Intro: Using Mame/ Building a Mame Cabinet
Well after a few months of thinking of building a mame cabinet, I'm on my way. I thought I would post my progress and such. This is a semi FULL tutorial that will break down each piece of building a cabinet. Also below is a pdf file that will help you on your geek, handyman of a trek. Also check this instructable, themakeclass did a fine job http://instructables.com/id/Arcade-Cabinet---Play-arcade-games-old-skool/ I'd like to think of mine as a "puddy" to fill in the "cracks" where themakeclass had "cracks"
Step 1: MAME 32
Step 2: The Cabinet
If you decide to take mame to the next level off your desk, and into a cabinet you will need to either build from scratch or restore an older cabinet. I had a older cabinet in my work shop from years ago and though to restore that and use if for mame. My older cabinet was dirty and grimmy so I took it apart in order to wipe everything down with clorox and it also made it easier to sand and prep things. Later on as seen in the pictures we took a few 2x4s and stabilized the whole cabinet.
Step 3: The Monitor
the monitor is key for an awesome mame cabinet I used an old 21inch CRT TV because it was free and it fit perfect in the cabinet. Note: If you use a TV you will need a graphic card in your computer that allows for a composite out. I build my computers so finding a spare graphic card as such was no big sweat but for the average joe, you may need to look for such a graphic card. For the TV to be held in the cabinet at such an angle we used two 23.25" 2x4s to hold it in place and used an additional one for extra support. Please check out the pictures to fully understand what I'm talking about.
Step 4: The Play Field
My panel has 2 players 6 buttons and 2 credits and 2 starts also an exit and pause. The play field/ panel design I have is an influenced design of mine I have been looking into this subject for SOME time and during this time I thought of what I liked and what would work. For my panel I have it on 3 hinges so that the keyboard below in exposed in case I need it. I have a picture of the OLD panel and have a picture of the newly cut piece of MDF that "Is to be" the new panel. Later on I truly hope to insert a trackball (missile command rocks)
Step 5: the Controls of the Panel
One other important consideration is keyboard "ghosting" and "blocking." If you've ever been typing fast or just pressed many keys at the same time, you may have seen a weird keystroke appear that you didn't type - this is ghosting, a phantom keystroke that appears. Alternatively, you might see the situation where you hit several keys at the same time, then try yet another, and the final keystroke doesn't appear - this is blocking, a keystroke that refuses to register. Both situations can play havok with game controls. Imagine trying to fire and instead just sitting still while a bad guy gets you, or accidentally jumping off a platform when you didn't hit jump. There are whole pages devoted to discussing ghosting and blocking, and it's hard to get two people to agree on the causes and cures. However, everyone agrees the problems exist and need to be considered carefully in your design.
Step 6: Panel Idea 2
The joystick port is a logical place to try to hook up your arcade controls to - after all, that's its primary function, right? Like a keyboard hack, you take apart a cheap joystick or gamepad, and connect your joystick and buttons to the original circuit board. Most games support joysticks already, what could be simpler? This method has the advantage of being one of the quickest and easiest ways to interface arcade controls to your computer. Also, as you're using this particular computer port for its intended purpose, you don't have to worry about losing your keyboard/mouse, or having to hook up a splitter.
There are, however, some drawbacks to consider. The first and biggest is that the joystick/game port has a very limited number of inputs it will accept. Where a keyboard numbers in the hundreds, a joystick port accepts a limited number of inputs. X and Y axis on player 1, up to 4 buttons. Then, if you add a second joystick, you lose two buttons on the first joystick, allowing X and Y axis on player 2, with 2 buttons. No 6 button per player joysticks here, never mind extra buttons for coin inserts, player 1, etc... The other drawback is that not every system has a game port (laptops mostly), and believe it or not, not every game supports one!. I used an old (when I say old I mean serial port old) but I used a game pad that wouldn't be used. all you have to do is etch out the contact points until the copper/bass is exposed an the solder on each point. the pictures really help out explaining this so check them out. also this site will go even more in depth with this hack: http://arcadecontrols.com/arcade_staticx.shtml
Step 7: Marquee
Do some research on Google and find a "mame marquee" then print it out the ideal sized marquee as yo can see I had to cut mine. Also instead of making a big ordeal about this I also have another tutorial on this idea check it out
then after this incorporate this tutorial to the cabinet
hope there aren't any ?s
Step 8: Sound
The sound comes out of the computer by the sound card you can amplify the sound with really anything, computer speakers, tv amps etc. but I used a 80watt car speaker. I'm just showing where on the cabinet it would go. Well I found an old amp in our billiards room and did some testing with it. with any unknown electronic there are a few ? s to ask, 1) what volt does this take, 2) if its ac or dc volt, and what the inputs and out puts are. Well for #1 I had a multi volt adapter which took care of ? 2 because it has dc and ac settings. and for ? #3, I took 2, double male head phone jacks and connected it to my mp3 player and the other ends went into the amp. to explain watch the video.
Step 9: Update
well the past few day I got back to work and I started with the panel, I also did the cabinet as well but I started painting. for this project I used a foam roller, (found at and hardware store) and a can of black gloss paint as shown. for the most part it worked beautifully. BUT after I painted the side of the cabinet I realized that the fiber board sides looked bad so I am currently in the process of adding more wood filler.
Step 10: T-molding
After the paint dried I then started on the t - molding. I had t - molding left over from my original arcade machine so I went to work. I grabbed my trusty dremel tool and cutting wheel, then tried to make a notch in the middle of the sides on the panel.And tried to slowly, inch by inches hammer in the molding then try to work my way around the panel. For corners to fit I had to cut pieces of the t - molding out (see picture) then just folded it over to fit the panel. After about an hour I finally finished and I have to say it looks pretty good.
Step 11: Trackball
As shown I made a track ball from a stock microsoft d67 mouse, All I did was I took the mouse apart, then took the componets out. Then measured the diameter of the trackball hole, and drill it out with a spade bit in the plexi glass. Then I glued the holder of the ball under the hole in the plexi glass. After the trackball business is done I soldered the left click and mouse click with 2 wires then soldered them to the cherry switches. Then attached them to the (red) buttons
Step 12: Finish
Well over the course of my summer vacation I can proudly say that I have finished my Mame arcade. Although there needs to be some side art on the side the cabinet looks and works %100. Here are some pictures of me next to my new member to the family.