Well, Iíve got the bug again.Iíve
begun working on restoring/customizing another arcade machine.This
one I likely will not keep, as I have a friend who might be interested in
buying it from me.But nonetheless it still will be
fun to build!I thought Iíd make another web
page for this machine since I heard from a few individuals that they
enjoyed watching the first one progress.
Sidenote: for this
webpage, it will be similar to my old arcade page in the fact that you can
click on any picture and it will bring you to the full resolution / full
size picture.I just did this in case someone
wanted to see some extra detail for some reason.
Cabinet selection and clean
First things first, a
while back I was able to acquire an empty shell of an arcade machine.A few of them
actually.(Is that a hint at even more future projects?I hope
so!)The one that I liked the
best and wanted to work on first was this one shown on the left
in the screenshot shown below. You can ignore the Deer Hunting
USA marquee. I just put that up there that day to make it look
less empty. That's not even what game this used to be.
The cabinet has that
faux wood grain look going on and I really enjoy it.The
cabinet itself is in pretty good condition.Itís especially important with
this cabinet that itís in good condition, as least if I want to keep the
siding with that wood grain look.If there was some damage in the
middle of the siding, Iíd probably have to paint it as there would be no
way to match that wood grain look myself.Luckily, all of the siding on
this cabinet is in tact.The only damage there really is
on the machine is at the very bottom corners of the cabinet.This is
really pretty standard for old arcade machines.Theyíre
fairly old by this point, and theyíve been moved around who knows how many
times, and gotten dinged up in the process.The corners are really not an
issue though as there are new metal corner protector coverings that I can
put over them to correct the issue (as well as protect it from future
It did come with the
original control panel, as you can see, but since it's metal, it's really
hard to customize. Also, it's a bit small for all the buttons and
etc that I plan to put on this thing. The best part is that it
came with a coin door though. It's a little beat up right now,
but with a fresh coat of paint, it will be good as new! Which is
awesome, because those things aren't cheap.
The first to-do on my list was my least
favorite part.I had to clean out the inside of
the cabinet.Cobwebs, dust, and who knows what
else thatís gathered in there after probably 20 years of use.On the
plus side, I am now 52 cents richer because I found some loose change down
there!Before cleaning I first tear out any old wood thatís in the
cabinet. These arcade machines have a few
extra pieces of wood in there to hold the coin bucket, and the
electronics.Since weíll be replacing all this
with a real computer and my own electronics, I need it to be as open as
possible.Once the excess wood has been removed, I sanded down all of the
wood inside the machine to get rid of any left over grime and dirt.Finally, I
repainted the insides of the arcade with primer.This
just gave it an overall clean feel which will make it so much nicer to
Next, I wanted to put
this thing on wheels.Some cabinets have wheels on them
already, but this one did not.This thing is made out of one inch
thick wood which makes it REALLY heavy.Most arcade machines are typically
made with ĺ inch thick wood or less.Being so heavy, it makes the
cabinet feel sturdy, but it also makes it harder to move.This
makes wheels much more important on this cabinet.So I drilled
the holes, and attached four wheels to the bottom of the cabinet.The back
two wheels do have locks on them, which you would ideally use to lock them
in place once the machine is in itís final resting place. In the
picture below, you can kind of see the white that I painted the bottom
(also the inside -- not shown), and you can also see the new
wheels. I will eventually paint the outside parts to be black,
but I just thought I'd prime them up to look white for now to clean
them up a bit.
The next thing I did was
add some new handles onto it.
With all of this
done, the next big thing to work on was the control panel.With my
first cabinet, I ordered a control panel from someone else.It was a
great control panel, donít get me wrong, but it was also expensive, and I
had some serious shipping problems getting it.This
time around I wanted to avoid that whole mess and make one myself.I knew it wasnít going to be
easy, but Iíve begun to amass quite the collection of tools, and I knew
that I should have everything I need to do it on my own now.
The basic measurements
for the control panel and box were based on the control panel I got for my
first arcade machine.I did, however, learn a valuable
lesson from the first one.Namely, make the top control panel board
smaller so that it fits through a 32Ē door.For whatever reason, on my first
control panel, the top board was around 33.5 inches.Most
people donít have 36 inch doors through out their house, so this presents
a serious problem when moving it.Luckily the box itself was small
enough to fit through a 32Ē door, so all I had to do with my first cabinet
was remove the top panel while moving.Because of all the wires and
electronics inside, this is not ideal.It was do-able, but not
ideal.Anyway, this time around, I shrunk the top panel a bit, so itís
around 31 inches. Itís still likely going to be ďfunĒ
moving this thing, but at least itís possible to fit it through a door
now.Here are a few pictures of the control panel as I built
I don't own a table saw, so I had to use my skill
saw to cut all the wood. They key to this is just clamping
down additional boards to use at the guide boards for cutting.
