A (Noobie) Stick Builders Log : Complete (Long Post)

My First Joystick Journal

After almost 6 years of Dark Age of Camelot (MMORPG), I needed a new hobby. For some odd reason, I decided to go back to my roots, and started looking up information on Street Fighter 2 since it had such a prevalent staple in my gaming background. Hell, I used to travel from New York to Chicago for national tournaments (as I am sure a lot of this community still does, and a lot further).

I stumbled across this site, and was amazed that the niche of communities still existed, although the evolution had evolved of course from Street Fighter 2, to more recent games like Third Strike, MvC etc. While reading through the forums, it re-lit that spark, especially learning that Capcom was in the process of remaking my favorite Street Fighter game, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, along with Street Fighter 4 looming on the horizon. (Jesus, run on sentence)

With the news of SFHD being released, and the jump forward in technology in consoles since my arcade days (not to mention, this whole new internet thing), I could not wait to get back in to some type of scene, even if it was only online through XBLA. I immediately went out and purchased the Street Fighter Anniversary Xbox game, and suddenly realized why I abhorred any fighting game on a console. I could not STAND using pads. What the hell was I to do?

Insert Shoryuken.com. I found the ?I love my custom stick gallery? thread, I about shit my pants at the amazing art work that people had created. I HAD to have one. I am sure just like everyone else, I immediately began scouring the forum for custom stick makers, emailed a few and received one reply, but no information on when availability would open up. I soon found out that the ?Trading Outlet? forum was not the only place where you could find stick makers. I saw a little post in the ?Tech Talk? forum titled ?Hello from Arcade-In-A-Box?. After contacting Ed and a plethora of emails later, I placed an order for my first joystick. But it wasn?t enough. I wanted to make my own, that would be compatible with as many systems as possible, even with a lack of any prior knowledge of woodworking, electronics or painting. The ?I love my custom stick gallery? thread kept sucking me back in. After all, I needed a new hobby. Goodbye Dark Age of Camelot, EA and Mythic???hopefully for good.

The knowledge contained within the posts in the ?Tech Talk? forums was astounding. And I thank every single person that contributed to the information shared.

Armed with only a T-Square, a circular saw, a band saw, an electric sander, a router,a drill/drill press and a pencil, I put on my (rarely used) weekend warrior BDU?s, and headed out to Lowes/Home Depot and wound up at home with a nice new sheet of ? MDF. I drew everything out, and took out the trusty circular saw.

My God, I seriously jacked that MDF up due to a bent blade that had been in it for I can?t recall how many years, and I forgot it needed replaced. Not to mention, every inch of my garage took on a new hue of brown due to all the lovely carcinogens flying out from my saw blade. Screw this! I put my (now starting to lose the mothball smell!) BDU?s back on and went back to Lowe?s, and purchased some Oak, along with other supplies like primer, paint, sand paper etc?.

A note to say…Yes, I know a lot of people don’t like the American standard straight layout of buttons, nor Happ concave buttons. I have honestly never tried anything else, and grew up in the arcades using concave so ordered what I last played on and loved dearly. Other sticks will include different buttons, and possibly different joysticks. But for this one, I stuck with all Happ buttons and an iL joystick with a stiff spring all ordered from good old Lizard Lick. :wgrin:

And here are the steps I took, and pics of how things progressed and turned out.

First of course, I measured what I desired for box measurements and cut them using the circular saw (15 x 10 x 4). After using some good old Liquid Nails, and a LOT of sanding, here are the results. (Minus the tricycle and bicycle :wgrin:)
I learned too much in this process, mainly the fact that I had no idea how to get
perfect angles, so the box is definitely not great with dimensions, which made
later steps, such as cutting the lexan and top piece quite annoying, and a challenge.

Next I drew up the top piece (while waiting for the main box to finish drying of primer layers)

Lo and behold, I had no idea that this project would net me some new tools. I had to head to trusty Home Depot to pick up the 1 1/8 inch hole saw needed to
drill out the button/joystick holes. Also ended up picking up some bits for my Dremel, to widen the joystick hole at an angle.
As you can see in this screen shot, you can see that I broke down, and convinced the wife to let me get my new toy, a Rigid 10" contractors table saw :lovin:

After some sanding (and getting a nice tight fit using a rubber mallet) to get the top to fit correctly, and after primer layers…

I then measured out some inner legs to be inserted, which also contain wood inserts to screw the bottom of the case in place. The ones I picked up were awful.
For those interested in using these (or unfortunate enough to get them), they were a copper color with a slotted top from Home Depot. Can’t recall the name.
Anyhow, if you attempt to use a screw driver, the slots will break very very easily. Make sure you drill in holes the correct size before attempting to put them in (almost a /duh) What I ended up doing, was placing a washer in between the screw and the screw in piece. This prevented them from breaking any more.

This also includes the joystick mounting area being routed out.

