Introduction: DIY Arcade Box With Raspberry Pi and RetroPie
In this Instructables project I will show you how to make your own Arcade Box!
I designed it to fit a 15" and 17" 4:3 Monitor and kept its dimensions small so that it does not take up much space.
The "heart" of this game machine is the Raspberry Pi running the RetroPie, a front end management application for launching your games!
Tutorial updates can also be found here: https://www.ardumotive.com/arcadegameboxen.html
Here you can see a video from our Arcade Box! The video is in Greek language but I believe that you will catch the main idea...
So, lets get started!
Step 1: Part List
For this project you will need:
1. 15 or 17 inch 4:3 Monitor (with max width 37.8mm) (Example: 17" Dell E176FPC)
2. Raspberry Pi 3 or 3B+ (example)
3. 16 or 32GB Micro SD card Class 10 (example)
4. 5V 3A Power supply (example)
5. HDMI to VGA Converter (example)
6. Zero Delay Arcade USB Encoder & USB Cable (example)
7. 6x Arcade Push Button (Color: Red, Blue, Yellow, White, Black, Green) (example)
8. 2x Arcade Mini Push Button (Color: Black, White) (example)
9. Arcade Joystick (4 ways) (example)
10. USB Mini Speakers (with 3.5mm audio jack) (example)
a. 16/32 GB USB Drive (for storing your game roms) (example)
b. USB hub (example)
c. USB NES Controller (or any other usb controller) (example)
(you can also use a power on sw, but only if you know how to connect it)
Arcade Box: You will find the drawings in next steps of this guide
Download the latest version of RetroPie from here: https://retropie.org.uk/download/
You will need the Win32DiskImager to burn the image file to your micro sd card. If you don't know how to do it, follow the steps at "Write the OS image on SD card" section : https://www.ardumotive.com/raspbianosen.html
You will also need some games roms - RetroPie doesn't include any of them - so just search your game tittles in Google.
Step 2: About RetroPie
I want to give some special thanks to this team for their great job!
- What is RetroPie?
RetroPie allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi or PC into a retro-gaming machine. It builds upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects to enable you to play your favorite Arcade, home-console, and classic PC games with the minimum set-up. For power users it also provides a large variety of configuration tools to customise the system as you want. RetroPie sits on top of a full OS, you can install it on an existing Raspbian, or start with the RetroPie SD image and add additional software later. It's up to you.
- What is an Emulator?
An emulator is software that makes a computer behave like another computer, or in the case of RetroPie a computer that behaves like a video game console such as the Super Nintendo. The RetroPie SD image comes pre-installed with many different emulators. Additional emulators may be installed from within RetroPie.
- What are ROMs?
ROMs are digital versions of game cartridges. Loading up a ROM in an emulator is the equivalent of putting a cartridge in a game console. ROMs are copyrighted content and as such are not included with RetroPie.
- Is RetroPie illegal?
No, the RetroPie software itself is completely legal. Calling it illegal is like calling a video player illegal because it can play illegally-downalod movies.
Some useful links:
Official Website: https://retropie.org.uk/
What consoles are supported?
- Atari 2600
- Atari 7800
- Atari Lynx
- GCE Vectrex
- NEC TurboGrafx-16
- Nintendo 64
- Nintendo Entertainment System
- Nintendo Super NES
- Nintendo Game Boy
- Nintendo Game Boy Color
- Nintendo Game Boy Advance
- Nintendo Virtual Boy
- Sega 32X
- Sega CD
- Sega Master System
- Sega Genesis
- Sega Game Gear
- Sega Saturn
- SNK Neo Geo
- SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color
- Sony PlayStation
- Sony PSP
RetroPie supports many more platforms with varying levels of compatibility and user experience. You can find a full list of supported systems on the official RetroPie Wiki.
Step 3: Box / Parts Drawings
You are free to change any dimension and make your own Arcade Box!
Material: MDF Wood
Speaker part - You will need to open two holes to fit your speakers radius (see images in next step)
Screen part - You will need to change the screen cutting to meet your monitor dimension
Rear part - If you want you can open some holes for air circulation
You will also need a wood part to hold your screen in the box, I will explain in our next steps.
Step 4: Box Assembly
For this step you will need all the MDF wood parts. You will also need some wood screws and wood glue. The images above will help you with the assembly process. If you have any question, just ask me in the comment below!
1. Top - Right - Left Part (you will need 4 wood screws)
2. Control part (wood glue or small screws)
3. Front face (wood glue)
4/5. Screen part (wood glue)
6/7. Speaker and Front top (wood glue)
8. You will need to design this part to fit your monitor base (this will hold your screen inside the box in the correct position) - I am afraid that I can't give you more information for this, maybe the photos in our next steps help you more.
9. Place the rear part (don't use glue/screws)
10. Place the bottom part (don't use glue/screws)
11. The final box with all parts in a place
Great job! Now you can paint it!
I paint it black. Please note, the rear and bottom part must be paint separately!
Step 5: Hardware Assembly
Now that you box is painted in your favorite color you can proceed to hardware assembly. Place the SD card with RetroPie image in the Raspberry Pi board. The images above will help you with the assembly process. If you have any question, just ask me in the comment below!
1. Buttons and Joystick
2/3. Raspberry, USB Controller Board and cables
Connect power and video cables
Step 6: Well Done!
Congratulations! Now you have your own Arcade box in your desk! Well done!
Add your Arcade box photos in the comments below!
What next? Install your games and start playing!
*You can also find in the web images for the raspberry pi with preinstalled games.