That is why I invest a great deal of time in planning the layout, preparing the panel, and in installing the best materials into every control panel that is to be used for a multicade, or for a restored arcade video game machine.
You can visit this link for an idea of the effort that often goes into the restoration of an original, but damaged, panel - the saving of original control panels.
There are always dozens of preparation steps before a control panel is ready to use. In fact, it is not uncommon to spend as much, or more, time preparing a control panel as is spent on preparing the rest of the machine.
However, it is not just our meticulous attention to detail that separates our control panels from those of everyone else.
We use only the very best of new materials - new joystick, new trackball, new buttons, new switches, new wiring harness, and new electrical connectors.
Furthermore, we only use polycarbonate film for the control panel overlay (the material that covers the top of the control panel). Polycarbonate, trade named Lexan, is the same stuff that jet fighter cockpits are made of - because it is virtually indestructable.
Plus, for those control panels that will receive a lot of wear and tear, we offer the option for a Lexan control panel protective cover.
As far as I know, I am the only one in the industry that uses this material exclusively on every control panel - stainless steel bolts.
In the above pictured control panel, you can see the many stainless steel bolts have been used to attach the joysticks, the trackball, and the panel's latch brackets.
And, in this photo, you can see the sizes of stainless steel bolts that are used to attach the various components to the control panel.
Why is stainless steel important?
The salt in the perspiration of your hands is just as corrosive as sea water - it will rust every ferrous material (iron bolts) that it touches. And, paint and zinc plating will not provide long term protection for iron bolts. Because, those finishes easily rub off during the vigorous use of a joystick or trackball.
This photo is a partial view of a Golden Tee control panel. You can see how the once bright and shiny zinc plated bolts rapidly lose their finish and begin to rust. The same happens to painted bolts and even to chrome plated bolts.
But, never to stainless steel bolts.
Stainless steel bolts never rust. Never get scratched. And, never lose their finish.
Twenty years hence, they will look as new as the day you bought your machine.
And, that is why I exclusively use stainless steel bolts on every control panel.