Review: 3D Printed Game Boy Macro Faceplates

We love to feature products from everywhere that we can get our hands on. This doesn’t only mean big companies sending us “expensive” items to review. This also means small companies with inexpensive items to check out. And sometimes, it even means getting to sink our teeth into products from Etsy and eBay creators/sellers. Today we have one such product and not only is it from an eBay seller, it’s not expensive either! Let’s look into it together, shall we?

Descriptions from seller pbig5575:

  • ‘Nintendo DS Lite Gameboy Macro Mod 3D Printed Faceplate Shell. Condition is Seller refurbished. Shipped with USPS First Class Package.
  • You will receive one 3D printed faceplate.
  • Figured someone without a 3D printer would like to try the mod so here they are. Definitely easier than filling and sanding and painting.
  • I do have a few completed Gameboy macros using these faceplates listed. Check them out!!
  • When doing this mod with this faceplate you must remove the Touch screen digitizer to make room for the LCD to fit.
  • No Modifications need to be done (like cutting) to the faceplates for fitment.
  • If you have any questions about fitment or a problem with your faceplate please message me before leaving Negative or Neutral feedback. I’ll be happy to help you fix any problems you might come across.
  • Again you will only receive a faceplate, not a completed Macro.
  • If you have any questions please feel free to ask.


  • Build quality. Pbig5575 tells us that “All the faces are made out of PLA and printed on a Creality Ender 3 PRO.” If anyone out there has knowledge of 3D printing, you’ll be able to make more sense out of it than I can. But I can tell you how it holds up under stress. I first took the faceplates, before they were attached, and tried to give them a twist and a bend. Having never really touched anything 3D printed before, I had preconceived notions about the final products. I thought that certainly, these faceplates that are relatively thin would give under even slight duress. And I’m happy to report that I couldn’t even snap them. So this means that under normal use these bad boys are going to hold up fine.
    Don’t get me wrong, though, they’re not magical. If your kid spills something on it, it’s going to act the way that any normal piece of plastic would. You’ll end up with it being sticky and the holes for buttons will definitely let the liquid down into the device. When I say these guys hold up well, I mean they hold us to being handled. They also hold up when you squeeze the [completed] Macro really hard. I even sat on it a few times to test an accidental butt squash. Nothing happened. The last test that frequent readers know that I like to test is the stair fall. I let it fall down my carpeted stairs and the device with the 3D printed faceplate held up! One other note; that nothing is covering your screen, meaning you should be kind to it. I bought a screen protector for mine, it’s an inexpensive investment for any Game Boy Macro faceplate you use.
  • LED light. Next up, I wanted to talk about the genius behind the LED light. Normally, the official Nintendo plates have a light pipe. It’s got a split in it so that the two different colors can blink simultaneously and give you the information that you need. When the DS Lite is in Game Boy mode, though, it doesn’t need each color to blink. The only light that it shows is the green power light that will eventually change as the battery dies. If you’re looking at the faceplate below, you’ll notice that there is no light pipe. The faceplate actually looks like it’s equal thickness across the top that that light would not shine through. Luckily, this is not true. Exactly where the light needs to shine through, there is a small post (it looks similar to a screw post). And the light is focused through that post. At the bottom of the post, where it connects to the faceplate, is where the plastic is thinner. With the thinner plastic, you now have a scenario where the light shines through. Is the light full blast, no. Does it shine plenty even in bright sunlight, yes. Those of you who game outside will still see the battery light color just fine. Kudos goes to the author of the 3D print.
  • Simple. The installation of the faceplate is incredibly easy. We’ll have a video covering how to combine the faceplate with the rest of the Macro. We don’t have much to say here, but I wanted to make sure we gave credit where credit is due. You don’t have to do something different than you would if you placing a normal DS Lite faceplate on. And in fact, you do less as there are less buttons to have to worry about!
  • Fit. Speaking of buttons, I now want to talk about how well everything fits into the faceplate. First off, the buttons have slots (grooves) for proper alignment. The membranes also have the same style of alignment that the DS Lite shell has. God forbid you have stuff sliding around as you try to assemble it all. The motherboard has posts that it will sit on in the original design, the same is true here for the 3D printed faceplate. I will say that I had better luck on two of the plates than I did with one of them, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t work. That only means I had to work a little bit longer (maybe 3o seconds) to get it on. The most important part, in my mind, is the placement of the screen. Well I’m happy to report that these faceplates have an exact slot that the screen fits in perfectly. Other faceplates for various Game Boys have you cutting parts off or using plastic shims to keep them from moving. The product that pbig5575 is selling is already thought out, down to the screen.

