Materials List: Make a Shoebox Arcade Controller

Note: The expendable cost for this activity is very low because the main items—MaKey MaKeys, cables, alligator clips, joysticks, arcade buttons, craft knives (~$73 per project/group)—are expensive, yet fully reusable by taking apart the finished products.

Each group needs:

  • MaKey MaKey, such as the standard/classic kit for $50 at SparkFun
  • USB cable, such as a 6-foot USB mini-B cable for $4 at SparkFun; note that 1 USB cable comes with the above MaKey MaKey kit
  • 12 alligator clip wires; such as a 10-pack for $3 from SparkFun; note that 8 alligator clips are included in the above MaKey MaKey kit
  • 2 arcade buttons, 1 red, 1 green; such the 35 mm red and green concave momentary push buttons for $2 each at SparkFun
  • joystick, such as a short handle arcade joystick for $15 at Sparkfun
  • cardboard box; shoebox size is ideal
  • X-Acto or craft knife
  • strong tape, such as duct tape, packing tape or masking tape
  • metal-edged ruler, for cutting and measuring
  • pencil or marker
  • laptop or computer with USB connection
  • Arcade Controller Diagram (same as Figure 1)
  • Wiring Schematics Handout

To share with the entire class:

  • capability to show students a short video about how to take the buttons apart: Arcade Button Setup