Friday, June 5, 2009

Installing the Hardware

Continued from Pad Hacking

After the Hell that is pad hacking, this part is a breeze and is pretty straigtforward. You just put the buttons into the holes you cut in your panel, then screw down the plastic nut to hold them in place. At this point, I wouldn't bother screwing them down too hard because you might need to rearrange/rotate them later.

Next, attach your microswitches to the buttons. This picture shows a standard cherry microswitch that came with my arcade buttons.

When you go to attach the wires from your hacked pad to your microswitches, the best method is to use .187 sized quick releases (or .110 for japanese-style buttons) rather than soldering the wires directly to the posts, which will make repairing/replacing buttons much easier in the future.

For the joystick, you'll need to drill mounting holes around your large-diameter joystick hole. The Happ stick I chose is a top-mounted stick, but I wanted a smooth surface (i.e., no visible screw/bolt heads) so I countersank the holes a bit and then covered the bolts with wood glue and wood putty before staining/sanding.

This is a pretty permanent solution for better or for worse (no way to reposition the mounting bolts), but I intend to continue using Happ sticks in the future, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

After the glue and putty dried, I did a light sanding and proceeded to stain the top and sides.

Once that's all set, you can attach your joystick base by threading the mounting bolts through the appropriate mounting holes and then screwing the nuts onto the bolts. Once you have the base of the joystick bolted into place, follow the instructions that came with your joystick for dropping the stalk into place. The instructions for my Happ were not very clear, so I'll explain my process: first, put the plastic ring--textured side-up--on the stalk, followed by the plastic spacer, then push the stalk through the base until it pokes out the other side next to the microswitches. Next, take the actuator (that funky square piece) and PRESS IT DOWN until you can snap the little clip into place to hold it (the fact that it can be pressed down was not mentioned in my instructions and I erroneously thought the spacer was missized).

After that, you just need to attach your pad to the microswitches via the quick releases. The ground attaches to the side post and the signal attaches to one of the two straight posts on the bottom (one side registers when the button is pressed, the other registers until the button is pressed).

Here is how my first attempt ended up (not so hot):

And here's my second attempt (a little better):

At this point, I added a few extra touches, including hinges for the top to maintain easy access to the wiring and some cabinet handles on the back which also double as cable wraps:

Also, as you may have noticed in some of the previous pics, I attached some staples from a staple gun to the bottom of the box interior. I then used cable ties to stabilize the pads against the staples and keep them from flopping around whenever I move the box.

Page 1: Building an Arcade-style Fight Stick
Page 2: Assembling Your Box
Page 3: Pad Hacking
Page 4: Installing the Hardware
Page 5: Conclusions and Helpful Links

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