Introduction: Homemade SNES Arcade Machine

Picture of Homemade SNES Arcade Machine

This is my second entry in the homemade arcade machines. A Super Nintendo in a bartop arcade machine. I'm now up to 3 machines. Some of these pics are also of the Sega Genesis Arcade machine that I did not make build pics for. My next machine will be an original xbox running MAME with hundreds of original arcade games. 


PatrickF36 (author)2016-01-24

How did you get the snes to put a picture on the monitor?

colossalman (author)PatrickF362016-08-21

I'm not the maker, but it looks like that monitor just has AV inputs on it.

elliot.humiston (author)2015-05-04

I was wondering if you could list the general dimensions of this project? or maybe even a template???

djkurtz92 (author)2015-01-17

I used regular exterior latex paint. Yes I used t-molding which requires a router and bit to cut the slot. I used regular off the shelf 20 gauge wire.

drew.selling.5 (author)2015-01-14

Love your work, they look awesome. I have no carpentry skills and lack the technological know how, but I am still having ago at building one. I have done a lot of research and Google brought me here. If you could just answer a couple of questions it would be much appreciated.

1. Where do you solder the ground wire to on the control pad board?

2. Did you use a separate ground wire for each button to the board or link them all with one wire then solder just that one to the board?

djkurtz92 (author)drew.selling.52015-01-14

Thank you for the nice comments.

1. First I scrape off the graphite coating off of each button exposing the copper beneath. I then drillied small holes in each point to feed the lead wires through and bend to hold into place. Then I soldered.

2. If you are using Happ controls its just as easy to make a seperate ground wire for each because you'll need 2 wires per switch. If using the Sanwa version of the joystick, those are wired for a common ground so you could save some wiring and time. My preference is the Happ joysticks, I just like them better.

I hope this helps. The NES version machine build pics show almost everything you need to do to get a similar result. The game played great with that setup. I could still beat Dracula on Castlevania with that control setup.

drew.selling.5 (author)djkurtz922015-01-16

Thank you for replying and sorry for all of the questions, but I really am that much of a novice.

What kind of paint did you use?

Did you use T molding for the edges?

Do I need a certain type of wire for the controls?

HI I AM SETH (author)2015-01-13

Neat bro. I might check em out.

HI I AM SETH (author)2015-01-12

Two things:
1. Cool! I like those cabinets dude! I'm planning on making one with my Sega Genesis.

2. I live in CT also! (I saw the CT license plate hanging on the wall. I'm not a stalker!)

djkurtz92 (author)HI I AM SETH2015-01-13

If you are interested in checking this out in person that would be cool. I'm also looking to off load this item so if you made me an offer on it, I might take it. I'm hooked on pinball machines now so I need the room.

BrianC7 (author)2014-10-22

Awesome stuff!!! I'm looking to start a project similar to this but an all-in-one via emulators. Quick question that I don't think has been asked yet: where do you get your joysticks and buttons from? Thanks.

djkurtz92 (author)BrianC72014-10-22

Suzo-happ makes the best joysticks in my opinion.

neonkid (author)2014-10-13

Where did you get the decals made?

djkurtz92 (author)neonkid2014-10-14 they have tons of stuff.

neonkid (author)djkurtz922014-10-14

Awsome, thanks

macaleese (author)2014-10-02

What kind of plywood did you build this out of and what thickness ? I recently built an arcade machine from 1/2" mdf and painted it and it looked like crap afterwords. I threw it out it looked so bad. I want to build another but use plywood. I'd like to know what you used for it

djkurtz92 (author)macaleese2014-10-02

My NES machine was made with 1/2" mdf and it came out great. It just weighed a ton. The SNES was made with 3/4" cabinet grade plywood. It's like $48.00 for a 4 x 8 sheet from Lowes or Home Depot. Good luck with the build.

Crafterkid123 (author)2014-09-20

Could this work with a gamecube/wii? I mean both are smaller than the snes so they have to fit right??

djkurtz92 (author)Crafterkid1232014-09-20

You can make anything work. I am making one for a ps3 right now so I can play streetfighter 4 with arcade controls. It's basically going to be a shell that can plug and play a ps3 into it. Then I can move it back to the living room for Netflix or regular games.

themacguru (author)2014-07-14

How much would it cost for you to build one of those for a dad of 3 year-old twin boys?!! I have little time and energy to build one of my own - sadly to say... Please let me know... 562-413-0336 text me

djkurtz92 (author)themacguru2014-07-15

I sent you a text and got no reply. To anyone viewing this, I AM willing to sell any of my 3 machines. Please email me for further details. My machines are not emulation. These are actual game systems inside so you do not have to worry about the legality of the machine. These machines will play any cartridge that would play on the respective systems. Gun games will not work without some modification due to LCD displays.

