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[Project] 3D Print Your Own Nintendo Switch Arcade Cabinet

Picture of Florian Gehrke
by Florian Gehrke
Jun 29, 2019
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This weeks project brings back arcade memories: Invite your friends over and have fun playing your favorite Nintendo Switch games, arcade-style.

Those ’80s and ’90s kids among you might remember the magical appeal video game arcade had on kids and teenagers all across the globe.

For the rest, here is a quick recap: Public gaming used to be a thing. Long before LAN parties or E-Sports, it was the local arcade where you had to compete with your friends and benchmark yourself against the local high scores. All that while trying to spend as little coinage as possible. Plus the arcade was perhaps the truest and noblest concept of Pay as you Play, something that might bring tears to one’s eye when you think of some publishing companies today. Anyway, as more and more consoles for the home entertainment system emerged, and online gaming was on the rise, the death of arcades went quickly and quietly.

But not to dwell in the past. With this weeks project, it is time to revive the old ways and fusion it with modern technology. You can now 3D print your own arcade cabinet for the Nintendo Switch. Join us as we go step-by-step through the parts needed and the assembly process.

Let’s go.

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3D Print Your Own Nintendo Switch Arcade Cabinet What You Need

For the 3D printed Nintendo Switch arcade cabinet you will need the following:

Parts

  • Nintendo Switch (obviously)
  • 4-in-1 USB-C hub
  • AC Infinity 80mm USB fan
  • USB-C adapter
  • USB-C extension
  • Dual USB extension cable
  • USB-C 90 degree adapter
  • 3D printing filament – PLA
  • Super Glue

Prints

Apart from the electronic interior, you will need to print the casing. If you don’t have a printer ad hand you can choose one of the many online printing services and have it shipped to you.

For the casing, the creator used grey PLA filament, but you can also print the parts in multiple colors or paint them afterward and give your own arcade cabinet a unique touch.

You can download the models for free on Thingiverse. There are two versions available. For this project, you will need the electronic labeled parts. There is also a simple version, which contains no ports and openings for the electronics if you want to simplify it.

For the electronic version, there are 8 parts to print:

  • Top
  • Simple Bottom and Front
  • Simple Cradle
  • Simple Back
  • Left Side
  • Right Side
  • Filler
  • The fan shroud

In case your printing bed should be to small for the sides, there is also a cut version included in the files. You can just print out the sides as halves and glue them together afterward.

Otherwise, the prints settings are pretty straight forward. Infill should be at 25% and supports or rafts are not needed if you arrange the parts properly on the printing bed. Estimated printing time should be around 18 hours, depending on your printer it might also be quicker.

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3D Print Your Own Nintendo Switch Arcade Cabinet How to Build It

Once you have printed out the parts and ordered the electronics (plus a Nintendo Switch, if you haven’t had one), it is time to assemble the arcade cabinet.

Cabinet Assembly

Start off, by assembling the cabinet as shown above and glue it together. You can use a few books, or similar, to add weight while the parts set. However, do NOT glue the top part into place. It is supposed to slide off so you can insert your Switch.

Also, we recommend connecting the hub before gluing the cradle in place, as it makes the following setup easier. Apart from that, you should have no problems.

Powering Up

Next, it is time to plug in all these USB cables. Power and data for the Switch, plus the cooling fan, are all run by the USB-C hub in the back of the unit. The 90-degree USB-C adapter at the bottom of the cradle will connect the Switch automatically when you slide it into place.

Note: The default Nintendo Switch AC adapter will probably not work when you use it because Nintendo added an extra data signal and the Switch will think it’s in a charging dock and turn off the screen. But you can just use a separate AC adapter, preferably one that provides at least 3A.

Install the Fan

Well, no doubt this project is already pretty cool by itself. But with the fan, you can make it even cooler.

That being said, the Switch should not run too hot normally, even in an enclosed casket. However, this 5V USB fan – also powered by the installed hub – is extremely inexpensive and you can access the fans speed control from the back of the cabinet, so why not go for it. If you do not plan to install the fan, you can also print the simple back part instead.

Final Assembly

Well, and this is basically it for the assembly part. After you set the fan in place and arrange the USB cables just slide the Switch into its place and you are good to go. As this device uses a powered data hub, and we equipped it with the dual USB extension cable, accessible on the front of the cabinet, you can connect any USB device to the power ports that you would normally connect to you Switch dock.

Just invite some friends over and let the fun begin.

Ready? Fight! 

Click here if you want to find more Nintendo Switch mods to 3D print.

License: The text of "[Project] 3D Print Your Own Nintendo Switch Arcade Cabinet" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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