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 Post subject: Arcade cabinet build log
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:22 am 
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Hammer Brother
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So as mentioned in my last thread, a friend of mine gave me a non-working Xevious cabinet. While I managed to make it work again, this rekindled the love of old arcade games for me. So I did a bit of research and found a fair bit of info about building a MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) cabinet, by using an old PC, a monitor and some wood.

The easy way is to simply buy a premade MAME cabinet, like the ones sold by Xtension Arcade Cabinet. $399 for a cabinet seems affordable enough, right? Well, I'm in Canada, so that $399 price tag is actually $508CAD Thanks to our crappy economy. Add to that $143USD ($182CAD) for cross-border shipping and all of a sudden that affordable cabinet just became a $690 nightmare. So I decided that I would by 3/4" MDF boards at the local hardware store and reverse-engineer a cab by somehow finding the building plans of the cab.

But what about joysticks, buttons and all that? Well, I could either scratchbuild a control pannel to house the buttons and joysticks, but that proved challenging, so I opted for something simpler - the [url="http://shop.xgaming.com/products/x-arcade-tankstick-trackball-usb-included"]X-Arcade Tankstick[/url], an all-in-one control panel that can be used on virtually any platform. DIY'ers use this, as it's simple to build a cabinet around it. The aforementioned Xtension cabinet is designed for the Tankstick.

Anyway, so far in the project, I've got:

The Tankstick:
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A fully functional coin mechanism for that authentic look:
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A Dual core PC with 8GB RAM, a 1TB HDD and a barebones Windows 7 that will be used to install MAME and an arcade frontend like Hyperspin:
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I also have a 22 inch LED monitor for the project. A CRT monitor would have been awesome, but they are pricey and increasingly hard to find.

Getting all of the software setup is proving to be challenging. It's not that it's hard, but it's time-consuming. See, you have 3 major components. The emulators, the frontend interface and the software that communicates between the emulators and the frontend.

Emulator-wise, you need at the very least MAME for the arcade games. You can later add more emulators if you plan on playing NES/SNES/N64/Sega, etc games.
Frontend-wise, I am using Hyperspin: hyperspin-fe.com
Visually, it's the nicest arcade frontend available, but it's also the most complexe one to configure. But if you've got several hours to spare, check out Simply Austin's Youtube channel. You will find a MAME/Hyperspin installation video. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb4RFF ... 77onViqoDA

Anyway, a lot of that was reading/following tutorials, trying various versions and packages and posting noob questions on message boards. Long story short, the software aspect is about 75%-80% done, with the MAME component 100% up and running. The coin mechanism works great, but I have to order a [url="http://na.suzohapp.com/all_catalogs/coin_doors/42-3054-00"]Canadian coin mechanism[/url], as the one that came stock with the coin door only works with American quarters. I've managed to find a handful of American 25ยข for the time being, but I eventually want to plug Canadian coins in there.

While the cabinet is far from being built, I've ordered vinyl artwork for the side panels, control panel and marquee, in a Nintendo vs. Sega theme:

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While these decals are designed to go on the Xtension prefab arcade cabinets, I plan on using the decals as a template of sorts to reverse engineer a cab by buying 4x8 MDF boards and cutting them with a jigsaw and router.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:23 pm 
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The decals are here! Now I need to find someone with a pickup truck or a large van to help me get a couple of large 4 by 8 MDF sheets to start building the cabinet.
I also bought a plunge router and a jigsaw, I think all I need now is a sander and I'll be all set too-wise.

On the software front, I've trimmed down the amount of emulators. The machine will be setup to mostly rune MAME roms (roughly 35,000 of them), but I also installed NES, NES, GBA, N64, Sega Master System, Genesis, Sega CD and Game Gear for good measures, as well as the excellent Turbografx 16 library of games. I've also added a few different arcade platforms, such as Daphne (laserdisc games like Space Ace and Dragon's Lair), Sega Model 2 (early 90's games with vectors - Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter, etc) and the obligatory selection of awesome Neo-Geo games. I am maybe 80% done, still need to iron a few kinks out in the frontend, configure buttons for a few systems, etc.

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I've also ordered 40' worth of satin black t-moldings, that should hopefully show up this week.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:21 am 
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You made those decals? Where did you get them?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:29 pm 
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I ordered them from www.recroommasters.com makes decals for DIY arcade builds and for the premade XTension arcade kits.

With the shitty US exchange and shipping, they came out rather expensive, but oh well. I needed them!

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:09 pm 
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Much has happened since August! The cabinet is 90% complete, I need to get customs decals done. The ones I ordered are... For a different cabinet model. You learn the hard way I suppose!

Anyway. A few reposts from my original thread back at the Transformers message board:

2015-10-21 update:

So, not feeling the building the cabinet from scratch thing at all. I am clumsy at best with power tools so I managed to find a decent-priced arcade cabinet kit (like the one posted in the 1st page of the thread) to put all of my electronics in. I should have it in a couple of weeks.

