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Picture of DIY Home Arcade Machine
Hey guys, this is a basic little step-by step for building your own home arcade. I have basically always wanted to do one even before MAME was around. When I was a kid I had the great idea of putting an NES in a cabinet and using the NES Advantage as a controller. Of course when you are a kid you always get great ideas an never capitalize on it when you have the chance. Now MAME cabinets are pretty common among hobbiests and you can even order pre-made parts and systems from various places. I decided to go with the good ol' fashioned DIY approach with mine and I'm glad I did. not only does it look 100% better than anything I could have bought, but I had total control over the parts that went into it, and I already have several people lined up to get me to build them one as well. In fact I have had so many requests since I did mine I had to add them to my list of services for my company Digital Elite PC.
In this DIY Tutorial I'm not going to go to much into the software or the actual PC that runs this. This is mostly aimed for the "How to make an Aracade" part of it all.

If you have any questions, would like help or advice, or just would like some more details. Please visit our website forums.

 
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Step 1: Pick A Cabinet

Picture of Pick A Cabinet
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1. Pick a Cabinet
You have three basic options for a cabinet, each with their own pro's and con's. The first obvious choice is to build one from scratch. This offers the biggest set of positive and negative factors. For one you can make it custom to whatever size or shape that you want. If you chose you could make it accommodate a big screen TV. However, this method requires allot of time, planning,  and tools. It also requires that you have a pretty good work space and better than average woodworking skills. 

Your second option is a pre-fab kit. These can be ordered online for a considerable amount of scratch, straightforward to put together, and look good to boot. The downside is that they are not 100% customizable and can be expensive to ship to your home or shop. 

The last option is to find a used machine locally. This can have some good benefits, namely being cheap. Especially if you look for something that's not working. The downside is that you will be limited to certain hardware limitations based on dimensions. Be sure to get something that is within your skill to refurbish and something that will have the space you need for the parts you want. If you like classic games a classic cabinet is awesome, if you like fighters an more modern style games try to find a Midway cabinet. Finally if you want more than 2 players be sure that the machine has an accommodating control deck or space for you to build one. 

Step 2: Strip Down / Work Your Cabinet

Picture of Strip Down / Work Your Cabinet
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Whichever starting point you went with, go with it. If you decided to go from scratch, start with your plans, build a scale model, then build your full scale. If you did a prefab, you hardly need instructions from me. If you followed my path you have almost as much work cut out as if you had built it from scratch. Start by stripping down everything from your cab down to the bare bones. Be sure to be careful with the monitor as they are very dangerous. Take your time and don't just RIP everything out, many of the parts you will be able to sell on E-Bay and get your money back if they are in good shape. Also be sure to pull out the old T-Molding. 

After you get everything pulled apart start your rebuild. I put a small shelf in the bottom of my cabinet for the PC that would eventually go inside so it would be level with the coin door opening. I didn't want to have to reach down into my machine to change disks, or tinker with the guts. 

Sand down everything and wipe with a cloth to get all the loose dust off. Use putty, filler, or Bondo to fill in nicks and cracks, and sand again. Decide on a color an paint. I'm not going to lecture too much on paint because every other DIY I have read says the same thing I'm going to say. You know by now. Primer, lightly sand, paint, lightly sand, wipe, paint again... repeat. I went with about 4 coats not including the grey automotive spray primer. I used about half a gallon of black paint with a roller over the entire cabinet. Take your time. Let coats fully dry. It will be worth it in the end. I went with a roller for a nice commercial style texture. I went with flat so that the graphics would pop. Plus I like to use a sheen clear coat. If you use a flat paint then when you run clear over everything later it will look more uniform. 

Once you get you wood painted, it's time to do your metal pieces. For all my 90degree metal pieces I used high gloss black spray paint. It was a little touch, but it really made the final product look good. The pictures don't do it justice. For the coin door I did the same, but the chrome pieces had allot of rust spots. I used a Dremel and a little sand paper to polish them up. Then I taped them of and painted the whole thing to look like new. be sure to remove all the mechanics from the back of the door to make it easier to work with - but you do not want to remove the coin door light fixtures or lead wires if you plan to use them. They will prove useful later when wiring since they will run off of your computers 12v rail. The alternative is to replace with LED lights, but I see this as a very tedious step that isn't needed. 

