Modder converts WaveBird GameCube controller into Switch JoyCons

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

A modder who goes by the handle Shank has created a set of Nintendo Switch JoyCons that look and feel just like a GameCube controller.

He used the internal circuitry from a real set of JoyCons, so his mod has all the functionality of Nintendo’s Switch controllers except for the IR sensor. Other than that, they work as expected. They even have the small buttons on the connector part for using them sideways in two-player games.

Shank also created a middle section to join them together. This connector essentially converts it into a GameCube WaveBird controller that works with the Nintendo Switch.

The chassis was created using a first-party WaveBird gamepad, which is Nintendo’s wireless GameCube controller. It may go without saying that Frankensteining the two controllers together was not as simple as gutting the WaveBird, sawing it in half, slapping the JoyCon boards into it, and gluing on the connector pieces.

Shank had to modify the inside of the controller with 3D printed parts to be able to mount the JoyCon components. There were also several other hurdles he had to overcome, including converting the WaveBird’s analog shoulder buttons to digital. The whole project took him several months to complete.

Shank has no plans to sell his mod because it was so difficult to make.

"These JoyCons are not for sale," he said. "They were a pain to make, and I will not be making another set."

However, he did say that he would eventually release the CAD files for those who would like to make their own set, but he advises, “This is not a project for beginners.” Shank is an experienced modder, and there were many frustrating hours of assembly, testing, disassembly, desoldering, re-soldering, and repeat.

Of course, since he has already broken the ground and tripped over all the obstacles, it should be easier to repeat his process. If you are crafty in this way, it might be worth the effort. Shank says the WaveBird controllers are way more comfortable to use than the standard JoyCons, and they look it. Best of all, they don't suffer from JoyCon drift.

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Scott Barnes

TS Rookie
Amazing piece of hardware homebrew! Well except for the choice of a gamecube controller as a base for the project, of all the thousands of hours I have punched on all of the different systems controllers over the last 30 or so years I've never encountered a less comfortable of poorly thought out controller (the C stick in stead of a second analog alone puts it in last place). Surely a Wii, Wii u or Switch pro controller would have been a better on brand starting point?
 
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madboyv1

TechSpot Paladin
I've never encountered a less comfortable of poorly thought out controller
Um, the N64 controller? ha ha ha...

But in all seriousness, the preferred controller for many playing Smash Bros is the Gamecube controller. Wii/Wii U pro controller does not come close to the layout of the Gamecube controller, and probably not large enough internally to fit everything. And while the Switch Pro Controller is a closer in size and general layout, it's face buttons are still set up in what has become a traditional cross shape, and of course the triggers are completely different.
 

ZedRM

TS Booster
A lot of people thought/think the Wavebirds were great. I was not among them. Of course, I never liked the GameCube as a rule anyway. But this? This is really kinda cool!
 

johnofo

TS Rookie
I always thought the GameCube controller was super comfy to hold and well laid out.

The N64 controller design was a bit mad and best used if you're a 3 handed alien but it was the 1st controller with an analogue stick, only D-pads before it. Pity the analogue sticks wore out over time. I still have 2 in fairly good condition though I just invested in a couple of Brawler64 pads which are much nicer to use. Modern sticks and a more modern design.

Pod racer played on the original pads you could hold one in each hand (2 pads for each player) with a thumb on each stick. Felt just like lil Anakin...
 
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