Introduction: DIY MAME Arcade Cabinet (2-Player Bartop Style)

Welcome to my DIY MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) Arcade Cabinet build!

This is my first instructable, so please feel free to provide comments below or ask any questions. I grew up playing tons of old-school games and pumped hundreds of quarters into arcade machines at the local hall. I also didn't want to spend a ton of money, wanted to expand my craftsmanship skills, and show my son a few things in the process. I felt I documented quite a bit early on, but then focused more on completion at the end rather than documentation.

I've looked at Instructables for years, and finally wanted to contribute. I'd like to acknowledge the awesome Instructables of 2-Player Bartop Arcade Machine (Galactic Starcade) and Custom Bartop Arcade Cabinet. Those two really inspired me to try these builds. I first built a quick demo unit based on the Galactic Starcade, made it playable but didn't complete the finishing work. I really wanted to see if I had the skills to do it; which I think I learned as I went. I also like to thank my local supply shop; Retro Active Arcade in Edmonton, AB that was very helpful in picking up the remaining parts I needed and bouncing ideas off of them.

After I made a demo unit, I decided to build five (5) of these units at the same time. You'll likely notice in the pictures that multiple units were getting built simultaneously.

Disclaimer: I grew up playing several consoles, and have kept all my old consoles, accessories and games. This was done under the premise of loading roms of games that I currently own while providing a nostalgic gaming experience.


To build this, you'll need the following supplies:


1/2" x 4' x 8' wood (you can use plywood as well, MDF is cheaper but heavier and you need to be careful with dust)
1/2" T-Molding (you can pick your colour, I bought different types but really like how the chrome looks)
1/8" x 24" x 36" Plexi or Acrylic (control panel and marquee)
3/4" x 3/4" Black Aluminum Angle Trim (for Marquee holder)
Brad Nails
Wood Glue (Gorilla Glue works excellent on bare wood)
Wood Screws
Wood Filler
Primer & Black Paint (semi-gloss finish)
Paint Rollers, Brushes, and Trays
Wire (for miscellaneous items)
0.187" female disconnects (for power)
Rear Door Hinges/Hardware (piano hinge or regular hinges with bolt)

Components (buyouts):

Raspberry Pi 3B+ (you can use whatever model you want, but a better model will be required to emulate N64 or other high-end games). - $50 from Canakit
Monitor/Screen (I fixed a broken 22" Samsung Computer monitor) - Free plus $1 in capacitors
2-Player Joystick, Button, and Encoder Kit - $55 on Amazon
5V 3A Micro USB Power Supply - $5 on Ebay
12V 2A Power supply w/ 2.5mm jack (for Marquee LED and audio amplifier) - $5 on Ebay
2.5mm power splitter (1 female x 2 male) - $5 on Amazon
Power bar / Surge Protector - $4 at Dollar Store
4" speakers w/ grills - $15 local store
12V Class D Audio Amplifier - $5 on Ebay
IEC320 Power Switch w/ fuse and rocker switch (screwed version is better than press-fit version) - $5 local store

Hand Tools:

Hammer / Rubber Mallet
Screwdriver set
Tin snips or equivalent cutters
Razor or knife
Wire strippers & crimpers
C-Clamps & Grips

Power Tools:

Table saw (I have a Dewalt DW745)
Jigsaw w/ fine tooth bit for smooth cuts (I have cheap corded Black & Decker)
Air Compressor with Brad Nailer (you can use hammer & nails or screw, but this works well)
Router w/ Router Bits (Flush trim bit 3/4"-1" long, chamfer bit, 1/16" kerf slot cutter w/ bearing)
Sander (I have a cheap Black & Decker mouse style)
Cordless Drill w/ drill bits
Cordless Drill/Impact (not required, but nice to have a drill for drilling, and separate impact for driving screws where required)
Hot Glue Gun
Soldering iron

