1. Introduction
  2. The Joystick Vs The Control Pad
  3. Basic Parts
  4. Joystick Components
  5. Joystick and Button Attributes and Brand Parts
  6. Joystick Engagements and Restrictors
  7. Panel Layout
  8. Tools and Other Parts
  9. Panel Mounting and Layering
  10. Controller Box
  11. PCB and Wiring
  12. Material and Decoration
  13. Example Ingredients
  14. Example Detailed Controller Build
  15. Example Summarized Controller Builds
  16. Brand and Custom Arcade Controller Makers
  17. Links and References


If you have any contributions, corrections, requests, or other suggestions, feel free to contact me at
If you have any controller questions not associated with specific subjects in this site, unfortunately you will probably not receive a response as I have given about all my knowledge of arcade joystick controllers in this document.


Well, sometimes your life can get caught up in many things, and you don't have time for updating your website. But now as I look across much of my website, I see a ton of things that can be improved, and maybe the time away helped in recognizing them.
This update is somewhat brief because I just wanted to show that I'm still working on things, and I think that I should really start making updates more frequently instead of doing them in large chunks. Hopefully I'll make several updates in a relatively short period of time.
* Copyright years updated.
* Material & Decoration - Wood and (especially) Finishing subsections massively overhauled (section will probably need splitting soon); Acrylic subsection renamed Acrylic Glass and Polycarbonate; Metal subsection updated and reorganized to a lesser extent; Imagery subsection distinguished and embellished.
* Brand Controllers - Madcatz added and Hori updated.

I finished the other very small controller; it is interesting to play with it. I still have another seven controllers to complete in mind, most of the started already.
* Summarized Examples - Contents index added; Snuff Box added.
* Brand Controllers - TMO Gaming moved and replaced with Norris Arcade Sticks.

I got another controller done and added; I should have another up very quickly. I messed with PCBs, metal, and finishes a bit more and refined their information among others a little more. I also added a contents index to some of the longer sections.
* Attributes & Brands - Contents index added.
* Tools - Contents index added; new screws, bolts, nuts, and washers image with some more description added; more drill bits described and fuller image added; Utility Knife added; Dremel changed to Rotary Tool; mention of using a router for planing added; Jigs and Fixtures renamed to Jigs and Fixtures and Templates with more information added.
* Mounting & Layering - Mention that I have not got soldering to mounting plates to work added.
* Box - More discussion of precision added; order of operations on a generic box added.
* PCB & Wiring - Contents index added; some specifics on variable resistors tweaked; Multiple PCBs subsection updated.
* Material & Decoration - Notes on resilience in metal added; image of and more information on various metal alloys added; note that car finishes can be used on many things added; tack cloth and sanding sealer noted; note of the general term polish added.
* Example Ingredients - Several new additions.
* Summarized Examples - Bumblebee added.
* References - Harbor Freight added.

This is just a quick update to add some stray information, the most important being some tweaking to information on removing analog sticks.
* Attributes & Brands - Mention of different JLW-T models added; snap-in button install depths trimmed by .1mm for a safe assessment.
* Layout - Generic shifted layout added.
* Tools - Dremel and Resistor added.
* PCB & Wiring - Better information on variable resistors and removing them added; ribbon faces in Playstation controllers more accurately described as membrane switches.
* Material & Decoration - Ash added; planar mentioned for working wood.
* References - Digi-Key added; some added special thanks given to Toodles.

