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Wife-Friendly Arcade Cabinet

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Hi all,

since I was a kid i've been facinated by arcade machines. Once I grew older and got a job I've always wanted to buy an original arcade cabinet.

However, time flew by and money was short so I never got to buy one.

Recently I discovered hyperspin and the urge to get myself an arcade cabinet got bigger and bigger.

As time whent by I met myself a girl and got married. She doesn't like the looks of an arcade cabinet so the final option I've got to get my dream is to build one myself that my wife doesn't find "ugly".

I will be posting the progress here and when I'm finished I'll try to make some tutorials and maybe even a new global theme.

Since I'm a graphic designer and not so good with hardware and powertools I might also be asking for some advice along the way.

Last week i've sketched something in Adobe Illustrator that was inspired on some designs I found on the internet. It suits my needs and also my wife's.

I've also learned how to use Google Sketchup and started to draw out the cabinet in Sketchup. Doing so lead to some questions.

But before I ask them this is what i've got so far:



I ran into one issue whilest designing this cabinet in sketchup:

since I'm using angles and have no miter saw for big boards (70cm x 18mm x 90cm) I will be having gaps.

I was thinking to fill them with woodfiller then sand and paint them so they look like one part, would that be a good idea ?

Cheers and untills soon.

Edited by mikomi

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I was in the same boat, not much room in the house, but wanting a large cabinet. I wanted a Slim-Cabinet, but could not find plans for one so I made my own. It's 24" deep at the deepest point and 18" wide at the base. I put it on casters so my wife would have no issues moving it to clean. I could not imagine making it any thinner without strapping it to the wall so it would not tip (Did not want to go that route). When its pushed toward the wall, the casters swing forward and center of gravity hold it nice and stable. I went 28" wide to accommodate 2 players plus trackball. If you know what her favorite game is, maybe theme it after that so she feels more apart of the project, and make damn sure that game works for her! lol.

Here are the plans for mine: [ATTACH=CONFIG]49559[/ATTACH]

As for the gaps, I angled everything to look clean on the outside and gap on the inside. I used caulk to fill the gaps outside first and then thin layer inside for support. Make sure to do this after all other sanding is complete to keep things simple.

See 8th pic in my build post here: http://www.hyperspin-fe.com/forum/showthread.php?38715-Tredog-s-First-Full-Height-Slim-Cabinet&p=364027&viewfull=1#post364027

Edited by Tredog

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Hi and thanks for your input, I'll try to redesign the cabinet so most of the gaps are on the inside. Seems like your wife was still ok with an arcade-look :) nice cabinet !

Mine wants it to be "in the same style" of our other furniture ... sigh :D

Thanks for your plans, I'll mix them with mine and see what I can come up with.

I was thinking to do the outside boards (the dark ones) in maple multiplex, the light boards in mdf.

mdf would be painted white and the maple multiplex dark brown. As far as buttons and such go I would go white only.

The only issue there is that I'll have to mask everything before painting since i use 2 styles. I could paint them before assembling but that would make the assembling process much harder since i want to fill the gaps smooth out and paint the mid section so it looks like one piece.

i'll try and make a new model in sketchup this evening and i'll post the results here.

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Hehe, that's pretty much what I had in mind :)

I've been bussy with my control panel, and I want it to be as clean as possible but have at least these "functions".

I was wondering, I read about using a "shift" key ?

Would this control pannel be possible? using the shift key to active the bottom functions of the four buttons center top (the green letters).

How does this shift key work ? Is it "hold your joystick left" and then press one of those 4 buttons ? or does the "shift" key need to a extra physical key ?


thanks !


Edited by mikomi

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did some more work in sketchup today making a more realistic cabinet. well, by realistic i mean more doable for me :)

some renders (wip). Left is the unpainted multiplex and mdf, right is how it should look when painted.

just found out how to include images here in staid of thumbnails :


mdf and multiplex wip


left: plain mdf and multiplex - right: painted


control panel


inside suport wip

Edited by mikomi

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Not sure if you can use left joystick for shift, but I do know that you wont need all of those buttons. I am assuming you are going to use hyperspin... Use your main buttons for hyperspin, ex (1) select (2) favorites (3) genre ect. Using xpadder to set your buttons up for hyperspin and each emulator, you can use much less buttons. I used a dedicated P1 Start, P2 Start, Back, P1 Coin, P2 Coin, and 1 joystick + 6 Buttons per player... Not using a shift at all.

I would recommend getting some cardboard and build a mock control panel and play with settings before settling on a final design. I did this on both my cabinet and mini-pinball machine.


