Making my First Fight Stick

I’m hanging out at my dad’s house here in Florida for about the next 3 or 4 weeks, and I’m bored.

Anyways, I was playing project Touhou. Normally I’d use my Hori Pro stick, but that thing is too huge to carry around, so I left it at home. Also, back at school (university) I like using my stick in the dorm lounge, but the thing is a pain to lug around. So, I’ve decided to make myself a tiny, portable stick that will fit in my laptop bag.

So, where should I get started? I know the,re are a lot of guides, and I’ve went through some, (I just finished one on getting a mirror finish on wood,) but can someone help point me the right direction? Anyone have any tips? Like: How I can find a local retailer that might sell arcade parts, or how to get a stick to work with a PS3?

Anyways~ Thank you gals and guys! I’ll post pics when I finish it!

You can buy parts from

They have Japanese joysticks and buttons, and also MC Cthulhu which works with most known consoles besides 360 and DC.

Well… depending on what tools and stuff you have access to… you could make your own stick, buy an SE and mod it, buy an HRAP shell, and put in your own controls… but as for local retailers ? - most will have HAPP parts ( I like them, but most dont, I use a Sanwa stick and buttons in my sticks, but a Happ set in my test box). A quick google search for arcade machine repairs will help you find something locally, but Lizardlick ships pretty fast, so dont sleep on them.

You could make a case like this -

Nice and cheap, easy to make and you dont even have to do the rounded edges and stuff.

Just some supporting thoughts, good luck.

Here’s a ROUGH guide of what you need, you can choose a lot of things to your preference. There’s a multitude of options, as you’ll soon see.

1 Joystick w/ balltop/bat top + wiring harness; usually included (Most common are Sanwa JLF or Seimitsu LS-32s, each differ in sensitivity, I prefer the JLF because there is the option for an octagonal gate) Balltops come in 3 varieties; bubbletop (more transparent with bubbles in the ball), meshball (textured), and standard balltops. Bat tops are an option, as well. They’re a different shape, but an option.

6/8 pushbuttons of your choice, usually 30mm (Sanwa OSBF-30s are the “snap in” standard used in Madcatz TE sticks. Sanwa Screw ins are available, model OSBN-30s. Alternatively, Seimitsu PS-15s for snap in seimitsu buttons, or Seimitsu PS-14-GNs. Alternatively, for transparent buttons, check out Seimitsu PS-14-Ks (retired snap in) or Seimitsu PS-14-KNs (screw in) These are liked amongst the community because you can put artowrk in them)

Usually 2 24mm buttons for Start/Select Again, Sanwa OSBN or OSBFs/ Seimitsu PK (Optional, dedicated home button. Usually 30mm Pretty much required for any 360 stick)

1 USB wire or wire to system. Self-explanitory.

1 Printed Circuit Board (PCB). Most common are either a madcatz PCB gutted from a madcatz 360 controller (as they have yet to be made by the community), or a Cthulu PCB for PS3. The Cthulu also has an MC version that supports all versions of the PLayStation, as well as Xbox, gamecube, and a few others. Meaning it functions on Wii that supports Gamecube controllers (Such as TvC or Smash Bros. The MC also features smash Bros controls). ChImp boards are a Cthulu board with spaces that can automatically detect a 360 controller connected to it, and allow it to be dual modded with only 2 boards and no switches needed. However, there is and won’t be an MC ChImp. But it is still possible to dualmod with an MC cthulu, but it requires an Imp board. If this sounds complicated, let me break down what you wanna buy;
PS3 only:Cthulu. ChImp is an option. The kit costs the same as the PS3-only Cthulu, but you can dualmod your system later much easier with a ChImp than a Cthulu. ChImp does NOT require a 360 PCB to work.
360 only:Madcatz controller, gut PCB (Do NOT use official Microsoft controllers. They are not common ground in the triggers, and are also more expensive. Plus you’ll have to spend more making them common ground with some of the options out there. JUst stick to the madcatz board. Save yourself money, time, and trouble)
PS3+360:ChImp + madcatz controller
PSX, PS2, PS3, GCN, Xbox (ORIGINAL), and a few others: MC Cthulu
All of the above + 360: Madcatz fightpad, Imp (NOT ChImp), and MC Cthulu

