Box design for stick, experts please help

Introduction: (You can skip if you want)

Hi, this is my first post here. I’ve recently got into Street Fighter 3rd Strike, and will eventually get SF4 for pc when it comes out. Currently I’ve been using the ps2 controller, but after seeing many awesome homemade arcade sticks here I’ve decided I may try and build one myself. I’ve been reading a lot of websites about how to make one, but I’d appreciate your guys help on seeing if my plans would work out. Thanks!

I made a top down view and side view (side facing you if you were playing) diagram in photoshop. It is not to scale or anything, although I did add in a few measurements. I would like to know if these look like they would work with the parts I am ordering and the overall structure will be stable. One last note. I do not have a router :sweat: I plan to do most everything with a jigsaw and a hole saw bit for a drill for big holes (30mm etc). Anyways here’s the diagrams. I will try and explain below some things about them.

Top down view :

Again this is not to scale. All of the black area’s represent the wood which will be a 1/2 inch thick. The total length and width is 14"x10", which means the top plexiglass (you will see below) will be 13"x9". I think this will equate to enough room as I have seen a few similar looking models.

A couple questions for you are:

  1. If I was to glue those half inch pieces of wood to the sides (you can see them in the corners and half way points) would that provide enough stability to mount the control panel onto? I’ve heard that wood glue is actually stronger than the wood itself, so I think it should work.

  2. On the right side there are two buttons that are supposed to represent screw in style 24mm buttons on the side (start and select). Something similar to this (I may end up buying) I do not think those will allow enough room to be screwed tight to a 1/2 inch board, am I right? I may need to do something like this?
    The position of those 2 buttons isn’t final. They may need to be moved down to not interfere with the 6 buttons on top. I just placed them there for now though. When it comes to the actual build I will analyze it more.

Side View (side facing you while playing) :

A few questions for you are:

  1. As you can see I’ll be doing the top mounting for a Sanwa JLF. Since I have no router I decided I may be able to bypass that by making a hole in the original control panel (1/2") and glueing ontop of that a 1/8" piece of wood with more cut out so it can mount to the control panel, and the metal mount won’t stick out, or rather will be flush. I’m not sure they even sell wood that thin :looney: I’m not a wood worker, perhaps if not I could use some sort of thin plastic.
    So if the plate is mounted on the control panel, it will be 1/4" away from the top of the plexi glass (according to the diagram). Is this to much space? I know it needs a certain amount to move freely, although I’m not sure exactly what that is.

4.Does anyone know how much space I have to work with on a Sanwa JLF TP 8T from the base of the mounting plate to the bottom of the whole unit? I think I read somewhere that 1.75" is enough. Although I’d like to have a solid number before actually ordering it and measuring myself.

  1. I’m going to be drilling using a hole saw, and the top will be either plexiglass or lexan, I’m unsure which is easiest to drill through without cracking or chipping. Side note I think may be self explanatory, the image i print will be between the two 1/8" sheets.

Sorry for taking up this big post, but I hope that it is easy to follow. I’ve tried to organize it to bold numbered questions, reply to the numbers if you want, or what ever you would like. I am looking for any opinions!

Thanks alot!

Looks similiar to what I am doing at the moment, I would be very interested to see these questions answered aswell :slight_smile: Might learn a thing or two…

If you ask TheRealNeoGeo nicely, he may be willing to take measurements of the stick you are interested in (pending that you order it from him of course).

See his thread on Akihabara shop orders for more info on him and the shop.

  1. If you use good Adhesive. No cheap stuff. Yes it should be fine. I used no nails wood adhesive on my control box… And it’s solid. (mdf).

  2. I think what you’re saying is that the thickness of the sides of the controller box, will be too thick for the 24mm screw in buttons?. Well if that is the case you can just chisel from the inside to make that area thinner.

  3. What I reocmmend is that you just get a nice thick piece of mdf. 18+mm. And then put the mounting plate for your jlf on the underside of the panel. Draw around it. And then chisel away untill it’s at about 5mm. It shoudln’t even take a hour to do as MDF is so easy to work with. then sand it down, this shoudl take 30 mins for a nice finish. This way you get a nice weighty top panel. Not sure about the idea you had though, but that’s how I would do it.

  4. I haven’t measure but I think it’s about 30-40mm.

Don’t use glue only for the sides. I recommend doing a reinforced butt joint, so pretty much stick a piece of wood in the corner and drill into the 2 cornering wood pieces. This also gives you a spot to drill the control panel into.

Lexan is stronger than plexi, but it scratches, however it does not chip/crack. Exactly the opposite of plexi, which doesn’t scratch but could chip/crack.

This is just from my research and what I did for my first stick.

For the side buttons, you could pick up a forstner bit that’s larger than the outside of the buttons, and use it to make a ~1/4" recess for them. You should be able to screw a Seimitsu or Sanwa button in fine on the remaining 1/4" or so.

Rather than a 1/8" piece of wood on top of your 1/2" top piece, just use another sheet of plexi. Mount your top panel 1/4" lower than the sides, cut holes larger than your buttons (36mm for screws, need at least a 1 7/16" hole, if not a 1 1/2" hole) and a hole for the shape of the body of the joystick but not the mounting plate. Then cut one piece of plexi like this, with the shape of the mounting plate only, and 30mm holes:

Then, lay your art on that, and then the final piece of plexi, cut like this:

You want both sheets of plexi to have the same size button holes, so that the screws on the inside are tightening against the plexi, and not your art. Also, it goes without saying but the plexi like that isn’t secured to the top in any way, so you’ll need to drill holes in the corners and screw it to the case.

