Official Sanwa Modification Thread


I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier with all of the still common off shoot threads, and re-posted questions.

There are a number of dudes here that have sig experience to help people along that want to work w/ Sanwa parts. We all play homage to the original in Catch22 but many have dev their own style and way of doing things.

Now if I can get FMJag to give this puppy a sticky…

Here’s some guidelines that I thought would help make this a good read thread.

  1. Please feel welcome to post NEW questions that you’ve not seen in this thread already about Sanwa parts, and installations.

  2. feel free to show your modification of, upgrade, custom or installation of Sanwa parts to your creations.

  3. no advertisements. Please keep that to your own biz thread. People all know of which guys are builders eventually.

  4. of course feel free to answer and give your opinion on how to tackle the questions.


What is the difference with installing Sanwa parts compared to happ parts?

Having to do with the above question…

What makes the sticks different?

Which of the 2 style sticks are more responsive?

How differently do sanwa buttons need to be installed?

Whats the difference between long ans short sanwa sticks?

Is sanwa the best quality for japanese arcade parts? Like HAPP is for the USA?


Great idea, I think this is long overdue.

Actually, I have a question about mounting the buttons with a graphic overlay and a lexan/plexiglas topsheet. I’m building an all Sanwa stick right now and I’m trying to figure out what materials to use for the top of the box. I was thinking of using masonite and reinforcing it with some wood supports underneath, but I don’t know if that will be stable enough. And I figured it would be shallow enough that I wouldn’t have to topmount the joystick either.

The main reason I’m considering masonite is because I don’t want to have to route out the top to mount the joystick. Also for the buttons I figure that I would have to drill larger holes with MDF (that the buttons would fit through completely) and depend upon the plexiglas to support the buttons. Is that correct?


I wrote up my thoughts of Japanese vs Western parts on my website.
I’d rather not transcribe it but here’s the link.

Regarding mounting the stuff. I prefer to top-mount the plated sticks so that bolts don’t show. For clip-in OBSF buttons if you mount into a surface no thicker than about 1/8" Any thinker then I would recommend a screw in type like the OBSN. You still may need to route out the botton side cause the thread isn’t so thick.


After looking at several materials at the hardware store, I decided to go with MDF and top mount the stick with a plate. I realized that doing it any other way would be shoddy and probably not be solid enough. I made a joystick plate last night from some sheet metal, and I’m going to either make a plate for my buttons, or drill the holes a bit bigger and use the plexiglas to support the buttons.

Thanks for the advice. :slight_smile:


I just finished building my box today. I went with the top-mount plate method for mounting the buttons. I still have to paint it and wire it up, but I’m pretty happy with it. It’s 12.5" w x 9" h, base angled with 3.5" h in the back, and 2.5" h in the front. The buttons fit great, and the joystick is nice and solid.

btw, the joystick mounting plate looks crooked because I accidentally drilled the joystick mount holes a bit crooked, so I had to rotate the plate a bit to compensate. I probably could have made a new plate, but I didn’t have much time.


Nice, I like it. How much did the metal plate cost you? I’m putting some sanwa parts into a red octane and was planing on just using the plexi/lexan to hold them in but if the metal plates are cheap I might buy one to put under the plexi.


I just got a 6x18 sheet of 16 gauge steel from home depot (it was about $6). I cut the plates out with a grinder and drilled the holes with a holesaw. I had to grind the holes a bit to make them large enough for the buttons to fit.


Cool thanks, Ill look into that. What size hole saw were you using? I’ve found that 32mm works great. It’s a little loose if your using regular sanwas but if you use the screw type sanwas it doesn’t matter.


I couldn’t get a hold of any metric hole saws, so I used a 1 1/8" and used a rotary tool to grind the holes a bit larger. Really, its the plexiglas that is holding the buttons tight though. The metal is more there for support.


A 1-1/8" is a 29mm bit. It should have had the metric conversions on the package when you bought the bit. A 32mm bit is a 1-1/4". They have them at Home Depot for like $6.


I tried a 1-1/4" bit, but the holes were too large, so I went down to the 1-1/8". A 1-3/16" bit would be perfect, but they’re hard to find unless you go to a serious tool store.


Maybe my 1-1/4" is off but the sanwas seemed to fit in it and they don’t fall through. They do move around if your using the regular sanwas but if your using the ones that mount with a bolt the same way the Happ buttons mount it keeps the button tight and prevents them from moving.


I’m using the clip type buttons, which is why I needed a precise hole. If I had used the 1-1/4" hole saw they would still clip-in but they’d shift around because of the extra room, which of course would totally blow goats.
So I had no choice but to use the 1-1/8" hole saw and use a rotary grinder to enlarge them to fit. Next time I will try and find a 1-3/16" hole saw.


Did you use a template for the holes or by sight. I want the same layout except 6 buttons instead of 8. Also is the metal plate recessed in the wood or is it bolted directly on top. If its recessed did you route it out or use another method.


If you don’t have a router you can use a wood chisel. If you don’t know how to use one ask someone at your hardware store to explain how to use it to flush the plate.


that button layout looks uncomfortable


Well its a good thing that it’s my stick and not yours, then eh? :wink:

The button layout was from a template I made (after several configurations thats the one I felt was the most comfortable for me). The metal plate is recessed, and I did use a router for it.


What size router bit was it and how deep and wide was your cut. Sorry for all the questions it’s just I haven’t seen a lot of how to stuff for sanwa mods but I love em ever since I bought my 2 jap machines ya know.

And by the way I think those style of buttons is the way to go. I can’t play on american style buttons any more to save my life.


I just used a 1/2" router bit and cleaned up the edges with a 1/4" bit so I could get the corners. The cut was 1/8" deep, and I just made it in the shape of the plate.