The Wonderfully Weird Wireframe Game Boy That Actually Works

A Game Boy built out of copper wires

We see lots of great hardware projects here at Hackaday: some are extremely clever, some are beautifully made, and some show off their maker’s extraordinary skills. Others are just plain weird, but still manage to include some or even all of the above categories. Case in point: [kgsws]’s Wireframe Game Boy project. It’s probably the weirdest Game Boy mod we’ve seen so far, but also extremely impressive from a technical point of view.

The basic idea was to take a Game Boy Pocket and remove its outer shell, replacing it with a cage-like structure made from thick copper wire. That sounds kind of reasonable; think of those transparent Game Boys, only without the transparent plastic. [kgsws]’s video (embedded below) shows him bending a few pieces of copper wire to match the Game Boy’s overall shape, then adding mounts for the cartridge socket, the display, the D-pad and the four buttons. After that you’d simply slide in the PCB, insert some batteries and off you go, right?

Well, this wouldn’t do for [kgsws]. What he did instead, was use a hot air desoldering station to remove all chips from the motherboard and proceed to mount them directly inside the wireframe without a PCB. He then used dozens of thin copper wires to hook up the cartridge slot, the CPU, RAM, buttons, and everything else to reconstruct the motherboard’s functionality. We cringed a bit when we saw him brutally cut the display’s flat cable with scissors, and that too was connected to the rest of the system through flying wires, soldered directly onto the screen’s contacts.

Amazingly, the system managed to boot up and run its software after it got a pair of fresh batteries. Despite a slightly dodgy D-pad, the naked Game Boy actually turned out to be fully usable, although it probably requires somewhat more delicate handling than Nintendo’s famously bullet-proof hardware. We’ve seen Game Boys modded into all kinds of different shapes and sizes, but none quite as unusual as today’s. If it’s wireframe construction you like, check out this eerie sound generator or this beautiful circuit sculpture clock.

10 thoughts on “The Wonderfully Weird Wireframe Game Boy That Actually Works

  1. That’s an absolutely bonkers project. This guy needs a brazing torch, though I commend him for using the tools at hand. I sure hope he was using lead-free solder ;)

    1. Yep. Lead-free solder. There could be trace mounts of lead on desoldered parts but you should not be touching those.

      People i know are complaining about lead-free solder for some reason, but i have no issue with it. And no i longer want to use lead because “it makes you dumb before it kills you”.

    1. There’s not that many passives, and most of them are decoupling – necessary for long-term stability but for a piece like this reliability isn’t a big deal – the occasional crash isn’t going to matter for something that’s not going to be played for hours on end.

    1. +1

      Well, even before i started this project my “workbench” looks charred … and more.
      I wanted to include before and after photo of my desk to show why it looks the way it does. But i forgot to take a picture before i started.

      It’s an actual real wood so it would take ages to burn a decent chunk off.

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