Step 1: Planning

The general design was borrowed from the excellent layout done by Custom Bartop Arcade. I modified mine slightly to accommodate larger computer monitors. See the attached picture that shows the general dimensions that I used. Here are the steps used here:

  1. Design your layout. I used Excel to map out the dimensions using line tools to scale. Once it looked good, I grouped all the lines to make a side panel layout.
  2. Determine the size of the overlayed side panels. Once the layout looked okay, I copied it, rotated the copy 180 degrees, and then overlayed them to see how to most efficiently use panel space.
  3. Set width to determine overall panel dimensions. I set the width of my arcade at a nice 24" even to allow for nice space, while still being able to rip sheets of wood with my table saw.
  4. Determine panel layouts for cuts. Use Cutlistoptimizer to determine the most efficient use of your panels. Wow, this baby is gem. I wish I found this website years ago. It's amazing for allowing users to input scrap material and efficiently cut out panels. Amazing!!

Note: Regarding cutting front, top, back, and marquee panels, I would suggest cutting them with the same locked setting on a table saw so they are all the exact same width. If you cut them at different times, you may be off slightly. A table saw works great for this task.

Step 2: Side Panels

Side panels take the most work. I planned to build five (5) from the beginning, and wanted to build a template carefully to build other panels, as well as to keep for future use. Here are the steps I used:

  1. Make a template from 1/2" plywood.Cut it as close as possible with a jigsaw, and then sand it like crazy to make the perfect template. All the lines need to be straight as possible, and the curves need to be smooth as this will be used to make all other side panels.
  2. Overlay the template to the 1/2" MDF for tracing. Line up your pre-cut 40" x 18" piece (provided it was cut square) to the back edges, clamp it, then trace it. Remove clamps, flip template 180 degrees, and repeat. You should end up with something traced out like the picture.
  3. Cut out your pieces with a jigsaw. Stay as close to the line, but not on the line. Try to stay within 1/8"-1/4" off the line. This will allow to trace with flush router bit without cutting off too much wood with the router. In my picture, I was too liberal and left too much which caused flush cutting to be a pain. On subsequent builds, I have cut it closer and it works much better.
  4. Trim pieces with flush router bit & template. Trim the jigsaw cuts with a flush router bit. Before turning on the router, make sure that your trim bit won't bottom-out on your table or stand, and that both pieces are secured with c-clamps or grips. Any slack will result in trim piece moving and possibly cutting into your good template.
  5. Sand both pieces together to ensure exact fit. Clamp both side panels together, and then sand them both at the same time to get both pieces identical.
  6. Slot cut the side panels. DO THIS STEP NOW! If you mess up, it's best to mess up at this point and have to re-cut a panel. Once you feel your slot is perfectly centered, test it on a scrap piece of wood first to see how it cuts. I didn't make any mistakes, but I've read many posts about people making slot cut mistakes later on, or having difficult cutting slots and making a mess once the cabinet is assembled. Also, make sure you use the correct slot cut bit kerf size.

Note: Different panel thicknesses (and therefore t-molding widths) require different slot cut sizes. The 1/2" side panels (and subsequent 1/2" t-molding) requires a 1/16" kerf slot cutter for that size of t-molding barb. Check out for more info.

Step 3: Side Panel Preparation (supports)

Once the side panels are cut, trimmed flush, sanded, and slot cut, the next step is to install the side supports. My demo build utilized wood pieces and wood screws. This worked, but not a great idea. Here are the steps I would recommend:

  1. Cut 3/4" x 3/4" support pieces. I had 3/4" MDF that I cut into several square 3/4" x 3/4" support pieces. These were used for panel supports, and also temporary router supports later on.
  2. Layout the panel with your pieces. Cut all pieces and prep your panel by laying all pieces out accordingly.
  3. Use wood glue and 1" brad nails to secure to side panels. Use a clean piece of 3/4" x 3/4" flush with the edge and clamp in place to use as a spacer. Glue a support piece of 3/4" x 3/4" adjacent to the spacer and use the brad nailer to secure.
  4. Let the glue set for a day and you'll never be able to remove those supports. Cheap and effective. I use Gorilla wood glue and a cheap air compressor w/ 1" brad nails.

