Well, I'm finally going to have some time to build my cabinet... took awhile, darn career getting in the way of my games!
Anyway, I have several issues I'd like to hear opinions and advice on, but I just realized I left all my notes and schematics at work. I'll add more questions and corrections later, since my memory may not be 100% accurate. Basic design info: about 7 feet tall, 36" wide, and 36" deep (without control panel, which I plan on making removable). 4-player U360 with (10) rgb buttons per player, (2) aimtrak, (1) rgb trackball with (3) system rgb buttons. 40" LCD, 5.1 sound, secondary and tertiary LCD's, LCD marquee. Emulating arcade and console games.
1. I would like to have glass or plexiglass over the screen. I like the "depth" feeling from standard arcade cabinets with the monitor behind a protective layer. I think I would prefer glass over plexi for this application. My questions are:
(a) is there a material type that better minimizes glare?
(b) how much of a gap between the screen and the glass?
(c) what angle off the vertical should the glass and screen be mounted, keeping in mind possible reflections from screen onto glass?
(d) "smoked" glass looks cool, but does it dull colors or otherwise impair viewing? I will be playing some games in 1080p.
2. I would like to have glass or plexiglass over my control panel's artwork:
(a) I do not want any visible screws/clamps/etc. The buttons will hold it in place, but will I need to secure it better (especially near edges)?
(b) also, the edge must look good. T-molding to cover both plexi and wood, or any other options?
(c) for this application glass has great advantages, but since it will receive more wear and tear, maybe plexi is better?
(d) what angle off the horizontal should the top of the panel be (I think my design was close to 5 degrees)?
3. I want hinges to lift the top of my control panel:
(a) need to be able to access Ipac/interface and controls for maintenance
(a) must be heavy-duty enough to lift the panel with all electronics attached and hold open
(b) when closed, all seams/lines should be as invisible as possible
3. T-molding for side panels' edges?
(a) I kinda like keeping the wood slightly rounded, smoothly sanded, and painted a relevant color for the artwork, but am worried about the edge of the vinyl artwork looking crappy if there is nothing to butt up against. Anyone tried both and can compare?
(b) I had planned on using 1/2" plywood. I'm aware of positives/negatives of it vs. MDF. If I use T-molding, however, it seems that options and varieties of T-molding in 1/2" is quite limited. I thus figured 3/4" plywood would be better for the sides (I was already using some for other parts that needed a little more strength than the 1/2"), but still want to keep the weight down. I guess I don't have a specific question about this, just wondering what other people have done and think?
4. Casters for movability?
(a) Originally, I planned on putting casters in the rear two corners, and solid feet in the front two. Now I'm thinking I will rarely have to re-position the cabinet, so not only will this be unnecessary, but the casters may allow a little more "wiggle" than solid feet, which in the heat of competitive play may be annoying. Has anyone tried this with good/bad results?
(b) What kind of feet should I use? I figure I should leave at least a 1/4" gap between cabinet and ground to allow both airflow and the possibility that carpet or soft flooring may affect how close the cabinet really is to the floor. If there are four feet, the cabinet may teeter if they are not adjustable.
5. USB and other inputs?
(a) I will put a powered USB hub right below the screen for Aimtrak guns, gamepads, and other needs. Is there any need for 3.0 USB? Is there a simple way to secure the Aimtrak/gamepad cables so they are not accidentally unplugged/damaged during gameplay?
(b) Bliss-Box? I read a bit about it, but need more info. I had purchased an NES-to-USB adapter and was disappointed with the lag... impossible to play Tyson's Punch Out... but Bliss-Box looks promising.
(c) I also plan on having an I/O for ethernet, TV coaxial, headphones/mic, and power. Are there any others I should consider?
Thanks everyone. Just reading through others' posts has been immensely valuable, and I truly appreciate it. I'll post some pictures when I actually start cutting and things look like they are taking shape. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions until then.