I got my T-Molding through work, but wherever you get it you should buy one size bigger than needed and trim with a razor blade to fit once installed. It will give the cabinet a much cleaner look. Many times the wood is warped and chipped and standard thickness won't cover defects in all the places. 

Finally I installed kick plates on my machine. A piece of 90 degree angled aluminum works very well. In the front I installed a piece of flat ABS plastic 6" high to help cover nicks and chips in the wood and to keep everything nice and new looking. 

Step 3: Decide on Monitor Mounting

Picture of Decide on Monitor Mounting
One thing that will come up later that you have to plan for now is deciding on what type of monitor you are going to install into your machine. Many purists will only use arcade monitors - they are heavy, bulky and expensive; but they give you an authentic crappy look that will magically transport you right back to the eighties. I on the other hand wanting a machine that did more than play games and looked good while doing it opted for a modern day flat screen computer monitor. I opted for a monitor and not a TV because I wanted it to power on and off with the computer. Most modern monitors have a standby mode that is triggered by the computer's VGA signal. 

After doing some research I found out that a modern 24" monitor is 23" wide. Unfortunately finding a standard 4:3 aspect flat screen doesn't exist bigger than 19". I like to have as big a screen as possible, so I went with a 24" - But we''l get into that later. I knew that I did not want the screen to mount the same way the classic one did laying flat. I wanted the screen to be at a more vertical angle (something else I will get flamed for II'm sure) but it just seemed a little more modern and friendly to work with fighters and modern games. To accommodation I installed a board to secure the monitor to at an angle that would still allow room for the speaker grill to remain uncovered by the plexi I would install last. I could have installed a VESA mount to the board, but since I was limited on room I simply drilled two holes the proper width to run bolts through to secure the monitor directly to the board. 

Step 4: Build A Control Deck

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okay, this is a two part step. The control deck that came with Ms. Pac-Man was steel and not accommodating is size. I screwed around with the original CD for days before I decided to just buy some MDF and make something custom. In the picture you can see that I made the deck deeper and thicker. I also designed it to work with the original clamp system so that I could build multiple decks with different control schemes and switch them out. So now I have a cabinet that can be configured for fighters, classics, driving games, or whatever I want. Also the MDF was WAY easier to deal with than the steel which my local machine shop screwed up before I gave up. 

After you have created your deck you have to layout your buttons. I went with 2 joysticks and 8 button layout. With the added space from the modification I had room to include two "flipper" buttons as well which came in very useful later. For a two player modern machine I wouldn't recommend anything less than 20 total buttons. 

if you have already purchased your controller hardware (I talk about in the next step) now is a good time to test fit everything before you get your graphics on and save yourself a little head-ache. 

Step 5: Controls

Decide What You Want
Well, here come the difficult decisions. What controls are you going to put in. I spent litterally a month searching the internet figuring out how the hell I was going to do everything. BuildYourAracedControls.com has allot of good info, but there's allot there for a begener to decode. So here's the basics. There are about 10 places you can go online to order arcade controls. If you want a totally customized setup Suzo-Happ Controls or Ultimarc are your best bet and are the biggest distributors. If you go this route you will need a PCB board to drive the whole shii-bang called an ipac. This circuit board interfaces your controls to your PC. (more in a minute.) 

If you are just wanting a straight forward setup and want shave some buck (and also get a lifetime warranty) here's a little gem I found. X-Aracde (makers of the tank stick) offer a DIY kit for half the price of their fully assembled control board. It comes with two sticks and 20 buttons (including 1&2 Player) - for extra you can add a track ball. It also comes with all the wires, adapters, a disc of free games, and the PCB board for about $80.00 which was about $60.00 less than what I was going to pay for a custom setup. Knowing an awesome deal when I see it I ordered my controls. 

After ordering controls and test fitting - paint your deck and get your graphics put on. Here's something I learned the hard way. 