Step 4: Front Panel (Monitor Bezel)

There are two ways to build the front monitor panel (bezel); Build from strips and fasten accordingly, or cut a hole from a large piece. It's easier to build from a large piece and cut a monitor hole, however it really seems like a waste of wood. I'll post another instructable that shows how I built a bezel using scraps. Here are the steps I used for cutting the front monitor panel from a single piece:

  1. Trim the lower portion of the bezel. The lower edge of the bezel will sit flush against the control panel acrylic, so it fits nice if you add a 7-10 degree bevel.
  2. Trace out monitor. Flip over bezel front face down, lay the monitor down and center it (measure the sides and make sure it's equally spaced). You will want to layout the speakers before you mark the monitor to make sure there is enough clearance above the monitor (~1.5-2" or more), and the speaker grills fit below. Mark out the outline of the monitor with a pencil and remove the monitor.
  3. Layout the supports and prep for cutting. Use 3/4" clean spacers and shim piece (roughly 1/4 to 3/8" wide) to mark where the trim pieces will be nailed down. See the attached picture. Essentially you will want to cut a hole 1/4-3/8" inset of the monitor to hold it in place but give full viewing access to the screen.
  4. Nail down spacers WITHOUT glue. The spacers should be nailed down without glue, as they will be removed later on after the hole is cut, trimmed, and chamfered.
  5. Drill starter holes in each corner and mark cut lines. Starter holes are for the jigsaw blade, and lines are for the jigsaw to follow. Like the side panels, keep the lines close to the edge so the trim bit on the router doesn't have a lot of meat to cut through.
  6. Cut out the monitor opening with the jigsaw. Maintain the 1/8"-1/4" same as the side panels. Nuff said.
  7. Cut out the speaker holes with the jigsaw. You can use a hole saw if you have one, but I didn't have the correct size. A steady hand and a jigsaw worked fine. Again, you'll need a hole to start from.
  8. Trim flush the hole with the nailed supports. Grab the router again and trim the monitor opening flush.
  9. Chamfer the hole you just finished trimming flush. A little chamfer on the edge looks great. Something small like 1/4" is more than fine. Speakers don't need it if you're putting on a speaker grill.
  10. Remove 3/4" supports. Pry carefully with a screwdriver or paint can opener. Once all holes are cut, you can remove the 3/4" supports. Once removed, sand down the MDF as some of it pulls up sometimes and you want it smooth and flush for the monitor to be mounted to the surface.
  11. Layout the monitor and glue/nail supports. Layout the monitor again in line with the original markings, prep your 3/4" supports, and glue/nail acccordingly. Make sure your supports have 1" clearance on either of the sides to not interfere with the 3/4" supports on side panels.
  12. Add side supports & monitor backing support. Add side supports to the monitor supports. Make sure there is clearance for the monitor and 1" from the side edges as mentioned above. Put a flat piece of wood on the back of the monitor to measure how high to make the side supports. Cut them about 1/16"-1/8" too short so that when you screw down the back support it has some 'tension' and will secure the monitor to the bezel.

Step 5: Lower Front Panel

** Pictures reflect a painted unit, as the front panel button cutouts were done after painting **

For these builds, I simply cut the panels and installed them without any consideration for future buttons or power cutouts. I installed the panels during assembly, and then cut them in place. This was messy and unnecessary. I would recommend cutting out any holes and IEC320 power outlet holes now, sand & file as needed, test fit buttons & switches, and prep the panels for assembly.