With this update the site has become much more refined and versatile. I made the numbers in the joystick and button charts very exact. There is much more information on using different tools, centering layouts, sizing panels and boxes, mounting devices, tweaking PCBs, using multiple PCBs, lighting devices, and working with metal. The site is now much less centered on using wood. I actually now feel that using metal for the control panel is much better than using wood.
I think at this point I've hit a threshold on specialized information, which I may have already gone too far past, so, beyond somethings like device models and controller builds, I do not want to expand many aspects of the information contained in this site beyond where it is now. I will definitely look to refine things fitting the type of information already present though. Mainly I think the sections and subsections in place now are fairly adequate.
The main to-do's on my list include controllers (of which like five very different ones are about half way completed; I have nine total more planned for the examples section) and new joystick and button models.
* HTML code updated so that subsections can be linked by adding "#SUBSECTION_NAME" to the end of the address, example "pcb_wiring.html#PCB_DIAGRAMS".
* Basic Parts - Mention that wire also makes up the cord added.
* Attributes & Brands - Mention of Korean joystick companies in opening; Freedom of Movement subsection renamed Tension; note that some measurements may contradict official diagrams added; measurements in joysticks and buttons charts strongly rechecked for accuracy using detailed instruments; Gates Quality in joystick chart changed to Deflection; Sanwa and Seimitsu mounting plate thickness noted more precisely; main point for different joysticks for different games emphasized; button diameters changed to actual diameter measurements as opposed to hole measurements.
* Layout - Capcom US layout modified to better resemble official design; Centering Your Layout and Sizing Your Panel subsection added.
* Tools - More general descriptions not centering so much on wood; much more information on using the table saw and drill press added; mention of the radial arm saw added; Standard Drill Bits and Drill Hole Bits subsections consolidated to Drill Bits subsection with more information given to various types of bits; router transitioning images added; note on router bit shank sizes added; Tape added; Planer added; D-Sub Connector subsection renamed D-Sub/USB Connector with more information; desoldering braid noted as better than pumps; better wire cutters and desoldering tools images added; Jigs subsection renamed to Jigs and Fixtures and image added; Printer subsection added.
* Mounting & Layering - Panel Guideline Measurements subsection overhauled; image of mounting plates added; Mounting subsection renamed to Mounting Types; some notes added to the different mounting designs; Mounting Plate Modification and Device Mounting subsections added.
* Box - More description given to the most common box design; surrounded solid box design added; combined subsection split to Box Slanting and Front Enhancement and Side Buttons subsections and expanded; Box Thickness subsection added.
* PCB & Wiring - PCB Attributes subsection split to PCB Components Modification and Removal subsections with a lot more advanced information added; solderless subsection updated; note added about soldering terminals; a little more information on terminals added; joystick connection subsection modified in reference to commons; note that X-Arcade PCB lags a lot added; Multiple PCBs subsection added.
* Material & Decoration - Some notes on working acrylic added; Metal subsection added; finish testing image added; notes about oil-based and water-based products added; Illumination subsection added.
* Example Ingredients - Section modified to include both a list of my favorite ingredients in one subsection and purchases in the other; several example purchases added.
* Detailed Example - Dimensions of controller pieces also now listed in centimeters.
* Summarized Examples - Dimensions of controller pieces also now listed in centimeters.
* Brand Controllers - Mayflash added.
* References - TaeYoung, Woodcraft, Rockler, Electronics123, and McMaster-Carr links added.

Wow, almost two months without an update. Where did the time go?
Anyways, I got a controller done for once, and some experience with several other things along with it. The highlights of this quick update include an update for the buttons subsection and chart, the Vewlix layout, a huge boost of my PCB diagrams total up to 43, and of course the documentation for my newest controller build. But I still have an enormous detailed list of to-do's which will update numerous things, hopefully within the next couple weeks or so. And I have a couple controllers about half way done, with another five planned out.
* Attributes & Brands - Switches variety image added and other button images moved around; description of long switches added; buttons Engage and Throw Distance subsection added; Plunger Shape in buttons chart replaced with Engage Distance; more button modding options noted; note about mixing Seimitsu clear, tinted, and pearl plunger faces added; detailed description of Seimitsu long switch mod added.
* Layout - Joystick points changed to center on actual points for Hori and Sega layouts; Stant added; Vewlix precise diagram added (thanks to TheRealNeoGeo). * Tools - Standard and hole bits images consolidated to a better image showing the variety of bits; better image of wire used.
* PCB & Wiring - 15 new PCB diagrams added; PCB dimensions added to each diagram image; better PS1 Dual Shock A early version diagram used; some more information on how grounds work in the images added. * Material & Decoration - Mesh ball top image added.
* Detailed Example - Date of completion added.
* Summarized Examples - Stripes added; dates of completion added.

