Art's Hobbies - DIY Acrylic Cases

Cases are now available on my site: Art’s Hobbies

!!! 3/27/11 NEW Updates regarding Diamond Joints and Hitbox! Jump to post #702



These cases will be available on my website, Welcome to Art’s Hobbies, in early September.
These are Cases ONLY. Not full fightsticks. Joysticks, Buttons, PCBs are not included

Hey guys! I would like to reveal a project I’ve been working on for the past few months, under the radar.

Some time late last year, parabellum asked:

**"May I humbly suggest some additional services which you may wish to consider offering?

Simple plexi cases: If you offered a ‘bolt it together yourself’ case made from laser cut plexi, you could supply these with the screws, etc…and I think there would potentially be great demand for this. If the price could be kept down to around $50-$60, I think it would be a winner."**

That suggestion has stuck with me and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Since working with plexiglass (acrylic) has its limitations, it took me some time to come up with a solution. Many months and lots of trial and errors later, finally… I believe I’ve found the solution and I bring you a completely modifiable DIY full acrylic case!

**This case was designed with you, the modder, in mind with the ability to customize pretty much every aspect of the case… to make it your own! So lets take all these pieces… **

And turn them into this! (Might be a tad hard to make out all the details at first, being that everything’s clear and there’s a lot of reflection in the pics. But the details will be more prominent as you scroll further down.

Lets look at one of the unique things to personalize your case. The Name plates!

**The Name Plates act as extra support for the case, and it’s a great place to cut your name/handle/short phrase to really identify your case. These are “Cut” through the acrylic, not “etched”. **

**Now it’s a little hard to see, with everything being clear, but on the back of the case there is a PCB section which has a couple of PCB holders and a wire hook to help with PCB placement and organization. **

These holders can be adjusted/removed to fit your needs. While initially designed to fit the cthulhu boards, they can still hold hacked pads and other pcb’s by a simple ziptie method or whatever you come up with. You don’t have to use them, but they are there to help you out if you want them.

Here are some pics with a JLF and some buttons in place .

The pics above only show a glimpse of what can be done. Let me try to get into more details and options with more pics =).

Lets say you want to replace the front panel now because you prefer a Neutrik Adapter rather than a cord opening. No problem, lets take a front panel with a Neutrik space…

now unscrew the four screws holding the front panel of the case…

place the buttons and Neutrik adapter on the new panel and screw back in…

and Done!

Or decided you no longer want buttons on the side panel? No prob, swap it.

Yep, it’s that easy to change your mind.

**Now lets look at some color options. Here’s a Dark Blue theme. **

Top: Clear; Sega Blast City 6 Button
Top & Bottom Borders = Transparent Dark Blue
Name Plate & PCB Plate = Transparent Dark Blue
Front Panel = Clear; S/S Buttons and Neutrik
Back Panel = Clear
Left & Right side panel = Transparent Dark Blue
Bottom = Clear
JLF Mount = Transparent Dark Blue

**The colors help distinguish some parts a little better, for instance the border design. **

Lets try an Iron Man theme

Top: Clear; Sega Blast City 6 Button
Top & Bottom Borders = Transparent Red
Name Plate & PCB plate = Transparent Red
Front Panel = Fluorescent Orange; S/S buttons and Neutrik
Back Panel = Fluorescent Orange
Left & Right side panel = Transparent Red
Bottom = Clear
Bottom Thin Plexi with 2 Artworks (one facing each side)
JLF Mount = Transparent Red

This shows Artwork placed on the bottom but facing top side to add a little background to future wiring. A thin bottom plexi is used to sandwich the artwork in place

The Fluorescent Orange reflected the flash so the front couldn’t be seen. Below is without flash (ugly color turnout) but at least shows the Name Plate. Under regular light, you can see through to notice the name plate.

Flipping the case around, there’s another artwork. Basically I place two artworks between a thin bottom plexi.

Here are some pics without the artwork so the design is more clear.

Here’s some closeups of the Name Plates in these examples:

View of the case frames. Showing Borders, Name Plate, and PCB Plate which forms the skeletal structure of the case.