  1. Prep front panel. Cut top piece with bevel to account for control panel edge. 5-7 degrees is likely sufficient. Also, the control panel should rest on the side panel support, so leave a tiny gap so everything fits nice.
  2. Mark out holes with template, use a punch. Print off a button template (for 4 buttons in a row), tape in place, and use a punch to mark it out on the wood. Pre-drill holes prior to using a forstner bit, as they are expensive and you likely don't want to wear it out prematurely.
  3. Cut holes in front panel. Standard arcade button holes are 1-1/8", but verify with the buttons you ordered. I would HIGHLY recommend using a 1-1/8" forstner bit (and drill press if you have it). I don't have a drill press, so I tried my best to drill straight and steady. Worked like a charm. Forstner bits cut nice clean holes. Spades cut faster but rip and tear at the wood.
  4. Cut any additional holes for accessories. I would highly recommend a 1-1/8" hole port for panel mounted USB hub. This is very handy for USB controllers, and also initial set-up using a USB keyboard. Also, later on if using Kodi without a network, you can plug in a USB flash drive with any movie or picture files for easy viewing.

Note: The pictures show a painted product, however I highly recommend cutting these lower front panel and rear power lower panel cutouts prior to assembly.

Step 6: Rear Lower Panel W/ Power Switch

** Pictures reflect a painted unit, as the rear panel power cutouts were done after priming **

It's best to mark out the power switch prior to installation of the panel during assembly. The switch I purchased had a rough layout for a 28mm x 48mm opening with chamfered ends at the top.

  1. Mark out the opening on the panel. Mark out the switch dimensions and drill a starter hole for the jigsaw blade.
  2. Cut out the opening with a jigsaw. Use relief cuts where necessary to turn the blade.
  3. File accordingly. Trial fit your switch in the opening. If you have a screwed switch, the fit shouldn't be tight, but just right. If you have a press fit version, it should be tight but you shouldn't have to force it. File as needed to make it work.

Note: As an optional item, you can add a SPST switch or rocker for the marquee lights. I did this on my demo unit and liked the feature, but didn't think it was super necessary. As such, I removed this feature for these five (5) builds, and instantly regretted it. The marquee looks great, but sometimes the light is blinding and you just want to shut it off depending on the lighting in the room.

Step 7: Marquee Frame

There are two (2) options with the marquee mount; 1) Make a Marquee Frame (shown here) or, 2) Use 3/4" x 3/4" black aluminum framing. I did both, but the pictures here show marquee frames. I planned to complete the marquee frames as per the custom bartop instructables (see link at the beginning), however it proved to be challenging and didn't really look great close up. I tried a some black aluminum angle at the recommendation of Retro Active Arcade, and it looks 100x better. Good advice. That said, here are the following steps to make a marquee frame from wood:

  1. Cut the piece to fit the arcade. Should match an assembled height, and not be too tight. If it's too tight, once the sides are painted, it won't fit and will damage paint during installation.
  2. Nail 3/4" x 3/4" to guide the router flush bit. Do not use glue, as these pieces will be removed later. Nail with a brad nailer, put the pieces flush to the outside edge.
  3. Drill starter holes and mark lines to follow.
  4. Drill opening with a jigsaw & flush trim. Repeat the same steps done for the monitor opening.
  5. Chamfer the front edge for a nice look.
  6. Remove the guides and sand it down prior to installation.

Note: It's really tricky to router flat over a width of 3/4" as the router will tip if your handy isn't perfect and steady. Try cutting a wider piece first, router it flush and chamfer, then use a table saw CAREFULLY to cut it to size. Ultimately, I'd highly recommend using 3/4" x 3/4" black aluminum, as it looks way nicer and is super easy to install.

Step 8: Assembly

The assembly section covers the basic wood frame assembly from pre-cut panels (listed above) through to preparation for painting. I usually install in the following sequence; lower front panel, bottom, rear bottom power panel, top panel(s), lower marquee support.

