Whether you've had your Nintendo Switch since launch, or just joining the family this holiday season - chances are, you've seen some pretty sweet looking custom consoles out there on the wild, wild internet. From the nostalgic atomic purple modifications, to some of the more outlandish editions - modding is the cool thing to do and we want to help you do it (SAFELY!).
Author's note: Be aware that any modifications such as the ones detailed below will null and void your manufacturer's warranty. Mod at your own risk.
Unique casings for both the console itself and the joy-cons can be found many places, including Amazon and Etsy, and the below steps will help you build your dream hybrid platform. But first - what tools do you need to get started?
- Pry Tool
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Tri-Wing Screwdriver
Left and right joy-con modification steps are very similar, with only a few notable differences. Let's begin with the left:
First, you need to take apart the joy-con. You're going to want to use your tri-wing screwdriver to remove each screw from each corner. Using your pry tool, pop off the back piece slowly! You don't want to completely remove, the piece is attached via cables and we don't want you to break your new system!
Remove the battery by taking that same pry tool and maneuvering it until the double-stick tape is dislodged. From there, slowly pull the battery cable away from the controller until it unplugs. Make sure to do this very carefully.
Using the phillips head screwdriver, unscrew the three scres seen in order to remove the inner piece. Two of these screws will be found where the battery was, where the third will be located at the bottom of the joy-con.
Take the tweezers and dislodge the five ribbon cables seen on the board. Life the little flaps seen locking the cables in, (again) slowly pull the cables out. By doing so, the back and inner case pieces will be freed safely and awaiting reassembly.
The L buttons are easily removable, move those out of the way, and then use the phillips screwdriver once more to remove the two screws that hold the joystick in place. Removing those will allow you to remove the joystick entirely, and safely.
Two more screws can be seen holding the board in place on the front of the joy-con, make sure to unscrew those and safely pry the white block off of the double stick tape in order to take the whole board out gently.
There are three remaining phillip screws, dislodge those in order to desecure the wiring that is associated with the minus button.
Now ... the fun part, getting everything paired up with the new casing!
Take the rubber covers off of the buttons with your handy tweezers, pick them up and put them where they are supposed to be in the new case. Everything needs to be aligned precisely, and then reattach the rubber covers. Don't forget the black ring around the joystick hole either, that needs to be moved as well!
Screw the minus wiring back in, and then insert the board and white block in as well within the new case. Screw in the two remaining screws onto the board firmly but not too tight (otherwise the buttons won't press correctly), and then push the joystick back through the hole, screw in, and then do a quick feel test to make sure everything is secure but not too tight!
For your ZL button and track, set the front case off to the side and take the back tracking to start. Unscrew the one phillips screw seen in order to safely remove the track, then move the release button over to your new case. Reattach the track, rescrew the screw, and voila.
For the inner case, you're going to want to take the ZL button off first. In order to do that, press the bottom part down and then you're going to want to carefully pry off the top in order to take it away from the case. If you pull straight up, it could break very easily so do it at an angle and go very slowly! There are also two tiny little springs in there as well, so if it pops - make sure to locate those sooner rather than later.
Unscrew the wiring seen using your phillips screwdriver, move it to the new case, reattach the same way.
In order to put the ZL button back on, you're going to want to put each of those little springs on a little peg found on the case and line them up perfectly. Once those are all set, gently push the button and press it back in an exact reversal to the process of taking it out. Again, very slowly or it could snap.
To put the final assembly all together, simply put the L button back into place, plug the five cables back in, lock them in, and put the inner case back over the board. Once set, put the battery back where it's supposed to go - plug it back into the board using those tweezers and then snap the casing closed. Congrats! Left joy-con complete!
The right joy-con works in a similar way, with a few differences. Those differences are:
- There's an additional black square with a grey wire near the battery, disconnect gently.
- Three screws in the inner case are located in different spots.
- There are only four ribbon cables, versus the left's five.
Everything else is exactly as the left joy-con's instructions, show just repeat the above steps.
The Main Switch:
To take the Switch case back off, take your tri-wing screwdriver to remove all four screws seen on the case. They should be very set in there, so don't be surprised if they are a little difficult to dislodge. Resistance is normal, but be sure not to strip that screw head.
The edge of the main console has 6 phillip screws, take the appropriate screwdriver (one at the top, two at the bottom, one under the kickstand, and two on the associating joy-con tracks) and begin taking them off. There are five identical screws on opposing sides of the Switch, but only the center ones need to be removed.
Take out the game card cover and kickstand and put them on the new back. To take out the card, unscrew the phillip screw seen there (there's only one), and then screw it back into the new case.
For the black part of the kickstand, use the phillips head to unscrew the two screws seen there, and then use the tri-wing to remove the one holding down the bar. Transfer over to the new case in the exact position, and you're good to go on that front. If it looks like it's not fitting correctly, or is too stiff, you may need to file down the edges a little bit for a more familiar fitting.
Click the new back in place, re-insert the four tri-wing screws in the corners, re-insert the remaining screws along the edges and around the kickstand, and enjoy your new case! Give it a test drive and if it feels too stiff, slight adjustments can be made by tweaking how tight the screw fit is.