Saturday, March 31, 2007

plastic fantastic

what a difference a little plastic makes. Maybe the whole should be covered in plastic. make it pretty and people go 'wow'. It really is a shiny pretty world if you don't look too hard. All that plastic is so good at hiding all the flows that lurk below the thin façade.

Made it over to Tap plastics this morning. After I drove half way across town to where they used to be. Of course when I got there I remembered that they're only about a mile away from me now. DOH!
Looked at some sample pieces and talked to a nice kid who seemed to know a bit about how things handled. The polycarbonate (lexan) only comes in clear and smoky clear .. no good for my purposes. I took a sample piece to check out though. Finally settled on some 1/8" black ABS. Its easy to work, no cracking problems, and it's got this cool texture that actually matches the trackball mounting plate.

Heres what I ended up doing. I bought a piece a bit larger than the cp .. in this case 18x36 (about $13). I clamped it over the cp board, drilled holes in 4 corners, put in some screws -- cause I still haven't been able to find cool carriage bolts any smaller than 1/4"... then, once it was held in place, I flipped it over, drilled some pilot holes right through the middle of all the control holes -- including all the screw holes.
Flipped it back over -- so now there's a piece of plastic with a bunch of small holes in it ... and drilled all the 1-1/8" holes with a 5/8" spade bit. For some reason, the 5/8 I had really did a nice job of cutting clean holes in the abs. (Yes, I did spend some time playing with the scrap, drilling holes and figuring out at least 3 ways NOT to do this :D )

Finally .. clamp it all down again, put a 1/2" straight laminate edge trim bit in the router, drop the router into the 5/8 holes, and buzz out all the big holes, including the trackball mount.

Finish up by running the trim bit around the edges. ... Which is where I screwed it up. I kept having to move the clamps and screws so the router could do the various corners .. and the last time ... I forgot to put one of the screws back in, the plastic slipped, and it got trimmed in about 1/4" too far. Luckily it was on the back side of the cp, so I can just take that much off the wood, too and nobody will know the difference but me.

And so it goes .. that's the way it always is... screws up just before you're done ... or maybe I get too excited about getting done and screw up by not thinking towards the end. whatever. It's coming along.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


making progress ... i just had to see ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

making progress

ok .. the vista problem over .. but looking back on it, i think it might have been a really stupid thing to do.

oh well, too late now.

played with the router, got that working. I routed the happs into the back of the cp, and they look great when they stick up another 3/8".

Time to do the front now. Picked up a plastic electrical cover at home depot. I can trim it down and use it over the 4-way. It's a cool color blue and I think it'll work just great. I went back to what I originally planned -- cut about a 2" dia hole for the 4-way stick, and I'll route the top so it sits down in there. That should make it good and solid, and I don't have to get a cover plate for it.

Realized I don't need a cover plate when I reallized I was going to have to cover the whole thing with lexan or somethign. I'll go down to Tap next weekend and see what they have in stock. Lowe's and HD only have giant size sheets of the Lexan, and it's pretty spendy. They're also all clear. I'm hoping I can pick up something in a solid color blue, maybe black.. and just cover the top of the cp with it.

If not, then formica, but the only formica I've seen has been in giant size sheets also, and they all have the crappy counter-top designs. Haven't seen any cool solid black or orange yet.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

vista crash

Spent all fri nite and sat. morning getting soooo frustrated with Vista. Vista would crash every time i did anything. it even has an old style bsod. open browser-crash, open folder-crash... took me about 4 hours to get it to connect to the dsl. called in to verizon and everything else, they walked me through the settings, and then started saying things like my dsl modem was just too old. Maybe because Vista is running IPv6? Anyway, after I got off the phone with them and it still wasn't working, so I tried a few more things. Like turning off the IP6. The connection finally tarted working after I ran it through the wireless router. It was running straight from the modem to the pc when i was talking with Verizon so they couldn't say it wasn't their problem.

By about 2 pm Saturday i couldn't take it anymore. I bought a copy of XP, formatted the drive and installed it. Trashed everything. I did that on the assumption that I'll wait about a year, vista will have a few updates, I'll have a decent video card, and then work out something with dell about getting an install disc.

XP cost me about 5 hours of loading drivers and whatnot, but its not crashing anymore.

My brother was here Friday nite, too, then off again about noon saturday for a ski trip. So in the meantime I havent gotten much done on the cab. Spent too much time playing with the PC.