This is a pretty big update. It centers on refining the buttons subsection, tools section, finishing subsection, and brand controllers section, as well as, again, more general refinement. It is an attempt to get things to where I'm more comfortable working on an actual controller than polishing this site.
Bleh, I noticed and fixed quite a few typo's left from the last five or so updates and I apologize for them.
My to-do list has gotten cut down quite a bit. Right now it mainly consists of controller builds, a few PCB items (I want to try them first), illuminating joysticks and buttons (I want to try them first), some buttons I need to test, a few images, and some special stuff I'll reveal after I have done a couple controller builds. So really the site is getting to a relatively level position. Again, if you have suggestions, don't hesitate to give them; I have received almost none.
* Introduction - Modified regional difference in joystick to difference in devices and layout; small change to the end of the first subsection.
* Joystick Vs Pad - Paragraph about pads becoming standard changed a bit.
* Basic Parts - Note that joysticks and buttons use momentary contact switches added; leafswitch description removed; note added under support that a control panel and box are called a case.
* Joystick Components - Note that a securing part is often between the spring and pivot added; note of E-ring as a fastener added.
* Attributes & Brands - Buttons subsection overhauled with some text added and altered throughout; note that the JLF can use individual microswitches added; notes that the PCB on the JLF and Seimitsu joysticks can be rotated added; better description of JLF square vs octagon sizes; note that individual switches and PCBs can be exchanged in Seimitsu models added; joystick mixing subsection renamed to Joystick Components Mixing and Modding; joystick models in joystick mixing subsection put in bold; image of modified JLF added; more direct noting that switches and PCBs for the same model can be interchanged; more mention of mixing tops and microswitches added; more mixing noted for JLF and Happ/IL joysticks; mention of some joystick components modding added; game type images added; opening describing button components added; button subsections renamed and many pieces of information added or moved centering on the components of buttons; mention that it is possible to use snap-ins in a thicker panel; better images of disassembled buttons added; note that Happ/IL button shape is the main difference among models; button models section with a chart for the buttons (not quite completed) added.
* Restrictors - Subsection titles added and layout slightly changed; attitude that using a square is easily done replaced with practice and gentle touch comment.
* Layout - Opening mention of custom or non-custom layouts; another standard placement for joystick distance added; mention that you can use the measurements in the images to make your own diagrams added; mention of slight difference for Blast City layout added; added note for shifted layout; more clear reference to custom controllers in the setting and choosing subsection.
* Tools - Tools section reorganized into more easily referenced subsections with some overviews added; note of glue covering meeting areas added; mention of clamps also being called cramps added; better sandpaper image; mention of wetting sandpaper in finishing added; note of chisel being used along with router; note of brush matching the type of substance; better measuring tools image; measuring tool also noted as a straight edge; images of a miter saw, jigsaw, and sander added; circular saw added; note of a miter gauge helping a table saw (also noted in miter saw); mention of chop saw by miter saw; fixed error with press in parentheses still next to drill; more about the table used in a drill press noted; drill hole bits subsection overhauled; sander subsection added; note on the expense of router bits; note on storing router bits; note of the most utilized bits; more templating described; multimeter added; better connects image; note of exacto used for stripping; note of better quality desoldering devices; mention of desoldering braid; fixed recommended AWG numbers; note that yellow applies to 24-26 AWG too; note on use of project boxes.
* Mounting & Layering - Description custom controller added in a few places; fixed some describing buttons as both standard and small copy and paste errors in the measurements subsection; button depths changed to safer levels; Sanwa standard screw changed from 11mm to 10mm; Seimitsu small screw changed from 8mm to 7mm; Happ/IL standard button depth changed from 1-1/3" to 1-1/8" and small from 8mm to 2/5".
* Box - Description custom controller added in a few places; together subsection expanded a bit.
* PCB & Wiring - Added new opening line; note that soldering is not the same as welding; note that Dual Shock 1 PCBs are more popular; added link for info about converters; note that stranded wire tends to work better with crimping added; note that there are yellow connectors for 24-26 AWG; mention of using computer cable added; better connects image; expansion on how to deal with wire harness joysticks with a multi-ground; mention of wire mounts in organization; note of controllers using outside project boxes added.
* Material & Decoration - Finishing subsection strongly revised and expanded; a few refinements in the opening made; opening to wood subsection slightly changed; note that MDF can be used for the box too; direct description of what with the grain means added; mention of protection in snapping acrylic added; mention of stronger paper under background subsection; mixed buttons image added.
* Detailed Example - Mention of getting better at start added.
* Summarized Examples - Mention of getting better at start added.
* Brand Controllers - Section renamed to Brand and Custom Arcade Controller Makers and overhauled to list more.
* Links & References - Links for Joystick Vault and SD Tekken added; X-Arcade and HanaHo links removed; special thanks to Toodles added.

