My control panel

Hello Interwebz

It’s been a while since I posted about the arcade machine.  Sorry about that.  I hope to post more over the next few days.

Today is the day that I made the control panel.  The process is pretty simple but takes a lot of drilling.

The first step is to measure the control panel so you know how much room you have to work with.  Once measured, it’s time to start planning out how you want to lay out the controls.

I knew a couple of things.  First, I knew I needed two joysticks.  I didn’t care about a trackball or spinner, but two joysticks is an absolute must so I can play Robotron and Smash TV.  I also knew that I wanted at least 6 buttons, but if there’s room 8 would be good too.  Based on that I hopped into Adobe Illustrator and came up with a few different layouts before I decided on my final layout.  And here it is…

You can see the joysticks on the left and the right with the buttons in the middle.  Once I was happy with the layout I pasted the printed piece of paper onto the wood and noted my drill marks.

Now that the marks are noted in the wood, I am ready to drill!  To drill the holes, you need a 1 1/8″ drill bit.  That’s a huge hole, but once drilled the buttons and joysticks will go right in place.




And here’s the panel drilled out.  My only complaint is that the button holes are a little close together.  On my next control panel I will space them a little further apart. You can view the publisher site to learn more advanced specs of the drills and the process.


And now it’s time to put the buttons and joysticks in!


Here is the panel with the buttons and joysticks installed.  I was thinking about doing a vinyl control panel overlay (so I can put fun graphics on the panel) but ultimately decided against it.  So this thing is ready to go!

Next up, I need to put microswitches into the joysticks and buttons.  For those interested, microswitches are the physical switches that plug into joysticks and buttons that send signal to the machine.

To go a little more in depth, let’s look at the buttons.  The button is literally a piece of plastic and a spring.  The microswitch clips on at the button of the joystick so that when the button is depressed, it completes the microswitch connection and sends a signal to the electronics in the machine.  This is what causes Mario to jump.  A button uses one microswitch and a joystick uses four.

Here’s the bottom of the control panel with all the microswitches installed into the machine.

That’s it for today.  Next up, getting the computer installed.  Soon, we will play games!



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