How to create your own Custom Arcade Stick


posted 2/3/2010 by Jeremy Duff
other articles by Jeremy Duff
One Page Platforms: Multiple
Part 2: Let's crack open that controller
 This is where the screwdriver will come in handy.  You will need to remove the casing from the controller and remove the PCB board from the inside. Please, please, please take your time with this. You do not want to scratch or damage the PCB board as that could impair the functionality of the controller. This is not hard a hard process, but at can be tricky because depending on the controller that you use there may be different types of screws use and many of the buttons on the controller may inhibit the ability to remove portions of the casing. Take your time and everything will eventually come apart.  Eventually, once everything is stripped away, you should have a bare PCB board with all of the required connections clearly visible.  Once it is in your possession, set it aside and keep it safe until we get to the soldering portion.
Part 3: Mounting the joystick and pushbuttons
 This could vary depending on how nice of a case that you decide to utilize.  Using the cardboard banker’s box was quick and easy and ultimately the perfect option for my first attempt. Assuming that you go with a more secure and permanent casing, this could take longer to prepare. It is completely up to you to decide what you want to use.
Once you know what you are going to use, you will need to decide on the sort of button layout that you will want to use.  There are tons of options in this department, depending on how many buttons you want to use and what your layout preference may be. The two main layouts that you will see available across the Internet are the standard American SF layout, which involves 6 (or 8) buttons laid out perfectly straight in horizontal fashion and the Japanese SF layout.  The Japanese layout involves buttons that are placed in an arc fashion which matches the natural lay of your fingers.  When I built my, I decided to go with the second layout which is the traditional Japanese SF setup. It really is just a matter of personal preference and I prefer the natural feel of the Japanese layout. 
You can use various templates from online sites to get a standard spacing scheme for your buttons, but I prefer to lay them out myself and cater the design to the layout of my hands. When I laid out the buttons, I used a washable marker and colored the tips of my fingers.  I then let my hand lay naturally on the surface where my buttons would be and let the natural position of my fingers dictate the spacing that I was going to use for the pushbuttons. In the end, the final result just felt better to me personally.
Once the layout is marked, simply cut the holes for each of your buttons and the joystick.  The joystick will more than likely come with the paper template to utilize in cutting the space out on your actual case.  It will likely require 4 or more screws to secure it in position.  The pushbuttons on the other hand simply slide into position from the top and have a button that you will screw onto it from the bottom, securing them in place.
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