Forums The Arts

Arcade Cabinet Construction Project

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Okay, so I feel this is so awesome of a project, it gets its own thread to itself away from my gallery thread because no one looks at my gallery thread and there will be so much to talk about just for this. First of all, we started this project randomly one morning when I woke up and my Dad was like, “Son… I want an arcade machine.” I of course, had a moment to think about this and then responded with, “So, should we be calling this an end of life crisis or what?”

Up until today, our work has mainly been thinking about it, the planning stage, so I bring this thread to you today because we have started constructing and you deserve to gaze upon it whether it turns out to be a masterpiece or a monstrosity. And frankly, I think this very much falls in the category of “art”, and for once it’s something different for you guys, isn’t it? You don’t see threads like this every day!

I don’t wanna bore you with tons of details about planning either, so let’s get straight to it.

As shown in the image above: Starting with one big piece of plywood, we cut it down the middle as accurate as we get, which isn’t all that accurate at all. And these two halves now become our two sides of the cabinet. With some very precise measurements we got from some website which I’ll probably find out later and credit, we drew all the lines on the first side. The radius of the curve at the top wasn’t close to what it was on the diagram with the measurements, but it works.

Then we had to cut it out with a jigsaw because it cuts the curves very well. Looks heavenly against our terrible garden with the sun blaring, doesn’t it?

Then there was no point in doing all the measurements again, so we lined the second side up with the first and drew around it to make the process quick and simple the second time.

We put them on top of each other on the table, kept them held together with screws so we could get them both at the same time with the sander and the plane for smoothing and flattening the edges. This was all damn hard work around dogs and roasting in the sun, but it’s definitely the right weather for it although I hate it.

And that’s all we have for now, I’ll keep on posting on our progress of it with camera phone quality images. If you have any questions, I’m alright with answering them. :P

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Right, so, I’ve already been asked questions when I was talking to petesahooligan in chat, so I suppose I should give you more information on the current progress. What you see above about those sides is all we have concerning the parts of the cabinet, we need to build the rest.

As for the monitor, done, flat inch screen we had stowed away will be used.

The controls have been ordered from Ebay for my birthday at a low price of £99.95, because I’m British not American. I’m not sure what model it was anymore, but it looks a lot like this and the name seems pretty similar so I’m pretty sure it’s probably this. It had one screenshot on the Ebay page so… “Seems legit.”

We’re using, which is pretty much the best around for the menu screen choices on a DIY arcade machine. And I won’t bother listing and linking the emulators and rom websites. It’s too much.

I can’t even find the measurements image or website anymore so I’ll leave that alone, and if you want to see more great arcade machines being built, then you should definitely look at the legendary Abobo’s Big Adventure cabinet

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So what games will it run? I’m more interested in that than the design considering all you have done so far. :3

That aside, looking good.

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So far, MAME, Neo Geo, SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, N64, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Dragon’s Lair 1 & 2 on Daphne(because they require CD’s, my Dad thinks he’s not going to bother with more of the CD-I games, and we’ll probably have to have a CD slot or something for this). So with Maximus Arcade you can boot up and look at a screen to choose from all of those consoles, but not only consoles either, there’s also Virtual Pinball and an MP3 Jukebox in there.

Well, if you’re making one yourself, why restrain to one system? :P We’re ambitious and I don’t think we’d go through all this trouble for a machine that only plays Pacman. xD

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I figured as much. I’m much less proactive so I’ll stick to running MAME on my PC… with my legally released ROMs of course. >.>

I look forward to the progress, I’m off to fail a Chemistry exam. XD

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So as soon as the sun came out after looking daringly at the rain outside for a while, we dashed out back into the fray of work once again.

With more markings of the measurements of course, on the side being used we nailed the planks together in place, spare planks holding them up on the bottom.

Joined the other side on the other end and tip it right-side up for two more photographs.

Sneakily, we’d made a slight change to the marquee, it’s been cut on the end there for more space.

Laid a piece of wood on the top there and drilled it in place.

And the same for the bottom and back pieces of wood there.

Just showing that it’s not all perfect, because there’s a gap there, but it needs to be filled in so won’t matter anyway.

One. Two. Two marquee planks, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah!

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Yep, there’s more.

Just for the sake of it, these pictures are hardly even relevant, in my view. But they have backgrounds other than 150 different views of the garden.

And that is the monitor that we want to use, it’s small, but it’ll do the job since the biggest monitor we have, ends up not even fittable and we wouldn’t want it to be, because then the machine would have to be the size of stonehenge, and respectively so because the monitor I’m talking about belongs as a part of stonehenge.

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OMFG looks amazing, i would buy a pc and only put sega, snes and mame emulators with rooms and i would close pc in and paint it and buy 2 joypads and make awww i dream with eyes opens

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Sweet rig bro, i’m currently building a modern Arcade (No Cabin) and i’m using Hyperspin as the Front-end

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Looks really cool, I should make one with my carpenter friend.

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Cool beans bro, looks good. Congrats on not being like us and actually getting off your ass and making something awesome. :D

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Thanks for all the positive feedback, guys. It’s probably not gonna progress so fast all the time, but we’ll get there. So while I was at college and my Dad can’t wait for me to do more to it, he did this:

First coat of paint, and there’s also a new piece of wood in the bottom of the upper frame where the monitor can be perched inside and the gaps filled in.

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You shouldn’t paint the cabinet until it’s all built, that way the design won’t get all scratched up. If you aren’t going to put any logo on the side you should definitely look into some nice wood stain.

