Cheapest way to build an arcade stick?


Here’s the scenario. Me and a friend are hard at work to begin a fighting game club at my high school, and so far we have about 4 people set and a handful more that are interested in getting into the genre.

The problem? Only me and my friend have a stick, which isn’t exactly very productive. Ideally we want to get at least 2-3 set ups running at the same time so people aren’t always just watching. The only issue is that people aren’t going to just dish out $80+ on something they might not even enjoy, so we wanted to be able to supply sticks for these people.

And of course we don’t have much money so saving as much as we can is the key.
From what I’ve gathered, minimum cost to build a stick: Joystick - $22, 6 Buttons - $13 (Sanwa OBSF), Multi console PCB MC Cthulu - $40, Wiring - $5-10

That totals to about $90 without even getting a case. Might just opt to using a shoe box for the time being for a case…

Anyone know how I can cut costs a bit more? Hopefully I want to get it down to around like $50-60. Is that too unrealistic? Wouldn’t mind getting clone parts because of course this is for total newbies to the genre/sticks in general.


Instead of a shoebox, consider tupperware. It’s much more sturdy so it will last longer and take more abuse. I’m actually making a top secret DIY ghetto-fab stick right now that you might find interesting. PM me and I’ll fill you in. If you are thrifty it could save you about $25-30 less than a Tek-Case which, I believe, is about the cheapest case around atm. You can get Sanwa button sets from eBay on the cheap though they are likely clones. They should serve their purpose and you can probably even put Sanwa switches in them if you ever decide to upgrade a bit. You should also consider cheaper joystick options like Zippy sticks from Paradise Arcade Shop. They’re similar to LS-32 and should be ok for what you need them for.


Check out thrift stores and Hobby/Craft Stores for Wooden boxes to be used as a case. Sometimes a good large aluminum carrying case isn’t bad either.
You will need a Drill, and a 24mm drill bit and a 30mm drill bit, for wood you can use a spade or foster bit or a hole saw, in metal you have to stick with the hole saw.

P.S. DIY is not always Cheaper.

Example Hori V3 (Six button stick) can be purchased online for $40 to $60

Hell you might find one at Gamestop.


Does that V3 work on PC as well?




Great, other than the fact that it’s a total pain in the ass to sub in Sanwa parts, $60 is an amazing price.

It seems the stock Hori parts aren’t exactly terrible either so I may buy one and just keep it around for the sole purpose of letting other people use it.


The Injustice arcade stick is 40 bucks at gamestop right now, it’s not too mod friendly but that’s pretty cheap for a stick.


check your local craigslist. i found a ps3 madcatz SE w/ sanwa parts for 40 dollars the other week and also a ps3 TE for 65 a few months ago. if you talk to the seller about your fighting game club they’ll likely give you a discount. FGC people are cool like that


I guess I’ll be the first to suggest it…

You could save quite a bit by going with Happ/IL “American” style parts. Since you are offering these sticks mostly to amateurs, they likely won’t care about having that Sanwa (or comparable) precision. Not only that, but most amateur players will probably prefer Happ parts because they are what amateurs are most accustomed to.

Feel free to laugh at the suggestion if need be, but, hey, it’s definitely something to consider.


If you have a woodshop class/club at your school, maybe they can build you guys a case for free. But i think your cheapest option is to look for a stick on craigslist and swap in parts.


I actually do have a woodshop class, but I was stupid and didn’t take the course -_- might take it in my senior year (despite it being a 11th grade course) just so I can learn to work with basic tools and be able to make my own wooden case.

Will be checking craigslist too.


Alternatively, for a stick for people who are starting out, instead of getting JLFs and OBSF-30s, you might be able to scrape by at the beginning using Brawlstick or other similar imitation parts.


Yeah, you don’t really need to replace the buttons on a Brawlstick. The joystick, definitely and you can just buy a lower priced Seimitsu stick and plug it in there and you’re basically set for a while. That’s what I did with my TvC stick combined a six button Dreamcast controller.


I’d say you wouldn’t even need to replace the joystick at first. Sure, the imitation-JLF will get destroyed, but only replace it then. If people are just starting up, it’s more of the formfactor of a joystick that you want them to get used to. You’ll replace the Mad Catz fake-JLF when it breaks, but hopefully the enjoyment of playing on a stick will encourage people to buy their own arcade sticks before that happens.

Case and point: my brother and I organized a Street Fighter 4 evening at my old workplace once. I had just received my Hori Fighting Stick VX in the mail the day before, and I kept the stock parts in just so the majority of non-gamers could use it for the event before I gutted the thing completely. Everyone had a blast using it, even though the stock parts in the Hori FSVX are crap.


I’ve seen some video reviews saying the stock parts in the FSVX/V3 aren’t that bad


You could be right (I didn’t actually use the the FSVX with the stock parts myself), but I think my point still stands: I still feel that Brawlstick parts (both stick+buttons) are perfectly usable in your situation, just not as durable, especially if the intention is mainly to get people interested in the formfactor enough to entice them to invest in the hobby on their own.


Just mod a Brawlstick, custom builds are more expensive and the reason people get them usually isn’t to save money.


Can’t find any Brawlsticks locally, and on Amazon its $100. Hopefully a stock FSV3 will serve its purpose, and I might mod it eventually (I think I have to solder for the joystick though ugh)


There is no such thing as a cheap custom stick. Just go for a brawlstick and mod it, if you can find it for cheap. Knowing that you are Canadian, that might not be easy unless you look on ebay.


Yeah, there are no cheap brawlsticks out here.

Lol, I thought custom stick was akin to building a custom PC but nope… not at all.

If anyone can direct me to somewhere I can learn how to mod joystick on a V3 that’d be greately appreciated.