I'll hopefully make a bit of progress today. I did get the 5th button marked in and marked the joystick templates up enough to accommodate it. Time for some more drilling today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Have to re-draw cut lines for the joysticks ... and I decided I wanted to add the 4th button on the bottom row. that means the joysticks have to move up centered with the top row.

so... they'll be 3/4" farther away from the player.. no big deal. I can live with that. It's either that or start all over again.

Had another good email conversation with Bob Roberts today too. I asked if I could send the joystick back. Not. ... He pointed out what I needed was a mounting plate, and don't rout the board, just cut the hole for the stick. If I use a formica top, then, I don't need a plate, I can just mount it to that. should be strong enough.

Thinking I'll head over to Lowe's again. Need to look for formica laminate for the top. Maybe pick up that router, too and start playing with it.

road trip!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

more drilling

finished (maybe, for now) drilling the button holes. then started to look at the trackball and the trackball template.
Cant figure out why the trackball template says to cut out the huge diagonal hole, when it doesnt look like the trackball needs any more than about a 3.25" square.

Hmmm. Looking for more information on that one before I dive in.

Started trying to figure out Mamewah tonite too. Ended up picking a game at random that requires a 4-button setup. So I'm going to have to go back and add that 4th neogeo button down by the corner of the joysticks.
Lots going on with the Mamewah front end. Trying to figure it out so I can set it up to run the C64, Atari and other emulators off the CP.

tick tock tick tock ... more controls on the way soon I hope, and hopefully a new PC before the weekend.

Monday, March 19, 2007

the screw up

Ok.. its only fair that I document the screw-ups as well as the successes.
This is a photo of the cp top ... you can see the partially drilled hole .. I drilled that after the top row. that was exactly as far as I got before realizing I'd messed up the measurements.

I was so mad yesterday, couldnt even think. Went to the Home Depot and Lowe's ... started perusing MDF and what not. I just quit work on the cab cause I wasn't sure what to do. Just walked around the stores, trying to think of something but my brain wasnt working. Bought a pizza on the way home after I realized I hadn't eaten all day.

Told a friend at work this morning about it, he said just cover it in formica. Why didn't I think of that? Actually... I did kind of think of that, but I was considering colored plex or lexan. I like the formica idea better.

The only redeeming part is that I marked a centerline, which became the new drill mark for the 2nd row. So now the centerline of the joystick is aligned with the bottom row of buttons instead of the top ... or I can move the joystick up a bit. not sure what i'm going to do yet. doesnt really bother me to just leave it inline with the bottom row.

I also decided to pick up a router. I did a bit of research and found a Hitachi with decent reviews. They have it at Lowe's ... but my closest store only has the display model, none in stock at the moment. I'll have to get on the phone and check out some other places. Price seems to be the same everywhere, about $179.

Hate to bother Robert to do some of this routing, because it's going to be very time consuming making jigs and what not. He's got a good business going and shows every weekend so he has his hands full already without me taking up time in his woodshop.

Time to go watch a movie now. Started drilling again and the battery is near dead. I'll finish up the last few button holes after the netflix.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Started drilling holes.

As soon as I started on the 2nd row of buttons, I realized I'd measured them wrong.

time for a new top. no salvaging this except maybe for a monitor shelf or something.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

feeling better

Ok.. I'm feeling a bit better now. Spent the afternoon measuring and cutting down the old cabinet. I took my time and measured 3x and double checked and thought again.

I'm committed now. No design changes. I cut the cab ... you can see the first cut ... one more cut to go ... and the final product.

I just love how that looks. the cp sitting there. It fits well .. oh boy. It feels good.. I'm still stoked.

That last pic also shows where I cut the overhead speaker board earlier to make room for the monitor.

More woodwork coming. I need a router.

bummed :(

While I was out working on the cabinet .. the post lady shows up with the box from Bob Roberts.

Cool . 4 new leaf switches ... and a chinese knockoff wico stick. I hate that stick. the ball is too big, it's cheap plastic, the shaft is larger diameter.

I wanna cry.

The idea was just to switch shafts and use the old original mount. No good. I can't do it. I just love the feel of the old one too much.

Of course it means a bunch of extra work on the panel top, cause the original is going to have to be mounted from the top, which means the panel has to be routed and drilled special to accommodate that.

the play's the thing

I'm SOOOOOO glad I poked these buttons into that linoleum..

I also incorporated an idea from the BYOAC board about putting some instructional information on the deck. My disgusting sense of artistic balance always getting in the way of things. Which of course was responsible for the very first layout way down there below.

