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Old 02-16-2015, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter

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Anyone ever built a DIY arcade cabinet ?

I have been tossing the idea around....
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:44 AM
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Funny you mention this as I was just looking into this the other week. I was gonna get an old cabinet to mess with, but for the woodworkers, it does not look too difficult.

I found this from my research: http://toddmoore.com/arcade/
Here is something i found with cutsheets and build instructions too: https://dropbox.com/s/7y5blkutzg...lans2.pdf?dl=0

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Old 02-16-2015, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter

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My wife actually showed me a few projects on Pintrest which sparked my interest- then a few youtube videos and web page surfings really has me pondering the idea.

From a wood working perspective the cabinet construction seems pretty easy and straight forward. It's much like a speaker or subwoofer box, if you can build a ported marty cube I think you'd be fine doing a arcade cabinet.

I am weighting a couple options and things currently:

First, I have a busted GOLDEN TEE 99' arcade machine. It has a busted monitor but otherwise works fine. I was going to replace the monitor but at this point it might make sense to just gut the cabinet and remove everything and start over with a full featured machine. (I included pics)







There is plenty of busted cabinets or "non working" arcade machines on Ebay so for anyone that did not want the wood working challenge gutting and painting one seems easy to do. Prices range $75-$199. I've seen people pay that for flat pack subs. Seems like a deal even if it's not working or needs some TLC.

The problem I have with fixing this GOLDEN TEE is that it's still 1999 graphics and only one game. It's cool- but with modern PC tech where it is as and a huge world of emulators and stuff like MAME I know for a couple hundred bucks I could literally have every game ever installed into- with a hot shot interface to switch game systems.

My plan would be to use something like HYPERSPIN as the front end- which handles switching between game systems and gives you a really slick looking menu screen and interface.


something like this dude did:


I actually saw a bunch a people actually sell hard drives pre-installed and configured:


I would DIY myself I think but I found that as an interesting option.

All in all the cost does not seem too excess to make your own arcade machine, and it goes well with a theater entrace, man cave, basement bar area, or game room.

But since this is the DIY forum I figured I would ask here specifically to get some feedback on the cabinet choices- design etc... I am trying to figure out if I just start fresh- or if I should try to work with this GOLDEN TEE machine I have already.

Ideally- I would want to install a Pentium or something inside for a couple hundred bucks as the hardware source and just run a new 1080p TV LCD display. I would also like to ideally expand the front counter top game controls area on this model I have to make it larger and install (4) colored joysticks for 4 player action. Probably StreetFighter or Mortal Kombat style controls.

http://amazon.com/Happ-Arcade-Co...ame+controller

Something like that- but different colors for each player.

I would like to keep the roller ball in the center for GOLDEN TEE games, and other games that use it.

I would also like to add (4) guns for shooters.

Add a pair of small coax speakers or car audio speakers - a small 12" infinity sub - nice paint job.... This place seems to make and sell high quality arcade game decals to make it look sweet


IDK... seems like a cool project to waste hours on ?
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:59 AM
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Hey if you dont want that golden tee, send it my way. Ill gut it and try it out. lol
As an IT person, for me the cost of the cabinet and control panel would be the most. I have a bunch of PC's and monitors to use. I been trying to grab a cabinet locally, but people want too much for them.
I dont play much, but for a couple hundred dollar thing, I think it be cool

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Old 02-16-2015, 09:07 AM
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I feel like you could make one out of an old console with some joysticks
http://amazon.com/PS3-Fighting-S...A0VQGEGTE7XNPZ
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter

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I feel like you could make one out of an old console with some joysticks
http://amazon.com/PS3-Fighting-S...A0VQGEGTE7XNPZ
There is a lot better options for controllers than that- especially for that cost. But yeah... I hear you and agree. You can mod an old xbox pretty easy to do the sega and NES stuff.

But I think I want it all- full PC gaming. MAME, NES, N64, Dreamcast etc... Perhaps not state of the art PC gaming- but the classics and the real acrade versions of my favorites like the mortal kombat series and double dragon.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter

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Hey if you dont want that golden tee, send it my way. Ill gut it and try it out. lol
As an IT person, for me the cost of the cabinet and control panel would be the most. I have a bunch of PC's and monitors to use. I been trying to grab a cabinet locally, but people want too much for them.
I dont play much, but for a couple hundred dollar thing, I think it be cool
I have PC hardware too. The trouble for me is setting it all up from the IT side. I am not an idiot with PC but it's time consuming.

