Arcade: KDiT Aluminum Bat Top

I love me some novelty items on my control panel. I’ve always had a few Sanwa bat tops in my knob sack, and I’ll throw them on from time to time to recapture that oldschool feel. When I found CQB had some KDiT aluminum bat tops in stock, I immediately picked up a pair.

They’re gorgeous, anodized aluminum bats that are roughly the same size as the Sanwa product, and about 25% taller than the Seimitsu Bulett tops. Some of that height extends below the bottom of the shaft thread though, so they’re only about 10% taller overall.

The KDiT also includes a thread size adaptor, much like the Sanwa bat, and I have NFI why they do this instead of just making it the right size. No one’s used the larger thread for a millennia, maybe two. Did they just do it because Sanwa did? Weird choice. It makes installation slightly more involved, and I can never remove the bat top without leaving the adaptor behind.

Left to Right: Seimitsu Bulett, Sanwa Bat, KDiT Bat

But they’re made of metal, and that’s an important thing to remember for two reasons.

First up, aluminum is a soft metal, and the anodized coating is slippery. So when you tear open the bag they arrive in, and you immediately drop it onto the tile floor, it’ll bounce with some enthusiasm and become permanently flattened where it hit the floor. It’s not a big flat spot by any means, but where a plastic bat might get a mark but not deform, the metal wears this impact forever.

I did have to try very hard to make it so easy to see.

This is the same green knob, with the dent right up front. It’s hardly noticeable.

Second, it’s much heavier than the Sanwa or Seimitsu plastic bats. At 60g it’s damn near double the 32-34g weight of the plastic bats. And that has a very noticeable effect on the performance.

I picked up one of Sanwa’s newest sticks, the JLX, and put it into my arcade machine along with the KDiT bat top. It was… Weighty! It felt good, it felt smooth. The mass of the bat means the stick floats and flows, it doesn’t bump and bounce.

But that lack of bounce means it’s not returning to centre as enthusiastically as I’m used to. I suppose I might get used to it, but I felt like it was slowing me down a smidge.

The JLX is compatible with Sanwa’s modding widgets, so I threw their red max-stiff spring in, and the problem was immediately solved. With a stiff spring the return speed of the heavy KDiT bat is similar enough to the normal spring and half-the-weight knobs that I didn’t notice any difference at all.

The slippery coating is matched well by the mass, where I think if a light weight knob used this coating it would squip right out of the player’s hand. The heavy KDiT bat slaps into place with enthusiasm.

Ultimately I love it, but I think it absolutely must be matched with a heavier spring.

[ Jan 6 2024 ]

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