Introduction: Raspberry Pi Arcade Machine Case (Big Box for a Tiny Computer)

For the final project at my school, we were given complete creative freedom to build whatever we wanted.
I ended up building an arcade machine using a Raspberry Pi and a little imagination.

The Raspberry Pi setup will come in another instructable.

Step 1: Taking Measurements and Drawing Plans (measure Twice, Cut Once)

Before building anything, you need some blueprints.
In this case, measurements and simple drawings work fine.

The main measurements that I got were from an arcade machine at a local mall.

Step 2: Getting Started

The particle board that was used for this project was 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 3/4 inches thick.

Before you begin cutting, make sure that you have 2 boards clamped together so that when cut, you only have to cut once.
Also, making cuts is much easier when you have a straight line to follow. I used a thin, straight piece of lumber to draw the lines that would be cut off and then clamped it down to guide the saw.

Begin by cutting out the two large side panels for the case and save the scraps to make the rest of the panels.

Step 3: Cut Out the "Bones" of the Case

After cutting the two large side panels out, it's time to start working on the supports that everything gets attached to.

Step 4: Slots and Assembly

After cutting out all of the support pieces, secure them to the 2 outer boards with some wood screws.
Then, stand the 2 boards with attached supports and place the "cross bar" pieces of lumber into their slots and secure them with more woodscrews

Step 5: Making Everything Fit

Next, put panel that will support the screen on. Then, you'll have to cut out the top and front panels and make sure they will fit.

Step 6: Extra Shelf and Screen Cover

Cut out and install 2 pieces of lumber that will support a panel. This will be a small shelf for some electronics.

Next, put some smaller pieces of lumber onto the sides so that there will be something for the screen cover to be screwed into.

Step 7: Finish Putting on the Panels

The next step is to put on the front and top panels then add a headboard to the front at the top.
Then, attach the back panels and a backdoor.
A hole should be cut into one of the back panels to run cords through.

Step 8: Final Details

This is the home stretch. All that's left is to paint the case and install the screen cover.
Painting the case is pretty easy and installing the screen cover is really simple but cutting lexan can be problematic sometimes. my solution to cutting lexan comes in a few easy steps.

1) measure and mark the lexan
2) using a sharp blade and a straight edge, cut a line for the part of the lexan that you want to remove but dont cut all the way through
3) clamp the lexan to a table with the line that was cut as close to the edge of the table as possible (make sure that the part that is being removed has nothing under it)
4) smack the part that is being removed hard and fast making sure to "follow through" and hit down far enough to snap the excess lexan off
If done correctly, it should make a clean break and leave no cracks in the lexan

If you would like the screen cover painted, there is an interesting trick that works really well.

If you use lexan, there should be a plastic sheet that can be peeled off. if you want the screen cover painted, leave it on.
1) measure and cut the cover to the correct size.
2) using an exacto blade, carefully cut the plastic covering on the lexan so that the center that you want to see through is sectioned out.
3) remove the layer of plastic around the center (leaving the center covered) (imagine that the lexan is a big pan of brownies and you only like the edge pieces so you cut a square out of the center and remove the edge pieces to eat)
4) paint over the the lexan and wait for it to dry
5) remove the center plastic sheet and you should be greeted with success

To install the lexan, carefully pre-drill the holes into the plastic so that when you screw the lexan into the wood backing, it doesn't crack.

The lexan that I painted has 2 coats. the first layer is white and the second is a dark blue.

When choosing a paint color, you should probably avoid "flat black" paint. As the pictures show, it gets very dirty, very easy.

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