This way you can just run the saw along the edge of the boards and
still get a straight line. Definitely not as easy as a table
saw, but it works!
Next, once I had all the
wood pieces cut, I had to cut the slot onto the edge of them. This
is where my new handy dandy router and router table come into
play. You just use a slot cutter bit, and you run the wood
past the blade.
You can see the nice slot it cuts here:
Then you can see the little piece of T-molding I
attached here to test it out. This is just what you use on all
the edges of the wood. It makes it all look so much better.
Once I had all the pieces cut and the t-molding slots
cut, I clamped together everything with this massive clamp I bought.
Next I screwed in all of these braces to hold it all
together. After these plates were attached, it was at least stable
enough to remove the clamps.
I also attached hinges on here. This is for the
control panel to attach to the box. It will open up in the same way
my first control panel does. It's incredibly handy for fixing
any wiring, or just to show people all the stuff inside.
To be honest, it was probably stable enough as it
was, but I decided not to risk it.After all, when people play
arcade machines, they sometimes tend to put a little weight onto the
control panel, so you really want it to be as stable as possible.I
decided to put some additional screws through the boards on the sides to
hold it all together.
Since I counter sank all the wholes, I will be able
to patch them up with Bondo, and sand them down. That way you won't
even know they're there.
Now that I had my box assembled, I had to start on
the control panel itself. I cut the wood to size, like I said
earlier, around 31 inches. Then I decided that the
square edges just weren't going to cut it. So I decided to
round the corners of the wood. The first thing I did was place
this pepper shaker on the corners of the wood and I traced a line around
the bottom of it.
Then I just used my electric hand sander to keep
rounding down the edges until I met up with the line.
4 corners later and voila!
Iíve begun to start
thinking about the control panelís buttons and joysticks as well.While
Iím still very pleased with my first control panel I made, I definitely
learned some things.So there are a few things that I
can improve on.
First hereís a picture
of the test control panel from my first arcade machine to give you an idea
of where I started.
The first and most major
problem with this set up, is the location of the Exit button.While I
love love love my skull exit button, and I love the fact that everything
is symmetrical, the placement of the exit button can lead to
problems.As you can see, itís directly above the trackball.So if
youíre playing Golden Tee for example, and you give it a good push, your
hand sometimes has the tendency to continue on after the swing and hit
that Exit button.It REALLY sucks when youíre in the
middle of a game and that happens, because it resets the game.Iíve
gotten used to it myself, but when others come over to play, you canít
expect them to automatically know to watch out for this.
Anyway, the first thing
I wanted to do was move the exit button out of the way, and make it so
that there are no buttons on top of the track ball.
The second thing has to do with dedicated mouse
buttons.On my first control panel, you see there are three buttons directly
on top of the trackball.These are the three mouse click
buttons.The trackball is basically a big mouse,
so itís nice to have these buttons there when Iím messing around on the
computer, possibly maintenance, or whatever else, but the majority of the
time Iím not doing those things.99% of the time Iím, of course, just
playing video games.These buttons go untouched for all
video games, so it seems silly to waste space on the control panel just to
have dedicated mouse buttons.Now, like I said, it does
come in handy to have these there, so I didnít want to get rid of them
entirely.So Iíve had to think long and hard about a creative solution to
What Iíve come up with is this.First, let me say that I couldn't have figured any of this out,
without the great people on the BYOAC forum. This is where itís
at for all arcade building questions.http://forum.arcadecontrols.com
But this is the idea
anywayÖI plan on putting a flip
switch, probably on the bottom of the control panel, so itís hidden.They call this
a double pole double throw (DPDT) switch, shown below:
By using this switch, you can switch the controls of
two separate buttons so that they do something entirely
different when the switch is moved.I plan on reusing Player 1ís
buttons 5 and 6 so that they become mouse click buttons.So the
idea is that most of the time you will leave the switch in one direction,
making it so that the two buttons are normal buttons used in games.Then,
should you ever need to use the trackball as a real mouse, then you flip
the hidden switch, and it will make it so that those two buttons are the
mouse buttons.So this would eliminate having
extra buttons on the control panel, but still give you the option of
having the buttons when needed.
Anyway, regarding the
controls.Iíve decided to do it the same as I have on my first machine.1
joystick and 6 buttons per player.Then there will also be a
trackball.And lastly there will be 4 admin buttons.These admin
buttons will be for Config, Pause, Reset, and Exit.Iíve ordered
and received most of the buttons and joysticks for the control panel as
well.Here is a picture of the
layout I envision:
With this setup, it should fix the two things I
mentioned above, yet still be symmetrical.
In addition to the
hidden DPDT switch, I also plan on putting a USB port there under the
control panel.I purchased one of
I wanted to put one of
these there just so that the owner of the arcade machine could plug in any
USB devices without having to dig around inside the cabinet.Thereís
a possibility that the arcade machine will also have some jukebox software
I wanted to give the owner an easier way to add new MP3ís to the machine
if they wanted to.