**Those are just some basic color combinations. But basically, the color combinations and setups are up to your imagination? and what color/material stock I can get, lol.

Oh and top artwork you ask? But of course! Optional thin top plexi’s will be available.

**The artwork is cut a little smaller than the full top of the case. This gives a natural border, particularly for dark and opaque top colors. For clear tops, this makes the artwork look like it’s floating in a frame. **

Gotta show the popular Chun Li artwork by Stanley Lau.

Taking this even one step further, how about thin plexi options all around the case which essentially allows you to turn the entire case into swappable artwork.

Lets say I wanted to give my entire case a carbon fiber look with a high res print of a carbon fiber pattern. Then cut the image for the top and all four sides. Sandwich all pieces to all sides and…

Obviously a full artwork case swap is all up to your imagination. I plan to make one with a large cast of either Marvel or SSF4 all around the sides.

Alright, almost done. Sorry if I’m tiring you out with all the pics, lol.

**Here’s my working, complete prototype from about a month ago. A few minor changes were made since these pics. (Fluorescent Orange Border, Name Plate, PCB Plate and Left/Right Sides. Using a salvaged 360 TE PCB)

Here’s probably a better closeup of the PCB holders and wire hook in action. Just using zip ties to keep them in place.

**And last, but not least, here are what I call “Side Decors”. Here’s a sample of Acrylic shapes that can be screwed on to the side panels to further express yourself.

**They will come in pairs so you can apply them corner to corner, or a piece per side. Or use two sets and have them corner to corner on opposite sides.

Apply them anywhere on the sides of the case, where room permits. Obviously if the area has buttons, these won’t fit that area.

Other Side Decor colors and shapes will be made available.

Finally, those are all the pics I have so far =). I will post more pics of other various colors when I have time. (I want to take pics of the lighter colors, and when I restock Fluorescent Blue. Also with opaque colors, and etching samples).

Here are some more highlights and details:

*** Size: L 13 1/2" x W 8 1/2" x H 2 1/4". Height is about 2 1/2" with feet.

  • Weight: Just case is 2.35 lbs; With JLF, Buttons and TE PCB is about 3.5 lbs (will obviously vary)

  • Everything is put together by screws and what I call “Diamond Joints”. There is absolutely no “gluing” or acrylic bonding agents needed.

  • Because no permanent bonding is used, all parts can be easily swapped and changed to fit your style. Also, if by some unfortunate accident a part of the case gets damaged, you can simply replace the damaged part with a new one rather than worrying about replacing the entire case.

  • Your personal Name Plate, cut with a short text of your choice. Not etched, actual cut through the acrylic.

  • Top and Bottom panels are extended out past the rectangular outline of the case with rounded corners. This prevents issues with sharp corners.

  • Popular button configurations will be available (ie: Vewlix, Blast City, T5, Midway, Capcom, etc).

  • Various button options for the left/right side panels, as well as front panel including neutrik setup.

  • Most parts will have etching options.

  • Thin plexi and Artwork options available for top, bottom and sides.

  • All pieces (except for diamond joints) are made with 1/8" acrylic so more colors can be available. (Majority of colors are more readily available in 1/8" thickness)

  • PCB holders and wire loops to help with PCB and Wire organization. **

So that’s it for now. Hope you guys are excited as I am =). I will showcase more on etching and other color combos when I get a chance. I will be working on an instructional video to show how everything is put together. Hopefully I’ll get that up within a week or two.

I have also asked a few experienced modders to be testers and when they get the first cases they can share their personal experiences. But from my personal experience, and one other’s, the results have been great!

Thanks again for everyone’s support =). And shout out to parabellum, where ever you are buddy, thanks for giving me a challenge ;).

Got Questions? Look at the bottom post first.

Questions and Answers

Updated 6/07/10
Saving this spot for some Q&A?s:

New Details on Adding weight to the case

Q: The cases seem a little on the light side. Are there options to add weight to it?
A: I’ve just added that option. Please look at post#241 for more details:

Q: How much???
A: Staying true to the initial goal and suggestion by Parrabellum, the base cost of an ?All Clear? case will be $60. Various options (colors, etchings, etc) will be extra.

