Classic Arcade Cabinet




Introduction: Classic Arcade Cabinet

This project was made by a FirstBuild community member who wanted to build an arcade cabinet. They wanted to utilize the ShopBot at First Build and essentially "print" out the cabinet. Their priorities focused around ease of cabinet assembly, accessibility, and compatibility with the X-Arcade Tank Stick. They spent several hours optimizing the design within AutoCAD. The collaborative effort during the initial design stage paid off immensely as the final product fit together as if it were purchased as a professional kit. Below are the detailed steps needed to complete this project and hopefully with this guide and the files below you can build your own cabinet.

Supplies used:

Title (Quantity)

Router with 1/4in fillet bit (1)

Drill bit for screw pilot holes (1)

Tape measure (1)

Carpenter square (1)

Paint Brush (1)

Paint Roller ~ 1.5 inch nap (1)

Power Drill (1)

1/4in acrylic roughly 6in x 24in (1)

White electrical tape for Marquee LED edge lighting (1)

Box of Wood screws ~2in (1)

Wood glue (1)

Primer paint if used (1)

Flat black oil based paint (1)

3/4in x 4ft x 8ft MDF sheet (3)

Power strip (1)

PC speakers (1)

LED light strips kit (1)

VERSA Monitor Mount (1)

Widescreen monitor to fit 21.875in x 13.25in opening. (1)

X-Arcade Tank Stick (1)

Personal Computer (1)

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Step 1: Cut Cabinet Panels Using Shopbot

Use the Shopbot to cut out the panels in the attached file.

Step 2: Route Cabinet Edges

Use router and 1/4 inch fillet round bit and route all visible edges of the freshly cut cabinet panels. Route both the inside and outside edges of the cabinet to ensure all visible edges are finished and smooth which gives the cabinet a professional look.

Step 3: Assemble Cabinet Panels

Apply glue to all of the dado joints and screw together all panels as shown within main drawing files. There is a pdf file within the build folder that gives all dimensions and can help you understand where the parts fit and how.

DO NOT glue panels that you want to slide, like front monitor panel, marquee panel, and upper back panel. They used the upper back panel to access the PC and other crucial components of the arcade cabinet.

Step 4: Prepare for Paint

Fill all screw holes and use drywall joint compound on all routed edges to prevent paint from soaking into edges and not giving that finished look. Once filler and compound have dried then sand down and paint with primer. Let this dry for a couple of days.

Step 5: Paint Cabinet

Use a flat black oil based paint to cover the cabinet. They purchased a gallon of paint at Home Depot and it was made by Rust-Oleum. This paint type is very thick and messy and will take a few days to dry. They had to use several passes of paint to cover all areas of the cabinet. They used a roller for the larger flat areas and a brush for the corners and hard to reach places. You will need some type of paint thinner to properly clean up the mess it will make.

Step 6: Marquee

Use FirstBuild's Universal laser to etch 1/4 inch acrylic with "ARCADE" logo or any other design you would like to use for your cabinet. It is very important that you etch the image on the BACK side of the acrylic so that when you edge light with LEDs you do not get shadowing and the light is somewhat filtered as it passes through the acrylic to the visible front face. Notice from the image how the image is backwards and they are etching on the back of the material and the front visible face is down.

Step 7: Edge Light Marquee With LEDs

They purchased LED strips online that are used for car accents and home theater backlighting. There are many options just pick one that you think will work. They used a kit from Amazon called Torchstar LEDs and it works great. They purchased white electrical tape to adhere the LED strips to the acrylic marquee. Placing white tape on all the edges allows the light to reflect back into the acrylic instead of bleeding out the uncovered edges. They placed a single LED strip along the top of the marquee (not like the picture shows). There is a black painted piece of wood placed behind the marquee. I also made a special harness to light an LED strip under my X-Arcade Tank Stick controller.

Step 8: Assemble Components Into Cabinet

Now that everything is painted and the marquee is complete you can assemble all of the critical components. Install monitor/ mount, PC, tank stick, marquee with LED light on edge and PC speakers. There are far too many steps to list here but in short the end goal is to install the PC and components to begin playing games on your new cabinet. Note that the X-Arcade Tank Stick acts just like a keyboard input so there is very little setup required and no wiring needed!

Step 9: Setup Arcade Software

Many people online have made tutorials for this type of setup and I'm not going to recreate the wheel. Google key words such as mame setup, maximus arcade setup, arcade emulator setup...etc...

I use a Maximums Arcade frontend which was free with the purchase of an X-Arcade Tank Stick. I have also used a free open source frontend called Hyperspin. You will have to invest the time to understand how to install and play these games on your new cabinet and PC. There are many many resources on the internet and it is very easy to accomplish but you have to figure it out and do this on your own. Once setup is complete enjoy the fun and good luck!

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    7 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I'm thinkng of taking an hour at my local fablab to cut out the panels, but which size of wood panels would I need?
    Also, when opening the file with my PC, Its scale is based on an A4 Sheet of paper, so which scale should I go with to get a cabinet ?


    1 year ago on Step 9

    I have been working with a great frontend called LaunchBox. It is easy to install the game and can launch all kinds of systems from NES to steam games.


    Question 2 years ago on Step 3

    What are the screen measurements? I am wanting to build this, but I do not want to buy a screen to have it not fit correctly.


    Answer 2 years ago

    Nevermind I found the measurements in the instructions, should have kept reading.


    3 years ago

    Step one: Have a ShopBot... I WISH!


    Reply 3 years ago

    If you're in Louisville, you can come use ours!


    Reply 3 years ago

    That's nice of you... but I'm nowhere near there. :-/