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Author Topic: How to make a Classic Red Ball-top with Fire Button  (Read 19336 times)

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RayB

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How to make a Classic Red Ball-top with Fire Button
« on: June 22, 2004, 03:29:12 pm »
*Resurrected thread as a How-To*

Last week I alluded to a "special" joystick I was going to use, but I was being very hush hush about it. Basically, I didn't want to talk about it because I still had to get my hands on one more stick, and I didn't want the Ebay bids run up by other MAME-iacs wanting to use the same idea.

Well I finally got ahold of a second stick, so now I'm set and I can share the idea, (plus I also have some parts for sale!)

Here's what I'm doing for my controls:

First, I am a fan of the classic red ball-top sticks. I also prefer Wico leaf-switch style joys. So I got ahold of a couple used Wico leaf joys.

But then the next problem is that I really like the game Assault, and I want to be able to play it without resorting to foot-pedal fire buttons or swappable controls, or a massive control panel with two dozen different sticks.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 02:25:35 pm by RayB »
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2004, 06:30:51 pm »
hey i've got one of those grey joysticks in the garage with my old c64 stuff. its made by wico and has leaf switches. maybe time to put it on ebay!

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2004, 08:14:00 pm »
Man, seeing those brings back some memories.  8)  We had thos joysticks for our C64 back in the day. Had a couple of the ball tops, but they got broken. We liked the bat handle ones anyhow, but better for playing Track&Field. *lol* I think I have a few bat handle ones in the basement with my old C64 still.
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2004, 10:48:32 pm »
How will machining the shafts make them any longer?  Can you hit us with a picture of the button-top in the Wico base?

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2004, 01:24:27 am »
How will machining the shafts make them any longer?  Can you hit us with a picture of the button-top in the Wico base?

OK I took the time to photograph the parts involved...



On your left, the Command Control parts related to the shaft (so no base or grommet shown). On your right, the original arcade shaft and parts. Note they both use the exact same spring and E-clip.

The blue bar shows you the length of the original stick's machined section of the shaft, and on the left, that same blue bar has a white line to show how the Command Control sticks come up a bit too short. That means they don't fit "deep" enough into the arcade joy base.

More pics in the next post:
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2004, 01:27:10 am »
Depending on what you plan to sell them for, I'd buy 2 maybe 4 from ya.
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2004, 01:28:40 am »
Here are pics of the replacement shaft in the base:






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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2004, 01:53:08 am »
Here's a last batch of pics. I have experimented with alternative buttons to the one that the original Command Control uses.

The original was a white button which was actually a long plastic rod (see pic a couple posts above). Attached to the bottom of this rod was a flat disc. When you push the button down, the disc is meant to push against a leaf-switch. Now, on an arcade CP, mounting this leafswitch could prove tricky. Not only that, but I have discovered that this plastic rod is too short when used in the NOS replacement shafts I have!!

But don't fear, there are solutions. I tried two kinds of small Radio Shack pushbuttons. (They had a lousy selection. A couple types I know they sell, were not in stock).

Here are pics (they fit in rather easily, though one of them required more dremeling of the hole than the other):







What do you think? I like it with the red/black button. I wish it were red/red though. but like I show on my webpage, it would look like a tit & nipple! (http://www.retrofx.com/rayb_arcade.html.

Cost is to be determined. I don't intend to make a profit. I have to cover my cost of the units, plus the cost of machining. I'll be selling these with the choice of just buying the shaft, or buying it with a button installed. If I can locate a lot of joystick bases, then I'd sell entire units, but as of now I don't have any bases to spare. I also need to see if there's ANY way to get these working in HAPP bases.

I'm thinking of this as my way to contribute to the MAME community.

~Ray B.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2004, 02:02:16 am by RayB »
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2004, 08:21:39 am »
What do you think? I like it with the red/black button. I wish it were red/red though. but like I show on my webpage, it would look like a tit & nipple!

and the problem with that is?...

 ;D

good work by the way, they look great!


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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2004, 12:54:25 pm »
Not knowing anything about Wico sticks, but would it be possible to machine a Wico handle to fit into a Happ Perfect 360 base?

If this is possible and you're willing to do it.  I'd definatly grab a few from ya.

Wouldn't mind paying a little extra too since it would be different (I would assume) than machining the others.

