I built a custom arcade stick earlier this year, mostly to play the most recent re-make of ‘Mortal Kombat’ on the Xbox 360 and other classic arcade games on the PC. The result was a functional arcade stick, just without the visual appeal. The stick was unfinished; it was not painted, the surfaces were uneven, and the case was not completely enclosed. At the time, I only had a ‘Dremel Trio’ to make my wood cuts. Being slightly inexperienced in woodworking, I had difficulty trying to make my edges straight and leveled.
It has been months since then. I decided to give it another go, considering I had extra and better tools. For this version, I wanted to make the frame of the arcade stick a few inches longer. The original frame was 12 by 8 inches; the new one is two inches longer. I was finally able to cut and drill holes into a polycarbonate sheet without any cracks. The trick was to cool and lubricate the Forstner bit in water every few seconds, to avoid melting the plastic. The entire case was stained an ‘Ebony’ color and sealed with a glossy polyurethane. One inch anti-skid pads were also added to the bottom of the case.
I used all the parts from my original arcade stick, consisting of a Seimitsu LS-32-01 joystick (with a black balltop), 8 Seimitsu PS14-KN (Smoke) screw buttons, and 3 Sanwa OBSF 24mm (Black) pushbuttons. I gutted the PCB from a used Madcatz SF4 Fightpad I found at a local GameStop for cheap. The PCB was secured to the inside of the case using mounting pads and zip ties. I added a Neutrik USB gender changer to the outside of the box, making the USB cable detachable. I also removed the terminal strips I originally used, eliminating dozens of extra wires.
For the time being, I used a section of an old Houston Rockets poster I had in my closet for the underlay of the arcade stick. I didn’t feel like shorting the existing USB cable, so I also decided to leave it attached. I liked the extra weight, anyway. In the future, I plan to create a custom and personalized underlay, make the arcade stick compatible with multiple consoles, and possibly install LEDs underneath the buttons with an LED controller.