The Ikea Stick Project: An easy-to-build, affordable case which looks and feels good!


Hi guys!

Here in Australia, quality arcade sticks cost a relative fortune, with something like the TE2+ clocking in at around 380USD if you can find one. Even the Venom, which is the only readily available retail option, is 150USD and runs sub-par hardware, so you’re looking at having to mod the thing straight off the bat.

While i’ve been entirely comfortable with just making my own sticks instead, i wanted to design something which anyone who can hold a screwdriver can put together. I’ve built some of these for the local scene to help out, but i want everyone to have reasonable access to an arcade stick. It should to be quick to build with basic tools and materials, have a high perceived finish quality, and be useful.

Where most traditional DIY timber cases rely on skill and time to produce a quality case finish, these Aluminium Ikea picture frames (Stromby) provide a great shortcut, in addition to screw-less fixing of the plexi, tooless access to the internals, and easy fitment of double-sided art.

Curiously, the A3-sized Stromby frames are almost exactly the same dimensions as a Madcatz TE2+, while the A4 frames are the same size as the old Neo Geo arcade stick controller. Both will work for a full-button setup:

The required ingredients:

2x Stromby Frames
1x Styrene sheet from a cheaper Ikea frame (damaged goods section is the best!)
1x 500x650x7mm plywood sheet
PVA Glue
Spray paint to finish the case

The total cost of materials is about $20, and it only takes a couple of hours to put together (minus the time spent waiting for the glue and paint).

A complete A3-sized build weighs 2.7kg, is incredibly stiff, and is strong enough to stand on.

To help with the build process, i’ve done up a pretty comprehensive video guide for one of the mini stick builds:

I hope this can be of service to someone out there. If you have any questions or comments, fire away! :slight_smile:

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Bad ass, great idea!



The last part of the build is the padhack wiring, and I had to wait for the weather to clear up to get enough light to record properly. The video will be done tonight.

I’m yet to work out how to make super neat wiring, especially for a padhack, but it’s functional. At least it’s externally neat, as the usb cable stows between the frames.


This looks fantastic and very useful for those who live where top-of-the-line sticks costs a fortune. I had a look at the video walkthroughs, and though I know it’s not finished, would you consider showing the stick in action? It’d be cool to see it in action


edit nvm I just found it on your blog ;D

Would this work?,searchweb201602_1_116_10065_117_10068_114_115_10069_113_10084_10083_10017_10080_10082_10081_10060_10061_10062_10056_10055_10054_10059_10078_10079_10073_10070_421_420_10052_10053_10050_10051,searchweb201603_7&btsid=c86143c7-29da-4906-b2c7-3882e86df5b6

Or does it have to be like this, or are the same?,searchweb201602_1_116_10065_117_10068_114_115_10069_113_10084_10083_10017_10080_10082_10081_10060_10061_10062_10056_10055_10054_10059_10078_10079_10073_10070_421_420_10052_10053_10050_10051,searchweb201603_7&btsid=c86143c7-29da-4906-b2c7-3882e86df5b6


I REALLY need to know the more important part of your project… I mean the PCB…
I’ve seen something like this but using a GameCube gamepad PCB and that is not one of those.

My project is make a bartop arcade machine with a Wii as a brain ;D

Many thanks!


Would you mind posting a detailed soldering guide? PLEASE.

Kind regards.


I’m editing the soldering guide together at the moment. I just need to cut two hours of footage down into about seven minutes without losing any detail. It’s a big video so it will take a while to edit, and i’ll put a post up on my blog afterwards if you prefer words and pictures. :stuck_out_tongue:

As for the source PCB, i use the cheap knockoff Classic Controller Pro, the cheap ones are easier to solder than the official nintendo products (and WAY cheaper!). I can’t remember if the oval-shaped one is compatible with all games, so i don’t risk it.

@JulianKPrime I have a little footage already, but I’ll cap some more and do something with it. It only seems right to end the series with that.


Thanks @Cubits ! And take your time on the editing ;D anyway I’m now following you here, at Youtube and in your blog hahaha


Ok, the last part is up! It goes through how to wire up a typical gamepad, how to sort out the colours of a joystick harness, and the resulting features of the finished stick.

It’s a bit long, but it covers a lot!

There’s one bonus left to do, which is a wii u gamepad mount which just clips into the top edge like a wiimote, transforming the system into a portable mini-cab!

Edit: Moved the video to the original post.


This looks awesome! Thanks for all the videos!


Love this, wish I’d seen it before I started building my own but still got some really useful tips. Thank you for providing this resource.


I quickly threw together a gamepad support this evening which clips into the frames like the Wiimote, and now i have a portable, wireless mini-cab! :>

I still have to tidy it up, give it a paint, and install the screw clamp to secure the gamepad. Then it’ll be ready for KOF '98 practice on the can!




It looks like Pikachu’s eyeball is shooting out of the top.


Can not unsee.

Can fix.


Here’s the Gamepad adapter in action:

It’s a lot like the Nintendo Switch, but all of the footage is real. ALL OF IT!


That plot twist was worthy of an Oscar haha


That video was everything we wanted to see. Everything!


hey cubits this is awesome. how hard do you think it would be to do this but replace the stick with a d pad? so you have a dpad/arcade buttons hybrid controller.


The case design wouldn’t have to change beyond the size and position of the joystick hole diameter.

The tough part would be in sourcing a suitable dpad. You could hack in a piece of a gamepad PCB, 3D print one which uses tac switches (i found a nice enough one on thingiverse), or even mod a joystick into a dpad (I’m pretty sure I could do that and get a nicer result than the majority of dpads).

In other news, I’m waiting on a couple of suppliers to send me some prototype laser cut kits. The build time of these cases will be under five minutes, no tools required at all, just apply glue. The case corners are finger jointed, and the plexi comes pre-cut too.