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2004, 01:28:14 pm »
That is really awesome.  I was never a big fan of the design of the top fire stick myself... these are so much cooler.  If you can find some extra bases I would definitely buy a complete unit.  If not, I guess I'll be shopping around on ebay as I have no extra parts for Wico sticks.

Very cool though, keep us updated.
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2004, 01:53:49 pm »
I'm glad there are positive responses. At first no one seemed interested (and here I was having purchased 37 shafts...)

Machining the shafts to fit other bases is very unlikely, since it would require much more precision to get the correct diameter than it does to get them to fit Wico (to fit Wico right now, we're keeping the same diameter, but just extending how long the small part is).

I also don't have a wide variety of bases to test with. I have what I think is a cheap HAPP joystick and I know it doesn't fit in it. I also have one that has the logo "iL" on it. What brand is that? I have to test the fit on that one. I think it's a tiny bit too loose.

I could always sell some of these without machining them, and let the buyer worry about getting them to fit??

~Ray B.
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2004, 03:10:17 pm »
I'd be interested in a complete stick, if the price is right, with button installed and base.

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2004, 07:16:54 pm »
iL is Industrias Lorenzo.  They make a lot of buttons and joysticks for Happs, among others.  Ultimarc's buttons are also iL, and a bunch of other companies use them.
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2004, 07:27:10 pm »
If these could somehow fit the T-Stik Plus, that would be about as awesome as it gets...
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2004, 07:32:40 pm »
If these could somehow fit the T-Stik Plus, that would be about as awesome as it gets...

Yeah I was thinking that. 4/8 switchable with button on top. Woooo! I might buy one to test the idea out, but I seriously doubt the shaft is compatible.

RayB
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2004, 07:40:51 pm »
There are diagrams of the T-Stik at http://www.ultimarc.com/controldiags.html, if that helps...
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2004, 08:45:06 pm »
The t-stick plus requires something to be screwed (threaded) on to the end of the shaft.  It will be difficult to adapt the shaft with a hole down the center of it.  Not impossible...

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Further caveat...
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2004, 12:05:01 pm »
*Important note*: I just discovered another limitation here with these shafts. They will fit Wico BLACK joystick bases, not the grey bases. (The grey ones use a narrower shaft size).

I'm currently working on a few leads to secure all parts so people can order complete units instead of parts.

Stay tuned...

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2004, 01:57:06 am »
**UPDATE** (July 10, 2004)

Here's the latest news... I am still chasing down a price quote from a machinist to do a "turn off" on the joystick shafts. (I thought "lathing" was the proper term, but it's not. They call it "turn off".)

Anyways, I have a lead on a guy to do it cheap, but he's on holiday. In the meantime, I got impatient and built myself a contraption out of Lego, in which I can mount the shaft, have it spin around, and while it's spinning I use my Dremel with tungsten carbide cutter to shave the metal off.

Well that worked! I got it down so that the shaft now fits in my joystick base properly, and I was able to get the e-clip on and everything. The end result just doesn't look pretty--it's rough. See blurry photo here:



If you guys think that it doesn't matter (that part of the shaft is hidden down in the joystick base anyways) then I will go ahead and manually "modify" all the shafts myself.

The other oustanding matter is buttons. The picture earlier in this thread of the button with black "rim" is a pretty sturdy, rounded Radio Shack button. I can order them in bulk but only get 5% discount.

I have a lead on another kind of button which is way cheaper, but does not have the "rim" around the button. It's also more of a sharp edged button. The joystick with that button would look like this:



Those of you interested in this joystick need to let me know which kind of button you prefer. (PM me) The Radio Scrap button is more ergonomic and the "lip" will help keep dirt and stuff from getting inside. The other kind though will likely shave off about $2 from the total price of each joy/button assembly.

~Ray B.

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2004, 02:31:09 am »
**UPDATE** (July 10, 2004)

Those of you interested in this joystick need to let me know which kind of button you prefer. (PM me) The Radio Scrap button is more ergonomic and the "lip" will help keep dirt and stuff from getting inside. The other kind though will likely shave off about $2 from the total price of each joy/button assembly.

~Ray B.