  1. Just use an inner square that goes around the entire inside to mount the panel too. That way you don’t have to worry about it not being strong enough, but if you want to use little blocks it should be fine also. That’s true about wood glue though, just be sure to clamp them all very tight when you glue it to make sure the bond is good.

  2. Instead of using 1/2" wood to mount the side buttons I would use 2 pieces that are 1/4" each. Drill the outer one 30mm and the inner one 24mm. Glue them together and you will have flush mounted buttons.

  3. 1/4" from the control panel to the mouting plate is actually not ideal. It should be slightly more than that, but it will work fine.

  4. Use Lexan and you can drill with a hole saw. Just be sure to clamp it to a scrap piece of wood on the bottom of it to keep it stable.

1.75" should definitely be ok. I believe it’s 1.44" to the bottom of the stick so 1.75 allows for a little extra room just to be on the safe side.

Your design looks good it will work fine. Seimitsu buttons are long enough to be mounted in a1/2" panel Sanwa’s on the other hand are too short. Bakageta has the right idea.

Thanks for your fast replies guys!

That’s pretty much the idea I was going for basically 2 layers. The reason I stated I would like to use a 1/8" piece of wood instead of plexi is that I’ve read (like someone posted above) is that plexi is not easy to drill into. Thank you for the measurements/diagrams though.

Thanks for the 1.44" measurement :slight_smile:
Also I like your idea about the two 1/4" boards to make it flush thanks!
I’m not sure if I’m misunderstanding you, or you misunderstood me about question 3. What I meant was the top of the plexi to the bottom of the mounting plate will be 1/4". So basically the shaft of the joystick will be 1/4" shorter than it would be had I mounted it directly on the surface of the plexi (not that I’d do that! lol)

Thanks to the rest of you as well.

Sorry for my crude drawing, but am I understanding this right?

I mostly mentioned both as plexi if you’re not able to find 1/8" wood handy, you mentioned it as a concern. As someone else mentioned, Lexan is easier to work with, but does show wear a bit as time goes on. Either way, make sure both pieces have the same size button holes, so you don’t end up tightening the buttons to the art. If you do use wood for the lower panel, you could countersink the screws to hold it down, and then not have any screws showing for the plexi, just the buttons screwing it to the wood.

As for the joystick being 1/4" under the surface, I believe the standard mounting depth is ~9mm, or roughly 3/8". Your stick will be marginally taller than that, but it’s not a huge difference. If you really feel up to it, you could do 3 of the 1/8" layers: Mount the stick directly on top of your 1/2" top, which is 3/8" lower than the sides. Mount a piece of plexi or wood with a notch cut out the size of the JLF mounting plate, and larger holes than the buttons, around 1 1/2" (if the button holes this large overlap and cut out the center lattice that’s fine, this isn’t for support). Then mount two pieces of plexi (or one plexi one wood) with a joystick shaft hole and buttons holes at 30mm. As above, if you use wood for the lower two layers you could countersink the screws and have a screwless top, or drill through the plexi in the corners to mount it.

That seems hard to understand as written, so I’ll draw up a quick pic in just a sec.

If you go with Plexiglass and are worried about it chipping when being cut, try to work your case around the size of sheet you can get cut professionally. Try calling your local hardware store, see if they stock it and if they cut to size. If not, get the most suitable piece. Hardware store here doesn’t cut to size, but stocks 8"x10" sheets which are perfect.

When drilling holes in plexi, cover the area you’re drilling with masking tape and you should be able to avoid cracking or chipping. Use a regular drill and an all purpose or woodworking hole saw.

Yeah I understand you. What I’m saying is that there is meant to be a gap between the mounting plate and the top of the plexi. If you mounted it directly on the top of the plexi it would be too high. There is meant to be about a 10mm gap between the mounting plate and the top panel. That’s how the Japanese cabinets are made.

Pic, as promised:

Just a copy paste from yours, so not to scale, but the thick pieces would be 1/2" and the thin pieces would be 1/8". That would give you a distance from the top of the plate to the top of the panel of around 8mm. Alternatively, the lowest of the three layers could be a 1/4", sticking with two 1/8" on top of that. It would give you a distance from the top of the mounting plate to the top of the panel of ~11mm. One of those two are about as close as you’ll get to the proper height without a router.

Thanks guys, I’ll try and go to home depot tomorrow and see what they have to sell, and decide on which way I should go about the box :slight_smile:

Hey guys, sorry for the double post, but I’ve got another question before I go to home depot. Is something like this possible to glue? Seems like it would be hell to try and clamp it. It would be half inch wood with half inch quarter round molding. It would give it a nice touch for the top, and it wouldn’t matter that the grain doesn’t match up because I plan to paint this box. Id rather not use any screws or nails either :frowning:


I would imagine the best way to go about achieving the result you are after is to use a router with a round over bit. If you don’t have one then I would say you might be able to get something like that clamped if you were to sandwich it while laying it flat on its back on a table. However, depending on how much rounding you are doing, you might risk mucking up the thin edge of the rounded piece during clamping. Plus, it probably will be a hassle to clamp it without a good solid side for the clamp or block of wood to snug up against.

I agree, a router makes rounded edges effortless.

This is a great thread since I’m very curious about these particular dimensions myself.

The one question I have is what is the absolute standard distance between the top of the mounting plate to the top of the panel? If you could do any range, between 8 and 11, is 9 the best?