Wire. 22 AWG is the choice of the community. Higher gauges are smaller and easier to work with smaller parts, but quick disconnects usually can’t be used for anything smaller than 22 AWG. Braided tends to have less pull and resistance, but is harder to solder with (requires tinning in most cases), while solid core is easier to work with, but can be annoying because it has to be bent, as opposed to braided wire, which really doesn’t have to be bent. Your Choice. Both work.

1 Case. Style, button layout, etc. up to you. Most commonly modded is the Madcatz TE, followed by the SE. COmes with its own case as WELL as a PCB of your choice. I recommend a 360 version if you even have the slightest thought about using it for 360, even if you’re like me and play on PS3. I just like my dual modded stick so that I will never have a problem with systems if I go to a tourney/friend’s house.


Quick disconnects. This is the reason why most stick builders choose 22 gauge AWG. Allows you to put wires to the back of a pushbutton and be able to quickly pop them out. Also makes wiring sticks a bit easier. They’re not needed, but get 2 for each button, regardless of size (including start/select/home). .110" is the size of the lugs of all buttons mentioned

LED lights. Requires transparent buttons. VERY advanced mod. Requires much more than just LED lights. Not recommended for the faint of heart. (But TOTALLY WORTH IT)

Wireless adapters. This is an option if you wanna make a wireless stick. Most commonly used is the AXISdapter for PS3. Snaps into the back of your PS3 SIXAXIS (Or early model Dualshock 3s, the latest versions don’t work), and wire it into your stick to acieve wireless nirvana. 360 wireless mods are QUITE a bit more difficult, require an official microsoft 360 controller (the only wireless ones out there), which is hard to work with, as the triggers are not common ground, and a wireless dualmod is certainly not recommended for the faint of heart.

Neutrik adapters. Require an additional 24mm (or 15/16") hole on the case. Most commonly used are the USB A/B feed through and the RJ45 (ethernet cable). USB for PS3 and 360 dualmods, and the RJ45 for MC Cthulu variants (Will require you to make your own Ethernet/RJ45>USB A Male, RJ45>GCN RJ45>any other systems you’ll be making them for). The RJ45 is a bit technical, but totally worth it if you want to have every system of this and last generation covered in one stick. The USB feed through is perfect for the Cthulu or 360 boards. On the inside, plug (or solder) a USB A/B cable (“printer cable”) to the female A of the Neutrik, and screw it on to expose the female USB B end on the exterior of the stick. By using the USB feed through, you can have the option to carry your stick around without the wire sticking out. You’ll just need a USB A/B (“printer cable”) to plug into your stick to go to the system. An RJ45 is pretty much a requirement with ANY MC Cthulu set up…

Octagonal gate. A personal preference of mine. All sticks come with a stock square gate. Note, Square does NOT mean 4 way. A square gate means you’ll have a slightly different feel when moving the stick around. It’s hard to describe the difference, but definitely worth shelling out $5 to give it a try if you’re buying a JLF. NOTE: LS-32s do NOT have an octagonal gate option. You could make the gate for them, but if you really aren’t a hardcore Seimitsu fan, I’d just stick with the JLF.

Artwork. Not neccesary. Tons of guides are out there on how to do it, as well as plexiglass options for the most common sticks.

I think this about does it for what you need. ALL of this can be purchased at Lizard Lick (, barring the case you want to use. I hope I didn’t scare you with all of the info and options, just didn’t want to leave any ends loose.

Meshballs are not textured.
They smooth all around.