This one looks like one I would select.  However, I am not at the stage to buy anymore joysticks.  Just a little feedback.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 02:31:48 am by generic_eric »

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button! - **UPDATE - July 11 **
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2004, 11:12:26 am »
i like the rimmed button, any idea what price range we are talkin about yet?

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button! - **UPDATE - July 11 **
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2004, 11:53:42 am »
i like the rimmed button, any idea what price range we are talkin about yet?

My vote is for the black rimmed button.
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button! - **UPDATE - July 11 **
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2004, 12:23:04 pm »
I'd vote for the black rimmed Radio Shack button as well.  And I'll second the question on price.... do you have a ballpark figure on what you would charge for these?
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button!
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2004, 04:08:34 pm »
Here's a last batch of pics. I have experimented with alternative buttons to the one that the original Command Control uses.

The original was a white button which was actually a long plastic rod (see pic a couple posts above). Attached to the bottom of this rod was a flat disc. When you push the button down, the disc is meant to push against a leaf-switch. Now, on an arcade CP, mounting this leafswitch could prove tricky. Not only that, but I have discovered that this plastic rod is too short when used in the NOS replacement shafts I have!!

But don't fear, there are solutions. I tried two kinds of small Radio Shack pushbuttons. (They had a lousy selection. A couple types I know they sell, were not in stock).

Here are pics (they fit in rather easily, though one of them required more dremeling of the hole than the other):

What do you think? I like it with the red/black button. I wish it were red/red though. but like I show on my webpage, it would look like a tit & nipple! (http://www.retrofx.com/rayb_arcade.html.

Cost is to be determined. I don't intend to make a profit. I have to cover my cost of the units, plus the cost of machining. I'll be selling these with the choice of just buying the shaft, or buying it with a button installed. If I can locate a lot of joystick bases, then I'd sell entire units, but as of now I don't have any bases to spare. I also need to see if there's ANY way to get these working in HAPP bases.

I'm thinking of this as my way to contribute to the MAME community.

~Ray B.


**WOW**!!!    :o  :o

I have one of those Wico bat handles, it's great.  Excellent idea!
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 04:09:22 pm by telengard »
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button! - **UPDATE - July 11 **
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2004, 04:30:30 pm »
Those are fantastic, awesome job man.

I'd be interested in 2-4 of them (depending on price).

Great work.

-G

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Regarding Prices...
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2004, 12:14:13 am »
Looks like I have a near final idea of what the final cost will be on these. Here's the likely options:

1. Modified ball-top shaft with no button, no extras (add your own button yourself): $5 to $6

2. NOS modified shaft with black rim style RS button installed, wired with 3' of 22 guage wire each for power and ground. NO BASE. No actuator. No spring. No grommet. No e-clip... Cost will be in the $13 to $15 range. (Trades for joystick bases might be considered!)

3. Everything in #2 plus the complete base. **Limited availability** Cost unknown but probably in the $24 to $30 range depending on condition of bases.

I'd recommend people try and use their own joystick bases if they have em, and to TRADE ME if they have extras. So far I think I might only have 2 spare bases, so complete joystick units will be near impossible to provide unless the community helps each other out here.

Shipping will likely start at $5.

I hope you find these prices fair considering that Ultimarc sells their ordinary ball-top shafts for $14 each. Here you get one with a button installed.

Please let me know if 3' of wiring is long enough?

~Ray B.
PS: I have to say this, but all prices listed here are estimates based on the information I have so far and are subject to change. All prices are in US dollars.
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Re:Regarding Prices...
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2004, 07:46:56 am »

1. Modified ball-top shaft with no button, no extras (add your own button yourself): $5 to $6

This is the modified version in which you grinded down the handle to fit in bases properly?

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Re:Regarding Prices...
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2004, 10:46:19 am »
This is the modified version in which you grinded down the handle to fit in bases properly?

Yes probably. I should get my price quote from the machinist today. If it's too much, I'll grind them down myself as described earlier in this thread.

~Ray B.
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button! - **PRICE ESTIMATE **
« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2004, 10:57:32 am »
I'm curious to see this lego contraption that doubles as a metal lathe--I see I was wasting my time as a kid building racecars and such when I could have been building better stuff  ;D  Did you try the bat handled ones?--any reason why it wouldn't work?  I have a few of those so I thought i would ask...
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button! - **PRICE ESTIMATE **
« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2004, 09:08:44 pm »
I'm curious to see this lego contraption that doubles as a metal lathe--I see I was wasting my time as a kid building racecars and such when I could have been building better stuff  ;D  Did you try the bat handled ones?--any reason why it wouldn't work?  I have a few of those so I thought i would ask...
lego?  I missed that part???

