Bartop Arcade Cabinet

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade Worklogs' started by shredder, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    CABINET CONSTRUCTION pt. 1

    Some initial test placement:
    IMG_0081.resized.JPG

    Screen piece on, lightly supported by some old thing with it's 4th side ripped off:
    IMG_0085.resized.JPG

    Joining base and CP front:
    IMG_0093.resized.rotated.JPG

    Stick them on. A look at internal bracing:
    IMG_0100.resized.rotated.JPG

    A tip on that - in these tight spaces, plan and angle your pre-drilled holes-in-battens, such that you can impact drive the last side in after gluing. You do Not want to be fiddling around in there with a hand screwdriver trying to tighten braces as your glue cures:
    IMG_0114.resized.JPG
    And that's the thick laterals glued-and-screwed to the first side panel:
    IMG_0111.resized.JPG
     
  2. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    CABINET CONSTRUCTION pt. 2

    Fast forward several hours work, and I've flipped it over and screwed-and-glued the other side panel.

    Next, back piece on (that and the marquee front are designated as removeable panels i.e. countersunk screws outside), and marquee top piece on:
    IMG_0123.resized.rotated.JPG

    I'm pleased with the angle and join on those two pieces:
    IMG_0140.resized.rotated.JPG

    IMG_0143.resized.rotated.JPG

    Rest of marquee on:
    IMG_0132.resized.rotated.JPG

    Basic raw cabinet done:
    IMG_0135.resized.rotated.JPG

    (editor: looks like a bloody ad for Ozito - that's not intentional! - just the best I could afford/justify for certain tools)
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
    Pierre32, Rass and WuZMoT like this.
  3. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    CONTROL PANEL pt. 1

    I printed out a bunch of the different layout templates from slagcoin, to get a test feel on the machine.

    Settled upon the "cluster" layout. It just felt right, for both players. It has some natural hand curve. Spacing that suits me. The cab has enough width that the players won't need to bell out overly much (and tbh it will most be used by myself in 1P mode anyway!). The tighter button formation naturally suits the slightly smaller Happ button footprint too. So, that's settled.

    Transcribed the desired layout onto the CP panel (that's "control panel panel" for the uninitiated). Slightly up of centre vertically, to provide plenty of palm/wrist rest if needed.

    Bit of hole-sawing and step-drillbitting (as opposed to drillbiting) later :

    IMG_0171.resized.rotated.JPG

    IMG_0175.resized.rotated.JPG

    IMG_0181.resized.rotated.JPG

    What's that you say?! Holes on the sides?!

    Indeed, I plan to play a bit of digital pinball (literally) on the side, so my coin + 1P buttons are going there for that purpose.

    Next, I faced the matter of joystick mounting (as discussed in some posts above). To deal with that, I've made a thin top layer for the CP :

    IMG_0186.resized.rotated.JPG

    Attached from underneath which is nice, i.e. totally clean top free of bolts or screws.

    Synchronise watches buttonholes, by tracing through from underneath while attached, then detaching, clamping onto scrap wood, and carefully hole-sawing through the tracings to get an exact match :

    IMG_0188.resized.rotated.JPG
    ^^"Mmmmm, MDF doughnuts."

    CP top layer complete/ready :

    IMG_0190.resized.rotated.JPG

    Today I'll do the needful to testmount the joysticks into the underpanel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
    WuZMoT and Pierre32 like this.
  4. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Random worklog thoughts:

    "It's More Work Than You Think. A Lot More."


    I didn't fully appreciate all the details and phases of construction necessary to hand build such a cabinet.

    Every aspect needs it's place, to be designed and allowed for in every detail. Joysticks, buttons, various internal boards and components, speakers, ventilation fans, physical/maintenance accessibility, structural integrity, correct order of operations (else extra work), and a ton of other things.

    I've been at the 'wanting to finalise and prime' stage for several days now, each time thinking of an aspect I've overlooked and need to take care of (via hours of work) before I can call it.

    "Diminishing Returns Of Accuracy"

    Rightshoulderangel thinks I've done pretty ok in terms of build accuracy. Leftshoulderdevil knows it's not in the same league as computer-cut builds or even home builds by kitted out folk with Makita tablesaws and router tables and such.

    Everything fits together well but there were a few imperfect join areas, with gaps about equal to or less than 1mm. On say, three vertices out of quite-a-few. I filled these with (wouldn't you know it) filler.

