How To: Make a 3DS grip from an old GameCube pad

When the 3DS was first released, I was a bit nonplussed. I mean, the 3D worked just fine, but at the European launch it cost a fortune, there were few good games, and the system was made in an inexplicable turquoisey colour. In the last few months, though, it’s all changed. There’s now a lower price (especially for the older, smaller one – just £130), better firmware, and a handful of great games: I’ve been whiling away daily commutes on Virtue’s Last Reward (visual novel, bonkers translation), Tales of the Abyss (exactly what you’d expect from any Tales game), and now Fire Emblem Awakening (addictive as hell, great translation).

But with that, a new problem: hand cramp. If you have big hands, playing the 3DS for anything longer than 30 minutes at a stretch can really begin to hurt. What it needs is a big grip like, say, a Gamecube pad.


So, here’s how to make one in about ten minutes. You’ll need an old Gamecube pad (please, not a Wavebird), a hacksaw and either a Nintendo tri-point screwdriver (for those who like to do things properly) or a power drill and glue (for me). The TLDR version: hacksaw it in half.


Step one: gut the pad. If you have the screwdriver, unscrew it carefully and remove the insides. If not, drill out all the screws and pull it apart. And voila, one empty pad.


Step two: saw the top in half. I found that cutting straight across exactly through the middle of the D pad suits my hands. Before doing anything else, look at the top (cable exit) side of the bottom half: there are some raised sections. I sanded these down a bit to flatten them off and provide a better rest for the console.



Step 3: screw, or glue, the bottom halves of the handles back into place. And that’s it. I was going to add a way to mount the console in place, but actually once you pick the thing up, the two sit quite happily together in your hands.

All © 2022 Tom Royal