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Vectrex controller, snapped joystick shaft. Options?


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#1 Zennmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:29 PM

Hi all!

 

First post!

 

I recently acquired a nice, functional Vectrex, and not wanting to leave well enough alone, found a smoking deal on another one that needed some help. That's the one I'm talking about now.

 

I rebuilt the controller, and it now works 100%, but the top of the joystick shaft appears to have been snapped off.

 

2016-11-29 11.23.02.jpg

 

Google doesn't seem to have anything to offer, so I put it to you fine folks: Is there a known replacement for that shaft? I can 3D print a cap for it, but it looks like, given how little shaft is left, it might not be a reliable solution.

 

Any input you may have would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks much,

 

-Michael



#2 Lord Innit ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:26 PM

I repaired one like that about 25 years ago for a friend. I got a length of 1/4" diameter stainless steel bar and cut a piece about 1" long then drilled a hole in one end about 1/4"deep. The diameter of the hole exactly match the diameter of the broken stem. I then tapered the bar so the bottom end was barely wider than the hole thus allowing the stick as much travel as possible, then rounded the top for comfort. Of course, I had access to a lathe back then so it was easy. It worked perfectly for 5 years before my friend sold his vectrex.

Edited by Lord Innit, Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:28 PM.


#3 vtk OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:49 PM

i agree with lord innit, you should use a strong piece (tube/rod) of steel/metal which has a hole in it to push onto the remaining 'stub' you have of the old joystick shaft

 

you can use a JB WELD type of product in the hole in order to make a strong bond (you wont be able to pull off the new shaft again, don't use the joystick for at least 24 hours though so it dries ('welds') properly).. remember when you apply it though, some of the epoxy might come out of the bottom of the shaft, so wipe that off before it dries, using a cotton swab

 

jb-weld.jpg


Edited by vtk, Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:05 PM.


#4 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:38 PM

Just a dab of red locktite will hold a shaft in there forever is the hole is drilled right

Jb weld will.do the same if there is a gap

Before you try might want to take a file or sanding stick and make the end flat, much easier to drill that way

#5 Zennmaster OFFLINE  

Zennmaster

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Posted Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:47 PM

Thanks everyone!

 

Here's what I'm going to try, since I don't own a lathe:

 

1) Find a piece of metal tubing that fits snugly enough for Loc-Tite to work, and cut it to length.

 

2) Attach the tube to the stub, then fill the tube with an appropriately-sized rod, again using the Loc-Tite method.

 

3) 3D print a new knob and attach it to the repaired shaft.

 

4) Profit.

 

I'll let you know how it works out.



#6 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:11 PM

if you are in the USA 

 

https://www.mcmaster.com/

 

course they like to ship everything UPS in boxes too big so dont get like a 3 foot section of something heh



#7 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:39 PM

I repaired one like that about 25 years ago for a friend. I got a length of 1/4" diameter stainless steel bar and cut a piece about 1" long then drilled a hole in one end about 1/4"deep. The diameter of the hole exactly match the diameter of the broken stem. I then tapered the bar so the bottom end was barely wider than the hole thus allowing the stick as much travel as possible, then rounded the top for comfort. Of course, I had access to a lathe back then so it was easy. It worked perfectly for 5 years before my friend sold his vectrex.

 

This community is incredible.  The Lord of Initializing Vectrex remembered the exact measurements from 25 years ago.  I'm impressed.

 

I probably would have done something half assed like buy some of those rolled paper cookie/lollipop "sticks" from the grocery store and cut it to the height I wanted.  Then I could just hollow out a little and jam it on there.  Repeat when it wears out.



#8 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:07 PM

If all else fails, just replace the whole thing with the stick from a standard Tandy Color Computer joystick. It won't look original, but it looks good, gives you better leverage (IMO), and is basically a perfect drop-in replacement since the Tandy and Vectrex both used the same gimble mechanism in their controllers. The only hitch is you might not be able to stow the controller in the face of your Vectrex anymore since the stick is longer.

And the Tandy joysticks kind of suck anyway, so sacrificing one to fix a Vectrex controller is a noble use for one. :D



#9 Zennmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:33 PM

If all else fails, just replace the whole thing with the stick from a standard Tandy Color Computer joystick. It won't look original, but it looks good, gives you better leverage (IMO), and is basically a perfect drop-in replacement since the Tandy and Vectrex both used the same gimble mechanism in their controllers. The only hitch is you might not be able to stow the controller in the face of your Vectrex anymore since the stick is longer.

And the Tandy joysticks kind of suck anyway, so sacrificing one to fix a Vectrex controller is a noble use for one. :D

 

This is what I ended up doing.

 

The diameter of the shaft turned out to be pretty tricky. I managed to stretch out one size of brass tube enough to fit over the stub, but then discovered that the shaft was actually bent, so it didn't really matter, the shaft was going to have to be replaced.  I was able to find a pair of the Tandy sticks on Ebay for cheap. The stick mechanisms appear to be identical, with the exception that the Tandy uses a longer shaft (on the handle side. internally, it appears to be the same), and doesn't have springs in the pots.

 

Luckily, the original Vectrex pots are still in good shape.  It really would have bothered me if the new stick didn't self-center, so that was a bit of good luck.  I simply disassembled the stick mechanism and swapped out the shafts, and I'm done!

 

And yes, you were right, the controller no longer fits in the face of the console, but that's ok. This one is the primary controller for my secondary Vectrex, and a second/backup for my main Vectrex, so I'm ok sacrificing the ability to stow it neatly in favor of making it usable!

 

THANKS for the suggestion!

 

(And yes, I know, it's still in need of a good (better) cleaning, and I'll probably put a new label on it as well. I think it's seen some pretty heavy abuse, but it's safe now.

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