Note: When attaching panels, use a small square to ensure the attaching panel is perpendicular to the side panel. Also, be liberal with the glue, but have a rag or paper towel handy to wipe up excess glue. Tip when installing panels; use extra 3/4" x 3/4" braces as guides. Lastly, side panel and panel support braces should be glued and dry for roughly 8-12 hours before applying side panels.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start with a side panel c/w 3/4"x3/4" braces attached. With side panel flat on it's outer edge, glue the edge of the board you're about to attach, and brad nail to 3/4" brace. There is no need to brad nail through the side panel for additional support. It will keep the side panels nice and clean, and the glue is more than adequate when it hardens. Use a small square if you have it to ensure the panel you're attaching is 90 degrees to the side panel.
  2. Start with the lower front panel. Put a brace along the control panel support as a guide to ensure that the front panel is not mounted too high.
  3. Install bottom panel. This one doesn't have to be perfect, as nobody will see it as the front panel and rear panels overlap this one.
  4. Install lower rear power panel. Should be flush with bottom panel, however it's more important for this panel not to be to be too low.
  5. Install top rear panel. This should have a 5-7 degree cut at the top to line up nicely with the top panel. Use a guide on top to line it up properly, as the middle rear section will be the door assembly, and that can be cut to the as-built dimensions.
  6. Install top panel. The back of this panel (closest to the back of the cabinet) should also have a 5-7 degree cut on it to sit flush with the rear of the arcade. Angle depends on your exact design. Tip: When cutting this piece, cut the piece a bit larger than required, and cut the back angle first. Cut it a few times until you get the exact angle you're looking for. Once the angle is right, because you cut the back edge first and the piece is a bit larger than required, you can now measure up to the front exactly and trim accordingly.
  7. Install lower marquee support. The importance here is to line up the panel to the exact same distance at the front. If there is a small gap between this panel and the bezel piece, it's not a big deal as nobody will see it. In fact, it's good to leave a bit of a gap so it's not so tight to install the bezel (front piece) later.

Note: Now all panels should be installed on one side, but they won't be very stable. Be careful, and leave on this side for now until both side panels are attached to all panels and have dried. Now we are ready to install the other side panel.

  1. Add glue to the edges of all panels sticking up. You need to add glue to all panels first, as trying to glue one-by-one after the second side is on will be too challenging. You'll need to be fast with these next steps. All panels should be attached to the second side panel in the same order.
  2. Install the rear side supports around the door assembly. The side supports will attach to the 3/4" braces nicely, however I added additional pieces in the corners around the door for added support.
  3. Clean up all glue residue. Otherwise, it will dry and look crusty.
  4. Trial fit the control panel. It should be fit loose, as it'll be tougher to install later when the cabinet is painted.
  5. Trial fit the front panel. Similar to the control panel, trial fit and make sure it's loose fitting. Also, make sure there is clearance above the control panel including the thickness of the plexiglass/acrylic (just wedge a piece on top of the control panel for fitting purposes.

You should now have something that resembles an arcade cabinet!! Let it dry for a day, and move on to painting.

Step 9: Sanding, Priming, and Painting

Having built several units now, I have found the best results are due to taking your time to do things properly and not rushing steps. The basic process is filler, sand, more filler, prime, sand, prime, sand, paint, sand, paint, sand, paint. You get the idea, right? Here are the steps:

  1. Use a punch to recess any imperfections or nails sticking out. Use this tool recess accordingly. Don't worry about making small holes as the next steps will be to use filler and make it flush.
  2. Use wood filler to close all gaps and holes. I would recommend using Elmer's wood filler. Just a dab on your finger and wipe it flush works great.
  3. Let wood filler harden, then sand. Takes about 8-10 hours for wood filler to harden to the point where sanding makes sense. Start with an 80-120 grit for rough sanding. Then wipe clean.
  4. Add more filler. This should be the final application of filler. If not, repeat these steps again. Sand with finer paper this time; 180-220 grit works good at this point. Wipe clean and let dry.
  5. Apply primer. First coat sucks up primer like crazy, but DO NOT over apply. You will be doing 2 coats of primer, so best to keep it light so it doesn't run. I used a foam roller to apply, and a narrow brush for edges and corners. Let dry for 6-8 hours for best results.
  6. Sand with 220+ grit paper. Wipe and let dry.
  7. Re-apply primer (2nd coat). Sames steps apply. Keep it light to avoid run. Wait 24 hrs for final primer coat. Sand, wipe, and let dry.
  8. Apply semi-gloss finish paint. Same as primer, applied with foam roller. Same application principles; apply lightly and avoid runs. First coat will look terrible, this is okay. DO NOT feel the need to over apply paint on the first coat to make it look good right away. Runs looks terrible and are a pain to sand. Finish paint needs 24 hrs before sanding and wiping.
  9. Repeat for 2nd and 3rd (final) coats. After final coat, no more sanding & wiping obviously.
  10. Sit back and marvel at your sweet painting skills.

