Decasing a 3DS XL to paint it. Advice on the top screen?

Discussion in '3DS - Console, Accessories and Hardware' started by chrisd, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. chrisd
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    chrisd Member

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    Hey all, I am working on decasing my 3DS XL in order to paint the system a new color. I intend to change it from Red and Black to White and Black, and then apply a decal I have as well, and then finish with topcoat for durability.

    The main problem is that I've disassembled most of the system but the top screen is really a tough nut to crack. The hinge doesn't seem to be able to open up and release the top screen, and without that it seems I cannot remove the top surface of the XL (the red part of the top of the outside). Naturally I can't really paint if I can't get the hardware safely out of the top half of the shell.

    Is there any existing knowledge on how to open up the top half of a 3DS XL? I have seen a decasing guide online already (that I used to get to about this point) but it stops at removing the motherboard, and leaves the screens alone. Any information on this would really help me out. Thanks for reading.
     
  2. xcrimsonstormx

    xcrimsonstormx He called me a Nerd, I called him an Ambulance.

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    Honestly I think you might be the first to attempt this so your resources are limited I hope it works out for you though.
     
  3. chrisd
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    chrisd Member

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    Thank you, I appreciate your comment and support, as it has spurred me to give it another go, and now I'm happy to say that I have managed to remove the top colored part of the 3DS XL case. There is some confusion and collateral damage as a result, but I think I more or less got it down.

    I figured it out off a hunch from the DSi XL. In my experience the two systems are built very similar, so I figured I'd look up the teardown for it on iFixit and try what they did there.

    First step was to remove the four rubber pads on the inside of the top half with a scalpel or similar tool. The screws underneath are Phillips 00, like on the rest of the system, so use one of those to remove them and set them aside.

    After that is the part that kept me guessing for a while. What you have to do is find the edge between the top cover (the colored half) and the bottom cover (the black half) of the top of the case, and, using a wedge, carefully pry the two halves apart. There are numerous points all along the edge where the two halves are connected, so you have to go all the way around, including the hinge itself. If you close the XL, you'll see that the edge between the two halves of the top of the case extends through the length of the hinge as well. Thus you will have to do the same prying apart there to fully remove the top half.

    Once you've done all that, you can just pull the top half away and be greeted by the inside of the top half of the system, including the screen, speakers, cameras, and 3D depth slider. If you only want to paint the top part (like I do) then you can set this half aside. I haven't done a teardown of this yet, but if I end up busting this 3DS XL then I'll go ahead and do so (after a new system and a transfer at least!)

    At this point you're just holding the colored half of the top of the case. Flip it over to look at the inside, and you'll see along the top edge the holes for the camera lenses and the 'camera in use' LED. The two lenses each have a black border around them, this is in fact made from two pieces of plastic which are taped in place. You can simply lift up gently on the tape and you'll remove them, and they should go back in pretty easily when you're ready to rebuild. Next you can take out the LED plastic bit by simply grabbing it with some tweezers and pulling it out. It is held inside of some rubber padding, just pull the whole hting out (padding and LED part) and set it aside, it will also fit back in quite nicely.

    Thus are you left with just the top half and no other parts, and it's all ready to be prepped and painted. Hope this writeup helps someone.



    Now, there are a few issues with how I did it. The first biggie is that after opening the top half, I found several small bits of plastic fell out, which means I screwed up. My tool of choice for opening them was an old novelty flattened penny, but I'm sure that there are much better tools to use which will open the case without damaging the case. These I believe were once the plastic clips holding the system together, however I hope that with how many plastic clips there are and how firm the whole system was to being opened that the loss of a few will not be a big deal. Regardless I don't recommend testing your luck with this.

    The second issue is that some odd bits fell out which I cannot identify. They are two rectangles, one made of what seems to be shiny thin black plastic and has a rectangular hole cut out of the middle of it, and the other which is a whole rectangle and appears to be made of a very fine mesh material. I do not know what these bits are or where they go as they fell out of the case as I was opening it. I cannot give any rhyme or reason as to where they came from or how to open it without losing them, I can only advise that you exercise caution when opening it up so that you don't end up where I was.



    Now finally, I think I might like to make a new thread for this and post some pictures. Hopefully I can attract some attention so that others who want to do this can do so, and better yet that more experienced modders can take a crack at repeating my exploit and hopefully do much better job of explaining it and documenting everything.


    Note, the picture I uploaded still has the lens and LED bits in it, they're really easy to remove though as I said. IMG_0865.jpg
     
  4. xcrimsonstormx

    xcrimsonstormx He called me a Nerd, I called him an Ambulance.

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    Congrats looks legit I'm glad everything worked out for you now you can help teach others how to do it so they don't make some of the mistakes you did.:lol::rofl2:
     
  5. unz

    unz Chaotic Neutral

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    Guitar plectrum or cut a piece from an old credit card - file or sand to desired thickness if necessary.
     
  6. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

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    This may be a newbish question, but I'm curious. Why do you need to decase it in order to paint it?
     
  7. chrisd
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    chrisd Member

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    In my case, I didn't want to damage any of the internals from paint getting inside the machine, nor did I want to bother with cutting out super-precise covers of painter's tape for the camera lenses and 'camera active' light, or tape up other parts of the system, etc. It was easier in the end for me to do it with just the case instead of all the precautions needed for painting out of case.

    I initially decased almost the entire system because I thought it would be necessary to reach the top half of the case. Now I know that it's not entirely that way (you can't fully remove the top screen, speakers, cameras, etc. without disconnecting them from the mobo first) but then I was still unaware of how the top opened up. It was also a good introduction to opening up new-ish consoles, and having a guide helped me get used to it and not be a nervous wreck when messing around with sensitive handheld internals.


    Thanks also for the wedge suggestions, I tried some credit cards initially but didn't get the needed force out of them. I think guitar picks would work well though, as they're hard but not too hard to break off the plastic tabs inside of the top half of the case.