Next up was what I discovered I absolutely suck at. Painting. This case, is in no way, an example of good painting. It is not shiny to a mirror finish like you see most of the experienced stick makers coming out as. I tried to follow guides to a tee, but just didn’t end up being too impressive. 4 layers of primer, 4 paint, and 5 or 6 of clear coat. I sanded in between, but as you can see, it’s pretty…meh.

Finished with buttons in place, so I can wire the baby up…

Wiring…I originally planned on making a dual PS2/X360, but I have zero experience, and have a X360 joystick on order from Arcade-In-A-Box, so just kept this to bing a PS1 DS hack, and using a Pelican converter bought from CodyK here on the forums.

After cutting the Lexan (I just couldn’t do the Plexi…I kept cracking it…) and getting my vinyl from Kinkos, here is my baby all finished.
(Already has a ding in the lower right corner :sad: )

I hope you liked the journal. I had an absolute BLAST doing this, and look forward to making more in the future. Next up is trying out new things, such as a Japanese button layout, buttons and I may end up springing for a p360 and one of the Golden NZ washers. Maybe an LS-32…who knows!

Thanks for reading! And a HUGE thank you to all who provided any sort of information regarding wood work, pad hacking, painting…anything! MUCH appreciated! :woot:

Dude I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but that paint job came out hella nice. I loved the way you wired up the stick as well. Nice and clean and if you ever need to replace a cherry switch it would be really easy :woot:. You should put this in the joystickvault if you haven’t already.

On you’re other projects I would pass on the p360. Even with the washer in place the photo lense to read the directions are still defective. Just stick with an IL/Eurostick in there if you decide to do another happ stick. If you want the stick to feel a little stiffer just pull the spring out and stretch the hell out of it. It should feel like a p360 afterwards.

Again very nice work.

that stick wiring is sick man. Thats some clean shit! How you keeping the plexi down?

Yeah, that’s a pretty sweet case. Very clean finish, very clean wiring, and of course I love the Akuma artwork. And WOO someone else who prefers bat-top sticks! Always figured I was about the only one here. How long did this project take you? With the MDF screw-ups (that stuff is nonsense anyways, so unreliable, you made the right choice going to wood) and plexi screw-ups I’m sure it took longer than it would have if you just one-shotted everything, but I’m still curious as I’m about to embark upon a similar journey.

Thanks for the compliments :smile: I’ll have to head on over to joystickvault and post it. Thanks for the info about the p360. Maybe I’ll give an LS-32-01 or a JLF a whirl next.

Thank you for the compliment :smile: As for the Lexan, I sanded it down to a very tight fit. Other than that, just the buttons are holding it down.

Also, thanks for the compliments :smile: I don’t play Akuma, but I fell in love with that painting the second I saw it. The project took about 4 weeks. I must say that there were quite a few points of frustration. Mainly just the mess ups and the trial and error screw ups. The whole experience (and new tools) were WELL worth any amount of frustration I experienced.

Very nice and clean stick, I prefer ball tops and sanwa buttons/jap layout, but each to his own :wgrin:

The paint job looks pretty good, dunno why you think otherwise. Maybe a bit of photoshop editing was involved, hmmm j/k :lovin:

Very good job for a first stick, props to you sir :tup:

Thank you :smile: Now that you mention it, I should have photoshopped the ding out lol. But I have no idea how to use Photoshop. Wow I am ignorant, eh?

TheCave, the best advice I can give is…Plan Ahead! Maybe even make a check list. For instance, I primered the case a couple times, and then decided to round the inner edges where the Lexan was going to sit, and I completely forgot to drill out the Start/Select holes. :confused: Forgot to add, that another main reason it took so long to do the case, is temperature. Didn’t want to primer/paint/clear coat unless the temp was in the range that was suggested in the instructions.

The main thing I would have liked to do, but have no idea how they do it, is have the Start/Select buttons in counter sunk holes like you see in quite a few customs here. Anyone that can shed the light on how to do those? :smile:

Thanks for the advice, I’m currently putting together a full plan of all the measurements and everything for the entire case as well as layout plans and everything just to make sure I get everything right. Perhaps I’ll make an ordered checklist to just to make sure I don’t forget anything.

As far as the countersunk buttons go, I’m not entirely sure their exact technique considering I’ve never done it and I’ve never seen anyone say exactly how they did it, but I’d imagine it would be something like using a hole cutter to cut a hole maybe a half inch deep so that it doesn’t go all the way through the wood (or however deep you want it to be countersunk) and a quarter inch wider than the width of the button so that it will fit inside it. Then just drill a hole in the center of that hole that is the exact width of the button and that goes all the way through so you can mount the button inside the hole. That’s how I would do it anyways. Just make sure the side of the case you’re countersinking it into is thick enough to take it.

Cool, I just bought this stick and its pretty nice to see how it progressed to completion. Great work on it, I can’t wait till it gets here. :woot:

Which spring did you order from that lizard place? I need a tighter spring. I hate the default loose ones that come with MAS sticks.

EDIT: Or would I need a looser spring? Bah.