The Flat-Pack Fightstick - An affordable pre-cut kit to serve the Australian scene (56k warning!)

CubitsCubits Australian Stick MakerJoined: Posts: 75
edited June 27 in Tech Talk
Hi everyone! You may or not remember me as the guy who designed a DIY plywood case which used Ikea picture frames to avoid depending on any skilled labour or fancy tools. I was trying to help out the Australian FGC, because the retail options here were, and still are, absurd. $200 AUD for a Venom stick is just not on!

Beyond building a few cases personally for some locals, not much seemed to happen with that design, largely because it still required some power tools and careful work. So after a little bit of CAD work and some shopping around, i went the whole hog and had some prototype kits laser-cut!

IGMXzLf.jpg

The specs are almost the same as before:
  • Plywood construction in 400x300mm or 300x210mm - This time in Bamboo, but other options like Hoop or Cherry are available.
  • Acrylic top sheet - Can be stacked up to three layers thick, to create 3D art.
  • Aluminium outer frames in black or natural courtesy of Ikea (Stromby) - These look great, and in the event of an accident they'll bear the brunt and can be cheaply replaced.
  • Toolless internal access.
  • Bottom art layer or transparent.
  • No external screws.
  • Cable storage built in.

But now the case build process takes literally five minutes, requires no tools at all, and only needs some PVA glue. It's like the simplest puzzle you've ever seen!

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That's everything in the kit for the smaller stick.

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Peeling back the protective wrap reveals the grain. The edges of the cuts are really smooth and have a lovely charcoal look. If you want to add paint, you can either leave the paper on to get finish without grain, or peel it and go with the grain. It's possible to get a super-smooth finish by building up the paint and knocking it level with some wet and dry, but if you're just doing the exposed mid-section in some flat paint it's almost invisible with a couple of quick coats.

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The bottom plate lifts up, revealing that the top plate has a reinforced, double-thick centre section. This makes the stick incredibly stiff and strong; It doesn't flex at all, and the built case can take my 95kg weight.

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Apply a little PVA to the mating surfaces and the side panels slot in.

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Chuck on the bottom panel with a bit more glue, and it's done! It'll be functionally cured in an hour, but full strength won't be attained for 24 (as per standard glue rules).

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A close up of the corners shows the finger-jointed corners. They're strong, look nice, and are something i won't do by hand! ;) The system buttons are recessed to prevent accidental inputs, and the Neutrik connector can either go on the outside of the front panel, or the inside for a flush fit.

mgB1GKS.jpg

I etched the button labels from the Brook UFB on the case, because more than once i've hooked them up backwards because i was working from the inside. :punch: The stick indent will fit any standard Seimitsu or Sanwa stick, and the design can be adapted to fit Korean or American hardware.

KF3D28S.jpg

The joystick goes in with some M4x10mm countersunk bolts, then the acrylic sits over the top. If you don't want to go with an art layer, the top panel can be etched with a design or pattern, button labels etc. It could look pretty cool, but i'm as indecisive about etching as i am about tattoos; I could never get anything permanent.

It's also possible to have the top panel smooth, without the charcoal coloured tabs visible, as per my earlier designs. The stick would require clamping or taping while the glue cured, but it would still be rock solid when done!

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And the complete case! The bottom panel retains the glass layer from the original Ikea frame. It's more resistant to abrasion than acrylic, and a couple of silicone feeties let it play nice on desks. You can put art under the bottom panel, or leave it see-through to marvel at the wiring job (though not mine). Because the frames are held on with spring-steel clips, access to the internals is toolless and takes mere seconds.

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And the little-un weighs in at a healthy 1.4kg (3lbs)! Full of hardware it'll be about 1.8kg, with the bigger version coming in at about 2.3kg. It's not heavy, but it's a rigid, sturdy controller which won't blow away.

PWagMeE.jpg

That's that, i guess. If you're in the greater Brisbane area and want a hands-on i'll be around at the bigger meetups/comps in the region. Failing that, i'm looking into sending a few sticks around the country as i've got family all over the place, and some relatives in the UK are shopping for a local materials supplier. I can ship out kits with or without the Ikea bits (they barely take space in the post because it all stacks) anywhere in aus, or do full builds for the local area. Contact me via PM for a quote if you're interested.