After actually setting up the buttons though, I made a few tweaks. Put the spinner next to the joystick on the right side, dropped the spinner buttons completely, moved all of the start/coin buttons to the far left, and reserve the new free space as a hole for some basic instructions.

What a headache. I thought going thru the cardboard test setup was just going to be an exercise, but wow, what a change after you actually put your hands on things and move stuff around a bit.

The trackball is now 1/2" off center as well, but it should work fine. Besides, screw what it looks like artistically, it's all about how it plays, right?

Friday, March 16, 2007


I'm stoked. I'm ready to start messing up some real wood now. I still need to get some routing done -- and the lawn mowed --- but these things shall not deter me from the goal.

I didnt have a solid piece of cardboard laying around. But there was an old roll of nice stiff linoleum in the garage when I was trying to find a box.

I poked the buttons and stick handles into that just to check there wasnt too much problem reaching over joysticks and such. Nice to work with. Just cut a couple of slits and poke the stuff in. The only possible problem I can see is occasionally bumping the spinner knob off of the trackball. doesnt look like it'll be a big problem to just move those over a little bit more to the left.

I need to trim a bit of the overhang on the panel top, too. Need to do that first. Looks like I can safely take an inch off of the front of that. Probably improve the looks a bit, too.

new computer

I was so bummed out today ... fry's online had a great deal on a pc but it was only good for 2 days, and I passed it up because i had to feel pressured. Of course thats why they do that, salesmanship 101. But I let it slide by figuring I'd find something else as good. Except I didnt. Looked everywhere. Spent half my time surfing computer deals all day at work today.

I got my tax refund back, and I promised myself a new pc. So I needed to get one before I piddle it away on useless trinkets.

Dell Outlet rocks. Seriously. I went for it. I found a screaming PC, better than the fry's deal, for only $399 .. scratched and dented .. not even a refurb so it comes with the full warranty. And it's BETTER system than the one I passed up.

I feel better now. It's been ages since I upgraded the pc. And this one has to go into the arcade cab.

amd 64 dual core, 2 gig ram, 250 gig hd, and dvd burner. $399. plus shipping. awesome. who cares if the case is dented. It'll get arted eventually anyway.

I'm spending the evening poking controls into an old piece of linoleum. nice surface for testing the layout.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

parts is parts

I bought too many damn buttons.

I guess we all need a few extra buttons. They're always missing from my shirts. Maybe I could put a few in the next art car. They're nice and big and colorful, and could actually be functional in some weird way if I wanted to do that. They're fun to play with. Maybe I could hand them out as stress relievers. Or Christmas presents. Put them on a string and hang them on a tree.

Just endless possibilities.

Since I ordered the parts, I changed the design, found out I could double-up on button assignments, cleaned up the layout, etc etc etc ... and now I have too many buttons. I suppose I can always sell them to somebody, even after keeping a few spares.

Received box #1 today at work. Nice ... the trackball, buttons, joysticks ... still waiting for a couple of things, but this is enough to get me started. I can stick em in some cardboard and see what things look like. One last chance to do that before I commit the wood.

I'm really sad about one thing though .. the purple buttons aren't the same color purple as the spinner knob. Just blows my color scheme all to hell :(

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

bob roberts

Wow. I just got a response from Bob Roberts. This guy knows his stuff.
I sent him a note asking about getting some leaf switches for the old joystick ... which someone here said no, its not a wico, it's probably a taito .. etc. ...
Check out Bob's response:

That is a Wico 15-9540 stick & there are no parts for it, but I think the switches used on the repro 15-1000 Wico sticks will work, although I don't have an OEM here to test with. The breakdown that I have supplies the same part number for the switches as on the -1000 model, the -9540 & the -9454 which someone described to you on your blog.

He even sent a link to the detail pictures.

As for the old grommet, he suggested I just replace the shaft (with grommet) for $10, get a longer one so I don't have to do all that cutting and routing. I can just mount the longer shaft under the plywood.

Cool. You can see his site of arcade parts over there on the right.

update 10:06 p.m. ... joy shaft and leaf switches Ordered.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

hmmm and oh boy!

Hmm ... looking at the cabinet again, trying to figure out what/how to remove or trim back the board under the marquee ... It'll have to come out or at least get cut down in order to make room for the monitor. The cabinet is put together really well, all the pieces are morticed into the sides.

and.. OH BOY ... the controls are on the way. Whoo hoo! .. still haven't located/ordered the leaf switches yet for the old stick though. I'll get on that tonite.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Version 3..