themacguru (author)djkurtz922014-07-16

that's weird - i never got any text from you.. anyway, my email address is - please email me or message me via Google Hangout or gChat under so we could discuss further... thanks.

synthescape (author)2014-07-14

Sweet machines !

mcurtis-evans (author)2014-07-09

You willing to sell 1 of those

djkurtz92 (author)2014-06-22

1.ebay used. I soldered wires to the tv controls pcb.
2. The smallest drill bit you can use to facilitate a 20 gauge wire.
3. I measured the width of the wood to make sure I drilled in the middle. I used regular wood screws. I countersunk the holes so the holes could be covered with wood putty.

Sanchees3 (author)2014-06-22

Hi ! Me again, okay so I have a few questions,

1) Where did you get the monitor for your arcade and how did you wire them for volume control and power ?

2) What's the size of the drill bit you used to drill the holes for the controller PCB ?

3) How did you drill the holes for the wood and What were the types of screws you used to construct the arcade ?

I know these are a bit odd but I am determined to finish this project by the end of this summer, and I'll be sure to post an Instructable on the build ! Thanks !

kris6761 (author)2014-05-31

Cool thanks. Where would you get the wiring that you ran to the arcade controls. Sorry if that sounds silly but I'm capable of doing all the work but not sure on the wiring specifications.

djkurtz92 (author)kris67612014-05-31

Did you check out the build pics? I drilled holes thru the contact pads of the PCB and soldered directly to it. The two halves of the contact pad make up the push button. Connect the positive side to any ground and it completes the circuit. If you touch the two wires together from each button it actuated that button. Just wire these to each button and you have arcade controls. The PCB looks just like the controller when you pull it out of the case. Or you could test each pad to see what button it is.

kris6761 (author)2014-05-30

Hi djkurtz. Excellent project. I'm starting a xbox arcade shortly and the only issue I have is the wiring. Is there special wiring you need to use to connect the control pads to the jamma buttons and wires for extending components like power switches ect. Thanks.

djkurtz92 (author)kris67612014-05-31

I used the original equipment controller PCB's and soldered directly to them. Then ran wires to the arcade controls. In some cases I used aftermarket controllers because I didn't care about destroying those. Sometimes I buy game and controller lots and use the ones that are in the worst shape.

fburton1 (author)2014-05-02

Excellent job. I'm in the process of doing the same thing with my nes sega and snes. I do have one question as far as the power and reset buttons what pins on the motherboards did you connect them to to make each of them work with arcade buttons

djkurtz92 (author)2014-03-29

First you must clean off the graphit coating on the spots where the buttons are to make them shiny . I did this by using a a razor blade and scraped it off. You could also use a Dremel tool with a wire wheel attachment. Then I used a very small drill bit and Dremel tool and made a small hole in the metal contact pad. Now you can feed the wire through and the soldering will be much easier. Please let me know how you make out with this. Make an instructable out of it and post it on here.


Sanchees3 (author)2014-03-28

Awesome ! Could you please help me with the SNES controller wiring and soldering, I'm having trouble making the solder stick to the controller board.

amulder1 (author)2014-02-18

love it! Now I'm curieus for that xbox case. Still have one laying around that needs a use.

ZeroVirus (author)2014-01-08

Have you thought of maybe building a Raspberry Pi based cabinet? I just built one into a SNES case and it acts as a MAME/SNES/NES/Genesis/ETC machine. Otherwise, very interesting builds.

djkurtz92 (author)ZeroVirus2014-01-08

I'm a former USN Sonar Technician (submarines). I'm not familiar with Rasberry pi but would like to see your build. I'd be interested in learning that.

ZeroVirus (author)djkurtz922014-01-08

It's not that hard wiring wise. Jut used a couple panel mount adapters, USB SNES adapter, and generic SNES controllers I got from adafruit. You could do it without the USB adapter though. Just more research/work. I love it because it looks semi-original and uses hdmi for video

djkurtz92 (author)ZeroVirus2014-01-08

This looks really cool. Do you have to connect a hard drive? Where do you put the ROMS? I guess I have to do some google research to see how this is done/works.

