Arcade machines -- original or homebrew. Keep emulation topics in the emulation category
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jay_red
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Fix it Felix Replica Arcade updated 12/2014

by jay_red Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:52 am

I recently got a little inspired to fix some of the smaller details of my Fix it Felix mame cab, and wanted to make a fresh post here. I figured I would show the history and progression of this poor old Donkey Kong Cab, and everything I learned along the way.

It started almost exactly 3 years ago, I got a wild hair and decided I wanted to build a MAME cabinet. A wanted ad on Craigslist got me a completely gutted DK cab for $60 delivered to my house.
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It was pretty rough, but I was confident I could make it presentable again. It needed a little bit of wood work, it had a couple major chips on the front, and I just piled on the wood filler (years later, I would finally admit how bad I did, and fix it)
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In what seemed like an endless search for the perfect monitor, I started with the laziest option ever. I found a cheap CRT TV at the thrift, and literally just set it in the cab...
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Since I was using a PC in the beginning, video output options to a CRT TV were limited, but the video card on the PC I was using had s-video out, which I used for a good while. It looked pretty bad, but no one else ever seemed to notice...

Being that I enjoy fighting games, I knew the control panel had to have a 6 button layout, and I set off designing one. I ended up in the end pad hacking playstation controllers and using converters for the electronics.

My Paper Tempalte
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I was not sure what do do about the actual control panel surface, apparently 3 years ago I had not heard of control panel artwork, because for some reason I thought it was the best idea in the world to make the surface out of a piece of wood laminate (this is the most embarrassing part of this cab, im surprised I didnt end up on crap mame with this...)
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I am proud of the actual construction of the control panel, as I am terrible with wood working, and the fact that it worked, and fit well was amazing to me! The panel still is in use, though covered in some actual artwork now.

Looking at the pics, it would seem I was on to my 2nd "monitor" that was a better quality CRT TV, still hooked up with s-video ::). I did the classic matte black poster board bezel (looked terrible in person) The marquee was non lighted, because I was actually storing the keyboard and mouse behind it for easy access. Look at that marquee, it doesnt even fit right, it looks like it was bowing out in the middle!

This is the pic that I proudly showed one of my other forums, "showing off" my "complete" project :laugh2:
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It stayed this way for a while, everyone that used it thought it was so cool (I dont know anyone else with an arcade cab) and I guess i thought it was pretty cool too. The only thing that bothered me was the monitor size/quality (I cant believe this was the "only thing") So I wanted the end all of monitors put in, but finding a CRT monitor over 19" was difficult, and I really didnt want to go with an LCD (pretty sure I had one in there at some point)

At some point around here I ended up with my 2nd cab, a Neo Geo 4 slot Big Red, which I did a full restore on in my garage. Once i got it in my house, and set it next to the MAME, it was painfully obvious how bad it really was:
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After having the cabs next to each other, I had to get the final monitor in place. I ended up finding a Sony Wega 24" CRT on Craigslist for $20 bucks, took a chance on it fitting and managed it get it in there!

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This screen looked great, and I would soon remedy the whole PC connected to a TV issue...

I cant believe I passed this thing off as complete! it was terrible, and the sweet Neo Geo made it all to obvious all the corners I cut. It was around this time that Wreck it Ralph had come out, my wife and I loved the movie, and had the awesome idea to "convert" the cab to a fix it felix clone. ( I swear this was when it was still a pretty original idea!)

Back in the garage the cab went to get the wood work redone, and a better paint job. I did a much cleaner job with the wood filler, going as far as to make templates from the good sides to make sure I got the angles right:
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It needed some side art, while it looks good now, there was almost a disaster applying it that would have caused me to repaint the entire side! :banghead:
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Speakers mounted in the original location:
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I needed to make some legit control panel artwork, so I used some existing assets online to create a template to match my existing control panel. I planed on covering it with an acrylic sheet, but learned quickly that it does not like to be drilled, let alone have 30mm holes cut. After cracking it to hell, and throwing things across the garage, I bought a Lexan sheet, and all was well:
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At this point I was pretty happy with it, I had a new marquee made up which was just a PVC sheet with a full color print. I was still using the PC so I needed to still store the keyboard and mouse behind it.
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Still rocking the plain black bezel...
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My next hang up was using the PC for the emulation, I hated dealing with the front end, I hated setting things up, and most of all I hated the image quality.

