Hawkade - An Arcade Cabinet on the Cheap

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade Worklogs' started by th3_hawk, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    So because you're all a pack of bad influences ;) and because I'm cheap I've talked myself into (attempting) building my own Arcade Cabinet following this guide in 2 x scale for a full size cabinet. There is some discussion on 1.5 vs 2x scale, I'll look into that as I go, although the screen might be the deciding factor.
    https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Super-Easy-Arcade-Machine-from-1-Sheet-of-Plywoo/

    I've got a garage full of tools including almost everything they say I need. I might need some more wood clamps and will make do with the power sanders I have (non-random orbital). I might also need some spade bits for holes depending on what I already have.

    I've ordered some buttons from eBay already. Wanting to allow for two players also means the wider design is probably for the best. I'm also not sure if I need/want the eight button layout this allows, but a problem for another day. What I liked about this kit was the 1 & 2 player buttons :D
    [​IMG]

    Next stop is Bunnings for a sheet of 2400 x 1200 timber to use. I've got some other offcuts and bits floating around I can use too. In any case Bunnings is dangerously close to my house ;)

    I'm not sure if it's worth stepping up from MDF or not... it's very cheap and once it's finished it probably doesn't matter too much. I'm looking at a combination of paint for the body and vinyl for the control surface which should provide a cleaner finish for the bits you have to touch.

    MDF is cheap at $37.20 for 18mm
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/18mm-standard-mdf-1200mm-x-2400mm_p0590060

    Structural ECOPly is more expensive at $88 for 19mm:
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/ecoply-2400-x-1200-x-19mm-cd-structural-plywood_p0340167

    Another option is a couple of sheets of White Melamine at $33.36 each. It would provide a nice finished surface. Even if I only bought a smaller piece for the control surface I think it would provide a cleaner finish. Adding the iron on edging would complete the job too, I just have to be mindful of any curves.
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/trade-essentials-2400-x-595mm-16mm-abs-white-melamine_p0570645

    I *think* I have a 19" 4:3 LCD sitting in the garage, but I also have a GVA 32" TV (G32TV15) in all it' 1366x768 glory, although this isn't an ideal ratio, it has HDMI (and VGA apparently). I can always just mask off the section I don't need.... but at 730mm wide it would take up almost the entire width of 32" wide cabinet. It also has built in speakers, which while terrible, might be enough for an arcade machine.

    I'm thinking to mount this screen, another piece of timber MDF mounted behind the screen with four bolts into the standard wall mounting points means I don't have to tear anything apart, it also makes replacement pretty easy in future. It's easy enough to cut another framing piece to insert above it.

    Another addition I'm considering is a couple of wheels mounted to the back edge to make moving it a little easier.

    So there are the plans... I also happen to be starting annual leave at COB tomorrow for a couple of weeks, so maybe I can get the kids involved too :D
     
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  2. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    Careful going to Bunnings..
    Ask glenpinn his opinion ;)
    My 2c.... you get what you pay for mostly, so you're better off paying more first off for better quality stuff, than getting cheap crap, and having to replace it later..
    Use T-Molding
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  3. glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    I just say it like it is about Bunnings, i hate their business style and their aggression in the market place, and they need to stop flogging themselves as selling at warehouse prices because they don't, if you want any building materials, you are far better off going to say Mitre 10 or some other timber yard, and get decent timber/products at a better price (i was a builder so i know these things)

    I also don't see many brands at Bunnings that i can't buy elsewhere, except for a few "exclusive" products that bunnings have a contract for the rights to sell, and they don't have their own brand either as implied by some people in the Bunnings thread, and some people need to stop posting ill informed information, and get their fact right about what bunnings do or don't sell, especially regarding brands and products.
     
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  4. OP
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    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    I thought about that stuff (although didn't know what it was called), just no clue on how to cut the groove to fit it. A quick google turns up some options including a dremel attachment which might get the job done.


    In many respects, Bunnings has become the default standard for home tinkerers like me. I've never been under the illusion they were particularly cheap, but they always had most of the little bits and bobs I've needed around the house and the stuff has been high enough quality to do what I needed... but then I've also never built much of anything.


    The reality here is that the instructables simple says big sheet of wood, I have no idea what I should/could be using for this project. It's not exactly going to be heavy weight or structural beyong holding itself together.

    I'm open to suggestions on what I could/should be using instead as well as where I could be sourcing it.

    I'm sure solid timber would provide a better end product, but I don't know that my level of skill would do it justice... or where I would even find something like that. Any suggestions on what materials would be best as well as where I could source them (Eastern Melbourne / Ringwood/Lillydale sort of areas) would be much appreciated.

