Adventures in DIY arcade building

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Joshihatsumitsu
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Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » October 13th, 2016, 1:21 am

(Apologies if this thread already exists)

Just recently, within the last week, I finished my first arcade machine build (there are pictures via my Instagram feed - https://www.instagram.com/p/BLVn32Ehq-V/ - and yes, I cook a lot).

For those not interested in following links, it's a homage to the Neo Geo MVS arcade cabinet, complete with a MV-1F JAMMA board, original SNK LCD credit counters, and as a bit of irony, despite priding myself on authenticity, the only game I have running currently is a 161-1 multicart, which is technically speaking more bootleg than anything else.

It was a lot of work, required me to learn new skills from scratch (my work working and painting skills have seen improvement over the course of the project), and it took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to overcome problems as they came along. Sure, there are mistakes here and there, but overall I'm proud that I saw this project through to completion.

So, to the community: is there an arcade cabinet dream project that you are either currently working on, already completed, or always wanted to do? It doesn't matter if you intend to start one or not, hypotheticals are fine. And if you have gone down this path, what were some of the obstacles you had to overcome, and what did you learn from the experience?
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Alex79uk » October 13th, 2016, 1:09 pm

Awesome. Of the many houses I've lived in over the last 20 years or so, two have had garages. On both occasions I told myself I would be converting them in to home arcades, and - as you may expect - on both occasions those dreams have fallen by the wayside as they gradually filled with junk. It's still on my bucket list, I'd love just a few select machines, as well as an 'all in one' similar to what you've done. And kudos for going down the full PCB route too, rather than building a MAME cabinet. I can only imagine the good times you'll be having with that thing. Can I come and play!!? Haha. Enjoy! Very interested to follow your updates though.

EDIT - I've added you on Instagram if that's ok :)

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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » October 13th, 2016, 10:38 pm

Alex79uk wrote: EDIT - I've added you on Instagram if that's ok :)
The more the merrier :P

In doing my research I came across so many creative designs (and some pretty inventive IKEA hacks) and ideas simply through Google searches. Because of Raspberry Pi's form factor, it allows for some very creative and unorthodox solutions... and price wise it far less prohibitive. I love looking through other people's creative works, really inspiring.
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by eastmcduck » October 18th, 2016, 7:56 pm

Awesome build! I love projects like this. I have yet to actually build myself a cabinet, but I'd like to sometime in the not too distant future. I've played around with Raspberry Pi projects here and there, including a couple of retropie gaming systems. One of which is a handheld that I picked up as a kit from Adafruit. It's called a pocket PiGRRL if I remember right. I'd love to do a full sized upright cabinet like this. Looks great!

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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Suits » October 18th, 2016, 8:55 pm

Great work man, looks really good that.

What screen have you put in it ??


I came pretty close earlier on this year to getting an Oringinl Nintendo Donkey Kong cabinet from a firm in London.

Turned out in the end that they didn't actually have the cabinet I wanted and that they were happily selling me and that once I'd paid the money (a lot), they'd let me know my cabinet was ready.

Anyway, I lost all faith in what I was getting into at that point and backed out of the whole scenario.
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » October 18th, 2016, 11:07 pm

Suits wrote:Great work man, looks really good that.

What screen have you put in it ??
If we're talking about the monitor, it was a 19" LCD arcade monitor (modern concessions, and less expensive than a proper arcade CRT), and that was bought through eBay. Then the video signal from the JAMMA harness would run through a Video Converter (bought from DIY arcade, though eBay, again, is another option), which would convert the signal from RGB to regular VGA. Much easier than it sounds. :geek:

As for the cabinet screen, acrylic/Perspex, 3mm thick MDF, a jigsaw, a bit of luck and practice, and a crap load of swearing! :P so much trial and error.

Would you ever take on the DK project yourself? If it's a matter of woodwork there are a few places that do flat packs, which can save you a bit of money. If it's a matter of time, I understand. And it will definitely be a matter of money too!
eastmcduck wrote:Awesome build! I love projects like this. I have yet to actually build myself a cabinet, but I'd like to sometime in the not too distant future. I've played around with Raspberry Pi projects here and there, including a couple of retropie gaming systems. One of which is a handheld that I picked up as a kit from Adafruit. It's called a pocket PiGRRL if I remember right. I'd love to do a full sized upright cabinet like this. Looks great!
Thanks! If money and time wasn't an issue (ha!), what would be your dream cabinet?
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by eastmcduck » October 19th, 2016, 6:18 pm

Joshihatsumitsu wrote:Thanks! If money and time wasn't an issue (ha!), what would be your dream cabinet?
I don't know if I could settle on a single dream cabinet, haha. Now, a basement with a variety of cabinets would be a dream come true. A buddy of mine and I started to restore/convert a pair of Sega Rally 95 cabinets a couple years ago and we ended up selling them off when he moved and could no longer house them. We had put a lot of hours into disassembling it, repairing wood, painting, etc. The goal was to have a functional pair of Xbox 360 racing cabinets, complete with real racing seats, steering wheel, pedals, shifter, premium audio, etc. Maybe someday I can revisit such a project.

