Instructables
Picture of A Super Easy Arcade Machine from 1 Sheet of Plywood
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Have you wanted your own arcade machine, but never thought you had the time, skills, tools or money to make a stylish cabinet?
 
Here is the solution!
 
I have designed an extremely easy to build, affordable and stylish cabinet. Now you can build one too. With this home arcade machine, you can play arcade and home console games with a true arcade feel.

What makes this cabinet so special?
  • Easy Woodworking:There are no curves or special cuts to make, every cut is a straight cut and little measuring is needed. The only power tools needed is a saw, a drill and a sander.
  • Extremely Affordable: The entire cabinet cost me less than $100 to build! I did have an old laptop I put in that I am not counting in cost, but this is cheaper than a small bartop cabinet!
  • Easy to do: I built this in two weekends, and I was going slow!
  • Stylish: Most Viewlix style cabinets are extremely complicated and very expensive to build. Usually between $1000-$1500 This cabinet has everything that is great about a viewlix. Striking angles, design for seated play, slim profile. It is an affordable eye grabber.
The cabinet I will be showing you here is a mini cabinet, perfect for kids or as a sit down cabinet for adults. Most of the cabinet is build from one sheet of 2' by 4' by 1/2" sheet of plywood. You can follow these instructions and build a full size cabinet instead by doubling all the dimensions. You would use a single 4' by 8' by 3/4" sheet of plywood instead. 

So follow along if you finally want to make you home arcade machine a reality!
 
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bobhill1251 year ago
How could you change this to be two player

Scale up to 1.5x (2x is way too large, unless you want a 4 player beast), and use the layout guides from Slagcoin here for the buttons/joysticks: http://www.slagcoin.com/joystick/layout.html

pocketscience6 months ago

This is awesome! I have a cocktail cabinet I built many many years ago, but this has inspired me to build another cabinet based on your design. I have an iMac sitting around doing nothing so I've designed the cabinet to take that instead of a PC and monitor combo. My cocktail cabinet uses a Mac mini and LCD panel running my custom front-end with an I-PAC etc so I'm going to replicate that setup but might look at the ZD encoder just for something different. Here's my design - the front panel is translucent so you can see the iMac in the design, but the whole thing will be black when complete. Thanks for the inspiration!

vigolix_inspired.pngmy_mame_frontend.png

Slow progress, but I have the basic cabinet assembled. I've also completed the wiring harness for the joystick and buttons and the ZD encoder. Had to modify my custom front-end to support the ZD encoder as it acts like a gamepad, not a keyboard.

cab_dry_fit.jpg

Done! Thanks again for the inspiration!

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Quick question, did you follow the actual design plans, or did you double the dimensions? My biggest concern is having a control panel that can fit two players, which doesn't look like it would fit in the original, but in yours, it looks like there's space to spare

I scaled the concept up, but double was too big for my purposes. I ended up with a CP 600mm wide, which could fit 2 players - with a bit of elbow jostling to increase the fun.

Yeah, 8 feet seems like a little bit big for me. I may scale it up a little bit more than you did, to get a good 6.25 feet. That should put it at the perfect height. I'll start seeing how it looks when I get my mdf

thekiyote2 days ago

This may be a silly question, but if I'm doubling the size of the build to make a full sized cabinet, would that mean I can fit up to a 34inch screen? I'm looking to include a smaller 1080p monitor for my ps3

engrob15 days ago

Great design!! Been wanting to have a go at making one for far too long. Sounds like a perfect Christmas-time project.

Can you put the measures in cm please????

Kastor_24 days ago

The Controller starts in mode 2 (the red LED is light up) I always need to switch it to mode 1 (Green LED)

Is there a way to set mode 1 to default ?

twheeler4 made it!7 months ago

Thanks for the awesome plans - I used them as a general guideline when building a mini-arcade for my nephew. Perfect dimensions for using Parts Express speaker vinyl rather than painting - cheap and highly recommended. I also added t-molding that I picked up from Rockler. My arms were maple to class it up a bit and still stay durable, and the controls are an X-Arcade BYO kit.

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vigothecarpathian (author)  twheeler425 days ago

I can't believe I never made a comment on this build sooner. It looks very sharp and clean. I love it. The maple arms really do give it great character.

Well thanks. I had a great base to start with - I would've never thought a smaller kit like this would work so well, but it's really perfect for sitting and for kids. Nice work! My nephew plays with it daily. The maple was really a throwback to old tabletop games, but I wanted something that would hold the extra weight of the controllers and two kids button mashing!

Do you have the plexiglass held in? Or is it just resting in a groove on the control panel and against the crossbar above the monitor?

Awesome work by the way, I really want to make a full size stand for someone for Christmas and I like how clean yours looks with the plexi haha.

