How to Build a Bartop Arcade




Introduction: How to Build a Bartop Arcade

Based on some inspiration from Instructables, and a love for vintage video games I decided to build my own bartop arcade. Some one built one on here that I borrowed some of the methods. I too don't like emulation. I like the originals. I could give Step by Step directions on how to build this but a picture says a thousand words, and I have a lot of pictures. This is what you'll need:

15" LCD TV/ Monitor
NES Gamegenie
1 1/2 sheets of 5/8" MDF
a couple of 2x4's or 1x2's whichi ever you prefer
24" x 24" x 2 of 1/8" thick Lexan
12 suzo-happ arcade buttons
2 suzo-happ joysticks
6 momentary buttons of your choice
1 single pole single throw 2 position button of your choice
T-molding 20 ft
12" flourescent light
4" speakers from Autozone 
wood glue

repro vinyl

of course you will need some tools, I did everything with:

circular saw
orbital sander

I'll gladly answer any questions, but the basic instruction is:
1. Build a box
2. Paint the box
3. Perform all electronic mods
4. Install electronics into box
5. Play your new Bartop Arcade

I hope you like it and please leave comments. I hope that this project inspires you like I have been inspired by the contributors of this site.



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    20 Discussions

    It depends on where it's going. I have one left with a sega Genesis in it. I could deliver it if you are close to CT.

    Pls help me!! I want to build one of these but I have lots of questions so can u pls email me @ thx

    hi do you have an actual size template for the box

    I am looking for an instructable similar to this that uses an Emulator and possibly a rasberry PI for the games.

    I like the idea but it needs all of the steps and dimensions

    1 reply

    Great work! I'm working on a much larger version myself. Could you tell me where you got your repro vinal and decals at? I'm having a hard time finding them and yours looks very good! Thanks!!! :D

    1 reply

    cut and paste into your browser to see videos of the machines.

    It's about 30 inches tall. 24 inches across. About 20 inches deep. The trick is to make the sides first and base everything off of that. I started the first one and it's not really serviceable. Your stuck with that monitor and if it dies you need to find the exact same one. The newer are easier to interchange components since it was designed to easily be taken apart. If you wanted exact blueprints I would have to draw them out because I really didn't use any. I just started building it and figured stuff out along the way.

    What great workmanship
    You did a great job
    How much would you charge to make one

    1 reply

    I never considered selling them but the raw material cost was about $300.00 I don't really try to crank them out because it's the hobby I enjoy the build. I guess $600.00 or so depending on how nice you wanted it. These machines have competition controls and lexan covered control panels and monitors. I make them out of 3/4" plywood now so they are basically bullet proof. Plus it would be cheaper if you provided the guts. If I have to find the equipment then that's when the prices start to vary. I made the SEGA Genesis one from a dump rescue. My friend found one still in the box and had a bunch of games in with it. It was clean and barely used.

    Nice Work man, I really liked it, you should watch "The Ben Heck Show" he does staff like this all the time, search him on youtube or on

    As you already know I got most of the ideas from you. I've always loved both the arcade and Nintendo. I just never thought of putting them together. I was going to build a MAME but I think this is better if you already have the games. Thanks for the comment. Next is the SNES version coming soon...........

    I just hope it gets some recognition, most people go the easy route, but your finished product shows that you put in the time/money/effort to make a really nice piece.