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Sound Voltex Controller Buildlog Part 1: Planning

I’ve been playing rhythm games off and on for a long time, starting with DDR back in the day and while in Japan, lots of Jubeat and Pop n’ Music. One thing I also got to play while in Japan was the (then) new Sound Voltex, which featured an awesome songlist full of Vocaloid and Touhou songs.

Sound Voltex x Touhou

Something like this.

Motivated by a desire to learn some more DIY skills (and anime, mostly that, actually), I decided to start making a Sound Voltex controller. This also led me to blow a bunch of money signing up for Pittsburgh’s TechShop so that I could learn how to use a bunch of awesome stuff like laser cutters, 3d printers, etc.

But before all of that, it’s time to plan everything out.

First of all, since I’m making this by myself, I can put whatever parts I want in there. So, I decided to go ahead and use the actual Sanwa parts that the actual cabinet uses. Luckily, Sanwa Denshi has an official Rakuten store that allows for US shipping. Here’s the parts list:

OBSA-60UK old-style rectangular 60mm square buttons x 4

OBSA-40UK old-style rectangular 45mm rectangular buttons x 2

D2MV-01-1c2 Omron microswitches x 4

D2MV-01-1C3 Omron microswitches x 2

100g springs

I went with lampless old-style buttons because I figured I could save some money by adding my own LEDs instead of using the official lamps. The microswitches and springs were taken from this guy’s blog who claims that it’s the best combination for that arcade-style feel. Given how many Bemani controllers the dude owns, I believe him. I also opted to not buy the square start button that the arcade uses because I’ll just replace it with a 30mm clear Seimitsu button that I have a bunch of. No point in spending $20 or so on a start button. With shipping, this all cost me about… $150 or so? Expensive, but way less expensive than I expected to be honest.

Taking a careful look at the arcade cabinet, it seems to me that there’s an acrylic faceplate with either engravings or stickers on the underside and LEDs on the side of the faceplate that light up the engravings/stickers. There also seems to be LEDs under the knobs and a transparent round bezel around each knob.

Sound Voltex arcade

Sound Voltex arcade

So, I decided that it would be awesome to do a similar thing and have an engraved acrylic faceplate with LED edge-lighting. But, instead I would have Vocaloid engraved on the faceplate because anime, that’s why. So, the next step then is to find appropriate Vocaloid art to use. I ended up finding this picture on safebooru:

Negitoro... IN SPACE

Negitoro… IN SPACE

This was after hours of searching. It turns out that finding appropriate art was pretty hard. At first, I limited my search to only monochrome pictures that were of a large enough width because I knew the image would be engraved into the acrylic in monochrome. I had a few candidates, but it also turns out that it’s hard to get a good image that works well in the Sound Voltex layout without heads being covered up by buttons, etc. This particular picture is perfect since it also lets me use two different color LEDs: green for the Miku side and pink for the Luka side. They also happen to match the color of the knob LEDs (kinda, it’s blue and pink).

Using a Sound Voltex underlay I found, I planned out the basic shape of the controller in Photoshop. Even though it’ll be harder later when making the actual body, I decided to go for an angled winged design similar to the arcade cabinet. Here’s a mockup of the top panel portion of the controller:

Sound Voltex controller mockup

Sound Voltex controller top panel mockup

The red line is the actual controller, the gray parts are engravings on the acrylic, and the rest is to be printed out on cardstock and sandwiched between the acrylic faceplate and a wood top plate. In the file, I defined all of the cut lines as vectors, so that I could use them later to create a laser-cutting file. This top panel will be made of a 1/8″ acrylic faceplate that will be engraved with Negitoro, a paper underlay, and a 1/4″ MDF wood top panel that supports everything. The edges have notches where I’ll put in green and pink LEDs that will edge-light the entire thing when plugged in. I’ll use some sort of edge cover, like in the arcade, to hide the LEDs, probably some sort of rubber edge guard which will also help in moving the controller. I also changed the text of the logo slightly and modified the Engrish text to suit the Vocaloid theme :3.

For the knob bezels, since I couldn’t really find anything online that worked, I think I’ll just design my own and 3d print the bezels myself. Then, I’ll cast a mold and make a clear epoxy cast of the bezel so it’ll be transparent. Since I can 3d print the thing, I might add some nice details like small hachune miku or tako luka faces to the bezel.

For the wood top panel, since I’ll be having LEDs on the edges, I’ll also be adding in small channels where I can route wires:

Wood top panel plan

Wood top panel plan

For the rest of the body, I’ll be using 3/4″ MDF wood panels to create a box of sorts for the top panel to rest on. Similar to the Hori V3/VX series of arcade sticks, I’ll make the body narrower than the top panel, so that there will be “wings” to grab onto when picking up the controller. To attach the top (and bottom) panels to the body, there will be support columns with threaded inserts for screws. The general plan looks something like this:

Body "box" plans

Body “box” plans

Really, it’ll be a bunch of 2″ high wood panels made out of 3/4″ MDF. I plan to just glue them all together and using square 1.5″ support columns to strengthen the joints and then adding threaded inserts into the columns. Luckily, the angles that I have to cut at seem to be 20′, so that shouldn’t be too hard to do.

On the bottom, I’ll be cutting a metal plate out of some kind of thick sheet metal to close everything up. It’ll also give the controller some nice heft by doing that. I’ll also be powder-coating the bottom plate just because I can. Similar to the top panel, I’ll attach the bottom panel to the body via screws and the threaded inserts in the support columns.

…and this is the plan so far. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll find the time to start working on everything! I’ll be sure to write about each of the next steps in other posts!

Posted in Buildlog.

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5 Responses

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  1. Roflcakes says

    Oohhh, pretty interested in how this will turn out 😮

  2. D-Arc says

    Where did you find the original SDVX panel overlay? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

  3. Seol says

    Hello Sir
    I’m now DIY controller of Sound Voltex so.. I want “SDVX” Original overlay you are give to me that?

    plz reply me

  4. Ash says

    Nice and detailed post! I’m also interested in getting the SDVX controller overlay, could you provide a link to it?

  5. CyberRazerX says

    Can you give to me the SDVX panel overlay? plz, I really need that

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