The Official R-CADE Gaming Thread - Custom Arcade Joysticks - Complete, DIY, Parts


Hello to everyone at SRK. My name is Rob. I’m currently in the process of forming a custom stick shop, “R-CADE Gaming.” I made this thread to introduce myself, and more importantly to get your feedback. Along with Toodles and Slagcoin, the SRK community has provided much of the knowledge and inspiration needed to develop my hobby into a career. As a long-time reader of this forum, I think it would be smart for me to develop my products based on your input.

My flagship product will be my custom joysticks. I’ll personally be building each one by hand, and offering completely ready-to-play sticks, as well as blank cases.

In our standard case, no modification or alternate mounting plate is needed to switch between Sanwa JLF and Seimitsu LS-32/LS-40 joysticks. Both are mounted at the correct height (~24mm from panel to ball top). Of course, Sanwa and Seimitsu buttons will be used. Other cases for Happ/IL joysticks and buttons, as well as Sanwa JLW and various other Seimitsu joysticks, are planned for the future.

The cases are constructed using hand-finished quality hardwoods. Wood species, finish, edge shaping, button layout, and other options can be chosen by the customer. User submitted artwork will be encouraged.

The currently planned console/PCB options are:
[]PS3/PC (Cthulhu)
]PS3 Wireless (AXISdapter)
[]X-Box 360 (360 Pad)
]Dreamcast (DC Pad)
[]PS3/PC + X-Box 360 (ChImp + 360 Pad)
]PS3/PC + Dreamcast (Cthulhu + DC Pad)
[]X-Box 360 + Dreamcast (360 Pad + DC Pad)
]PS3/PC + Wii + X-Box + GameCube + PS1/PS2 (MC Cthulhu)
[*]PS3/PC + Wii + X-Box + GameCube + PS1/PS2 + Dreamcast (MC Cthulhu + DC Pad)

As of now, the options above are nearly definite. Other possible options are:
[]PS3/PC + X-Box 360 + Dreamcast (ChImp + 360 Pad + DC Pad)
]PS3/PC + X-Box 360 + Wii + X-Box + GameCube + PS1/PS2 + Dreamcast (MC Cthulhu + 360 Pad + DC Pad)
[]I might offer 360 wireless, but I haven’t researched that yet.
]I’m also considering doing older consoles by request. I know I’d like to play Virtua Fighter on the 32X with a stick.

Regardless of console/PCB choice, only one detachable will exit from the case. On multi-console setups, no switches or holding down buttons will be necessary when changing between consoles. Simply plug in the appropriate cable into the joystick and you’re ready to go.

On sticks wired only for PS3, X-Box 360, or both, the USB cable will connected to the case through a Neutrik connector. On all other sticks, the console cable will connect to the case through a DB15 connector. These cables will be interchangeable between different console/PCB setups. For example, if you have a stick wired for X-Box 360 + Dreamcast, the Dreamcast cable will also work with another stick that’s wired for PS3/PC + Wii + X-box + GameCube + PS1/PS2 + Dreamcast.

Prices are not yet set, buy will very likely be at least $250 US, starting at the basic PS3/PC model.

I’ll also be individually selling joysticks, buttons, PCB’s, and various other parts, accessories, and DIY supplies. Initially, this may be mostly limited to the parts used in my sticks. However, my ultimate goal is to provide everything you could ever need to build an arcade joystick, all in one place.

I’ve registered a web domain, but the site’s not yet complete enough for public viewing. My time has been devoted to renovating my wood shop, building jigs and prototypes, and lining up suppliers. I’m planning to officially open for business July 1st, 2010, but hope to be open for pre-orders long before then.

Long-term projects include full-size arcade cabinets which house multiple systems, and a racing cockpit designed for Gran Turismo 5.

Below is a joystick that I made for a friend. It is constructed using premium cherry hardwood, with a 1/16 inch plexiglass top cover and a 1/8 inch plexiglass bottom cover (extra strong for lap play). The case measures 12 inches by 16 inches, and is only 2 inches tall. It houses a Sanwa JLF joystick, Sanwa OSBN-30 buttons in an Astro City layout, and a PS3/PC Cthulhu PCB.

The design is centered first and foremost around functionality. However you use the joystick or buttons, there is enough room around both to rest your entire hand, without it hanging awkwardly the side of the controller. The joystick is also placed in the wide position in relation to the buttons, allowing your arms to rest at a more natural angle going back to your shoulders.

As a prototype, this is a very accurate model of the final product. There’s just a few key differences that should be kept in mind:
[]The USB cable is not detachable. On the final product, it will be (see above).
]The start button is mounted on the top of the case, this is optional. Normally I would recommend a 24mm button, but Sanwa OSBN’s aren’t available in white.
[]The positions of the buttons mounted on the sides or the back of the case (in this case only select and home) will be available in several different layouts.
]The artwork is missing. My friend is still working on his own hand drawn piece to mount under the top cover, so for now there’s only a blank piece of paper under the plexiglass. The white buttons should look much better once there’s something underneath to contrast them.
[]There are several blemishes on the black painted interior surface, which I’ve now learned how to avoid.
]The wiring could use a little cleaning up.

So, my question to the SRK community is what do you think? Is this something that you would be interested in? What do you think of everything I’ve laid out here? What do you think of the joystick pictured? If this is something that’s welcome to the community, I have plenty more questions. I’d really like to tailor my services to your needs.

Eagerly awaiting your reply,

  • Rob