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Wyluli Wolf

Homemade Arcade Stick for Atari 7800 - Questions (paint, cuts, etc.)

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Greetings!

I've finally decided to bite the bullet and attempt to build my own Atari 7800 controller. I often find I have as much fun tinkering with this stuff as I do playing the games if not more.

I'm planning to go with a plastic project box for the body so it has a more polished look than wood (since my wood working tools are very limited).

Can anyone tell me if you can cut holes in one of these boxes with a spade bit or would that crack the plastic to "bits" (pun :P ).

 

Has anyone tried painting one of these project boxes with canned spray paint that is made for plastic surfaces? I'm wondering how well the paint would hold up over time. It would be nice to have different color options. I'm just worried the paint might wear off easily?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post-38599-0-81857700-1475011261.jpg

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Using a regular spade bit will very likely bite/catch the plastic and crack it. The usually recommended bit style to use on plastics is a forstner bit.

 

That said, forstner bits can get expensive and most people don't have them laying about. I have had good success in the past running regular and spade bits backwards, allowing them to gently shave off the plastic without biting/catching. It takes a very long time though, and YMMV.

 

My preference for coloring plastics is vinyl dye. It doesn't crack like paint does.

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Can anyone tell me if you can cut holes in one of these boxes with a spade bit or would that crack the plastic to "bits" (pun :P ).

 

 

I think it really depends on the plastic you buy. I built a joystick using ABS plastic like this one:

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/21-14424

 

I used the standard drillbit you pictured (1 1/8th I think), and it worked fine. The plastic is rugged, yet very soft and easy to cut with precision. The only downside to plastic (in general) is it's not as heavy as wood and you get echo-y noises when you click the buttons.

 

DSC07052.jpg

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I think it really depends on the plastic you buy. I built a joystick using ABS plastic like this one:

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/21-14424

 

I used the standard drillbit you pictured (1 1/8th I think), and it worked fine. The plastic is rugged, yet very soft and easy to cut with precision. The only downside to plastic (in general) is it's not as heavy as wood and you get echo-y noises when you click the buttons.

 

DSC07052.jpg

If the spade bits worked that would be perfect. Quick and easy. Did you do anything special like run the blade in reverse as RevEng suggests? Did you need to place the lid/box directly against a piece of wood while drilling thru or did you just drill thru it with the lid on and no additional support?

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If the spade bits worked that would be perfect. Quick and easy. Did you do anything special like run the blade in reverse as RevEng suggests? Did you need to place the lid/box directly against a piece of wood while drilling thru or did you just drill thru it with the lid on and no additional support?

Yep, the spade bit definitely worked. While exploring options, I found some plastic that I passed on because it seemed like it would crack. I didn't use any additional support, I just used mild but steady pressure, and it worked like a charm. I drilled a pilot hole first, maybe 1/4 inch or so and drilled like normal (not reverse). I looked into a forstner bit, but they added so much cost to the project, that I decided to try the spade bit.

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For buttons and the joystick shafts, we use 1/16" bit in a dremel to exactly position our holes, open them up with a 3/16" bit in a cordless drill, then finish with a 1-1/8" hole saw in a drill press. Mounting holes are the same, except we stop at the 3/16" bit. For the cord hole(s), we open the 3/16" once more with 1/4", then 3/8". The actual cords are ~ 1/4", but since our cases are metal, we use 3/8" rubber grommets to protect and immobilize the cords.

 

The 1-1/8" spade should be fine with plastic, though I would still drill a 1/16" pilot hole. The main thing is to use slow speeds and gentle pressure at all stages. Take your time and you should not have the problem of the bit trying to snatch the case or tear the plastic.

 

For large hole cleanup, we use a pipe trimmer/deburring tool. For mounting hole cleanup, a countersink bit.

 

Hole saw example:
http://tinyurl.com/hh53zye

 

Deburring Tool:

http://tinyurl.com/gsme7vl

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Yep, the spade bit definitely worked. While exploring options, I found some plastic that I passed on because it seemed like it would crack. I didn't use any additional support, I just used mild but steady pressure, and it worked like a charm. I drilled a pilot hole first, maybe 1/4 inch or so and drilled like normal (not reverse). I looked into a forstner bit, but they added so much cost to the project, that I decided to try the spade bit.

 

DOH! Just saw the project is already complete... Never mind!

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DOH! Just saw the project is already complete... Never mind!

 

Actually, I completed my project a couple years ago... i'm sure your post is very helpful to Wyluli Wolf or others with future projects. BTW, I wish I would have known about your coleco joysticks when I built mine as your kickstarter looks awesome and very professional.

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I wouldn't use a spade bit. It likely won't be a clean cut. Hole saws are the way to go. They cost more though. Not sure the paint would hold up on the plastic box either. The black plastic looks pretty good as is. I would leave it black.

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The forstner bits are the best. You can get a nice set cheaply from Harbor Freight. I wish i had known about them before I drilled (and cracked) my 2600 jr. case.

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The forstner bits are the best. You can get a nice set cheaply from Harbor Freight. I wish i had known about them before I drilled (and cracked) my 2600 jr. case.

 

I wouldn't use a forstner bit either. A fine toothed hole saw will provide the best cut. If you are using a free hand drill all bets are off though regardless of the bit. You can get the hole saw bits off amazon for a good price. For buttons the lip will usually cover up a messy cut so just go for it.

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Back up the material you're drilling with some scrap wood.

I agree, this is a good idea to avoid blowouts/cracking.

 

I always put masking tape over plastics when I saw/drill them too. Seems to protect the edges of your cut from chipping.

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