There’s something about an Atari 2600 that makes you feel warm and tingly all over. If you want to bring those feelings to the ultimate climax, follow these instructions to make a vibrator out of your Atari controller.
We found a small, inexpensive and self-contained bullet vibrator that fit perfectly inside the case and whose switch happened to be very compatible with the button on the Atari 2600 controller. With a little wire, solder, and basic materials, you can build one of these units yourself and put even more joy in your joystick.
Materials and tools
- Atari 2600 joystick controller
- 1 self-contained silver bullet miniature vibrator with click switch
- 3 AG13 button cell batteries (these should come with the vibrator)
- Dremel tool with small saw and/or small grinder/sander attachments
- 22-gauge stranded connector wire
- Solder and soldering iron
- 1 battery contact (scavenged from another broken vibrator)
- Silicone household sealant
- Thin cardboard
- Wire cutter and wire stripping tool
- Scissors and Utility knife
Step 1: Disassembly
Remove the four screws from the base of the controller and open the case. Set aside the screws and the small spring that encircles the center post of the controller button. After removing the top of the joystick, pull the circuit board free and clip the wires leading to the outgoing jack. Extract the cord from the case and discard it and the circuit board, or save for other projects.
Step 2: Modifying the bottom of the caseThe top part of the vibrator, which houses the switch, needs to be seated directly below the controller button, so this corner of the case must be cleared.
Use the Dremel tool with the small saw attachment to cut down the center support post that is located under the button and cut out a section of the strut of plastic on the floor of the case next to it to make enough room for the vibrator top.
Make your cuts flush with the bottom of the case so the vibrator switch will sit flat. (If you don’t have a saw attachment, you can use a grinder for most of these modifications, although it will have to be small to get into some tight corners.)
The side of the screw housing (to the upper left of the support post in the photo) needs to be cut away to allow the vibrator switch to be centered beneath the controller button. Through trial and error, we ended up cutting about 2mm vertically off the side of the housing, all the way to the base.
Be sure not to cut all the way through the housing to the center hole, as this may compromise the integrity of the case.This is a tight corner, so use a light touch with the saw, otherwise you could end up unintentionally hacking up the inside of the case or cutting through the side or bottom of the case.
Sand all surfaces reasonably smooth with the Dremel grinding/sanding tip. The most important thing is that the bottom of the case where the vibrator switch will be seated is smooth, level, and free of burrs or irregularities.
The switch has to line up and be centered, so a small flaw can put it out of whack.Use the Dremel saw to saw off the tip of the support post in the very center of the bottom of the case. Four or five millimeters is probably enough. The cut should go straight across, providing a flat surface to support the battery contact, but it doesn’t have to be perfectly level.
The support post is surrounded by vertical struts. Cut a couple of these away to form a flat vertical surface to rest the wire/battery contact against.
Step 3: Modifying the top of the joystick
Now that you’ve made room for the switch, you’ll make room for the body of the vibrator. Remove the white plastic toggle from the inside of the joystick. It should pull out easily. Using the Dremel saw, cut all the way through the toggle about 1cm above where the vertical ribs start.
You should be left with a piece about 5cm or 2 inches long. Reinsert it into the rubber joystick housing. The vibrator will be pushed up into the space beneath it.
While we’re working on the top half of the case, you’ll also need to trim about 2mm all the way around the edge of the cylinder that the controller push button slides through when it’s in place.
The bottom edge of the cylinder needs to be shaved down so the push button can rest up a little higher when it’s on top of the vibrator switch, which you’re going to be positioning underneath it.
Use the Dremel to take off about 2mm, and make sure it’s level by reinserting the push button and seeing that the lower lip is flush all the way around.
Step 4: Prepping the vibrator
Open up the vibrator and remove the top and discard the red plastic protective strip (if it has one this is to keep the vibrator from being accidentally activated before purchase) and remove and discard the small black rubber O ring on at the base of the screw threads.
On the inside of the lid, locate the positive battery contact (the metal prong in the center). On the body of the vibrator, locate the negative battery contact (the metal strip coming up the inside of the case and peeking up just above the batteries.
Before you start soldering, you’ll need to do some prep work on the vibrator top (the switch housing). Turn it upside down to expose the battery contact and switch circuitry and use the Dremel saw or cutting tool to make two small notches in the rim of the vibrator case.
The connector wires are going to be going through these notches, so make sure they’re wide enough and deep enough that this part can sit flat on the bottom of the controller case with the wires in the grooves. (Although the vibrator case looks metallic, it’s actually plastic and cuts quite easily.)
Make one notch so it lines up with one end of the positive battery contact and the other notch in line with one of the small brass grommets 90 degrees on either side. (See photo)
Step 5: Wiring it up
Solder the negative lead wire to the negative contact on the body of the vibrator. Use a length of wire at least 6 inches.
Make sure that the bead of solder is on the outside of the case; if it’s on the inside of the case, it may interfere with changing the vibrator batteries in the future.