If you've got any questions about general DIY'ing or design, i'm always up for helping out. More people playing more fighting games with more arcade sticks is good for everyone! More people playing in Australia is particularly good for my internet connection! =)
Post edited by Cubits on

Comments

  • MonkeyGovernorMonkeyGovernor Joined: Posts: 190
    Awesome work!
  • NoobC86NoobC86 Joined: Posts: 5
    Nice, I like the design it looks like I could use this a coffee table. lol.

    How is is edges on the Ikea Aluminum frame? They look kind of sharp, especially the corners.
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    edited June 21
    The edges are all rounded smooth except for the corners, which are so closely joined that they don't pose a risk to arm hairs or the like.

    It would be trivial to run a little hidden epoxy down the joint to fully seal it, shoot some silicone from the inside out, or even do a wrap of heat-shrink film if you wanted a colour change (like chrome!).

    Hmm, now i want to try some film over the frames...
    Post edited by Cubits on
  • AlphaCharlieAlphaCharlie Joined: Posts: 1,083
    edited June 21
    Cubits wrote: »
    THE FLAT-PACK FIGHTSTICK - AN AFFORDABLE PRE-CUT KIT TO SERVE THE AUSTRALIAN SCENE (56K WARNING!)


    Who still uses 56k modem?
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    edited June 21
    Cubits wrote: »
    THE FLAT-PACK FIGHTSTICK - AN AFFORDABLE PRE-CUT KIT TO SERVE THE AUSTRALIAN SCENE (56K WARNING!)


    Who still uses 56k modem?

    Australians do, but it was rebranded as the NBN.
  • DimeDime Wasting time Joined: Posts: 10,885
    How much does the kit cost?
    Gettin' my derp on.
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    edited June 21
    Dime_x wrote: »
    How much does the kit cost?

    For a basic complete kit as seen here, frames n all, its $110AUD for the small one plus shipping. The big one is $125.

    One of these, plus a zerodelay kit, plus full japanese hardware, will actually undercut the Venom stick's retail price.
  • DimeDime Wasting time Joined: Posts: 10,885
    Hmm... right now I'm in the market for a cheap but good PS4 stick. I've got shitloads of other sticks for 360 and PS3, but buying another $400 stick for PS4 just didn't make sense with me spending less and less time on the hobby.

    Know anyone that knows how to make a PS4 stick, or are there easy instructions out there? Cause if so I will definitely buy a kit. Also I apologize if this isn't the correct thread to ask these questions.
    Gettin' my derp on.
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    Nah, no worries, might as well use this thread.

    For the PS4 there's a cheap way and an expensive way to do it.

    The cheap way is to get a zero delay pcb + wiring kit (yellow pcb, not green!). This is a plug n play setup designed for pc and ps3, but it works on like 90% of ps4 fighting games via legacy support (SFV, GG, Injustice, MKX...). No soldering, and you get everything for $15.

    The expensive way is to get a Brook PS4 or UFB pcb. They're more expensive but have great compatibility, don't need the dualshock on, and have a few more bells and whistles. It's not quite as all inclusive as you'll need to buy a wiring kit separately or make your own, but installation is almost as easy. The PS4 board costs about $80.

    You can also get the zero delay for now and then a Brook ps4 converter for if you run into support issues later. It works out slightly cheaper the Brook pcbs in total, if you want to do it in steps.

    Of course, the absolute cheapest solution is to use your existing ps3 sticks.
  • TebboTebbo Play. Joined: Posts: 5,708
    this sort of thing should be the new standard.

    largest obstacle for most people is always the case. having to either gut a manufactured case or build your own.

    your specific design is just one design, so not something to really critique.
    but the flatpack idea for shipping and being able to produce on demand is huge.

    you need to think about how to get word out and make buying easier than going directly through you.
    Play more.
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    edited June 21
    The end goal is to have suppliers in multiple countries who can cut, prep, and ship the kits locally. This doesn't require much in the way of volume sales, but i need confidence in the work done if it's not passing through my hands before heading to the customer. The major expense atm is having samples cut and sent to me from other countries, and it's something i can't justifty investing in until September.