    Is non structural ply OK for my purposes? Is MDF a better choice? Structural Ply?
     
  5. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    That design is a small frame so it might be ok but a lot of the ply that bunnings sell is far from being level/flat.

    If you plan on applying a decal i think laminated MDF would be best as you can probably get away with little to no sanding/painting depending on the colour and the decals.

    I've started looking at what bunnings have on offer in mind for building a bartop cabinet and I think i'll have to shop around to find what I want.

    Anything they have with a decent laminate tends to be that flakey particle board instead of MDF so I think would require more structural support.

    Plenty of screws and glue and you should be right though.
     
  6. glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    I agree totally, they do have just about everything people need, but they are not the cheapest, and they have no right in telling us that they sell at warehouse prices, that kind of statement is misleading, but at the end of the day, most people who do go there are every day noobs who don't know much of anything, real tradies will go elsewhere.

    As i said, their business model is bad, and i think they are aggressive, and i get sick of walking the isles tripping on big boxes that they place full of product to entice you to buy it as you walk past, and it is usually products that are not even stocked in that isle.

    I also hate the wanna be experts who walk the floor offering help to people, but have no idea what they are doing or saying, yet bunnings claim that their staff go thru weeks of intensive training, you wouldn't think so.

    On Topic, MDF and structural ply is the strongest of the sheet material, but totally different technology in the way they are made, and in the finish.

    Personally i would use 18mm structural ply, making sure one side has a nice grain finish that is smooth enough to paint, or better still, sand it well, and sand the edges, and put a coat of oil on it, or spray it with paint.

    Structural ply is lighter as well, but you need a fine tooth carbide tip blade to cut it without chipping it.

    If you are near a Mitre 10 store get your sheet material there.

    If i can help more let me know, but i have not read this whole Thread yet so i am not familiar with what you really may need.

    The white coated melamine sheets are not flaky particle board, if you make sure that you buy the Moisture Resistant one you will be fine (it has a green color to the edge of the board) as it is high density and does not flake off like the non moisture board is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  7. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    ^ sweet tips.

    I was planning on checking the materials out in store to make a decision but that was my main concern from what I could deduce from non-zoomable material photos online.
     
  8. glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    Remember that whatever board you are using, you need a good quality, fine point carbide tip blade in your saw, especially with plywood, and the same as the white coated melamine, as it is a laminate coating and it will chip as you cut it.

    For cutting melamine or lamiwood, and plywood as well, i recommend that you try to use a saw blade labelled as an Aluminium cutting, it should have the most number of teeth as you can get, and the teeth are called TCG (Triple Chip Grind) or as i call them "Triple Cut Blade"

    The teeth should look like this image below.

    [​IMG]

    You can also use this blade on ply or melamine but it tends to still chip the edge of the board a bit.

    [​IMG]

    This blade or the other 2 can be used to cut uncoated
    MDF
    [​IMG]

    This is a typical Irwin 254mm blade with 80 teeth, also available in many other brands, and diameter, just avoid using any Craftright blades as they are cheap and very poor quality.

    https://www.bunnings.com.au/irwin-254mm-80t-circular-saw-blade_p6350019
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  9. OP
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    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    There is a Mitre 10 near enough, in fact just checked and it's 10 minutes to Mitre 10 vs 8 minutes to Bunnings so I'll head there to check things out.

    When it comes to cutting implements, I have a Compound Mitre Saw which isn't going to help, a couple of decent hand saws (which are a last resort :p ) and a jigsaw which may have a fine blade, but I'll grab some new ones anyway.

    Given the pictures of blades are all for circular saws, is it worth picking one up for this project? I'd likely be looking at the Ryobi One+ model, just because I have a range of those tools already. But open to suggestion on this too.
     
  10. glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    I would definitely buy a small power saw as a jigsaw will not give you a very good cut, and if you are wanting clean cut edges, you will then need to do a lot of sanding, but a small 184mm power saw will cost at least $100, plus at least $40 for a good 48 or 64 point blade, so you need to weigh it up if you will use the saw again.

    Sorry i am talking to you as a veteran of 45 years as a carpenter/joiner/builder, 10 of those running my own kitchen joinery business, so my recommendations are based on using the right gear for the job.

    I personally hate Ryobi, and their power tools are at the lower end of the quality pecking order, if you want the best, DeWalt is the best of the lot, followed by Makita, the rest i won't touch, but having said that, i recently spent $109 on a 184mm Makita power saw (the cheapest one they sell) for cutting some sheets needed in a hurry (i dropped my DeWalt and broke it) and it is so dangerous to use, i threw it in the bin, have now ordered my new DeWalt one which will be 2 weeks away from arriving, unfortunately not many stores sell DeWalt, and those that do, don't stock corded power saws because most tradies only use battery tools now, and DeWalt is not a brand that most every day people can afford.