Control Panel Shelf
The next thing I started
to work on was the shelf for the control panel. This is yet
again, one of the least fun parts of the whole
build process. You have to get a little creative in how
to attach the control panel, since the cabinet obviously was not designed
for this. What I had to do was basically make a shelf to sit
the control panel box onto. The other sucky part is that the
wood siding tends to chip or break off when you saw into it. So for
that reason, I had to cut off as much of the material as I could, and then
sand off the remaining about 1/4 of an inch of wood. Sanding
the wood with the faux wood siding didn't crack it at all. It
was an EXTREMEMLY slow process in the end. In the picture
below, you can see the far side is done. It took me about 3 hours of
cutting and sanding to get it nice and level like that. Then
on the close side, you can see that I had to start by cutting the wood out
chunks at a time. Eventually you get down to about that
1/4 mark from the desired point, and then I have to switch over to the
hand sander to do the rest. In hind site, I should have
used my jigsaw, but I guess I figured I had more control this way because
the last thing I wanted to do was chip the siding.
After another 4 hours of
sanding...I wish I was kidding...really shoulda used that jigsaw...anyway,
One shelf to set a
control panel box onto and then bolt it on...
I put the CP box on
there just to get a feel for how it looked
Next, I had to work on
making the monitor shelf. Once I had it all measure and leveled out,
I glued and screwed some blocks on both sides. The monitor shelf
will sit on top of here. This is the same as I did with my first
arcade machine. I guess the most important part of this, is
just making sure you place the monitor shelf so that the screen is as
centered as possible between the control panel and the marquee. I've
seen so many arcade machines out there with the scren thats too high, or
too low and it looks sort of silly...
I let the above pieces
dry over night. Then I put the shelf on top and sandwiched it in
with another piece of wood that I glued and screwed in.
I put the control panel
box back on there again. I think I just like lookin' at it.
Once I actually attach the control panel box, I will be painting it
This is just the test
control panel wood, just to give you an idea.
Thatís as far as Iíve
gotten so far.The rest of the build will likely
be documented through incremental updates, like I did on my previous
arcade machine.Right now, itís a long shot off
from finished, but itís at least started!
Well, an update was long
over due. But in my defense, I did finish off my entire
basement and get a puppy since my last update. So as you can
imagine, I've been very busy up until now. One of the many
upsides of having my basement finished is that I have a work room now for
all of my tools, and a good place to work on this arcade
So with that said, lets
get started with those pictures!
First I needed to put in
the new holes for the speakers. There was originally only one
speaker hole on this thing, and it was up on top of the monitor.
I'll be moving the monitor forward and onto a shelf, so that speaker hole
on the top was removed. So I decided to put the speakers on either
side of the coin door.
So I put down some tape
to prevent chipping of my nice faux wood finish and then drew my cutting
template on top of the tape:
Next I used my router, and my
demel to cut out the speaker holes.
Viola! Two holes!
Then I installed the speaker
grill on top of the holes:
The finally I installed the covers on top of the
Inside the cabinet, I installed some blocks for the
speakers to rest on. I also installed some O-rings that, as you can
see, I am using for bungee cords to hold the speakers in
place. I've since painted over this area with
white paint again to clean it up a bit. Sure, it's on the inside of
the cabinet, and no one will ever see it, but hey, apparently I am
Next, I decided to work on ventilation for inside the
cabinet. First I wanted to install a fan near the bottom of
the cabinet that will be sucking new air INTO the cabinet. Started
some holes here, and later cut through and connected the dots to cut this
These are the fans that I installed. You can't
tell from the picture, but when turned on they have red LED lights on them
that will light up:
Here it is installed:
I bought a circl cutter tool that I will use later for
the trackball install on this cabinet. It definitely came in handy
here as I cut a hole on the top of the cabinet. The hole cutter
works pretty slick! Wish I had this when I cut those speaker holes
before! I will be installing a fan here that blows air OUT of
the cabinet. As you know hot air rises, so thats why I went with the
one intake fan at the bottom, and then one blowing out on top.
Here it is installed.
I have some cool fan
covers that will be covering these that you will get to see later. I
needed to prime and paint first before putting the covers on.
Although there will
likely be a gap between the back panel of the arcade and the shelf, I
decided to still drill some holes in the shelf to allow for at least some
Next, I decided it was finally time to tidy up the
bottom of the machine. As you can see here the corners and bottoms
have a few chips from the cabinets many many years of use. I
needed to find a way to clean this up.
