Introduction: Mini Wooden Arcade Machine Cabinets

My son has been working on games for a while now and we wanted a way to show them off at a hack night.

I had bought a bunch of 10 inch VGA touch screens a while ago for some automotive projects I was working on.

I had 4 monitors left so I made 4 cabinets.

I went to the garage and looked thorough the wood pile and found enough scraps to make 4 of them. You might notice the laminate flooring used on the keyboard trays from several of my previous projects. My friend ripped up the laminate floor from his kitchen and foyer and I took it all home. I always check the dumpsters at work for hidden treasures. I've found electrical parts like a knife switch, large sheets of plywood and even metal mesh panels from a radiator cover. It's a great way to keep your project costs low. My father got me started about 45 years ago so I have a good stockpile now. I've got my son looking too. 3 generations and going strong!

Step 1: Plans

It would have been nice if we had a plan. It was more like several hours of arguing over some cardboard cutouts we made from all the eBay shipments we get. I have to bring this template to work and scan it since it is the official template I used for the sides. It probably differs a bit from the dimensions we drew up. All the other pieces are a foot wide. Their last dimension is penciled in on the drawing or whatever looked good. Translation, whatever was the closest size of scrap wood nearby.....

Step 2: Cutting Out the Parts

I started with a fresh bandsaw blade since this bandsaw was bought for $20 at a yard sale and had seen some abuse......

I cut the side panels in pairs that I pinned together. This way they are a match. You'll notice registration marks on the bottoms(what looks like a chicken walked across them). That was to be sure the cut set stayed together on the way inside the house.

We used some 1x4's for framing and support and pegboard for the floor. If you have good quality 1x4's you can cut a bunch of cleats to hold all the parts together.

I used some laminate floor board scraps for the keyboard shelves.

These are pretty solid and keep their strength well enough after being drilled for switches. I just happened to have a few left over from my friends kitchen demolition.

Assembly went quick with an air powered staple gun. No problem about the staples since the gun drops them just below the surface. That way I can fill them with a little wood putty and then paint the sides

Step 3: Computers

We used Acer Revo atom based machines we had left over from Boxee setups. And odd mix of Windows 7 home and Windows XP.

I tried a raspberry pi running retro pi but the monitor didn't like it at first. Probably because I used an HDMI to VGA adapter. I later learned a trick. If the monitor is powered off when the pi boots up you get 640x480 but if you turn the monitor on first it goes to 1920x1080

That's just too much for the old screens I had. The trick was to get it to boot in the 640x480 mode so I could add some resolution settings to the config file and for HDMI Audio. Then Retro Pi worked great. I found a cool pi case on thingiverse and printed a couple of them.

Step 4: Little Bits

I found some shortie VGA and USB cables in the scrap pile. For the power strips I either used a dollar store special or I just shortened up some extension cords. My son made all of the graphics panels. I went to Lowes and found these 8 foot plastic edging strips for $2 each. They made a really a nice edge around the top Plexiglass panel. Wireless dongles took care of the network connection.

We argued about whether or not to backlight the top panel and if it should breathe or respond to game sounds. We couldn't agree so for now it does none of that. The one in my office may do all of that soon.

Step 5: Hack Night

Well they made it to Hack Night. They actually worked great. They didn't get any paint and finishing. There just wasn't time. I did get out a putty knife and wood filler but that will have to wait. I wanted to spray the sides with either Krylon stone look alike paint or thank trunk speckled paint from the auto store.

Step 6: Extra's

We left one of the cabinets in my office so I can experiment with it.

One of my favorite uses for the XP box is with DWJukebox and the Lcars skin.

I had also made this Tweet A Pic Raspberry Pi I saw in Nuts & Volts. I made some improvements like using a capacitive touch sensor and an "Angel Eye" ring light with a custom 3D printed holder. My son Nick says I should incorporate that into one of the cabinets. As you can see more floorboards here too.

Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016