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hardnrg

Worklog: Arcade Stick

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yeah the one I have is a Draper and I think it currently costs ~£60 ($100)... I got it a few years ago and it was about the cheapest available that was still decent... any cheaper and they sucked - too small or too flimsy or otherwise shoddy... the only annoying thing with mine is the collar seems too small (diameter) or too long (height) for almost all drills on the market lol

 

if you get one, measure up some drill necks (or w/e the right term is) and then check out the collar diameters of the stands...

 

mine even came with a collar adapter to make it smaller!!!!!!! completely pointless

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MDF sub-panel 1 & Polycarbonate sub-panel

 

Ok, so work continues and I got on with cutting all the holes in the first MDF sub-panel section of the control panel. I needed to shave a bit of plastic off the chuck to give a touch more clearance from the drill stand collar. Here you can see that, and the other side of the drill neck where I sanded off some of the body:

 

ZM0Bm.jpg

 

 

Cutting through the MDF panel sandwich (top scrap panel, panel 1a, panel 1b, plywood scrap) was a bit tedious with a holesaw because when cutting through each layer I had to stop the drill and poke out the disc of MDF. Luckily there are holes on the sides of the holesaws, so it's possible to poke out the discs with a thin screwdriver, with the holesaw still locked in the drill chuck:

 

Y01ZB.jpg

 

 

I have a set of small holesaws, but unsurprisingly, I don't have the exact size for each required diameter hole. This meant that some of the holes cut with the holesaw were a few mm smaller than needed. As these button holes on the MDF are clearance holes, the fit doesn't have to be snug fit, but they do have to be larger than the holes on the polycarbonate layer above (and the button bodies themselves). I sketched on some rough circles as a guide and enlarged the holes with a sanding drum / rotary tool:

 

OmLsJ.jpg

 

 

I referred to the layer drawing to judge the required amount of material to remove, and after a second round, got the holes big enough:

 

UWzZJ.jpg

 

 

It was getting dark at this point, but I thought I'd carry on and try to do the polycarbonate sub-panel. I made another sandwich (MDF, polycarbonate, MDF, polycarbonate, scrap ply) to be able to cut through the plastic without shattering, biting, cracking, etc. I used the top scrap MDF panel from the MDF sub-panel sandwich as a hole guide for the LED holders, to make sure the 8mm holes line up exactly:

 

ADsFx.jpgtxnHc.jpg

 

 

Cutting the plastic went pretty well with the sandwich method. I've never done it this way before and it really made it a lot easier. If I did it again, I would add another MDF sheet behind the last polycarbonate because I ended up with some burring on the bottom of the 2nd (lower) sheet. I managed to sand this off by hand and test fitted a button in each of the holes. So cool, got a couple layers of the control panel done:

 

opxyx.jpgAd3dC.jpg

 

 

Next, I'm planning on cutting the other MDF sub-panel, and the plywood sub-panel.

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MDF sub-panel 1 & Polycarbonate sub-panel

 

It was getting dark at this point, but I thought I'd carry on and try to do the polycarbonate sub-panel. I made another sandwich (MDF, polycarbonate, MDF, polycarbonate, scrap ply) to be able to cut through the plastic without shattering, biting, cracking, etc. I used the top scrap MDF panel from the MDF sub-panel sandwich as a hole guide for the LED holders, to make sure the 8mm holes line up exactly:

 

Cutting the plastic went pretty well with the sandwich method. I've never done it this way before and it really made it a lot easier. If I did it again, I would add another MDF sheet behind the last polycarbonate because I ended up with some burring on the bottom of the 2nd (lower) sheet. I managed to sand this off by hand and test fitted a button in each of the holes. So cool, got a couple layers of the control panel done:

 

 

I must say that is quite the ingenious way to go about cutting it. I think I will have to do the same when I next need holes in polycarbonate.

 

With the artwork that is going to end up beneath the polycarbonate were you looking to design your own or find some classic arcade banners ect. (vector art of course).

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The sandwich method is pretty old and established, but I'd never tried it until today. I'd normally try to cut the plastic sheet bare, with some scrap backing, with the holesaw in reverse to avoid biting chunks out and cracking. The reverse method sort of works, but takes ages, and some drills' cooling doesn't work in reverse, so it takes even longer by waiting extra time for the drill to cool. So yeah, sandwich method from now on!

 

For the stick art, I'll definitely design my own, but will be using (downloaded) character artwork from Street Fighter and Tekken... probably favourite characters from each, for the two arcade sticks... I'll add some symbols/text labels to the buttons/LEDs. All the holes bar the LED holes are covered by a switch body flange or stick dust cover, so they'll be pretty easy to cut with a scalpel, but I'm not looking forward to cutting the LED holes since I think the LED holders have a 0.1mm flange lol... not much tolerance... I guess I can mark out the holes using the 2mm polycarbonate sub-panels though, so it's not too bad, but I'm sure it will be a pain...