    If you won't be using a power saw much, buy a cheap one, but be sure that you know how to use them.
     
  11. glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    Tap in T- Moulding is the stuff he was referring to, i used it years ago on office furniture that i used to make, it is made of a hard pvc/rubber material and comes in different widths and thicknesses.

    This is the only link i could find, and i will bookmark this page as this is no longer available in Australia according to everyone i have asked, as nobody uses it any more.

    https://www.alibaba.com/product-det...m=a2700.7724857.normalList.180.2180783dHAs8SX

    https://www.alibaba.com/product-det...pm=a2700.wholesale.deiletai6.4.dcd545a9ZlTjFB

    If you had an 18mm sheet you buy this moulding in 20 or 22mm width, and trim it off flush with a special trimming tool.

    To cut the groove you can buy a small blade attachment that fits in a router, and you set the blade up to cut the groove in the centre of the sheet edge, and the blade has a roller on it that rolls around the edge of the sheet to cut the groove to the required depth.


    [​IMG]

    These cutters are available in different thickness blades so you must buy one that will cut the groove to the correct width in one run, because if the groove is not quite wide enough the section that fits into the groove will split the sheet, if the groove is too wide the moulding will fall out.

    EDIT: this is another flat T-Moulding edge strip, i never saw this one before.

    https://www.alibaba.com/product-det...pm=a2700.7724857.normalList.36.18be783dLSCdoF

    This is one of the trimming tools for iron on melamine or wood veneer edging tapes.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  12. OP
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    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    So I thought I would make a quick and dirty mockup out of cardboard so I could see how it all goes together (I learn by doing).

    I'm glad I did because it highlighted a number of small issues with the plan and what is meant by "scrap wood" in the instructions.

    It looks like there isn't enough timber to box in the control panel or provide arms to hold it in place, (I used the cut outs from the back of the machine for the marquee in my model). The photos also seem to show some sort of boxing/bracing in the back at the base. I'm also looking at having a large flat panel to mount the screen onto.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The short version is that I will probably need a second sheet for the screen mounting, boxing in the base and any other bracing/cross members. I'm also thinking that a flat shelf or two in the rear might be handy to mount hardware and power distribution stuff off the ground.

    Assuming I was using the 18mm MDF, plan B might be some 18mm mouldings to cut up for boxing in the control panel or building the arms without having to (attempt) neatly cut long strips (otherwise just something to match whatever I end up using).
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/110-x-18mm-x-2-7m-primed-mdf-dar-moulding_p8470555
     
  13. OP
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    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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  14. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Counter opinion: I've built 4 cabinets with the cheapest, shittiest Ozito and GMC Chinese made tools.

    DeWalt is great for professionals punching out high end jobs and getting paid for it. Cheap shit tools are perfectly fine for making a one off cabinet in your back yard that you're not getting paid for.
     
  15. glenpinn

    glenpinn Member

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    And i never said you can't build stuff using cheaper crappy branded tools, i just recommended DeWalt and some of the Makita gear as they are the top 2 brands by a mile, both in build quality and ease of use, and they are not just for tradies or professionals, anyone can buy them, and most people can realistically afford them, and i always advise paying a bit extra for the quality, the others you get what you pay for.

    I have a set of 18v Ozito battery drills, and you know why i have them over DeWalt or any other brand, because they are the only power tool that Ozito makes that are not dangerous, and in fact i think these 2 drills are by far the best drills that i have ever used, they are very well made overall, very well balanced and ergonomically they are great tools to use, and the best thing of all is the no questions asked 5 year warranty, Bunnings will take back your drill and replace it.

    The biggest issue i have had is with the chucks stuffing up after a while where they stop gripping the drill bits properly, so i have returned 5 of my drills for this reason in the past 4 years and got a replacement.

    No other brand offers this.
     
  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I can't. $150+ a pop for tools, a jig saw, circular saw and drill, and suddenly you've spent more on tools than on the thing your making.

    I have no problems with quality brands designed for people who are using them every day. Nor do I have problems with people who have a grand of play money to drop on tools. But I repeat: as a back yard woodworker who's built a few cabinets, the cheap shit got me by just fine.

    One of the biggest factors stopping people having a go at making an arcade machine is the up front cost of tools.

    That's the same reason I use MDF instead of ply. As much as ply is far nicer to work with, MDF is just cheaper.

    Quality tools and ply put you in at a $1K minimum buy in for a standing arcade machine. I've done a cabinet, tools and materials, for under $300.

    Of course, if your planning to do another 10 cabinets, good tools post for themselves. But again, I'm not pumping these things out.
     