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Well, that’s what I was saying, but you know, daddy knows best and his opinion is fact.

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Damn, that’s a cool cabinet. Any idea what you’re going to do with the top area?

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Originally posted by MrSalvador:

Damn, that’s a cool cabinet. Any idea what you’re going to do with the top area?

I guess by ‘top area’, you mean the space for the marquee? Well… it’s the space for the marquee. Art with lighting behind it. I don’t understand your question.

Anyway, the cool controls came and it’s rockin’. They’re not fixed on there at all, we just put it on there to see what it’d look like.

And as you can probably see, if you squint on the second image, it’s Street Fighter art and very good quality stuff at that. We tested it out on the emulators on the computer, works like a charm.

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That looks super awesome TWA. I’ve been considering building one of these for years, but never got up the enthusiasm to start it. What sticks and buttons are in that control board you bought? I saw the link in the first post, but I couldn’t find what company made the sticks and buttons. This is a purely personal preference thing, but you might consider swapping out the joysticks for Japanese-style ball-tops. I personally don’t care for the American-style sticks you have now, and you can probably find sticks that are more responsive/etc if you went looking for them (SANWA parts are top of the line and pretty affordable).

Aside from that, I’m really excited to see what you do for the decal work on it. Looks awesome!

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Originally posted by rawismojo:

What sticks and buttons are in that control board you bought?

So, 2 players, each of them have a player start button, an 8-way joystick and 8 buttons. On the sides and front of it, it actually has 2 buttons and these are for the UI Menu back and choose game buttons, etc. They’re also good for right/left flippers on pinball games. And I think you mean a trackball by the “Japanese-style ball-tops”, well, we’d already said we’d rather just have the joysticks, and 8-way is certainly better than 4-way ones. They’re pretty good by my standards and have no plans to change the controls now, we paid quite a lot for it, no sense in destroying it.

So, we made the marquee boards and the back, there used to be two painted pieces of wood there as well, they were just taken out completely.

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I love that artwork, I’m a massive SF fan. .

And I think rawis meant what brand of buttons/sticks were in the board. I know that SANWA is like the best you can get for an affordable price.

Again, this just looks better every time I come to this thread.

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No, I mean the actual shape of the arcade stick. You have a bat-top stick where the other option is a ball-top stick. It’s really just user preference for which one is “better,” but I personally like the feel of the ball-top in my hand vs the bat-top since I can cover it and just wiggle my wrist around for movements. And yeah, I prefer square gates over octagonal gates, but that’s because I mostly play fighting games and charge characters (Guile, Blanka, etc) are easier to use with a square gate.

As for “destroying” your sticks, swapping out the buttons for higher quality buttons is a ~10-15 minute job that would cost between $1 and 3 per button at most depending where you go.

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Hmm, I’ve only ever used my friend’s arcade sticks for Xbox ( he has a few different types ) and I have to agree at the ball-top for personal preference. I think it allows for better grip. I prefer octagonal gates however, I just like having the feeling of 8 secure points to rest on. Then again, I play on pad at home so don’t really use arcade machines/sticks often and can’t really compare the two. And there’s not much point in changing them since it is just personal preference.

If I had it my way, there would be a rectangular gate for fighters that removed the left half of the gate and forced you to move forward. Silly charge characters turtling so much. >.<

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I was more-so pointing out that the choice existed (I wasn’t sure if TWA knew about the choices) and that since he’s sinking so much time and money into the project already that it’d be worth it to figure out his preference and put a nominal amount of extra time and money in to building it exactly how he’d want it.

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EDIT: These ones seem extremely blurry to me, and I’ve changed the image size accidentally… but that’s phone cameras for you! I’ll try fix the sharpness and keep a steady hand. :P
EDIT2: Fixed with Photobucket magic resizing.

Hello again, I thought it’d be better to round up these small bits up so I waited a while before showing you stuff instead of showing you something small one day, then something small the next.

This is the marquee’s backlight turned on:

Since the marquee light’s covered by the art that won’t be able to come off after a while, the wood piece at the back of the cabinet is fitted with hinges so we can get in there do something with the light, if we must.

And this part of it’s unusual, but we thought necessary. Since this is no normal cabinet, we fitted a draw that keeps the keyboard and mouse in, for use to solve errors and such.

The monitor’s stuck to the diagonal wood piece in the center now holding it in it’s slanted position, this wood piece isn’t fixed on yet over the top, and the newspaper on the monitor’s screen is so the screen doesn’t get painted. :P

This is the door which currently still stays open unless you keep it wedged with sandpaper:

And that’s it for right now. The wires from the backlight and the monitor will go through a hole behind the monitor, and through a hole in the back of the cabinet. Hopefully they all connect to an extension inside the door hideyhole and then that extension’s wire will go through the back so you plug everything in with one plug.

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Sort of a pity to paint it black as the wood was so pretty, (and unusual).

How many games are you going to load up on the PC? And have you written the game-selection interface yet?

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I have no idea how many games there are, I can’t give you a number because there’s that many. Just lots. Yes, I already linked the selection screen, it’s not made by us, it’s called Maximus Arcade and you choose from consoles, then choose from the list of games on that console. It boots up when Windows starts, but we couldn’t get the Windows stuff off, even though we spent about 2 weeks trying to do that before we started making the cabinet at all. We had everything like this(stuff that is on the computer) planned out and done before we started the construction.

Not to be rude, and I know it’s a pain because there’s so much in the thread and it’s time-consuming, but I have answered those questions before even though they weren’t asked, I anticipated them, so you(everyone) might want to read before you ask. :P