These are the things that you will need at a bare minimum to create an arcade like cabinet that allows you to control the iPad.
Plywood- I used 1/4th inch thick 2 ft by 1 ft slabs that I bought at Michael’s for 4.99 a piece. I used 6 pieces of plywood, but you could just by a large piece of plywood at a hardware store and cut it to size. 30$ MAX
Hinges and screws- I used brass inch-long cabinet hinges and the screws that came with them. About $2.50
Additional screws $2.00 a pack (you’ll only need a pack)
Plumbers clamps- The kind that when you turn a flat-head screw that is attached to the clamp, the clamp tightens or loosens. About 4 $.
Wii fightstick- It must connect to the Wii remote, but anything that connects to the Wii remote would work. In my case, I used the Hori fightstick because of the square gate, eight buttons, turbo, etc. You can use whatever you want. 40$ but can be had cheaper.
iPad- a little redundant but worth listing anyway 500$
Wii Remote- necessary to connect to the ipad 40$
Velcro- To secure things inside while ensuring that they are reusable in other projects.
Each of these things represents a feature or set of features that can be introduced to your iPad arcade machine. Feel free to omit anything in this list that you don’t feel you can afford or would want in your machine.
iPad dock- This allows charging, easy audio-out, and easy docking. You don’t have to use the iPad dock at all, because you can simply use the charge cable that came with the iPad and connect the speaker wire directly to the head-phone jack. 30$
AVI-out cable- This is a prerequisite to the pico-projector. If you want video on the pico-projector, you have to hook it up somehow. This also allows you to hook up the arcade machine to a TV or other video display. Some of these come with an additional USB chord as well as the audio and video chords. In this case you can use those AVI cables to charge the iPad as well. If you are using a pico-projector the AVI cables will also allow you to patch the audio of the iPad through the pico-projector and into the speakers. 30$
Pico-projector- I would suggest using the brightest that you can find. I use the Optima PK301 and that ran me about $300 dollars. There may be some smaller sized regular projectors that will fit as well, but you would have to install some fans for proper ventilation. This is really what sets this iPad arcade apart from the others. Plus the pico-projector will be removable when you are done.
Speakers- Make loud sounds. Speakers will greatly enhance the use of the projector because the projector’s onboard speaker is tiny. Not a prerequisite of a projector, but recommended as a basic feature of the iPad arcade because of their low-cost and ease of installation. It’s so cheap and easy, why not do it if you are going to take the trouble to build an iPad arcade, anyway? The Speakers are non removable when you are done. 10$
Cabinet Feet- Without these you will have a hard time getting your arcade machine to sit steady and not wobble. 3$