    Point being, with a given tool (and skill/experience) set, you'll achieve a certain accuracy with reasonable care and effort, but beyond that it can get frustrating. I've had to put some perfectionist tendencies aside, in line with the quality of my tools and woodworking experience (which, for the record, isn't much at all - just a few bookshelves, a rough work bench, a few other bits and pieces).

    But don't get me wrong - all in all, I'm rapt with the progress and quality so far. Just, keeping in mind, point 1 above (it's a LOT more work - and pre-planning/thought - than you think)...
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
    WuZMoT likes this.
  5. flain

    flain Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    2,480
    Location:
    Sydney
    Looking good so far. One bit of advice i can give is if you paint it before fully assembling and putting everything in, it'll be a lot easier than trying to do it afterwards :)
     
  6. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Absolutely (I hope you didn't do that!), it's all the planning and test-fitting in advance that's holding me up from the prime and paint stage, so that everything's ready to just screw into place afterwards. Slowly limping my way there, one thing at a time..
     
  7. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    CONTROL PANEL pt. 2

    Got the rough joystick routing done in the under panel, and did a test fit - perfect.

    1 panel closed.resized.JPG

    2 panel open.resized.JPG

    3 sticks test.resized.JPG

    -=-=-=-=-

    The junkpile has these old Altec Lansing ADA-890 speakers. They were an early 4.1 PC speaker set which for a short while were perhaps the second-most powerful + featureful dedicated PC speaker set available, after the superior Klipsch Promedia 5.1.

    I've already repurposed the rear speakers, but the sub and the front are crying out to be incorporated into my cabinet. Not least because they're the only non-shit sacrificial speakers I've got on hand.

    So, this evening I deconstructed them to see if/how to fit them in.

    Sub explosion! :
    spk 1 sub xplosion.resized.JPG

    It has this funny "dual voice coil" sub driver - a weird concentric ring under-coil and a larger traditional shaped driver stacked on top of it. I don't know the technical ins-and-outs :
    spk 2 voice coil.resized.JPG
    ..eye of newt, toe of frog, thumb of shredder..

    Approx 3kg toroidal core transformer :
    spk 3 3kg solenoid.resized.JPG

    The satellite speakers - we're going in! (through the bottom, no less) :
    spk 4 were going in.resized.JPG

    Reams of cable, and various other crap in there :
    spk 5 speaker xplosion.resized.JPG

    Cut back to the basics :
    spk 6 reduced to basics.resized.JPG
     
    elvis and WuZMoT like this.
  8. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Hey folks. I've been beavering away over the past week.

    Basic paint job last couple of days (this is not my strong point, but it may be graphic'd in future, so I'm not too bothered), and pretty much at the put-everything-together stage now.

    Initially I'll power the box with an old C2D-era HP Elitebook I've got lying around. I've deconstructed it somewhat (pics later), and replaced the crappy little heatpipe and roaring jet-engine blower cooler with the heatsink from a desktop P4. "The lid doesn't quite close any more", he notes. It will do for running 8+16 bit stuff, perhaps even some early 32 bit.

    So I've begun researching and trying software/OS solutions. First off the ranks is Lakka, a RetroArch based distro which out-of-the-box supports most (if not all) of the stuff I want to run at this stage. After a quick dry run, it seems ok and will probably do the job, if there are no better options.

    Any thoughts guys, in this software/OS area??
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
    darknebula likes this.
  9. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    1,952
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I use Retropie (emulation station + retroarch) but an actual standalone install on a linux desktop. Reason being I messed around with it so much on a Rapsberry Pi first that when i moved to a full desktop system I was familiar with it and was able to "port" my game lists and meta data between installs. My requirements are a bit different though since I use a CRT display and needed 240p 15khz support. I have been through a bunch of software/hardware fiddling to get that to where i want it. If you're just using an LCD and output standard display res you can pretty much use whatever you like.

    Retropie makes it super easy to just drop roms in, setup your controller and go.

    I've always found scraping meta data for roms very hit and miss. If you want to make things pretty you can capitalise on the hard work of others by downloading a pre-made retropie image from arcadepunks - then just pull out the platform specific roms/gamelists/meta data that's already setup and stick it into your clean retropie install folders and it should just work.

    Technically speaking you could just use Retroarch by itself, it just depends what you want the front end to be like.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    SPEAKERS / SCREEN / PC CONSTRUCTION

    I've got a few updates to catch up on! (suffice it to say, I've been playing a few games). Here's the first update.