    But of course it's very early days. I'm building up a collection of samples and variations to let people spec their sticks, and it will eventually be integrated/automated on a comprehensive stick-builder site. I've got various paint finishes, woods, acrylic treatments, etching...

    Right now serving the local community with hands-on custom builds lets me introduce these new ideas, with the least risk to the customer, in a market which desperately needs a good, affordable case. And it's not like I'm some established brand, i gotta build the rep!

    There's a lot more really cool stuff i can do with this setup, things I've never seen on an arcade stick, and if any aussie is willing to experiment with me I'll be subsidising the cases for a few product shots. :)
  • ragingcyclonusragingcyclonus Joined: Posts: 33
    @Cubits Will you be ready for the next big event, OzHadou Nationals 15?

    15 - 17 September 2017
    https://smash.gg/tournament/ozhadou-nationals-15/details
    Madcatz TES+ (Brook PS4+audio)
    SFV/ST: Ryu
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    edited June 22
    @Cubits Will you be ready for the next big event, OzHadou Nationals 15?

    15 - 17 September 2017
    https://smash.gg/tournament/ozhadou-nationals-15/details

    Ooh it's going to be tough! I'll be on my honeymoon until the 10th, and I'm not sure how well it will be received if i bail the weekend after.

    I'll see what i can do, i definitely want to get out there, but i might have to send someone else in my place with a few kits.
  • TebboTebbo Play. Joined: Posts: 5,708
    Nice.
    That's great you're already considering how to grow it into something.

    Best of luck with it.
    Play more.
  • ragingcyclonusragingcyclonus Joined: Posts: 33
    Cubits wrote: »
    @Cubits Will you be ready for the next big event, OzHadou Nationals 15?

    15 - 17 September 2017
    https://smash.gg/tournament/ozhadou-nationals-15/details

    Ooh it's going to be tough! I'll be on my honeymoon until the 10th, and I'm not sure how well it will be received if i bail the weekend after.

    I'll see what i can do, i definitely want to get out there, but i might have to send someone else in my place with a few kits.

    Be sure to get in contact with @Genxa and @jarop to set up a stall as soon as you can.

    Happy to support local Oz business.

    Good luck!
    Madcatz TES+ (Brook PS4+audio)
    SFV/ST: Ryu
  • DimeDime Wasting time Joined: Posts: 10,885
    edited June 23
    Cubits wrote: »
    The end goal is to have suppliers in multiple countries who can cut, prep, and ship the kits locally. This doesn't require much in the way of volume sales, but i need confidence in the work done if it's not passing through my hands before heading to the customer. The major expense atm is having samples cut and sent to me from other countries, and it's something i can't justifty investing in until September.

    But of course it's very early days. I'm building up a collection of samples and variations to let people spec their sticks, and it will eventually be integrated/automated on a comprehensive stick-builder site. I've got various paint finishes, woods, acrylic treatments, etching...

    Right now serving the local community with hands-on custom builds lets me introduce these new ideas, with the least risk to the customer, in a market which desperately needs a good, affordable case. And it's not like I'm some established brand, i gotta build the rep!

    There's a lot more really cool stuff i can do with this setup, things I've never seen on an arcade stick, and if any aussie is willing to experiment with me I'll be subsidising the cases for a few product shots. :)

    I live in Perth. I'm willing to try out designs if that's actually a thing you need done.


    Pm me if interested.
    Gettin' my derp on.
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    For something a little different, here's the 400x300mm kit with a single coat of satin black over the mid-section surfaces (so top, bottom, and internal panels are raw still).

    9AKANg8.jpg

    Bamboo ply is impossible to sand, but there's two ways of painting it; If you go over the raw wood it highlights the grain like this. Using a flat black it actually looks like charred wood, and goes really well against the raw top, with the texture working as a counterpoint to gloss of the top acrylic.