First, I got
some edge guards. They sell these are normal hardware stores,
but unfortunately, not in any colors, only in transparent. So I
actually had to find a store on the internet, just to order these
guards. The one in the picture below is VERY dusty, but you get the
idea. I put this edge guard on all the undersides of the
cabinet, which covered up the chips and etc. Also, it will help
protect the bottoms going forward:
Next I puchased some corner guards. Pretty self
explanatory, but you just screw these onto the corners to protect them:
And here you go, the bottom is all new looking, and
Next I decided to do a bit of fancy lighting for the
bottom of this cabinet. It's difficult to describe where this
piece of wood goes. You will be able to tell better in the later
pictures. But for now, just note that this piece goes in the
bottom front of the cabinet, and it has a recessed area in the front,
where I will be putting a light.
Painted that part next:
And then I installed this light bar onto here.
This is just a little "bling" that I am adding to the cabinet. This
light bar is actually sound sensitive. So it will flash every time
it hears a sound. The actual sound sensor for the light will
be inside the cabinet, where the subwoofer is located. So ideally,
this light should flash when ever there is noises coming from the
game. I thought this thing was pretty sweet. Wish I had
one in my first cabinet...
Here is where this light bar is going, the location
that I said was hard to describe. This is looking directly down into
the cabinet. You can see the coin door hole, and then the floor with
the wheel bolts coming through.
Here it is installed:
Then, here's a look upwards from the floor to give
you some idea where this thing is:
Next I installed some T-molding onto the
cabinet. That's the black plastic molding that goes on all the edges
of the wood. As with many old cabinets, getting the T-molding to
wedge in there was a challenge. I just had to use a little
glue in a few parts to make it hold a little better. Those clamps
are just holding the T-molding in place while the glue dries.
Ugggghhh, painting. I hate
painting. It just takes so long. You have to do
several coats, hours apart. It just turns into an all day
event. Anyway, I used my primer to fully paint the inside and
outside of the cabinet.
I also repainted the front insides here:
Oh so clean. :o)
Then I began painting everything black. Well, not
everything. Just the walls where the monitor will sit, the front
insides, and the top and back of the machine.
Next I began to get the control panel ready to
attach. First, I filled in all the holes where I put the screws with
Once dried, I sanded down all the filler to get
everything flat again.
The next big project was the coin door.
This coin door is original to the machine, but as you can tell, it's seen
So first I took the coin door entirely apart so that
only the metal pieces were left. The two long metal bars in
the picture are what will later hold the marquee in place.
Here are some of the tools that I used to take the
paint off the metal. Just a normal drill with some wire brushes, and
for the hard to reach places, I have a Dremel tool with some brush
Here you can see the coin door all polished up and
shiny. Took forever, but everything came off nicely in the
Now that everything was ready, I began to prime
everything. I apologize for the picture quality, had to use my
cell phone to take a few of these pics. Anyway, heres the stuff
primed up and ready for black paint.
And the control panel primed up too:
Once the black paint on
the top and back of the cabinet dried, I then put on the fan covers. Here
is the one on top:
And here is the one on the
bottom. Stupid cell phone camera...
Next I installed the lighting
for behind the marquee. I got a fancy LED bar to light it
up. Should be brighter, and more energy efficient. I
think it is supposed to outlast any normal light bulb too.
Plus it wires into the PC power supply, so I don't have to use up a normal
outlet on it. Plus, it's super cool...
Here is a closer look at the
I am in the process of
paiting the coin door and the control panel box black right now. I
hate painting, did I mention that? It takes 4 hours between coats of
paint and you have to do probably 3 coats, and then you have to flip it
over and do the other side too. So I've been sanding, priming
and painting for a week now. Almost done with painting and I can't
Alright, I FINALLY got
done painting everything. I'm fairly pleased with how
everything turned out. The control panel box looks very good.
The coin door looks pretty decent as well. I think if I were
to ever restore another coin door, I would probably have to recommend a
spray paint over using a brush though. Just to avoid any
streaks left by the brush. But really, I'd have to say that
restoring a coin door was just plain a lot of work. I don't
think I will be doing it again. I will probably just end up
buying a new one, or a gently used one instead.
Ay any rate, here is
the newly restored coin door:
Here's the before and after
shot. Sorry, had to use my cell phone camera again so the
quality of all these pics isn't great... But as you can see, there
is a world of difference between the two:
Next, I took on the task of
attaching the control panel box to the cabinet. First, and there's
no picture of this, I used screws to simply screw the box onto the
shelf. This in itself was pretty secure already.
But, as I've said before, the control panel is the part that people can
tend to lean on a little bit. So you want it to be secure as
possible, so I went that extra mile. I attached some extra
brackets on the inside of the cabinet to bolt it on there. And if
that wasn't enough, I used some real heavy duty construction glue along
the edges, which you can see in the picture below. This
control panel box is going NO WHERE.
Here is a picture with the
coin door installed, and the control panel box attached.
