Custom arcade stick research


Hello all, I’ve been lurking for awhile and decided to register. I decided to make my own arcade stick and been looking at some production ones, but none of the (aesthetic) styles really suit me. I have an industrial design degree (product design) so I figured, why not design my own? For now it is a personal one-off project.

Any ways, I’m treating this personal project as a potential limited production run (hand built). I know what I want, but it’s important what others want as well. I guess that’s why I started this thread.

The 1st question is: How important is it to customize the faceplate (artwork). If the overall product is nicely designed, will you still want to put a custom artwork over top of it?

I have some renderings I can show in a bit. Thanks! ~Nick


customizable faceplate should always be an option, just look at every stick out there. People want it or will find a way to do it.

Secondly hows that degree working out for you? You working on any career projects or hired at an ID firm? I’m trying to pursue the same degree.


It should be obvious from the number of customized sticks out that that changeable top panel art is a must.


Custom art, choice of layout, make sure it’s sturdy and comfortable to play on.


Most importantly you must observe the 6 month 50 post rule before trying to sell anything on this website, or risk being suspended. Just letting you know.

So long as the top panel is flat, one could get a custom graphic printed from I’d say that most people want to be able to put custom artwork to have a truly unique personalized stick, the whole point of getting a custom. Otherwise they would just get a TE, HRAP, or Virtua Stick High Grade because they are economical and mass produced. You should check out what NHTran328 was doing with his CNC aluminum cases and how it panned out for him. It all comes down to prices for most people. Also Voltech in the trading outlet makes some really nice cases as well. We used to have satek and luckyday make economical cases. You will find that if you start building cases and announce what it is people will be very opinionated on your design and may be different from what you may find ideal.

In all honesty I think the custom stick market is saturated, so unless you are doing something all metal or super unique outstanding while keeping costs and practicality in mind you might find it hard to sell a stick case.


sorry if this question is kinda irrelavent to the thread but its also about custom arcade stick research. ive been wanting to build a custom stick straight from scratch for awhile now and have been doing research as well. i was jus wondering. i see a lot of people put in xbox 360 fightpad PCBs in their custom built sticks. is this because it is the easiest thing to do or just because they want it to be compatible with xbox 360?


FunkyP, I just graduated a few months ago. Job-wise, it never was an easy job to find, can’t just open up the classifieds to search an ID job. You may have to move to a better city to find one. I personally like the career, though doing small contract jobs for now. If it’s your passion then pursue it IMO.

I’m not planning on selling anything anytime soon (I’m aware of the rules, no worries), so far making a one-off for myself but designing it for ease of fabrication in case I decide to make more later on?? I’ve seen NHTran328, B15SDM and a few others’ custom cases. The direction I was going for is a bit different from what I’ve seen so far, custom or production cases.

Here’s some 3d renderings of what I’ve been doing. Honest feedback would be appreciated; if it sucks, tell me why. Dimensions and button placements not finalized so will vary (haven’t received parts yet to see clearance measurements). Personally I’m leaning towards ideas #6d and #8c




#6a, #6d

#6b, #6c

#7, #8

#8b, #8c


They certainly look cool and are rendered really nicely. Very nice shape. Reminiscent of a Namco.

I would say that you would have trouble selling any stick that wasn’t in a Vewlix or Astro City Layout. Many people do not like 8 buttons on the face of the stick. I would move the right 2 to the top right.

Also the joystick being high, and in the corner. If one where to push up on the joystick laying on a flat surface, the stick base may tend to want to tip upwards because that bevel on the bottom rear like #3 will encourage the base to rock. I suggest moving the stick closer to the center of balance

For some the stick may be too close to the left edge. There are a lot of different hand grips, and some of them will have the palm or blade of the hand resting uncomfortably along the left edge.

Also what material are they to be made of? If plastic there may be stability issues if it is too light. That is the reason why many people like heavy sticks. So long as you are strong enough to carry the stick, it can never be too heavy. A light stick will tend to slide around on a playing surface more often than one that is heavy or has a large base.

Also on top of that, you should check out this popular multi-console stick mod. If somebody wanted to add a Neutrik RJ-45 jack as an option, it might be good to have a a 24mm button hole that can be plugged if not used for that purpose.


