Instructables

Easy Cab (arcade)

Featured
Picture of Easy Cab (arcade)
Here are instructions on how to build an upright arcade cabinet. I have built a couple of arcade cabinets and have enjoyed learning how to build them and customize them.

a preview video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-3FZYUdghI

I wrote these instructions to assist those who are not yet comfortable in taking on a project like this singlehandedly. I tried to make it as inexpensive as I could, while making it easy to design and construct one with the minimum required skills. I will not be talking about programming or where to download videogame files from, but I’ll offer references to sites that will.

I believe this is a great first project to pick up because not only do you get something awesome at the end but you get to learn about: electronics, soldering, construction, and designing. Once these skills are picked up, they can be applied to other projects.

I used a jigsaw, router, and drill to build this cabinet so the tool requirement is not out of reach for a beginner.

Before starting this project please read though the whole instructions, because there are many different things that can be done.
 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Tools:

Picture of Tools:
Tools:
Here is a full list of tools that are needed to construct this arcade. If you don’t know what these are you can go to your local building supply store and ask because they will know. 
You will need:
� Drill
� Drill bits
o 1 1/8th spade bit – I got mine from Wal-Mart in a set for $10 (it needs to be this size for the buttons)
o A drill bit set for various holes – again Wal-Mart for about $14
o A Philips screw bit – usually comes with the drill
o A countersink bit- (used to make the screws flush with the wood)
� Router
� Router bit – I bought it for around $17 (it’s a slot cutting bit and ill post a picture , I used a 1/16 th inch)
� Knife – (to cut the t-molding)
� Soldering iron
� Hot glue gun
� Wire cutters
� Hammer
� Jigsaw- I bought mine for $20 at Wal-Mart (make sure you can cut angles, meaning the faceplate can bend at least 45* degrees)
� Jigsaw blades- cheap like $3 for a couple (buy fine saw tooth or smooth wood)

Here are a couple of pictures that go along with the tools:
 
Mistablik1 year ago
Thanks for this great idea. i finished mine at the end of last year. it turned out to be really cool and is way fun to play
arcade.JPG
i ended up using mala though cause i couldnt figure out hyperspin. Plus my computer inside is kinda slow so mala is a little easier on its brain. lol
Thank you, uitechclub, for making this instructable for us. The way you broke the steps down was very clear and easy to follow. Mistablik and I had a great time making one.
PhoenixGG9 months ago
That is an awesome build. What version of the Mario rom do you have on the screen?
bekabam9 months ago
Hey there, if you ever did find those CNC plans, I'd love to take a look at them.

I'm starting my build and got word that I may have access to a CNC machine, and specs would be awesome to have.

Thanks!
visivopro11 months ago
I would love the CNC Router drawings!
uitechclub (author)  visivopro11 months ago
Hey, ill try to look it up but i have been moving quite a bit. What format do you want them in?.stl, .dxf, etc....

also ask jthroop he CNC his whole Cabinet, he should have some files.
visivopro11 months ago
Thanks for the plans, I just started my two days ago, here is the progress so far!
photo(6).JPG
uitechclub (author)  visivopro11 months ago
I wanted to make sure I thanked you for sharing your pictures. I really appreciate it.
jthroop2 years ago
Thanks for the instructable, I am almost done with mine based mostly on your drawings, used 2 4x8 sheets of 3/4" melamine from Menards $29 each. Ordered the controls and Tmolding from groovygamegear, cut the melamine out on a CNC router, I have the cad drawings laid out on 49x97" sheet (size of the melamine) if anybody wants them.
2011-05-13-19.08.34.jpg
uitechclub (author)  jthroop2 years ago
hey it looks great ( you just made my week)

out of curiosity what is the table size of your cnc machine. i was also wondering how well the 3/4 th inch melamine works. i live on a third floor and didn't want to pick up such a heavy cabinet, but I bet it is more sturdy using the 3/4th. the speaker holes look amazing I wish I did the same thing.

it look amazing i hope it brings you lots of enjoyment if you have any questions feel free to ask! :)
The CNC is a 5'x10' machine at work, I used the 3/4" because that's what they had in stock, but it worked great. very heavy yes, next time I would add wheels to the bottom, also I made the bottom door swing out and I will have some USB ports in the bottom of the monitor cover acrylic. I should get the buttons/joysticks on Wednesday. I'll be sure to post finished pictures when I am done.
same here. i also used 3/4 inch. Heavy.
JoeShmo11 year ago
Fantastic design! I just got approval from my Electrical Engineering Department to make a pair of these cabinets as recruiting tools. The only question I have is were you able to save enough mdf to make a back panel or is it open on the back?
uitechclub (author)  JoeShmo11 year ago
That is fantastic news!!! I built the last arcade as a recruiting tool for our department as well.

