The Nintendo Switch is a ton of fun. The hot-swap capability of being a living-room, handheld, and “laptop” console is super rad (and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is super fun). This also leaves the Switch in a unique position regarding accessories. For each use case, you have that many more possibilities. This particular project, the travel controller, is aimed towards the “laptop” console configuration where you might use the kickstand.

The Switch comes with a variety of accessories for its different use cases, and one of the neatest implementations is in the “relaxed” configuration as shown below:

You set the tablet up on a table with the kickstand* and have one Joycon with a bumper thing in each hand. This is nice because if your environment isn’t well-suited for elbows-out gaming, then you can make it work. The Switch does come with a controller in which you slide each Joycon:

Source: nintendo.com

*The kickstand kinda sucks because you can’t charge & stand at the same time, so a charging stand is also on the way.

But I wanted something smaller that would fit in my travel case for when I’m out on the road and traveling. Enter the Switcherang!

It took a lot of tries as shown below, and more than once the thought crossed my mind Baby Jesus hates the Switch, that’s the only possible reason I have so many failed prints but that is not so. Physics were mostly the reason these prints all failed and came out looking gnarly. The lessons learned will be saved for the end, though.

The Use Case

As stated earlier, this is a substitute for the more traditional controller adapter that comes with the Switch. The Joycon holster needed to be small enough to fit in my travel case (along with my external 21,000mAh battery) and ergonomic in the hands when in use, so size, shape, and comfort are the big criteria here.

The first thing I had to do was model the Joycon rails. A basic model is here with a more advanced one on the way that includes the locking dimples. I then had to find a workable size for the travel case and simply removed the volume of the Joycon rail from that shape. I put a few holes in the final shape to give more spots for my fingers to go through so I could grip the controller in a comfortable way.

The Process

It took a number of attempts to get the print right. The first time, something shifted at one point that kept everything from lining up so I had to abort that print. The second time I changed the orientation, but the support structure didn’t fill in the void where the Joycon rails go, so it got a little spaghettified towards the end of the process. Returning to the original, upright form factor got the print right, but my measurements on the Joycon rail were off, so it went in for another print with adjustments.

Another thing I noticed were that the corners were getting a little curly as the print got taller. It turns out that’s from the filament cooling and curing unevenly as you get further from the print bed. I haven’t come up with a perfect solution to it, but the following help:

  • Filleting/chamfering corners helps alleviate the problem (and delayed it on the 4th print attempt to a good way up)
  • Running nozzle heat at 200C for PLA appears to help.
  • Using some sandpaper it’s aesthetically manageable and does not appear to drastically decrease the build quality on such a small print.

The comparison photos:

The filleting process was a challenge, when two fillets meet, all sorts of weird corner stuff happened. An easy fix is to draw some lines following the angle you want, loft/patch a surface between them, and use that surface to trim off the weird excess fillet corners. If there’s a more efficient process, comment below, I’d love to learn it!

It’s comfortable, compact, and really makes that thumb trip from the right joystick to the ABXY buttons much easier. I was elated when it finally worked, and hopefully this will improve your gaming experience! And make you feel more like Batman.

Resources

As always we appreciate your using our affiliate links! If you would like a Switcherang for yourself, check out the Shapeways link below!


2 Comments

From Functional to Finished – Salt Fabricators · May 9, 2017 at 9:40 pm

[…] have continued to fiddle with the Switcherang Joy-con grip even after the article has been finished. It took 4 iterations to get to a functional […]

Nintendo Switch Charging Stand – Salt Fabricators · May 10, 2017 at 8:42 pm

[…] and so you can fit in a giant external battery and your Joycon grips, using it in conjunction with The Switcherang it really shines when it’s taken out and […]

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