Ever set up hyperspin? That alone is a struggle unless you have done it before. You need to set up each emulator for each system. It's time consuming that way- but worth it in the end. Unlimited amount of games and systems to play. That is what I want.
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:00 AM
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Ive never done it, but I cant imagine it would be all that hard to install and configure. I saw some options for it to load directly into when Windows loads.
I havent done too much research because i need a cabinet first.

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Old 02-16-2015, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

http://amazon.com/Happ-Arcade-Co...ame+controller

Something like that- but different colors for each player.

I would like to keep the roller ball in the center for GOLDEN TEE games, and other games that use it.

I would also like to add (4) guns for shooters.

Add a pair of small coax speakers or car audio speakers - a small 12" infinity sub - nice paint job.... This place seems to make and sell high quality arcade game decals to make it look sweet


IDK... seems like a cool project to waste hours on ?
Have you considered x-arcade? They make two player controls with the roller ball in it that plugs straight into USB. It makes the building process much easier and are worth the price.
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:07 AM
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I've done a couple of cabinet repurposing on my side. I have an horizontal and vertical cab + a bartop dedicated to gun games and a virtual pinball cabinet.

If you have questions, I'll be happy to help !
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:14 PM
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Oooooh! Something, unlike speakers, I actually know a little about! Many moons ago, I built a four-player cocktail setup, back just as it was transitioning to "doable" from "it's possible... but good luck."

Now, from the links here and a little refreshing, it looks almost easy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Toid View Post
Have you considered x-arcade? They make two player controls with the roller ball in it that plugs straight into USB. It makes the building process much easier and are worth the price.
Seconded. I'm *all* about being cheap and DIYing, but the X-Arcade solutions are as no-brainer as an off-the-shelf solution can be.

Unless you're aiming for a replica of a game particularly important to you, get the X-Arcade stuff. VERY well made (like, I am comfortable saying, "no, don't worry, there's no way your two year old can hurt it. It's seen worse."), and easily configurable. I have two two-players, one custom-mapped so four players can spend hours on Gauntlet. I feel like a cocktail table is an under-loved / under-doc'd project, so it wasn't the easiest, and doesn't work flawlessly, but well enough. Prepare to spend some time doing some finicky re-mapping of the ROMs you have (though if you only get one set up, it'll work out of the box with most), but it's not difficult.

I bought mine when they were new, and before they had the ball... kinda jealous of what's available now!

Unless you enjoy assembling button, soldering, basic woodwork, etc, get something from X-Arcade. It's not going to cost much more, even if you consider your time free.

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I've done a couple of cabinet repurposing on my side. I have an horizontal and vertical cab + a bartop dedicated to gun games and a virtual pinball cabinet.

If you have questions, I'll be happy to help !
Any chance you have a pointer to a FAQ or some build threads on the "virtual pinball cabinet"? I've never even thought of such a thing, but suddenly wonder if that'd be a better solution than "finding a cheap, old rig on Craigslist for kicks...."

A few random thoughts:

- Figure out what you're shooting for: Accurate, exact duplicate of a favorite arcade experience? Able to play only classic games, but feel like Back In The Day? Play anything and everything? As with the audio world, arcade cabs have a rabbit hole that goes deep... how long do you want to fall? Coin boxes, arcade-accurate vintage monitors, custom-clone button layouts, vinyl graphics, etc, etc, are all nice... but if I had been hung up on that, I'd still have plans and scraps and sketches. An old PC, monitor, a couple X-Arcade 'sticks and a day or two of tweaking... and I haven't changed the resulting rig since.

- Consider your use case: Respectful, adult, supervised play? Kids? Drunken parties? Just like there are some on here with audio systems with volume knobs that must be closely guarded to prevent damage (gear, hearing, house foundation, or otherwise), you could wind up with a fancy, fragile system... or an anvil-reliable one. I built mine on an -old- version of a basic Linux distro, and spent time building scripts / auto-runs, so all anyone sees is the game-selecting front end, and if someone should happen to rage-quit and yank the plug, it's only a re-plugging away from being back in business. The plexi-glass top is velcro'ed securely in place, and the keyboard/pc are hidden. Good luck screwing it up, unless you -really- try.