Here is just the inside view
of the coin door installed:
My next task was to build my
administrative panel to hide behind the bottom coin door. Here it is
all cut out. If you will notice on the previous picture, there
are those metal brackets holding the coin door in place.
I cut those slots on the sides on the wood below, so that it would go
around the metal brackets. Then I figured out that the coin
door would not shut with the admin panel attached that close.
So in the end, I had to screw in some wood to buffer it, and make the
admin panel a little farther back. So I really wish I had not
cut those weird looking slots into the sides in the first place, but oh
Here is the back view of
it. I had to recess that one hole a bit because the switch I am
installing there isn't very deep. Also, that big slot in the
middle was for the DVD drive for the computer. As you can see in the
picture below, I installed a little block for the DVD drive to rest on for
some extra support.
Here it is with everything
temporarily in place, just to get an idea of what it looks
like. There's that DPDT switch to enable the mouse buttons, as
I discussed before. Then there is a USB drive and a DVD drive.
Then there are two additional pushbuttons in there. Not sure
what I plan to use these buttons for yet, but I figured what the heck,
they're hidden, you can always use two more buttons for something.
Just now, as I am writing this, I realized that I forgot to install the
volume knob on here. So I will have to drill an additional hole and
attach that knob on here as well. Shouldn't be too difficult.
Just another view of the back
of it, with everything installed:
Here is the view of the inside
with it installed. You can see the extra blocks I installed to
buffer, so the admin panel was further back inside to allow for the coin
door to close.
And finally, here's the view
from the front, through the coin door. You can see those little side
slots I mentioned before a little, but not too bad. This
things going to be hidden anway, so I was not willing to recut everything
for something like that.
Now onto a bit of the
artwork. I've decided to go with a Tapper theme for this
cabinet. Now the original artwork for Tapper was blue and
red. I really wanted to go with the red and black color theme
instead. Luckily, I know someone from my work who is great
with the graphic art type stuff. He took the original Tapper artwork
and redid it for me. He brought in the red and black colors, and
replaced the name of the company on top with MAME instead. It
I got the marquee in the mail
the other day. Not the greatest lighting in this picture here,
but it does look extremely good printed out:
Here it is installed onto the
machine. Really starting to look like an arcade machine now!!
Just another view:
Then, I just really wanted to
hook up the lighting temporarily so that I could see everything lit
up. Here's just a shot of what the fan looks like lit
up. It's pretty amazing. The photo doesn't do it
justice, but you can imagine what it's like in person.
Then here is a short video I
took of the lighting stuff. Again, even the video doesn't do it
justice, but it gives you some idea:
I received the side art
for the cabinet now too, but I'll cover that probably in the next
update. I'm pretty pumped about it, but it'll be my little
secret what it looks like until next time.
Well, I've been
steadily putting in a night here and there over the past month and a half
working on this thing. I've just been trying to build up what
I would call an exciting update. Exciting to me anyway.
:o) Well now that my busy summer has come to an end, I should
have a little more time to spend finishing this thing off. So
without further adieu, your update...
Ok, first I made a new
back door for the cabinet. The old one was warped, and since
everything else in this cab is new, I thought I might as well make a new
Two holes, the top one with the recessed ring around
it is for the barrel lock. The bottom one is just a finger hold to
help you grab a hold of the door when you remove it.
Here it is all painted up with the lock in
Next, I installed the cup holders. Here is a
picture of one closed up:
And here it is opened up. The arms expand to
hold different size things. Can't exactly hold a 40 oz'er but it'll
hold most frosty beverages just fine.
Next I installed new T-molding on the rest of the
arcade. You'll see the T-molding throughout the rest of the
pictures, but just in case you didn't know what it was, its the black
stuff in the picture below that I am inserting into that groove, to covers
all the edges.
Well, I had custom tempered
glass cut to cover up the marquee, and it turned out that it was a little
bit too big. So I had to improvise. I knocked out the
bottom piece of wood that was previously in the cabinet for the marquee
holder, and I decided to build my own. I just had to install it a
bit higher to account for the taller glass. This worked out very
well because I was able to easily install my make shift glass holder.
I found this stuff at the hardware store. Not
sure what it's supposed to be used for, but it worked well for this.
You can see that it's got a slot in it, that I will be using to hold the
top of the monitor glass in place.
Here is where I installed it, in case you didn't
follow what I was referring to:
Next I installed some O rings in the front here, on
either side of the monitor.
And I used some ratchet straps to hold the monitor in
place. I just like to do this to keep the monitor as still as
possible. People tend to beat up on the controls a bit, and I
wanted the monitor to stay put. Love those ratchet straps...