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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » October 20th, 2016, 1:14 am

eastmcduck wrote:The goal was to have a functional pair of Xbox 360 racing cabinets, complete with real racing seats, steering wheel, pedals, shifter, premium audio, etc. Maybe someday I can revisit such a project.
I saw this very nice build via instructables (http://www.instructables.com/id/R-Pod-M ... g-Sim-Rig/). Definitely time, money and space are an issue, but it's always inspiring looking at how other people build and solve problems, and daydreaming is very affordable. :lol: A racing rig would be amazing... I still have my Xbox 360 racing wheel, stored away, with many long Forza Motorsport sessions behind me, a while ago now, in the past...

As for the next cabinet, I'm stealing quite a few ideas from this slimline vewlix cabinet (http://www.instructables.com/id/Vewlix- ... e-machine/). The plan is to combine my 1990 Aliens PCB and my Snow Bros PCB (which JAMMA-wise have the same wiring, so a JAMMA switcher should do the trick) into one cabinet. That will be a Christmas/New Years break project, as they'll be more time/money then.
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Craig » October 23rd, 2016, 2:34 pm

These are amazing, well done! I`ve always wanted to do a project like this but I`ll never really have enough space and I`ve always been absolutely terrible with making physical stuff so I`d just end up with a crappy looking cabinet that would cut into my hands while I`m playing before promptly bursting into flames.

I really like a lot of the projects coming out with raspberry PIs. With the guts being so tiny it`s opening up so many options for interesting cabinets all shapes and sizes.

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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » October 23rd, 2016, 11:09 pm

I'd provide a link if it wasn't so "iffy" this morning, but just google PIK3A and you should see the Raspberry Pi powered IKEA lack arcade table. It's a very cheeky little hack, quite like it!
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Michiel K » December 6th, 2016, 8:40 pm

Very impressive. I have enough space at home to house all my consoles, my collection and a set of two CRT televisions for everything sub-HD, but an arcade cabinet is out of the question for now. I just followed you on Instagram.
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » December 6th, 2016, 10:20 pm

Michiel K wrote:Very impressive. I have enough space at home to house all my consoles, my collection and a set of two CRT televisions for everything sub-HD, but an arcade cabinet is out of the question for now. I just followed you on Instagram.
Ahhh... that's who's now following me! And I am now following you in return. D-D-D-D-Donpachi!

I have to figure out a way to post a photo or two on here on my current build... make it a bit easier for others.

Fortunately, when the time is right and you're ready to build, there are sooooooo many resources online. Not just for the very niche details of arcade builds, but even broader things like woodworking skills and painting! I had to learn so many new skills, like how to actually use a jigsaw (which lead to many crooked lines), and my painting skills aren't great. But making mistakes is all part of the learning process at the end of the day.
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Michiel K » December 6th, 2016, 11:20 pm

Joshihatsumitsu wrote:Fortunately, when the time is right and you're ready to build, there are sooooooo many resources online. Not just for the very niche details of arcade builds, but even broader things like woodworking skills and painting! I had to learn so many new skills, like how to actually use a jigsaw (which lead to many crooked lines), and my painting skills aren't great. But making mistakes is all part of the learning process at the end of the day.
Well, the result looks like you've been building these things for years. :)
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » December 7th, 2016, 12:06 am

Thank you! It's all practise, practise, practise.

Maybe this link will work:

https://scontent-ams3-1.cdninstagram.co ... MQ%3D%3D.2

Still in progress...
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » February 11th, 2017, 10:09 pm

I thought I'd round this out, as I've now finished my second (and final, at least for a while) cabinet.

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Thank god it's on casters as it makes it much easier to move around. It's basically a very simple JAMMA setup:

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...with the PCB resting on an old book display stand (one of the many advantages of working in a library), for easy setup and removal. The screen is a 19" open frame arcade LCD (modern concessions), which is more than up to the task.

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And one final one, with me and my Dad (who is not even a big gaming fan) navigating through Metal Slug 3 (161-1 MVS cart version). I've never seen him so engaged with gaming before in my life:

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I have a ton, and I mean a ton, of in progress photos via Instagram https://www.instagram.com/joshihatsu/. My profile is public, so you don't need to join or follow to view. You can be anonymous as you want. And I'll happily share any tips and ideas I've come across. :D
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by ratsoalbion » February 11th, 2017, 10:16 pm

That last one in particular is a wonderful picture!
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by gallo_pinto » February 12th, 2017, 1:20 am

Man that's cool!
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » February 12th, 2017, 1:55 am

One of the strangest conversation I've had with my dad was trying to explain to him that if he pressed green button, his character would shoot a stream of blood vomit, which is very powerful.

Oh, Metal Slug 3, you bring families together in weird ways!
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Suits » February 12th, 2017, 8:08 am

Those cabinets look so clean !!!

Awesome job 8-) .
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Re: Adventures in DIY arcade building

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » April 21st, 2017, 11:58 am

This is borderline, and I also didn't really know where else to post it, but I finished off one of my pre-arcade cabinet projects.

And by "finished", I mean I bought a monitor stand that rotates the monitor. Not really requiring talent:

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This project was essential a Ikea-hack (a Malm drawer to be precise), when my confidence in woodwork didn't exist. Originally it was suppose to house my very valuable Neo Geo AES, but getting to to work via a SCART connection and a converter to HDMI didn't work (lessons learned though):

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Now it houses my beloved Xbox 360, so being able to switch from playing, say, Streets of Rage in yoko to Muchi Muchi Pork in tate mode has been much easier. And with my Street Fighter IV fightstick plugged in, Xbox Live Arcade feels much more like an "arcade". It definitely breathes some life into the old hardware.
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