View Full Version : [Craft] Vivi builds an arcade stick.

01-08-2014, 01:45 AM
I was going to wait a bit, but I'm getting close to the end of this thing so I figured I'd start the thread early. I've been working on building an arcade stick controller for my Dreamcast so I thought I'd share some pictures along the way.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20131225_130907_zpsa676ec78.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20131225_130907_zpsa676ec78.jpg.html)

First up are the materials. The controller is some old Madcatz I found for $10. Worked fine so it suited my needs. And honestly, I would have felt kind of bad taking apart a first party controller in case things went horribly wrong. I don't have an actual picture of the controller, just the PCB after I took it apart. Two of the screws actually would not come out, and drilling them failed to accomplish anything so I actually had to carefully cut the plastic away until I could get the circuit board free. It was a pain in the ass and my hand was sore when I finished.

Also pictured is some sweet wood veneer and the Polyurethane I was going to use to finish the case once it was done. I've since realized that with my lack of woodworking skills and some poor planning there's going to be no easy way to actually apply it before assembling everything. So I'll have to use the wood for something else in the future. My backup plan to be explained shortly.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20131230_143708_zps0f5a416e.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20131230_143708_zps0f5a416e.jpg.html)

Here's the PCB all wired up. I used the hot glue to give some extra hold to the wires I soldered on. It doesn't conduct so there won't be any issues. I actually ran out of hot glue at the time so I'll probably add a bit more before putting it in the case. Attached the buttons long enough to test it and it all worked perfectly right off the bat so yay me!

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20131230_145100_zpsf3fb10bc.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20131230_145100_zpsf3fb10bc.jpg.html)

Button layout for the top. I've since cut away the holes and filed and sanded it all down to get everything to fit with the exception of the start button at the bottom which I'll be finishing tomorrow. For the buttons, I laid them out roughly the way my fingers lay on the board. I started by letting my fingers rest naturally, drawing a line around the tips of my fingers to follow, then tried to space things more or less evenly. As for what I used to trace out the pattern for the buttons...

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20131230_145046_zps8c2733cc.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20131230_145046_zps8c2733cc.jpg.html)

30mm buttons, 30mm base. Worked like a charm.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20140104_234236_zpsca6b4aaa.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20140104_234236_zpsca6b4aaa.jpg.html)

Roughly assembled lower half to the box that will hold everything. I got a bit unlucky in that the board started to curve before I got it cut and assembled, but I think I'll be able to get it worked out in the finishing stages. My wood working experience is pretty minimal, but I think I've got the solution worked out. Or at least a solution. If it doesn't work I'll just buy another board. This one only cost $5.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20140107_120730_zpsc01672f1.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20140107_120730_zpsc01672f1.jpg.html)

Last one for today is the paint I'm going to use to paint the case. I'm going with some red sparkle automotive paint, and I've got a gloss clear coat to spray over it after. I'll be testing this tomorrow on a scrap board. If it doesn't take well on the board I'll try priming it first. Should that fail I'll work something else out.

More updates in a day or two as things move forward.

EDIT: Minor update. Even in a well ventilated area like a garage with an open door, automotive paint is the most vile smelling thing in history. Keep the old breathing mask on until you get back into the house. :S

Flying Mullet
01-08-2014, 03:04 PM
Very cool idea. I look forward to seeing the result.

01-08-2014, 05:10 PM
Awesome! It sounds like you had out a lot of thought into making! This commenter is excited for the final result! :jess:

01-08-2014, 08:43 PM
No updates worthy of photos today. Got the start button drilled out so everything is fitted now and I think I should be starting the final assembly tomorrow.

Paint test went well. I didn't sand down the test piece of wood, or prime it so the paint was a bit uneven, and the stuff stunk up the garage so badly I considered not using it after all, but it looks too damn nice. I'm going to get some primer tomorrow and properly prepare the other side of the board just to make sure it's all good, but it's shaping up well so far.

01-09-2014, 04:56 PM
That's good to hear! :D

And for apparent reason, I want to craft some things.

01-09-2014, 05:02 PM
Go Vivi!! :plumcheer:

01-16-2014, 07:59 PM
I took some pictures of the progress so far but I'll probably update with those tomorrow or Saturday. Everything is physically assembled, so it's just going to be a matter of squaring off the edges and everything, then painting. Those two things combined will take a few days though to do it properly. I also double checked the wiring before closing it and everything is good.

I was slightly concerned at first because one of the wires had apparently come loose from the circuit board. Worst case scenario it would have been the wire sending the signal that the button was pressed and I'd have to figure out which button it was and try my damndest to get it reattached. Luckily it was just the grounding wire for that button though, so I was able to just connect it to one of the grounded wired on the joystick instead of the circuit board and life was good. I damn near shit myself when I picked up the PCB and saw it fall to the floor initially though.

Pete for President
01-16-2014, 10:11 PM
Pretty cool Vivi! Curious to see the final thing.

