Picture of Retro arcade machine
With the idea of recycling an old PC I had at home, I decided to build a mini arcade machine, thanks to the MAME emulator, we can play to thousands of old games we played as children. If you're nostalgic for old games, you would like this tutorial.

Con la idea de reciclar un viejo PC que tenia en casa, decidi construirme una mini maquina recreativa, gracias al emulador MAME, tenemos a nuestra disposicion miles de antiguos juegos como los que jugabamos de pequeños en las recreativas. Si eres un nostalgico de los juegos antiguos, este tutorial te gustara.

Step 1: What do I need?

Picture of What do I need?
Much of the material I used what I had at home, wood, computer, etc ... but what we need is the following:

1x Old PC (I have a P4, with an 80 Gb HDD)
1x LCD Screen 17" (o whatever you have)
1x joystick arcade
9x botones arcade
1x Jamma to USB controller
various woods, I used 10mm MDF.

How to connect the buttons and joystick to the computer is done with the controller Jamma to USB, I had include a picture with the wiring. Once everything is connected to the board plug to computer's USB port and it recognizes it as a joystick you can configure by software. I made in Windows XP, which is the O.S. I used for the emulator. I don´t try in LINUX yet, but I would try with a big brother of this machine I had in my mind.

Mucho del material que he usado lo tenia por casa, madera, ordenador, etc... pero lo que vamos a necesitar es lo siguiente:

1x Ordenador antiguo (en mi caso un P4, con HDD de 80 Gb)
1x pantalla LCD 17" (o lo que tengais disponible)
1x joystick arcade
9x botones arcade
1x controlador Jamma a USB
maderas varias, yo he usado DM de 10mm.

La forma de conectar los botones y joystick al ordenador se hace con el controlador Jamma a USB, incluyo una imagen con el cableado. Una vez conexionado todo se conecta la placa a un puerto USB del ordenador y este lo reconoce como un joystick al que puedes configurar por software. Yo solo lo he probado en Windows XP, que es el S.O. que he usado para el emulador. Como mi idea es hacer un maquina pero en grande, intentare con LINUX, a ver que tal.

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themacguru1 year ago
How much would it cost me for you to build me one of these?!! I live in riverside, California.. Please let me know!!! Thanks in advance!! :)
Paxpan (author)  themacguru1 year ago
Thanks for it themacguru! , but I live in Spain... you know. DIY.. it´s easy as it looks.
cendoval1 year ago
baroquedub2 years ago
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the inspiration provided by your post.

If like me you've been dreaming of building one of these bad boys for a while but thought it couldn't be done... give it a go. :) It's been a great learning experience (especially for someone with very little DIY experience) and the result is a lot of fun. My version's not exactly one for the purists but it's an absolute retro gamer's joy.

When I get the chance I'll write up my experiences and share some of the pitfalls and solutions I found. Thanks again Paxpan.
Paxpan (author)  baroquedub2 years ago
Thanks to you!! You have done a great job. I will be waiting you to write the process. Congratulations again.
fariello2 years ago
baroquedub2 years ago
Like it a lot! Inspired by your build I've been working on my own cabinet but I'm stuck where it comes to connecting the buttons to the USB controller.

This is the interface I've got: http://www.arcadeworlduk.com/products/PC-And-PS3-Arcade-Controller-Interface.html The pin configuration is a bit different to the JAMMA controller you've posted a picture of, however I can cope with reconfiguring the connection to the pins. The problem I've got is that you haven't numbered or labelled the buttons as shown on your diagram - and the picture shows only 8 buttons and the joystick. So...

My question is, as per your plate/button layout, have you connected it as:

And what did you do with the other three buttons? Are they being used as '1 player', '2 player' and 'Coin in'? (If so what connections are you making to your USB controller?) For my interface (http://www.arcadeworlduk.com/products/PC-And-PS3-Arcade-Controller-Interface.html) would you connect to buttons 7,8,9 ? Or 'Select/BTN9', 'Start/BTN10' and ????

And are you having to do any keyboard mapping in MAME to get the buttons to work?