The layout section has been strongly refined and expanded. I invested a lot of time in measuring, studying, and understanding various standard layouts. I also got a new photo editing program so I could make many images throughout the site look much better, especially the PCB diagrams which looked like they were labeled with crayon before.
It's funny how these refinements of my site keep delaying my work on controllers...
* Pictures touched-up throughout.
* Icon added for page (might be changed or removed, mainly just trying it out).
* Attributes & Brands - Small notes on a looser spring and smaller handle allowing for more styles of play; slightly more information and image on lubing; added name to chart; mention of shaft cover for the JLF; note on using Seimitsu nuts on Sanwa buttons.
* Restrictors - Added name to linked images.
* Layout - Layout section overhauled; row shaping subsection rearranged; angle subsection expanded with more information; more information on slanting added; information about standards in relative joystick placement added; button quantity subsection slightly expanded; standard layouts subsection completely changed and expanded with new images and descriptions; mention of studying technique before deciding layout.
* Tools - Note on the strength of pilot holes; mention of pliers for tweaking joysticks; better image of wire mounts; D-sub connectors added.
* Mounting - Mention of getting Seimitsu nuts for installation; mention of the S-plate used on arcade panels; mention of cutting away some of the arcade panel.
* PCB & Wiring - A few small tweaks to PCB components made; image of soldering station added; mention of alligator clips and helping hands; small mention of cheap PCBs maybe needing hot glue; image of outdoor wires added; description and image of PS3 solderless added; much better quality PCB diagram images used; added name to PCB diagrams; diagram of a later version of the PS1 DS H added; a little more information about my style for labeling diagrams added.
* Example Ingredients - Removed big spool of wire and added some outdoor wire.
* Brand Controllers - Note on modding brand controllers.
* References - Some tweaking of the special thanks; added an additional thanks area.

I felt my PCB and Wiring section lacked some information, so I went on a tangent and worked on getting that section reorganized and expanded to my liking. I added more information on the electronics of PCBs and now have a total of 27 PCB diagrams and counting, as well as a lot of other various information. Some other sections got some smaller updates that are noted below. I also noticed how I could edit some of the images to look better, so that will probably also be in the next update. Now I really need to get a couple controllers done too.
* Joystick Components - Note of other names for the e-clip.
* Attributes & Brands - Note about the size of Seimitsu octagonal gate added; Components Mixing subsection renamed to Joystick Components Mixing; Button Components Mixing subsection added (updated slightly 06.04).
* Layout - Other joystick spacing of 6cm changed more accurately to 5.9cm; 5.9 lines and points added to many layout images; layout links set to open in new window; note about some close spacing in the first layout; standard Japanese layout tweaked with more accurate measurements with an extra note; non-slanted Japanese layout added; 36mm-spaced clustered layout added.
* Tools - Fixed a caption error.
* Mounting - Note about joystick mounting hole size straying a little; Sanwa small button radius changed to 29mm and depth to 10mm; Seimitsu small button radius changed to 28mm; note about small nuts not being compatible added.
* PCB & Wiring - Subsections reorganized; Grounds and Signals and Circuits subsection added; more information about the use of a PCB; overhaul of the PCB Attributes section; more information on some PCB components; images and information on analog sticks added; note about Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers working on PCs; Extracted PCB Soldering Diagrams subsection renamed to PCB Diagrams; better example PCB images used; more description of wire like AWG ratings and multi-color wire added; better description of using a brand or cheap controller PCB; note about solder being hot glue; note about cleaning and replacing the head on an iron; note about treating a burn; note about station helping the iron; hot glue moved to soldering subsection; some downplaying in the significance of hot glue in soldering; PCB mapping and soldering subsection refined; PCB solderless subsection refined; PCB Diagrams subsection very expanded; removed All link because it is no longer practical; small note on attaching joystick with wire harness.

