Project: Desktop Arcade Joystick

Discussion in 'Modding' started by OsiC, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. OsiC

    OsiC Member

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    The Christmas Steam sales boosted my game collection a fair bit. One of the games I picked up was Street Fighter 4. So I'm building a arcade joystick / fighter stick to play sitting on my desk or lap.

    I have done a painted case mod before and build my own sub box for my car, but nothing like this.

    I have split the work-log into 3 posts
    1 - Introduction, design & making the box
    2 - Electronics
    3 - Installing the buttons and finished product

    Here is the initial design idea rendered in Cinema 4D

    Click to view full size!


    To design the button layout I placed my hands in a natural position on a piece of paper, then marked where my fingers liked to land when I tapped.

    Revision 1:
    I changed the size of the box smaller. I don't want it to be bigger then my keyboard (both for usage and storage). I have also moved the buttons closer together to hopefully make it easier to press the buttons.

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    After some (not so) careful designing and measuring I marked up the MDF

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    and started cutting with my cheapo jigsaw. Note that I am terrible at working with wood and probably did everything in the most inefficient and backwards way possible.

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    This is where I noticed that my careful measuring had been a little un-careful. The back piece is about 2cm too short. Luckily my piece of MDF was large enough to cut another piece (measure once, buy enough wood for when you stuff up).

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    After some rough sanding, drilling, gluing and splitting the wood because the drill holes were too small, the box is starting to look like a box, sort of. Its a a little rough around the edges.

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    Now for the filling and sanding bit. I used crack filler for plasterboard for the large gaps, mostly because I had some lying around. I then used spray putty (the pinkish stuff) and filler primer (the beige stuff)

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    i was originally going to have the sides come up above the the edges a little, but I decided to sand it down and (try) to get a flat finish.

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    After 1 coat of primer filler sanded back

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    2nd coat of primer

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    Sanded back. Its starting to look and feel smooth now. I had been using 100 and 200 grit sandpaper until now. This is with 400. It feels smooth except for a few of the joints where it is barely noticeable.

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    I was busy doing other things for about a week so I have only just gotten around to drilling the holes.

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    I used a 28mm spade drill and it was a lot easier then I expected. I did have an issue with the buttons being so close to the top, meaning they will hit the inside support of the back panel. I have tried chiseling it out and hopefully it will be OK.

    Click to view full size!


    I put another coat of primer on before starting with the painting. I used car touch up paint and applied 4 coats, waiting 30 mins in between each coat. I sanded back the 2nd and 4th coat with 1200 grit wet and dry, and cleaned of with wax and grease remover.

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    You can still faintly see the edges of the joints if you look for them but overall I am happy with the result

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    Because this will cop a fair amount of punishment I have done a couple of clear coats which will hopefully give it some protection. I did 2 coats then gave it a very light sand with wet 1200 grit and cleaned it again before applying the last coat.

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    I would describe the finish as satin. It looks almost matte from some angles but does give a blurry reflection to up close objects.

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  2. OP
    OP
    OsiC

    OsiC Member

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    The Electronics

    The Electonics

    Sorry for the pictures in this section. My phone isnt very good at indoor or close ups.

    The controller I am using I have had for a couple of years now
    http://www.leobodnar.com/products/BU0836/

    It is a purpose built controller for custom built joysticks and game pads. It can handle 36 buttons and 8 analog inputs for things ranging from analog joysticks to throttles and trims for flight sims (what I was using it for)

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    I reused the wires I had already soldered the first time I used it, connecting them to a terminal strip. The controller can take up to 36 buttons, connecting each wire to another in a 6 by 6 array.

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    I don't have the buttons yet but I now what sort of connectors they use so I decided to do all the wiring now.

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    Because I'm using the controller in a 6x6 array, each ground needs to be separate and have a diode inline. This is different from most controllers, which runs a single daisy chained ground wire.

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    I soldered small push on connectors onto the ends and diodes onto the other end. I then used a small wire to run from the diode to the terminal strip.

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    You may notice that the red wires also have heat shrink towards the terminal strip end. This was because I cut the red wires as short as the black ones, even though they don't need diodes. (I also bought too many diodes, but at 50c for 4 I'm not too worried.)

    Click to view full size!


    I then labeled and tied up all buttons together, it should just be a matter of connecting them to the buttons and I'm ready to go. I have already tested to make sure each connection works.

    Click to view full size!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  3. OP
    OP
    OsiC

    OsiC Member

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    Installation and finished product

    Installation and finished product

    Currently I'm waiting on the parts to arrive, they should be here by the end of the week. Ill update when I get them.

    UPDATE 21/1/10

    The parts arrived today, thank you to Ozstick for the express delivery!

