Designing an Arcade Control Panel

Filed under Arcade, Hardware

I’ve been looking for a good template to build an arcade control panel from (you know, joysticks, buttons, trackball, etc, using real, arcade quality components).

My goals are pretty lofty:

  • a 4 player panel
  • Spinner, Flight stick, etc
  • 2 trackballs
  • Diagonal stick
  • USB and/or PS2 compatible
  • Gotta have a little real wood somewhere (but not the top, that just doesn’t seem to look right)
  • Able to “plug into” a full-on cabinet one day (though I may never get there)
  • Preferably one piece (seems more stable and resilient to the beating it’s likely to get)
  • But not one big flat vast prairie of formica, like the SlickStick:


There are a lot of designs out there, including:

However, to me, Jeff Allen’s is hands down the most interesting.

He came up with a split level panel that puts the most often used sticks and buttons, plus the trackball on the lower level, and the lesser used controls, like the spinner, flight stick, etc slightly elevated so you’re not constantly banging into the other controls. This is Jeff’s picture:


I think I’ll pass on the red t-mold, but other than that this seems like very flexible and usable, yet clean and simple, design. Plus, I could easily see that top panel being “hot swappable”, if I ever decided to go for a real driving wheel or yoke, etc

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