Don’t need Seimitsu PS-15 for Snap-in.
Also available is PS-14-G.
Also available is PS-14-P.

Seimitsu PS-14-K and PS-14-KN are not needed to have art in Buttons.
Can also use Seimitsu PS-14-GN(???).

Can even put into the 24mm version; Seimitsu PS-14-DN(???).

The Wired Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller are Common Ground on the Triggers.
It is just not Common Ground to the rest of the Controller, which is just a Common Line.

Will need PNP Transistor and Resistor for each Button and Direction to make be Common Ground.
Or Hex Inverter and Analog Switch or Optocoupler and Resister or whatever other ways.

On a Wireless Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller though, everything but the Triggers are Common Ground.
The Triggers on the Controller are a Common Line.

These can be used in Dual Mod if want Wireless Xbox 360.
Just need to do the Trigger Hack if want 8-Buttons, if want 6-Buttons, then don’t do Trigger Hack.
Dual Mod with SIXAXIS and Wireless Xbox 360 is possible too.
With the Leo Board from Gummowned, it turns the SIXAXIS to be Common Ground.
And with the Leo Board from Gummowned it also Trigger Hacks the Wireless Xbox 360 Controller.

^What he said. jdm>>me. But most of what he mentions are options.

Was trying not to scare the guy with hex inverters and PNP transistors for something that’s totally optional.

But, I s’pose the cat’s outta the bag now.

Guh, sorry for all the mistakes. >_>. But there’s a HECK of a lot of options out there, and all the options are what make it so technical that it requires a degree of awesome to attain. A degree of awesome constitutes of electrical, art, woodworking, and fighting game skills. Sad.

Hope all the information isn’t killing you. jdm was just correcting me on where I was wrong.

If making a small portable stick like asnuff box stick, or one like mine, it is much harder to do than a full sized. I would suggest finding some sort of small container maybe a little smaller than a ream of copy paper at a thrift store to drill holes into if you are going for cheap.

One PS3 PCB you should look into is a SMD version Dual Strike from Gummowned. It can fit in practically anything.

Yes, I was just correcting you Nerrage.

Yes, the SMD Dual Strike is super tiny!

Compare to the ChImp.

Image by Gummowned.

Inside Mad Catz FightPad.

Image by Gummowned.

Maaaake me your apprentice! Lol. If anything, just some pointers on those XXXXXX you make that you’d never send me.

Whoa. Good stuff from Gunmowned. Now I feel bad for the guy who dualmodded the thing with a Cthulu and Imp. I believe that was Phreakazoid or Gunmowned himself. Don’t recall exactly.

Correct me if I’m wrong on who it was, jdm. Lulz. Oh, btw, I’m drawing up some schematics that will need to be scribbled all over and be told I’m wrong and thrown back at me, m’kay? :slight_smile:

It was Phreakazoid187 who put a Cthulhu and Imp inside Mad Catz FightPad.

And those Pla*** ssi only exist in Private Messages.
Don’t want to get caught!

M’kay. I can be right about ~60% of the time. XD. BTW, re-read the edit, it has more lulz, methinks.

Ah, M’kay. Fixed it. My bad. You’re right. Definitely need to cover up this whole thing with stick building. After all, I’m sure your remotes for launch are powered by OBSFs (Or PS-14-GNs if you’re a Seimitsu fan, like me)

Okay, I took Nerrage’s suggestion and here is my list:

1 Cthulhu Board $35
6 Sanwa OBSN-30 Buttons ($2.95)
3 Sanwas OBSN-24’s ($2.50)
1 Sanwa JoyStick JLW-TM-8 $17.95 (Does this come with a wire harness? I can’t tell…do I need to buy one?)
1 Seimitsu Bubble Ball Top $3.95

And I’m planning on building the case out of wood. So I need some of that and at least some screws. Also, do regular USB cords work?

So, what else do I need to make a fully functioning JoyStick? How big should a wooden case for the Cthulhu MC be?

