This tutorial suggests that you make a 2 player Arcade Stick totally laser cut.
Along with this tutorial, you can also find a Bartop Arcade model of this creation (with screen and speakers). The more expensive Bartop Arcade is perfectly suited, as its name suggests, as a public or private video game display terminal. Object ready to the plugin, it is very easy to start. Also, due to its weight and size, this Bartop can easily be transported from one place to another by an adult.
To make this tutorial, you will first need to find out where you can make the 6 laser cuts required to make your terminal. To do this, remember to contact the fablab closest to you!
The other tools required for manufacturing are listed in the photos opposite.
You will also find a complete list of materials on the elements necessary for your project. The prices of the various components have been voluntarily rounded up. So see the advertised price as a maximum.
If you want to take over this project for yourself, please respect the license (CC-BY-NC), citing the author of the plans: Tony Vanpoucke.
Step 1: Prerequisite Tools
To do this laser-cut bartop you will need to use a laser cut machine, so, go to your fablab !!
list of prerequisite tools:
Laser cutting (cutting board size 600x300mm)
Screwdriver / Drill (+ with recessed cutter + 3mm wood drill)
Screwdriver (Phillips and flat)
Ruler and wooden pencil
Soldering iron (with tin)
Glue gun (with glue refill)
Step 2: Material in Detail
Before ordering the production, you will need some material!
You will find the entire list of items to be purchased divided into 5 categories: Buttons, Display/audio, Electronics, Wiring, and Carpentry.
You will surely have noticed some items to choose from in this list. These are the buttons and the USB switch option.
For the buttons, you will have the choice between
[Option A]: American style buttons: 16 buttons 28mm in diameter
[Option B] : Japanese style buttons: 16 buttons 30mm in diameter
[Option C] : Japanese style buttons: 12 buttons of 30mm in diameter + 4 secondary buttons of 24mm in diameter
You will therefore have to choose one of these cases from your supplier.
You can use this arcade stick for various purposes :
[Option 1]: Create a simple stick connected: With a raspberry pi you can turn it into a ready-to-plug emulation station / without a raspberry pi you can turn it into a simple USB arcade stick.
[Option 2]: With a raspberry pi combined with a USB switch, you can have a standalone emulation station and allow you to use your arcade stick as a USB stick to play on a computer (what I recommend to you). However, you will then have to buy two other USB cables to connect to the two outputs of the switch (attention to the USB format of the switch) and another USB cable to connect the Stick to a computer or a console.
You can therefore order all of the equipment described opposite. The prices shown are rounded up, so consider the total price of the items as a maximum.
Step 3: Prepare Plans for Laser Cutting
Now that you’ve ordered and while you’re waiting to collect all of your gear, get ready to sort (and maybe edit) the plans that match your gear.
So let’s start by sorting the downloadable plans, choose:
– Stick Option A for a set of Ø24 and Ø30mm buttons
– Stick option B for a complete set of Ø30mm buttons
– Stick option C for a complete set of Ø 28mm buttons
– Case option 1 for an emulation-station stick arcade / or / USB stick arcade.
– Case option 2 for a combined emulation station and USB Stick arcade (with a USB switch toggle).
Secondly, check that your joystick model is compatible with your set of plans:
To do this, find the model plans of your joystick with a search engine (the plans look like the diagram opposite). If you don’t know it, you can directly measure the distance of the holes in your joystick with a ruler once you have it.
The joystick layout of the original plans is based on the most common joysticks available on the internet (as in the diagram: 4 holes arranged in a rectangle of approximately 80x40mm), you will probably not need to modify your plans. However, if these differ too much, you will have to modify the plans, to do this using the vector software of your choice. You can ask your fablab or on the internet for advice. Be careful then to modify the two layers of the button panel to avoid unpleasant surprises during assembly.
Finally, once the material has been collected and the plans modified, you can cut with a laser, fab lab, or by your own means, the set of plans necessary for the manufacture of your Stick.
Step 4: Countersink the Holes
Once your wooden parts are out of laser cutting, get a screwdriver equipped with a built-in cutter. With the screwdriver, slightly bevel all the points marked in red on the plan.
Step 5: Prepare Your Cleats
Cut a total of 2 cleats of 19.2cm each. On each end of each cleat, mark the center of each side. Take your screwdriver equipped with a Ø 3mm wood bit and pre-drill the two cleats at the marked locations.
Step 6: Start the Assembly!
