Building my (your) own arcade cabinet!

So I’ve been bitten by the arcade cabinet bug. I went over to a friends house a few weeks ago and he had just finished making his own custom arcade cabinet. It was a sit down cabinet, with a x arcade tank stick. He had the whole thing decked out pretty nicely and now I want one.

Trouble is I dont make nearly enough money to warrant pouring so much money into something that doesn’t exactly have a productive use. So I’ve decided I’m building my own out of scratch. Well, not REALLY scratch, in order to make it fully out of scratch I’d have to first create the universe.

I’ve been collecting palette wood in order to upcycle them into chairs or tables or at least use them as firewood. Now I’m thinking I can use them to create an arcade cabinet. I already have 2 ps2 hori fight sticks I can take apart and put into the control panel. I have the adapter for the control sticks. I just bought a decent desktop pc (i3 4gb ram 500gb for 100$, thought I was getting a deal until I saw 36$ s&h, damn ebay). I think I can create the bezel and marque myself (I’ll probably just put some prints under plexiglass). Black contact paper for some of the parts. Sand and paint for the wood.

I’m really excited to get this idea underway but I’m a little scared a bunch of palette wood nailed together and sanded is going to look ​disgusting. Anyone else have any experience building their own cabinets? I’d love to see some pictures and a little information on what works and what doesn’t. I’ve got a few sites that I’ve been reading up on this kinda stuff on but I thought I’d ask here.

It’s been a long time since I built mine, but I wrote about my conversion from a tower PC to a Raspberry Pi a couple years ago: Profanity and Profundity - Kyle Shipley’s Blog There’s some pictures of the cabinet, marquee, etc.

If I were building it from scratch today, I would probably:

  1. Use a Raspberry Pi (~$35 total) from the start if I didn’t have another computer available
  2. Mount an LCD and build a wall-mounted rack for the control panel. (Arcade monitors are super heavy and you can’t find good CRTs around much. Moving that cabinet around is a pain too!)

I used a fluorescent light to backlight the marquee and small car speakers mounted just underneath there for sound. Overall, it’s a great cabinet, but I wouldn’t mind slimming it down at this point.

Hope that helps a bit!

That sounds really cool. I have had no experience using Raspberry Pis but I know a few friends who have done so with good results. I wanted to use a pc because there are some steam arcade games that I wanted to run as well, not just MAME. Would be really nice to play KOF XIII in a cab, and so on.

I am way ahead of you with the LCD. I have a few CRTs I use just for light gun gaming and I like them and all, but not something you want to move around ever. I bought a 22" lcd for about 60 bucks. I wish I had gone just a tad bigger. I have a spare 36" sitting around but thats way too big.