 

The other part I'm not looking forward to is mitre cutting (or rather rip-cutting with circular saw at 45deg bevel) the hardwood sides accurately enough so that the bevels all line up flush at each corner... Hopefully I can set up a cutting rig with true enough straight edges... I have some really thick warehouse shelving posts that will probably serve the purpose...

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The sandwich method is pretty old and established, but I'd never tried it until today. I'd normally try to cut the plastic sheet bare, with some scrap backing, with the holesaw in reverse to avoid biting chunks out and cracking. The reverse method sort of works, but takes ages, and some drills' cooling doesn't work in reverse, so it takes even longer by waiting extra time for the drill to cool. So yeah, sandwich method from now on!

 

For the stick art, I'll definitely design my own, but will be using (downloaded) character artwork from Street Fighter and Tekken... probably favourite characters from each, for the two arcade sticks... I'll add some symbols/text labels to the buttons/LEDs. All the holes bar the LED holes are covered by a switch body flange or stick dust cover, so they'll be pretty easy to cut with a scalpel, but I'm not looking forward to cutting the LED holes since I think the LED holders have a 0.1mm flange lol... not much tolerance... I guess I can mark out the holes using the 2mm polycarbonate sub-panels though, so it's not too bad, but I'm sure it will be a pain...

 

The other part I'm not looking forward to is mitre cutting (or rather rip-cutting with circular saw at 45deg bevel) the hardwood sides accurately enough so that the bevels all line up flush at each corner... Hopefully I can set up a cutting rig with true enough straight edges... I have some really thick warehouse shelving posts that will probably serve the purpose...

True about the LEDs but I reckon if the thing all sandwiched tight you could just push the led through, you are just printing on a nice quality paper right?

Do you have a table/drop saw? The mitres would be easy with one or at least if you have access to one.

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True about the LEDs but I reckon if the thing all sandwiched tight you could just push the led through, you are just printing on a nice quality paper right?

It might be possible to push it through (well, the LED holder), or maybe I could scalpel it in-place... I'd just be worried about it tearing, so I'll probably take a few extra seconds to cut it before assembling the LED/holders

 

Do you have a table/drop saw? The mitres would be easy with one or at least if you have access to one.

No, I don't really have any bench tools, all my power tools are handheld. I'm either going to rig my circular saw up upside-down as a table saw and/or set up a really long cutting fence as a straight edge guide. The mitre cuts (at the corners) could be done with a drop saw, but the bevel cuts (along the lengths) are too long to do in a single pass with the sliding drop saw I have access to.

 

So, I'm either going to make a straight-edge guide, or make some sort of cutting jig:

http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Woodworking/Woodworking-Tips/how-to-use-a-circular-saw-long-cuts/Step-By-Step

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So, I'm either going to make a straight-edge guide, or make some sort of cutting jig:

http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Woodworking/Woodworking-Tips/how-to-use-a-circular-saw-long-cuts/Step-By-Step

 

I must say that is quite the cutting guide. I usually just go with something much simpler attaching a short length (3-400mm) of decking to the circular saws guide. That is to provide some more surface to slide on and more stability.

Or use the ripping guide (for really long cuts) made from 3mm ply. 2.4m with a 2.4m baton down the middle then run the saw along it and it is cut perfectly as a guide. Just to be placed on the edge of a line, one side of the guide being 90degree cuts the other 45.

Just need to clamp it down and get cutting.

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hmm, I think the steel n-shaped extrusion I have is about 2.4m... Pretty sure the hardwood I'm getting is either 2.1 or 2.4m long so I might be able to bevel cut the entire length... cool, well, sounds easy enough, and the hardwood I'm getting is cheap enough to mess up and buy another piece.

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MDF sub-panel 2

 

Ok, well, I started on this almost immediately after getting back from work, and when I'd finished this layer, it was 9pm, dark, and I hadn't eaten since lunch time. So, lol, no plywood layer today!

 

I used the top scrap MDF sheet from sub-panel 1 as a guide for the LED holes again:

 

wwtyI.jpg

 

 

With the larger holesaws (38mm+), I could switch to the larger arbor. It's possible to unscrew the arbor nut while still locked in the chuck, and raise the holesaw to reveal the disc of MDF that has just been cut. This is a hell of a lot faster than trying to poke/tease out the disc via the hole in the side. I might try the small arbor a little way out of the chuck to use this technique, because it took about 5 seconds from drill stop to drill start. Formula 1 pit stop time! Fishing/poking the disc out takes 10-30 seconds, and gets tedious when there are several layers and several holes.

 

AmOsx.jpgySfxq.jpg

 

 

At this point, all the holes were cut, so I carefully slid the sandwich off the plywood and clamped it together ready for cutting with the jigsaw:

 

WzLBO.jpg

 

 

The jigsaw blade I used is angled on each side. Most of the time this is just called "clean-cut". After a minute of smoothing over with the rotary tool / sanding drum, I ended up with the 3rd layer of the control panel:

 

1i1CY.jpg

 

 

So yeah, next up is the plywood sub-panel...

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