    3RgjREg.jpg

    If you paint over the pre-applied paper layer, it masks the grain and gives you a fine speckled satin finish.

    aOLVnpD.jpg

    It works for a bunch of colours, satin vs grain (i just ran out of white!):

    U9e2xgx.jpg

    If you want to go for a full gloss finish, I'll be able to do an option for an acrylic cladding to the visible surfaces. I'm getting a couple of demo's cut this week along with a material sampler. Not only will i be able to do simple stuff like gloss and matt, but also things like translucents, pearls, glitter, etched two-tone...

    So anyway, the black big case, with black frames:

    IK8rI6Z.jpg

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    Black on black gives the case that architectural floating look.

    fkhngfw.jpg

    The dark tabs you see on this surface are for assembling the side panels. They can be deleted from the top surface if you want a cleaner look, but assembly will then require a couple of clamps while gluing to maintain the maximum finished case strength.

    FrWvbTG.jpg

    I can also etch vector art directly into any of the surfaces as long as it isn't too complex (minimum line spacing is about 0.5mm or it'll blur). So you can have a full art layer burned into the wood, the buttons labelled, a belt of graphics around the side panels, or even a hidden graphic inside the case (like that tattoo you deny having).

    Because the case can take multiple layered acrylic sheets, i can also do overlay sheets of stuff like solid cherry, mahogany, walnut, or birch, for if you want to change the look without bumping the cost as much as doing the entire case. I could even cut and etch several layers of 1mm birch ply to create a 3D diorama like those Chinese cork dioramas that my mum used to have a bunch of:

    3f778d7137fc5d4c88d6dc16536670aa.jpg

    A Jojo manga panel in 3D, for instance, would be quite... different for an arcade stick! ;)

    Anyway, i'll be getting a few more examples of this stuff made up in the next week or so, along with samples of the available materials options. I've still got to price up some of the crazier stuff.
  • bashirkashmiribashirkashmiri Joined: Posts: 57
    I think you're about to take the stick pimp game to a whole new level if the above image is anything to go by mate :)
  • JoyBoyDesuJoyBoyDesu Joined: Posts: 1
    I can't believe you're doing this, this is amazing! Where can make an order, with a custom 'manga art' design on it. I'd like to purchase the small one (white frame).
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    edited June 28
    I think you're about to take the stick pimp game to a whole new level if the above image is anything to go by mate :)

    The detail obviously won't be as fine when laser-cutting ply compared to that hand-cut cork art, but over the surface of a stick it'll look pretty schweet. It ain't cheap though, a four layer relief in 400x300 costs about $90 in materials and laser time! It could cost even more with acrylic support sheets if you wanted to have large voids (where a clear sheet is cut to fill the hole to prevent flexing of the top surface).

    Conversely, printing a couple of art sheets, cutting them, and sandwiching them between a couple of stacked acrylic layers to create a foreground/background effect costs half that.

    I'm really no artist, i'm a builder, but if you've got creativity and the wherewithal to create the right vector files, i could put together stuff like this:

    laser-cut-wood.jpg

    That's clearly quite an expensive piece, combining cutting of different materials and etching, and many layers of it. You'd probably want to keep it to four or so layers for an arcade stick, or the thickness of the piece will start to intrude on the stick shaft length.

    I'll have some simple stuff to show off when the next cutting run is done, but it takes me a while to art. :p

    @JoyBoyDesu If you want to discuss a commission, flick me a PM. The plain small case, with raw aluminium edging, acrylic, and mounting hardware is $110 + up to $20 shipping within Aus.

    The cost of the art is variable based on the design as stated above, but I'll be able to cover some costs since I'm still setting up the production side.

    Incidentally, here's a t-shirt art layer:

    mg6xPBI.jpg

    I didn't have any sacrificial FGC-appropriate shirts, but you get the idea. Fabric, leather, wallpaper... a carpet offcut; anything can be used to generate a bit of visual texture.

    Remove the clear layer and harder wearing materials can be used directly. You could have a leather-topped stick to go with that writing desk.
    Post edited by Cubits on
  • Godwin_PointGodwin_Point Joined: Posts: 10
    Hey, I don't know if you remember me, but I asked you on reddit some question about your design back in the days ! I ended up using your tutorials to build my stick, so thanks again for your great work !
    (I wanted a swappable hitbox/standard layout and it worked great with your ikea frame idea)
    http://oi67.tinypic.com/2mgm39y.jpg
    http://oi65.tinypic.com/flzekm.jpg
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    Yeah yeah, i remember that! That conversation is what led to this current design.