Now that I had my new piece of wood installed for the
marquee holder, that I mentioned earlier, I simply slid the glass into the
slot on the top, and rested the bottom of the glass on the monitor shelf
as shown below. I use those little black paper binder things
on the bottom of the glass so that I would have something to pull the
glass off the shelf with. Otherwise, if those weren't there, the
glass is wedged in there pretty good, so I wouldn't be able to get the
glass out easily. Also in the picture below, you can see the bezel I
made, covering the screen. This blocks out most everything but
the screen, to hide the fact it's a computer monitor, and add to the real
arcade machine feel.
Then here it is, all installed. The
control panel will rest against the glass, effectively holding it in place
more securely. It will also be high enough that it will cover up
those black paper binder things, so that you can't see them.
Finally! It was time to apply my side
art. I'm very proud of this side art. When I
started this project, I didn't think there was any way to get legitimate
Tapper side art, much less modified tapper side art. Well, I
was very lucky to find the ONE person likely in the entirely world who has
the Tapper side art available to print. The reason he's the ONE
person who has it, is because of the process it takes to get the side art
onto a computer. #1 you have to find a Tapper machine with it's side
art in tact. #2 you have to get said machine to a location that has
a scanner big enough to scan in an ENTIRE arcade cabinet side in at
once. and then #3, find someone to digitially remaster the art
work to make sure the colors match up after the scan, correct any
imperfections and etc. So bascially what I'm saying, it's
incredibly amazing that someone went through this entire
process. Now I didn't have a use for the entire Tapper
side art. My cabinet isn't the same size as an original Tapper
cab, so I had to think outside the box. Rich from
www.thisoldgame.com was nice enough to modify his
amazing Tapper side art for me. He put my customized Tapper logo
along the top, and then framed in a nice portion of the side art for me,
so that it would have a black frame around it. Below I
was in the process of applying it to the cab, so it still has the
protective covering on it.
Here it is installed on the machine. This
went on MUCH MUCH better than my side art on my first cab. I
guess it helps not applying it in a 30 degree cold
garage... There were a few bubbles, but not too many.
Most of them I was able to use a pin hole to release.
Anyway, I think the side art looks great, and it will only look better
with the marquee and the rest of the matching controls and
stuff. More pictures of the side art and etc in a bit...
I also installed a power button on the back of the
cabinet. I extended the computer power button, and wired it up
to this one. I had to make use of my cool skull logo (from my
first cab) somewhere on this machine! So here's the kill
switch. When the user presses it, it will trigger Windows to
start shutting down.
Just another view of the top of the cab.
And here's a more final look of what it looks
like. I couldn't be more pleased with how this is turning out
so far. I love this red and black theme. I'm
not going to want to get rid of this thing when it's finished!
A view of the back of the cab, with my new backs
door in place:
One last "money shot" view of the arcade. Can't
wait to get the control panel finished and in there.
So with all that done, the last major thing to tackle
is the control panel. Below is my control panel that you saw me
start in previous pictures. Unfortunately, you might be able
to tell, there was some water damage to it on the right side.
Plus it's not quite the right size exactly, as I want the back of the CP
to rest on the monitor glass. Anyway, this will make an
excellent Test control panel. I am installing the trackball
and joysticks much differently this time than I did on my first
cabinet, so I will need to practice before I do the real
thing. The layout of the buttons below is pretty close
to what I will have on there in the end though:
Then here's my REAL control panel all cut, and I put
this grid on top to help with the placement of the controls again.
Here's the controls placements on the real control
panel. These are in the same places as what's on the Test control
panel. So, assuming I like everything on the Test control panel,
once it's done, then I will just do the same thing on the real one.
As I mentioned before I want the control panel to
rest against the glass to hold it in place. So I will be cutting the
corners off the CP, about where my hand is below, so that it will fit
inside and rest against the glass.
Well here it is!
The final update and the big reveal on this cab! There's lots
of pictures coming up for you. Lots of ups and downs in the
process but I am happy to say that this thing, hardware-wise, is about 99%
done. I still have a fair amount of software work to do, but
it's definitely playable now! Next time I do this, I should
really categorize this stuff better so there aren't like 500 pictures on
one page huh? Oh well, it's functional.
So no more delay, here
are your pictures...
Ok, so first things
first, I needed to do a little testing with my test control panel just to
make sure everything worked, and I liked how everything was set
up. I printed off my control panel artwork just on plain white
paper, and taped it to the control panel. This makes sure that the
artwork will line up with the real controls.
I drilled all my holes.
Here it is, sans the
Now, I decided to use a
balltop Sanwa joystick. These are sort of designed to work
better with metal control panels, but I liked the look of the joystick so
much, I decided it was worth the extra effort. The joysticks
attach to a mounting plate, shown below. This mounting plate
needs to be level with the top of the control panel. More on that in
a minute. First thing I did was modify the mounting
plate. I need the bolts, that are holding the whole joystick
in place, to also be level with everything else. So I used the drill
below to recess the bolt holes.