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I like your design, however, if your not going to take advantage of the space above the monitor (4-5 inches or so after the angle stops), Why not shorten it a bit? Did you see these coffee tables yet? First thing I thought of when you said match furniture and not look like an arcade. http://www.surface-tension.net/arcade-tables.php

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nope haven't seen those yet, they are pretty but I rather have an upright.

i'll have another look at the height, don't want it to be to low so we bump our heads ;-)

i was thinking about fitting the speakers there, not sure where i'll put them. i've saw some nice retro-ish design for the grills somewhere can't find it atm.

what you're saying about the control pannel is that the buttons have a different behaviour in hyperspin then in emulators?

i've put a lot of tought in what I want from my control pannel and I won't settle for less / more :D

i have a huge database so favourites & genre's is a must, so is the back button. (not sure about the start button i think that might be player 1 start too)

anyway i need the 4 center buttons anyway for "esc", "alt+f4", "tab" & "hyperpause". unless i could press and hold the esc button to send an alt+f4 to the computer. then i could leave out 1 button in the center.

if there is a way to have the same functionality with less buttons i might concider it (unless it's bad for the usability)


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HyperLaunch will send "Esc" or "Alt+F4" automatically for each emulator you run. My back button is always the exit button no matter the emulator/jukebox/PC Game; "back" handles them all (Even Shutdown). I did not use a pause button so you would need it if you want it. My hidden "Coin p1" and "Coin p2" double as select for nintendo games. Using Xpadder, you can change the function of your buttons based on what program is currently focused. Some games I setup the controls in the emulator and left the Xpadder profile blank, except "Esc" for "Back" button. Other games are completely configured in Xpadder to send different characters to the emulator. You will see once you get it up and running, and Xpadder is well worth the the $10.

Adding an extra button for "Select" on my control panel for nintendo games would have been nice I suppose, but my kids quickly picked up "P1 Start" for Start and "P1 Coin" for select; Button 1 for "A" and so on...

Is your Green "4" buttons and Green "5" button the same button? Wiring them together or separate runs?

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thanks for the info, seems like i can get rid of one button then :)

i'm getthing this xpadder program, sounds awesome.

yeah i have 2 of the same buttons (neo geo style en mk style)

they would be wired together so they will basicly be the same.

I'm considering not doing that and just go with 6. 4 in a row might be nice but i could get used to 3 in a row and the 4th on the next row.

this would result in 3 buttons less making my control panel even cleaner. thanks for that!

i'll adjust my google sketchup asap.

todo :

- fiddle with the height

- remove 3 buttons

- add speaker holes / retro speaker fabric

- add the hole and detail to the bezel

- finish the suport parts on the insde and backside

- final renders

- gut the model and add all the measurements

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whilest looking around i've noticed some people have a hyperspin cabinet with the adition of a xbox360.

i would like to do this too, however i'm not sure how i can whire my joystick & buttons to both the pc and to the xbox

i'm a big fan of bomberman live (local games) and they have some other nice arcade games i like.

i only found one thing so far wich is the "ps360+" however i'm not sure how this could work.

i would like my buttons to be illuminated (ledblinky - single color) so i'm guessing there is no way around the ipac2 and ledwiz ?

anyone knows where i could find more info about having both systems in one cabinet ? tutorials, video's, forum topics, ... anything is welcome

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Could almost take a book shelf and hinge the monitor area to pull out, keep a led light near the top, move the upper shelf up to sandwich the marquee, and lower shelf below a floating control board. Lower area with doors, and the back of the shelf not quite all the way back to make room for monitor. Speakers and computer hidden behind lower doors. Functional shelf/part time arcade, something like this: (a little crude I know, LOL)



Sorry, you inspired me to think of other ways to completely hide an upright arcade cabinet in plain sight...

Edited by Tredog

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Oh I like that!

All it needs is some fake book spines that slide out of the way when you pull out the right book.

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Great ideaa but doesn't look very functional & very hard to make :)

it just looks like to much hastle each time you want to go for a quick game.

Altough I like where you are going with this...

How would you get that control pannel there ? hidden behind the fake book spines ?

I've been thinking about my design and i think i will modify the control pannel so it becomes a supergun.

You'll be able to lift it out, and take it with you, hook it up to any hdmi tv/screen and you're ready to play.

Concerning the pc & xbox360 combo I also found the solution, i'll get the ipac2 and 2 console adapters for the xbox.

I will change my button layout too. I learned about the "shift" function on the ipac2 and I can do pretty much everything with more player buttons and less admin buttons. i'm not sure my budget will alow this dual set up, but i want to have bomberman live on my arcade :)

i'm not sure if i'll be able to fit everything inside this small control panel as the pc and hard drive also needs to be mounted inside for it to be a supergun.

an intel nuc comes to mind, but the internal graphics card doesn't support the mp4 playback so that would result in a bigger drive.

the xbox would not be fitted inside. altough i would make sure that the usb connections are available to plug it in someone's xbox.

The pinball buttons might be an issue, but i'm sure i can figure something out to make the ones on the cabinet work whilest there are some on the supergun too.

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All it needs is some fake book spines that slide out of the way when you pull out the right book.

That would be awesome if you could figure that one out, but no, I was thinking more the control panel hidden in the lower area until needed. Manually removing everything from the shelves and moving them into position and then place the control panel. Kind of like this:

Animation would not let me show the monitor pull out before the control panel went in to rest on... Here:



Love the portable arcade idea, just have a connector for the two pinball buttons to disconnected when removed. Can't wait to see your finished project!

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Not yet :D

I'm working on so many things at once.

Right now I'm still in the progress installing all emulators and roms I would like.

I'm also looking into creating a clean global theme atm.

As soon as there are updates, they'll be posted ;-)


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