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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!

Step 1: Materials

Here is what you will need to begin:

Tools:
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


Materials:
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>Would It be at all possible to remove the whole bottom part and make it a tabletop arcade?</p>
Had to make it less arcade-y to please the wife but wasnt too bad. By far the most expensive part were the buttons/joysticks ($80), plywood/trim wood/hardware ($60), Plexiglass ($20), monitor ($20). I built the stools too which cost about $30.
<p>Wow...this one is pretty good!</p>
Do you have any more pictures of your construction? Side view/back view? I need to make mine a little more &quot;living room friendly&quot; and I like the way your build turned out.
These didnt really show the final product. I found that i had to angle the monitor down because it was an old lcd that really changed color/brightness if you didnt go straight on. But that wasnt too terrible to do. Couldve gottenva bigger monitor amd smaller bezel but the monitor is square and most arcade games are in that aspect.
<p>What size plywood did you use? </p>
standard pine 4x6 from Home Depot. $29 for the sheet.
standard pine 4x6 from Home Depot. $29 for the sheet.
sorry if they are sideways!
<p>Almost finished just waiting for some speakers that will go under the screen and a bit of painting :).</p>
<p>Hi woody, what did you use for the marquee and back lighting?</p>
<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>So i bought a very similar set of buttons, but they use a Sino Arcade Encoder. The buttons themselves work on my raspberry pi however as soon as I enter a game the controls no longer function. Do you have any experience using a raspberry pi? </p>
<p>http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Arcade-USB-Control-Panel-DIY-Bundle-Kit-2-joystick-20-LED-Illuminated-Buttons-/191560963489?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&amp;hash=item2c99ec55a1</p>
<p>Hey dude I absolutely love this cabinet. Wondering how you mounted your screen and what size monitor you used is. Also did you put something covering the bottom of the arcade where the controls go? </p>
<p>Thanks dan i used a 22&quot; acer monitor </p>
<p>I have just one more question for you, I am curious as to how you attached and made your joy stick console. I cant really figure out what was done for this build in the instructions and it looked like you used a different method altogether. Just curious on the steps you took. </p><p>thanks</p>
<p>thank you so much for the pic. I am about halfway through making mine now. mostly just have to finish sanding then assemble. What did you use to run your emulator on? I plan on using a raspberry pi and am just having a little bit of trouble configuring the joystick buttons. </p>
<p>I used an old softmodded xbox and hacked the controllers </p><p>like in this youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7JTPmYsMKI</p>
<p>It doesn't appear they covered up the underside...I plan to.</p>
<p>Your arcade looks amazing. I am just curious what the dimensions for your controller box are?</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>Glad to see that more people are building these! Many good examples. This is a pretty easy build, and the result is a nice little cabaret style cabinet. I have more experience in electronics, and this was my first attempt at &quot;woodworking&quot;. Took me about 14 hrs all said and done to get it finished and working.</p><p>I went for the standard size. I'm 6'1&quot;, and it's fine for seated adult. I think I mounted by control panel a little higher than the plans to make extra leg room. I really wanted a cab to play the classics like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Galaga, etc, so the vertical option worked perfectly for my project. 19&quot; monitor mounted straight to a board!</p><p>Since I wanted to have a jamma compatible cabinet, elected to go with the 60-in-1 board kit from Holland. Came with stick, buttons, jamma harness, power supply and the arcade board for $99. This all needed to be wired up, but pretty simple stuff if you have some knowledge of these old machines.</p><p>The way the cabinet goes together allowed me to build the control panel in such a way that it's just held in place by a few posts. Meaning it can be lifted off, and a new one installed pretty easily if I decide to add a trackball or something.</p><p>For the screen bezel, I had a piece of plexi cut to size by a local shop. Painted out around the area the screen shows through, and the effect was quite good! </p><p>The &quot;t-molding&quot; is painted, and looks pretty nice. I Finished off the back and underside of the panel with sintra foam board. Sturdy, and will keep hands out of the wiring. Added a little hinged top between the &quot;ears&quot; (you can see it flipped up in the pics) for some access to the monitor area.</p><p>I elected not to try the pin striping on this one. I'd really like to find some good sideart, but the cab being small and thin has made it difficult to find. Still also working on getting a permanent marquee, and lighting it, Anyone have suggestions on someone to do custom work?</p><p>As far as playing it goes, found that it really doesn't rock or move all that much. Against a wall it really doesn't move.Over all a very cool way to bring some arcade action home! </p><p>Materials:</p><p>Spent $16 on sheet of 1/2&quot; MDF sheet (enough for 2 cabs). Home Depot cut it for me except for the diagonal cut which I did with circular saw.</p><p>60-in-1 Jamma kit from Holland computers. $99 <a href="http://www.hollandcomputers.com/store/pc/Jamma-60-in-1-KIT-Classic-Arcade-Multigame-Multicade-JAMMA-PCB-Arcade-game-conversion-kit-2511p6004.htm" rel="nofollow">http://www.hollandcomputers.com/store/pc/Jamma-60-...</a></p><p>Paint/Wood glue/screws $20</p><p>custom cut plexi for bezel $20</p><p>If anyone else has made one, show your work!</p>
<p>Thanks for the great plans. This is just what I was looking for. Years ago I built a full size MAME cabinet and my own controls but as we all know, it's mostly wasted empty space as the components are so small now. I love this new space saving design (Especially since I'm now using a Pi3 and not a PC) but I just wanted it to be a little bigger (6 feet to be exact) so I just multiplied all of the plans dimensions by 1.5 and it worked out great. This time, I bought an X-arcade dual stick instead of making my own controls and it's working out great. </p>
<p>What screws did you use for the cabinet?</p>
