't do simple. I am using a Fairchild FMS6363, 3 channel video driver with 6th order filtering intended for component HD output. I have used this family of drivers in the past with good results. The driver ensures a proper signal level and the filter drasticly reduces flicker, dot crawl and artifacts that these old machines produce.
At first glance you may not be able to tell much difference but just zooming in a little you can see the artifacts from the edge of the truck are dimished. In motion the picture is very stable on my TV tuner card, HDTV, and Trinatron CRT (which looks pixel perfect)
Now that I know I have a working machine, there's another mod or 2 to make, I need to redo the cart port wiring so its not a rats nest. and print / make a dedicated video amp tweaked out just for this machine.
Plastics should be here this Friday and I can hopefully get started cutting / milling that as well, project is moving along again so Stay Tuned!
So I received a couple DOA NES motherboards, thought is tween the two of them I should be able to make one good one as they exhibit different failures. Three evenings of probing and tinkering later, I haven't made much progress with them, but I am making some progress. The dark side of me is saying both the CPU's are dead, one I know for a fact is dead as the magic smoke was let out of the components all around it, the other CPU wants to work but still giving me grief
Worst case I can buy one off of ebay, there's one or two that are in working condition needing new contact sets and the cases look like they have been in a war, but its a bit more than I want to spend on "dead" stuff so I am still tinkering
When making something at home you get an idea in your head, think your just going to fire up some cad, plop it out and move right along. It quickly occurred to me that I cant keep it all in my head, and while I dont have detailed drawings that detail out every aspect of the project, I do need some to keep it on track.
So after measuring thinking, offsetting, thinking I got some basic measurements to make my cutting pattern, and if I get confused I can just reference my previously drawn rough ideas.
Im no ME so its a rough outline of what I want, from there I can make cad drawings for cutting patterns and fine tune it from there. Its not gotta be perfect for a 1 off, its just got to be very close so I can tune it in by hand.
As mentioned in the previous post, the internal structure of this toaster is pretty weak. I imagine most toasters, especially modern ones, are made to be as "cost effective" as possible, this one was part of a kitchen set that was very "cost effective".
The guts is made out of two stamped L shaped parts, which are connected together by stamped metal U shaped beams (I guess). The beams are held in place by tabs that slot into the L shaped parts, then are twisted to lock in place. Mica sheets are in place to hold the heating elements along with a slide for the front mechanism, and a couple springs for the wire bread holders.
I could work with this, it would not be a big deal to break out the tin snips and make little dog ears for the motherboard. The cart slot on the other hand worries me, as there is little material to attach to, and what material is there is so flimsy I can easily bend it by pressing down with one finger.
By the time I fiddle with this structure to make it sound, it would be almost easier to just design and machine a new internal structure out of sheet ABS. This will turn the framework from flimsy and rigged to a brick house.
While the guts are out and in tact its time to make some measurements, and start planning out a cutting pattern in libre cad.
First thing one needs to do when making a nintoaster is find a appropriate toaster. New toasters that are not plastic crap cost a fair bit of money for a goof project, I hit the all the thrift stores around my parents house, work and my house and never found anything I liked ... lots of cheap plastic shell toasters with heat discoloration.
I hit up one of my favorite stores, essix (a overstock/open box/discontinued item bargain hunt) where I found a sharp looking brand new black n decker brand toaster. Being a discontinued model it was marked down from 49$ to 20$, and it had been sitting around long enough it qualified for a 20% discount on top of that, WIN.
The toaster seemed perfect at first, on the front was a series of buttons where 2 controller ports could live and leave one button left for reset, it was large and roomy. However there were 4 major problems with it for this project.
1) The bread slots are HUGE, like oversized bagel huge.
2) It was a bit larger than I wanted, while roomy its got a fat footprint
3) with the controller ports and reset up front, what the heck do I do with the extra slot
4) My current toaster sucks, we got it in 2008 when we got married, haven't had a decent slice of toast, waffles whatever since, it has 2 settings ... dehydrator and burner. Since it also matches our coffee maker, I spared the new toaster's life to fulfill its toasting destiny.
What I am left with is a brushed metal and plastic toaster that has been well used. It has smaller standard size slots, and its not long enough to fit an NES motherboard inside.
The internal frame is stampped metal of some sort, all held together with twist lock tabs, and nothing in the bottom, but that is no problem!