BarTop RetroPie Arcade Machine From Mostly Junk

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Introduction: BarTop RetroPie Arcade Machine From Mostly Junk

About: I'm a maker and engineer... I make mad stuff... check out my Robot Lawnmower project on YouTube... or Google Howard Taylor Robot Lawnmower

I had a bunch of junk lying around the house... an old monitor, and an old Raspberry Pi computer...

It struck me one day when at a pub... "I should make an arcade machine!"... a certain company kindly donated some buttons and joysticks, and I set about building an arcade machine and detailing how I bodged it all together, including a few top tips (like buy USB powered speakers and rip them apart for the sound system)... I have included detailed photos and videos of how this all works, and a good description so you can see how much effort this takes and establish if you want to have a go yourself!!

Here is a 15 min video running through the start and finish of the entire project at high speed to give you a quick summary. There is also a review and comparison at the end to help you see if its worth building your own! Please read on for more information...

CLICK THE VIDEO BELOW TO PLAY IT

Step 1: The Basics! Whats Needed and How to Start This Project!

You will need...

  • A RaspberryPi, its power supply, associated cables to plug it into a monitor.
  • A monitor and its power lead.
  • Some cheap wood (I chose chip-board, but I wish I had used PLY wood as it is stronger)
  • Some basic power and hand tools - Saw, Drill, JigSaw and holecutters
  • Screws!!

I strongly recommend testing the compatability of the Pi and the monitor, perhaps the speakers too before building the unit to make sure it all works... Just a quick plug-in and test like the video below shows.

CLICK VIDEO TO SEE PRE-BUILD SETUP

Step 2: Make a Screen and Game-board!

Then, mark out your screen size, fit your screen to the surround as shown in the picture above and prepare your gaming board by drilling appropriate size holes for the buttons and joysticks. I recommend making a paper template and drilling pilot holes to make sure everything looks consistent!

CLICK VIDEO BELOW TO SEE HOW TO BUILD THE GAME BOARD AND MONITOR

Step 3: Assemble Your Screen and Game-board!

So, making the game-board fit the screen is a little fiddly, ensure you have some stand-offs to stop the game-board from grounding the switches and buttons, cut a chamfered angle to the back of the game-board and assemble to the screen surround with screws.

Be aware, the system is fragile at this point, but can indeed be tested! - Just be careful not to put too much strain on the mechanical assemblies!

CLICK VIDEO BELOW TO SEE HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE GAMING BOARD TO THE SCREEN

Step 4: The Big Finish!! AND TESTING - the Fun Bit!!

Now, put more structure into your cabinet by including some wood to strengthen the unit.

Dis-assemble your cheap USB powered computer speakers and fit them to the machine cutting appropriate hole sizes to reveal the speakers so they can product audio.

Measure out and cut sides, a back and a base for your BarTop, fit it all together, and mask your poor sawing by sanding the unit or planing the unit!

CLICK VIDEO BELOW TO SEE HOW I BODGED MY HARDWARE TOGETHER

More sanding, mask the screen and holes, then spray it in whatever colour rattle can paint you desire!

SPRAY IT UP AND TEST IT OUT!

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