Whew, what a ride!
After what is clearly far too long to have spent on this project, the Lucario stick is finally complete. The paint was allowed to out-gas for a week before the clear coat was added, to prevent bubbles, crazing, and other shenanigans.
The "Carbothane" polyurethane rattle can i used was applied in thin layers, once per day for ten days, with a thicker final coat applied. I then had to wait a few days to let it hit peak hardness before continuing. The slower you go with the clear, the better it turns out.
To protect and shine the final piece i then used a 3000 grit wet/dry "sanding" pad to take any errant bumps out, before applying a very gentle cutting compound (used for car headlights). Finally, i buffed it with a little of the carnauba wax i use for my car. It turned out quite nicely, incredibly smooth, and the surface is now as durable as any stick out there.
And here's a closer look at the wiring, with the bottom panel popped out. I used some woven conduit wrap with heat-shrink tubing to keep the frayed ends in check. The reds are the positives, and the blacks are the daisy-chained grounds.
The stick is secured by six 4x12mm screws, and sits snugly between two 7mm ply ribs. It is not going anywhere! The screw-in style Seimitsu buttons are just the best for this kind of build.
While it's a solid beast of a controller, there are a couple of things i'd definitely change for the next time.
The first is the use of a sanding sealer. I tossed up whether or not to use the stuff for a couple of weeks, and i must say it would have made a huge difference to the finish. While the sanded surface felt and looked great in the raw, the top-side grain had actually opened up due to the bending of the sheet. You can see some flecks where the surface grain is deeper, even if the clear-coat filled it. The only solution would've been to sand the whole thing back, apply sealer, and repaint. I'll live with it...
The second thing is a stupid mistake i made early on. I had planned to use my 24mm spade bit to drill holes through each of the inner ribs to allow for wiring access throughout the case. But, i got ahead of myself and didn't realise the mistake until they were all in place and setting. I ended up having to drill holes into each rib from an angle, which mechanically worked but isn't nearly as neat.
My next project stick will have an acrylic top with replaceable art. I want to try the easy road.