I literally just finished today my stick project that I’ve been working on since March. Granted, I wasn’t working every day and when I was working I was taking my time to make sure I did everything right, but it still took a very long amount of time. Be patient with it and don’t expect to get it done in a week or anything like that. I thought it would be something I could just throw together inside of Spring Break week, but I now realize that was rather silly of me.
If you have the extra material to do so, making a template for the faceplate is a very good idea. I didn’t and while my buttons turned out close enough to standard to be usable, they are very obviously too close together and it very nearly caused problems on the inside. Making a template beforehand to ensure proper alignment would have fixed that easily.
Cut practice holes in spare pieces of whatever you plan to work with before you cut the real holes so you can see what sort of effect it will have on it and if you need to go fast or slow with the drill or whatever. I probably did 20-30 practice holes in a scrap piece of lexan before I cut any of the holes in my faceplate. Pilot holes are your best friend.
As for soldering, BE PATIENT. If you try to get through it quickly, you’ll end up with poor solder points that will be more likely to break. Try not to touch the board at points you itend to solder too much with your hands, the oils can get on it and make your contacts weaker. For a single ground, you can use any ground coming from the board and just daisy-chain it to every switch. I would reccommend doing that after you quick-connect all your inputs though as it tends to get messy with ground wires going all over the place.
It’s a silly thing to not realize, but make sure you mount your joystick at a square angle. I didn’t even think about it and just sort of screwed it in place and it happened to be cocked about 45 degrees. Obviously this was a problem, and I didn’t realize it until I was entirely finished with the entire thing and went to try to play with it. It was a pain in the butt taking the whole thing apart again to redrill holes and fix it and in the process I ended up having to resolder 2 points.
I might reccommend either a magnifying glass or anything similar while soldering as it can definitely help to see better some of the smaller circuitry. An ohmmeter is an excellent idea as well to check connections. It’s such a hassle to do a bunch of soldering only to find out some of your contacts didn’t quite make the cut.
Those were pretty much all the things I found to have issues with. My experience, as one may guess, was largely learning how not to make a stick. My greatest advice would be to be patient with it and to plan out everything ahead of time. Measure twice, cut once. As they say.