My son is about to turn 5 and has mastered most of his mobi-go games and the like. So I decided it was time to dust off the old Nintendo from my childhood for him to try his hand at Mario. After bringing it out I really felt old. Not only does it look old compared to the Wii, PS3 and XBOX but there were some stickers in it that really dated its age.
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Bo Club!!!
What kid back in the late 80's didn't idolize Bo Jackson? Yes, I was a proud member of the Bo Club so of course I was also a fan of the Royals (only for Bo) my true team was the A's. As for the Airwalk sticker, Airwalks were AWESOME! And that sticker is kickass, am I right or am I right? As a side note, there was a second Airwalk sticker on there but the Bo Club sticker took its place.

After realizing that my NES was nearly 30 years old I decided to give the aging beauty a facelift. I had seen numerous paint jobs done on nintendos on the web and wanted to do one myself.

Unfortunately, there isn't one site that tells you how to do this job step by step. I'm going to use this blog to share everything that I've learned so far. This is only my first NES paint job and mod so I've still got a lot to learn but this will at least be a start for others wanting to do something dimilar.

It was now time to choose my theme. I have always enjoyed Superman, especially the logo. Knowing that I was going to do a Superman theme meant I needed blue, red, and yellow paint. One thing my many Internet searches taught me was that Krylon Fusion is hands down the best paint to use for this project.
So step 1 was to remove the stickers from the case. This was the easiest part of the whole project. All I needed was a plastic razor blade (used to remove stickers without scratching paint or glass) and some goo remover.
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Plastic detailers blade
After removing the stickers it was time to disassemble the entire nes, controllers and zapper. The controllers are the easiest to take apart. 6 screws on the back and the two halves come apart. Put the screws, circuit board w/wire and the rubber button contacts in a plastic bag for storage. You should now have the shell, directional pad and the A and B buttons set aside to be prepped. The zapper is also held together with several screws. Once you get the zapper taken apart you will put the trigger and all attachments, lens and weights in another plastic bag with the screws. The zapper is now in 4 pieces and ready for prep.

The NES is just a series of screws to take apart. First flip it over and there are six screws holding the top and bottom together. Remove these and take the top shell off. Flip the shell over and remove all screws in the top of the case, this will allow you to remove the door and the two corner trim pieces. On the bottom of the lower shell are two screws holding the bezel that goes around the controller ports. Now to the inside of the NES. There are 7 screws holding the upper heat shield onto the lower shield. Remove these and you can remove the six screws holding the cartridge tray to the motherboard. You can leave the tray on motherboard but you need to remove the screws. There are two more screws holding the motherboard to the lower case in the back where you plug the power cord in. Now you can unplug the controller ports and the power/reset button board from the motherboard. Final step is to remove the two screws holding the power button board to the case. Once you get this board out pull the power and reset button off of their switches so you can prep them for paint. Forgive me for not having any photos of the disassembly, I'll do another blog when I paint my next nes and will show this process.

I didn't want to just paint the logo on the top, I wanted to put a window in the top and have some LED's inside. So, before I sanded anything I printed out a stencil of the logo and placed it on the top of the case.
Once placed I traced out the logo and shaded the areas I wanted to remove.
The next step I searched and searched for a how-to somewhere on the net but found nothing. I eventually stumbled upon a site that told me how to cut a design into plastic. You need a drill, SHARP hobby knife and some 200-400 grit sand paper. The site that told me what I needed didn't exactly tell me how to do it other than drill holes and whittle. This step is actually pretty easy once you figure it out. Take your drill and put in a small bit. Drill several holes as close to the edge of your design as possible. Also, drill these holes as close to one another as possible. This will make the next step MUCH easier. Unfortunately, I learned this after doing it wrong the first time (see the photo below.).
See how the holes aren't close to each other? Big mistake! Meant a lot of whittling with my hobby knife and a lot of time. If you drill the holes close together like I told you your life will be much easier. Now that your holes are drilled you can take your hobby knife and because you drilled your holes close together you can just make quick cuts from hole to hole and your unwanted piece will fall right out. If your holes are further apart make small "V" cuts from one hole to the other. What I mean by "V" cut is this: take a small sliver of a cut diagonally from left to right and then right to left until you connect the two holes. Don't try to make deep cuts into the plastic. Your knife will bog down and get stuck, you might cut outside of your shaded area or you might slip and cut yourself. Take your time. Now that the large portion of your design is cut out you just have to whittle away the remaining plastic until you reach the edge of your design. When done sand the edges until smooth.
Now you need to sand EVERYTHING. Don't use a real rough grit sandpaper. I recommend 800 or higher grit, you want to remove the gloss and imperfections from the plastic, not put scratches into it. Once the sanding is done wipe everything down with a lint free cloth. Also wash the plastic with soap and water to remove any oils and dust. For good measure I also wiped everything down with rubbing alcohol. Now you are ready for your first color. Tape anything off that you don't want painted at this point. For me this was just the labels on the bottom of the case and the unseen part of the power/reset buttons.
Now to paint. I can't stress this enough, THIN COATS! To avoid runs spray a thin mist coat onto the surface and let dry (15 minutes). Once dry paint another thin coat but this time paint at a 90 degree angle from your first coat (turn 90 degrees between each coat). This turning helps avoid "color banding" and from getting to much paint in one spot. Remember, thin coats, it should take 7-8 coats to fully paint one color.
My first coats were blue and red base coats. Once you are done with each color you need to wait 7 days to allow the paint to fully cure before you apply a second color or tape. I asked krylon about this and they say that even though the paint is dry on the outside the paint in the center isn't dry yet and will easily peel away or bubble up if you don't let it fully cure. While waiting for the paint to dry I had to make some paint masks for the back of my controllers where I will be painting the logo. I painted these red first, my masks will allow me to paint yellow over the top and once removed have a red and yellow logo. To make the mask is simple. Get a piece of glass (old glass from a picture frame is perfect). Print out your logo to the proper size on a self adhesive label sheet. Cut out the logo and set aside. Now take painters tape (I prefer Frog Tape) and lay down enough strips on the glass to be bigger than your logo. Remember to overlap each strip. Once your tape is down peel your logo sticker off of the backing and place it on your tape.
Now use your hobby knife to cut out your design. Once your design is cut out remove the un-needed tape from your glass and you are left with your mask. The reason you do this on glass is because your tape will still be sticky when you remove it and you can then place it on your project. Also, when you cut with the hobby knife it won't scratch the glass and the knife will glide over the glass allowing you to make very controlled cuts.
After seven days you are ready to tape off your base coat so you can apply second colors. The next series of photos shows my different tape offs and applied masks on the controller.
If you are wondering why I taped off one end of the vented area of the case and not the other it's because the way the door opening is I had to do it this way. I also realize I forgot to tell you about the controller overlays. To remove these slide the tip of your hobby knife under the edge and gently lift. Slowly work your way from one edge to the other to remove the overlay. These overlays are fragile and can break easily if you go to fast. Once you have the overlay off you can stick it to your glass for safe keeping. In the above photo I just taped off a blocked area on the face of the controller. Most of this won't be seen after you reapply the overlay.
Like I said, most of that yellow won't be seen in the end.
The back of the controller after removing the mask. I like the blended look but now it's been seven days again and time to tape off the logo again to paint the controller blue. Being into the third week of the project we are nearly done with the painting.
I also taped off a thin line around the logo on the case to paint some black trim around the logo.

