The mailman delivered a nice surprise yesterday: my custom artwork and plexiglass from ArtHong! I keep plugging his site because he makes quality products and his customer service is phenomenal. If you’re interested in customizing your arcade stick, I give him my highest recommendation.
I had already disassembled my TE stick last week, so finishing the project was a simple matter of covering the metal plate with the artwork and plexiglass, snapping in the buttons, and reconnecting all the wiring and screws.
When reassembling the arcade stick, this is the order of layers: metal plate on bottom, then the artwork, then the plexiglass on top. Snap all the buttons back in place, then reconnect all the wiring to the buttons and joystick.
I had a slight problem with the buttons because the fit was too tight. I could have forced the buttons back into the metal plate without any hesitation, but I was afraid of cracking the plexiglass if I pushed the buttons in too hard. The solution was to run out to Home Depot and buy sandpaper to slightly sand down the side tabs of the buttons. 100 grit sandpaper did the trick!
The finished product turned out exactly like my original design. In the pre-production stage, I was initially uncertain about all the white space and overall look, but the more I thought about it, the more I loved how the black-and-white motif matched perfectly with the colors of the original joystick, buttons and body. All the artwork and photographs were taken from the SNSD “Genie” album booklet, so naturally my design captures the style and theme of the album.
Some final thoughts. I have never done anything like this before, and I found the project to be surprisingly easy. For anybody interested in doing their own modifications but scared of the technical work, I highly recommend following my tutorial. Once you open the stick up and get started, it’s smooth sailing. The hardest part is coming up with a design! If anybody needs assistance or has questions, I would be happy to help.
I would have loved to create a design with all nine girls, but I just couldn’t find a way to fit everybody in there without some of the girls being blocked by buttons or the joystick. In the meantime, Taeyeon will have to do. I’m happy to have her gracing my stick and watching over my Street Fighter 4 play!
UPDATE: Some people have asked me whether I made the art myself or whether a store is selling the skin. The answer is that I personally created the design in a Photoshop template, but instead of printing it myself, I had ArtHong print it out for me since he runs a small business for custom arcade sticks. So unfortunately, you can’t buy the skin anywhere. I do hope my design will inspire you to create your own!
Finally, the links I embedded into my post may not be obvious, so here’s an explicit list of all my arcade stick posts. If you read through them, I’ve chronicled my entire experience on modding my Street Fighter 4 Tournament Edition stick, from art design to completion. If you have a different arcade stick than the SF4 TE, you can browse through these art templates on ArtHong’s store and see if he has one available for yours.
Creating custom art: I direct you to a few links with blank Photoshop templates so you can get started. However, all the Photoshop work and design is up to you.
Opening up the arcade stick: Tutorial on how to open the stick and get everything prepared for the new artwork.
Final product: (this is the post you’re reading right now) Some final instructions and the finished project.