  17. OP
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    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    I went out to Mitre 10 this morning and ended up picking up a few things.

    2 x 2400 x 1200 x 17mm ply. Probably more than I really wanted to spend @$70 each, but they did cut them down to 2400 x 600 for me, although I probably should have asked them to cut two of those lengths down to 800 side pieces.
    I also picked up some screws and glue. All in about $170.

    My wife wanted to look for something in Bunnings so I ended up there too, probably a good thing because I forgot the larger timber I wanted to use in the frame.

    At Bunnings I picked up 2 x 90x35x2700 pine which I had them cut down to 800mm lengths.
    I also picked up some screw to mount the LCD.
    Total cost here was about $15.

    I thought I would try this on the cheap so once I was home I carefully measured things up and figured I'd give this cut a bash with the laser guided jigsaw...
    [​IMG]

    As it turns out, I think the piece of timber I was using as a long straight edge either moved a little in the middle or was bowed. My two sides didn't quite match up at all, but a quick run with the electric plane got them back into something resembling even.

    After that debacle, I figured that just maybe a circular saw was in order, so back to Bunnings I went and dropped another $79 on a corded Ryobi circular saw. I didn't see the value in a new blade given what I had done so far, so I figured I'd give the stock one a go first and see how it went. The short version is mostly fine. I don't think the cuts are perfectly straight and square, but they are reasonably neat and tidy. Given it's also going to be painted, more than acceptable.

    I also spent another $38.25 on a 910mm quick clamp while I was at bunnings, I was starting to see how it would be coming together and figured that at least one big clamp would be needed.

    So back home again.

    I did very carefully start to measure out where I wanted the cross members and panels, drilled them while the two side panels were clamped together, but (luckily) only drilled these three brace pieces first:
    [​IMG]


    After putting the braces is, the plans for the other panels sort of fell apart and the final placement was a little bit of an eyeball, followed by a good measure to ensure both sides were even, clamping things in place and then pre-drilling holes through the sides and into the flat panels. Then screws... lots of screws. 50mm from the end of each panel, then every 100mm. I didn't use 'furring' like the instructables listed, but with the larger braces it all feels very very solid.

    I used three of the 35x90 lengths to support the control panel and create a box. Otherwise it was just a matter of pre-drilling and screwing all the panels slowly into place and then mounting the TV.
    [​IMG]

    I'll get some more pictures from behind, but there is still lots of things to do.

    The lower front panel isn't actually attached yet
    The TV is currently screwed directly to the back panel and I don't think there is enough clearance from the back of the TV, so I'll make up a spacing plate to move it out more.
    I also need to cut out some holes for the wiring from the TV.
    I need to work out what I'm doing with the marquee. I've got a couple of 12V LED strips but will need to look into what I can use up there... acrylic is pretty expensive. It's probably cheaper just to get a piece of glass!
    I'm also not sure if I want a frame around the screen, part of that decision will be made when I work out the marquee and how I end up finishing that piece.
    Maybe some rubber feet
    Maybe an internal shelf in the back.
    Also paint... lots of paint. Not sure on colours yet.

    But sadly most of that is on hold pending my buttons arriving, which is currently listed as 'Estimated delivery Tue, 14 Jan - Mon, 20 Jan'. I don't know if I want to paint anything before I cut the button holes... but I'll probably get impatient and get started on it all anyway. I've probably got some paint already, otherwise that's another cost.

    So I'm at about $200 in materials and $120 in tools so far (although I don't think I will end up using the glue or half the screws (I bought two boxes) so I could get back about $25 in materials if I return them)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
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  18. OP
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    th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    Backshot:
    [​IMG]

    And a new front shot with holes cust for cabling (which you can't see ;) ):
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    nice work mate :D
     
  20. shredder

    shredder Member

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    Jigsaws suck for long straight lines. The only reliable way with them is to eyeball the cutting blade for the entire cut, and babysit it through. Mechanically, there's too much drift and flex in a thin vertical plunging blade, through most materials. (Dewalt & co. may be a different story, I wouldn't know ;) ) Guides can make it even worse because they don't allow for micro-corrections to offset for that effect throughout the cut.

    I've got an Ozito track saw which does the job but if I didn't have that (or tbh, probably in preference to that) I'd build a straight cutting jig for the circular saw. Pair of straight metal rails mounted 5cm above a fixed cutting field, sort of thing. People here have done it, but I don't know where the posts are.

    'Course, table saw is the thing, but a decent one of those costs as much as half-a-dozen of the other tools put together.

    Dammit, I still have to complete my cabinet build thread sometime. Hopefully one day soon. Finished the machine weeks ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
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