Once again after a week of curing you are ready to clear coat your project. I contacted krylon to determine best clear coat to use and they told me to use Minwax Polycrylic. Follow the directions on the can and you will be fine. I didn't sand between coats because when I did on my practice piece it just removed what I just did. The Polycrylic will turn white when it's wet. It will dry clear when you it is dry. Also, use some spray adhesive on the back of your controller overlay and put back on your controllers before you clear coat. Your overlays will have a nice shine to them.

I also placed a small piece of yellow plexiglass in my Nes where i cut out the logo. A few drops of superbond glue works great.
My last step was putting in the LED's. it's up to you to decide where to put them. Just keep in mind there won't be a lot of clearance between the upper heat shield and the upper case. I will tell you where to get your power from.
The above picture is the 7805 voltage regulator. The three pins are, from left to right; input, ground, and output. This regulator will put out 5 volts of power so you will have to design your LED circuit based on 5 volts. Solder your positive wire to the output pin on the 7805. Solder your negative wire to any piece of metal on the heat shield.
The above picture shows my LED's without the case on. The picture below is with the case on.
As you can see I didn't really choose the best location for my LEDs. I wanted all of the plexiglass to glow but because of the limited clearance most of my LEDs are hidden by the heat shield. I may remove the heatshield later or reposition the LEDs but for now I'm happy.
The competed photos. I really love the outcome of this project and am already planning my next one. Stay tuned. Any questions leave a comment. Thanks.
 


Comments

Tamatha Bingham
04/13/2013 7:52pm

That's really neat! I love it.. Great Job!

Reply
pk4life84
02/08/2014 7:17pm

You are the freaking MAN!! Been looking everywhere for these exact customizations! Thanks bro!

Reply
Josh Bingham
02/08/2014 7:21pm

No problem, hope they help. That was the reason for this blog, I couldn't find all the information in one place and had to figure out a lot of it on my own. If you have any questions let me know.

Reply
pk4life84
02/09/2014 7:04am

Ya, I'm doing a mario face cut out. I'll post a pic for ya when its done. Glad to see that someone else uses Krylon Fusion.

Reply
pk4life84
02/18/2014 9:13am

Got another question. Any way you can do a little explanation about the LEDs? wanted to know how you did them...

Reply
Josh Bingham
02/18/2014 9:53am

Sure. First you will need to choose what color LED you want to use. From that you will have to figure out the proper resistor required for your LED's. Once you find that out solder your positive wire to the output pin on the 7805 regulator. The way I ran my LEDs was by running one wire from the 7805 to the last place I want an LED located. Then where ever I want a LED I tap into that wire and solder an LED into place. Remember the positive (anode) of an LED is the longer of the two leads. This is true for most through hole LEDs but there are others out there so make sure you verify which is your positive side. On the negative (cathode) solder your resistor on. Then to make your ground scuff up the heat shield a little bit where you want to solder at and then solder the open lead on the resistor to the heat shield and your LED is grounded and will light up. Repeat this for all of your LEDs and you are done.

Reply
DonB
02/19/2014 1:07am

Did you wire your LEDs in series or parallel?

Reply
DonB
02/19/2014 2:46am

sorry, didn't see the last comment

Reply
Josh Bingham
02/19/2014 2:55am

No worries.




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