To answer you question quickly : the design only covers about 50% of the back because i ran out of mdf stock and i needed room to remove and place a whole desktop inside. ( watch the youtube video i go behind the arcade)

If you don't mind me making suggestions:

The problem with this design is when potential students ask questions about it, i couldn't just open up the arcade and show them. Another problem is to move this thing around was a pain in the a$$ because i had a free floating computer inside. ( what ever you do just get rid of the desktop case and mount components inside the arcade!!! ) to solve these problems i would recommend making a bartop arcade. It is smaller and cheaper on material cost. Second i would make a side plexiglass. This will allow people to see all the wiring. Pretty much think of it as a custom desktop with a screen and arcade sticks.

and also i have really wanted someone to install these on the sides of an arcade: http://www.amazon.com/MengYi-Luminglas-GREEN-Plasma-Glass/dp/B006L7CYIC

They are just suggestions lol. but hey if you have any questions let me know! I will reply as soon as i am able to, and i love helping with this type stuff. If you have any questions about games, emulators, front ends, or light guns. shoot me a message.
Well they're finally done. Here's a link to the album. I put plexi glass windows on the side lit with LED strips. The computer was mounted to a panel in the cab and is layed out so prospective students can see all the parts.
http://imgur.com/a/ben8H
uitechclub (author)  JoeShmo11 year ago
That is awesome, thank you for sharing this!!!!

I am working on designing and building a claw machine game right now. Because of my new job i haven't been able to spend time on it, but this have rejuvenated my interest in finishing the project.
Mistablik1 year ago
I am starting one of these but I am having trouble using hyperspin, I can't get Roms to open when you choose a game in the home menu.
man. i'm having the same problem. I guess to the forums I go.
uitechclub (author)  Mistablik1 year ago
this best advice i can give you is to ask on the forums in hyperspin, they are very good at getting back with request for help.
Mistablik1 year ago
I am using blue t-molding to give it a Tron look!
mllmTECH1 year ago
Nice cab, I was wondering is the line going down the centre of the control panel a sticker ?
uitechclub (author)  mllmTECH1 year ago
Yes it is. it is an outline for a larger vinyl sticker.
suboxygen1 year ago
nearly there man! up and working but need to finish the front. found some really cheap controller boards on ebay from china.. they work great!! and no soldering, all slip on.
7.jpg5.jpg6.jpg8.jpg
suboxygen2 years ago
this is a great instructable. this is as far as i've gotten so far haha. thank you!
startofcade.jpg
uitechclub (author)  suboxygen2 years ago
Looks good! I really wanted to do a white cabinet. I really want to make a white one. Do you know what color of trimming you want. Also if you have any questions at all let me know.
another update! we're getting there. we decided against the hinges in front and opted for wireless mouse and keyboard in case we need to make changes. we used MDF for the front and top panel. will post finished product soon enough!

as for the trimming. i think i am going to get the flat LED strips of light. i found a bunch for pretty cheap from china on ebay.. i uploaded a pic with the others from google image search.. something like that, i think it would look cool.


cheers! thanks again uitechclub. will update ya soon.

-josh and marc
1.jpg4.jpg3.jpg2.jpgled-strips-smd-3528-60-non-waterproof-blue.jpg
rezerox2 years ago
This is a great instructable. Just curious which program you are using for your layout design. I've been looking around online but couldn't track down something like this. I tried AutoCAD but that seemed like overkill for this project.
uitechclub (author)  rezerox2 years ago
i would also try Google sketch up is it more than enough for a project like this
uitechclub (author)  rezerox2 years ago
solidworks I am a huge fan of the program. i get it free through school but it can be expensive.
uitechclub (author) 2 years ago
I have ordered a light gun from aimtrak and it seems to work pretty good i am going to write an instructable about aimtrak guns here pretty soon.
Tomcat942 years ago
You may want to include what frontend you used for this MAME machine. The frontend looks very nice!

Also, try using Bootskin to change the Windows XP boot screen to something more arcade-like (or make it not even show up at all, although I don't recommend it).

(This may be just a coincidence, but it seems the design is based on the Centipede arcade cabinet...?)

After I built my first arcade machine, I built a bigger, better MAME machine based on the exact specs of the Mrs. Pac Man/ Galaga machine. It plays everything... Except the exact Mrs. Pacman/ Galaga game it was based on. Oh, the irony...
uitechclub (author)  Tomcat942 years ago
lol , i kinda know how you feel, i built this for one game and i ended up with thousands of games but not the one i wanted.

bootskin ill have to give that a try. i am in the process of reorganizing my Whole arcade programing wise. the front end i am using is called Hyperspin and it is the best front end i have experience by far. i will do a instructables on it if there is enough request for it but the site itself does a great job of making it user friendly.

i just now took a look at the Centipede arcade cabinet, and it does have similar angles. i designed mine to fit on two sheets of MDF and have enough stock left over to make it 2' ft wide. After a couple trials this is my refined design.

i made this instructables to give people confidence to build and design there own. i hope they use this as more of a guide then a step by step. I am excited to answer anyones questions :)
I'm actually in the process of writing a "Build An Arcade Machine" instructable. Maybe there should be a guide of all the arcade machine instructables, or maybe an ebook of some sort...
(removed by author or community request)
uitechclub (author)  theawesomedude922 years ago
Buttons like What exactly?
the arcade cab buttons (i forgot to go to step 2)
fesuperman2 years ago
What size monitor did you use?
uitechclub (author)  fesuperman2 years ago
i used a 20" inch monitor.
could I do this with a video game console and not windows, i want to use my NES.
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!