1. Graphics won't stick to plain MDF. 
2. After painting your deck, wait 4 days before applying graphics. 


Does that sound extreme? Well consider this - I had to do my graphics 3 times. First because the glue wouldn't stick to plain MDF, something nobody told me. The second time because I only let the paint dry over night. Paint has a chemical in it that makes it keep "gassing" for a few days. Stick your graphics on to early and it will break down the glue and cause everything to bubble up. After this I am an expert at wiring up controls because I had to do mine so many times. Get it right the first time and work slowly. It's worth it in the end. 

Assemble all your controls and get em' wired up. 

Wiring
Wiring is pretty straight forward. Everything uses a common ground, and a non common positive that run to the PCB. Take your time and get it wired up right. You can wire everything using only 1 or two ground circuits, but you will have to wire each non-common back to the PCB directly. 

CPO Graphics / MDF Thickness / Acrylic
There are several places available for you to order graphics from. Whoever you get them from it's a bit of a roll-of-the dice. I went with a place that specifically does arcade graphics because they used a special laminate for their CPOs. However I have had nothing but problems since. On my next machine (or when I redo this deck for the 4th time) I'm going to try out a local graphics shop and see if the offer some of the same materials. I originally wanted this material because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of putting on an acrylic layer. The MDF I used was pretty thick and anything I put on top will eat into my joystick's vertical real estate. If you plan to use an acrylic top on your control deck, use some thinner MDF for the top (1/2" or 1/25") and don't worry so much about the material the CPO is printed on. However if you want to go with out acrylic, be sure you get your graphic printed on something designed for some abuse. 

Note on acrylic: I have done several jobs that require working with acrylic. The reason I was avoiding it in this case was I did not wan to deal with trying to drill it. One or two holes is easy enough, but acrylic is EASY as hell to crack. Really for something like this it should be cut with a laser (and glazed or polished) which is something you should go to a fab shop to have done. This means giving someone very precise drawings and templates. I have access to this at work, but for those who don't it could get expensive. But if you paid any attention to my story above, could be totally worth it. It's also easier to keep clean. 

Step 6: Marquee, Lighting, and Sound

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Probably one of the easiest parts of the whole project. 

The Marquee
There are 3 methods I know of for dealing with the Marquee. The first is purchase a graphic with adhesive and stick to the front of a piece of acrylic and call it a day. This is the easiest, cheapest, and closest to what is done commercially. The second way is to affix the graphic to the back side of the acrylic. This will give the graphic a glossier look, but you have to be careful that the acrylic is 100% clean or it will be permanently stuck between your beautiful graphics and the "glass." The final way and probably the best is to buy 2 pieces of slightly thinner gauge plexi and sandwich a non-adhesive graphic between them. It gives you a nice high gloss look and makes the graphic interchangeable. The downside is it's "slightly" harder to install. 

I have also seen some designs where the Marquee was on a  hinge so that you could open it from the front to get to speakers, lighting, and use the space for storage. I like the idea but it wasn't something I had time to do. I may go back at a lter date and add the feature in. 

Sound
Sound is also a pretty easy thing to deal with and you have some options. First off decide how good you actually want the sound to be. If I was just running some classic games I would be find with some cheap 2.0 computer speaker and call it a day. However I plan to use mine as a juke box, media player, and I plan to play some higher end games once in a while. So I ended up going with... cheap computer speakers. Even if you want good sound, good speakers can be founds cheap. I paid $27.00 for a set of 2.1 50Watt Sylvania brand computer speakers and THIS THING IS LOUD AND BASSY. Just decide how much you want to spend and get something. 

Obviously the main speakers go into the marquee cabinet. My speaker hole was designed to go right over the screen. Since I made modifications I had some issues to deal with. I simply took my speakers and bolted them down with some left over pieces of angles aluminum. Be sure to cover the backs of your speakers with some cardboard or something so that light doesn't bleed through the edges. Now if you have made your own you can obviously pick where your speaker holes go - had I done this route I would have taken the computer speakers out of their casing and fixed the speakers directly into my cab with custom grills closer to the front. This is the most professional look. You final option is to not drill any speaker holes and just set your speakers inside upright facing toward the marquee. Some will argue, but these things aren't air tight your only going to get about a 10% drop in volume. In fact I did not make any kind of speaker hole for my sub and you can hear it just fine. 

