Introduction: Project Diva FT/CT Arcade Controller

Picture of Project Diva FT/CT Arcade Controller

Hey You! Go check out my website, it will have updates on this and all of my other projects TT3D.XYZ

Story Time:

If you have played any games in the Project Diva series, you probably know that playing on a cramped controller or even the small HORI mini controller is less than ideal. The Project Diva games for PSP, PSV, PS3, and PS4 are all based off the arcade cabinet which is almost exclusive to Japan. Because of this, it is almost impossible to get the real experience of playing on an arcade without either living in Asia or select parts of Califoria. When Project Diva Future Tone and Colorful Tone were announced as being a direct port of the arcade song note charts, I went out and got a PS4 and per-ordered the game bundle. This was not enough, I needed the most realistic home arcade experience possible.

About the controller:

This controller is an acrylic framed controller based off similar designs used by players of fighting games for their fighting sticks. A lot of research was done on the Shoryuken forums for construction and part information so check them out.

The electronics used on this controller is the Brook PS3/PS4 Fighting Board so it can be used for Project Diva games on the PS3 but I am not sure how the touch pad function will work for stars.

Step 1: Gathering Materials

Required acrylic material:

2x 24"X12" Cast Acrylic Sheet (Color of your choice, I chose turquoise for no reason at all)

1x 24"X10" Clear Cast Acrylic Sheet (AR1 abrasive resistant acrylic from TAP plastics is nice)

Something for the bottom but I haven't designed that yet.

As well as the following arcade controls:

*Note, these are the genuine controls used and are quite expensive, generic controls can be used and will fit this design as long as the buttons are 30mm or less (24mm for the start button) generic 100mm buttons such as the ones from Adafruit (which are the same as found on Alibaba) do fit very well and are 1/4 of the cost.*


6x Sanwa OBSF-30 (controller has space for up to 10) (can be substituted for generic 30mm)

1X Sanwa OBSF-24 (yellow) (can be substituted for generic 24mm)

4X Sanwa OBSA-100UMQ (Can be substituted for generic)

10x Sanwa OBSF-24TR (Only 4 are required, 10 for ease of use)

1x Brook PS3/PS4 Fight Board

1x Paradise Arcade fight board breakout board.

Misc electronics and fasteners:

1X 30 connector daisy chain ground (makes wiring the ground easier)

4x Screw in PCB fasteners (for the PA breakout board)

10x AT-110 Crimp connectors

16x .110 wire leads

16x .187 wire leads

1x Neutrik Panel Mount USB

1x USB A-A cable (for the connection between the controller and PS4)

1x 1ft USB A-B cable

1x USB A female to B male adapter

26x 14mm M3 bolts

10x 16mm M3 bolts

4x 10mm M3 bolts

44x M3 Nuts (5.5mm width, 2.5mm height max)


Small zip ties

Clear decal paper (for button graphics)

4x Sanwa Lightbulb 194 (for the 100mm buttons, not needed if using generic 100mm buttons)

8x .25 crimp connectors

1x 17.5mm / 3/4" Power Switch (to control button and/or case lighting) (Radio Shack)

1x 11mm / 7/16" Panel Mount DC Power Connector (for powering 12V lamps and/or case lighting)

Step 2: Cutting the Acrylic Sheets

Picture of Cutting the Acrylic Sheets

All up to date files are available on the Thingiverse page.

NOTE: If you are using CorelDraw to cut the parts, I have layouts already designed to for the 24x12 sheets on Thingiverse

For this step, you will need the one clear acrylic sheet and two colored sheets (The base panel sheet has not been designed yet) The files are available as both DWG and DXF for better compatibility with your LASER cutter. For the Epilog 40W LASER cutter I used, my settings were Speed 15%, Power 100%, Frequency 5000Hz. The cardboard the acrylic was shipped in makes a great test piece for double checking your laser cutter and files before cutting your plastic.

With the clear sheet you will be cutting:

1x Face(Clear) (do not confuse with FaceBase)

With the color sheets you will be cutting:

1x Back wall

1x FaceBase(Turquoise) (Do not confuse with Face)

1X FrontWall

2x SideWalls

8x Corner Bracket

8x FaceBracket

1x Center Face Bracket

Step 3: Acrylic Assembly

Picture of Acrylic Assembly

For this step you will need

10x 16mm M3 machine screws

26x 14mm M3 machine screws

40x M3 nuts.

