The Worlds Smallest Project Diva Controller: The μDiva

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This latest addition to my growing collection of Project Diva: Future Tone controllers is a 1:4 scale version of the full arcade layout. At its heart is a Brook PS3/PS4 fighting board and four Seimitsu PS-14-DN 24mm buttons. Housed inside of a laser cut ABS case provides durability and style. In addition, this iteration features a brand new input method by means a capacitive touch sensor.

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The touch pad is manufactured by Brook and has approximately the same dimensions as the Dual Shock 4 touch pad. The USB cable is detachable with a micro-XLR 4 pin connector and tech-flex covering for protection. While this is a finished prototype, the rough ABS edges are still far from perfect and will likely use white acrylic in the final version.

As for now, the controller is not for sale and the design will receive a few more iterations to increase internal space, strength, and ease of assembly. After these updates, the files will likely be uploaded to Instructables along with full assembly instructions. If I do manufacture finished controllers if anyone actually wants one of these tiny (but still fully usable) controllers, estimated price will be around $199 USD.

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Laser Cutting ABS: Tips and Tricks

Laser cutting ABS is possible, however, it is not really safe to breathe and the cuts are not too clean. The following is all based off using an Epilog Helix 40 watt laser with air assist and a fume extractor. Air assist and a fume extractor are essential for ABS.

First, some background on ABS. It’s full name is Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. It has a relatively low melting point, flexibility, and strength which makes it great for 3D printing, vaccuum forming, injection molding. These same properties make it a pain on the laser as it results in yellow/rough edges and warping which moves the work piece out of focus. The other problem is when melted, ABS outgasses HYDROGEN CYANIDE which is not good to breathe so make sure you have your fume extractor set up and turned on.

To counter this I have found the following tips and tricks to minimize problems.

  • Test cut a piece of your material to calibrate your settings. On white ABS for vector cuts I use 100% power, 8% speed, and 5000hz frequency.
  • Use blue tape on both sides, this prevents most of the melting fro. Ruining the edges and the smoke from damaging the color
  • If your work piece is large enough, use hard drives or other objects to weigh down your sheet to counter warping
  • Use air assist and if possible, use a nitrogen air assist to prevent flame-ups.
  • Wash your parts with soap and water after cutting to remove some of the smell

It is a tricky material and will require some fine tuning but this will definitely get you started.