I got some good feedback from the design, and now I've got a cleaner version.
Dropped the mouse buttons out completely. Eliminated the pause buttons, and moved the 4-way to the right of the buttons.

I like this better, so long as I can live without the mouse buttons. Very clean. Lots of space above the trackball.

goofin off

Played around with some things and finally put this together in freehand.
My proposed cp layout. Not shown are hidden pinball flipper buttons and administrative buttons that go on the sides and front under the panel overhang.

I should go eat something now, and sleep on this design for a while. The controls should be here at some point, then I'll put them on a piece of cardboard and see what it REALLY looks like.

After dinner I'll go see what needs to be done to the old cabinet.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

cp started

Okay .. so I didnt get any sanding or finishing or any of the work done on the old cabinet, but I at least managed to get the control panel box cut, screwed and glued.

I think it's kind of cool how that birch plywood matches the top of my workbench.

I'm pretty sure the bottom and back pieces match a bar cabinet at my old house too. ;)

Ahead ... layout the control design on the top, and drill some big button holes.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

saturday morning

It's the weekend. oh boy! woodwork time.

I can sand and sand and sand and maybe even paint the cabinet. Need to get the upper shelf removed and relocated also.

I'll see how it goes by the end of the day. Hopefully make some more progress, maybe even get the top of the CP drawn for drilling and routing before the weekend is over.

I'd love to have it ready to go by the time the controls get here.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Parts ordered! Whoo hoo! (no, just chose not to look at the bank account til next month. I'll be too busy in the garage to go do anything anyway.)

Now I can spend the next few days and the weekend getting the control panel box together.

Just wait around for the big box o parts to show up at the office .. .yum

I still have to go dig around for the leaf switches for the old joystick, but I came across them at one point when I was researching parts supplies.

Personal day off work ... Had to get rabie shots for the dog, go shopping, and various other odds n ends.

Saw a nice show at the Schnitz last night for my birthday: Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, John Hiatt, and Guy Clark. I realized how old I must be when I mentioned that I'd been listening to Joe Ely for 25 years ...

the quote

I got a quote for all my parts ... $333 + shipping ...
40 buttons
2 joysticks
1 trackball
1 spinner
1 encoder

Still have to dig around elsewhere and get the leaf switches for the old stick.

I'm excited.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

bills are paid

Nice thing about getting paid once a month ... all the bills get paid, too.

Now, hopefully there's enough leftover to finance the arcade economy with one big order.

2 sticks, 40 buttons, encoder, leaf switches, trackball and mounting hardware.



Here's what I wanted to do... attach a control panel to this cabinet.

I was admin/programmer for this network of touchscreen kiosks for about 4 years, and then they were decommissioned due to government budget cuts.

We pulled them all in last fall and I've been waiting around since early Dec. for these things to go up for auction.

I was really hoping I could pick one of these up cheap and keep one for sentimental value .... except I'd turn it into a game machine. Cool. Complete with touchscreen.

So, I've been waiting for surplus for 3 months and nothing shows up and finally I find out they're probably not going to get surplused to the public.

I finally said screw it and started looking for a cabinet.

Monday, March 5, 2007

noobius honor

Wow. I made the front page of BYOAC ... I had been trying to get on there and ask some questions.
I realized later that I'd posted my request in the wrong place, but I couldn't post it in the forums til they authorized me. Sort of a Catch-22 thing.

It's an honor, even if a dubious one for a newbie. (Would that be a noobius honor?)

Started laying out and cutting some pieces tonite. I have one piece of 24x48 birch that's big enough for the CP top, front, and sides. That's all that matters for looks anyway. I can use some lesser grade wood for the back and bottom.

Dinner time, and gotta get the colors picked for the buttons. I'll go over to slick stick and play with the color picker while I wait for the tv dinner.

Probably won't get much done next couple of days. Guests coming in.

CP time

I think I've figured out how to mount an oversize CP after playing with some sketches and sleeping on the problem.

Tonite I'll start work on sketching out the CP pieces. I'll be using birch plywood - I think I have enough leftover from a previous project to do at least the top and sides.

I need to go ahead and put in the order for some CP parts. So they'll be here when I'm ready for them. The only thing I can't decide on right now is what color buttons. I think I should consider myself lucky.

