This is my first time posting, but I've definitely checked out the boards over the years for inspiration. I think my little controller project turned out great so I wanted share with you.
Here is the end product:
I was inspired by how much I liked the feel of the plug and play units I have and wished there was a similar Atari joystick. I had considered trying to hack one as others have done here, but then I found this enclosure that seemed perfect. It's anodized aluminum, has different color options, end piece options, is reasonably priced, and there are several size options if you wanted to accommodate different layouts.
Here are all of the individual enclosure pieces. The standard enclosure comes with black bezels. I bought the red bezels separately.
Since the enclosure is anodized aluminum - and I love anything that is anodized aluminum - I wanted to see if I could get a pattern engraved on the enclosure, plus it would give me a guide for drilling the holes. I came up with a design and headed to a local engraver.
I was little concerned about the gradient on the pattern. The engraver assured me it would turn out fine so I believed him. It could have turned out better though. If I made another one I'd do something more like this and keep everything solid:
Here is the end result:
Overall, it looks great, but it's not perfect and it was a bit of an experiment. I love the finish, but as I mentioned, the gradient band isn't very good and somehow the left arrow pattern was skipped (not sure what happened there).
I drilled some starter holes and then used some larger drill bits and then ground the edges with a Dremel to get the size right. If I did it again, I'd probably either try to make sure I had the exact drill bit size or find a shop that would do both the engraving and laser cut the holes. It looks fine for my purposes, but this was the most annoying part.
I wanted to have buttons that were concave and similar in size to the CX40 joystick. The closest arcade buttons that I could find that were short enough to fit in the box were Sanwa SDM-20 buttons (20 mm). They have a very slight clicky sound to them and are fairly springy. I wasn't sure if I was going to like them at first, but they feel great to me now.
I used a Sanwa JLF joystick with the mounting plate removed. Here is everything mounted in the enclosure:
I used the Zero Delay USB encoder for the interface and mounted it with Velcro. You could definitely wire up a 9 pin cable, but I wanted to use this for MAME as well.
I needed to get a 5 pin ribbon cable to connect the joystick to the encoder. The whole electronics portion looks like this:
I notched out the side panel for the cable pass-through. I'd kinda quickly hacked through it, but would take a little more care on the next one. You don't really see it with the cable in place anyway:
This is everything before closing it up:
And the final product again:
I gotta say I love the feel of these parts and the form factor. It's like holding a Atari joystick, but the extra thickness makes it more comfortable and the arcade joystick makes a world of difference. And it's all metal so it's built like a tank. I'm getting way higher scores than I ever have before.
I'd love to hear what you guys think and any other ideas for improvement!