<p>I am currently finishing mine as well, I am using a raspberry pi 2. However my controls don't seem to want to work with the pi. I bought buttons and joysticks and have them wired through a USB encoder and it shows that the pi recognizes that something is there but won't allow them to be used in the games. They show up as a JUYAO dual arcade controller when i try to input the controls. Any thoughts on what could be wrong? </p>
My double dragon 2 inspired vigolix cab. Mine stands 180cm tall and 60cm wide
<p>Hi everyone. I have the Layout, and screen placed the only thing that is intimidating me is the button layout. I going with a 6 button layout, and need some help placing the buttons. I don't want to screw this up, any help or templates would be greatly appreciated. </p>
<p>I'm still in the process of making mine...the upscale to 2x for adults is too tall. The average height of an arcade game is about six feet. I'm unclear where the pieces marked &quot;arm&quot; go, the notch in the backside is most likely going to be used as the actual arms of the control panel, but because the thing is too tall, the control panel will have to go at the top of the notch instead of above it. Also unclear on how the control panel is covered up from the underside cause I've seen several of these with exposed wiring which is not ideal. And there's the whole backside of the unit which seems uncovered - yeah it's against the wall, but you still want something covering the backside to protect the electronics inside. My machine likely won't be as wide as the 2x control panel numbers seem to be in the blueprint - I just need the joystick, buttons and the trackball mounted, and the average size of arcade control panels is a little more than two feet. Just seems like there's some unanswered questions in the steps, and need some pics of completed products.</p>
<p>just again. How do you get the games onto the monitor. Is a hard drive needed?</p>
<p>Or a 60-in-1 board or an ArcadeSD board.</p>
<p>You need an old computer, a program called MAME, and some sort of front end to run it (a piece of software that will allow you to easily pick a game with a nice menu).</p><p>Hit up the thrift shops and look for Core 2 Duo equipped computers. Those often do the job just fine. Pentium 4 or Pentium D computers could do it, but try to go for Core 2 Duo. Then you'll need to A. Learn how to use and set up MAME and a front-end, B. Need to get arcade ROM files (these are the games themselves), which if you want the classic arcade games is not legal and I can't supply you with them, and C. You need to know how to set the computer up so that it automatically goes into the front end, so you don't need to use a keyboard and mouse to use the arcade cabinet.</p><p>Here is a good guide on the same deal, just follow the steps that explain those three points I mentioned: http://www.maximumpc.com/how-to-build-a-kick-ass-mame-arcade-cabinet-from-an-old-pc/</p>
<p>I scaled it up by 1.5x &amp; put in dual controls. I really like the dual sticks since they can be mapped for games like Robotron 2084 as well as being used for 2 player games. The speakers on top are 5 1/4&quot; Rockford Fosgate being driven by a small $10 Lepai amp - the volume controls are peeking through the lower left side below the monitor. <br><br>We also installed Gstream on the Raspberry Pi as well as PiPlay for MAME, so the sound system can be used as a DLNA sink (to play music) from apps like Bubble uPNP.</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>how big is that monitor? Any issues with durability? Thinking of going after your setup!</p>
Awesome idea! Thanks for the inspiration. This gift was a huge hit!
<p>hi guys, just wondering how to get the games up to the monitor? do you need a keyboard or hard drive? Do you download the programs to a laptop? Can someone run through the steps from mounting the monitor to putting games on it</p>
<p>IsaiahL 12</p><p>You will need a computer to run the games. An older laptop like was used in the post, or an old desktop will do. I recommend an Intel core 2 duo at least. Older, slower computers will also work, but I've gotten excellent out of an old 2.3GHz machine.</p><p>Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux operating systems will all work.</p><p>Google &quot;MAME&quot; the Multi Arcade Machine Emulator. This is the software that emulates all the old game machine hardware. The games themselves are copies of the original game machine ROMs (read only memory) are copyrighted software, and technically, you can only legally use them if you own the arcade hardware they came from... Technically...</p><p>The copies of the ROM are called ROMs. They can be found laying around the Internet. The I telnet Archive has conveniently archived them for us. The archive is 45GB. Considering that the old games were only a few Kilobytes in size, that means there are MANY THOUSANDS of games there.</p><p>Google will find you all the information you need to get these running on your computer. The awesome arcade cabinet is just icing on the cake!</p>
<p>Came out better than I hoped for</p>
<p>Thank you for the great design! I made one for my daughter sixth birthday, saved me lot of time being able to do all the plywood on the panel cutter with straight cuts only. I've added a top &quot;box&quot; to make it more arcade-like, to host marquee and speakers. Other modifications, I've added a keyboard-mouse tray hidden behind a door under the controls, and a &quot;control panel&quot; with leds to host power switch, volume, headphone and mic jacks, usb etc.</p><p>Also the monitor is hinged and can rotate 90&deg;, I wanted to make it auto-rotating but couldn't finish it in time for birthday.</p>
<p>This is awesome - one quick question - how is the stability?</p><p>Obviously with a full size machine there is a lot more weight for the mad sessions that can come up in some games - does this not just rock around?</p><p>Cheers!</p>
<p>This is awesome - one quick question - how is the stability?</p><p>Obviously with a full size machine there is a lot more weight for the mad sessions that can come up in some games - does this not just rock around?</p><p>Cheers!</p>
<p>Is the programmable encoder software open-source and could be ported to an OS other than Windows?</p>
<p>Yep, it worked fine on my old iMac laptop, at least with the frontend I am using</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>I have an old MacBook Pro and I'm running OpenEmu for the emulators/frontend. Would the ZD encoder work with it, because my only alternative is a 2004 Dell Inspiron!</p>
<p>Great Job!</p>

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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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