Introduction: Another Arcade Machine

Picture of Another Arcade Machine

I got this old arcade game cabinet from a friend and decided to restore it.

I haven't added the screen or joysticks yet, but the pc running 'Mame' emulator is already in place.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials


- Perspex  2x 500x500mm sheets
- Paint colours (I chose orange, black and blue)
- Base coat paint
- Varnish
- Wood filler
- Steel brackets
- Florescent tube fitting and bulb
- Speaker
- Wood
- Joystick - Buttons- usb Connector controller interface - keypad
- Laptop/pc
- Screws
- Glue
- Wire
- Turpentine


- jig saw
- Paint Brush
- Screw Driver
- Printer
- Pliers
- Drill

Step 2: Filling Holes

Picture of Filling Holes

- Fill the holes in the wood with wood filler, then sand down the edges so its smooth.

I wanted to keep the retro veneer, but there were too many scratches and chips that there was no way of saving it.

- Paint a base coat to cover the veneer. (at least 2 coats)

- Measure the Marquee areas and cut perspex sheets to fit over. Once printed, the marquee will be stuck onto the perspex and lit from behind.

- Drill holes through the perspex sheets at their corners so that they can be screwed into the wood.

Step 3: Marquees

Picture of Marquees

- Download a hi resolution Marquee from the net:

A google search will bring up many results, but make sure the image can be blown up to a large size without pixelating.

I chose a Tron Legacy Image and printed it over two A4 sheets.

- Stick them together at the seem, and glue the edges only to the perspex, not the centre, or you will have unclear parts on the perspex.

- Repeat with the second marquee.

Step 4: Base Coat & Missing Pieces

Picture of Base Coat & Missing Pieces

Majority of the Cabinet is going to be black, therefore I decided to do the second base coat in black and cover the entire cabinet.

- Cut any missing pieces out of the wood.

the Button board was missing from my cabinet, so I cut some super wood to size, later I will drill holes for the buttons and cover with an Image and perspex.

Step 5: Paint Job

Picture of Paint Job

I decided to go with bright colours in stripes:

- The masking tape provides the paint lines, once the paint is applied between the tape and then dried , remove the tape to find a perfect line.

Even with all the masking tape I still needed plenty of touch ups, I used a roller brush for the large areas, and a smaller paint brush for the  hard to reach places.

Step 6: Lighting

Picture of Lighting

- Glue/Screw the bulb fitting in place and run the wire down the back of the cabinet.

- Screw in the screws around the corners of the perspex marquees to cover the bulb.

- Do the same with the lower marquee.

Step 7: Electrical

Picture of Electrical

There was already a speaker hole so I placed a speaker cover over it.

Best to use computer speakers and plug them into the pc.

I removed the cover on the laptop to expose the power button. Then solder a wire to either side of the Moment switch. this will be attached to the main power button on the outside of the cabinet.

PC Settings:

- Download "Mame" (this is an emultaor which alows you to play arcade games)

- Download "Mala" (this is the front end so that it looks like an arcade)

- Download  various 'Roms' which are the games that mame runs. these roms are to be placed in the rom folder of mame, in their zipped form.

- set your pc to bypass login screen.

- Set the power button to hibernate, not sleep or power off.

- in power management, make sure the computer never sleeps, only hibernates.

- if you want it to power off, place the mame.exe in the windows startup folder so that mame runs as soon as the pc turns on.

- Run 'Mala' and point to the mame directories, this should start up the Layout screen.

- If you are using a laptop, make sure when you close the lid it does not effect the pc.

- when running a game in mame, press 'tab' which will bring up a menu, in this menu you can assign the USB keypad keys to various actions , such as 'insert coin' , 'start player 1' , 'start player 2'...

- Bend the 5 "L" brackets into more of a "U" shape, this will hold the laptop in place.

- Drill holes for the brackets and screw them in place.

That completes the bare cabinet, only the screen and joysticks to be put in place from here...

* Still to be completed ...soon

Step 8: Screen

Picture of Screen


Ismegordo (author)2012-09-10

Looking Good, I have been checking for Arcade Builds on the net for years and yours is a great Instructable, And I too would love to see the end result.
Take care and Enjoy

mikeasaurus (author)2012-09-05

Wow, great job! Can't wait to see the rest of the components installed.

bluebean (author)mikeasaurus2012-09-05

Thanks, busy looking now for some joy sticks and buttons on ebay...

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