Pics to follow!

2015-11-17 update:

Finally!

Got my arcade kit last weekend and similar to an IKEA kit, the thing came in 3 different boxes, instructions and a bazillion screws and hardware bits.

150lbs of pure unadulterated laminated particle board:
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Extremely well packed with more than enough bubble wrap:
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Once the parts were all laid out on the floor, I started the long, painful assembly process:
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This will serve as the bottom of the cabinet and will hold the PC, controls and coin mech:
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While this part will be the top and will hold the monitor and bezel light:
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Bottom cab fully assembled:
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Added all of the hardware inside. Rubbermaid container serves as a temporary solution for easy coin retrieval.
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Success!
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Hidden door hides keyboard and mouse for configs and such:
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Next, custom sideart and control panel decals and need to paint/hide the dead space around the monitor.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:10 pm 
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2015-11-23 update:

So the customization has begun. When I first assembled it, the cab was temporarily put on a moving platform, as seen on previous pics. I removed it from there and added caster wheels underneath the cabinet (because it's such a heavy bugger), added a dedicated power button next to the coin mech, made pannels to close the back, complete with air vent and AC jack and lastly, replaced that aweful, flimsy thin sheet of plexiglass with a nice, thick piece of glass.

Back view (needs to be sanded/primered/painted)
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New power button and working coin mech
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Glass bezel. Needs to be painted to hide the dead space around the monitor
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:13 pm 
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2015-11-27 update:
So yesterday I decided to paint it to hide the dead space around the monitor and give it less the appearance of a PC in a cabinet. It turned out pretty good!

Image

Alright, a few folks asked for a video, so here is it (video shot before the bezel glass got painted)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:46 am 
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2015-12-03 update:

Back of cabinet has been painted and T-molding strips added. Need two strips of black melamine on those two horizontal white pieces to complete the back.
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Front - glorious checker plate installed!
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Now during the holidays I will work on the decal design. The Nintendo vs. Sega decals were the wrong size and didn't fit on my build. Oops.

Thinking of a Vic Rattlehead vs. Eddie design, thoughts?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:13 pm 
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I want one!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:05 pm 
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Not sure if people still read this or not, but... Oh well.

2016-01-31 update!

So I decided to take the plunge. Inspired by Speed of Light, Iron Maiden's latest music video depicting Eddie, the band's mascot, travelling through several eras of video games, I decided to commission custom Iron Maiden artwork for my cabinet. This is the proof they sent me:

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In this spirit, I also decided to change the stock intro animation that plays when booting up the cabinet with a customized animation I did in Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere. Parts of it are sequences taken from Iron Maiden's video, others were taken from several VG-themed animations, others were done from scratch by me.

Let me know what you think!

https://vimeo.com/153555296

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:08 am 
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pretty sweet

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:27 pm 
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The arcade cabinet in now complete!

In the past 6 months, many things went well, others, not so much. But all in all it was a great learning experience and I am happy with the end result:

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I went with an Iron Maiden theme because of their latest music video, Speed of Light https://youtu.be/-F7A24f6gNc

The cab runs of the Hyperspin frontend, allowing a seamless interaction with as many emulators as you wish. Currently, I have a little over 36,000 ROMs, comprised mostly of MAME arcade classics, ranging from the late 1970's to the early 2000's. The rest are the complete ROM library for Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, NES, SNES, N64, Gameboy Advance, Neo Geo and Tubografx16. I could have added more system like Gamecube, Dreamcast, Saturn, PS1/PS2, etc. but wanted to limit myself to cartridge-based systems only to keep the retro aspect of the cabinet.

To complete the project, I added Kodi/XBMC to act as a jukebox/media player with 15,000 MP3, including the entire Iron Maiden discography and videography.

The PC is an Intel i5 running Windows 7 on 8 Gb of RAM, an old Radeon 5450 HD card, which is more than enough to run 20+ year-old games. Storage-wise, I've added a 2TB Western Digital Black hard drive. Monitor is a professional series Viewsonic 4:3 21" LCD and the audio system is a Logitech 4.1 system.

The coin mech is fully functional and accepts American quarters, but I plan on replacing that with a Canadian one since American quarters are harder to find up here.

There's also a hidden keyboard/mouse tray and a USB Wifi stick for adding games, themes and whatnot.

At this point, I consider the project complete, even though I plan on eventually upgrading the joysticks and buttons with iL Euro sticks.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:46 pm 
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that arcade machine is a thing of beauty i tell you hwat!

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Nameless88 wrote:
Also, really hope the soundtrack CD for the movie is the stuff from the actual movie, because this might be the first soundtrack I've actually bought from a movie since like...fucking Pokemon The First Movie. Yeah, I bought it, I was like 12 when it came out, big whoop, wanna fight about it?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:54 pm 
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I got bann3ded!!1
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That maiden art tho

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