Here's what I've got on the list so far:

2 competition sticks
3" trackball (translucent blue)
36 buttons, including the 1player/2player. (a few extra for some admin functions I want to put in.)

Tornado spinner and knob

Mini-PAC and wiring harness

Sunday, March 4, 2007

short stick

There it is. An original short-shaft Wico (Taito?) leaf switch, sans worn-out leaves but with the original worn-out grommet.
It's got a lot of play in it, and I don't know how to fix that yet.
I'll have to rout the panel and mount it from the top. It'll need a metal plate on it. The template and routing plan are behind the red ball.
I like this pic too ... "solar-powered" Quarter lights. Nice.

Anyway .. that's it for the day. Bedtime.

Ser 14397

That might make a cool name for this thing. Cool.. stamped into the side of the cabinet, and also on the front: "14397"

Got the cabinet stripped and ready for some wood modification. Don't know what I'm going to do yet but most of the pieces have been removed.

I pulled out the monitor mount, bezel, and control panel. I'm keeping the joystick, but hopefully I can find somebody that wants those pieces. I'll put them up on CL, and then ebay if I can't sell them locally.

Removed the coin door and door frame pieces. There's still a quarter stuck in there.

It was a good day.

the cab comes home

I finally got the cabinet into the (now somewhat-clean) garage.

Good news.. the cabinet is in good shape, complete with casters on the back side so you can just tip and roll it.

Possible problems: The monitor in the old cab was set in only about 20 degrees off the horizontal. It looks like it hung from a bracket that way. I'll have to change that.

... The power board for the monitor is still intact in the bottom of the cabinet. I won't be using it for this project but it WILL be powering my Jacob's Ladder next Halloween. Bwaaahahahahaha!

what I hate

I just realized that what I hate about starting a new project is cleaning up after the last project.


There is one question that has been bugging me to death, that I can't find the answer to: How do you mount a full-size MAME control panel onto a standard converted arcade cabinet????? The panel on my cab is only about 6" wide.

No help in the book so far, and no help through the online forums either.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


I've been trying to decide which joysticks to install in the new panel.
I did decide I would use the existing stick on the panel for the 4-way. A nice homage to the cabinet to include the old joystick in the new design. It feels well used. Hopefully there's some way I can bring it back up to par. Maybe just give it a complete rebuild with new switches and grommet, and put a restrictor on it.
As for the primary sticks, I can't make up my mind which ones to buy. So many choices. There are some retro wico-style leaf sticks available on e-bay, but I wonder about the quality. Also, leaf sticks seem a little bit "mushy" to me, and I think I prefer the microswitch versions for most games. Top of the list right now is Happs Competition.

key encoder

I'm leaning toward either the Hagstrom USB36 or the Ultimarc Mini-PAC. Only about $10 difference in the two. The wiring harness is a nice bonus with the Mini-PAC.

They both handle plenty of keys PLUS the trackball and spinner all on one board. I think either one can handle both a spinner and trackball at the same time, but the Mini-PAC auto-switches depending on movement. The other one probably does too. I'll wire them through a select switch under the panel. I don't like the idea of bumping the spinner and losing tball control.

As soon as the housecleaning chores are done I need to head down to Powells.

Friday, March 2, 2007

more ideas

I like this. It's a good place to store ideas.
Just had another one this evening. Instead of mounting an accessible CD in the cabinet, why not just put a wireless card in it.
Then I can just do any uploads, data updates, etc over the wifi net.
I AM going to want keyboard access there, too, so I don't have to ever open the cabinet. Either a USB port on the front, or a keyboard in a drawer.

item 4

Was just thinking about item 4 in the list of what I want to do. That is probably way too much to deal with. Who wants to stand there all weekend playing adventure games. However .. I do have the C64 and Amiga emulators, with lots of games that would work real well using joy/mouse controls.

Scratch item 4 below.

Replace with:
4. Play C64/Amiga games via emulator.

I'll also need to update the layout so that there are 2 mouse buttons to work with the trackball. I found this key layout of the SlikStick console:

Time for some more reading. There's a lot of buttons there.
I hope when this is all over I don't wish I had just plunked down $500 to drop one of those consoles on the cabinet.


I just had a pang of regret about tossing out my Microsoft Easyball ... What you don't see is that the big yellow ball is actually about 6" diameter. Way cool. I picked it up in a junk store years ago, and eventually returned it to whence it came. I thought it was fun to use, even if it did only have one button. :(
What a cool trackball that might have made.