Note: Always paint in a ventilated area. I used my garage and kept the door open as much as possible. Also, buy low VOC paint to avoid excessive fumes. Semi-gloss paint has a nice finish for arcade cabinets. Matte is dull, Glossy is too shiny. I don't have experience with a satin finish. I used black 'limousine leather' as a finish colour. Looks great and you can easily use different trim to change up the look.

Step 10: Control Panel

On the first demo and batch of arcades I built, I painted the panels and then cut holes accordingly, including the arcylic. This is not a great idea. I would recommend cutting all appropriate holes in bare wood, as well slot-cutting the front edge for trim PRIOR to any painting or finishing work. Here are the steps:

1. Slot-cut the front edge. Use the same slot-cutter that was used on the side panels to cut the front edge.

2. Layout printed holes. Print control panel button layout (sample 6 button option above), and tape to the board. Punch all appropriate holes with punch & hammer.

3. Drill all holes with smaller 1/8" bit. I find this is a great way to avoid wearing out my forstner bit. Pre-drill on the holes you punched, and then pull out the forstner bit.

4. Drill all holes with Forstner Bit. Standard buttons are 1-1/8" holes, but measure to be sure. Some kits have smaller select/start or coin/player1 buttons. Measure twice, cut once!!

4b. Mark out where the joysticks go and trim accordingly (OPTIONAL STEP). Only bother doing this if your panel is thicker than 1/2". Mark the joystick and use the router to trim it down to 1/2". Don't go thinner than 3/8" as you'll need some rigidity for the joystick. I had 1/2" to begin with, so I left as is.

5. Overlay acrylic and cut holes to match. I pre-cut all holes with a step drill bit as close as possible. Then take a flush router trim bit to make the final holes perfect and clean to match the drilled out control panel holes.

Pro-tip: You will thank me for this later. USE A ROUTER WITH FLUSH TRIM BIT TO MAKE THE HOLES NICE. This is the best advice you'll get. Holes cut with step drill bits are messy and forstner bits don't work well on acrylic. Flush trim bits on a router make the edges beautiful.

6. Paint the control panel. Don't be stingy on the paint. Use several coats (at least 3 or 4). Avoid painting the sides or underneath. Sides will just cause the panel to bind during installation.

7. Attach the acrylic using buttons. No need to fasten the acrylic directly to the panel. Line it up with a few buttons and attach.

8. Install all remaining buttons. No need to overtighten, no need for a button wrench. Don't wire yet.

9. Install joysticks. Flip the board over on the front (I use two side spacers to avoid squishing buttons), and then mark some crosshairs on the wood over the joystick holes. This will help with alignment to ensure the joystick is mounted and centered on the hole.

10. Install USB encoders. Consider the location of the encoder relative the front panel, where the USB cable will go (ie. not to the side), and proximity of board to the buttons based on the wiring provided in your kit.

11. Wire all buttons & joystick to encoder. This is the easy part, especially if you have JST-style wiring where it's a single connector. If not, take your time and wire accordingly. Having done all types of wiring, JST is the easiest. Single connectors with a daisy-chain harness is the next, and manual wiring with self-made daisy chain is extremely time-consuming and painful. AVOID the last option where possible.