Take the free end of the negative lead wire, bend the exposed wire to a 90 degree angle and insert it directly into one of the brass grommets on either side of the positive battery contact on the inside of the vibrator lid.
Rest the insulated portion of the wire in the notch in the side of the case. (We recommend securing the wire in the notch at this point with a small dab of silicone sealant. Make sure you don’t get any on the contact or exposed wire itself, as this could mess with the conductivity.
Let it set just enough to hold before soldering.) Apply a small bead of solder to secure the end of the lead wire. Try not to melt the circuit board or the vibrator case (it is made out of plastic, after all).
Solder a battery contact onto one end of your positive lead wire (again, use at least 6 inches or more to give yourself room to maneuver), then solder the other end directly onto the positive battery contact, first lining the wire up so it rests in the corresponding notch in the lid.
Leave the end with the battery contact free for now.You now have the two ends of the negative contacts soldered into place, and one end of the positive lead soldered with the positive battery contact free.
You can test the circuit by pressing the positive battery contact against the batteries in the case (be sure it contacts the batteries only, and not the rim of the vibrator case, as this also completes a circuit and will turn the vibrator on). If you click the vibrator switch on and off, it should work.
Step 6: Putting in the vibrator
It’s time to start assembling the joystick vibrator. Get the silicone sealant and squirt a generous amount around the inside of the joystick shaft, around the top of the where the folds in the rubber begin.
Make sure you’ve already reinserted the cut toggle piece before you apply the glue. Insert the tip of the vibrator body and push it up slightly into the shaft of the joystick.
Keep this piece inverted while it dries (we set ours upside down inside a drinking glass). Support the attached wires and parts as necessary so the vibrator doesn’t get pulled out of upright position.
Step 7: Positioning the switch
Once the joystick dries, you can think about getting the switch into position. First, use the utility knife to cut away the rubber covering over the vibrator click switch.
This will reveal a small, square plastic post inside. Take the spring from the original orange controller button and slip it over the post. It fits very nicely and will keep the button lined up on top of the switch.Getting the switch positioned just right is a bit tricky, so do a test run first.
Put the switch in position in the corner of the case that you cleared out earlier. The wires should (obviously) be pointing out toward the center of the case. Make sure that the wires are situated in their notches and flush, and nothing else is impeding the switch sitting level on the bottom of the case.
Get all the wires inside the case so you’ll be able to close it. Don’t worry at this point about firing it up.Set the orange button on top of the switch by putting its center post into the top of the spring. It should stay in place, more or less.
Carefully set the upper half of the controller case on top of the bottom, positioning the vibrator/joystick over the center post and guiding the orange button into its cylinder, making sure it stays lined up with the vibrator switch and inside the spring.
Test the movement of the button by pressing and releasing it. If the controller button is lined up and able to move freely, the center post of the button should press down on the vibrator switch and engage and disengage it with each click.
If it isn’t lining up or is getting stuck, check to see if something is getting in the way of the vibrator switch centering beneath the button. If the button keeps getting stuck, or isn’t coming up all the way to release the switch, you may have to shave more off the bottom of the cylinder around it to give the button a greater range of vertical motion.
Once you’ve gotten the button and switch to line up so they work smoothly and reliably, you’ll need to glue the switch unit into place.
Squeeze out a circle of silicone sealant approximately where the switch is going to rest. Place the switch in the glue and press into position, then put the button on top of it and reassemble the case as you just did when you were testing it.
When you get the button and switch lined up so they work smoothly, put some pressure on the button (not too much or you’ll break the switch) and hold it in place long enough for the sealant to set. We suggest leaving the case together until the switch dries completely.
Step 8: The final contact
When the switch has dried, you can move on to securing the final piece of wiring, the positive battery contact. This will sit on top of the sawed-off center post in the middle of the controller case. Bend the battery contact at a 90 degree angle.
The end part should be as small as possible. This part is going on top of the post and will have contact with the batteries. The rest of the contact and the wire will lay vertically along the side of the post, against the flat surface on the side of the post where you whittled the ribs off.
Use a glob of silicone sealant on the top and side of the post to glue down the battery contact and wire. Set something on top of it if necessary to keep it in place while it dries.
Step 9: Case closed
After the glue has dried, make sure the top of the battery contact is clear and clean and if necessary, cut away any dry silicone residue that might be in the way.
In order to make sure the battery contact doesn’t accidentally touch the outside of the vibrator case (which would complete a circuit and turn it on unintentionally), we inserted a collar of thin cardboard around the inside of the battery chamber.
Now the case is ready to put together. Place the button in its cylinder in
the top of the case and hold it in place from the top as you guide its
post into place on top of the switch.
At the same time, position the body
of the vibrator (in the joystick) so it presses down onto the battery
contact in the center of the case.
Close the case completely and make sure
that the orange button is operating smoothly, turning the switch and the
vibrator on and off. Replace the four screws in the bottom of the case.The controller should be ready to fire up. Just press the button. We recommend covering the joystick with a condom if you intend to use it for vaginal or anal insertion.