Subwoofer
If you purchased a system with a sub woofer, the obvious choice is to stick it down in the bottom, or even unde rthe shelf that we built int he bottom earlier on. I didn't have this option for the simple fact that the cords wouldn't reach and I was to lazy to extent the cords at the time. I'll tell you sometimes laziness is the mother of invention. You know all that leftover aluminum channel I have been using... well it solved another problem. I simply attached the sub to the side of the inside of the cabinet about halfway down behind the monitor. I used some felt pads on the side so it wouldn't buzz where it made contact. Having that thing RIGHT THERE makes this whole thing just sound amazing. It turns out the whole cabinet just adds to the sound. It's also nice because if I need to manually adjust the knobs on it I don't have to go digging around in the bottom. It's just right there. I may in the future rewire the knobs so that the controls are on the coin door, but I kind of like it the way it is. 

Lighting
You have two options. If the cabinet came with a ballast, re wire it to run off an AC adapter. Or go to walmart and get you a $10.00 18" florescent light fixture. Even experienced people will spend the $10.00 to save the effort. Bolt it down, run the cord down the back where your power supply will be and call it a day. 

Step 7: Monitor, Bezel, and Acrylic/Glass

Picture of Monitor, Bezel, and Acrylic/Glass
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Select a monitor. This will be the part I get flamed for. Many purists will tell you the only way to make a REAL arcade is to by a real arcade monitor. It's the only way to get your games to have authentic looking scan lines. Now as much as I miss the eighties, I do not miss crappy looking graphics. So I decided to go with an LCD Monitor.  I wanted a machine that did more than play games and looked good while doing it opted for a Hanns G 24" PC Monitor. 

After doing some research I found out that a modern 24" monitor is 23" wide. Unfortunately finding a standard 4:3 aspect flat screen doesn't exist bigger than 19". If anyone ever finds one, please message me you just found gold. I like to have as big a screen as possible, so I went with a 24". Most games that are made for the arcade (especially emulated ones that aren't ports are in a 4:3 ratio. This means you should get ready to see some black bars on the sides.)

After popping the monitor in I realized at how well it fit. I didn't even bother removing the stand piece because it made a perfect spacer. 10 minutes later I had the bolts run through the back where it would have attached to a VESA mount and the monitor was mounted. 

I cut my bezel out of 1/16th gauge ABS plastic. It had a nice clean look to it and blocked all of the access views of the internals.
Pro Tip: Cut slowly with a jig saw or the plastic melts. Also be sure to clamp it down. If your real good you can cut it with a box knife with a fresh blade. I found it gave me the cleanest cut. I used a little sand paper to clean my edges. Finally get a piece of glass or plexi-glass cut to cover the whole setup, it will give it a professional finished touch that will send it's look over the top. 

Depending on your design you may need to figure out a way to attach the pieces. In my case the angle was such that they actually just set down in a groove which make it easy to pull out and clean or in case I need to get to the monitor for some reason. 

Step 8: Internals

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Power Strip
You have several options here. Go with what sounds the best to you. I went with a smart strip from Wal-Mart that claimed that when a master (PC) was turned on and off it killed power to everything else. It does not, but that may be due to the fact that it's a cheap model and doesn't detect my PC. Other strips have remote controls, battery backups, and other cool features. Find what's right for your project, but remember - if you don't use some kind of smart solution you will have to unplug your machine to turn all the components on and off. 

Note: My smart strip didn't work as advertised but I have heard other people tell me that theirs worked just fine. I got around the issue by plugging everything into hot ports. When I want everything off, I just unplug it from the wall. My plug is easy to access so it was no big deal for me. Another method is to get one with a remote switch. You can then attach the switch to the back or top of the unit using double stick tape. 