TIP: Use the 3D model as a reference for assembly, make your frame look just like the picture.

Step 1: Corner Brackets

Before starting in the Back Wall, attach the 4 plastic PCB standoffs with 4X M3 bolts and nuts with them parallel to the piece but pointing towards each other as shown in the picture.

Install the 8 corner brackets into the sides of the Front Wall and Back Wall as shown using 8 of the 14mm bolts and nuts. Make note of the orientation of the rear wall as it only goes one way. Do not tighten the bolts too much, leave them loose enough so the pieces have a little play (back off 1/4 turn from finger tight)

Step 2: Face Brackets

Install the 10 Face Brackets into the Front Wall, Back Wall, and SideWalls using 10 of the 14mm bolts and nuts. The "fingers" insert into the piece while the flat edge points up as shown in the picture. Again, make sure not to tighten the bolts too much.

Step 3: Side Walls:

Attach the side walls to the Front and Back walls as shown using 8 of the 14mm bolts and nuts. The frame should be loose enough to wobble slightly but not enough for the bolts to pop out.

Step 4: The two faces.

Place your sub assembly on a table and place the FaceBase (opaque) down first and then the Face (translucent) down on top of that as shown in the reference picture. Using the same technique for assembly as before, line up the panels with the brackets and install the 10x 18mm bolts and nuts.

Step 5: Crank it all down

Not really, you don't want to crack the acrylic. Just make sure everything is tight enough to not loosen up over time. You can use a weak thread locker to keep the bolts in place but due to the nature of the nut retention design, it mar crack the acrylic if you decide to take the frame apart.

When complete, it should look like the picture above.

Step 4: Installing the Buttons

Picture of Installing the Buttons

The buttons are fairly simple to install, the 30mm and 24mm buttons just snap into place, make sure to line them up with the rectangular cutouts. Also be sure you push them in straight or they may get stuck, if you push too hard when stuck you may crack the acrylic.

The 100mm buttons are a little different as they screw in. Remove the threaded nut and plate from the button and line the button up with the notches in the acrylic, it will lay flat when seated correctly. Slide the plate onto the threads and then tighten with the plastic nut to secure the button in place and repeat with the other 3. Depending on your buttons the switch either just pushes and snaps into place (Sanwa) or rotates slightly (generic), just be sure not to apply too much force as they don't take much to pop in.

The 24mm Triangle buttons go in the slanted rectangles, make sure to install them as shown in the pictures.

Step 5: Control Board, USB, Switch, and Power

Picture of Control Board, USB, Switch, and Power

The control board screws into the 4 PCB standoffs on the Back Wall that were installed earlier using the 4 screws included with the board. Be aware that one of the screws may hit the plastic on one of the block connectors, there is not much interference and once it starts threading, it will go into place.

The USB jack will install using the 2 included screws with the face plate of it on the outside of the frame. (note, I got the white rubber surround separate, it will not be included normally)

The switch installs by removing the plastic nut, placing the switch through the wall, and securing with the nut again.

The DC power jack installs the same way as the switch but with an added lock washer, place the washer between the frame and the nut on the inside of the controller.

Step 6: Wiring the Controller: Part 1, Buttons

Picture of Wiring the Controller: Part 1, Buttons

Place a towel or clean rag on your table or work surface to avoid scratching of the controller. Turn the controller upside down on the table and start the fun fun process of wiring it up. I have a sorta-kinda color code system that you can try to follow but the wiring is as follows:

GROUND, every button gets the daisy chain ground wire to one of the two terminals (the 100 mm buttons will be on a different daisy chain)

DOWN, UP, LEFT, and RIGHT are wired to the four 30mm buttons in the top left corner.

