Mar 30, 2017 | By Benedict

A Kickstarter has been launched for MAKERbuino, a DIY 3D printed game console that teaches makers about 3D printing, electronics, and programming. The $35 gadget can be built in just five hours, and its Kickstarter has already doubled its $10,000 goal.

Gaming in 2017 might supposedly be all about the Nintendo Switch and Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but unless you count the kingdom of Hyrule as a legitimate area of geographic interest, that console and its catalogue of games probably can’t teach you anything. The $35 MAKERbuino, on the other hand, does just that. The cool new device is a build-it-yourself box of tricks that helps you learn about 3D printing, electronics, and programming as you put it together.

“But I don’t want to learn! I want to play!” Well, of course you do, and you can—when you’ve finished building the thing. The MAKERbuino kit comes with an SD card loaded with numerous fun retro games, the kind that seem to be all the rage following the success of devices like the Nintendo Classic Mini and the rebooted, Snake-equipped Nokia 3310. The MAKERbuino’s pre-loaded games are all ready to play as soon as the device is assembled.

Actually putting the console together is half the fun, of course, and the MAKERbuino kit is designed to be as interesting as it is educational. Creator Albert Gajšak has arranged everything so that makers are guided every step of the way through the building process. “To build your own MAKERbuino the only things you'll need are some basic tools and an interest in technology,” Gajšak says.

The tiny game console is built with 3D printed parts, easy-to-find electronic components, and an Arduino microcontroller. Its most appealing feature, however, is surely its price. Backers of the device’s $10,000 Kickstarter campaign can secure the standard MAKERbuino kit, which comes with the essential electronics components, digital files, and instructions, for just 35 bucks. Considering the fact that the kit includes an Arduino and a pre-loaded SD card, that looks like great value.

One of the coolest features of the MAKERbuino is its total customizability. Since the casing is 3D printed, makers can tailor the design to their own specifications, picking whatever color filament takes their fancy and even making changes to the shape of the device if they have the skills to do so.

Designed to be an educational project as much as a game console, the MAKERbuino Kickstarter campaign has some options that make it appealing for educators. For example, some reward options including multiple kits as well as “hardware expansion modules” and other bits. These more complete packages might appeal to teachers running electronics classes, especially for game-loving students. Getting a group together also allows for multiplayer gaming, since the devices can be connected with cables.

The MAKERbuino might be pretty compact as it is, but it also has a little brother, the Gamebuino. The smaller Gamebuino comes already assembled, as it is made out of tiny components that were pre-soldered by robots. “It's an alternative for the ones that are afraid of getting their fingers burnt with a soldering iron,” Gajšak says.

At the time of writing, 364 backers have already pledged their support to the MAKERbuino project, with the Kickstarter more than doubling its $10,000 goal. The campaign still has 19 days left to run, so make sure to snap up a MAKERbuino while you can.

The MAKERbuino kit is suitable for those aged 11 years and up.



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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