Yes, you do need to be able to apply a decent amount of force to fit them. You might get away with using a small fly press for fitting them in mild steel panels but you might need a larger manual or pneumatic press for installing them in stainless sheets.
The hole tolerance is generally +/-0.08mm. The holes can be drilled or ideally punched. You need to select the right material grade of studs as they need to be harder than the material they are being installed in. If you're using a ~ 304 stainless grade then you're looking at approx 90HRB and so you want to use the 400 series or equivalent. I would recommend getting your panels made at a fabrication shop opposed to just at a laser cutters as they should be able to handle all this for you.
The studs penetrate the panel and deform the material as they pass though which grips the studs. The studs also have radial teeth which provide torsional resistance. They are more than strong enough to bolt some joysticks to
This video shows the install a little better.
I had some panels made with spot welded studs and some made with self clinch studs and I much prefer the self clinch studs.