Introduction: Arcade Controller on a Budget

Picture of Arcade Controller on a Budget

Ever wanted a proper arcade style joystick with buttons but didn't want to give several hundreds of euros for one? Don't have a fancy cnc or a laser cutter? I managed to make this one with only a few simple tools.

Best thing about it you can plug it into your PC, Raspberry Pi or Android device and it will work without any fancy drivers!

I got my kit from banggood but I saw similar ones on ebay and aliexpress. It was 13€ at the time that I bought it, shipping included. Nice thing about it that it has all of the components and you only need to make a case for it. It's a sanwa style zero delay kit.

Step 1:

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Materials and tools needed:

  • 7mm plywood (or whichever building material you have lying around)
  • piece of paper and a printer to print out drilling guidelines for buttons
  • brass (or plastic) standoffs for the PCB
  • hinges and lock (scavanged mine off an old jewelry box)
  • base paint and varnish
  • wood glue
  • tape
  • jigsaw
  • clamps
  • sandpaper and file (optional)
  • drill and some bits
  • pliers
  • screwdriver
  • utility knife
  • paintbrush

Step 2:

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Set the paper on the piece of plywood and fasten it with tape. Drill some holes! I happen to have a 30mm drill bit so I used that but you can also a jigsaw to do it or drill a smaller hole and file it to size.

I used two same pieces and glued them together to get a thicker and sturdier top.

Step 3:

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Then cut the bottom part. I decided to stack plywood horizontally for the front for extra support to the front. Then added the rest of the front. I wanted the console to be at an angle so I put the joystick in and checked for clearance before making the back and sides.

Step 4:

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Make the sides and back part. Drill in holes for the side buttons. You could put those on the top but I opted to put mine to the sides because this way I would use them for playing pinball games. In other games they're set as start/select or player 1/add coin buttons.

Put the standoffs in for the PCB and drill a hole in the back for the USB cable. I used a thicker wood piece I had lying around for the back.

Step 5:

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Glue the bottom part and install the hinges. I used a utility knife to make the grooves for the hinges. Then sanding. A lot of it. Everything needs to be sanded and smooth before applying paint. Also check that everything closes properly

Step 6:

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Paint and give at least 24 hours for the paint to dry properly. Finally put in the joystick and buttons and connect them to the PCB.

Step 7:

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Finally everything assembled and plugged in. Make sure to enjoy your arcade controller!

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