    If you build this case with two bottom plates instead of a top and bottom, then add a top plate on, it self-centres and can be clipped down by the frames. This can be hot-swappable.

    You stick(s) look great btw, love that Dudley!
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    Just got my second run of stuff done, with a few new bits thrown in!

    First up are these etched plywood button inserts:

    ttdhS6e.jpg

    They're cut from the same material as the case itself which makes the grain line up perfectly, and it keeps their cost down to $5 per set. The 4.5mm thickness is way too much for the clear Sanwa OBSC but is actually perfect for Seimitsu PS-14-K once you discard the stock white insert:

    6b0fb7c.jpg

    fdIEZ6s.jpg

    I don't have any clear PS-14's on hand, but the inserts look pretty great under the smoke buttons:

    0z5GTRo.jpg
  • WoobiEWoobiE Joined: Posts: 5
    cubits, I messaged you and got no reply. I would like to order one of the small cases.
  • ragingcyclonusragingcyclonus Joined: Posts: 33
    @Cubits are you ready for OHN15?

    Do you need a reseller?
    Madcatz TES+ (Brook PS4+audio)
    SFV/ST: Ryu
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    @WoobiE Sorry bout that, had to check some stuff out.

    Now, the next thing addresses the problem of getting a mirror-like paint finish on plywood. Typically this involves several layers of several products, lots of sanding and polishing, and an inordinate amount of time.

    Or you could just clad the whole job in high-gloss acrylic and have a durable, perfect finish in minutes!

    TcFH1N0.jpg
    fs3xH0R.jpg

    And it's easily popped onto the case during construction.

    iOiZOjQ.jpg

    It can be used to hide the Neutrik adapter screw-heads, for an even more minimal look. You could also still mount the Neutrik externally if that's your bag.

    m3LETBL.jpg
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    I have a whole slew of colour options available, with everything from basic solid colours, to two-tone, mirror, frosted, or translucents. i'll put up samples of what i've got in a bit. Here's smoke grey, which lets the wood grain show, adding a little visual texture. This can also be combined with painting the case to give it a little more pop.

    cnykfXo.jpg

    The full cladding kit (four walls and bottom panel) costs $45 for the Bigly, or $35 for the Pika. Etching can also be added to any surface if you want to throw some graphics on there, for a nominal extra charge (varies with complexity and size).
  • CubitsCubits Australian Stick Maker Joined: Posts: 75
    Here's a little Tekken case, built for @JoyBoyDesu a couple of weeks ago:

    b1tx3AU.jpg

    Simple printed designs front and back, to match the Sanwa light blue. Glossy Kodak prints in this size are $5 a pop and look great.

    V074p5P.jpg

    A cheeky bit of etching underneath, like labelling your undies. It's an interesting alternative to a print, and can be creatively mixed/matched with prints, transparencies, or acrylic etching. $20

    NQsk1uq.jpg

    Clean interior is pretty tight in this size. The Sanwa screw-in rings are super wide, and juuuust clear each other for the sega/noir layouts. For Vewlix you actually have to go with either Seimitsus or snap-ins.

    This case also uses the more economical "pass under" USB cable routing, instead of a Neutrik passthrough.

    fptRhn6.jpg

    4KMgyGN.jpg

    It's simple, accessible, and the cable still stows cleanly in the frame recess.
  • DimeDime Wasting time Joined: Posts: 10,885
    Got my stick from @Cubits yesterday. It's awesome. Well made, looks beautiful, was plug and play and came in a good amount of bubble rap to make sure it survived transit intact.
    Gettin' my derp on.
  • TrenchCoatJonesTrenchCoatJones Joined: Posts: 457
    That's some good stuff right there @Cubits
    XBL Ooklathemok3
    PSN Girthedestroyer
    SFV ID Ozzy_Booty
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