Games Cabinet build
Here I intend to document my recent build of an upright Games cabinet for all those who want to have a go themselves!
So here we go. First off I decided that after looking on the web for some design ideas I needed an idea for a template.
I got a template from http://www.koenigs.dk/mame/model.pdf as a design which I could use for my cabinet.
The thing to bear in mind is the height of the cabinet for the main player. You can adjust the placement within the cabinet for the moniter, but its easy to add height to the base and if you add feet as well. I would recommend adding wheels as it will get heavy fast!
The width of the cabinet will depend on the size of the screen, but 600mm is a good size. This will also allow a two player setup.
One of the first things I purchased and got to work on was the control buttons and joysticks.
These I purchase from https://www.arcadeworlduk.com
In fact you can get all you need from them including flatpack cabinets,
but we are doing the build from scratch here.
One aspect of this build was to use as much recycled materials as possible. This saved a lot of money and of course was a good thing to do anyway.
There are some useful tools you will need and one of the best espically when you may have to drill into persplex is drill bits.
Step drill bits are the best addition you can get for your drill as you can drill holes to the required size and using these will not crack persplex unlike other methods. If you get at least one that can drill up to 32mm it will be of great help in your build.
To test the drill bits and the buttons and joysticks I started on the panel first.
This was a piece of MDF 19mm thick and 562mm wide. The depth is not too important at this stage. Using a patten on paper first to get the buttons placed right and using that for both sides for player one and two so you get the drill holes in the right place.
Using the step drill bits drill away!
My next tool purchase was a set of wood clamps these espically when needing to cut larger pieces of wood were a great help.
I popped the buttons and and joysticks. The wood base was a bit rough and was only going to be a test but later I sorted its edges out and used it.
And underneath wired up. You may just see in the picture I also purchase a coin slot!
nderstanding the wiring can be confusing but basically there is one wire going from button to button as the earth into the control panel then a wire from each button into the panel. The control panel is quite small and has a USB output to your PC whatever you intend to run the software from. There are different versions you can buy but they all do the same job.
After a test on using a latop with a http://www.lakka.tv/ installed but I did not use in the final setup I was able to check if the buttons and joyticks worked.
They did first time!
Before I go any further, one of the questions that may get asked is what skill level does it take to build it. I do have some basic wood working skills and have built several PC's over time including this, a working PC running Linux mounted in a picture frame (two actually back to back for the depth).
This level of knowledge and skill may help if you want to build your own.
The sides and large parts of the build are from an old till table that was being replaced.
Its MDF which 19mm thick and the size when cut is 1720mm high, 600mm deep.
First step is to draw out on one panel the outline of the cabinet. Take care with this double checking, each feature, top marquee, screen, control panel and bottom (kickplate).
Its worth making sure that the screen you use will fit, assuming your using a flat panel, depth is not a problem. If using a CRT which I don't recommend you have to consider depth a lot more and will it fit. Also if your putting a PC which would fit in the base, check it actually fits including all the cables. This was not quite a mistake with mine as it fitted (very tightly) but had it at a angle inside anyway.
Placing both panel sides together and clamping them tight so they didn't slip I used a jigsaw to cut them both at the same time. That way you get a perfect match.
On this build what I should have done, and did not do at all is rout the edges so I could have added some T molding.
I did not have a router (I bought one later). It would have really finish it off nicely if I had.
Oh well there is always the next build :)
Spend some time sanding smooth the edges.
The next part was doing the base. Getting this part right is important it. The width of the build, and it needs to take the weight of the side panels etc as you may be putting feet/wheels on as well.
Fixing some big thick chunks of wood to the internal sides using glue and screws and building it from there. You could build the box base separately before screwing and gluing the sides on. Once done it must feel firm and you need to be confident it is strong enough. Adding the back panel helps with the strength. You may wish to consider having access doors at the back. I did not and just had the door at front in the base. The plan was to have the screen cover, button panel etc can be lifted out to give access to the internals. This I think is essential so you can lift out the button panel completely to wire up adjust, and fix as needed. This apply's to the screen as well.
As you can see I have added a front door in the base. Added the screen holding struts. Also adding a draw for a keyboard and mouse. Useful when setting up Mame and doing any tweaks to the PC or software that you need. When adding the mountings for things take into account the width of each element as you want them recessed inside the build.
More to follow