My First Arcade Stick - Build log, discussion

Hey guys. In this thread i will log the build of my very first arcade stick as it progress. I hope i can get you guys ideas, opinions and suggestions as i progress. I especially ask for experienced users to check my thread and help me out :slight_smile: I did scan the forum, slagcoin and internet. Also I have been making the question thread busy lately eheh. But i tend to get stuck in details and lost. I will highlight the writing of the subjects that i get stuck or need advice like this.
I have been trying to get a arcade stick for like 10 years, they were too expensive for me then(as a middle school student eheh). I am building my own because i like to do diy stuff and it will be cheaper, like cheaper than its half. A madcatz te2 is 200$. If my calculations are right, mine will cost me in total 75$ :slight_smile: That is of course, because i have all the tools needed at hand.

The progress so far:
-Get general info, slagcoin, woodworkers thread, checkout my arcadestick thread and other - Done
-Decide which parts to buy - Done
-Order the joystick and buttons from akishop - Done
-Get a sacrificial gamepad for its PCB - Done
-Design the box - In Progress 85%
-Buy the wood, sand paper etc - Pending
-Buy the plexi - Pending
-Make the box - Pending
-Design the artwork, get it printed and cut it - Pending

I researched and it seemed that seimitsu ls-58 would suit me better. I asked for which buttons to buy in question thread and i have been told to buy seimitsu again. I bought them from akijp, they are on their way from Japan :slight_smile: Here are my parts:

Yeah… This step makes me busy. Because i just can not decide on some things. Your suggestions are highly appreciated here.
Here is the layout i decided to use:

“This layout uses the standard Japanese arcade design, but the proportions are set so the buttons fit together more evenly and closely. The buttons form equilateral triangles and a square.”

I printed it and it suited my fingers better compared to vewlix. This layout basicly have 36mm spacing between buttons.

Here is a question: I have small-medium sized hands. I seem to stretch my fingers wide trying to press each button(on printed layout). Should i get those buttons closer? Like 35mm instead of 36mm. Seimitsu screw buttons allow for 35mm clearance as i see on their drawings. This is the same layout with 35mm spacing:

I still haven’t concluded on this but my current design is roughly 45cm x 22.5cm. I keep it wide to make it comfortable on lap. Trying to give it enough width to have a good amount of palm space in front o buttons. I also try to make it as slim as possible with keeping 24mm space between the control panel and bottom of joystick ball. Which gives me exactly 5cm of height.

Here is how the initial design looks like:

What do you think the space above the buttons and joystick? Isn’t this space meaningless? I mean if you have panel like on te sticks or buttons on that side you have to leave that space. But my buttons will on side. So can i get away with shaving this space? Trying to get the width as minimum as possible with having the same palm space.
This is measured 45cm x 20cm. Which one do you think is better?
I also want to know if too much palm space would be bad. How much space is the ideal?

2mm pleksi+sheet metal. I will cut pleksi with spade on a drill press. Because i doubt i will find a 24mm bore anywere so i have to buy one. Spade bit is cheapest ehe. People use it on plexi with success. Sheet metal will be cut in plasma cnc :slight_smile: My friend have access to it on his work and they have all kind of scrap metal sheets. So i do not pay a penny eheheh.
I will mount the mounting plate directly to metal sheet, using spacers to get proper height(since i dont know the thickness of the scrap sheet metal) and counter sink screws. I think it will be enough so i won’t have deal with routing a tick mdf. I hate mdf.
Here is the basic scheme:
White lines are plexi and yellow lines are metal. I assumed 5mm thick metal, but it can be 4, 3, 2 wouldn’t matter since it would still be stong and i can add as many spacers as i like. I have a stone grinding conic bit that can be used as a countersink bit, i hope.

This is it so far. I have some more things to add but i have to go. And I will continue to update as i progress.

Ok, still in the designing phase… It is about to finish, just need to design rear panel(start select buttons and cable container etc) Finally decided the exact sizes and layout position. Tried the layout with 35mm spacing, didn’t like it so using the standart layout.
The top panel will be 243.82mm x 433.46mm. The wood frame thickness is not decided untill i buy wood. About 1cm to 2cm.
This is how it looks so far. Assumed 2cm thick wood.

Top and bottom metal panel:


Can not decide the bottom part. *Plexi only to expose insides or metal+plexi to have a bottom art? *Leaning towards bottom art.