I had always considered the original Xbox as an emulation box, but had been talked out of it early on in my build. After checking out both Coinops and Visionary, I was sold on ditching the PC and going full Xbox, and that was one of the best decisions I made with this cab. Once I got the Xbox up and running with Visionary 3 it was heaven, great interface, all the games I cared to play, no need for keyboard or mouse. Just turn it on and play.

The cab stayed that way for a while after that, wasnt really worried about anything else (I still didnt have a coin door though :dunno) Then just a couple weeks ago, the bug to work on it hit me again... I was in Reno, NV for work, and the Hotel I was staying at just installed 20+ classic cabs! They had a DK cab, and after looking it over, I realized what my cab was in dire need of, a Bezel with artwork, and light up marquee!

I designed a Bezel that would work with my larger monitor, and got a marquee printed on backlit film. I still need to order the proper brackets, but my Home Depot DIY holds it all in place at the moment. I also finally have a coin door after 3 years, it needs a bit of work, but I only paid shipping cost on it so I cant complain.

Camera could not pick up the marquee lit up very well:
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So there it is, this poor cab's journey to become something I can be proud to say I made. I skipped over a bunch of stuff, but if you have any questions about what I did, feel free to ask!
Last edited by jay_red on Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
My trade thread, updated 7/14
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=30531&p=421248#p421248
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bryan_65
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by bryan_65 Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:58 am

Nice, this what I thought you should do when I first saw your MAME Nintendo cab. I kinda would like to build one my self and just run the PC game for my nephew.
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fastbilly1
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by fastbilly1 Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:44 am

Awesome. Though I must ask why did you leave it six button instead of paring it down to two or three? Or was the new monitor enough for you to like the cab more?
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SpoonyBard
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by SpoonyBard Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:16 pm

What did you use to print the marquee and control panel? Those look really slick!
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jay_red
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by jay_red Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:01 pm

fastbilly1 wrote:Awesome. Though I must ask why did you leave it six button instead of paring it down to two or three? Or was the new monitor enough for you to like the cab more?

It is only going to be "Fix it Felix" in appearence, it will still be fully mame, and fighting games are very popular.

As for printing of the graphics, it pays to work at a print shop sometimes. I got the marquee printed on PVC plastic, it cost me around $13 bucks. The control panel currently is just a print on matte paper with a lamination. I am planing on getting a sheet of plexi/acrylic from Lowes and making a cover.
My trade thread, updated 7/14
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=30531&p=421248#p421248
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CRTGAMER
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by CRTGAMER Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:22 pm

jay_red wrote:It is only going to be "Fix it Felix" in appearence, it will still be fully mame, and fighting games are very popular.

As for printing of the graphics, it pays to work at a print shop sometimes. I got the marquee printed on PVC plastic, it cost me around $13 bucks. The control panel currently is just a print on matte paper with a lamination. I am planing on getting a sheet of plexi/acrylic from Lowes and making a cover.

Very very nice! I am one of the few members here who has not seen the movie but am aware of it. That said, your cabinet does look retro, I thought it was based on a real cabinet from the 80s. Really, I had to search online to discover that it is based on the Disney movie. The printouts really look professional!

Can you go into detail the wiring and specifications? Info such as the TV model number the tube came from (Is it SD or HD), PC specs and how everything interfaces with each other. Not sure if you posted some of the specs already when you first built the cab, maybe link that older Thread in the OP?