To begin the assembly, take one of the sides of the stick, as well as the two elements of the back cover of the latter.
Assemble the two front panel elements against each other so that the USB ports and the air vents are not blocked (in which case you had to put them upside down). Then, put the side of the stick, and be careful to locate the notch of the largest edge of this piece (check the photos). It is done? Then and insert the two joined elements in this notch.
Step 7: Close the Box
In the same way as the previous step, you will be able to join the two front facades of the terminal and add the opposite side of the arcade stick to it in the same way as in the diagram. Attention, without screws the assembly is fragile and can come undone very quickly.
Before going any further, take advantage of this moment to check that the assembly has been done in the right direction. Normally, the rear facade should be raised above the front (see photo). If not, the stick is mounted upside down. You will therefore have to start editing again.
Step 8: Attach the Button Panel to the Box
To consolidate your still fragile structure, you will now add the lower part of the button panel. Place it on the structure as in the diagram and make sure that all the slots fit into the notches on the panel.
Then, take the elements of the remaining sides and slide them on each side of your stick (see photo).
Finally, for everything to hold well, take 4 10mm screws and screw the panel of buttons to the 4 holes provided for this purpose.
Step 9: Add the Buttons of the Stick
Now that the body of the stick is up, we will be able to tackle the serious part of the manufacturing: the addition of the controls of the stick
To start, take the top of the button panel and overlap it on the Stick.
Then take the buttons and remove the sighted or floating parts. Pass the buttons through the holes in the wood panel in the order of your choice. Then attach the buttons from the inside of the Stick.
Step 10: Add the Joystick (and Optional Manipulation)
Once the buttons are fixed, make way for the joysticks! Take them and remove the targeted “ball top” as well as the plastic covers.
Then start with the P2 joystick, inside the Stick, insert the first joystick facing the 4 corresponding holes on the “P2” side, then quickly pass the 4 bolts on the panel side to finish aim the bolts by and fix your joystick.
Joystick P1 is inserted in the same way as joystick P2. But there may be a little subtlety. If you have with you a joystick with 5 pins coming out from one side of the joystick *, you just have to insert your joystick so as to point the pins towards this center of the terminal.
If you have (as in the photos) a Zippy-type joystick, with 2 pins coming out on each side of the joystick, you will have to do a little manipulation (detailed here in Step 17).
* 5 pins for: (-) (+ up) (+ down) (+ left) (+ right)
Step 11: Secure Your Jostick
Once the two joysticks are in place, it’s time to tighten. With a wrench appropriate for the diameter of the bolt or water pump pliers, hold the bolts one by one while someone else is tightening on the other side. Note that if you have the recommended bolts (button head bolt) you will have to aim at the bolt and a third person will not be necessary.
Also, even if the tightening can be laborious, we advise you to tighten the bolts well at the risk of seeing your joysticks “swim” in the void as you play.
Finally, end by screwing put the black plastic washer on the axis of the joystick, and screw the “balltop” at the top of the latter. To help you, you can, with a flat screwdriver, hold the joystick bar for a firmer face.
Step 12: Connect Cables From Your Controls to Your Interface
Before plugging the head into the handlebars of your Bartop, check the model of your interface. We offer here the connection models for the Xin-mo interfaces (the “zero-delay” interfaces, which are also very widespread, do not need plans). There are two models of Xin-mo 2players: one with a micro USB (and a total of 44pins) and one with a standard USB (and a total of 36pins). So choose the plan corresponding to the model of your interface and connect all the controls.
To start, take the two cables often taking the form of garlands (see photo), and connect all the “buttons and directions” joystick (called “microswitches”) of the P1, and with the second cable all the buttons and directions P2. There must then be a pin remaining on each button and each microswitch of the joysticks.
Then, connect all the remaining pins using the 2 or 4 cable strips (see photo).
Once all the pins are connected on one side, connect the interface according to the plan opposite.
Step 13: Attach the Cleats to the Stick
Your controls are now connected (we will check them later) you will be able to fix the structure of your Stick.
To do this, take the cleats cut in step 4, and place them as in the diagram. Attention, be very careful when fixing the cleats to leave room for the future hatch that you will install on your Stick, to do this align your cleats with the two grooves of the hatch on the sides of your Stick.
Step 14: (USB Switch Option) Open the USB Switch
If you wanted your Stick to be able to be connected as a gaming device to a computer or console, you had to buy a USB switch (pictured). The USB switch (not to be confused with the microswitches of the joystick) will allow you, using a button, to select on which “computer” your USB interface must be connected.
