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Version 1 note: Well this is probably the biggest section to be updated next to the replacement part/DIY section. This section is what prompted me to start pumping the version 1 document out!

There are a ton of new projects going on now. We are in the era of innovation for N64 stick revival and it’s amazing!

 

Kickstarter legacy project ENKKO

 

So this is a bit of a mad one, A few years back a guy named Andrew Diego Vargas started a project called ENEKO, a project to create quality N64 stick parts. The hype was real with this one, they need $8,000 to get the project underway but ended up gaining $16,183 for the project.

 
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Unfortunately, the project over ran because of many hurdles, notably poor prototypes, revision differences and the eventual silence from its creator.

There are theories to where the guy went, some thought the pressure of the project and the manufacturing requirements to create the parts caused him to abandon the project, however 2 months ago the following was uncovered:

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It’s a sad end to a potentially amazing revival of top-quality gears and parts!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1483354489/enkko-repairing-the-n64-controller/comments 

El Man and the brass gears

 
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Our lord and saviour El Man created his own gears via 3d printing. It may be that the level of quality and the machines needed to create such a high-quality unit is possible. A big however, he had a lot of tools at his disposal and the intricate knowledge of how he got there is not known.

This guy is probably the beginning of the new wave of N64 restoration and improvement and the future of n64 analogue innovation. Below you can find the N64 gears and parts 3D schematics which open up many doors in terms of the lay person seeking out replacements of their own. You can also find the article which explains and delves into the brass gear project he did.

The death of the brass gears. Long live the El Stick

 
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 https://twitter.com/i/status/1319330670020194306  “Something I've been working on for the past few months. This is a redesign of the joystick that does not require a bowl and has practically no deadzone; Oct 22, 2020”

Oh boy, the El Stick. If there was a candidate for the future of the N64 stick, it would be this. 3D printed and completely redesigned from the ground up. Details are very very sketchy at best, however I am asking for some information from people that have won the sticks in SS64 tournaments:

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Redesigning an inferior stick to be great: Prostick64

 
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https://prostick64.com/

Prostick64 is a project that is slowly coming to fruition. It uses a potentiometer styed stick but is completely redesigned from the ground up, everything is being programmed to match the OEM stick in terms of ranges, however initial feedback mentioned that when the stick itself hits the gate it can’t be felt. Naturally an issue, but this is still in beta and revisions will be made to improve quality.

The development of such a project is a marathon, not a sprint and Nintendo’s lack of foresight shows that excellently, sadly but excellently. They went with a strange full plastic design, it wore down and now 20+ years later getting 10/10 oem is costly/impossible.

I am all for the gradual development as once we have some viable options on the playing field, people can be assured that what they are buying works for their intended purpose!

Another great thing about this project, it is open source: https://github.com/iorilor/ProStick64

Not only does this breed innovation, but competition. The ability to not only just buy the product but alter it means we may have different Prosticks for different purposes. A Goldeneye Stick, SS64 stick, SM64 stick, the possibilities are endless.

Here is some reference material below and as always, as soon as I can review this product, I will.

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Speedrunner makes speedrun stick for speedrunners: Brewstick64

 
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Super Mario 64 heavyweight Biinny has created the Brewstick64. It looks like the Steelsticks64 design. Metal bowl, Stick with Teflon nub at the end, original or atleast well produced gears.

Someone with this high notoriety who is producing sticks is awesome, however he has stated they will never be massed produced and makes them very rarely. He recently sold a complete controller with Brewstick64 installed for £500. This really highlights the desire to get well made products like this.

There have been some fakes circulating recently so keep an eye on his discord and get confirmation on there if you are unsure... 9/10 it will be fake.

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A great guy that's gonna take over the game: Nomad Stick

 
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I connected with Nomad Stick after finishing my initial research into the topic, and by far he has been the most communicative person i've talked to so far. Guy has got some amazing ideas and a real experimental mind when it comes to making the N64 bowl. 

He has some very interesting analysis on El Mans original designs which inspired him to start a new project from the ground up. I wish him nothing but the best and cannot wait to see what happens in the future.

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The humble ball bearing, a chance for a new start?: ReStick by ReTech

 
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https://www.retechmn.com/restick

 

Now a project you probably have not heard of. ReStick by Retech. Not much is known about this project given how low key it is. Probably a conscious decision whilst they finalise parts, materials, production capabilities and testing.They mention how this still will be massed produced and readily available once completed, which is very exciting!

