If you’ve played many arcade games in your time, you’ve probably noticed that not every game uses the same amount of buttons. For instance, fighting games such as Street Fighter 2 are known for their 6-button layout while some classic games such as Pac Man require no buttons at all. Due to these differing configurations, there may come a time when you need to add a button to play the game properly. In this post, we will discuss how to install a push button on your control panel.
Installing A Push Button
Before we can begin this process we will need a couple of tools. First off, you will need some sort of drill to cut the hole. We recommend using a drill press if you have access to one. Using a drill press allows for a cleaner, more consistent cut that will reduce the amount of splintering (or burring in the case of a metal control panel) around the hole. If you do not have access to a drill press, a corded hand drill will work as well. You will also need a 1 1/8″ hole saw. We prefer the bi-metal type as they are good for cutting into either wood or metal surfaces. Safety goggles are also very important as pieces of the control panel can fly up at your face during the drilling process. You might also consider getting a clamp to hold the control panel steady as you cut. Of course, you can also recruit a friend to hold it firmly to provide similar stability.
Once you have gathered your tools we can begin the process of cutting the button hole. Our first step is to determine where we want to place our new button. Our technique is to place a small dot in the center of a button that’s around the same area that we want to place the new button. From here we can measure from the top of the control panel to the dot which will help us align our new button with the already existing button. We can then identify where we are going to place the new button in relation to the current button (usually either to the right or left of it) and measure down accordingly. It’s a good idea to leave at least some distance between the two buttons as you don’t want your buttons too close together or too far apart. When you are satisfied with the location, place a small dot on the control panel. This will serve as our center point for our new button hole.
When you have found a satisfactory location for your button hole, we can proceed with cutting it out using our drill and hole saw. As we talked about earlier, it’s a good idea to secure the control panel at this point using either the clamp that we talked about or a friend to hold it down. If you are worried that the hole saw bit might not stay in place on the control panel, you can drill a small pilot hole to help guide it. With the control panel secured, place the hole saw in your drill and tighten it using the chuck key. Place the end of the hole saw bit on the dot (or pilot hole) and begin drilling. Once the bit of the hole saw has made it’s way through, stop the drill and gently place the saw part of the hole saw against the control panel. Start the drill back up slowly gradually picking up speed. Please be away that you might incur some “jerking” at this point which is why it is so important to secure the control panel. Once the hole saw has gone completely through you now have a hole for your new button.
Here are some quick pointers to keep in mind during this process. Please wait a moderate amount of time before removing the inner piece from the hole saw after you finish cutting your hole. The hole saw can become very hot during the cutting process and can burn you if you touch it too soon after completion. Use a small screwdriver to remove the inner piece by inserting it into one of the slits on the side of the hole saw and pushing it down. If the control panel you are cutting into is metal, be careful of metal shards that might be protruding from the hole. You can use a utility knife and a file to eliminate the shards and clean up your button hole. If the control panel you are cutting into is wood, watch for smoke as you saw into it. If you do see smoke, slow the rotation of the drill down to keep from burning the wood.
Now that you have successfully made a button hole in your control panel, you can proceed with inserting the push button. Start by placing the button through the top your newly made hole. Take the button nut and tighten it on to the button until it is firmly pressed up against the bottom of the control panel. The best way to ensure that the nut is tight on the button is the use a button wrench which you can purchase from Bob Roberts. Next, install the Cherry switch by pushing it on to the bottom of the button. Make sure that the actual switch part of the Cherry switch is facing the top of the push button. You have now completed the task of installing a push button on your control panel. If you need help wiring the push button after installation, please see our post on Wiring A Push Button.
With the advent of standardized wiring schemes such as JAMMA, knowing how to install a push button has become an important skill. Being familiar with this process will help you with swapping these types of boards in and out regardless of the button configuration of your cabinet. Please feel free to make leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below.