  • Price. These 3D printed faceplates will not set you back very much at all. They’re the same no matter which color you choose. You also don’t pay for shipping. They retail at $25 when they’re in stock. You can also buy a completed Game Boy Macro, but I didn’t review one of those for him, so I can’t speak to that. But I can tell you that they are for sale at $85 when they’re in stock. So maybe you don’t want to take the steps to make one, pbig has you covered. Best of all, no matter what you purchase from him, you get free shipping. That makes his faceplates the best cost for your money compared to other faceplates out there on the internet.
  • Colors. Speaking of colors, there are a lot of them to choose from. At the time of writing this, I count six of them. I’m not sure that he always has all colors in stock though. They are listed as purple, clear orange, red, fluorescent yellow, translucent blue, translucent green. I will give a small warning, the colors are not exactly showing up 1-to-1 with how they’ll be in person. But they are close enough that you won’t be sad with the way it looks when it arrives.
  • Comfort. How does it actually feel in the hands? I will start this off by saying that you can tell that it is 3D printed. It’s not rough but the feeling is distinct, but I love it. I think it adds a depth to the Macro that makes it unique. It also helps with the grip especially if you’re a person who’s palms sweat all of the time. You may have negative feelings about it for about 15 seconds, but once you’re in the game, you’re just never going to think about it. Once you’ve used it a couple of times, it will just be the new normal and you’ll never think about it again. One last note, it doesn’t seem to matter which color you choose. They all have the same feel to them, they all use the same filament. Just assemble with the faceplate and get playing!
  • Design. I wanted to talk about the last few bits of thoughtfulness that these faceplates have in them. First off, the biggest point of genius is the screen’s surface area. The faceplate covers the parts of the screen that are unused by the Game Boy image. With regards to the rest of the faceplate, as I mentioned, this doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It’s the same as how Nintendo’s original lower faceplate connects to the back faceplate. So the posts are the same and there is the same amount of them. The design snaps perfectly to the backplate and the two edges meet neatly and flush in the middle.


  • Flush. One of the three faceplates that I used seemed to have the buttons be too flush compared to the other two. I’m not certain how or why. I’m guessing that 95% of the time these things come out perfect, but I’m also guessing that they can’t be perfect all of the time. It’s probably also hard to discern just by looking at them that they’re a good 3D print. And since he can’t possibly test them before they go out, you may get one with a random issue. But as pbig5575 mentioned, if you come across an issue, discuss it with him. It’s possible that one of mine experienced a fluke in production.

Overall Thoughts:

It’s probably pretty irregular to have a faceplate from him come with buttons that lay flush. It could have even potentially be me not getting the stuff to fit right. But with 3D printing there is always a minuscule chance that something might be ever so slightly off. I honestly believe that that was the case in this instance. But pbig is such a good dude (after talking with him off and on for a couple of weeks), I’m certain he’ll remedy any issue you might experience.
The main takeaway here is that the Game Boy Macro mod is incredibly fun to do and even an intermediate modder such as myself could pull it off. The faceplate from pbig is the icing on the cake. His colors are rad and adds an element of that 90’s Game Boy feel to the mod. I really appreciate what he does and the fact that he’s offering a much-needed service to the community. I mean, most of us don’t have 3D printers and most of us would rather be caught dead than sand, fill, and paint a DS Light faceplate.

pbig5575’s eBay Seller Page:

Click here to see what colors he currently has and/or if he has any completed Game Boy Macros.


Already have the faceplate and just need some quick tips and pointers? I’ll have the video up soon for that. Stay tuned!

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