Friday, April 27, 2007

real flamingo nightmare

So .. my backorder of parts should have been here a week ago .. I checked in with the merchant and he says they were returned by UPS cause no such person at that address ..

I think the shipper just took my paypal address and used it, instead of sending it to me personally at the address I sent him. .. Long story, but short version is that my pay pal name is actually 'Flamingo Nightmare' -- a business I used to run. Well .. it's easy enough to change your address in paypal, but not so your name. As in, impossible.
Since I have eveeything shipped to the office where I work, I'm quite sure there was a bit of confusion when the UPS guy gets there and starts looking for a "Flamingo Nightmare" on the tenant list .. and probably the sweet lady on the first floor that re-routed my t-molding told him there was no such company there (it's a government office). And then the shipment goes back.

You would have thought there would at least have been a phone call from the ups guy or something.

This is what I think happened. I received the first part of the order no problem, but my info was fresh in the shippers mind, and I specifically told him to ship to me (not the pay pal name/address) .. and I got it straight away.

Oh well .. another week, at least. I'm ready for this stuff now. Really. I am. I wanna play. :((

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

photo update

Nice .. no updates here for the last couple of days -- The cabinet moves forward, slowly now.. Photo update with the new paintjob and t-molding. I installed the coin door over the weekend.

Still no spinner and encoder board. I expected it Friday, and still hasn't shown up here as of Tuesday afternoon.

I still havent figured out exactly how I'm going to mount the plex front either. I am looking forward to just plugging in the cp to the computer here and see how it plays though. One of these days .. if the parts ever arrive.

Dell finally got the message to call my cell phone. I spoke with them over the weekend. My problem has now been escalated past the call center to a "technician" I guess that's good news, but I haven't heard back from him yet. la de dah la de dah.

Nothing new on the home front .. I've been bathed in solvents last couple of nights trying to get the weed eater motor running. It sat in the garage for the last 6 months without being started up and its acting up and needs a good cleaning out top to bottom.. not there yet though.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

no parts :(

No more parts arrived this week. Disappointing. I was hoping I could spend the weekend wiring things up and then see if it all actually works.

I started cleaning off the old laptop drive which I decided I'd use to run the pc on.
It's just been plugged in as a 2nd drive. So I built the root mame folder and started dropping stuff in there.

I'll still need to do a bunch of tweaking to get the system running but shouldn't be a problem. I just hate to drop a 120gb drive into the mame machine. That would be such a waste. The old laptop drive is perfect - 30gb. I can fill it with mame games and mp3's and still have plenty of space leftover.

There's probably a few tweaks I can still do to the cabinet .. I need to hit the thrift store and pick up some PC speakers. I'd like to find a set with a subwoofer attached. Might get out and look for that today.

Or I might just go sailing. It's been ages since I've been out. Its nice and warm but the sun's not up yet so can't judge the weather .. (5am) If its not raining by midmorning that would feel really good.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


The t-molding finally arrived after having been lost in first floor limbo for a week. I'm actually pretty happy .. and it took about 15 minutes to go slap on the few pieces I needed. It looks much nicer now .. and no splinters in the fingers.

I'm thinking one of these days if I ever want to upgrade it might be cool to use some hot blue molding or something .. just buy 50 feet of molding and run around the edges and brighten that box right up.

The spinner and miniPac should be arriving tomorrow or Friday, so I'll be having a wiring weekend. Wow.. good thing, too.. I'm starting to lose steam.

Dell support keeps calling back my home phone every day even after I called them twice and left messages to use the cel phone number. Idiots.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

progress update

I just finished putting a new coat of black paint on the cabinet. I scraped, sanded and filled a bunch of holes and scratches with wood filler friday night and yesterday. As soon as I was done painting I remembered I had at least a quart of a really cool purple back on the shelf never opened ... maybe I'll do some trim / graphics with it?

I tweaked the monitor just a bit, raised the back of the shelf a half inch, leaving the front height intact. Now I'm trying to figure out how to mount the smoked plex in front of the monitor. It looks like it will just drop right in behind the control panel but I need to make some little slotted blocks or something just to hold it up in the right place at the top.