01-16-2014, 10:18 PM
I'm curious to see the final thing as well. :exdee:

At least if it ends up being a terrible hideous monstrosity that I will be ashamed of forever, I know it will work as a controller and thereby fulfill every requirement that really matters.

01-30-2014, 04:31 AM
Bit late on the update, but it's almost done so now's as good a time as any.

Arcade stick installed. Took a lot of hand filing to get the wood used to support it to about the right height.

PCB glued in place and everything wired up.

Top in place and screwed in. As you can see things weren't quite square, and they weren't going to get squared up due to my general lack of appropriate wood working tools. Needed to get creative.

What we have here is my solution. Basically add crack fill. The stuff dries hard enough for my purposes, can be easily sanded, and readily primed. Things still aren't 100% square when I'm done, but since this is just being made for my purposes I can live with it. It's certainly close enough that most people will never notice. Were I making one for someone else I'd spring for the necessary tools to do it perfectly.

Copious amounts of crack fill. Makes it look a bit like a hastily iced birthday cake. It was easier to get the edges and corners as close to square as possible by adding more than I needed and sanding it down.

Everything shaved down, buttons and joystick wrapped for their own protection and primer applied. You'll notice I left some texture to the crack fill rather than going perfectly smooth. I thought it looked kind of cool and might look good painted so I left it that way. It wouldn't have been hard to get everything perfectly smooth, but I decided to experiment a bit instead.

First few coats of red applied. I've finished with the red coats and started with a glossy clear coat today. Should have that finished tomorrow or Friday. Hopefully I'll be ready to unwrap everything on Saturday, insert the buttons into their final resting place and take it for a spin. Might wait a bit longer though to give the smell time to fade. The paint smells awful enough, but the clear coat is even worse. Hopefully it won't linger for too long.

Flying Mullet
01-30-2014, 01:59 PM
With jeans people go for the "distressed" look so you can call your controller "distressed". :)

It looks really good so far. I like that it's not 100% smooth, square, etc... It should give it character.

p.s. How does your pet like their bed?

01-30-2014, 02:10 PM
Ha, she sleeps in it most of the day and night so I guess she likes it just fine.

01-30-2014, 05:57 PM
Pretty fun project!

Dr Unne
02-03-2014, 11:27 PM
This is pretty impressive. Is this a common thing people do or did you think of the idea? It never would've occurred to me to stick a controller in there and solder arcade buttons to it.

I remember the smell of that paint from my dad using it. Good luck with that.

02-04-2014, 01:51 AM
I've seen quite a few people make their own. Not sure how common using an old controller and wiring it yourself is though. But making the actual box, adding artwork, or whatever else is pretty common. They actually have ready made PCB's for this stuff now that are compatible with multiple systems, so technically I could have saved myself dome effort, but where's the fun in that?

It's actually 98% finished now. I did all of the paint and clear coats. The only issue I'm having is the stuff I wrapped the buttons in covered a small section of the top by a button, and the coats are a little light right up against them. There was no real way around it though since the PCB is right under where the buttons are. I'm going to hit Canadian Tire in the next day or two to see if they have any of the touch up pens you can buy for cars in the colour I need. If not, I'll have to spray some paint on something else and use an old paint brush to put it where I need it.

Compared to the detail work on some of the models I've painted, painting up to the edges of the buttons should be a snap.

Pete for President
02-06-2014, 11:25 PM
Cool to see it come together!

02-09-2014, 12:05 AM
So much wiring and paint! I'm at the edge of my seat waiting for the final project to be conceived. Not smoothing out the arcade stick's surface will bring out its character and make itself unique, I like that. :D

Flying Mullet
03-13-2014, 10:40 PM
How did this turn out?

03-14-2014, 04:10 AM
Sorry for the lack of updates, but see for yourself:
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20140313_235706_zpsikcd04m5.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20140313_235706_zpsikcd04m5.jpg.html)http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20140313_235650_zpshackn8k4.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20140313_235650_zpshackn8k4.jpg.html)http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e161/Vivi2372/IMG_20140313_235633_zpsrhhi0cjy.jpg (http://s39.photobucket.com/user/Vivi2372/media/IMG_20140313_235633_zpsrhhi0cjy.jpg.html)

The flash makes the color look brighter than it is, but oh well. Works like a charm too.

03-14-2014, 04:52 AM
Also, if an intruder comes on the premises while you are playing video games, you can totally kill him with one shot using your controller!

Pete for President
03-14-2014, 05:05 AM
Awesome! Will the buttons get upgraded with symbols or colours in the future?

Flying Mullet
03-14-2014, 02:13 PM
I like the finished result. :)

03-14-2014, 02:19 PM
Awesome! Will the buttons get upgraded with symbols or colours in the future?

My plan was always to keep the face of the controller nice and simple and clean, so nope. I like the way the buttons compliment the colour and I'll be leaving it that way. The buttons are laid out like on a Dreamcast controller anyway so it's easy to figure out. R button on the top right and L button on the bottom right.