Thanks. I actually just velcro'd the plexi directly to the monitor. The monitor is screwed to supports mounted to the sides, and the plexiglass is attached to that. That way I can pull it off if the monitor gets switched off for some reason or adjustments need to be made. I masked the screen portion and painted the plexiglass (black) from the back, so it looks nice & shiny.

Update: Parts Express doesn't sell the vinyl I used here anymore, but they do sell a spiffy 'carbon fiber' version. I've used that on my next one. I'll upload photos later.

Wow, thanks for the quick reply.

I never thought of that.. Velcro is a great solution to secure the plexi but also make it so you can remove it and access the monitor.

Sorry I didn't see this until now, so hopefully you can respond. What monitor did you use? That is the perfect size for the one I want to build.

Whatever was left lying around the house. :) It was an old Samsung 4:3 18" - first LCD I ever bought. Current one I'm building has a newer-gen 21", though. I mounted both directly to the chassis, then made an overlay panel with plexiglass. Cut to size, lay over monitor, mark edges of the screen, then mask and paint the backside of the plexi black. You'll be left with a perfect square of the visible monitor and it looks nice & shiny. I'll get some photos up later of what I mean.

What size wood did you start with? Did you have to make your cabinet wider than 16" to fit two controllers? Looks amazing btw!:)

I followed the plans for the sides, but I just fudged the size on the front. I believe it was 22" wide. I just made another that is definitely 22" that has a trackball and spinner, too. I used the same dimensions as X-Arcade's controllers. (Used their BYO kit)

Plan was essentially the same as instructed, but I started with some leftover MDF that I had from a full-size cab, so it might have taken a bit more. I think I went 22" wide. Basically I followed the plan for the sides and the two bottom panels, then I winged it on the rest.

Wow, very cool and simple. I was wondering how I could do this and just use my old PS2 console as they sell a lot of the retro games. Any suggestions?

Yeah, that should be very doable. The big thing would be getting arcade controls to plug into your PS2, but there is a version of the Zero Delay encoder that has PS2 plug in support.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zero-Delay-USB-Encoder-PS2...

The only other thing I can think of would be just adding an access slot for the DVD tray on your PS2 so you can easily change discs from the front of the cabinet.

Hey, thanks a lot. Hopefully I'll have the ambition to get this done in the spring.
rbrown591 year ago
Can the Zero Delay handle a 4/8 way joystick and 8 buttons? What about a 4/8 way joystick and 10 buttons?

It can handle 4/8 way joystick and up to 12 buttons.

It can handle 12 buttons.
I use 4/8 way joystick, player1 start button, coin credit button, 6 action buttons (think Street fighter), a "Back" menu button, a "Pause" button, with still 2 spare button ports on ZD board. P.S.: See the schematic of ZD board in Vigo's instructable.

Awesome! Would it be all right to use a scroller saw to make the cuts?

American Ruin2 months ago

Totally making one when my kid gets older!

pk4life843 months ago

Hey Vigo, this may be a dumb question. But since the monitor/laptop is behind a screen, how does it turn on? A normal monitor that you would mount has to have a button to push, so would you get a monitor with an actual switch that can flip on/off? Again, sorry if this is a dumb question :-)

rich.keel3 months ago

You happen to have any info on configuring the device or are the 12 buttons already set to a specific keystroke on the Keyboard. Thanks

Inside the frontend - MaLa, you easily configure the buttons. As described in instructable

elicitone4 months ago

im about 90% done :) Pics to come. I basically looked at yours then built it from my head to make it custom to my needs.

I made mine a two player set up with a trackball, hideaway pullout keyboard, removable control panel, Bluetooth audio ( so i can cast music it it from my phone), pinball flipper buttons... more bells and whistles coming soon... as well lots of pics.

all in all it has the feel and look of yours, but cleverly modified to add some extra features.

Thank you for the inspiration to finally build one :)

swoodall5 months ago

I have a question I am going to be using it for tetris asteroids and space invaders which joystick would you recommend for that? Oh and price isnt a problem

Just get a Zippy - about $10 and they work great. You know originally Asteroids was played with buttons though right... not a joystick...?

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mrnadnad6 months ago

My brothers an I about to make a two player arcade machine, so my brothers could play with me too! are the games compatible for two players, too?

If the original games allowed 2 players then running the same games in MAME should allow 2 players. If you're doing a stand up machine you should be fine, but cocktail cabinets (where the players sit at opposite ends) obviously need to rotate the screen. I've found that not all games rotate correctly. If you look at my custom front-end below you'll see little arrows to the left of the game names - these are the games that do rotate on a cocktail correctly from my experience. Again, if you're doing a stand up this isn't an issue. Just make sure the encoder you go with has enough inputs.

skandukuri6 months ago

Hi, this looks super cool! I was wondering how you set up the software and all that. Does your cabinet boot directly to Mala? Also did you configure the CPU on another computer with a keyboard, etc...?

Thank you! You've really inspired me to take action and start building this! :)

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