The other night I also made a new back door with a hole in it for the monitor to poke out. I had some spare 1/8" stuff that worked pretty good. It wasn't straight on any side though, so I had to do a lot of sanding, planing and fitting to get it to sit just right. Screwed in a little plastic wire holder at the top to latch it in for now, which will probably end up being permanent.

Update on other stuff:
The miniPac and spinner was shipped Friday .. whoo hooo ... I can start wiring next week.

The t-molding has apparently gotten lost as of friday afternoon .. no one knows what happened to it after it was sent back to the central office :(

The new computer is still rebooting randomly a couple times a day. I was on the phone with dell warranty support in india friday morning. We had to leave it hanging when I went to work. They said they'd call back -- which they did yesterday afternoon, but I mistakenly erased the message without writing down the phone/extension to return the call..
Hopefully I can get hold of them tomorrow morning .. the same person I was talking to before. The problem was escalated to the floor manager or something. I have his phone/extionsion, but it doesn't seem to work when I called back.

Dell should improve its phone menu system .. it's very hard to navigate.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

i give up

I've had it. I've mounted, remounted, adjusted, moved, tilted, twirled, jammed, twisted, grunted, groaned, and finally ... just gave up.
I literally mounted and re-mounted the monitor shelf seven times trying to make it fit in the cab, at the right height, and try not to stick out the back. I give up on it not sticking out the back. It's just too big, and easier to cut a hole in the back panel than to re-engineer the front.
The inside of the cab is marked with about eight different angle lines for mounting the shelf. The shelf sits on four 2x4 blocks which are screwed into the side of the cab (I'll take them out one more time and glue them in addition to the screws.)
There's a small block at the back to keep the shelf from sliding out the back.
There's also a brace made from three 1x4's that trap the monitor base. Those are screwed into the shelf.
Looks good for now, time to move on.

My t-molding arrived yesterday at the office, but the ups guy delivered it to the first floor, and the girl there sent it back over to the mailroom in the other building. :(
So, now, I have to wait til tomorrow afternoon for it to get opened, inspected, and delivered back up to me on the third floor. What a waste.

Where the hell is my spinner and miniPac??????? I'm ready to start wiring!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

size matters ;)

and I missed it by that much ..

I got the monitor shelf (temporary) put in the cab, and pushed the 21" in there ... and it's too big. I tried dropping the angle of the shelf and everything.

Even uncasing the monitor is not going to give me enough space. As it is, in that picture .. the screen is jammed up against the CP.

Not sure what to do here .. I could pull the CP an inch forward, and then I'd have to figure out some way to fill the gap.

Easiest ... put the monitor up for sale and go looking for one that's not as deep.

As for the temporary shelf ... I want to glue the supports in, not just screws, but the height and angle need to be customized to whatever monitor is going in there.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

21" monitor

Picked up a 21" monitor ... except its not really that big. A sony, looks good and all that but the whole case will just sit right in the cabinet .. i was hoping for something huge that I would have to squeeze in there :(

I didnt see anything bigger on cl though .. I know they make 27's .. maybe 25's ... but I don't know of anybody that actually buys them.

Add another $50 to the project cost. At some point I may add it all up, but I probably don't want to see the total of how much I spend on this if I start including the tools, router bits, spare parts, etc.

I put the pinball buttons in and mounted the original control panel clamps onto the cp and cabinet today. They just snap it down tight to the cabinet.


I finished painting the control panel box ... gave it a few light coats of black spray paint.

I also started looking around for a monitor to put in. Went out to measure the interior width and realized it was time for more deconstruction. When I originally ran the jig saw and power saw through the speaker board, there was still about an inch or more it left running down both sides. I had to use the chisel to get the leftover pieces out. There were tongue'n'grooved into the side of the cab.

After pulling that scrap out, the max width inside the cabinet for the monitor is 22-1/4" ... tight. The original game held a 19" vertical mounted monitor. I'm hoping I can fit a 21" in there, but I know the case will have to come off.

There were three for sale on craigslist, $50-$75. A sony, a dell, and an HP. Waiting to hear back from the emails now. I'll probably take the first one that replies, so long as it works and looks good.

I'll take the tape measure when I go look .. hopefully I can guesstimate the interior dimension.

If it's too tight, there are a couple more shims on the inside of the cab that could be removed, but they're skinny and that's only going to free up an extra 1/2".

