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!

Step 1: Materials

Here is what you will need to begin:

Hand saw or jigsaw.
Straight edge for drawing cut line
Power Sander, preferably random orbital.
Drill for drilling screws and 1 1/8th spade bit for drilling arcade button holes.
Cutting knife
paint roller if painting by hand
Adjustable wrench for bolts
Wood Clamps

1 sheet of 2' x 4' X 1/2" plywood or MDF wood. This make up the core of the cabinet.
Spare and scrap wood! I used 10 feet of leftover 3/4" square doweling wood and 4 feet of 1/4 by 4" wide flat doweling wood.
16 inches of heavy wood lumber for a base. A 2" by 6" is great. 
paint, either can of spay enamel, or bucket of paint if painting by hand.
Arcade controls
An arcade encoder. You can get a Zero Delay arcade encoder from ebay for $11
An old Laptop or computer with flat monitor, up to 17 inch screen. Save that old computer from the scrap heap!
Small computer speakers.
Art board for bezel
Screws to keep the cabinet together, bolts to bolt on the control panel and controls, varies in size depending on the controls you use.
Putty to fill imperfections.
(Optional) Vinyl edge banding as as a stylish protectant around edges of cabinet.
(Optional) Plexiglas sheet for monitor cover and marquee
(Optional) 12" fluorescent light for a light up Marquee.

OK, lets dig in!
<p>Almost finished just waiting for some speakers that will go under the screen and a bit of painting :).</p>
<p>Woody, that looks awesome! How did you finish/paint the wood? Your finish looks very smooth and natural.</p>
<p>Looks great! Did you build this at 1.5 times the original size (4 ft x 6 ft)? What size monitor did you use? What are the dimensions of your control panel?</p>
Hi holtzer yeah I used 4x6 18mm ply so it stands just under 6 foot tall and is 60cm wide. The monitor is 22&quot; :)
<p>Where did you order the buttons?</p>
<p>Hi Bobby i got them from ebay. They come from China so i was expecting a long wait but they only took about 2 weeks to arrive. Link below :)</p><p>LINK</p>
<p>Hey there, I'm just wondering where I can get the plywood in the UK. Could anyone send a link please?</p>
<p>Made a couple of these last year. They were fun projects. You can view the video of them in action here: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai5mCW06r1U" rel="nofollow">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai5mCW06r1U</a></p><p>Or if you prefer the step by step building process, check out my blog: <a href="http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,141778.0.html" rel="nofollow">http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,141778.0.html</a></p>
<p>Can you make one for me ?</p>
2 player. 6ft hight with 20&quot; LCD monitor. Added 2 game controllers to play 4 player games.<br><br>Very fun build. Appreciate all the help from this article!
<p>Im thinking of making this and using a Rasperry Pi B+ for the brains. Im also gonna paint it blue and slap vintage Donkey Kong decals all over it becuase Im obsessed with that game. </p>
<p>I just finished making my cabinet, based on these plans! It's a little over 6' tall, about 1.5 times the dimensions in the 'Ible. 3/4 birch plywood, with a cherry and Dark Walnut stain. Really happy with how it turned out. The Front-End is one I wrote for this guy. The marquee is just a placeholder currently. </p>
<p>Great work! im just about to start this build, i will be powering it with an old xbox with coin ops 6 and hooking it up to a 22 inch monitor so im using the 6x3 plyboard, i have made a few changes but the design is based on your cabinet. So far i have designed a 3d cad file on tinkercad and will add photos as i go. here is the link if u want to see the design in 3D <a href="https://www.tinkercad.com/things/fJVzr8koLb4-arcade-cabinet" rel="nofollow">https://www.tinkercad.com/things/fJVzr8koLb4-arcade-cabinet</a> </p>
<p>Great instructable! me and my brothers made our own arcade machine based on your instructable, works great!</p>
<p>the design is so futuristic~ i love it!<br>i made a slit bigger version of your design, about 6'' tall, using raspberry pie+ emulation station as the console system.</p>
<p>Vigo, can you go into more detail on your laptop setup? I assume you removed the screen and ran a cable. What did you do for a power switch?</p>
<p>Is the programmable encoder software open-source and could be ported to an OS other than Windows?</p>
<p>I'm using the same encoder on my Mac-based version of this... it's a joystick encoder, not a keyboard encoder - so there's really no configuration needed as long as your front-end can accept joystick input.</p>
<p>Can you put the measures in cm please????</p>
<p>1&quot; = 2.54cm...</p>
How could you change this to be two player
<p>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</p>
<p>answered my question lol. personally been thinking about a big daddy 4 player, with light guns.... and a trackball...should be enough.</p>
<p>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!</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>Done! Thanks again for the inspiration!</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>Great design!! Been wanting to have a go at making one for far too long. Sounds like a perfect Christmas-time project.</p>
<p>The Controller starts in mode 2 (the red LED is light up) I always need to switch it to mode 1 (Green LED)</p><p>Is there a way to set mode 1 to default ?</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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!</p>
<p>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?</p><p>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.</p>
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 &amp; shiny.<br><br>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.
<p>Wow, thanks for the quick reply. </p><p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
Whatever was left lying around the house. :) It was an old Samsung 4:3 18&quot; - first LCD I ever bought. Current one I'm building has a newer-gen 21&quot;, 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 &amp; shiny. I'll get some photos up later of what I mean.
<p>What size wood did you start with? Did you have to make your cabinet wider than 16&quot; to fit two controllers? Looks amazing btw!:)</p>
I followed the plans for the sides, but I just fudged the size on the front. I believe it was 22&quot; wide. I just made another that is definitely 22&quot; that has a trackball and spinner, too. I used the same dimensions as X-Arcade's controllers. (Used their BYO kit)
<p>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&quot; wide. Basically I followed the plan for the sides and the two bottom panels, then I winged it on the rest.</p>
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?
<p>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. </p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zero-Delay-USB-Encoder-PS2-PS3-PC-to-Joystick-for-Arcade-Game-Controls-2pin-/171018138307" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zero-Delay-USB-Encoder-PS2...</a></p><p>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.</p>
Hey, thanks a lot. Hopefully I'll have the ambition to get this done in the spring.
Can the Zero Delay handle a 4/8 way joystick and 8 buttons? What about a 4/8 way joystick and 10 buttons?
<p>It can handle 4/8 way joystick and up to 12 buttons.</p>
It can handle 12 buttons. <br>I use 4/8 way joystick, player1 start button, coin credit button, 6 action buttons (think Street fighter), a &quot;Back&quot; menu button, a &quot;Pause&quot; button, with still 2 spare button ports on ZD board. P.S.: See the schematic of ZD board in Vigo's instructable.

About This Instructable


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Bio: Vigo is an electronics enthusiast with a passion to bring back the nostalgia of the past. His goal is to share major projects that anyone ... More »
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