    Optimal prime ready :

    1.JPG

    Some priming, sanding <shudder of unpleasant memories>, and basic painting was done. I used Zinsser Cover Stain for the priming, two coats, dried overnight, then a quick (i.e. still took ages) sand, then a couple of coats of Resene enamel paint.

    The outer skin of the machine isn't hugely important to me at this stage (in aesthetic terms), but I did want to get the quality of the sealing and basic covering correct. It might be months before I get around to organising graphics or whatever.

    Next to the speakers, being a deconstruction and fitting of the old Altec Lansing speakers mentioned earlier. After some research considering whereabouts in the cabinet to place the speakers, I decided to mount them in the front of the marquee. The 8 inch sub (which I'll show in a future update) is mounted inside the main cabinet, exiting downwards.

    Here we go mounting - each side consists of a pair being a 3 inch main driver and a 1 inch tweeter :
    2.JPG

    Now to mount the control board and solder it back up :
    3.JPG

    4.JPG

    Next, to mount the screen to it's shroud. I actually ended up making a second, smaller shroud (see hanging @ front left of picture 1 above), deciding that I will use my old 17" 4:3 LCD in the machine initially. Basically the monitor will be mounted onto that smaller shroud, which in turn will be internally screwed onto the main larger shroud that forms permanent part of the cabinet.

    So to mount the screen. I rummaged in my random containers of shed things containing various hoarded fixture-y crap of completely unknown origin or purpose half the time. Looked at this and that, imagining how it could be twisted to the current goal. Indeed, did more or less twist a couple of bits of metal with the pliers, before throwing aside in disgust.

    But then (angelic choral note) there's these things:
    5.JPG

    Hammered them a tad flatter to suit, did a test sit, and it looks good, let's give it a go :
    6.JPG

    Drilled holes in each of the dual 'prongs' of each bracket and, after a careful placement check (imagine me crouched down, gingerly holding that up above my head so I can look under to fine tune the screen lining up), complete the fixing :
    7.JPG

    <Yankee NFL voice> And it's goood! </Yankee NFL voice> Held firm to the shroud, and in just the right place :
    8.JPG
    As part of the proceedings, as you can see at the bottom of the monitor in the above, I needed to pivot the monitor's control buttons 180 degrees to face rearwards.

    The PC innards of the cabinet are comprised of this old HP Elitebook 6930p as mentioned earlier. It's tiny stock heatpipe+50mm_blower cooler screeches like a jet engine upon the slightest load. The keyboard's been cruised (I'm soon going to test if I can get rid of it's screen, too), and a couple of large heatsinks chucked on the CPU and northbridge. Arctic Adhesive + official professionalâ„¢ cable ties.

    Some random old case's plastic shroud with the irritatingly-dimensioned 90mm fan whammed over top, powered by my handy made-back-in-early-OCAU-days wallwart-to-speaker-terminal switchbox on the right there, and Robert's your ugly naked Frankenstein beast from the past :
    9.JPG

    10.JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    mR_CaESaR, Pierre32 and WuZMoT like this.
  11. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    1,952
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Nice work on the monitor mount, a mate of mine got lazy with his bartop and relied on gravity and re-purposed pci slot covers.

    Do you know how the monitor behaves with power cycling?
    Ideally you want it to remember it's power state when it loses power so that it remains in standby so you don't ever have to switch the monitor on seperately. Not all monitors do this. That being said it wouldn't be too much trouble to extend the power button of the monitor to a convenient location.
     
    shredder likes this.
  12. OP
    OP
    shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    12,211
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Totally! I'm happy to report that everything (screen, speakers, laptop) all comes back on with power cycling.

    I was indeed starting to think about making a tidy externally accessible panel (and still might) for certain machine functions. Noticed that the USB joystick boards* have connectors for some additional functions (auto fire maybe??) so planned to check that out. Can no doubt do that stuff in software anyway. Avoidance of metalslug wrist and all that.

    *side note: the ones from Focus Attack (international, cheaper but + postage) and the ones from Jaycar (local, more expensive) are based on identical prototype - I got one from each.
     
    WuZMoT likes this.
  13. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    1,952
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Sweet win on the monitors behavior :thumbup:

    That notebook looks ridiculous. I don't know if I'm more skeptical or impressed.
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: