Arcade Cabinet Build

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DanM
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Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:34 am

Well, I finally finished renovating the house a few ago and kinda got bored. I decided to plan out an arcade cabinet build, which I started this weekend. So far I have the basic cabinet built up, still a ton of stuff to do. It should keep me busy for a few weekends.

I have an electrical question for Aaronutzy too =) Is it ok (code-wise) to have a power cable come in (basically an extension cord with one end lopped off) to a standard steel box with a switch in it. The switch would be master power for the whole cabinet. From the switch I'd do a short run of regular 14-2 wire powering a receptacle in a standard steel box.

Also, is it ok to just drill a 1/2" hole in the side of the cabinet, put a wire clamp in there and have the power cord come straight out of it, or would you do it a different way?

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emtnut
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by emtnut » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:29 pm

DanM wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:34 am

I have an electrical question for Aaronutzy too =) Is it ok (code-wise) to have a power cable come in (basically an extension cord with one end lopped off) to a standard steel box with a switch in it. The switch would be master power for the whole cabinet. From the switch I'd do a short run of regular 14-2 wire powering a receptacle in a standard steel box.

Also, is it ok to just drill a 1/2" hole in the side of the cabinet, put a wire clamp in there and have the power cord come straight out of it, or would you do it a different way?
Next time I have a question, I'm gonna ask SpruShaDan :mrgreen:

You're OK with the switch and recept in there.
For the power in, the wire clamp is not meant for that. Google 'strain relief grommets' . You'll find a bunch of strain reliefs for the ext cord. It may also be good to add a cable clip that screws to the cabinet as well for added relief.

BTW... nice job on the arcade !!
~~ Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford :mrgreen: ~~

DanM
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:37 pm

Sounds good, thanks Nutzy!

Glad you like it, I'm hoping it'll be worth all the flak I'm catching from the wife... "How much is that stupid thing going to cost?", "I don't understand you have a computer you can play games on, why do you even need this" lol. 3 females + me in here, so there's a lot of girly crap all over the place I needed something manly to balance it out.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:27 pm

A few years ago, Costco had an arcade machine with around 100 of the arcade games you knew and loved. I nearly bought one, what stopped me is that there were only about 3 or 4 games that I'd have played, which meant that the $1500 console was kinda not worth it.

I currently have and Xbox and Xbox 360, I used to also have several renditions of the NES system, all to play ONE game on. I'm done with consoles now, however, because they're only as good as long as the manufacturer is supporting it. Aftermarket controllers SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My plan is to move over to PC gaming instead. I plan to set up a PC with console emulators so that I can play all the games I like, no matter what platform they were on, from one station and be able to buy good controllers whenever I need one. That's the plan, anyway, all I have to do now is wait for my HI Christmas bonus check to come. :| :lol:
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DanM
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:38 pm

That's basically what I've done for a long time (PC + Emulators). Your Xbox 360 controllers will work with Windows since both are Microsoft products. IIRC Wired ones you can plug right in since they're USB, wireless ones you need a receiver for the PC that you can pair the controllers with. In each emulator you just setup the buttons so you can play. Like for an NES emulator for example it'll ask you to pick a button for Up/Down/Left/Right/A/B/Select/Start and you're good to go.

As for the arcade cabinet I'm doing it's not going to be too expensive, probably $450 Canadian but maybe more. My daughter is designing some custom graphics that I'm gonna get printed out onto vinyl stickers, no idea how much the printing will cost. The computer part runs a ton of different emulators, you just download whatever game ROMs you want, load 'em onto it, and booya! Here's a breakdown of the stuff I have planned for shits n giggles:

*2-sheets of MDF and some pine boards for reinforcement, random things like hinges, electrical switches and wire, paint and primer, etc - $150

*Raspberry Pi 3 (this is the computer, it's basically just a loose circuit board with some chips on it, an HDMI port, USB ports, and Audio port, and a bunch of I/O pins to connect joysticks and buttons to) - $100

*Real arcade joysticks + buttons (you have to wire them up to the circuit board) - $75

*T-moulding (plastic molding to trim the edges of the cabinet. Basically like thick semi-circular edge banding they used to use in classic arcades) - $25

*Used 24" 1080p monitor I got- $50

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A. Spruce
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:03 pm

The original Xbox controllers have a special plug on the end, they're not USB. The 360 is wireless, which is much more convenient, but those things eat batteries! I don't really care whether the controllers are corded or not, so long as the cords are long enough to reach where they need to be. Wireless becomes simpler the further from the tv you get.