BUT, it only does joystick/buttons-MAME... and the older games, at that.

- Gear: I am running on an ollllld Pentium (P4, I think? Bet it'd be harder to find one being given away than it's actually worth these days) dusted off from the garage, a $20 21" CRT (and I think the guy was surprised _I_ was paying _him_), and a freebie pair of speakers. Works -great-. But I can't/don't have NES/PS/XBox/Etc. Again, consider your desired scope and what you really want before you set off following in someone else's footsteps!

- From a quick look around, it looks a -lot- easier than it used to be. I may have to consider building another system with a low-draw Atom mini-pc or something, but, hey, don't fix what ain't broke.

- Just like audio, consider WAF and long-term appeal: I built a custom (though farrrr from fancy) cocktail table, clad in the wainscotting of the room, and it'll look right at home for a long time, with no appeal fatigue. I think I long ago would have tired of some big, neon-y, stand-up, but YMMV, of course! To each their own, but the point is make sure to think a bit about the long term before committing to a design.

- If I could change anything, I'd add a spinner and a trackball. It's never too late, but I wish they were an easy add when I threw everything together. Also, an exterior-accessible volume knob for the speakers, but that could also just add a way for someone to mess with it being set up the way I want... just need to remember to set the dial for "kids coming over; silent" or "drunken friends coming over; recreate college arcade; LOUD" *before* anyone arrives! : )

- Brace yourself for late nights! It feels like every time we have a house guest, the MAME cab gets fired up and an "Oh! Man! You have...." is shouted... and suddenly it's 3am and we're chasing levels we never had enough quarters to reach back in the day. This, note, is not a complaint. ; )

I feel like this is long and vague, but it's meant to be encouraging and give ya' something to start thinking about / planning. I'll be on-and-off the webbernets for the next few days, but will try to answer questions. If I'm not busy trying to beat my last guest's high score on something.

Do it. For -way- less money than most of the speaker projects on here and probably less work, you can have your own personal time machine to your favorite era of arcade games!
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter

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Ive never done it, but I cant imagine it would be all that hard to install and configure. I saw some options for it to load directly into when Windows loads.
I havent done too much research because i need a cabinet first.
I'll build you a cabinet you set it up the PC hardware - trade? haha.
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter

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Have you considered x-arcade? They make two player controls with the roller ball in it that plugs straight into USB. It makes the building process much easier and are worth the price.
Yeah that is kind of what I was looking at. There was a bunch of options I saw but I honestly did not get to far into researching what was good/bad. I want something to work on PC hardware- like a Pentium or something. Windows is optional but I don't want some hipster pussified chromebox or raspi. No weak sauce. If I go through the trouble to build it- I want it to work smooth and fast. That means lots of storage- because I would do a jukebox with it too, and SSD to a modern socket Intel or AMD for snappy performance.
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreakishlyTall View Post
Any chance you have a pointer to a FAQ or some build threads on the "virtual pinball cabinet"? I've never even thought of such a thing, but suddenly wonder if that'd be a better solution than "finding a cheap, old rig on Craigslist for kicks...."
The best reference is VPForums.org, there is a lot of information there with huge build threads.

It's been a fun project, I really appreciate the result and the ability to play any table out there.

Of course it's not as realistic as with a MAME Cab, but it's still close enough to play the machines and learn the ruleset, etc...

Here's a video of my machine during the build :

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Old 02-16-2015, 04:24 PM
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I'll build you a cabinet you set it up the PC hardware - trade? haha.
Heh. And here I was thinking, "I'll clone my drive in exchange for an XO design or something." ; )

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work on PC hardware- like a Pentium or something. Windows is optional but I don't want some hipster pussified chromebox or raspi. No weak sauce. If I go through the trouble to build it- I want it to work smooth and fast. That means lots of storage- because I would do a jukebox with it too, and SSD to a modern socket Intel or AMD for snappy performance.
I understand the ethos around here is "MORE IS NOT ENOUGH!" but think about your actual requirements before you spend money, if money matters to you. A RasPi has way more power than my old late-model Pentium-based PC, and is -way- cheaper to run. And, I bet (without Googling, could be way off) there's a MAME distro that could make building the PC part of the equation as easy as downloading an image. Host your media on a server somewhere and the RasPi would be plenty capable of streaming music. Unless you're looking to pirate, I mean "emulate" recent-ish consoles, a full-blown PC is -massive- overkill for an arcade cabinet and media player.

