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Old 03-09-2009, 10:43 PM   #1
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DIY Arcade Sticks

Considering the recent shortage of every arcade stick known to man (that's compatible with the X360), I've been looking into making my own. There are a few hang ups, though. I don't have wood-working tools, nor a soldering iron.

I know there are a few places that offer empty arcade stick boxes, but I haven't run across any that seem fit for the X360 (not enough buttons, or a place for the guide/start/back buttons). If I could solve that problem, I could get ahold of a soldering iron pretty easily (though in reality, I'd prefer not to have to mess with it), but the box is my main concern. Does anyone know of any good how-to's, or at the very least a place I can order an empty box?

I know about this place, but again, missing button spots. I suppose I could drill a couple more holes and cut out a spot for the other buttons, but now I'm starting to do more work than I really want. I guess I'm asking alot, but if I don't have to wait till the MadCatz ones to come in switch out the buttons and stick, that'd be great.
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:49 PM   #2
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This intrigues me as well. I have all of the tools fortunately... but do I have the time?
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Old 03-10-2009, 05:45 AM   #3
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I've gutted an old sixaxis and done the initial shove cat5 cable into the ribbon slot wiring. Now waiting on my sanwa buttons from lizardlick.com but their ordering is backed up.

For the box I've gotten a cutlery drawer box from ikea. Its roughly the right size and depth and the wood feels solid enough. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30021096. Can't find the exact model, looks like this but its longer.

You can check this site for how tos and actual arcade measurement layouts. http://slagcoin.com/joystick/layout.html

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Old 03-10-2009, 07:25 AM   #4
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I've always wanted to order dozens of colored buttons from HAPPcontrols.Just for the heck of it.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:35 AM   #5
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I still have the Street Fighter Anniversary Stick:


During my recent move, the glue has released that used to hold the controller cable spool to the bottom of the framework. Since it seems like Amazon might never send me my new stick, and since I want a good 2nd stick, I've been thinking of modding it to work on the 360. Part of me doesn't want to destroy it's current capability of working on an original XBOX and PS2, but if I can't keep the old functionality, so be it. I wonder if anybody has actually done this yet.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:49 AM   #6
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Wow, I just found what looks to be a good article on just the operation I want!

http://www.gamersreports.com/article/24/1/

My only trepidation is that 1) I don't know how to solder, and 2) I've never done anything remotely like this before. I'm also extremely stoked to try this project for those very same reasons!
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MachEnergy View Post
Wow, I just found what looks to be a good article on just the operation I want!

http://www.gamersreports.com/article/24/1/

My only trepidation is that 1) I don't know how to solder, and 2) I've never done anything remotely like this before. I'm also extremely stoked to try this project for those very same reasons!
Soldering is very easy if you have somewhat steady hands. Most gamers could solder without issue if they have half a brain. If you need any tips feel free to send me a PM or just ask me in this thread. I've been soldering fairly intricate electronics for over 15 years now. I did PS1 mods back in the day for $50 a pop and made some change doing it. I've modded just about every mainstream system out there are least once. Not something to be intimidated by. You can pick up everything you need to do this type of soldering from Radioshack for like $30.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:00 AM   #8
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Soldering is very easy if you have somewhat steady hands. Most gamers could solder without issue if they have half a brain. If you need any tips feel free to send me a PM or just ask me in this thread. I've been soldering fairly intricate electronics for over 15 years now. I did PS1 mods back in the day for $50 a pop and made some change doing it. I've modded just about every mainstream system out there are least once. Not something to be intimidated by. You can pick up everything you need to do this type of soldering from Radioshack for like $30.
Cool, thanks. I appreciate the support. I've always wanted one of these: http://www.thinkgeek.com/interests/giftsforhim/69d3/

Edit: Awww, but apparently they are sold out until 5/17

Edit2: And apparently graphite tips break far too often. http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/cold-heat4.htm
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Old 03-10-2009, 02:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MachEnergy View Post
Cool, thanks. I appreciate the support. I've always wanted one of these: http://www.thinkgeek.com/interests/giftsforhim/69d3/

Edit: Awww, but apparently they are sold out until 5/17

Edit2: And apparently graphite tips break far too often. http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/cold-heat4.htm
Yeah skip the Cold Heat soldering irons. They can introduce quite a few issues when used with electronics and yes the tips can be quite brittle. I wouldn't recommend them at all for a beginner as if you break a tip, you will spend more replacing the tip than you would on a normal soldering pen. You would want to pick up something like this to start out. If you can find one with a 15w/30w switch you will be even better off. You shouldn't be spending over $20 for an iron so keep that in mind when you are making your purchases. You will want to pick up some 60/40 rosin-core solder too. That solder is mainly for circuit work but you can use it on your wiring and what not and it will do fine. Something like this might be useful but shouldn't be required for what you are doing.

Edit: Get this soldering pen.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:08 PM   #10
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There are all kinds of great threads on the www.shoryuken.com forums for creating custom sticks or modding old ones, as well as some links to sites that sell individual parts for arcade sticks. That being said, it's probably going to be a bit tough to do anything without a soldering iron. I've never built my own stick, but I'm not sure how you could attach everything to the board without one. I could be wrong, though.

Also, 95% of the pre-made boxes are going to be for six button sticks. Most purists just don't have a reason to put more than that in the stick since there are no fighting games that I know of that use more than six buttons, and I know at least one guy who had an 8-button commercial stick (Hori Fight Stick 3) and modded it to remove the two extra buttons.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:52 PM   #11
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Also, 95% of the pre-made boxes are going to be for six button sticks. Most purists just don't have a reason to put more than that in the stick since there are no fighting games that I know of that use more than six buttons, and I know at least one guy who had an 8-button commercial stick (Hori Fight Stick 3) and modded it to remove the two extra buttons.
That's my main thing. While I'd rather not, I can get ahold of a soldering iron and do that stuff. But I'd want something with eight buttons, and what I really can't do is the woodworking stuff, not well, anyway. In addition, I'd want a place for the guide/start/back buttons, and I really think that's a little too specific. I've been looking around at some of the xbox sticks that are still available and thinking of gutting them for the box, but many are still six button layouts.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:47 AM   #12
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Thanks for the start-up tips, Total.


(You can stop watching after 12 seconds)



So I picked up a 15/30 wand, a hands-free stand with magnifying glass, some 60/40 rosin core solder, and 45 feet of 18 gauge wire. I need 24 wire segments, so most of my night was spent cutting and stripping wire ends. I'm still waiting on my friend who is going to donate his wired controller, so the rest of my night was spent gutting the arcade stick and practicing soldering.

I went with a larger gauge wire than what is shown in the tutorial following the recommendation from a friend who built his own stick from scratch. He used 22 gauge and has problems with the wires coming out after taking his stick to a few different houses. After all my prep work, I'm a little worried that with my thicker wire, I will need to use more solder than what is shown in the tutorial. Combine that with my novice soldering skills and I am getting nervous. Mostly just in regards to the D-Pad buttons, since they are like an E and a 3 overlapping.

Iron, I hope I'm not hijacking this thread. I know I'm not exactly making a DIY stick from scratch here.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:12 AM   #13
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Indeed don't talk shit about total. Pro tip...if you want to make soldering easier with wires just put a sizable dab of solder on the end of the wire with it free (not connected to anything). That way when you are soldering the wire you don't need to hold the solder also.
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