Thursday, September 28, 2006

Latest Photos

Here are some alternative pics.

Friday, September 01, 2006

(1) Good, New, Stock Arcade Cabinet

I’ve always wanted my own full sized arcade cabinet. When I was growing up I had a few friends whose dads had their own arcade cabinet in their garage and sometimes even in the living room. Usually it was a Donkey Kong cabinet; one friend had a Joust cabinet. I always wanted one but at 8 years old most parents won’t let you keep something that big and expensive.

Now I’m more realistic. An arcade cabinet is much too large to keep in the house just to play one game over and over. Eventually I’d beat the game and then what? Use it as a coat rack?

Once I discovered emulation however, an arcade cabinet didn’t sound so silly. I single cabinet that can faithfully reproduce over 5000 unique games, including Atari, Nintendo, Genesis, Playstation AND Arcade games!!! Now this sounds like a device worth keeping around.

Some of the classic games are now available for the xbox and what not but playing those old classics with a little control is pathetic compared to a real control panel with authentic controls.

This hobby has forced me to learn a number of skills and for that I am most proud. Carpentry, electronics, software, networking, wiring, and soldering: all of these things were unfamiliar prior to this hobby.

(1) Good New, Stock Arcade Cabinet

I will build (1) good new stock cab for use with mame. There will be no new designs here. No ground breaking technology or joinery. Just a simple solid machine.

This will be my first cabinet.

Much of this cabinet will be designed around parts that I already have on hand.
A. because it’s cheaper for me if I already own the junk


B. because I bought some really cool parts when I first got caught up in this hobby.

When I first discovered and BYOAC, I went nuts. Every two weeks or so I'd buy or trade for a new type of joystick or a couple of buttons. It was $12 here and $30 there for about a year.

I amassed a collection of parts, and I hope someday to use them all. We'll see.

In my newb(ier) days I had grand dreams of this Gigantor 9 player arcade cabinet with rotating controls, monitors, wheels and speakers. Every part of the beast spinning and blinking.

So, I'll make the Four-Player-Frank-en-Cade. Only now I'm trying to make it as small and tasteful as possible and hopefully not as cluttered as I originally planned.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Admin Panel

August 28th 2006

Here are some shots of the Admin Panel.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Trackball Installed Finally

August 27th, 2006

Trackball installation and lighting.

I mount the control panel top to the control panel box using dowels in the four corners. They are perfectly aligned and snug so the weight of the CP keeps the panel in place even during intense use.

The control panel box is held to the cabinet with industrial velcro. It works quite well and I dont have to reach up and under for any panel clamps and what not.

Cupholder & Volume Control

August 26th, 2006

Almost Finished

August 13th, 2006

Speaker Panel

For this project I found myself set on a certain pair of speakers. They are car audio speakers. I like their color scheme and they sound great.

My concern is that car audio speakers usually dont have any kind of magnetic shielding and may wreck havok on my monitor.

A year or so ago I read a post here about a website that sells magnetic shielding products.

Here is what I did: I bought two products, Mag Shield and a Joint Shield. I used two layers of each on each speaker. I sealed it all up with duct tape.

The shielding is not TOTAL but prior to shielding, the speaker would pick up a paper clip without direct contact. After shielding, the speaker WILL NOT pick up a paper clip even with direct contact.

The change is substantial.

I've never really built anything like this before but I figure I will have a harder time trying to install speakers, speakergrille, marquee retainer, etc upside down after the whole cabinet shell is built.

I decided to mount all the hardware to the speaker panel prior to construction. I'm going to do the same thing with the Marquee light since I figure my drill wont fit in the small marquee space.

The speaker grilles are 4" from Happ. The screw holes line up perfectly with the speaker mount holes so the same screw holds both onto the panel.

note: those L-brackets at the back of the panel are spaced 1/4" from that edge so that when installed I can slide the bezel and the monitor plexi in between the L-bracket and this panel.

TV Power

A year or two ago I picked up this 25" TV made by Sharp. It has an S-video input and it remembers the last input selected after power off. However, if you unplug it while it is powered on and then you plug it in again later, it will not automatically power on.

Why does this matter?

Because I want to use a Bits Lit'd Smart Strip so that I can power on my machine with one button. Also the TV will be hidden behind a bezel and plexiglass so the power button and IR reciever will be inaccessible.

This is what I did:
I used a mending plate. A mending plate is a flat piece of metal. I made spacers out of pieces of a Bic ball point pen and I screwed the mending plate directly to the face of my TV to physically hold down the power button.

Now when I plug it in or power is run through the smart strip the TV powers on automatically.

(holding the power button down on the TV does not cause this TV to poweron/power off/power on/power off)

Coin Door

I finished the coin door wiring. The stock bulbs weren't cutting it so I replaced them with some 4-cluster SuperBright Leds.

August 22nd, 2006

I used a molex "type" connector to hook this thing up to my Ipac. I will use a similar connector for the admin panel.

Control Panel Artwork

August 1st, 2006

Control Panel Wiring

August 1st through August 5th, 2006

Control Panel Routing for Top Mount Joystick Installation

July 30th, 2006

Control Panel Lexan

Here is my Lexan overlay. This was real easy. I started by clamping my lexan to the CP, I flipped it over and ran a 5/8" spade bit through each hole. (except the spinner hole which took a 3/8" bit and then was finished)

Then I flipped the thing over and used a laminate trimmer with a flush trim bit to clean out the holes.

July 2

Control Panel start

July 25th, 2006

Oooop, the artwork arrived so I guess I have to start on the control panel. This is my favorite part. So here goes:

When I ordered the Control Panel Overlay from I asked for the non-laminated, non-adhesive backed product since this will be going under a lexan top. I also asked mamemarquees to print me an extra CPO on cheap paper that I could use as a template.

I used the template to mark my holes since the unlaminated CPO is so delicate.

I'm pretty proud of having a 4-player panel that is so small. Its gonna be tight for the rare 4 player games but perfect for the 2 player Total Carnage and Smash TV.