I think the prices are fair across the board (for each option I mean.)  

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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button! - **PRICE ESTIMATE **
« Reply #31 on: July 12, 2004, 10:35:53 pm »
I'm curious to see this lego contraption that doubles as a metal lathe--

It's not really a lathe. It's just a shaft rotator. (The plastic on there is just to catch metal shavings, which are hard to clean out of knobby lego...)



Quote
Did you try the bat handled ones?--any reason why it wouldn't work?

The bat handles would also work. They would just need some metal shaved off, just like the ball-tops do. I have about 4 of the bat-handle type shafts. I was not planning on getting them machined, but hey, if people would prefer bat-handle, here's what they look like:

http://www.vintagetechnology.com/item_pages/games_acc_00002_wico_command_control.htm

...they are commonly available on Ebay, and I have about 4 myself. I just assumed people would prefer the ball-top.

~Ray B.
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Re:My classic red-ball with Fire Button! - **PRICE ESTIMATE **
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2004, 12:35:39 am »
UPDATE - July 16, 2004
================

The shafts have each been hand measured and prepared, and will be going to the machinist today (Friday)!

Am also placing an order for the buttons today as well.

That is all.
~Ray B.
NO MORE!!

whammoed

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Re:Classic red ball-top with Fire Button! - **STATUS UPDATE**
« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2004, 12:18:38 pm »
Question:
will there be a way to keep the stick from rotating?  reason i ask is i have a kid who messes with the joysticks, seems if you spin them around, the wires for the button will twist and potentially break or detatch at some point.

Hoagie_one

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Re:Classic red ball-top with Fire Button! - **STATUS UPDATE**
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2004, 01:08:50 pm »
thats an interesting point.  may have to drill a hole to secure a pin in it to prevent spin.   Im not worried about it personally

RayB

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Re:Classic red ball-top with Fire Button! - **STATUS UPDATE**
« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2004, 09:36:04 pm »
Question:
will there be a way to keep the stick from rotating?  reason i ask is i have a kid who messes with the joysticks, seems if you spin them around, the wires for the button will twist and potentially break or detatch at some point.

Damn. That never occurred to me! But with long enough wire, it should not be a problem. Just keep enough slack, cuz no, there's no way to prevent rotation.

Though I could look into a solution for that...

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Hoagie_one

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Re:Classic red ball-top with Fire Button! - **STATUS UPDATE**
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2004, 10:10:25 pm »

Though I could look into a solution for that...


I wouldnt bother hurtin your head over it...its a minor detail.

RayB

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Re:Classic red ball-top with Fire Button! - **STATUS UPDATE**
« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2004, 11:53:33 am »
To quote Professor Farnsworth of Futurama: "Good news everyone!"

I have discovered that these shafts of mine can work in some "Industrias Lorenzo" joysticks that Happ sells! I have a pair of big, sturdy joysticks that I don't know what their brand name is, but they have the "IL" logo on the bottom. The ball-top shafts must be shaved down even further than to be fitted in a Wico base, but once shaved down to that length, they fit!

There is perhaps a 1 millimeter difference in the diameter though. That's means an ever so slight looseness. I tried it and it didn't bother me. Perhaps wrapping tape around the shaft would help (though I imagine the tape would eventually wear out, tear, and cause problems).

Here are pictures of the joystick I tried the shaft in:





In other news, I expect the machined shafts to be back by tonight. The buttons should be in Wednesday. I'll start taking pre-orders very soon, and I'll be giving priority to the list of people who have already PM'd me (in that order).

~Ray B.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2004, 03:00:30 pm by RayB »
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Bgnome

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Re:Classic red ball-top with Fire Button! - **WORKS IN 'IL' JOY BASE!**
« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2004, 12:00:57 pm »
could those be Happ Supers?  :D

Chris

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Re:Classic red ball-top with Fire Button! - **WORKS IN 'IL' JOY BASE!**
« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2004, 01:13:17 pm »
Based on the microswitch actuators, they're Supers...
--Chris
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