If I’m going for a small controller, should I use all 25MM? And is the Cthulhu small enough for the snuff box example?


Sanwa JLW does not come or use Wire Harness.
You have to wire directly to the Microswitches.

Any USB will work.

Hmm, at Clearance :!, The Webshop for Home-Arcade Hobbyists there are some $1.99 there are some TOBSF-30’s for $1.99, worth it? Should I get those instead of the OBSN’s at lizard lick? How much harder are snap in’s are to install in a wood case? How is shipping there compared to Lizard Lick, which I hear is good?

Also, on Akihabara, they have good prices. The OBSN-30 is only 210 Yen. The 24mm is 190; If I’m making a small controller, should I just use all 24mm? Besides size, is there a difference? What about the PS-14-D-N? It’s only 180, and I’ll be using this mainly for Shmups, but I will use it for fighters occasionally.
Of course, how much is shipping at Akihabara, compared to Lizard Lick. I have to make an account before I can calculate it. Has anyone here dealt with them before?

TOBSF is just a fancy way to say “Swapped plungers” Basically, just different colors, still your OBSF-30s, just two colored.

Never tried an all 24mm stick. You’d have to completely build your own case if you wanted that. Prolly would work well with shumups, but it’s going to feel a lot different than any stick you’ve ever played on. 24mms, in short, will work, but will feel different. Also, OBSN screw in. OBSFs snap in. As long as you have a 30mm or 24mm hole, they’re both easy to install. I guess a snap in is a bit easier, just slide it in, and you’re good.

Never worked with Akihabara. I mostly prefer Lizardlick because they’re a state away and I get everything in 2 days. May be a while to get them shipped back into the states.

The MC Cthulhu is pretty small. Here are the measurements from akihabara shop (everything is in mm);

Nice! Lizard Like says that the Cthulhu requires no soldering. Is that for assembly or adjustments? Or am I not going to need soldering for wires?

Sorry for asking so many questions! It’s just that I want to get everything set before I order, and I’ve never done this before.

And~ Do 25mm take up that much less room? If I’m using MSF wood, what kind of finish should I use?

Assembly of Cthulhu requires soldering.
When say no soldering needed, it means in hooking up Joystick and Buttons.
That is because with those Screw Terminals, you would just strip a wire and insert into Terminal then screw down.

Hmm, how do snap-in’s work? I’ve heard that Snap-ins are meant for metal and plastic enclosures.

However, Cthulhus are no longer made unassembled. If you buy one from lizardlick, it will be already assembled. You can essentially do the whole deal solderless for a PS3 only Cthulhu. However, for full MC functionality, you’re gonna need to solder it to an RJ45 adapter, and also make your own controller extensions (Which is not difficult, either). rtdzign made a guide on it?

Snap ins work as the names says, by snapping in. To place, just push the button into the hole you’re using. They have two tabs on the side that push outwards to hold it in place, but are angled so that they can be pushed on. To remove, take a small screwdriver and push a tab inwards, push it up, repeat with other tab, and push up to remove. I suppose they’d be worse on thicker front plates, specifically those made of wood. Screw ins have plastic nuts that can be tightened more than enough by hand. Either work, but I’m not much of a wood user or woodworker. May just want to play it safe and get screw ins. I don’t see that there would be any problems with using snap ins, but I’ve never worked with wood cases before.

Are there options cheaper than wood cases?
I just got price quotes and shipping quotes from Lizard Lick and Gaming now. They’re going to be $87 and $82 respectively. I think I’ll go with Lizard Lick.
Though, for all that, I’m getting 9 buttons, a joy stick, and a PCB. Is there anything else I need to order? I can get MSF wood from Home Depot (Is there a cheaper alternative to wood?) and I can get a USB cord easy. Wires I can also get from Home Depot, Lowes, or even radio shack. There are screws and glue here…Is there anything I’m missing for making a functioning controller?