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Steve's Area 51 Cabinet Project


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Hey Guys,

So I have finally started to work on the cabinet and decided to create a thread for it. So far I have gutted it, installed a drawer underneath for the key board and mouse, door behind the cabinet, rigged up the marquee and light. I used L-channel molding at home depot to hold the marquee in place and painted it black. I had another thread explaining my control panel overlay but will show it here as well. Started out with an x-arcade tankstick about 6 months ago because I am a noob, but as the months progressed and I began to learn and love this hobby, I decided I needed a bit more and wanted to test out my abilities, but since I already printed a custom overlay for it, I decided to still use the top of it, but trash the rest. I have completely gutted it out, have an ipac2, ipacLED64, blue, red, and white led pushbuttons from paradisearcadeshop with 20 gram switches. I have created 4 extra holes in the control panel for 2 spinners (turbo twist 2 currently in the mail), a power button to turn on the cabinet, and a kill/exit button to exit games. More to come later.

This is what I started with, an original Area 51 dedicated cabinet, my favorite arcade game growing up.


Gutted out the original gunholster/control panel (pay no mind the ugly yellow walls, just moved in and had since been painted :))


Cutout and installed drawer for keyboard and mouse under the control panel area


Installed the marquee


This is what the original Area 51 control panel looks like, and then my overlay design for my control panel


I also created inserts in photoshop for some of the buttons.

Was thinking one of these for player 1 and player 2 buttons


This for the kill/exit button


And going to choose one of these for the power button


Started working on the control panel, cut 4 extra holes, cut the plexiglass, cut my overlay to size, and put t-molding on the control panel. I have created usb ports and dc power ports where the original guns use to plug into the cabinet and will upload once I get home. Will post more pictures later on.













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Looks great dude! There have been like 15 of these cabinets floating around in my area. I didnt think putting a normal control panel on it would look right. I was wrong! How are you going to fill the gap in the front under the cp?

Thanks! In the last picture you see the control panel top is just sitting there, not attached. All I have done so far is cut the two angle pieces its sitting on and glued them to the cabinet, just put the top there for the picture, so I'm not finished, just glued last night. Going to cover it up with a piece of plywood, which the control panel top will also be able to rest on for support. Going to put one in the back behind it as well and install cabinet hinges. I will post more photos as I progress.

As for the gap the keyboard drawer creates. If you look at the original cabinet before I cut it, there was a piece of steel over it like it has on the bottom of the cabinet. Thinking about putting it back on the front of the drawer to keep it hidden and just have it fold down when you pull the drawer out when it's in use.

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Worked more on the control panel, added buttons (still waiting on the spinners to come in the mail) and finished up the usb/dc ports for my aimtraks with recoil where the old gun holes use to be. Came out great in my opinion. Also installed pinball buttons on the side of the cabinet. Next on the list is I need to finish encasing the control panel, and I would like to restore the coin doors, sand them down and paint them. I ordered some Novagem coin replacement buttons for coin inputs from GGG for the coin door so will have to retrofit them.

Control Panel






Pinball Button


USB/DC Ports



Another Cabinet Picture


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Alright, so I have been hard at work. Finished building the control panel and mounting into the cabinet. Installed speaker mesh behind the control panel and a shelf for the speakers. painted the keyboard shelf. Wired the pushbuttons, installed the power button and wired to my computer, and painted the coin doors to refurbish them and installed GGG's Novagem CDR's. Really happy with how it's coming out.

Control Panel Enclosed and Speaker Area


Painted, Buttons Wired








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  • 2 weeks later...

Did some more painting and t-molding. Got it all wired up. Need to start messing around with ledblinky now. I put the piece of aluminum steel taht was originally on the cabinet on the keyboard drawyer with hinges and it folds down when you pull it out. I think it really hides it now and makes it look original.

Will be getting a bigger monitor and will do the bezel in the future. I got layed off from my job yesterday:/. Getting married in 4 months and bought a house 3 months ago so looks like I'll have to take a break for a while :/




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  • 11 months later...

Thanks guys! Can't wait to start doing some more work on it. I've been having issues with people hitting the green power button on the control panel while the arcade is running and they're playing (morons). So...I decided to get a pushbutton cover for it. It should look ok. Was thinking more of a red toggle switch missle launch cover, but can't find one big enough to cover the arcade button I used as a power switch, so this should work.




Also have an issue with people puttin their beers and other drinks on the arcade as well, despite me saying not to multiple times. There have been a couple instances were a drink fell over the control panel (drunks). So to avoid that from ever happening again, I just ordered a pair of arcade cup holders on ebay. Going to mount them somewhere on the cab, probably below the guns (would of rather had the cup holders above the gun wires, but given where the orignal gun wire holes were in the cab, don't have that option. Don't think it should be a problem with cup holders being below). Also picked up some led strips, going to put blue leds in one cup holder and red leds in the other. Pretty excited :)







Since I have the pinball buttons on the sides of the cab as well, I have just been using the bottom right button on the control panel as the launch ball button. Though effective, thought up something cool. Got a square white led button coming in the mail and going to mount it in the front of the control panel by the arrow. To stick with the theme of the cabinet I'm going to print this out as an insert as well, missle fire button.







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  • 1 year later...


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