Smart keeping it as a Mame cab, this allows unlimited games to be tailored in using the built in PC. Have you set up the actual games from the movie Wreck It Ralph in it? I imagine there are quite a few Wreck Ralph movie based Flash games that can be downloaded and setup to run offline with a dedicated FLV player.
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bryan_65
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by bryan_65 Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:41 pm

CRTGAMER wrote: Have you set up the actual games from the movie Wreck It Ralph in it? I imagine there are quite a few Wreck Ralph movie based Flash games that can be downloaded and setup to run offline with a dedicated FLV player.


Yes do tell on this part. I know that real cab uses a different game from all the Flash ones. I did find a copy of the PC based one, but have not checked it out yet.
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by sevin0seven Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:50 pm

that's a great theme for a MAME arcade jay. can't wait for the finish project.
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jay_red
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by jay_red Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:07 pm

CRTGAMER wrote:
jay_red wrote:It is only going to be "Fix it Felix" in appearence, it will still be fully mame, and fighting games are very popular.

As for printing of the graphics, it pays to work at a print shop sometimes. I got the marquee printed on PVC plastic, it cost me around $13 bucks. The control panel currently is just a print on matte paper with a lamination. I am planing on getting a sheet of plexi/acrylic from Lowes and making a cover.

Very very nice! I am one of the few members here who has not seen the movie but am aware of it. That said, your cabinet does look retro, I thought it was based on a real cabinet from the 80s. Really, I had to search online to discover that it is based on the Disney movie. The printouts really look professional!

Can you go into detail the wiring and specifications? Info such as the TV model number the tube came from (Is it SD or HD), PC specs and how everything interfaces with each other. Not sure if you posted some of the specs already when you first built the cab, maybe link that older Thread in the OP?

Smart keeping it as a Mame cab, this allows unlimited games to be tailored in using the built in PC. Have you set up the actual games from the movie Wreck It Ralph in it? I imagine there are quite a few Wreck Ralph movie based Flash games that can be downloaded and setup to run offline with a dedicated FLV player.


The TV I used is a 24" sony WEGA from craigslist that I got for $20 bucks, and we all know how good a picture these put out. It is connected to the PC via S-Video, as my video card has a native s-video port. I will be getting it displayed via component in the near future.

The PC is an old Dell 3ghz P4 hyper threading, running XP and 2 gigs of ram. It is plenty powerful for most MAME games, and only struggles at all with some 3d games, but I am not worried about those. The control panel was made from 2 Wii version madcatz SE arcade sticks, when you could get them for $20 at gamestop I stocked up on a couple, and ended up using these and a Wii to USB adapter. It was just the most convient and cost effective way to get the controls working at the time.

There are at least a couple different Fix it Felix games out there, so i will be looking into it just to "complete" the cab.
My trade thread, updated 7/14
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=30531&p=421248#p421248
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Re: Fix it Felix Replica Arcade

by CRTGAMER Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:19 pm

jay_red wrote:The TV I used is a 24" sony WEGA from craigslist that I got for $20 bucks, and we all know how good a picture these put out. It is connected to the PC via S-Video, as my video card has a native s-video port. I will be getting it displayed via component in the near future.

The PC is an old Dell 3ghz P4 hyper threading, running XP and 2 gigs of ram. It is plenty powerful for most MAME games, and only struggles at all with some 3d games, but I am not worried about those. The control panel was made from 2 Wii version madcatz SE arcade sticks, when you could get them for $20 at gamestop I stocked up on a couple, and ended up using these and a Wii to USB adapter. It was just the most convient and cost effective way to get the controls working at the time.

There are at least a couple different Fix it Felix games out there, so i will be looking into it just to "complete" the cab.

Is the tube SD, ED or HD? A model number from the WEGA will help determine this. I suspect its a SD due to the size of the CRT, the component hookup might not improve the pic significantly if a 480i tube.

Really nice work on the cab, I'm envious!

:idea: Try this for that missing door, I did this with my Zaxxon Arcade Stick Mod.

Coin Reject Button + Microswitch + Connection to Keyboard Coin "Button"

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