Once thing that strikes me about the design is that it incorporates a ball bearing design at the base of the stick, which sounds amazing... and kinda obvious in some respects. The design also includes standard premium fare of steel gears, custom cap and steel bowl!

v1.1 update: IT'S HERE AND READY FOR WAVE 2 PRE-ORDERS. There are currently some teething problems with the wave one launch. Soft gates, sleeves that meant the cap could not make contact with the gate.. teething problems . HOWEVER, they are continuing to work with the community and provide the best product they can. I do have faith in the project, but they really need to listen to the end users whcih consist of high level SM64 and SS64 players.

Here are some shots of their website with their designs, link is above:

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Injection moulding: N64Gears

 
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N64gears.com gears are made this way and I’m 100% convinced that the OEM gears are also made this way. This is the best method of creating gears however…... IT IS EXPENSIVE.

I have asked about injection moulding the parts for N64 from a couple of places and the consensus is that unless you are making 1000s of parts, the cost will read into the 100s if not 1000s of £s/$s for a small run. The sad thing is injection moulding is the best way to replicate the gears as the plastics used are more durable and can follow a more detailed spec than a lot of 3D printing techniques can. The lovely N64gears.com dude sent me this:

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El Man also references lost-wax casting in conjunction with 3d-printing so maybe a hybrid method could be the way to go:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost-wax_casting#:~:text=Lost%2Dwax%20casting%20(also%20called,be%20achieved%20by%20this%20method.

3d printing: Tom3D

 
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3D printing is heavily referenced as a solution to widespread N64 part replacements. However, the biggest problem plays in the design of the gears and bowl, they are crazy precise, like you need the absolute maximum quality possible to create the gears. Because of this 3D printing does face some issues as the gears have to be super smooth with no sticking points. As you can see below (from N64gears.com), the issue with 3d printing comes from the layers required to make the item which leads to imperfections.

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Saying this, T3D has manged to make sticks, bowls and gears using technical resin and using graphite as a lub option. I have fully reviewed these gears so wont go into it now, but they turned out a lot better that than the above 3D printing example.

With the introduction of 4k and 8k SLA printing (Using resin and not filament) 3D printing may still be on the cards...

WTFParts Store

 
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v1.1.1 update: Steelbowls and steelsticks from a low key project: RVNT | MissingNo

 
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New player on the block who is running a very low key operation. MissingNo has been on my radar for quite some time, however due to the low post content I always intended to add this project during the next big update... which I have. The clear resin bowls with steel look amazing, and if he is also making sticks with these, they could be a winner. 

I very much look forward to this project, go give him a follow on witter for more future updates. As soon as he launches a shop or waiting list ill let you guys know on twitter/newsletter <3: https://twitter.com/MissingNoSSB

v1.1.1 update: N64 parts as functional, harmonious art - Alinktotao

 
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I first came across Alinktotao on Shapeways. He was selling El Man parts again from a reversed engineered SteelStick he had acquired. I ordered a few parts and started a convo with him as he seeming came out of nowhere onto my radar. We had a Skype call and this guy really just gets it. A great mind set to bring to the N64 modstick world. His discord is full of interesting creations from bronze sticks to custom buttons. His mind is a treasure trove of functional art and I cannot wait to try more of his products in the future. Discord link: https://discord.gg/bfWJxuxcxt

 
 

                                                       Manufacturing run down

 

3D printing

 

 Pros:

  • Cheap

  • Very cheap

  • Lots of material options

  • El Mans parts are made this way

  • Prostick64 parts are made this way

  • Cheap

  • Customisable (colours, flair)

  • Possibly bad for the environment (But may be able to use recycled materials)

 

Cons

  • The quality of print may be not worth the price due to the post processing required

  • Inconsistencies from print to print

  • Shitty prints. again

 

Injection moulding

 

Pros

  • As close to oem as you’re going to get

  • 1 mould with get you 1000s of usable gears

  • Precision method

  • Just the best way to get as close to a classic gear as possible.

 

Cons

  • EXPENSIVE

  • Start-up costs are extreme

  • Possibly bad for the environment

  • It will take you a long time to recoup costs on something like this.

 

Refurbishment/modification

 

Pros

  • Can be cheap as you have the parts already

  • Using OEM parts, no moulds or designing needed

  • If done properly will work perfectly

  • How Steelsticks64 makes his gears

Cons

  • Very VERY time consuming

  • If you mess up, you may ruin the part

  • You will need tools and materials to do a proper refurb

  • Calibration may be difficult 

 

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The more I found out the more I will update this section.

Printing and creating resources other reads:

 

Injection moulding:

Ideally though I think we would all want a future that Goose envisioned:

-              https://forums.the-elite.net/index.php?topic=21530.msg441380 - msg441380