Friday, 4 August 2017

The Flat-Stick - Full build with the basic Pika case

One of my earliest commissions is this Tekken-themed stick. The customer had a tight budget, but for  the same price as the sub-par Venom stick he ended up with a full suite of Sanwa hardware, double-sided art, and a very solid little PC/PS3/PS4 (legacy) stick!

To add a little personalisation, i did throw in a top panel etching, normally $20 for this size.

The raw aluminium frames work well with the lighter colours he had chosen. The buttons are screw-in Sanwa OBSN's. They fit nicely into the Sega Player 2 button layout, but don't work for the traditional Vewlix. The case does support the narrower snap-in buttons, and there's always my favourite Seimitsu screw-ins.

Instead of going with the fancier, more expensive Neutrik NA-USB connector between the case and interior, a simple "pass-under" was utilised. Because the cable stores away in the edge of the case, this has no practical detriment.

The cable was included with the zero-delay PCB which was being used for this build. It's a super cost-effective PCB, it works just fine on every PC game i've tried, and also carries across to most PS3 and PS4 titles under legacy mode.

Almost ironically however, it specifically does not work with the PS4 version of Tekken 7. I'm not sure why it acts so weirdly with that game in legacy mode, it's fine on the PC version!

And once assembled the result is still very neat!

All of the buttons mounted, and the Sanwa JLF installed. The default recesss of the joystick fits all common Sanwa and Seimitsu sticks, but alterations can be made to accommodate the more niche Korean or American models.

This full setup of buttons, stick, and PCB with wiring costs about $80, depending on the exchange rate. For proper, native, across-the-board PS4 support, the step up to the venerable Brook fighting board is an additional $50.

A side view showing the optional smoke acrylic cladding fitted to the side panels. The system buttons are recessed to prevent accidental touches, but are still easily accessible by rolling your hand over the frame.

The acrylic was meant to be a full set, but there was a problem with my prototype measurements for the bottom panel, so i threw this in as a freebie. I like the contrast with the exposed joints, it reminds me of old isometric games like "snake rattle'n'roll".

A full acrylic set, which actually covers the corners and bottom panel, is $35 for this size, and is available in a bajillion colour and material finishes.

I had some Kodak photo-prints done up for both the top and bottom panels. They're $5 a pop in this size, and they look fantastic, much better than i can do at home!

So the breakdown for this stick:
  • Basic "Pika" case (300x210mm) - $110
  • 2x Photo Prints - $10
  • Internal Hardware - $80
And of course i did throw in a couple of extras:
  • Top panel etching - $20
  • Acrylic cladding - $35
With its higher-quality components, sturdier build quality, and aluminium and glass touch points, it comes up pretty favourably against the Chinese-built Venom stick you can find at JB HiFi for the same price:

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