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
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 case
The 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 donít 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 doesnít 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
Step 3: Modifying the top of the joystick
Now that youíve made room for the switch, youíll 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 2Ē long. Reinsert it
into the rubber joystick housing. The vibrator will be pushed up into the
space beneath it.
While weíre working on the top half of the case, youíll also
need to trim about 2mm all the way around the edge of the cylinder that the
controller push button slides through when itís in place. The bottom edge of the
cylinder needs to be shaved down so the push button can rest up a little higher
when itís on top of the vibrator switch, which youíre going to be positioning
underneath it. Use the Dremel to take off about 2mm, and make sure itís level by
reinserting the push button and seeing that the lower lip is flush all the way
Step 4: Prepping the vibrator
Open up the vibrator and remove the top and discard the red
plastic protective strip (if it has one Ė 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, youíll 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 theyíre 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, itís 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 6Ē. Make sure that the
bead of solder is on the outside of the case; if itís 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 donít 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 6Ē 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
Itís 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 youíve 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 doesnít get pulled out of upright
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 youíll be able to close it. Donít
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 isnít 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 isnít 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 youíve gotten the button and switch to line up so they
work smoothly and reliably, youíll 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 youíll 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 doesnít
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
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.
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