Saturday, April 7, 2007

the cp

mounted but not wired.

and now looking at this picture .. .i think the orange and yellow buttons are supposed to be the other way around.

put in the pinball holes and put a first coat of black paint on the box.

another oops

oops! ... i mounted all the buttons in, then dropped in the trackball plate ... the mounting screws for the tball plate aren't long enough now that it's sitting on the additional 1/8" abs.

so... cheap and dirty fix ... I took the 5/8" spade and just made a bigger hole about 1/4" down ... that's large enough to just put the nuts on with a small socket.

live and learn ... hopefully, I'm not going to have to take this whole thing apart anytime soon now. I think I've got all the prep work done.

I thought that the other day, too.

safety third

after all that agonizing over router bits I realized last night maybe I should have spent a bit more time thinking about how to keep from slicing through my femoral arteries...

no, I didn't slice anything, but that was just a miracle.

I put the fixed base on the router, and mounted the slot cutter there cause I was just gonna fly around the top edge of the cp and slot about a foot on the cabinet where it had been cut back.

so I'm buzzing around the cp, and the router starts taking off on its own out of control... screwed up a bit of the slot, but its in the middle of the back so it doesn't matter... then i did the same thing to the cabinet, except i just left the cabinet standing upright and i'm holding the router there on it at 90 degrees .. yea, real smart. all of that was real smart.

when i get done, i look down at the router and I've got this self-powered razor-sharp ninja krull blade on there spinning around at 24000 rpms and there and i'm just holding it up, free handed ... looking at this thing ... and say holy shit .. what the f*** am I thinking?????

now this morning I can start mounting all the parts and have that ready to go. whoo hoo!

anyway... that whole job took a total of about 30 seconds ... and the human body can die of blood loss in about the same amount of time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

cheap slots

now that i've got t-molding .. i need a place to put it ... so i buzzed by harbor freight at lunchtime and found a set of slot cutters for the router.

I know its cheap junk .. but i'm only going to use it this once. I get 6 for the price of one anywhere else... ($24.99) so maybe if sometime i need to cut another slot, I'll have a little variety to choose from.

so ... too much plastic t-molding and too many slot cutters cheap. I suppose i should consider that a good thing. .. maybe I'll just rip out most of the existing molding and replace it. what the heck.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

beer n buttons

Met Justin last night for a beer at the lucky lab.
He has a monster arcade machine, too. It was good to have a beer and talk about the arcades and front ends and such. He knows a lot, it was good to get some ideas.

Ordered the t-molding .. it cost as much to ship as it does for the plastic. oh well.

I'll stop by woodcrafter's tomorrow after work and pick up a slot cutter. I can start working on that, and then just put the molding on when it gets here.

Finally as a last resort I sent the trouble ticket off to dell and got an email answer back. they want me to tear the machine all the way down, rip out all the cards and memory and what not. quite an involved process, but I'll get to work on it tomorrow when i get home. don't feel like tearing down the pc before i go to bed.


Sunday, April 1, 2007

you want what

Trimmed back the top of the cp to fix the screw up and finished routing the abs.
Looks pretty nice. i love that textured surface.

Then I think I'm ready to put the controls in ... and realize its got the crappy looking front edge. I go over to Woodcraft to see if they might have some t-molding.. no good, but they're an awesome store. Within walking distance. I probably don't hang out there enough, but their prices seem a little steep sometimes. On the other hand, I'll head back there for router bits next time I need one. Which I will, soon. They've got lots of them and reasonably priced. For the record ... the selection of router bits at home depot sucks. At least Lowe's has a little variety.

So I head off to HD to see if I can find it. Nobody there has any idea what i'm talking about. Ditto for lowe's. I hate this... if I'm going to use the t-molding I need to rout the slot for it, but I need to know the size and depth in order to do that.
I also don't want to wait a week for it to get here. Didn't have any luck locating anything locally on the web either. I'll call around tomorrow and see what I can find.
Worst case, I have to bite it and send off a web order-- with a minimum order of 20' from what I've seen. Which is about twice as much as I need.

Looks good doesn't it? ... Just bolt the abs onto the plywood, the 4-way is sandwiched in there as a test .. no plate needed.

ps .. check out the new link over there. Paper arcade. cool.