I just got done refining quite a few things throughout the site. This update mainly centers on this refining and some decent additions to the Tools and PCB sections. I also just got started on some new controllers which will probably be the bulk of the next update. But my list of to-do's remains pretty long.
* Attributes & Brands - Changed LS-33 and LS-55 pivot quality to medium in the chart; fixed kowal link and removed translation note.
* Layout - Small note that 6cm is sometimes the spacing for the joystick; note about drawing your own layout.
* Tools - General Safety and Safety Gear subsection consolidated; files and rasps noted; better noting of forstner bits; Drill Press subsection added; drill press use like a router noted; Wrench and Pliers pictures made smaller and relocated; note of the danger level of the table saw; miter saw use better noted; small detail about plunging and fixed routers noted; router tips consolidated; more details about wires noted; fork name noted for spade terminals; Wire Mounts and Clips combined; wire mounts image added; better note on using flux; better note on soldering iron wattage; mention of soldering station.
* Mounting - Note of drill press being used in mounting.
* Box - Slant numbers changed from 4-8 degrees to 4-10 degrees; note about contouring easily and accurately for slanting.
* PCB & Wiring - Solderless Extracted PCB subsection added (05.13); better description of the choices in wire; more accurate "usually" require soldering in extracted PCBs; mention of converter lag and interference; small added note on allowing the soldering iron to warm; note on not needing rosin-core solder and using flux paste; better iron wattage numbers; noting of the soldering station; better converter image; small mention of the components in many PCBs; PCB Soldering renamed to PCB Mapping and Soldering; mention that I use tapping of wires to map all my PCBs; note of why some soldering points can be difficult); diagrams of PS3 Mad Catz (omitted 5.19 for poor quality), PS1 (Malaysia), and PS2 DS A added; better crimping images; soldering diagrams consolidated to single comprehensive images; note of why soldering may be preferred over crimping; note on the value of converging with terminal strips; more accurate stripping length noted for European terminal strips; note of D-sub connectors for the cord.
* Material & Decoration - Note of the availability of many images at many sites; note about lung protection under finishing; finishing image added.
* Example Ingredients - Better multicolor wire product.
* Brand Controllers - Arcade-in-a-box added; fixed small note about the HRAP.
* Links - Slight spacing adjustment; Arcade-in-a-box added.

I made a post about this site on the Shoryuken forums, and it got a nice response, thanks to the users there. I mainly tweaked a lot of things (a few of which were suggested in the post), but also came of up some new ideas. I have some ideas now how to make a panel that can support a variety of non-standard joysticks. I have not started on any new joysticks yet, but hopefully will have some time soon. I also still have a list of many to-do's for the future.
* Joystick Components - Better use of the term "retaining ring"; better retaining rings image; note on using pliers on rings.
* Joystick Attributes & Brands - Better springs image; Deflection subsection added; notes on pivot shapes; explode images of the joystick models added; note about messing with the LS-32 C-ring and using an E-ring on it; more comparing of the LS-32 gates to other gates; notes about LS-40 and LS-55 shaft covers; note of the LS-33 using a PCB; Components Mixing subsection added; small note about Sanwa button quality.
* Restrictors - Note about joysticks not being precise to the diagrams.
* Tools - More noting of the drill press; note about washers being used in adjusting joystick height; the more accurate term "masking tape" used; note on the power of a circular saw; router transitioning better described; router table safety noted.
* Mounting & Layering - Note about using washers to adjust the height of the joystick; general notes on mounting using saws; notes about switching joysticks in some designs; top, triple, routed design added.
* Box - Note on mixing the design of the sides of a box; mention of sloping done by trimming the bottom of a box.
* PCB & Wiring - Mention of a third soldering technique; Extracted PCB Soldering Diagrams subsection and links added; "Designed PCB" changed to "Custom PCB".
* Material & Decoration - Various descriptions of types of wood refined; note about minimum MDF panel thickness; noting use of mask in cutting MDF; Hardboard subsection added; noting the term "tear out"; refined note on lexan; acrylic Drilling subsection made and a detail about drilling acrylic noted; acrylic Mounting subsection added; note about detailed painting; note on shellac for even staining; noting finishing of finishes; tracing for clear plunger heads.
* Example Ingredients - E-ring added.
* Detailed Example - List now used for devices and wiring.
* Summarized Examples - List now used for devices and wiring; a few details about the first example added.
* References and Links - Changed Shoryuken link to front page of the site; more specific listing and thanking of some people.