ZeroVirus (author)djkurtz922014-01-08

It's Linux based, boots off the 16GB SD card I have in it which also has all my roms. Can also make it into a home theater system and add an external drive full if movies and etc. Can select different emulators with just the SNES controller

Kuwabara89 (author)2014-01-07

Great builds, looking to do one myself at some point. didn't see it mentioned anywhere but how did you go about cutting the grooves for the stripping round the sides? Thanks

djkurtz92 (author)Kuwabara892014-01-07

I think you are asking about the speaker grills? For those I drew out what I wanted and got inspiration from the original Donkey Kong machine speaker grill (google it). I just made it to fit the 4" speakers I had already picked out for it. I drilled a starter hole for each groove and cut with a jigsaw. I used a router to smooth it out and make it look uniform. I took alot of measurements from the inside to outside to get the speaker exactly where I wanted it.

Kuwabara89 (author)djkurtz922014-01-08

Sorry, the grooves for the T-Molding, wondering how you went about doing that. Also if your familiar with them have you used the 'competition' buttons? curious if they are much better. Will probably go with some basic ones are they are bundled altogether on ebay. Thanks

djkurtz92 (author)Kuwabara892014-01-08

The T- moulding is done with a slot cutter router bit. You can purchase the t-moulding at They also sell the applicable bit on the website as well and it's good quality. I have both the competition and regular and like them both. For games that use one or two buttons regular is fine. Games like Streetfighter it's nice to be able transfer your fingers thru all the buttons when you have to do it quickly, then the competition buttons are nicer. You'll be happy with either.

kmyers8 (author)2014-01-07

ok sweet thanks for the info dude. i got a few more questions too
1.what are the buttons for on the bottom of the arcade?
2.what are the dimensions for the side L shape wood peices?
3.where did you get the logo decals from or did you just make them yourself?
4.wouldnt it be easier to just take the console apart and just put a few screws to hold it in place instead of building a whole space for it?
5.are you going to or currently working on another project like these ones?

djkurtz92 (author)kmyers82014-01-07

Here you go:
1. The buttons on the bottom are for game system power, reset, tv power, volume up , and volume down. On the "Nintendo" machine they are on top, the machines evolve everytime I build a different one.
2. The "L" shaped piece is approx. 34" tall and 21" deep. Each of the 3 machines is slightly different. I made the newer ones wider because i wanted more room for 2 player. I'm still playing with different designs. It all depends on what you want to put inside.I made them bartop size because my house is small and I don't have alot of room plus I felt they were more versatile since they don't take up as much space you can just put it on a table or right on the floor for a kid.
3. The logos on the SNES machine I got all from they are pretty much the only place you can find these of this quality. My first machine I used vehicle wrap from a friend of mine in the sign business. The graphics make this an expensive project. About $100 more just for the vinyls. The lexan and controls are the next big expense. About $85 for the arcade quality controls.
4. I figured it would be more sturdy to just keep the PCB inside the plastic housing since it was designed for it. Plugging cartridges in and out all the time is a lot of abuse. I didn't think I could out engineer the engineers at Nintendo so I just kept it although I did modify the pcb's to externally control power and reset.
5. My next machine will be a XBOX running MAME that has many many games on it. It is on the drawing board right now , but I already have the game system and just figuring out how the controls are going to layout.

kmyers8 (author)2014-01-07

ok first of all nice builds they look awesome good job! second how the hell do you keep your work space so clean. thats like an acheivment in itself. and i have a few questions that i hope you can answer.
1. how did you paint it and with what?
2. did the green monkey help with the build?
3. what type of lighting did you use for top logo part?
4. how did you connect your speakers to the snes?
5. how did you decide on the button layout for the snes?

djkurtz92 (author)kmyers82014-01-07

Let me see:
1. I painted it with regular old paint from Sherman Williams and rolled it on with a sponge roller.
2. I don't know why the monkey is there. It did not help with the build.
3. The light is a 21" fluorescent bulb made for under cabinet lighting.
4. I wired 4" speakers I got from autozone for about $13.00 each. They are wired to the amplifier that came standard with this monitor. I just made sure the ohms matched.
5. I did a little research first but decided on the default button layout of StreetFighter 2 for snes so the the last 2 white buttons are the L and R shoulder buttons. This setup defaults the top row for L, M, H punch buttons and bottom row L, M, H kick buttons. Not many other games use all six so I figured it would just work out. Most games on Snes allowed for a button config if you want to change it around. Button layouts can be found on for multiple different configurations.

Thank you for all the positive comments it makes posting worth while. Plus I'm open to new ideas or improvements if anyone has any good ideas.

djkurtz92 (author)2014-01-06

Cut and paste into your browser to see videos of the machines.

justin1999 (author)2014-01-06

hey ill buy one
if you'll make it for me and ill pay for shipping3

rcarnegie (author)2014-01-05

Awesome builds , NES as well as this one. keep sharing. I want to make one, any suggestions on where I can learn about the electronics / circuits you used. I m good with wood work, have no. clue about electronics.

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