Post your prototype/in-progress work here!

Exactly what the title says. Post any prototypes or project you’re working on here, from custom arcade sticks to custom arcade parts.

So I’ve been working on an updated version of my ergonomic arcade stick. Without getting long winded, I wanted the next version to include the following features:

-Easier to take apart (old one had 4 screws holding the bottom on, I want to reduce that)
-Better fit and finish (I had a few moments were I was a bit too eager to put it together and left out some important touches)
-More aesthetically pleasing body lines (I was still relatively new to working with acrylic with the Mark I, so the edges were never flame polished.)
-More completely protected artwork (the artwork on the mark I is under clear plexi, but the sides are open to the elements.
-Lighting (What doesn’t look cooler with lights?)
-To be even MORE ergonomic. (The biased panel under the joystick works, but it would be more comfortable if it was lower.)

Here’s a few pictures of the “Mark I” if you’ve never seen it.


So here’s the prototypes I was working on. It’s picture intensive, so I broke up the spoiler tags.

Another warning, there are some typos, I love writing on my prototypes but in my fever to create, I don’t always spell stuff correctly or even make it readable.

#1: “Conceptual” Prototype:


If it looks like I just took the prototype for the mark I and cut it up, that’s EXACTLY what I did! It’s just made out of sheets of foam. Foam is easy to cut and sand, and it’s cheap! It’s the perfect medium for prototyping in my humble opinion.

I mostly did this to give myself an excuse to finally throw away my old prototype. But it did give me something to measure off of and make a proper prototype.

#2: “Proof of concept” Prototype:


Didn’t cut everything quite the way I wanted to. It’s hard to see from the pictures, but the play area where the joystick is was cut a bit too long.

It feels great when you put your hands on it, but it still has some of the problems the old one had. Clear plexi slapped on top like an afterthought, and the bottom is still going to need 4 screws to hold it together. Just some kinks to work out with the next prototype.

The compass is to show the direction I’d like the joystick to face. It’s easier for me to “feel” where the joystick is orientated if I know duck is right where my wrist is.

#3: “Something went wrong” Prototype


Well, the good news is that I figured out how to fix the “artwork security” and “slow access panel” problems. The bottom of the arcade stick will slide into slots on the bottom of the arcade stick and get held on three walls. Then I only need one screw to hold it in place. The play area would also fit into slots to put a lip above the play area. This lip would keep the sides of the artwork safe, and get filled in with the plexi going in on top. But…


…Something went wrong. The program I wrote didn’t cut everything quite the way it was suppose to.

Still, I was able to at least see why everything was fitting so poorly. Who needs notepads when you can write directly on your failed prototype?

Though I was initially bummed, I was just glad I didn’t make this mistake while cutting acrylic! Oh well, it was time to try again.

#4 “Working” Prototype


Yes, you can plug it into your computer and play fighting games. Hahahaha. Foam is home!

I did have to cut the lip down where my wrists were going to rest. The button area looks like it’s popping apart because I made the button holes too small and really had to squeeze those suckers in there! You may also notice I decided to hold it together with hot glue instead of tape.

Gotta orientate those holes just perfect for the joystick.

Yea, I forgot to make a hole for the wire… That’s why we prototype!

The bottom is here…

And now it’s out! In the final version, I’ll solvent weld a tab for the screw to fasten to.

And now let’s have a look under the bonnet…

That’s a ps3/PC zero encoder pcb, since I’m going to use this on my computer. Typically a solder-less install, but I ordered an american harnas to hook up to my american joystick with the idea that I could crimp those suckers onto the Japanese buttons. Somehow, I got a Japanese harness with American connectors. I figured I could go cry to my supplier, but I wanted to get this thing done. So I was a bad enough dude to reconfigure the harness to work on my American joystick. Turns out the American disconnects fit on the Japanese buttons just fine, and my arcade stick design is so out there that the wires wouldn’t have reached even if I got all the correct parts. So it wasn’t all bad.

And yes, that enlarged aluminum actuator is a custom design by yours truly. It makes the American joystick more responsive, shrinks the dead zone, and makes the joystick function like it has a square gate.But this is a prototyping topic, so I’ll talk about that more at another time.

#5 “Feels good!” Prototype


This last prototype is just to make sure everything’s good to go.

Cut to thousandths of perfection around the wire. In the final version, I’ll trap the wire with a piece of acrylic and solvent weld it in place.

Here’s the wire from the other side. I did have to grove that out to get the wire to fit juuuust right.

Did I mention I love my camera? I scaled down all these photos by like 1/5 the resolution. Cannon powershot is amazing!

Final version will have wooden dowels that I can screw/glue to from the underside, removing ugly screws from the center of my play field.

Larger button holes, easier to squeeze the buttons in. The final version will pretty much lock directly into the clear plexi on top.

The slots that hold the bottom in place. Action is so smooth!

I forgot to mention that I made the button side about an inch lower, since the Japanese buttons don’t take up as much room as the american ones. I do plan on doing lighting, but I shouldn’t need a prototype to help with that.

Anyway, that’s about it, hope you enjoyed! It’ll be a while longer before it’s finished, but you’ll see it in the arcade stick thread when it’s done.

So, anyone else got stuff to share?

Why didn’t you used solidworks or sketchup for a 3D model and save on all the guesswork and money you spent on the styrofoam?
That’s what I used when a customer wants something different and want to keep the build on a budget, also is easy to do any changes or modifications on the fly.

For something like this i would want an actual model too, to test the ergonomics…

3D models can get you only so far. Even with VR goggles.
A physical prototype is more practical as you can look, touch it at it and intact with in in real space.

@Dubon and @Darksakul

You are right guys, for something that different that’s the correct way to go.
I totally forgot about the test stage and there’s no way you can get a clear idea of a new shape than the actual product.

SolidWorks also costs a lot of money…

But Sketchup is free and is a decent software for this kind of projects.

Now we are getting off topic

So what do you use for the box? Wood? If so what kind, I’m looking to build a fight stick.

I think MDF or Poplar are the popular choices. I haven’t built any but of the many i’ve seen are usually made out of MDF or Poplar

I plan on cutting the panels out of acrylic sheets. But for your own personal project, any wood should work. So long as it’s not super light/soft like balsa, Haha! You really just want something that’s not going to burst into a million pieces if it falls out of your lap. If you plan on finishing the wood instead of painting over it, why not get something with a grain you like? Birch can look absolutely wild when stained, depending on the type. As DonPedrox mentioned, Poplar is a nice choice too.