PC / Console
I'm not going to go to heavy into what kind of PC or Emulators you should be running. Do some research and figure out what you want to do. But you will need to install either a game system or PC into your cabinet. I used a PC in mine and was able to find it pretty cheap on e-bay for about $80.00. Another option is to build one yourself or find someone to build it custom for you. Digital Elite PC can build you a system and configure the emulators and front end for you for under $700.00 - They are also soon to offer a cloud subscription service that automatically updates your arcades games list once a month. Since you may from time to time want to move your machine to another location it's a good idea to bolt down you machine. In my case I simply opened up the side door and zapped some screws through the bottom into the shelf to hold it in place. With a console this might be hard, so I suggest getting some pieces of aluminum strapping and bolting them tot he shelf. 

Coin Door Lights
The lights are pretty easy and it seems to be the one subject I found a thousand different ways to do it online. Everyone seems to want to wire up LEDs and figure out correct voltages. Here's the shortcut; Standard coin door lights are just simple positive negative 14v automotive brake lights. The yellow wire on a PCs power supply is 12v. Wire the lights in parallel and run the leads through a hole drilled in one of the 3.5" bay covers.  Then call it a day. I spliced into a molex connector I had laying around to make a contactable plug, but you could also just use wire nuts if you wanted. The bulbs are slightly under powered (which is good they will last a little longer, but believe me they are plenty bright. Just look at the picture. 

Power Button
Once again, I'm not going to get in depth on how to mod your PC, but I didn't want to open the coin door to start everything up so I ordered a momentary on power switch and wired it to my motherboard and ran the leads through a hole I drilled in one of the 3.5" bay covers. Any switch you get should come with instructions. I opted for one with a light on it which I thought was nifty. I did have to splice into the included cables though because they weren't long enough for me to open my coin door which I have to do to anyway change out control decks. 

Note: While I'm saving this for another "Software Hack" tutorial a little later, you should set your PC power button to "shut down" windows rather than to cut power. This will safely boot up and shut down your computer with a simple button press and save you from having to keep a keyboard around to navigate windows just for an on/off function. 

Step 9: Enjoy

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So that's the basics. Sorry I can't give TOO much away or I wouldn't have any business. but if you are serious about doing one yourself I'm sure you can figure out the gaps. After all I didn't have anyone to hold my hand and I only have a basic ability in woodworking and a pretty bare shop (comon' I'm a PC tech.) I plan to do a more detailed tutorial focusing on some of the finer aspects of the pieces I glossed over later, but this should get you started for now. Have fun!!! 
asporkable4 months ago

I have the exact same cabinet up and running as single player, but want to remake my cp for two player. Any chance you'd share your plans for the control panel to save me some headaches?

Also digging your idea of setting the monitor more vertical. My only concern is how to mount the glass properly in front of it.

This is my (much in need of a paint job) cabinet.

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Hi x8xid,

Great job on a great machine. Looks very professional!

I've finally managed to make my own machine after many years of 'round toits'. I'm from africa and parts are real hard to come by. But I think I've shown it is not that difficult even in remote areas.

I've started a website to encourage others that might be considering it. www.timewarp-retrocade.com

I wonder if you could have a look see and perhaps put up a referal for me if you think it is worth it.

I'm new to building a website so comment or direction from your side could be most helpful.

Thanks and kind regards

Chris (Timewarp Retrocade)

Hi x8xid,

Great job on a great machine. Looks very professional!

I've finally managed to make my own machine after many years of 'round toits'. I'm from africa and parts are real hard to come by. But I think I've shown it is not that difficult even in remote areas.

I've started a website to encourage others that might be considering it. www.timewarp-retrocade.com

I wonder if you could have a look see and perhaps put up a referal for me if you think it is worth it.

I'm new to building a website so comment or direction from your side could be most helpful.

Thanks and kind regards

Chris (Timewarp Retrocade)

Hi x8xid,

Great job on a great machine. Looks very professional!

I've finally managed to make my own machine after many years of 'round toits'. I'm from africa and parts are real hard to come by. But I think I've shown it is not that difficult even in remote areas.