Q: When and Where will they be available?
A: I won?t have a chance to update my site with all the necessary details and get into production until after EVO and Comic Con. So I?m aiming for mid to late August. When they are available they will be updated on my website:

Q: Do the cases come assembled or unassembled?
A: The cases come unassembled. Time saved on labor is money saved for you. I ?might? offer an assembling option for an additional fee? I?m still thinking about it. I would suggest that it?s actually a fun experience to put everything together yourself. And when you start putting the pcb/wires together you may have to take some parts out anyway. But I understand some people would like the extra convenience. If I feel I can offer this service I will make it an option.

Q: Are you going to make complete fightsticks with all the internal components, etc.
A: Negative. I don?t have much padhacking/dual modding experience so I won?t be offering a service I?m not actually good at. Gonna leave that to the pros. If I ever partner with someone who is capable of adding that service to my line-up then I certainly will. But that?s going to be much later down the road.

Q: What colors will be offered?
A: To start off, all 1/8" colors currently available on my website will be offered. I will be looking into other opaque colors to see how they turnout. I’m currently looking for Transparent Purple… pretty hard to get through my supplier for some reason.

Q: Will there be other cases available in the future? Larger cases, different designs, etc?
A: I plan on it. If these cases do well then I will have the incentive to work on other designs, all with the simple DIY concept.

Q: Will you ship international?
A: Yes, just like all my other products there will be an international shipping option. But shipping 3lbs USPS international Priority is not gonna be cheap.

Q: Can I be a tester?
A: Sorry, I’ve already filled up my allotted test spots.

Q: How sturdy is the top panel? That is, does it bow due to the 1/8" thickness? Have you stress tested the case and check for cracks around the screw holes?
A: The top panel is essentially the same concept behind the Plexi Replacements for the TE and HRAP. Thus far I have had no reports of issues with this thickness being used as a top panel. Furthermore, one of my testers have suggested to me that he feels the overall construction, when everything is put together, is quite sturdy.
Basically, these cases are the outcome of the positive results from the Plexi Replacement Panels and Top Loaders products. You can see the stress test of the plexi-panels here, near the end of the video: [media=youtube]MLVM4Fokyxs[/media]

Q: Can the top panel withstand heavy bashing when I get into a crazed rage?
A: I can tell you that the top panel can withstand a good deal of button mashing and heavy joystick handling. However, I would not suggest going on a frenzy and doing a “Hulk-Smash” to the panel. Please understand that although these are very functional cases, they are not to be compared with hardwood or metal panels. For example, you could have an elegant looking glass display case. It’s fully functional, looks great, unique and makes your displayed collections look good. But you don’t want to store bowling balls and weight sets on it like you would on a full metal shelf. So please consider these cases will have their limitations, but they are fit for gaming. You tube videos of my Plexi-Replacement panels will demonstrate it’s sturdiness (as mentioned right above this answer). I will post videos and samples of these cases in action soon as I get them.

Q: What about LS-32 or LS-32-01 support?
A:The screw hole positioning for the JLF mount actually fits a LS-32 metal mounting plate. It takes a little more effort for alignment because of the way the corner screw areas are made. I have some pictures of my LS-32 on a panel.

As for plexi mounts for the LS-32, I’ll have to look into it. I would need to know the screw size and threading on the LS-32 to provide the right screws for the plexi since I won’t be counter sinking the mount.
As for the LS-32-01, I will look into it soon as I get my new order of LS parts in.

Q: Will there be a HAPP version?
A: I definitely have plans on it. Still want to see how well these cases do first, but they are certainly on my mind.

Q: Universal Mounting?
A: I will look into this, but it’ll be much later.

Q: What about 8 button layouts, and other customizations?
A: The samples only show some 6 button versions, but the cases are designed with 8 buttons and other configurations in mind. I will showcase other button setups soon as I get more pics. As for more customized setups, I will have to get back to you guys on that. I initially wanted to use the Custom Panel builder for these cases, but for the first phase of production I’m going to use pre-set configurations and work on the custom panel a little later.

