Introduction: How to Laser Cut a Arcade Cabinet

RetroPie is an operating system for the raspberry pi which can be used as an emulator that can emulate almost any retro game inside an arcade machine. This arcade machine is entirely laser cut and glued together with 1/4" or 6mm plywood. It can only play games that can be played single player with a d pad and 8 buttons. This is the perfect project for those who are tired of collecting retro gear and just want to emulate everything. For live streaming you can stick a capture card inside this and live stream or record game play.


  1. All 8 buttons printed along with two different color filaments to print them with.
  2. A ton of 1/4" or 6mm plywood.
  3. Spray paint (optional)
  4. Hot glue or silicone glue.
  5. 4 really long m5 bolts.
  6. m5 wing nuts or similar nuts.
  7. Audio system for the raspberry pi (optional)
  8. Raspberry pi.
  9. RetroPie SD card
  10. Wood working clamps
  11. Arcade buttons with usb controller.

Laser cut pieces

  1. One arcade back
  2. One arcade bottom
  3. one arcade front
  4. Two arcade sides
  5. As many as needed monitor mounts
  6. One monitor panel

Step 1: Clamping the Monitor With the Help of the Mounts

  1. Monitor mount part 1 are a series of right angle bracket parts that are meant to be laser cut 4 times the thickness of the monitor so that they can be put onto each corner of the the monitor panel. Keep in mind they may need to be adjusted to accommodate the monitor which is why you may want to edit the hole location for bolting this.
  2. Put a bolt through the part 1 mount for each corner.
  3. Put the monitor in between these brackets and attach part 2 of the mounts.
  4. Put a nut on as tightly as possible around the bolts. Your monitor should not be able to come loose.

Step 2: Glue the Assembly Together

  1. Use wood working clamps to hold everything together while you hot glue the whole assembly minus the back panel. That will need to be removed for the next few steps. Also you may want to save gluing the button panel for later. We will be attaching buttons and the joystick to it in the next step.

Step 3: Button Panel

  1. Screw in the buttons with the hardware that came with them.
  2. Wire the buttons to the usb controller for it that should have come with the buttons and joystick.
  3. Use m3 hardware to bolt the joystick to the appropriate holes.
  4. Wire the joystick to the usb controller.
  5. Glue in the panel if you haven't already.

Step 4: Buttons

  1. 3D print the buttons up until the layers are up to the lettering. Then manually pause the print.
  2. Switch out the material to a similar material put with a different color and continue the print until done.
  3. Once you are done with the print super glue the button lettering onto the perspective button you want with the lettering.

Step 5: Wiring

Wire everything as followed in the diagram.

Step 6: Installing the Retropie

  1. Use standoffs and drill holes into the rear panel mounting the raspberry pi with standoffs.
  2. Follow the directions for installing retropie and put it on the sd card and put the sd card in the pi itself.
  3. Follow the directions in retropie for setting up the buttons and joystick. They are easy to follow and rather forgiving if mistakes happen.
  4. Make sure to setup the select button as your hotkey button so that in order to exit a game you press select and start at the same time to exit and play a different game.

Step 7: Conclusion

There are many ways to add games to this. All of them involve getting your hands on roms and adding them to the perspective folder on this. I like to use wifi and access the pi remotely with my computers home folder. Then I put the roms in the perspective folder. Keep in mind downloading roms is illegal and violates the copy right laws which is why you want to be careful what roms you download. Also extracting roms from games you already own is not illegal at all. Good luck!

Electronics Contest

Participated in the
Electronics Contest