OPTIONS is wired to the yellow 24mm start button

HOME is wired to the right of the two 30mm buttons in the top right

SELECT is wired to the left of the two 30mm buttons in the top right

1P is wired to SQUARE

2P is wired to TRIANGLE

1K is wired to X

1K is wired to CIRCLE

3P is wired to every other one of the RIGHT arrows (tagged in photos)

3K is wired to the other half of the RIGHT arrows (tagged in photos)

4P is wired to every other one of the LEFT arrows (tagged in photos)

4K is wired to the other half of the LEFT arrows (tagged in photos)

Step 7: Wiring the Controller: Part 2, Lighting

Picture of Wiring the Controller: Part 2, Lighting

There are two ways of wiring, always on, and off when pressed.

The first war of wiring for is fairly simple (always on). there will be 2x daisy chains of 4 quick disconnects each which wire up to the light bulb plugs on the 100mm buttons, these daisy chains will wire up in a simple circuit with the power connector and the switch as shown in the poorly drawn illustration above. You can use quick disconnects or you can solder the wires to the power connector and switch.

For off when pressed, the wiring goes as such. +12v to one side of the switch. Other side of switch to the bulb(s). Other side of bulb to NC on the buttons switch. After that all you have to do is connect the 0v to the ground daisy chain or an extra ground on the fighting board. (I will make a diagram at some point)

Step 8: Artwork

I have not made any custom artwork yet for my controller but when I figure out how to, I will be adding this in. If anyone is an art person, wanna design some art?

Step 9: Button Decals (optional)

Picture of Button Decals (optional)

The controller looks boring without the symbols inside of them. For this step you can either make your won decals at home with an inkjet printer and decal paper or order them made professionally online. Use the image files provided.

Make sure to test the print first, the circles should print out with a 75mm diameter.

The buttons disassemble as shown until you have the white discs out where the decals will be attached, take note of how they will be oriented in the button as to not have them be rotated when reinserted.

To make the decals:

1. Test the images on plain paper to make sure of the sizing

2. Load the decal paper and print on the highest resolution and quality settings that you can.

3. Allow the ink to dry for about 10 minutes

4. Spray decal bonder spray onto the sheet (acrylic clear-coat spray lacquer) and allow to dry (usually 2-3 coats is good)

To apply the decals:

1: Cut the decals out of the paper very carefully using sharp scissors or hobby knife if you are so inclined. (scissors work better, just saying)

2: Place them in warm water for about 30-40 seconds to loosen the glue.


3: Wet the surface of the disc and carefully slide the decal onto the plastic. If the color runs, it likely was not sealed properly when making the decal. Be careful not to stretch the decal film, it is not like commercial decals which tear more than they stretch. It may take a few tries to get the application right so make sure to buy extra decal paper.

4: Allow the decals to dry for a few hours (24 is recommended)

5: Re-assemble the buttons and pop them back into the housings. make sure to hold the spring inside the button prongs until the prongs are inside the housing, once they are in, they will hold the spring back.

Step 10: Button Silencers (Optional)

I can't figure out a material to use, even 1mm thick foam is too much. If I get something working it will be added in.

/* If you have played around with the buttons, you probably know that they are quite loud when pressed. To help quiet down the controller, I have designed neoprene pads that fit underneath the plungers of the buttons so there is no plastic on plastic clacking.

The silencers are not actually made yet, this page is just a placeholder until I make them. */

Step 11: Thats It!

You should be all set at this point, just plug in to your PS4 and start getting used to the arcade layout. Just make sure to update your boards firmware on your computer so you don't have your controller disconnect every 8 minutes.

I am still working on improving this controller and plan on adding in a base for rigidity, rubber feet, possibly more lighting, and other dank memes.


danox574 made it! (author)2017-03-05

I was able to put this together fairly easily, but I have made controllers before. The CAD files were extremely useful. I added a bottom with fasteners that go through the corners and corner brackets, I am using a Brook universal fighting board (so location of holes was changed) and LEDs powered off the Vcc on the Brook board instead of incandescant bulbs. The holes in the side panels were great for L3/R3 and the PS button, keeping options, share, and the touchpad buttons for marking favorites in the game on the top surface.

HalfDarkShadow (author)danox5742017-03-05

Looks great! I just started ordering the materials the other day, so I'm just waiting for everything to get here (:

Only issue at the moment I'm having is finding a brook board, because almost everywhere are sold out (for quite a while unfortunately) so I'm still on the hunt for one!

