This instructable will show how to make a custom arcade stick with off the shelf parts. It won't require any power tools or woodworking knowledge.
Here are the items you'll need:
8x 30mm buttons
Step 1: Parts (enclosure)
Step 2: Parts (USB Encoder)
A USB encoder is also needed to interface with your PC/Raspberry Pi/video game console. This encoder is a zero delay encoder and doesn't require any soldering. It's modular and plugs to your buttons with the included wire quick disconnects.
Step 3: Parts (Buttons and Joystick)
You'll need (8) 30mm push buttons and a joystick. If quality matters then stick to Sanwa buttons and joystick but it'll bump up the costs. You can buy a kit with USB encoder, buttons, joysticks, and wiring for about $20.
Arcade USB encoder/buttons/joystick kits
12 Piece Original Sanwa OBSF-30 30mm Push Buttons
SANWA JLF joystick
Step 4: Custom Artwork (optional)
This step is optional and will add some complexity to this build. If you want to add your own artwork, you'll need something to sandwich your artwork. Using plexiglass or lexan will require power tools to drill and cut the holes. Instead you can use an IKEA picture frame (FISKBO) and take the thin clear layer as an alternative.
IKEA Fiskbo Frame 16x20"