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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If this is the wrong subforum, mods pls move.

I've wanted to build an arcade cab to hold a MAME install for a LONG time. The original idea behind building my jukebox (project page here) was to gain experience wiring arcade controls to a PC before embarking on a full scale arcade project.

I've been working on this forever - an hour here, an hour there. Very slow moving as I don't have a traditional workspace. I do everything on my deck, which is a huge pain in the ass. I have all my tools and project peices in the basement so each time I want to do something I have to move things up, then back down. Combine that with little kids and I never get much time to do it.

Anyway, I did a bunch of work today and decided to start posting progress.

Cutting out the sides - first cut one out:


Then I used that one as a template and used a router to cut the other exact:


Example of how this was cut:


Finished up and had two identical sides:


I used a router with a slot cutting bit to create a slot for black t-molding around the edge of the cabinet.


My original idea was to cut dado joints to hold the sides and the back. Because of the t-mold slot, this idea didn't seem like it would work very well. So I decided to use biscuits instead. I bought a plate joiner, since I had never done this type of joint before. Here's an example of the biscuit slots I cut into the sides, which corresponded to slots cut in the wood for the back.


Not pictured - the back does have a dado cut in it to accept the bottom of the inside.

Not pictured - drilling the holes for the arcade buttons on the "admin panel" which will be right below where the screen will be.

Today I got all those biscuit slots finished up and glued the sucker up.




Here's some detail of the back side of where the speakers will be. The shape of the speaker is recessed down by using a plunge router. I'll post a pic with the speakers in place when the clamps are out of the way.


That's it for now - next up, install the kick plate and a 2x4 base probably tomorrow morning.

After that I need to do a small bit of sanding and then stain it. I'm terrible at the stain process and not looking forward to it at all.

Remaining:

*build a control panel and box
*install joysticks, buttons, and the wiring of the control panel
*install LCD screen and plexiglass cover
*install t-molding
*install marquee and backlight
*install front cabinet door
*program the computer, plug it in
*probably tons of small things I'm not thinking of

Adding pic to first post - Pic of 99% finished cabinet from much later in this thread (99% because I doubt it will ever really be "finished")
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm in the planning stages for one of these myself. Are you doing a 2 player or 4 player? How big is the monitor? Stupid question but where do you get the actual MAME roms for all the games?
It is a 2 player cab. As of right now I'm going to use a 19" LCD. Standard, not widescreen. I have the 19" already. I'd really prefer a 21" standard, but the prices are crazy and finding a standard aspect screen these days is insanely hard.

As a courtesty to the board management, I'm pretty sure ROMs are a topic for another place and another time. ;)
 

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I really want to do this sometime. Brat...can you post some links to do some research on these...ie: plans, monitors, hardware and software?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Fudge... had a big thing written and looks like I closed it without hitting post.

Here's a quick run down.

good sites for Gator-

Build Your Own Arcade Controls:
www.byoac.com

Mala front end - probably what I will use on top of the MAME software
www.malafe.net

MAME site:
www.mamedev.org

A really good builder, who I used one of his cabs as my basic template with some small changes:
www.knievelkustoms.com

Put the kick plate on today, I didn't have much time to work on anything else. Pretty close to be able to sand and stain the cab, but not sure when I'll be able to do so. The cabinet door for the front is a tiny bit too tight, I need to trim it up a bit on one edge.



Couple things I've learned - 1) doing miter joints with my shit setup and tools just isn't a good idea. I'm going to have to figure out something else for the control panel box or this thing will just look like complete shit. 2) #10 biscuits are a bit too big for a miter joint and 3/4 plywood. Fuck. I hope some wood putty covers up the mistake well enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Knievel's stuff is very well done. I copied one of his designs for my cab. If mine comes out even 1/4 as nice as his I'll be happy. I emailed him a bunch of times when I first started planning all this stuff out.

I think using oak on my cab may have been a mistake. I wish now I'd used something with less pronounced grain.
 

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use grain filler then prime it and paint...would be fine that way

I like the lighted edges of that mame cabinet.
 

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Knievel's stuff is very well done. I copied one of his designs for my cab. If mine comes out even 1/4 as nice as his I'll be happy. I emailed him a bunch of times when I first started planning all this stuff out.
I just had a "HOLY SHIT" moment, when I realized Kneivel lives in the same city as me. I've been admiring his work for so long, and have always wanted to build something just like his NeonMame. Maybe if I ever manage to get around to building one, I can get his help if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
UGH... too much. I haven't kept detailed records but I did spend a bunch yesterday.

Stuff I've spent money on, general approximations:

2 sheets of plywood, $45 each = $90
Edge banding, $ can't remember
T-Molding $25
Joysticks $20 each x 3
Buttons, $1.50 each x 32
Arcade quality trackball $85
iPac (input controller) $50
Wood stain, $8
Poly, $6
Marquee retainer, $13

19" LCD - $20 used from work
USB computer speakers, used, free from work surplus
Desktop computer for running MAME, an old one I had lying around.

Still to buy:
Plexiglass to cover LCD, Marquee picture, haven't bought yet.
Inset european hinges, haven't bought yet but probably $10 - $15
Marquee picture, lots of people buy these from mamemarquees.com but I will print on the plotter I have at work. Might have them print the control panel overlay, not sure yet.

Of course misc shit, like screws, wood glue, biscuits, sand paper, etc. Wiring and solder I have around from prior jobs but if I run out I will have to buy more of course. Small shit adds up quick. Shipping on a lot of the stuff above hurts too. You can't go to Home Depot and buy arcade pushbuttons.

I bought some tools, like the biscuit joiner, that was $150 or so. Some new bits for the router, those add up quick. Tools can be re-used of course in other projects so I don't really count them as much.
 
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