There is this I pre-ordered a while back for that I was originally going to use for a custom fightstick I'm also working on, but maybe I can see if it's something I could use on my DIY Miku controller instead ( ). I need to do more research and see what else is out there since I'm not exactly savvy in this area of expertise, but I digress lol.

Anyway, you did an awesome job!

danox574 (author)HalfDarkShadow2017-03-05

Thank you. It took a couple months to get everything. It took a while to find an LED bulb that was diffuse enough to light things up. Decals took a few tries to get right. A lot of trial and error along the way that makes DIY projects fun. The wiring when you actually get everything was fairly easy to sort out.

HalfDarkShadow (author)danox5742017-03-07

Oh what I coincidence, I myself is still looking around for some LED bulbs (for both 100mm buttons and the 60mm buttons I'll be using instead of the touchpad-arrows). I haven't looked terribly into it yet since I wont be starting any of the wiring for a while, but still lol.

I was just about to ask how much time did it take for you to complete it in total? I figure it wasn't too bad? Unfortunately for me this will take me a little while due to balancing classes now but definitely seeing others who also made their own definitely gives me confidence/motivation! (via. it's my very first DIY-esque project, at least the first to this extent.)

danox574 (author)HalfDarkShadow2017-03-09

I went through about 4 different LED bulbs. Most just didn't light up the button in a even way and had a really clear hot spot of light. Tomorrow, in response to the author, I will get various additional photos of the top, wiring, and show the lights and try to find out where this particular set came from. The bulbs are equivalent to a 555 pinball bulb, which is not the 12V 194 recommended, but a 6.3V bulb. Unfortunately, the draw is too high for normal 555 bulbs to be run off the 500mA limit (of which about 60 is eaten up by the Brook board). The LEDs bulbs were drawing 20-25mA so they worked well. Also, my decals were cake, no curling, and I will post the reference I used for those (they came from Amazon). I happened to have a laser printer though, and those do work a bit better because they don't need sealant. I think the inkjet decal paper causes the ink to sit on top, where the heat actually puts the ink into the laser decal paper.

Ernst AntonK (author)danox5742017-05-17

Did I miss where you posted details on the LEDs you used? Also, what did you do for the Labels?

danox574 (author)Ernst AntonK2017-05-18

Bulbs came from but I cannot find what I used - I think it was the super bright frosted ($.80/ea)

Decal Paper was from Amazon, I did have access to a very high end laser, so I'm not sure if these work with lower heat and would likely have problems with inkjet

danox574 (author)danox5742017-05-18

Actually, found the bulb: Super Bright Frosted Pinball LED Lights (Base type: 555 Wedge Base, Colors: Cool White)

Ernst AntonK (author)danox5742017-05-20

This is good stuff. So you just wired directly to the VDD 3.3v pins and Ground and all 4 together doesn't overpower the board? Or are you still using the 12v power option? Care to share any pics?

danox574 made it! (author)Ernst AntonK2017-05-20

The USB provides the 5V, and the Brook Universal board (which is what I ended up using although it was a bit of a waste) does have a USBVCC out and a VCC out. The VCC is 3.3V, but the USBVCC is 5V and this is powering all four LED bulbs. I ran the 5V through the power switch so I can turn them off if I want, but I've never found a reason to do so. I hooked up all 4 and the pull was about 100mA. USB provides 500mA and the Brook board itself is under 80mA when being used, so plenty of power. I have the 12VDC plug installed but it isn't wired to anything. My bottom panel has gotten a bit scratched over time in the photo, but it was designed to really.

Ernst AntonK (author)danox5742017-05-25

I can confirm this works. I got the bulbs you suggested and they light up the buttons perfectly. I just wish I had better inserts for the buttons that looked shinier?

I was afraid the LED's would somehow need an extra resistor or something but they work just fine.

I would say that it would be nicer to have a easier to understand description of wiring for the SANWA 100mm buttons with the LEDs. It took a bit for me to understand which cable goes where, but now that I got it, it's fine.

Also, your cable work is beautiful. Much <3

tomtortoise (author)danox5742017-03-06

Yeah, the parts definitely take a while to arrive, they are all ordered from the factory direct first so there can be backorders on the lesser used parts. The decals are also quite difficult as they always want to curl up.

Do you have any pics of the finished project?