I finished making a joystick controller and made a detailed step-by-step of how it went, and then quickly made another. I decided the 1 section will stay as example ingredients, the 2 section will be a detailed example of this controller I just made, and the 3 section will be more summarized examples of joystick builds. I have a few ideas for joysticks a lot different from the two I made so far.
With many additions and changes, the site is about where it needs to be now. I think in the future updates will be a lot more detailed about changes since a lot fewer will occur. With only about 200 hits for this page so far, I need to try to get some notice for this site.
* Some text through-out tweaked.
* A few large pictures added throughout.
* Joystick Brand Parts - chart of joystick attributes added.
* Joystick Brand Parts - more models added.
* Tools - some more tools added.
* Mounting - more detailed and accurate measurements.
* Mounting - mention of arcade panels.
* Material - more details about wood and finishing.
* Example Ingredients - some purchases added.
* Example Detailed Controller Build added.
* Example Summarized Controller Build added (with more to come).
* Example Summarized Controller Build - The Idiot Box added.
* Brand Controllers - the HRAP mentioned.
* Links - a couple more links added.
Some lingering to-do's:
* At least four summarized controller builds.
* Maybe a brief description for how to illuminate buttons and joysticks (which I currently do not know how to do).
* More brand arcade controllers.

I got around to soldering PCBs for the first time. Managed to ruin a couple cheap ones in the process. The PCB and Wiring section turned out to be much longer than I expected it would be. But decently comprehensive explanations of PCB extracted soldering are hard to find. Also got an example ingredients section started. The 123 sections may still be rethought. Still need to make and document making a new arcade controller.
* Photos of larger objects taken.
* Many photos retaken for better quality.
* Joystick Brand Parts - images of some models of joysticks added.
* Tools - stronger note on practicing using tools or techniques first.
* Tools - some more tools added.
* Mounting - mention of depth variation in Sanwa and Seimitsu models of joysticks.
* Mounting - better explanation of the utility of the S-plate.
* Mounting - couple new S-plate designs.
* Material - note on availabilities of and strange measurement standards for wood.
* Material - elaboration on acrylic glass.
* PCB and Wiring - section better completed, especially in regards to extracted PCBs.
* Example Ingredients - section started.

Well, I've been working on this page using spare time for the past couple months. Took WAY longer than I thought it would. Time to launch it.
It's not anywhere near finished. (Can it ever even be finished?) But it can be used very practically at this point.
About all the general information I have for the time being has been written up for this document.
Most the pictures and diagrams have been made, including diagrams of restrictors/activators, layouts, panels, boxes, and many other things, and including pictures of instructions, joysticks, buttons, and a ton of other ingredients, and navigation images.
Some early to-do's:
* Finally getting to put together a new controller and images of doing it.
* Getting the examples for and maybe reassessing the 123 sections.
* Some actual first-hand soldering and images of doing it.
* A few stray photos of larger objects and models of joysticks.
* Some new-found errors that will inevitably exist.
And as things go, there will be new techniques, ideas, products, knowledge, etc that will come along and add to this page.

© 2008-2009 slagcoin