Step 11: T-Molding Trim

T-Molding is quite easy to install. You will need a rubber mallet or hammer (rubber mallet works better). You will also need a utility blade and scissors/snips. I also did the entire side panel perimeter, however you can do just the front and leave the back and bottom bare if you want.

Note: At each sharp corner, you will need to cut the spine (in a V groove) to allow the t-molding to bend around a corner. Even if the corner is not sharp, but has a tight radius, you may want to add some cuts to the spine to allow it bend easily.

Here are the steps:

  1. Tip the arcade on the back and start at the lower rear back corner. Start at the back and work your way to the front. Pound t-molding with rubber mallet as you go. Do not install an entire piece and then pound it in, as it will bunch up. Pro tip; Prior to starting your first piece, cut a small 45 degree snip at the edge. When you join the 2 pieces at the back, there won't be any interference.
  2. Snip spine around corner, move up to front edges. When you're about 3-4" away from any corner that requires a cut, mark it out, snip relief cuts in the spine, and then continue to pound with rubber mallet.
  3. Go around the entire arcade until the end. Measure out the final length about 3-4" away from the end (lower back piece), and cut off your t-molding spool with snips. Next, cut a 45 degree spine relief similar to when you started, and then finish off pounding with your mallet. Now you are done one side.
  4. Complete the sames steps for the other side. Nuff said.
  5. Complete the trim on the front of the control panel. No relief cuts are required on this one as it's a single piece.

Note: Prior to ordering your required t-molding, use a piece of string to tape to the edge of the side panel to measure your exact length required. Multiply by 2 (for the other side panel) and add the length required for your control panel to get total required length. Add 5-10% to your totals to be safe; you don't want to be short on t-molding after doing all this work!

Step 12: Marquee Light Panel

The marquee light panel is a removable panel that has an LED strip as backlight to give that true arcade feel to this build. I used 2 strips of cool white LEDs. Here are the steps:

1. Cover in tin foil. Grab your wood and cover in tin foil. I suggest hot glue, but work quickly as it'll dry fast and be lumpy.

2. Measure 2 LED strips and cut. Measure 2 pieces of the exact length you require. Cut accordingly at the appropriate cut lines on the LED strip.

3. Solder the strips together. Tape the strips down so they don't move, and prep 2 wires. Wires just need to be stripped and tinned (pre-soldered for easy attachment).

4. Attach 2 LED strips together. Make sure + goes to +, and - goes to -, in order to complete the circuit as if they were the original single LED strip.

5. Test with 9V battery. Test your set-up PRIOR to attaching to the panel.

6. Smile in amazement as your LED strips light up. Nuff said here.

7. Remove backing, and attached to panel. LED strips have a removable backing to reveal sticky surface. Attach to the board immediately, and then add hot glue to secure appropriately.

8. Re-test with 9V battery. Just make sure it's good to go before the final installation.

Step 13: Rear Power Switch & Power Bar

Please see the attached instructable on how to Wire Up a Fused AC Male Power Socket. The switch is an IEC320 switch c/w fuse.

For the bottom jumper wires, I just cut some 14-2 standard multi-pair you use in your home, strip the outer coating, and grabbed the white & black wires. I added female disconnects for easy hookup compared to soldering. Here are the steps:

  1. Trial fit the Power Switch. Seems silly, but trial fit it first. No sense forcing it. Also, if you fit it before painting, try fitting it again just in case you got paint in the hole. Trust me, it makes a difference. File it down as required.
  2. Cut the power bar cord near the plug and add female disconnects to all 3 wires. Snip the end of the power bar near the prongs. Add female disconnects and crimp. If you don't have insulated disconnects, I would recommend covering in black electrical tape. Once they are installed, it's tight around the switch and you don't want to short out your wires and blow a fuse before you start gaming.
  3. Fish the power bar cord through the panel hole, and connect to switch. Once the power cord has all disconnects, fish it through the panel hole from the inside of the arcade to the outside at the back. Hook it up to switch as per the instructable link above.
  4. Install the switch on the panel. If you have a press fit, ensure the hole isn't too tight. Also, press fit version can put pressure on the male end of the cable that inserts into the switch, so make sure it fits before finishing. As such, I highly recommend avoiding the press fit versions and go with the screwed versions.
  5. Test for power. Use a voltage or power tester before finalizing to ensure you have power to all outlets.

