If you haven't heard of the Ouya yet, it's an entirely new game console not made by Sony or Microsoft which got started with one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in Kickstarter's history and is going to ship out to people who donated starting today. It uses the same Android OS that most smartphones and tablets do, so it plays many of the same games. But it also plays Ouya-exclusive games, and it hooks up to your HDTV and uses a wireless controller instead of having a touchscreen.
Ouya's creators tout its "openness," and have encouraged gamers to take it apart and use it in personal projects. Now they have partnered with MakerBot, the company behind the popular desktop 3D printer, to allow MakerBot owners to create their own custom Ouya hardware enclosures. Ouya owners can then easily pull out the circuit board from their Ouya and put it in the new chassis, allowing them to make their console look however they want.
What does the Ouya look like normally?
It's a black-and-chrome box roughly the size of a Rubik's cube. It doesn't have an optical drive, not even a tiny one like the similarly-shaped Gamecube had. Instead, all of its games are digital downloads, and they're all either free-to-play or free-to-try. (Either way, you have to buy them separately from the Google Play store most Android devices get their games from.)
What do you need to make a custom Ouya enclosure?
The schematics on MakerBot's Thingiverse site, and a MakerBot 3D printer itself.
How do you get one of those?
The MakerBot Replicator 2, which the schematics were optimized for, retails for $2,199 and "currently ships with a lead time of approximately four weeks," meaning that it'd take at least that long to get one even if you had the cash.
How much would the enclosure cost to make if you had one?
A 1-kilogram spool of MakerBot PLA filament, recommended for use with this schematic, costs $48. Right now, every color except blue has a 30-day lead time.
One kilogram of filament would be enough to make numerous copies of the enclosure, since it's tiny and weighs very little.
Is there any way to customize the enclosure?
According to the schematic's page, you can use 3D modeling software (such as the free Blender) to change it around "and add features." You can also paint the finished chassis using plastic-safe paints.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
- Technology & Electronics