Why build a cabinet?    
 
Introduction
> Why build a cabinet?
> Cost
> Tools
> Materials
Game Day
Starting
Cutting the sides
Building the Base
Attaching Base/Shelf
Stand it Up
Back Beams
Ledger Boards
Add Back
The Monitor shelf
Casters
Patching and Sanding
Priming and Painting
T-Molding
Drawer Construction
Installing the Door
Door lock
Wiring Coin Door
Speaker Area
Marquee
Monitor Bezel
Appendix
 
 

You may be asking why anyone would build an arcade cabinet? Why not. For a little money and a weekend or two of your time, you can have a machine that will offer endless hours of fun for you and any visitors that may happen by.  If you are reading this document you are interested. 

I had wanted an cabinet that could play Dragon's Lair for years.  But it was always thought of in the context of "when I become rich, I can get one of those."  I discovered MAME cabinets on the Internet sold for $4,000 (and more).  Plus shipping!  They were impressive but way beyond my means.  As I did a little more research, I found that there were a number of people who had built these themselves, on the cheap.  I hit a lot of web sites looking at these examples and how they built them.

About the same time I discovered plug-and-play arcade controllers available for purchase.  One highly rated controller was the X-arcade.  It was also one of the more inexpensive controllers that were available.  That got me even more interested and I ordered it.  My intention was to use this controller and 'eventually' construct a cabinet.

However, over a period of several weeks, I slowly realized that it would be possible to construct a cabinet myself (with some help, of course).  I set a budget and designed toward that budget.  I won't lie and say I stayed under budget.  I ended up building a new PC to be installed within and purchased a new 19" monitor.  If I ignore these two items, I basically stayed within the original constraints.

I found a design that I modeled mine after.  Of course, there were no plans, just pictures.  I spent several weeks developing the design for mine, and even that 'final' design saw some additional revisions as I progressed.

It took me quite a while to build the first cabinet but, with hindsight, the next one would go a lot faster.  This document was designed with the goal of making your cabinet building experience go much faster.  I have noticed that there are precious few free cabinet plans available that are detailed enough for a beginner to feel comfortable with.  This site is intended to offer an alternative to those plans.

The rest of the document will lead you through the process that I went through to build my cabinet.  If your cabinet design is different, adjust the plans accordingly.  I have included a list of most all the items I needed, plans, and a ton of pictures of the process. 

With the wood that is used, the cabinet could be stained instead of painted, if that is more your taste.  You have no idea how much crap I was given for painting the beautiful birch wood like I did.  That's what I wanted, so that's what I did.  You can do the same with yours.

 

 
 
X-Arcade Joystick: Relive Arcade Classics
 
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