There aren't too many options, it seems like the breakout board is no longer being produced so the main options are to solder the leads direct or to use the new PS4 board Brook is coming out with (the one you pre-ordered) which conveniently will fit in the USB hole.

Some good news actually, I emailed Paradise Arcade during the weekend and I just got a response in regards to that, and they mentioned that there are plans for it to return (with apparently plans for a redesign), minimum a month or so. So by the time I get my hands on that preorder, if it hasn't restocked by then I'll end up just using it instead (and grab the PA one another day for my fightstick).

Still plenty of time nonetheless since this will take me some time to put all this together (i.e. using different materials / overall design for the case). So we'll see how all this turns out in the coming weeks!

tomtortoise (author)danox5742017-05-18

That is fantastic, glad to see the design worked out well!

MikaelS13 (author)2017-05-27

So i might be missing something, but since I'm having alot of trouble with the wiring since this is my first type of project like this. what are AT-110 crimp connectors used for? also, how do i get the wire in the terminal block on the control board? Do i strip the plastic off the wire and then screw down the screw on the top of the terminal block? thanks for any help~

tomtortoise (author)MikaelS132017-05-29

The AT-110 crimps are used for attaching wires to the Sanwa buttons. You can use wire leads with the connectors attached or just purchase the crimps to attach to your own wires. On the green terminal blocks, you turn the silver screw counter clockwise to loosen the block, insert the stripped wire, and then turn the screw clockwise to tighten the wire in place. Make sure to test it by giving a light pull (very little force, just make sure it won't fall out on its own)

tamdvd9 (author)2017-05-01


I tried to email you, but wasn't sure if you saw it yet. I was wondering if you can also charge me to make the case for me.

tomtortoise (author)tamdvd92017-05-01

I may have, I just caught up on a few emails recently but il reply here as well.

As far as the case, it is $90 shipped continental US, or $104 if you would like the abrasive resistant coating on the clear acrylic piece (not necessary but it may help, probably won't notice much of a difference though)

I can also add/remove holes or otherwise tweak the layout a bit as well.

-Thomas Carroll

tamdvd9 (author)tomtortoise2017-05-02

I'll email you for more questions. I'm definitely interested

NanyC (author)2017-04-20

Hiii ?
Would you make the case for me and how much would you charge me?

tomtortoise (author)NanyC2017-04-21

The base price for the acrylic frame (available in different colors) is $90 shipped continental US. You can also get the abrasive resistant coating on the top clear acrylic for an extra $14. Also some other options such as customization are available.

Ernst AntonK (author)2017-04-15

Anyone know where I can get the acrylic cut?

Anyone want to cut it for me and I'll pay you for the parts? Or some other arrangement?

tomtortoise (author)Ernst AntonK2017-04-17

I can do the part cutting for you. Send me a PM with your email and Il send you the pricing. It's pretty much material cost + $20 + shipping.

JonathanR228 (author)2017-03-24

I am having so much trouble finding generic dome buttons and the board to make this. I don't want to drop $500 on the hori pad. How much has everyone spent making these?

tomtortoise (author)JonathanR2282017-03-24

The buttons can be found at adafruit for $10

The board seems to be getting an update from Paradise arcade but the new PS3/PS4 board from Brook will also work as a direct replacement and you no longer need the Neutrik USB connector as it comes with one. It also comes with sticky standoff feet to attach directly onto the controller frame.

JonathanR228 (author)tomtortoise2017-03-25

Thank you, I did find the buttons I need all on amazon and a PCB on Focus Attack. I am just thinking up different ideas for cases besides acrylic, maybe bamboo. Basically using half your plans lol. What are the dimensions of yours? That seems the last thing I am stuck on. Thanks again for the help and artical. I learned alot.

JohnD776 (author)2017-02-20

I have a question. What it the thickness of the acrylic you used?

tomtortoise (author)JohnD7762017-02-20

1/8 inch or 3.175mm. 3mm will also work if that's all you can find.

JohnD776 (author)tomtortoise2017-02-20

Thank you very much for the reply!

Naes'G (author)2016-12-17

Thanks for the diagram !

It's now very clear ;)

About This Instructable




Bio: Rockets, electronics,, laser cutters, weeb stuff. Everything a growing boy needs.
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