Any help or advice would be much appreciated! Thanks.
Paxpan (author)  baroquedub2 years ago
Hi Baroquedub, The interface you are working on is nearly the same as mine. You can configure until 12 different buttons, it´s not important which one you connect BUT the important thing is HOW you configure it in the MAME program.

You must configure (in MAME you can configure a lot of things) the most commond are the joy, the number of bottons you are going to include, the coin in button, start, and a ESC button as well. You have a lot of different configurations.
Best regards!
Yo voy a empezar con la pequeña, a ver que tal se me da. He hecjo una maqueta en cartón para ver las medidas, te pongo una foto. Por cierto, los componentes los compras en Arcade outlet?
Paxpan (author)  lferrer bailach2 years ago
Si, los he comprado alli. date una vuelta por el foro de http://www.zonaarcade.com , alli encontraras muchisima informacion. Un saludo.
Hola! lo primero felicitarte por tu trabajo. Genial!
Quiero hacer una parecida a la tuya pero para dos jugadores. Lo único que cambia es poner dos mandos y el doble de botones, no? Y tendré que poner dos placas que conectan por USB, claro. ¿Tu has probado a conectar dos yoisticks a la vez?
Paxpan (author)  lferrer bailach2 years ago
Hola Iferrer, mi idea original era construir una grande, pero al final hice esta para "ir practicando", ya estoy con la grande, te mando una foto con el prototipo de mando que tengo construido (aunque ahora le he añadido algun boton mas), la misma placa USB esta para 1 o 2 jugadores practicamente al mismo precio. Un saludo.
mchabot2 years ago
This is the exact same grid pattern I used for my speaker grids..
(I don't even think I have a picture)
Solannis2 years ago
Awesome project. Extremely impressive. I definitely want to make my own. Couple of questions on this step:

1) Can you provide any measurements for the boards I will need to cut? Even general width and height would be helpful.

2) What did you do for/to the finish of the edges of your MDF board? Did you just sand them smooth or apply plastic to them or ??
Paxpan (author)  Solannis2 years ago
Hi Solannis! I hope this image help you, all is in mm. All the width is 400mm. I would apply and edge of plastic, but I only found for a 19mm, not for a 10mm that is the MDF board I use.
steve0002 years ago
Very cool, for me a little 2 modern I personally would have used an old TV or CRT monitor but thats just me. Still looks fantastic and best of all its pretty cheap which is better than what i was looking at for a few hundred $
Paxpan (author)  steve0002 years ago
Hi Steve, I wanted to be "portable". But I have an old TV I want to use for the big bro of this little machine...
steve000 Paxpan2 years ago
Kayoken2 years ago
This can save me well over $600 bucks thanks so much :D
timm.tanner2 years ago
Simply Amazing! Well done.
n2citrus2 years ago
I built something similar a few years back, using an old "Defender" cabinet. To save time I purchased a controller from Xgaming (X-Arcade controller) which comes with two joysticks as well as a ton of buttons. I liked it because it is just plug and play, but yes, it is pricey!

This is fantastic - Such a good upcycle of old parts.
wolf36952 years ago
Hello Paxpan,
Like most great Instructables, it's the attention to detail that shines through - especially, in your case, with the cabinet - great job!

One Q:
I appreciate your project includes recycling an old PC, but is it possible to use the popular processors-on-a-stick, like the Raspberry Pi?
That is, $35 (for the Pi), with a 'surplus' monitor/flat-screen TV?
So, being realistic, is it possible to integrate a Pi (or equivalent) into your Arcade project?
Once again, congrats on the quality of your Instructable.
Paxpan (author)  wolf36952 years ago
Hi wolf3695, I don´t use the Raspberry-pi (yet), but I think it runs with linux. You can find a MAME running linux, so I think you can. I see the Raspberry and I think it coul¡d get great for that (I had some problems for the size of the pc, already).
¡Alucinante! ¿Sabes cuando buscas algo durante días y no lo encuentras, paras de buscar y a las 2 semanas aparece por sí solo? Pues bien, me acaba de pasar eso. Llevo un tiempo pensando en hacerme una recreativa pequeña y super low-cost con un raspberry-pi. En mi caso tengo un PC antiguo, pero es un Pentium 1 de 133MHz, así que creo que se quedaría algo corto. Para la circuitería pensaba usar un arduino, pero creo que por el mismo precio (o algo menos) me cojo una de esas jamma to USB. No sabía de su existencia, así que tu instructable me ha venido de fábula :D. El único problema es que no tengo ni idea de donde encontrar una pantalla pequeña (y barata).
Felicidades por la arcade, te ha quedado insuperable. Si le puedo poner una pega es que el instructable podría estar más detallado paso a paso, como has hecho los vinilos, como cortas las maderas, etc. Pero por lo demás está genial.