The other reason for going to PC is because most game consoles are not reverse compatible, so games you know and love on an old console can't be played on a new console. We bought a remastered version of Halo for the 360 and it's complete crap, it is disorienting to look at and gives you motion sickness to play, which means we have to keep the original Xbox and controllers functional if we want to play the one and ONLY game we play on that console, which is Halo. Same goes for the NES systems, one game per generation of console is all I like. More recently, I've found some games I'm interested in for the Playstation, which means more consoles and controllers to maintain and wear out with no support. :roll:
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DanM
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:24 pm

There definitely are wired Xbox 360 controllers, I have a pair of them plugged into my computer. I don't have an Xbox 360 though so maybe it only came with wireless ones.

I know what you mean about consoles, I haven't owned one since Playstation 2 many moons ago. It's so much easier just to emulate all the older stuff you want on PC, and still be able to play any new stuff that comes out for it. Most of the big name stuff comes out for PS, Xbox, and PC anyway. There are exceptions if you're really into certain things (N64 for example is hard to emulate, plus there's no controller quite like it). The other thing I like about PC is there's a lot of really cool indie stuff that's like $5-10 so even if it's not great you don't feel bad like you wasted money.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:16 pm

The PS games I'd like to try are The Last Of Us and the Uncharted series. I love watching the "movies" on youtube, though I'm not sure I'd enjoy playing the games.
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Aaron
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Aaron » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:43 am

Oh my, how did I miss this discussion. I love that arcade cabinet - great work!

I guess I might have made it wider to accomodate today's 16:9 aspect ratio TVs. Unless of course you plan to find an old 4:3 CRT tube for it.

At any rate it's sweet! Now you gotta decorate it.

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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:52 pm

Thanks!

It fits a 24" monitor which is more than enough, old school arcade monitors were smaller than that and they always looked pretty big to me since you're standing so close to it. And ya I just got a used 16:9 monitor to mount up. Good CRT's that would take RGB input (Ain't no way I'd use composhit video) are really expensive and pretty hard to find nowadays, plus they're heavy as hell. Also the Raspberry Pi (the computer) only has HDMI out so it's a lot easier than getting a lag-free device to convert to RGB.

Decorating and assembling is kinda beginning this weekend. My joysticks and buttons arrived today and I'm painting the control panel. Once it's dry I'm gonna wire them all up and test it. Later this weekend I'll paint the rest of the cabinet. My daughter is making some graphics for the side panels too, hopefully I'll get them printed out next week unless they're ridiculously expensive.

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Aaron
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Aaron » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:21 pm

How'd you get all the perfectly round inside and outside corners? Did you just use a jig or scroll saw and undercut the curves by like an 1/8" or something then just grind them down to the exact radii with a belt sander or something?

DanM
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:52 am

Pretty much that. I used a piece of 2" ABS to trace each radius and then cut them as close to exact as possible with the jig saw. I used a palm sander (the square type, not orbital) + 220 grit paper to smooth out the surface. They aren't 100% perfect but it's close enough that the eye can't tell. They match on each board though which was more important to me visually. That part was easy, I clamped two mdf boards together and only drew the layout on one of them. I did all my cuts and sanding to both at the same time.

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Aaron
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Aaron » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:41 am

Very cool. Now I wonder how you're gonna decorate it. Maybe some good high gloss enamel? Need to prime that MDF so paint sticks to it, it's pretty resinous. Maybe a shellac as a first coat perhaps.

Ive heard of using drywall compound with it too.

DanM
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:00 am

For most of the cabinet I'm just priming and painting with semi-gloss.

For the Marquee I'm going to get something printed out (not sure what material yet but probably vinyl) and sandwich it between two pieces of acrylic and have a 5V led strip backlight.

The side panels are going to have graphics that I'll get printed as vinyl stickers. They won't take up the whole side panel, just the area between the control panel and the top of the machine.

For the control panel I'm going to do some button labels on vinyl sticker 'paper' for my printer. Also the buttons themselves have blue LED lights built into them.

To trim the edges of the cabinet panels I'm going to use classic arcade T-molding (5/8" semi-oval plastic trim, basically like edge banding but a lot thicker and round).

