Benjamin J Heckendorn's Playstation 2 Portable


   Usually I make some sort of Photoshopped "adventure" for the makings of these things (see the infamous SNESp or NOAC NESp stories) but with the PS2p I decided to go for a more step-by-step telling of the actual construction process. I often get questioned as to how I build these things, so I thought I'd make this as informative as possible.

  I first starting making a PS2 portable at the beginning of 2004 using a regular PS2. It was going OK and I even had a Ni-MH battery that would run it but I was having problems with the DVD drive. I kept at it all spring, then I had to work on my book.

  With the book done (in October) I could get back to doing a PS2 portable. My goal was to have it done before the real PSP was released. (For fun and shock value) Also in October the new smaller PS2's were coming out. I discovered they had an external AC/DC adapter and ran off 8.5 volts. This seemed reasonable to me so I bought one - the fine folks at the Game Store Formerly Known As Funcoland got them in a few weeks early much to my delight. This gave me a head start over other portabilizers!

  The next step was finding a power source that would work and hopefully provide at least a couple hours of play time. The battery is usually the second trickiest factor in making one of these (the unit itself being the first) because you can't really "hack" a battery - it's gonna be the size it is and you have to deal with it.

  I remembered seeing a Lithium-ion battery pack at Wal-Mart. It's intended to power portable DVD players and the like, but all I cared about was how it outputted 9 volts and stored 5400mA of power! Here's what the package looks like: (The battery itself is just a gray box with lights and plugs)

"But... it CAME empty like this! Can I still return it?"

I kept my receipt in case it didn't work so I could return it. (Pretty crafty of me, I know. Don't tell the big "WM"). I then hooked a 5" PSone screen to the small PS2 and powered them both off the battery, as shown below. It consumes about 1.9 amps on average.

PS2 and SNES found cohorting! Film at 11!
(Note: The SNES portable is hooked up because I was just using its screen)

  So now I knew it could work. The next step was to design the case. I measured all the parts (battery, battery circuits, PS2 motherboard, DVD drive, controls) with my trusty dial caliper and then designed the case using Abode Illustrator, which is the program I used for all the portables in my book. The top-down and side depth layouts of the PS2p can be seen below. There's a lot more drawings required but this shows the two most important parts. Things like the joypads, analog sticks, buttons and DVD disc should be somewhat recognizable. In the middle you can see the lid latch assembly. (The thing with the tooth) 

When it comes to vector graphics, I'm the LINE King! Get it? Um... ahem...

  This was all done in 2D wireframe as vector objects. Some may be wondering why I didn't use a 3D program... the answer is I'm used to doing it in 2D, I don't have a 3D program and the CNC cutting machine I intended to use takes 2D graphics to run. Sure it requires a little more thought and extra "side view" drawings to establish proper depth but my brain needs a workout every so often anyway.

  Me in 90 years to young whippersnappers: "When I was your age, we had 2D art programs! And we liked it! And we didn't complain!"

  The design of the unit took about a week (Interspaced with me playing GTA: San Andreas) All the original designs I did in the spring were thrown out as this unit was going to be smaller and thinner anyway. This unit looks similar to the original design but it smaller so I just started from scratch. Some see an empty computer screen as intimidating but I see it as an opportunity to do things better than last time!

   I then used a 60-watt laser engraver to cut all the parts out of 1/16" engraving plastic and 1/4" thick black acrylic. The next step is to assemble these parts to construct the case...

Case Construction and Installing Stuff!