Wooden Buttons for Joysticks or Arcades




Introduction: Wooden Buttons for Joysticks or Arcades

A lot of people nowadays decide to build their own arcade or joystick to relive the good old days. Some choose to modify their existing stick or cabinet but the thing that they all have in common is that they would like to personalize their project.
As wood is one of the easiests materials to work with, it's the most commonly used materials for these projects.
I noticed that a lot of DIY sticks have unpainted cases and due to the product range of the button manufacturers end up combining the natural look of the case with the plastic look of the buttons.
That's why i took the time to research a way to make the wooden buttons that would integrate better into a wooden joystick. And resulting in taking the effort to build this Instructable to let you do it yourself.
A small disclaimer: This requires to take irreversible steps to modify your Seimitsu buttons.
I hope you enjoy the end result as i do and please check us out on Shadaloo . eu for more joystick related items.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

The most important part of this build is ofcourse the button itself. Currently the only range of buttons that let themself be modded for this Instructable are the Seimitsu buttons with clear plungers. These buttons can be easily disassembled.
This Instructable is based on the 30mm Seimitsu buttons.

The tools to use are:
- A decent drill
- sanding paper (60 grain and 180 grain)
- A hand file
-A precision measuring tool
- A clamp (or 2)
- A 29mm hole drill
-A thick piece of wood roughly the thickness of the length of the hole drill
-A piece of 3mm. thick Oak wood with at least 32mm width

Step 2:

In case you don't have a fixed drill I've made this instructable to use without one. To dril a perfect circle you do have to make your own jig.
I used a thick piece of wood that will guid my drill. That is necessary because the hole drill that i use has an extra smaller drill in the middel to guide the bigger drill. But this leaves a hole in the middle of the circle so the jig will guide the hole drill now.

Take a piece of wood of at least 4 cm thick ans drill a hole through it.(picture 1) This can be done with the middle guiding drill still attached.

After that remove the middle guiding drill to end up with only the outer drill. (picture 2)

Step 3: The Raw Plunger

Now you clamp down the 3mm thick oak wood underneath the thick piece with the hole using the clamps. Make sure that the hole is completely over the oak.
You can now drill out your raw plunger.

Step 4: Create the Correct Shape

The correct diameter is 24mm. After drilling i ended up with a 25mm circle so you need to remove 1mm of wood.  You can use the file to grind it down to that size but make sure you end up with clean circle shape.

Use the rough sanding paper (80 grain) to grind off the access wood. The best way is to put the sanding paper down on a flat surface and rub the plunger over it. That way you're sure it leaves a flat surface on the plunger.

After that you need to create the convex shape of the plunger. I found it easy to hold the sanding paper (80 grain) in my hand and slightly bending it. Then rub the plunger over it along the bend and gently twisting the plunger to be sure that the convex shape is applied all around.

Step 5: Placing the Plunger in the Button

Now that you have the completed plunger you can add a coat of oil or clear coat to match the look that you want.

Remove the plastic clear cover of the Seimitsu button.
You can use double sided tape to apply the plunger on the button cap. Make sure you center it correct so it doesn't end up hitting the inner wall of the button when you start playing on it.

As you can see on the picture the plunger will be a bit too high as it sticks out of the casing.

To solve this you should disassemble the button and shorten 2 parts. The first part is the bottom of the cap(white in this case). Just use the file or sanding paper to gently grind of the part that sticks out on the bottom of the cap.
The second part that needs shortening is the top part (white) of the switch. Take of about as much as you took off of the button cap. You can check this by putting the cap back on top of the switch see the access hight between them.
You can see the difference in the 3rd picture. The left switch and cap have not been altered. The right ones are shortened.
If you've removed it you can assemble the button and should see that the plunger is neatly out of sight.

Congrats your done!

If you like this product or have an interest in arcade sticks or parts, please check out my site Shadaloo . eu

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    3 Discussions


    Question 10 months ago on Step 5

    Looks cool. So, is it just sticky-back plastic holding the button caps on then? No issues with them coming off?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    It's an interesting approach, the rustic style the wood gives the button seems to rejuvenate it; after all buttons are always plastic :)

    Gameplay-wise, I wonder how different it feels compared to stock seimitsu buttons.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for liking them. The buttons have the same height but a slightly smaller 'travel' so in the end they actually play more responsive than the unmodified buttons.
    In the meantime the buttons have been build into some awesome custom sticks of which the last one got featured on the frontpage of Kotaku.com.
    Here are some pics of the buttons in a custom stick : http://www.flickr.com/photos/shadaloo_eu/7789137530/