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Aaron
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Aaron » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:37 am

I've been reading about painting MDF. Be sure to use oil/alkyd primer, at least for the edges and ends... because anything water base will get soaked like a sponge and cause it to swell. After you have a dried coat of oil-based primer, then you can top-coat it with whatever you want, including latex.

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Shannon
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Shannon » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:17 pm

I actually have never seen latex swell edges of MDF it does take more then 2 coats on edges before you can finally get some coverage
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Aaron
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Aaron » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:44 am

No? Ok. I have no idea. Never painted it before. I've usually covered it in some other material.

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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Shannon » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:13 am

All our paint grade trims ,door jambs, and those types of products are MDF so I deal with it a lot. Although I think I am developing a alergy to the dust over the last few years so I really kinda hate working with it much
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DanM
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:02 pm

Well I just used regular latex paint and it seems to have gone fine, no swelling or excess moisture anywhere.

A few pics of where she's at now, still lots of detail work to get done but she's fully operational. The buttons and joysticks are wired up to their own USB encoder board (computers will auto-detect it as a generic gamepad). The little clear plastic box is the entire computer.

Mounting the monitor was more of a pain than you'd think. Once you take the shell off it's 3 separate pieces that aren't attached to each other (well, except for the wires and junk but those offer no structural support). It wasn't fun trying to juggle the whole thing while trying to get the wood brackets attached, then trying to screw other parts of the monitor to pieces of wood without them falling lol.

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Shannon
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Shannon » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:12 pm

Wow you are making quick work of this project!
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DanM
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:43 pm

For this part yes, but it'll be weeks before all the artwork and random detail stuff gets done.

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Aaron
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Aaron » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:56 pm

All the finishing touches take forever, it's the "long tail" of the project just like a house I'm sure!

Looks amazing so far, nice work!

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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:29 pm

Thanks! Ya the finishing up always sucks, but it's worth it in the end.

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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:39 pm

Well I mostly designed the marquee for the top of the cabinet. Do you think it's too 'busy' visually with all the circuit looking stuff? I'm kinda stuck on whether or not I should get rid of all the red sub-circuits and just keep the main blue ones. Going for kind of a Tron-ish vibe with it

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Aaron
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Aaron » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:13 pm

It is a little busy. Make the circuit traces darker so it moves to the background, then the words will move into the foreground and be easier to read.

Otherwise it looks great!

I say put some green design elements on the sides of the cabinet so it's not too dichromatic.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by A. Spruce » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:29 pm

I agree with Aaron, darken the background and/or lighten the foreground will give more contrast between the two and make it easier to read/less busy.
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emtnut
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by emtnut » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:00 pm

DanM wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:39 pm
Well I mostly designed the marquee for the top of the cabinet. Do you think it's too 'busy' visually with all the circuit looking stuff? I'm kinda stuck on whether or not I should get rid of all the red sub-circuits and just keep the main blue ones. Going for kind of a Tron-ish vibe with it

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Well arcade is looking great, and I like the Barbeerian name !

I hope that you have loaded 'pong' in there :D
~~ Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford :mrgreen: ~~

DanM
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:26 pm

Ok, sounds good. I toned down things so they're a little subdued to blend into the background and make the text stand out more. Thanks!

And Nutzy of course I have pong on there, not that I'm gonna play it but it's less than 10kb. Might as well in case someone gets the urge.

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Aaron
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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by Aaron » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:11 pm

You should have THOUSANDS of games on there, as I'm sure you will... there's so many emulators and ROMs, it's ridiculous.

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Re: Arcade Cabinet Build

Post by DanM » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:22 pm

Well I got a little more out of the way. I added some LED striplights to give it a blue glow behind and above the cabinet, and below the control panel. I used a second set of LEDs to make the marquee lights. Best part of that was finding a reason to buy a good soldering iron and learn how to solder :lol:, I mean it can't hurt having more tools around can it? Besides, connector/extension cables aren't free, and a tool is a gift that keeps on giving. I think I did ok for my first time, the lights all worked and my joints seem ok.

I also got it wired up with a proper power cord, and a switch that controls power to the hole box. A lot more convenient than having to reach in the back to unplug/re-plug things. Painted some of the edges to make things stand out a little better. I decided not to buy the T-molding because it's $45 shipping for $20 worth of stuff, and there's only one place to buy it. I gotta draw the line somewhere on my spending.

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