Q: Are the screw holes pre-tapped?
A: Yes, holes are pre-tapped on the Diamond joints and joystick screw holes on the top cover.

Q: Are the screw holes prone to stripping due to repeated unscrewing and screwing?
A: In the long run, yes this can be an issue if some care is not taken with repeated screwing. As in, forcing it in too much, using power tools, over screwing, etc. The same precautions I placed on the Plexi Replacement Panels and Top Loaders will be mentioned on these cases. At least with my experience, screwing and unscrewing these cases like mad in all my testing, I haven’t encountered stripping yet. But to prepare for that possibility and to provide customers with a peace of mind, I do plan to include an extra one or two more diamond joints per case. Additionally, they are easy to replace if something unfortunate happens to them and you use up the extra ones.

Q: Will there be anyway to increase the weight of the sticks?
A: I do have an idea to convert the side panels with an open slot to potentially place weights in them. I’ll have to do some testing on that idea.

Q: Looking for Purple Plexiglass. You got any?
A: Just got some in! Check it out here:

these look awesome! will be getting one once they are available.

Wow, these look AMAZING. I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into the design and function of these cases. I’ll def be keeping an eye on this thread and the flatpack will hopefully mean international shipping isn’t too bad.

Count me in as well, Art. I’ll be ordering as soon as they’re available.

Seriously. The modular scheme you came up with is genius! Bravo, sir!

Good stuff Art Hong, I’m glad that the contributions have help made it possible for you to make something amazing like this. :smiley:

Art, you have outdone yourself again. This is insane. Good stuff.

Took the words right out of my mouth. I assume these are quite sturdy?

Holy crap…

I assume the parts are Japanese only?

Once I finish my current project and decide what parts I want to stick with if I choose Jap parts I will be buying one for certain.

As an aside, I hope your still planning to do the laminate prints for SEs and such. Got some people asking me for a source because I hate dealing with that.

count me in for a couple once you’re up and running. these are simply AMAZING

My other half has a question but he’s not on here so I’ll ask for him.

Are you able to get UV reactive acrylic? (Most Acrylics are UV reactive anyway but some do it better than others so you might be surprised that some of yours might XD)

I’d also put out a little care leaflet with it since acrylic (You probably know this because you’re working with it) can get sundamaged so a little note to keep it out of the light. You know it’ll probably happen where someone’ll buy it, leave it out then bitch at you for it.

I will definitely be buying one of these from you, they’re gorgeous!

Friggin Incredible Dude!!! Jaw is on the floor!
I can imagine the amount of excess acrylic you must have lying around. You might want to invest in a acrylic melter/molder.

Few Questions:

How’s the durability in these cases?

Say you have children who like to touch stuff when daddy isn’t around and they drop it from like 3 ft height, will these things take a beating and keep on ticking?

What about scratch resistance and longevity in terms of long hours of play and pounding on the buttons, etc?

Finally, how do they hold up with weather conditions? Places like the south where it is warmer for the most part of the year and other areas where it gets ridiculously cold? Will they react well under these conditions or will they be in danger of cracking and stuff due to these conditions?

Acrylic is scratch resistant whereas polycarbonate has a higher chance of being scratched.

So very cool. You may be getting more of my money once these are good to go.

WOW! I’ve tried making an all plexi case and have come up with only a decent outcome.These cases take the cake!!! I can just imagine the work that was put into it. Very impressive, i may be lining up to purchase one of these…

Shame I just bought a cab, I’d have snapped one of these up!

Hell, I might get one anyway if the price is right. :slight_smile:

Amazing Art, I can’t say anything else about those. Well it seems like you have solved the what stick should i buy next problem. It just seems though you always find a way into my wallet lol. Do you think there is going to be any love for the LS-32-01?

the stick building community is so lucky to have a guy like Art. for a niche market to have somebody offering professional quality as such reasonable prices is a godsend. prepare to see these popping up like TEs in the custom stick thread.

It seems Art might need a few local trustworthy employees… a sign of success. =]