Step 14: Monitor & Speaker Install

When creating the front monitor bezel previously, the monitor was fit and the backing support board was test fit. In this step, the monitor will be installed along with the speakers, audio amplifier, and associated wiring. Here are the following steps:

  1. Install the monitor. Place the front panel (bezel) front-side down, and install the monitor and backing support board. It should be a perfect fit as it was trial fit previously prior to painting.
  2. Install the speakers. Mark the centre lines on the hole before placing the speakers so that you know it's centered over the hole. Speaker wire tabs should face towards the audio amp location for ease of installation of the wiring.
  3. Solder wires to the speakers. Polarity doesn't matter.
  4. Install the audio amplifier. Place in the slot accordingly, and fasten the washer and nut so it's tight. Attach the wiring from the speakers. Mine were dupont connectors so it was a simple splice to the soldered wires.

Step 15: Final Hookup & Assembly

Now that all components are completed, they can be assembled in a complete unit. With the main unit upright, complete the following steps:

1. Install the monitor & bezel. Use a spacer to ensure that front is mounted at the correct height. Usually I would put a scrap piece of wood and acrylic here to ensure there is adequate space for the control panel. Make sure all cables are accessible (monitor vga/dvi/hdmi, power cable, audio, etc.)

2. Install the control panel. Make sure the USB cables are not hung up, and fish them through to the back so that they are accessible to hook up to the rpi. Flush the control panel to the front of the arcade and screw it down.

3. Install the upper marquee. Add any graphics as applicable and fasten accordingly.


Time to move on to installation of the Raspberry Pi....

Step 16: Raspberry Pi Programming

There are a lot of great tutorials on how to install and set-up raspberry pi units. I would recommend the following instructables:

ETA PRIME has a lot of great tutorials on Youtube as well.

Here are the basic steps on getting this unit ready:

Step 1: Set up Micro SD card. Plug into your computer using an adapter, clear the card using SD card formatter (link here). Pro-tip: Unplug all USB flash drives or anything else when doing this to avoid accidentally formatting the wrong drive.

Step 2: Get an image. You can get a standard blank image from or get a pre-configured image from various sites. I really like Arcade Punks, as it's a really great site for other resources as well. For images, if you're a beginner, I would recommend Retropie as it's a little more user friendly and seems to have a larger support network and forum base, however another fave is Recalbox. Both are really great.

Step 3: Burn the image to SD card. I really like Balena Etcher. It's really amazing. Load your card, find it with Balena, then burn your image to the card.

Step 4: Boot up! Plug in all components as per connection diagram above, plug in SD card, then turn on the power. Initial boot up will configure controllers.

Step 5 (if needed): If using a pre-compiled image, chances are you are good to go now. If using a basic Retropie or Recalbox image, you'll need to add roms. For obvious reasons, you need to google this step. Once you get roms (of games you already own), you can transfer using a program that will interface with SSH like Cyberduck. Or if you're lazy and don't want another program on your computer, I simply use windows explorere and type the IP address in the address bar. To find your IP address, go to the Retropie Settings page and click on 'IP address' or hit F4 on a keyboard then type 'ifconfig' in the command prompt then press enter. Roms go into the roms folder (duh).

Step 6: Scrapers!! If you don't have a pre-compiled image, scraping your roms is great and adds a nice touch to the user interface. It'll take some time depending on your number of roms (ie. several hours sometimes). Set it up, go have a nap or something.

Step 7: Everything is working now! Grab a friend and have some fun!!!!

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