I've started a website to encourage others that might be considering it. www.timewarp-retrocade.com. I wonder if you could have a look see and perhaps put up a referal for me if you think it is worth it.

I'm new to building a website so comment or direction from your side could be most helpful.

Thanks and kind regards

Chris (Timewarp Retrocade)

jondziok1 year ago

So... what emulator are you running that can accurately get PSX and N64 lawless on the same machine? I've got a beast pc for the guts, but the software and emulators are where I get hung up. Also, any recommendations for the buttons/stick suppliers?

x8xid (author)  jondziok8 months ago

Unfortunately I cant tell you WHICH emulators I'm using because I don't have permission to promote the software. Also, there's some legality stuff. But I can tell you some hints about how to troubleshoot your issue. A) are you running a seperate GPU? If not, you should. It will make allot of difference. B) are you running a 64 or 32 bit system? I have found that with the older emulator software, 32 bit hangs up alot least because the structure is similar. c) be sure you have as much memory as your machine will support. d) if you have a multi-core processor, try disabling cores by playing with the affinity setting for the processor. Multi-cores sometimes are TOO much for the emulator to deal with.

alexorbs10 months ago
Poor poor Ms. PAC-MAN :*
LoopyMind1 year ago

not as big as you want but a Samsung 214T?

orkeyadam2 years ago
I watched your video were you had a Emulater that had a bunch of games in it, like from Sega,Nintendo, Playststion, Ect, what is it called.
x8xid (author)  orkeyadam1 year ago
That is a custom front end called Hyperspin. It is not an emulator itself, but a program that loads to launch each individual emulator that has been configured. There are several options for front ends some examples for beginners are MALA, and ROMShelf. Hyperspin is probably one of the better looking ones and most customizable, but a little more complicated to configure.
This is AMAZING! ... and way beyond my scope of ability! Excellent job! :)
x8xid (author)  The Steph Show2 years ago
Nah, easy as pie. I'm actually already starting another one that will be bigger and better.
I'm in awe of you! Can't wait to see your next one! :)
kinderdm2 years ago
Ive been wanting to do this for a while now and I love the look of your cabinet, very nice. I may borrow some design ideas for inspiration. One question about the monitor though. I had heard that newer lcd monitors make older games look worse than on the old tube televisions, like old tubes would average out the grittiness or something. Having done this yourself any word on this? I would like to opt for a newer monitor but not if its going to make my classic games (what this would mostly be for) look terrible. Thanks.
x8xid (author)  kinderdm2 years ago
I disagree with the people that say that. What they are complaining about is the lack of scan lines on an LCD. The LCD does sharpen up what used to be a fuzzier picture so some games you will notice a slight bit of extra rastering. But over all I think the images are actually better, and considering the $300.00 price difference, I'm fine with that.

But what the MAME snobs wont tell you is that most of the emulators and front ends have scan line emulation that looks just as the original monitors looked if you are really worried about it. It may also be that they didn't get 1080p monitors so their image isn't as clean as it could be?

I'm happy with the picture, happy with the space it saved me, an really happy with the money it saved. I wouldn't do it any other way. Plus since I use my cabinet for some newer games, and as a juke box via internet browser, it's nice to have a good clean look outside of games. If you try to do that on an authentic monitor, everything but the games just look horrible.
The main argument for the old CRT displays (and specifically the arcade monitors rather than old TVs or computer monitors) is the colour representation. The old monitors give better colours than a LCD monitor does.
Things like scan lines can be simulated if you want them, but I don't know why you would bother.

The other advantage to any CRT over an LCD monitor is that you can use the original light guns! the way those guns work is by tracing where the monitor is redrawing the image, and how that related to the position of the gun when the trigger is pulled. This cannot be done with a LCD monitor because they redraw in a different way! If you use a LCD screen you need to have some LEDs around the screen to let the computer know where the gun is pointed. Like how a Nintendo WII tracks the controller around the screen. Unfortunately this is less accurate than the old style.
x8xid (author)  RandomIdeaMan2 years ago
I think it really depends on the LCD. I think the color difference now compared to when LCDs first became common is negligible. Unless you have two running side by side are you really going to notice that pac-man is 1 shade off from being the correct yellow. I stand by my price argument and the multi-app argument. Having 100% precise authentic colors on less than 8 bit games is not a $400 trade off for me. I say if you have a cabinet that comes with a working one with the right adapters, use it - it's there it's working, it saves you money. If not, I pick the LCD every time. But actually my PERSONAL taste because of many of the games I play, I may even sell the CRT buy the LCD which looks great to me and pocket the profit.