Here are the bolts, you can
see they are level with the rest of the mounting plate.
Here you can see that I used
my trusty router to recess a hole on the top of the control panel.
This is where the mounting plate will rest.
I made a rough template to
use for the base of the joystick. I bolt this onto the bottom
of the control panel.
Then I use my flush router
bit to cut out the shape. So I can re-use my template over and
over and make the same shape with my router.
Here's the top view with the
joystick installed. The whole mounting plate and bolts are
even with the top of the control panel.
Here's the bottom view of
Here's a little test run
with the control panel. I played around with this for a
bit and decided this was all set and I was clear to start working with the
REAL control panel.
Here's the real control panel in place. You can
see that I cut it out so that it almost goes all the way up to the
I decided to use a
plexiglass cover with this. I had never done it before, but it turns
out it's not too hard if you have a router. I used that flush router
bit again to cut out the plexiglass so that it's the same shape as the
Here you can see that I
offset the t-molding slot on the ends of the wood. I did this so
that the t-molding would cover up the edges of the plexiglass, so the
player isn't able to grab it and lift or anything crazy like that.
It's held in place under the t-molding.
Then I cut the holes on the
control panel. I used some tape on the bottom side of the wood so
that there would be no chipping or anything like that.
Here's the front view.
I decided to do something a
little different for mounting the trackball. I got the ultra high
mounting kit from Groovy Game Gear. It's pretty cool actually,
and it makes the trackball stick out much farther than it would
otherwise. Anyway, the first step was to trace the template around
the trackball hole.
Then I used my router to cut
out the shapes, and then inserted the threaded bolt holes. These
bolt holes are there so that there are no bolts showing on the top of the
control panel. It'll look much cleaner that way.
Now the reason those shapes
are cut out there is so that the mechanics of the trackball fit in
there. Basically what I did was remove the top half of the
trackball entirely, and I won't be using it. The parts that
protrude out, fit into the shapes above. So the piece of wood acts
as if it's the top part of the trackball.
Here I started the joystick
work on the real control panel now. You can see I have a new
template, that has a much cleaner shape.
Here it is all cut
out. I repeated this for the other joystick as well.
Here's the rest of the
joystick. It doesn't fit into the hole just yet. What I
did was put it over the hole and trace around the outsides, so that I know
what has to be cut out still.
Here you can see the lines I
Here you can see that I
routed those areas out. I didn't go all the way through the control
panel with these. I just figured it was better to have the top of
the control panel be as solid as possible, that's why I did it this
And lastly here is the
bottom of the joystick in place, and it fits in there great.
So here's the control panel
all ready to go, with all the holes cut.
So now it was time to get
back to working with my plexiglass. First I just used these clamps
to hole everything securely in place.
Then I drilled out a pilot
hole here in each of the holes.
Then I used my router and
the flush router bit again to cut out the exact shape of the holes.
Next I sandwiched the REAL artwork inbetween the two
and I cut out the holes.
Next it was time to paint
the control panel. The top of it didn't matter so much, but the
bottom of it needed to be black.
Here she is all painted and
ready to go.
Just a test run to make sure
everything was still lining up, and it was.
The last part I had to do
with the plexiglass was to cut out the hole for the trackball.
Now this was the tricky part. The hole needed to be large enough so
that the trackball would fit through. But it also needed to be small
enough so that the trackball would not be able to fall
out. In addition to that, the hole needed to, obviously,
be in the exact correct position. After buying four
different hole saws, which sucks, I finally found the one that's the right
size. It's 2 7/8". Not 3", not 2 3/4", but 2 7/8".
Well through luck or skill,
I did manage to get the hole cut in the right positon.
Next I did a bit of work on
the admin panel behind the bottom coin door. I applied some
black vinyl over the wood to make it match a bit better. I
also got some vinyl stickers made from Pongo over at
forum.arcadecontrols.com. They just really make the admin
panel look so much cooler. I also installed an LED
pointing down on the admin panel, so it's lit up a bit. With
all the LEDs on this cabinet, it looks pretty bad a$$ when the lights are
Then it was finally time to
start working on wiring everything up. Here you can see the
wiring of the admin panel.
Here's the wiring on the
back of the coin door to light up the eject buttons.
Here's just a wider view of
the front panel of the cabinet.
Back a ways, I installed the
power supply. I used a real arcade power supply to power all the
various lights and fans and such. Here I am using terminal
barriers to split one wire into many.
I used a smart power
strip. The computer is plugged into the control outlet, and
then the other outlets get shut off when the computer shuts
down. So when you hit the power button on the cabinet, the PC
shuts down, the power strip realizes this, and shuts off the lights, fans,
speakers, screen and etc.
Then once everything was
wired up inside the cabinet, I hooked up the monitor and tried to put the
back door I made on there. Now, when I made the cabinet door, I
tested it out with the monitor and it did fit. Unfortunately, I
didn't think about how far the cables stick out the back. So I
ran into a little problem and had to do some improvising.
