MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) allows you to play old arcade games on your PC. While playing them with a keyboard and mouse is OK, to really get the experience you need an arcade cabinet. I could spend some time on just the PC setup, but I’m going to just concentrate on the cabinet construction here. I built this back in 2003 over the course of a week.
If you’re interested in more info on MAME and where to get needed hardware you can check the project page here:
I have many more pictures than what I will show here, so if you want to see my complete album on Photobucket go here:
Anyway, on with the show!
The cabinet is largely 3 sheets of MDF and a couple 2×4’s, so parts are cheap (until you get into the controls!)
I drew the side layout on The MDF and used a jigsaw to cutout the shape.
I then clamped to the two sides together and used a belt sander to smooth the edges and make them identical. This is also where I rounded the edges for the T-molding.
Cutout the control panel piece.
Layout the attachment points on each side for the various braces.
Attach the base to the sides. The 2×4’s and other pieces are attached with countersunk wood screws and glue.
Attach the other cabinet pieces. Now it’s starting to look like an arcade cabinet! The cabinet sits on heavy-duty caster so you can roll it around (MDF is heavy!).
Attach the drawer and door.
Back access door.
Automotive speakers are attached to panels to allow easy change-out should they need to be replaced.
Attach control panel sides.
The control panel rest over another panel attached to the cabinet with a hole in the back to allow cables to run through. This panel is just screwed-on to allow removal to get the cabinet through a door (with the panel removed you can get it through a standard 32” door frame).
Layout controls on control panel and cut holes.
Patching screw holes before priming and painting.
Word of advice – Rout the slots for the T-molding BEFORE assembly. I was fortunately able to use wood putty but when I built one of these for my in laws I routed the slots right after the sides were cut.
Prime and paint with the Wagner power painter.
After attaching laminate to the control panel I recut the holes for the controls.
Attach T-molding to the cabinet.
Fun time! Attaching and wiring the controls.
The monitor is the perfect width and just rests against a couple braces. The monitor control board is mounted to the platform.
PC and subwoofer go in the cabinet. I wired the speaker leads to the automotive speakers on the top of the cabinet. The volume control is on a separate control that is velcroed to the bottom of the control panel.
Print the marquee and attach it between a couple Plexiglas panels with a fluorescent light behind to shine through.
Drape cloth over the speakers to keep light from shining-through.
Attach Plexiglas to the front to protect the monitor.
Thanks for looking!
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