So many choices

I've been looking and reading and trying to decide which controls to use, how much they're going to cost me, wondering if my layout will handle everything I need, etc. etc.
What's the best joystick to use? Even with multiple reviews and comparisons out there, it's hard to decide.
$161.40 for a trackball????????
I came across a book review of "Project Arcade" -- I'll probably head down to Powells Technical and pick up a copy tomorrow morning. (Support your local bookstore).

Thursday, March 1, 2007


My plan (cause ya gotta have a plan):

1. Primarily a MAME system, running MAME32.
2. An MP3 jukebox
3. 3D games .. I have some 3D arcade games and 2 pair of shutter glasses I want to incorporate into the system.
4. Capable of playing other non arcade-style games. (I love my 3rd person RPG adventures like NWN, Baldur's Gate, etc). Dependent on difficulty of keyboard mapping or having keyboard available. These require lots more keys than arcade games.
4. Play C64/Amiga games via emulator.

Cabinet mods:
Will need to have a cabinet-mounted CD for non-MAME games and music uploads.
A set of good speakers mounted alien-antenna style off the top sides of the cabinet, curving around to face the players.
Subwoofer mounted in the cabinet base. Will probably require some holes/grillwork in the bottom.
The control panel housing will have to be enlarged to accommodate a new layout with more buttons and a trackball.

Control panel:
Original control panel will be replaced. The buttons and joystick seem functional, but they are old and cheap enough to replace. (Maybe keep the buttons for the pinball sides and use the existing stick in locked 4-way mode?)

The control panel housing will have to be enlarged and modified to accommodate a good standard MAME setup with 3 joys, 16 top buttons, 4 side buttons, trackball and spinner.

Basic layout, with pinball buttons on the side not shown:

J3 is 4-way stick.

x1, x2 are 1/8" jacks for 3d shutter glasses. They may get moved to the front of the cabinet. They connect to a video-synch splitter, not the key controller. Depends on the amount of room underneath the CP.

I'm buying a new pc, so I will just move my old one into this cabinet. Strip it down and reload it with nothing but games and mp3's.
The 3d games only run on an Nvidia card, which I'd like to move to the new pc, so may need to locate another old one.
I'll need a 19 or 21" CRT monitor. (Must be CRT for the 3d games.) My old 17" just isnt big enough.

WinXP on my current PC.
A MAME32 front end.
There's a particular MediaPlayer skin with a full-screen jukebox mode I want to use, but cant remember the name of it just now.

I'll write a custom front end that boots at startup to choose between MAME, MP3, 3d games, CD-based games. Maybe with Flash.

Cabinet graphics:
I'll paint them on myself. Being a part-time artist has its advantages ;) No ideas just yet though.


On my way downtown to pick up the cabinet last night, my brother called to tell me he's getting married.

It's his first. He's 52.

I'm happy for him.

And so it begins

I had been thinking about building a MAME box for a while, and recent events in my personal life inspired me to take the plunge. Read that as "something to keep a single guy busy for a couple of months instead of being a mouse potato".

I really decided at one point that that I wanted to start with an existing cabinet, and modify it as needed. I'm capable of doing the woodwork, but if the price is under $100 it's worth much more than the time and money it would take to build one up from scratch.

I also didn't want to take a working system and gut it for a MAME system ... I just couldn't bring myself to do that.

When I started poking around classifieds and craigslist, there were some possibilities. But anything that was actually functional was going to cost $250 and up to a couple thousand. Even some "classic" but unworking systems were offered in the $200 range. Good. The price alone was going to save me from violating my principles.

About a week ago, I came across this ad and it inspired me to take the plunge. .. A completely empty cabinet offered by a local arcade for $50. Perfect.

Arcade Videogame Cabinet - $50
Reply to: --
Date: 2007-02-22, 8:48PM PST

Ground Kontrol, Portland's classic arcade, has an upright video game cabinet for sale. This cabinet would make an excellent starter for the hobbyist who is interested in building their own home arcade game.


* Control panel with working 8-way joystick and two pairs of buttons

* Frame for mounting a standard 19" arcade monitor (not included) in vertical orientation

* Smoked plexiglas monitor bezel

* Wired for power, sound, and marquee light

* Coin door with start button installed for coining games that lack a free-play option

* coin box

* back door

Note: In a past life, this cabinet was Scramble, one of the first side-scrolling shooting games. See Scramble's KLOV entry to learn more.

Etc., etc. ...