But, hey, to each their own! Heck, now you have me thinking of justifying a new decent-spec PC by just having the MAME bit be a VM run out of a spare video port....

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Originally Posted by SteveTheGeek View Post
The best reference is VPForums.org, there is a lot of information there with huge build threads.
Ok, THAT's officially the coolest thing I somehow didn't know existed until today. Like I need -another- DIY project waiting until I restock the round tuits!

Thanks, honest, for pointing me at that. I have a feeling something is going to get cobbled up this year when time allows....
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by FreakishlyTall View Post
Ok, THAT's officially the coolest thing I somehow didn't know existed until today. Like I need -another- DIY project waiting until I restock the round tuits!

Thanks, honest, for pointing me at that. I have a feeling something is going to get cobbled up this year when time allows....
Nice ! Feel free to ask any question, it will be a pleasure to help !

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Old 02-16-2015, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter

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I have a few old pc and cheap hardware already so that kind of helps dictate things for me too. I'm up to my ears in old pc gear. Decently modern stuff (socket 1155).
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:15 PM
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Nice ! Feel free to ask any question, it will be a pleasure to help !
Careful what you wish for. ; ) The site you linked (thanks!) looks pretty fabulous at first read. I have a feeling I'm gonna get lost in a lot of wishful planning in the near future... and hunting CL for LCD tvs... really, thanks for mentioning and following up on something that may well fill a giant hole in my life I didn't realize was there!

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I have a few old pc and cheap hardware already so that kind of helps dictate things for me too. I'm up to my ears in old pc gear. Decently modern stuff (socket 1155).
If you have old gear lying around, you're only a few hours away from at least a basic, old-school-games MAME rig. I can't give you a current state-of-the-art tutorial, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask/PM.

Then, at some point, may you experience the unexpected joy of a current-gen console-kiddo getting frustrated by, then spending hours trying to beat, something like Frogger!

And definitely budget for the X-Arcade gear, unless you -really- like wiring buttons and building electronics.
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:15 AM
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Careful what you wish for. ; ) The site you linked (thanks!) looks pretty fabulous at first read. I have a feeling I'm gonna get lost in a lot of wishful planning in the near future... and hunting CL for LCD tvs... really, thanks for mentioning and following up on something that may well fill a giant hole in my life I didn't realize was there!
lol! Well you know, the thing that's great is having the chance to play those pinballs you would never be able to if you had to pay full price of admission at home... When you think about the quantity of tables selling at thousands of dollars, up to 15-20k, it's really a chance to be able to play them.

It's not the same, it will never be, but it's close enough to enjoy them !

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Old 02-17-2015, 05:27 AM
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I have one of these. http://dreamarcade.com The cocktail table version. I just bought the shell and built the computer/software into it. Not exactly "DIY" but its pretty cool. I honestly really never play it - only gets used during parties for the guests...

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Old 02-17-2015, 06:19 AM
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tables selling at thousands of dollars, up to 15-20k, it's really a chance to be able to play them.
Once again, DIY comin' through with being frugal! "Think of all the money you'll save," I'll soon tell myself, "by building a virtual pinball setup instead of buying all the actual machines!" Might be time to start measuring spaces and figuring out where my next Money Saving Endeavor will go. : )

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I honestly really never play it - only gets used during parties for the guests...
This is also a great point: Mr. Jeeper is not alone. After the first month or two, mine is mostly off, fired up only for parties and houseguests. And when the topic comes up in a forum I lurk. But mostly off. Not the machine's fault, and I'm sure some use theirs on a daily basis, but mostly off here, too.

Which actually adds a touch more incentive to building a cocktail cabinet instead of a full standup. When it's off, it's still a handy table for dumping mail, etc, and less likely to have ya' thinking, "that giant machine in the corner is never even on" while wondering why you bothered.

