Mame Arcade Cabinet

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Project by Tim Dorcas posted 07-29-2008 05:14 AM 5052 views 14 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is one of my first major projects that I did in 2005 and it still one of my favorites. Below is an excerpt of the build process.

With the exception of making the control panel (which I fully plan on doing), my cabinet is done. I would say it took about 5 weekends to complete. I made lots of mistakes along the way but I’m please with the way it has turned out.

Before this project, I had never used a tablesaw (thanks Dan for coming by and helping), or a router. The words Tim and handy were never used at the same time. As far as budget, I went way over what I intended to spend. A big part of this was due to getting the tablesaw, router & some other smaller tools. (I have since replaced that tablesaw with something with more power and accuracy.) That said, I’m glad I got them. I use the tablesaw all of time.

Paint…I started with black melamine paint. Instead of looking black, it looked muddy gray. I tried for over a week to convince myself it would look good with a couple more coats. I tried and failed. Back to the store I went. This time I got Black Acrylic Gloss Enamel. That did the trick. It could probably use one more coat to finish it off. I will say that the blue melamine paint that I used for where the X-Arcade and speakers (yes they are speakers not fans) still looks great.

Why the X-Arcade controller? Time. I was reasonably confident that I could finish the actual cabinet in a timely fashion but I thought working on a control panel and the cabinet would be a bit much. The controller itself is great. I do need to send back the left controller however. Without any issues at all, they have already agreed to do this.

Update: 12/12/2005

I decided it would be fun to make turn my cabinet into a jukebox as well. I tried several free and demo versions until I finally stumbled on to SK Jukebox ( It’s easy to use and definitely gives it that jukebox feeling. The only negative? This forced me to organize years worth of songs and then to download the required covers. Give it a try!

Update: 7/28/2008

We still use this a lot and it’s quite a bit of fun. I have added a Racing Cabinet to the list of things I would like to build. I have all of the parts I just need to finish off the plan. X-Arcade finally came out with the Tankstick which includes a trackball. I am old enough to remember when Centipede and Missile Command came out. If I were to do this again I would design it to incorporate this.

Update 7/29/2008
SK Jukebox is no more. I have sent e-mails to the developer but i have not heard back from him.

-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

12 comments so far

View PineMan's profile


71 posts in 3767 days

#1 posted 07-29-2008 06:51 AM

That’s pretty cool. I’ve never thought to make one before.

-- I never started a project I couldn't screw up.

View Boon's profile


65 posts in 3992 days

#2 posted 07-29-2008 07:10 AM

man, this is so funny. a mame arcade is the ONLY reason i got into woodworking. I bought the same xarcade dual joystick a year ago and have been distracted because i want to build so much other stuff. if you have the plans i’d love to build one almost identical to yours. also do you use windows mame or linux?

-- - more crap coming soon!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4472 days

#3 posted 07-29-2008 12:47 PM

Very nice, & well crafted cabinet.

I must admit, that I don’t know anything about those games though.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

795 posts in 4005 days

#4 posted 07-29-2008 03:04 PM

Nice! I’ll have to post mine here eventually. I even took construction pictures at the time. Mine is based-off this design:

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

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4419 days

#5 posted 07-29-2008 09:56 PM

Very neat looking cabinet/game/jukebox. Wow.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 4031 days

#6 posted 07-29-2008 10:30 PM

Boon – I based my plans around this

I made a bunch of modifications but that should get you started.

Of all the things I have made, this is probably the simplest but it is also the most impressive. As I said, we still play it quite a bit and they are always adding more games.

Greg – I would love to see what you’ve done!

Thanks for he comments

-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

View Miket's profile


308 posts in 3945 days

#7 posted 07-30-2008 04:02 AM

Very cool!

-- It's better to have people think you're stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4278 days

#8 posted 07-30-2008 08:38 PM

Very nice. I love the way Mame ressurects these old games.

Is that mostly MDF? I can only imagine what it weighs!

View PineMan's profile


71 posts in 3767 days

#9 posted 07-30-2008 08:55 PM

Great still!

-- I never started a project I couldn't screw up.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4161 days

#10 posted 07-30-2008 09:56 PM

Pretty cool! I might have one of these in my future.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TungOilTim's profile


83 posts in 3389 days

#11 posted 08-28-2009 04:37 AM

My brother is building one very similar to this one. This one looks really good.

-- Tim, Plant City FL

View a1Jim's profile


117272 posts in 3750 days

#12 posted 08-28-2009 05:43 AM

Very cool

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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