I found these countersink drill bits(for metal plate). Which one would be best to buy? I don’t know what differences they have. Any one that is larger than the head diameter of the screw should work, am i right? If so, i will buy which ever is cheap. Just need approval of someone experienced before buying.
Largest screw i will use is M5, which have a head diameter of 10mm. Listed according to their price.

Edit: I ended up buying this one

weird, it double posted.

While i design the arcade stick, i continued to read through the forum and discovered stickless arcade boards. I wish i discovered them early before i order my parts so i could buy some more buttons with the same shipping cost :frowning: What i have now: eight 30mm and three 24mm seimitsu cleans. Enought for either an arcade stick or a hitbox.
I am torn between a hitbox and arcade stick, cannot decide. So, why not both? The problem is i can not order and pay for shipping again. At least for a time. So,
I will either make two top panels, one for arcade stick and one for hit box. Or make two different cases. Those 24mm buttons will be used as directions and use one of the 30mm pinkie buttons to up button location. For start-select buttons i will use regular tactile buttons :frowning:
I will swap the buttons between hit box panel or case and arcade stick panel or case. See which one i like most. Or if i want both still after tried both of them, will see…
This is a layout i found on deviantart. Almost perfect!

Update: I lied this layout on autocad and measured the spacings. Here are the dimensions:
I will use this as a starting point and make some adjustments.
Edit: I used the dimensions for direction buttons and first row of action buttons. Rest is classical japanese layout that i will also use on arcade stick panel.

That naruto art is too muted and gray, and its going to look worst once printed

Why does it look like you have 30-gazillion holes to be drilled into your top and bottom panels?

@Darksakul, it is not how it actually looks. The polycarbonate skin on top of it makes it look a little faded. If i select acrylic skin it becames completely transparant which is not convenient to work on. Also the final art will be different one. I will print multiple arts and change them frequently. Printing is kind of cheap(not inferior print, photo paper 300dpi).

@FreedomGundam, holes are for fixing the panels with wood screws to wooden case. I bought a countersink bit so they will be flush beneath art and plexi. Not all holes are gonna be used, i placed them in case if i end up buying different size of wood or need to screw the plexi etc. I hope i wont need to screw the plexi but it is 2mm and has a large surface so, we will see.

I got money that after all is said and done, it’s gonna cost more than $200 for extra tools he might not of realized he needed, and small little knick-nacks here and there. Enjoy your first build.

From what I can see, you’re spending a lot of time in the planning and design phase. I don’t see why you can’t design and plan for a panel that has only one set of mounting holes, and work with buying the appropriate thickness/size of wood to accommodate. You probably don’t need more than 6 mounting holes at the most (you could probably get by with just 4, with one in each corner); I’d recommend sticking with the outermost set of holes. There’s really no point in keeping the inner mounting holes. If you need to screw in the plexi, you could reuse the same holes you use to mount the top-panel anyways.

Don’t get me wrong, planning ahead is good. I can’t say on behalf of other builders here, but as someone who’s built their fair share of sticks from scratch, I feel that you’re well into the point where you’re overthinking and over-planning things, especially on your first casing. In all honesty, I’ve been there as well. My recommendation for you at this point is to start building, and see how you need to adjust.

@rtdzign, total cost of the stick will be 100$ at most. If i didn’t bought countersink bit and spade bits, it would cost 75$. This is a budget build but i aim to build a good looking one. I am lucky though, friend of mine will cnc cut the metal panel for me from their scrap sheet metal and i will use the workshop of a school. Japanese YEN rate was really sweat also :slight_smile:

@FreedomGundam, Thanks for kind advice. I know what are you talking about. This is a problem of mine in general. I am always like this when i am scratch building a rc plane or other diy stuff etc. Not a good thing, i know.

Plasma cnc will do the cutting of holes. And i will countersunk only the ones i will use. So there are no downsides of too many holes.(I don’t think they won’t affect the art, will they?)
And what is your opinion on plexi? Do you think it will need screws or will buttons be enough?
I also want to hear your opinion on size of the stick. It will be 26.5cm x 46.5cm(10,6 inch x 18,6 inch) with frame. Do you think that it is too big?

Way too many holes. You got holes in different area codes.

I’ve got the song stuck in my head now!

You got more holes than a New York pimp, my friend.

Did you finish the project?

good work on 3D