But when they're powered up and a few friends are over... great fun, and no doubts about having it around!
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter

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I wouldn't expect to use it daily. Only a few times per year, special occasions with guests etc... I've had a golden tee machine and it's the same way. Pool tables are the same, Darts etc...
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:45 AM
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I wouldnt go nuts with PC specs. Apparently it doesnt take much to run alot of these games. I see some pretty weaksauce PC's running this stuff flawlessly according to the people running them.
Someone reminded me. . . they are running 8bit and 16bit games at best. Wont need much resources to run that

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Old 02-17-2015, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter

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I have a couple LGA1155 Celeron and Pentium laying around. I have a Pentium G860 3.0ghz dual core that would be ideal I think.
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:53 AM
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I have a couple LGA1155 Celeron and Pentium laying around. I have a Pentium G860 3.0ghz dual core that would be ideal I think.
Yeah, those are WAY overkill. The CPU I have in mine is about 8 years old and still runs them just fine.

If you are looking to DIY, you will want to get one of these:

http://ultimarc.com/ipac1.html

It lets you tie all your buttons, controls, etc into a USB interface that you can then map to MAME (or whatever emulator you're using) controls.

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Old 02-17-2015, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
Yeah, those are WAY overkill. The CPU I have in mine is about 8 years old and still runs them just fine.

If you are looking to DIY, you will want to get one of these:

http://ultimarc.com/ipac1.html

It lets you tie all your buttons, controls, etc into a USB interface that you can then map to MAME (or whatever emulator you're using) controls.
Indeed the iPac is great, there's a two players and four players version too.

Very reliable product, high quality.

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Old 02-17-2015, 08:03 AM
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Building your own control setup (buying buttons and joysticks and laying them out / wiring them up yourself) will truly test your cable management skills.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
Yeah, those are WAY overkill. The CPU I have in mine is about 8 years old and still runs them just fine.

If you are looking to DIY, you will want to get one of these:

http://ultimarc.com/ipac1.html

It lets you tie all your buttons, controls, etc into a USB interface that you can then map to MAME (or whatever emulator you're using) controls.
COOL! I will check it out.

hard to imagine CPU that are under $50 are "overkill" lmao...
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter

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So if I am trying to estimate stuff like costs, time, materials needed, tasks to be completed etc... what am I looking at?

By my estimation I can make a cabinet with MDF or PLY for under $150. Cheaper if I get the 50% off stuff that is slightly damaged, which I likely would trim anyways. That project seems fun. Probably two weekends. I have all the tools.

Option #2 would be retro fit the Golden Tee machine. Actually cheaper. Just paint and graphics/stickers and some easy counter expansion and LCD mounting. I would just HVLP spray it black and a little sanding- then use the custom stick on decals- and make a DIY glow behind header. LCD lights or rope lights might make it MOAR BETTER.

So cabinet construction or modification seems easy enough.

Next I need PC hardware. I got piles of that stuff. Well versed in making or building PC, etc.. Very easy as well. Zero cost out of pocket.

I'd need a LCD screen. Costco or Walmart or some good sale I snatch up a 1080p whatever brand LCD. Probably like 30" or 32" you think ?
I have one actually I could use/test with. I think it's a Samsung...

So that leaves me with installing the PC gear, attaching to monitor- installing controllers... Then setting up the software and making it work.
That part seems troublesome. The least "fun" part for me. Not above my talents but rather something I enjoy less and less of doing these days.

So perhaps it might be logical to make the PC and get it working nice before I try messing with the cabinet? Do it backwards? What you think? What did I forget. ?
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
Building your own control setup (buying buttons and joysticks and laying them out / wiring them up yourself) will truly test your cable management skills.
I'm jealous of those who look at that challenge and think, "hey, cool! Fun!" not "man, the pre-made X-Arcade is totally worth it." Or maybe that's just my iffy relationship with soldering irons. ; )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
hard to imagine CPU that are under $50 are "overkill" lmao...
March of technology, man. It's depressing if you think about it too long -- heck, my first TB server cost my employer nearly $150,000... and now anyone can buy a 3TB USB drive for $100.

The smartphone in my pocket is orders of magnitude more powerful than what's powering my MAME cab perfectly adequately... and has processing power -unimaginable- to the engineers who put people on the _moon_!

Really, I'd bet a RasPi would make a perfectly adequate MAME machine... if I recall correctly, the original PacMan ROM board operated at, like, _3_Mhz.

So, I guess there is that -- DIY Overkill remains in place... ya' just only need an old Celeron to achieve it! : )
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