Paxpan (author)  jcano yribarren2 years ago
Hola Jcano, Yo le di muchas vueltas antes de empezar, pero una vez arrancado fue bastante más facil de lo que me creia. Tienes una maravillosa web en castellano donde encontraras toda la informacion y muchisimas mas (http://zonaarcade.forumcommunity.net/).
Yo el ordenador y el monitor lo saque de un amigo que lo iba a tirar por viejo. mira en la web de MAME, tu piensa que cualquier ordenador es más potente que una maquina recreativa. No te compliques la vida con el arduino, la placa hace todo y es casi más barata que un arduino. El raspberry-pi no lo he usado nunca, pero tengo ganaas de trastear con el... igual para mi proximo proyecto. LA pantalla que he usado es de 17", las tienes muy baratas en tiendas de segunda mano.

Un saludo!
senjirou2 years ago
Dude, this is just beautiful! I'm gonna try this for sure! Now, a couple of questions if you don't mind? If I wanted to make it a two player machine, I would just need double the buttons, sticks and another Jamma, right? Nothing else... And how do you update your mame there if you got some new games or something? Sweet idea man, it's awesome, congrats! =D
Paxpan (author)  senjirou2 years ago
You already can buy a two player USB controller. If I want more games, I open the back door, connect a keyboard, a mouse and take it from an Pendrive. Don´t forget that inside is a PC.The advantage of using a PC is you can add more emulators from diferent machines, I want to try some Atary 2600, Neo-Geo and Commodore..... As you can see all of them are "old glorys".
oh and it's JAMMA not Jamma. It's an acronym for Japanese Arcade Machine Manufacturers Association
Most arcades, you buy the JAMMA board and thats that. It holds the game, and only that game, and only does what it's intended to do. If the game you bought has 2 players, then yes you can add two players. If you want two player, get a Neo Geo MVS board. The MVS's take cartridge games and they're $5-60 online per game. But most are counterfit now.

I love Neo Geo MVS, this is what you should really get. It's the same idea as here except it takes cartridges the size of VCR tapes
mingus20732 years ago
I second the two player question and also how difficult to add a trackball? Great work!
Paxpan (author)  mingus20732 years ago
The controller I use have a version for two player (I actually works in the big bro of this machine and I use it), and you can easy find a track ball for arcade machines.
PitStoP2 years ago
Cool... I want one!
Great job!
Did you make the artwork yourself or did you buy it?
Paxpan (author)  PitStoP2 years ago
Well.. I have a friend who works on vinil, so was easy.
ddr2 years ago
Great work! Can you tell me how you made the bezel and artwork?
Paxpan (author)  ddr2 years ago
Hi!for the bezel I change the original one to my space, and for the lateral I take it from Internet (you will find a lot of old machines there).
dmuscat2 years ago
Can you suggest a Jamm to Usb or alternative for 2 players? Or is it simpler to use two of same boards to two usbs?
HandySun2 years ago
Could always use another tutorial on arcades. I plan on using a PC and hooking up buttons and joystick to an old keyboard and playing ROMs on it in a home made arcade cab.

Arcades are good fun always
Syd0the0kid2 years ago
WOW. This is amazing. I hope you have an online store, people are gonna want to order these.
bethmwl2 years ago
It looks so professional, you did a great job!
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