The ultimarc gun work very well on LCD, and are incredibly accurate actually. I know there's a bunch that are iffy, but the Ultimarc ones really are the BOSS. I also like that the LED bar is discrete. Way more accurate than the Wii - which actually brings me to another tutorial I need to make (hacking the Wii bar to make it more accurate for your screen.)
I've been looking at the ultimarc aim track guns for my next cabinet. Unfortunately in Australia I'm a bit limited for choice on parts and its all fairly expensive (either to get locally, or to import myself, seeing as the local suppliers are buying from the same people I could in the USA and paying about the same postage).

Connecting a WII to PC can be easy or hard... depending on how the gods are looking on you on the day. I've done it on several PCs, and sometimes its easy as (glove)pie, other times its like the devil him self is cursing the hardware and software to make it as awkward as he can!
kinderdm x8xid2 years ago
Yeah, that sounds like the way to go then. I definitely like saving money and it would be nice to have it usable for some music or even put on a movie or something for the kids. Maybe even keep a keyboard and mouse close by for some quick internet access if needed in the garage so when I build I will surely go with a newer monitor. Ill take all those advantages over a possible slight degraded look on older games. Thanks for the response.
x8xid (author)  kinderdm2 years ago
Since you mentioned it I realized it's not in my DIY. I'm using one of the older USB wireless keyboards for a PS3 that has the built in touch pad for the mouse. I keep it tucked away out of sight on top of the cabinet and it comes in handy for stuff I do outside of the Front End program. I have actually taken to using this as my shop computer... you should see the look on my customers faces when they bring a system into the shop for repairs when I type up and print their invoice from an arcade machine... lol.

It's also been nice to have around for my customers to play around with if they are waiting while I work on their computers. After playing it 45 minutes while I'm tinkering with a broken system many ask how much for me to build them one. Then I spend the next 15 minutes doing a quote.... lol.

It just goes to show, there are more advantages to owning one of these than meets the eye. However I'm not looking forward to our next garage sale, I'm sure I will get badgered non stop.
Looks good.

I would argue that building a machine from scratch isn't as hard as you made it sound. With only basic woodworking skills, and a little planning you can make something awesome!

Here is the link to the site I built while making my first cabinet:
http://labrada-designs.com/Arcade/

I'm not sure about in other parts of the world, but in Australia to buy a old original cabinet is very expensive (even if its non-functioning), and really can only be justified if you are going to restore it, rather than turn it into a MAME cabinet. I assume that is different in the USA, judging by the number of Instructables and other sites I have come across with people doing it.
x8xid (author)  RandomIdeaMan2 years ago
Yes, I saw this cabinet when I was writing up some of my own plans and doing research. Good job by the way, quality work. However, you design was not the look I was going for felt a little too "square" on the angles. It may be the difference between a US feel and other styles. I know many Japanese cabinets I looked at had some REALLY strange angles. I didn't say that building from scratch was necessarily hard, I just said that it required a good deal of planing, space, and better than average skills at woodworking. I don't think that's too tall an order.

The US is one of the top places in the world where arcades were popular in the 80's so finding a cab is pretty easy especially in area where many were manufactured. I was going to build one for scratch but got this cab at just $100 - which is about a quarter what it would have cost in material here. Not to mention I made that money back selling off many of the parts I didn't need. What would have taken about a month for me to build I basically got for free it just needed some touch up work.
mikeasaurus2 years ago
Wow, great work!
x8xid (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
Thank you sir. It was allot of fun, I can't wait until my next one. I'm thinking I will try the build from scratch approach and go with a 47" screen and 4 player deck.