It all starts by removing the box from the USB switch. Take a screwdriver and remove the switch from its case.
Step 15: (USB Switch Option) Solder and Fix the Button
Switch work without touching it directly (since it will be locked in the Stick), we are going to create a remote button on the back of the Stick.
To do this, solder two small cables to the two terminals of the button (see photo) then slide the assembly through the hole in the button on the back of the Stick.
Step 16: (USB Switch Option) Solder the Button to the Switch
Then, look at your electronic card and locate where the two (or 4) terminals of the switch selection button are placed. On our model, the terminals are located in the middle of the map (see photo).
Then solder the wires of the button in the direction you want on these two terminals.
Once solder, test the new switch button, so check that your external button has an effect on the operation of the latter.
Step 17: Install the Power Supply of the Stick!
Now that your controls are connected (we’ll check them later) let’s move on to your Stick’s connections. Take your extension cord and the bipolar base.
Cut your extension cord as in the photo and take out the 2 wires from the power cable that you will strip (if you are using a 3 wire cable take a look at the Bartop version – Step 25). Connect the 2 wires in either direction on the reverse side of your bipolar socket.
Once the two wires are placed on the two terminals of the base, solder them with a soldering iron.
Step 18: Install the Rest of the Connections
Finally to protect everything and that no one puts their fingers directly on the socket: it is ESSENTIAL to insulate the wires welded to the base. To do this we poured them into plastic with the glue gun.
Then we continue to install the connection via the two additional USBs, the HDMI and the external USB port (only if you have installed the USB switch). Start by taking your two USB extension cables and using a “third hand” clamp (or your own hand) to hold the cable while you attach the female side of your extension cable to the back of the terminal. You will do the same for the HDMI and possibly for the external USB port.
To fix everything we use a glue gun, but you are free to use something else.
Step 19: Connect Your Stick Without a Switch Option
We are there, now that all the connections are ready, all you have to do is connect the whole thing to your Raspberry pi. If you do not have the switch USB option, follow the connection diagram opposite:
– Take the USB from the button interface to the microcomputer.
– Then, first, connect the 2 USB extension cables and the small HDMI extension cable to the ports of the Raspberry pi.
– Finally, you can connect the power supply of the card to the multiple sockets.
Step 20: Connect Your Stick With the Switch Option
If you have a USB switch in your Arcade Stick, the connections are a little different, so follow the diagram opposite:
– Take the USB from the button interface to the input of the USB switch.
– Then, connect 2 additional USB cables going with the switch and connect them to the 2 outputs of the latter. One of these USBs will be connected to the external USB port and the other to the Raspberry pi.
– Then, you can connect the power supply of the card to the multiple sockets.
– Finally, connect the small HDMI extension cable to the ports of the Raspberry Pi, finally, you can connect the power supply of the card to the extension cable.
Step 21: Install an SD Image for Your Raspberry Pi !
That’s it you got there, your Arcade Stick is almost finished!
To operate your Rasberry Pi, you will need an operating system dedicated to video game emulation. To do this, go back to your computer equipped with SD support and with your memory card.
There are a few operating systems for emulation stations that you can use freely:
Recalbox (well known in the French-speaking community)
Batocera (a variant of Recalbox, more and more popular)
Retropie (famous and widely used distribution around the world, very active English-speaking community)
Lakka (also very famous software with an interface inspired by the menu of the PSP console)
To find out how to install this operating system, go to this tutorial, the operation is quite easy to set up!
There are other systems that offer various interfaces and functionality, so be curious and test several if you feel like it.
Step 22: Test the Controls
Connect the power cable to the back of the Stick. Wait and cross your fingers for everything to start well.
If your Raspberry-pi starts well and you fall into the emulation interface (Recalbox or Retropie). Test the controls to see if they respond well. First, check that the J1 behaves in the same way as the J2. If this is the case, you can refine your tests in a game including all the Bartop buttons (a fighting game, such as Street Fighter is perfect for this kind of test).
After testing, if the controls malfunction, you will need to revise the button/joystick connections.
Step 23: Close Your Arcade Stick
Are the controls working? Perfect! you are almost done!
Take the last piece still aside (the bottom of the Stick), slide this piece under the Stick, and close it with 4 screws.
Here is your Bartop is ready for long hours of play !!