If you plan to make those #8s out of metal, I’ll start saving. The corners looks scary/sharp & can cut skin easy, not to mention if you drop that on your foot. The joystick position is fine since there’s a lot of palm rest but make sure it’s heavy enough. A universal/customizable case to host various parts (PCBs, joysticks, buttons & wires) will be a real good contender, like Art’s upcoming case.


how bout custom tops

as in you can change the top panel entirely

or even quick swap stick or buttons.


I want to echo rtdzign’s comments about the layout. You’re using a really awkward, non-standard layout. The stick is also not centered well with the buttons. Check out blast city or vewlix layouts (you can find them at slagcoin).

Also, the cases look like they might be too thin to properly mount a JLF.


The upward slope of the panel is stylish but looks like very bad ergonomics. Assuming that you’re going to have the stick in your lap, I think you’ll end up with nightmarish wrist injuries from having them bent upward.


People use fightpads because there is no way to circumvent the Xbox 360 security chip. Fightpads are easy to padhack, no trigger inversions or resistors needed, and there’s also the fact that they are common ground. Padhacking a pad is the only way for custom sticks to be 360 compatible. Or else, they have to use one from a madcatz stick.

On topic, be able to offer 6/8 buttons layouts apiece. As rtdzign said, Astro City or Vewlix are the choice of most people. The 6 button is made by removing the last two of 8 button. It’s cooler.

The incline is a nice touch, but it may be a bit too steep. I like the decline to hide the buttons. But also be able to offer 3 24mm holes, two for start/select, one for NAUSB/RJ-45, or all three for start/select, and home.

Weight is important. Offer rubber feet with the case, if you can.

Mounting is also important. Be able to fit a Sanwa JLF and LS-32 in the same case. Universal mounting would be nice.

Also, some screws on the top flat panel would be cool. people like to put plexiglass on. But the decline in shape is cool.

Though the pushbuttons don’t seem to be an issue, I’d say be able to fit PS-14-KN buttons in the case, they’ve got about the longest threads out there. Leave some space that we can crimp on quick disconnects and have space for wire.

Be able to minimally have enough space that you can fit MC Cthulhu, padhacked 360 PCB (Preferably madcatz 4716), and Imp PCBs all in the same case. Many people like this.


Thanks for the feedback. As mentioned before, button placements and dimensions will change as I don’t have parts yet to prototype. I did not consider about the angle when placing it on your lap, which I’m glad it was mentioned. I always used my sticks on a table so never would have thought of that issue. It was angled for ergonomic use while on a table top, but I think I have an idea to make it adjustable for both table and lap. I’m also aware of the weight issue, I’ve had my share of bad sticks in the past.

My parts should hopefully be in this week, then I can start prototyping and such!


Good luck with the designs and prototypes. Always refreshing to see a different take on things.


Use Astro City 1p layout and you’ll sell many. :slight_smile:


Well I prefer a regular vewlix lay-out or something and the wedge is too much at an angle for it to play comfortably in a lap I’d say. I like the idea of a symmetrical design on the side though but it needs work. I notice others already mentioned it but hey just my thoughts.

Also being completely honest it looks like a designer of half-baked computer accesories tried his hand at sticks, no offense but some of them just have this air of ‘cheaply built’ to me already for some reason. Just this itchy feeling I get, don’t take it too literal.
Go for #6 and change the lay-out and slope.


"have an industrial design degree"
is that like a civil engineer?


I’m just doing some quick prototype mockups and so far, contrary to what I would have thought, it seems more comfortable to have an angled surface when playing on your lap. I think it’s because your wrist are lower so your wrist actually remains straight. On a flat surface you’ll have to make your entire arm higher to rest on the higher surface, actually making your wrist bend downwards slightly. I’ll still look at some anthropometric chart to find the best angle, boring technical stuff…

I thought of one feature and was curious if it would be beneficial, or is it just me that have this issue? Would making the joystick’s angle adjustable be helpful? I know sometimes my “up” is slightly different from the stick’s “up” and have to change my arm positioning to something less comfortable to tune myself with the stick’s alignment. IE: Able to change the “up” from 0 degree to +6 degrees.


You can always have a tilt clips like they have on keyboards.