Funny you should mention Shreveport; that's pretty much my birthplace.
I never heard anyone 'from' Louisiana say 'absolute rubbish'
Well, I do tend to change mode of speech a bit wherever I go. You should have heard my Abilene drawl when I was a kid...
Ok, I would guess I am now as far off-topic as I can get. Sorry.
Heh. Well, to get back on topic... several hours, quite a few transparencies, one good piece of glossy magazine paper, many attempts at reprinting, and one etching kit later...
First time etching and trying the "iron magazine paper" toner transfer method, so a few traces needed touching up via sharpie, and even then I had to splice a wire onto one of them so it would carry current. And GAH, I've never gotten so tired of drilling TINY LITTLE HOLES (and no matter how precise I tried to be, they came out looking like they were poked through by a drunken monkey).
But improbable as it is, it works just fine (and looks a lot nicer than my prototype). One thing I need to fix is that the darn CAD program had too many options for resistors, and I chose a size too small, so I'll have to swap those out (you can see the blue resistors are having to sit up off the board because their holes are too close together).
Still, the basic design seems OK, only 3 top-of-board traces. There are traces running outside the rows of holes which connect this to the arduino underneath (this is a rider board, what the Arduino folks call a shield, which plugs into the actual board underneath). To make this a tidier build with a two-layer process, I'd move those to the inside of the board and the whole thing could be a lot smaller (I didn't trim the excess plastic off this one).
So, that's the good news. You can build/etch this thing yourself now if you want. We could also go the route of shipping the PCB design off to a company, which will wind up being just over $6/board for the first five (and a bit more beyond that), which honestly would be probably a better way to go since you'll pay over that just for the copper-clad board, acid, 0.8mm drill bits, replacement drill bits after you break a few, headache/backache medicine from trying to line up the 0.8mm bit on the 0.8mm hole, and then realizing you have to slightly bend a lot of your component pins to fit in your weaving drilled holes (heh).
I left the dip switch in. I haven't played with anything but the first switch (connects the orb's output to the chip's input). The second one connects an orb input to the chip output--not really useful for us, but this would be a generic part for any serial game device (I seem to recall a few; Mad Catz had one for example). And then switches 3-6 could be used for on-the-fly settings. In reality the orb only needs one.
(another fun possibility for a future revision would be to add more buttons, which you could wire to the board and activate in software, but it'll be a while before I'm willing to drill holes in my orb and run a second cable to the board. Still... fun idea. You could hack in a D-pad on the left side, two more buttons on the right, maybe a few underneath... heh)
Anyway, where do you folks think we should take this from here? I'm not even sure anyone but a select few would really be interested in spending cash to extend the lifespan of a debatable device, but it's fun that it's possible. Heck, I may fork out the $33 for the board production just to have the experience...