    Installing everything was really easy, I just had to pop everything in and push on the connectors (which were tighter then I thought, they were a little too small, but they make a nice snug fit)

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    I ended up buying a USB plug thingy and made a hole for it. I think it gives a nice finish

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    Now for a bit of a gallery of the finished product

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    Handmade by these hands for these hands. hehe

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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  4. fatrabbitbrain

    fatrabbitbrain Member

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    Looking good. I ended up buying a FS3 stick when I was in Japan and swapped the buttons to Sanwa recently.

    Hasn't improved me as a player though!
     
  5. brayway

    brayway Member

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    looks cool.
    is the wiring and setup quite complicated? or is it like computers to noobs, looks really hard, but in reality is quite easy?
     
  6. OP
    OP
    OsiC

    OsiC Member

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    The way I have done it may make it look more complicated then it is. There are 12 pins in total - 6 rows and 6 columns.
    connect row 1 to column 1 to press button 1.
    row 1 column 2 to press 2.
    This allows for 36 different combination, its just like a spreadsheet.

    Most people use something like a keyboard encoder or recycled game pad, which have a single connector for each button, with a single common ground. To wire that up you just connect each button to the encoder and then daisy chain a single wire around to each button. It ends up looking half as complicated.
     
  7. brayway

    brayway Member

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    so is it pretty much plug n play? or do you have to program it?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    OsiC

    OsiC Member

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    Its fully plug and play. Buttons 33-36 act as the hat switch, which is what I will be using for the joystick.


    Click to view full size!
     
  9. brayway

    brayway Member

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    ah that's pretty cool, might consider making one of these some day!
     
  10. aXis

    aXis Member

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    Well done :)

    I was looking at controller the other day for a flight sim joystick. You can get away without the diodes and with a single ground connection if you only need 12 buttons - i.e wire each of the 6 row/column pins as a seperate button.

    You could also use the analog channels for regular joystick mode - wire the input with a resistor voltage divider at 2.5V, then pull the input up to 5V or down to 0V to give the two extremes.

    Edit: On seconds thoughts, it would risk a short circuit if one switch fails closed. Best to have say the voltage divider using 2 x 10K resistors, and the pull up pull down using the switch and a 1K resistor. That would vary the voltage range between 10%, 50% and 90%. Calibration in Windows would then make this the full range.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  11. OP
    OP
    OsiC

    OsiC Member

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    I'm still waiting on the buttons and joystick to arrive. While I'm waiting I noticed a bit of a stuff up.

    I don't have a hole for the USB cord to go through! Any suggestions as to how I'm going to drill or cut a hole with minimal damage to the paintwork?

    I have 2 choices, a small hole that will only just fit a USB cable through, or a bigger hole that with fit the USB plug through. Im not sure how easy it is to resolder a USB cable and it will make the cable non removable.

    EDIT: I might be able to use somthing like this so it looks clean
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  12. aXis

    aXis Member

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    you could use a gland or bezel to cover a few mm of paintwork around the hole. Could also help with strain relief.

    This thread has a few good options. My personal favourite are the glands with strain relief tails
     
  13. OP
    OP
    OsiC

    OsiC Member

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  14. AussieJester

    AussieJester Member

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    Very well executed fantastic pro-looking finish, i would
    pay money for that if i was into games that need such a controller...top job
    and well documented too

    KiM
     
  15. hotsuma

    hotsuma Member

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    very nice

    i made one very similar a few years back, only difference is i used a ps2 keyboard board for the interface. Im going to re wire it as the ps2 cable is only like 2 feet long.

    i very much like the usb jack you put in yours and the quality of the wireing , very clean.

    if i had a camera atm i would take a shot of it , god i hope that 19gb mame download i have going finishes soon. lol

    so you know its actually what i played the last need for speed game on so it is good for stuff other than mame.
     
  16. mobius.ro

    mobius.ro Member

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    Very nice.

    I'm tempted to build something similar to use with HyperSpin on my HTPC :)
     
  17. Sn@Ke

    Sn@Ke Member

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  18. koopz

    koopz Member

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    yep +1 for OzStick
     
  19. OP
    OP
    OsiC

    OsiC Member

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    Thanks for your replies everyone, and to Agg for front-paging me.

    I forgot to mention in the article I got the parts from Ozstick. Top quality products and excellent customer service.

    I also forgot to mention that I found an excellent article on the Loud Speaker Kit (an OCAU sponsor)website for painting the box.
    http://www.theloudspeakerkit.com/pages/Painting-Guide.html
    Great article, I think the results from following the guide are pretty good for a first timer.

    Now for a question. I have bottom mounted the joystick, so it has to go through 16mm of MDF, making it about 15mm too short. The only place I could find for an extended shaft for my joystick is in the UK. Does anyone know if I could source one locally?
     
  20. OPM881

    OPM881 Member

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    My advice would be to route out either the top(if mounting some perspex with artwork) or bottom of the CP so that the mounting panel fits within the area routed allowing for a more of the stick to be used. If you choose the top mount version make sure to cut a hole for the joystick.
     

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