Arcade machines -- original or homebrew. Keep emulation topics in the emulation category
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racketboy
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Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authentic

by racketboy Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:39 pm

So I'm looking to start an arcade cabinet collection to host at work with the dream of maybe opening a public barcade or something in town once my collection is good enough.

You can see some of my discussions earlier about budgeting for some of my top picks here (while also not worrying about too much in the repair world)
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=50877
And Neo-Geo Specific
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=50880

So far, I've been having a hard time finding a good price for some of my favorites without a bunch of transportation costs.

So here's some thoughts that popped in my head:
Would it be more cost-effective to build my own cabinet structure and/or renovate/change artwork and controls on a dead cabinet and then buying the boards and such of the game I want instead of buying a complete and functional unit?

I've hard stories of people getting dead units for $100+ and then just swapping out parts. Or if I could build a cab if I can't find any/enough dead pieces.

Anyway, in addition to costs, what are your thoughts on getting the structures to be somewhat authentic to the original cabinet design?

There's some games like Donkey Kong, I'd really like to get an original cabinet, but for something like Street Fighter II, I could probably try to recreate best I can (and the same structure used for other games) using diagrams like those here
http://www.classicarcadecabinets.com/st ... er-ii.html

I see some tutorials for building like these here
https://www.hanselman.com/blog/Building ... binet.aspx
http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Ca ... /?ALLSTEPS
https://sysadminblogger.wordpress.com/arcade/

But I don't want the stuff with removable joysticks and multiple control schemes and such. Again: authentic feeling wanted.

Thoughts on this concept?
Any other online resources that would help?
Any pitfalls to avoid?
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fastbilly1
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by fastbilly1 Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:28 pm

So you have a couple things going on here. But the biggest is what makes the arcade authentic to you? Is it standing, the controls, the CRTs? Figure that out first. Since you are going to monetize is that you cant use MAME based PCs. But you can run something like a Pandoras Box. Luckily the new Pandora Box 4s sells in a kit for about $100 on Aliexpress. That and they will do video over VGA or HDMI. There is also a classics only PCB with VGA only out.

You use to be able to get cheap "junk" cabinets on Craigslist and at auction for cheap. Sadly those days are mostly gone. Even junk cabs now show up for $200-400. MAME is just too well known. You may find a place locally that cuts cabs, it takes either 4 or 5 sheets of plywood to make a standard cabinet.

Though there is always the little more than 1 sheet of plywood Vigolix:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.p ... c=119533.0

Links:
680 in 1:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Pandora ... 1238e04ae2

60 in 1:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1pc-fac ... 4ac7bf9654
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racketboy
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by racketboy Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:02 pm

Cool -- thanks for the info!

OK, so don't count on cheap bad cabs. So, with all the extra items I'd need to add to a cab like controls and the coin mechanism, is it not especially cost-effective to build?

Will plywood have an authentic enough sturdiness and such as a original?
What thickness and type should I consider for the best bang for the buck?

I don't know if I'd try for a single plywood sheet cab, but it's worth considering.

I think for the Neo-Geo, I'll go full authentic. My only budge would probably occasionally use some multi carts to supplement some official carts.

For the Pandora's Box 60, is it pretty undetectable to the user? I don't want people to see the game switching or anything, etc.
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fastbilly1
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by fastbilly1 Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:28 am

Most cabs are made of plywood, rarely MDF. They have T molding for the edges and a laminate on the outside. If you route an edge for the T Molding and use an good paint for the box, no one can tell the difference unless they know what they are looking for. Most people who build use either Birch plywood or MDF since they are available at Home Depot/Lowes. 3/4 inch.

The 60in1 is the standard that most "classic" arcade machines run. There is a menu, so people will know it is a multicade. The advantage is that these PCBS are cheap and modern, not expensive and 50 years old. It is also JAMMA where most of the old games are proprietary.
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dsheinem
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by dsheinem Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:56 am

Image

Stay authentic, yo!
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racketboy
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by racketboy Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:51 am

fastbilly1 wrote:Most cabs are made of plywood, rarely MDF. They have T molding for the edges and a laminate on the outside. If you route an edge for the T Molding and use an good paint for the box, no one can tell the difference unless they know what they are looking for. Most people who build use either Birch plywood or MDF since they are available at Home Depot/Lowes. 3/4 inch.

The 60in1 is the standard that most "classic" arcade machines run. There is a menu, so people will know it is a multicade. The advantage is that these PCBS are cheap and modern, not expensive and 50 years old. It is also JAMMA where most of the old games are proprietary.


Cool.

It would be nice if there was a legal way to own a purchase a license for a game ROM and load it onto a modern PCBS. Of course, a lawyer would be a better person to consult, but theoretically, could you purchase an original JAMMA for the "license", load a ROM onto a single-game PCBS so you have have an easier-to-maintain unit?

But it does still kinda seem like the expense of all the parts like coin mechanisms, joysticks, buttons, monitors, speakers, etc is going to add up quickly compared to buying a real machine at a mid-range price.

Maybe it would only be beneficial to supplement a collection of some less-important, less-common games in self-built cabinets that can be swapped out easily?
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racketboy
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by racketboy Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:06 am

Looking at NAOMI stuff and such too. Not sure what my chances of finding a cabinet that was designed for those, so maybe making a self-made cabinet for some of those and getting some NAOMI guts for those could be cool.
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Jagosaurus
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by Jagosaurus Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:26 am

racketboy wrote:Cool -- thanks for the info!

OK, so don't count on cheap bad cabs. So, with all the extra items I'd need to add to a cab like controls and the coin mechanism, is it not especially cost-effective to build?

Will plywood have an authentic enough sturdiness and such as a original?
What thickness and type should I consider for the best bang for the buck?



This guy & his wife over at Atari Age build custom cabs from scratch with ply wood & I love how they turn out.

Image link:
http://s1176.photobucket.com/user/Papa7 ... 5.jpg.html

One of his recents threads:
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/235363 ... e-cabinet/
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racketboy
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by racketboy Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:20 pm

Interesting! Seems somewhat similar to this I was just looking at. Would love to have a GameCube-based Tatsunoko VS. Capcom Cabinet :)

http://fort90.com/the-best-street-fight ... t-to-play/
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Jagosaurus
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Re: Building Own Arcade Cabinet Structure & Staying Authenti

by Jagosaurus Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:41 pm

racketboy wrote:Interesting! Seems somewhat similar to this I was just looking at. Would love to have a GameCube-based Tatsunoko VS. Capcom Cabinet :)

http://fort90.com/the-best-street-fight ... t-to-play/


The Wii would be cool bc then you could also play all the Retro arcade ports via emulators & a decent bit of MAME on it as well. Then get your GCN TvC as also.
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