Mame Arcade Cabinet

  • Advertise with us
Project by SlaterNation posted 03-11-2011 06:50 AM 6497 views 7 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was my first woodworking project which I completed last year. Everything is fully functional, including the coin door, lights and all. A computer which sits inside runs emulation software which plays many classic arcade games. I kind of started this on a whim thinking it wouldn’t take 1/50th the total time it ended up taking. Not sure exactly why I built this. I guess I always liked arcade machines growing up and this seemed like a cool project to try where I could also learn some about wiring and electronics.

I stupidly figured the wiring would be one of the hardest parts but really it turned out that just the basic cabinet construction gave me the most problems. The angled back gave me all kinds of trouble. I had really inadequate tools and a borderline dangerous lighting situation in my garage however it was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to get this thing built. I’m very pleased with the way it turned out, all things considered. I am feeling that I will have to do a second pass at some point in the future to really give it a proper treatment.

Construction is predominantly MDF along with some pine for ledger boards. I used mainly a jigsaw, router, and handheld drill for construction. I had pretty much no idea what I was doing and made plenty of mistakes in the process but I also learned a lot. It is also what has gotten me hooked on woodworking. I’ve since completely renovated my garage into what is becoming a respectable shop space and am starting to do some projects using hardwoods (no more MDF for me please, that is nasty stuff!)

11 comments so far

View WhiskeyWaters's profile


213 posts in 3980 days

#1 posted 03-11-2011 06:58 AM

MDF is dang heavy too.

What’s the finish on the control pad/light screen?

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View SlaterNation's profile


15 posts in 2809 days

#2 posted 03-11-2011 07:16 AM

Yes, it is extremely heavy. 3/4” for the sides and front door, 1/2” for most other panels.

I had a large format print done for the control panel. It is 1/2” MDF covered with the print and then with plexiglass. I used an x-acto knife to trim the holes in the print and a flush trim bit for the plexi. I think I built 5 of them before finally getting it more or less “right”.

View SlaterNation's profile


15 posts in 2809 days

#3 posted 03-11-2011 07:19 AM

Forgot to mention about the marquee. I had it printed at the same time as the print for the control panel. It is sandwiched between two thin pieces of plexiglass. I found that weatherstripping inside the recess helped keep it at the right depth and then I used some angled aluminum strips (painted black) to hold it from falling out the front.

View mafe's profile


11741 posts in 3264 days

#4 posted 03-11-2011 12:38 PM

Cool project I love this dedication.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View bigike's profile


4054 posts in 3463 days

#5 posted 03-11-2011 02:28 PM

very nice I was gonna buy a machine but now it’s out of the question.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4057 days

#6 posted 03-11-2011 03:31 PM

Ha. I had forgotten about Mame. I need to fire that up again. The kids loved it.

Good job on the build. The printing and Plexiglas are a terrific idea. It looks great.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Dan M's profile

Dan M

121 posts in 4119 days

#7 posted 03-11-2011 05:40 PM

Very cool.. building one of these is my summer project. I recently completed my own jukebox program (I’m a software developer by trade) and will be giving the PC “behind the scenes” triple duty ;-)

-- Dan M, SW Suburbs, Chicago IL

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2936 days

#8 posted 03-11-2011 06:51 PM

Now that takes me back! As I sit here I can hear the hustle and bustle of kids dropping their allowance money into the rows and rows of machines. I’ve still got some tokens from one of the long gone arcades, they’ve got to be at least 25 years old. Great work on the machine and thanks for a walk down memory lane.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

795 posts in 4007 days

#9 posted 03-11-2011 09:56 PM

Nicely done. I skipped the coin slots on mine (too lazy).

Click for details

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Ollie's profile


146 posts in 3449 days

#10 posted 03-12-2011 01:18 AM

Cool, I want to build one of these when I have space. I play old MAME games on my GP2X handheld system. Its also great for old PC and snes games.
I would love to be able to play those games full sized. Well done on a great job.

-- Ollie, UK.

View ladiesman217's profile


74 posts in 3390 days

#11 posted 03-13-2011 07:49 PM

You, my friend, rock. That is an awesome cabinet; I would be on it all day playing Street Fighter and Golden Axe. Your cabinet is gorgeous and if you ever move to NJ, I know just the right neighborhood for you.

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics