Thursday, 25 May 2017

Ikea Arcade Stick - Mini Edition Part 1

It has been a long time coming, but here's the text-based rundown on how to build the Ikea Arcade Stick from a single piece of 7mm ply. If you'd rather watch the in-depth video walkthrough, head here!

Ok, for everyone else, you'll need a sheet of ply, PVA glue, two Stromby picture frames, and the clear plastic sheet out of a cheaper Ikea frame (try the damaged goods section!). We'll be using the 30x20cm version here, but the 40x30 makes a great TE2-sized stick! I used spade bits to cut the button holes, in 24mm and 30mm, a table saw for all of the grunt work, and a regular hand saw for a fiddly bit.

Because i had a failed prototype lying around, i decided to cut that down to use for the top plate, which is why it's all pre-drilled. Choose a suitable button layout from, then make sure to fit it inside the walls of the stick.

The outside of walls need to be inset by at least 25mm to allow for the spring clips, which hold the frames on, to fit. If you want to add a wiimote holder as i'm doing, you need to allow for 30mm of clearance on that side. Be sure to also allow for the 7mm thickness of the plywood. I've drawn lines marking the inside of the walls.

So for this particular build, these are the pieces required:
  • 2x 300x200mm - For the top and bottom plates
  • 2x 236x50mm - The front and back "long" walls. This is 20mm inset on one side, 30 on the other, and another 14mm for the thickness of the short walls which overlap.
  • 2x 140x50mm - The short side walls. The wall opposite the wiimote has three 24mm holes drilled in it to allow for the system buttons. Do this before mounting to make things easier!
  • 2x 140x30mm - Wiimote spacers, because otherwise the power button will be blocked by the frame.
  • 6x Triangles - These will be the gussets which allow us to locate the walls better, and will counter any bowing of the plywood.

First we lay down the gussets and let it cure. Be sure to make yours small enough to avoid interfering with the buttons.

Next the walls go on. I like to use loads of these quick-grip clamps. Use a square off-cut to check that the walls are gluing in nice and squarely, and adjust the clamps back and forth to suit.

Next is the upper Wiimote spacer.

Top done!

Now we see what's become of the bottom panel! I've taken the centre out of it, separating it into two "L" shapes for ease of cutting. The outer size is the exact same 30x20 of the upper, but i've measured in to the inner wall of the stick, plus a few mm extra for luck, and cut along that line. This way we'll be able to glue it down onto the "tops" of the walls.

When cutting the pieces apart, i also took an extra gap out of the top cut, to allow for the wire to pass through. That's confusing, but you'll see what i mean in a second.

First we glue the lower Wiimote spacer on, as this helps with locating the piece.

Flip it and glue it. You can see the slight overhang i allowed for around the inner edge.

The second piece can go on next, butted up against the first. The gap for the wire is also evident at the bottom.

If you're making a USB-connected stick you might want to make the cut in the middle of the top side. The Wiimote wire works best from the back corner.

And we're done with the woodworking part of the project!

Now we just need a lick of paint, some hardware, and those Stromby frames. That's in Part 2!


  1. Do you have any alternatives for the Stromby frame?
    Ikea has discontinued them :(

  2. Did you find an alternative? I've found everything else but these damn frames.