After seeing some amazing arcade cabinets around the Web I decided I really wanted to build one for myself. Most projects I saw were pretty technical and took weeks and sometimes months to finish. I wanted to show it was possible, with the right tools and motivation, to build something that looked great and that most people would be happy with in a fraction of the time.
Step 1: Materials and Weekend Number 1
Materials and tools needed:
1 sheet 2400X1200X18mm MDF
1 sheet 2400X1200X4mm MDF
1 sheet 900x600x3mm clear acrylic
Screws suitable for MDF
Nail gun or hammer and nails
Raspberry pi 3 b+
Joystick, buttons, pcb and wires
I decided on MDF as it's relatively cheap and sturdy enough for this kind of build. I had an old, high quality 19 inch LCD monitor and a 2.1 PC speaker system lying around already which made the project cheaper. I received a Raspberry pi from my wife for my birthday and a "Picade console" which contained all the necessary buttons, joystick and PCB to set up the arcade controls. Other than that I purchased a 3mm thick sheet of clear acrylic for the screen cover, marquee and control board.
My brother in-law, a builder, helped me a lot with this project. Together we settled on a set of plans we found online and he had the MDF marked up ready for cutting in about 30 minutes. Using a battery powered handheld plunge saw and jigsaw we had all our pieces cut and sanded in about 4 hours.
The following day we put most of it together and I installed the screen and temporarily mounted the speakers for a test run. So far, so good. I realised that the screen would need to power on automatically when the cabinet was turned on and so had to hard wire the power button on using a small piece of wire and a soldering iron.
Step 2: Weekend Number 2
Time to paint and put it together. This was all pretty straight forward as we had planned ahead regarding inner access to the cabinet and placement of the components. I used checker plate contact paper across the speaker board and black primer spray paint for the initial coat of paint.
The front panel is attached using cabinet magnetic catches for easy access. Wiring up the buttons and joystick couldn't have been any easier as the kit I used is designed to be as simple as possible.
I only have one set of arcade controls at present, but we can have up to 4 players simultaneously with wireless xbox 360 controllers connected via a receiver connected to the Raspberry pi.
The comic book design on the outside of the cabinet is wallpaper bought from my local hardware store and was extremely easy to apply. The lights in the marquee are an LED strip bought from the same store and can be cycled through colours, patterns etc.
It's not complete yet, but close enough for now. I will be having another piece of clear acrylic laser cut to cover the control board and accommodate a second set of controls. I will update this Instructable when it's 100% complete.
Ultimately I believe I achieved my goal and it looks better than I expected for such a fast build.