I routed out a square on the
back cover so that there is a little room to work with. I was
pretty hasty with the routing, since I wanted to play this thing, so its a
bit rough. But its just the door that no one will see, so it doesn't
really matter what it looks like, as long as it fixes the problem, which
Now with that all done, it
was finally time to wire up the control panel. Here you can see I
installed all the controls and controller devices.
Now before, I show you what
this cabinet's wiring looks like, I have to show you something
else. On the page for my first arcade machine I built, you
might notice there are no pictures of the wiring. Well, there's a
reason for that. I didn't really know yet what I was doing, so it's
incredibly sloppy. I'm kind of embarassed of it actually. It
works, but it's ugly as heck and it's hard to do any troubleshooting
on. For the record, I do plan to correct this some
day... But, I only show you this now, so you have some
comparison for what the new machine's wiring looks like...
Here's the new machine's
wiring! As you can tell, I'm pretty proud of this.
It's not the cleanest I've seen, from looking at others on the internet,
but for me, it's pretty dang good. I've learned so much since
I made the first cabinet, it's pretty crazy.
Now certain wires needed to go inside the cabinet to
various things, like the admin panel and the coin door and
etc. I wanted the control panel to be removable. So what
I did was use quick disconnects so that I can easily unplug the labeled
wires and take off the control panel if I need to.
Here you can see the inside of the control panel
box. You can see the quick disconnects connected, and you can see
the that this cabinet has real authentic Nintendo controllers for
it. There's a second one not shown by the way. These
aren't the cheap USB ones from China either. These are real NES
controllers that someone hacked for me, and gave them USB
connectors. When you hold the controller, it just feels right,
like it's the real deal, because it is.
So now, pretty much
everything was hooked up and ready to go. Before I show you the
final picture of the cabinet, I thought I'd show a few screenshots of what
the menus look like on the machine. I tried to use a
wood background that would work well with the siding of the cabinet.
I used the same background for all the menus, and I think it really ties
everything together and makes it feel like it belongs. I really
learned a lot about photoshop making these backgrounds!
A few late nights spent figuring out how it all worked.
But here is what the main menu looks like:
When you pick MAME for arcade games, there are
various categories that I made that you can choose from. Here's
the menu for picking a category.
Here's the MAME screen. It lists all the
games on the left. Under the list of the games, it will show a
picture of the original arcade machine, if known. On the right it
shows the original marquee on the top. On the bottom the original
control panel. Then in the middle first it shows just a screen shot
of the game. When you pause on a game for a few seconds, it
shows you a video preview of the game play. It all works
The other game systems menus all follow the same
idea. They show the original box art, a screen shot, and then a
video when you pause on a game. Below is the Nintendo
menu. I found some of these menus online and modified them to
suit my needs and tastes.
Here's the base screens for the rest of the game
And finally...it's all done! Here's a
picture of the finished conrol panel. In the pictures the
arrows and such around the joysticks look a little orange, but in person,
they are red. They just didn't turn out very well in the
Here are the admin buttons along the top. You
can see that I created my own labels for the buttons. Then I put
some additional labels under each of the buttons. The
descriptions under the buttons tell you what they do when you are looking
at the menus. When you are inside a game, playing it, the buttons do
what they are labeled on the buttons themselves.
I just thought this was a cool view of the
controls. You can see the trackball mounted pretty
high. The normal person wouldn't notice the difference maybe,
but when you compare it to how far the ball sticks out on my first
cabinet, it's quite a bit of difference. I like it.
Here's the finished cabinet with the control panel
Then here's the final cabinet. I'm
incredibly please with how it all turned out. It just looks
really smooth and clean, not too gaudy.
Then, I had to do at least one before and after
comparison picture to show how far it's really come!
As often is the case,
the pictures just don't do it justice. You have to see it in
person to really appreciate it.
I made a little video
here showing off the cabinet a bit more. It also shows
off the LEDs a bit. These really add a LOT of flare to the machine
and really give it that extra something. Anyway, here's a
Well that's it
everyone! Thanks to all who followed along. I'm sure there's
probably too much information on this page, more than people care to know
about, but that's ok. I recognize that most people just flip through
and look at the pictures and that's more than ok. I think I
post most of this stuff for my own enjoyment, and if others enjoy reading
about it too, then great!
Well I do have another
project lined up for myself. I bought a 4 person showcase arcade
cabinet with a 33" screen. I'm pretty excited about it because
I've always wanted a 4 player machine so we can really play games like
Xmen, Simpsons and etc to their fullest potential! But, I'm not
really sure when I'll be able to get to the project because of both time
and money. But you can be sure that I'll make a web page for
it when I do! Until next time, game on!