My 10 month epic build has finally come to an end and I've finished my Borderlands 2 Arcade Cabinet!
I've wanted to build a cabinet for years, but never really got round to it. Last October I took to plunge after browsing online arcade sites and being inspired by other peoples efforts.
So here's my blow by blow cabinet construction blog, I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to contact me with questions if you're building your own.
So, here we go...
Here's my 3 sheets of 18mm MDF. I've scaled up the plans onto the MDF. The string is for drawing the arcs.
I used my jigsaw to cut the MDF (Don't forget to wear a mask, MDF dust is not good to breath in).
Jigsaws are surprisingly hard to control. You need a steady hand and lots of patience to get a good cut.
It's also a good idea to have a vacuum clearer handy!
For side 2, I just drew around the first side to make sure both sides were exactly the same.
This was a great moment, the fist time my efforts looked like a real cabinet! The MDF is held together using 2mm x 6mm wood and countersunk screws.
Added the marquee surround at the top.
Read to add the base. This was made by my Dad as a Christmas present! What a cool present!
Adding the base makes the whole thing more sturdy and solid.
It took some time to line this up, but of course having the base in the right place is critical.
I didn't bother with wheels. These are pads from the bottom of a sofa.
I bought a router and some t-moulding samples. I then needed the correct sized slot cutter bit, arbor and bearing.
After a lot of searching I found a site here in the UK ( http://www.routercutter.co.uk/
).To cut the correct slot for standard arcade T-moulding you need:-
6702A Slot cutter (Diam 47.63mm Kerf 2.03mm)- B25 Bearing (Outer Diam 28.58mm, Inner Diam 7.94)-
A200B Arbor (Shank 6.35mm)So you can see in the picture the slot and the T-moulding sitting just right.
T-moulding would be around the marquee and down both sides. Here you can see the slots.
So now it was time to focus on the control panel. I ordered all the arcade parts I would need from Arcade World UK
- 20x led buttons with relays (6 yellow, 2 white start buttons, 12 red)
- 2x 8-way joysticks from Arcade World- 1 Min PAC Keyboard Encoder with wiring kitMy Dad had some spare plexi-glass shelving, so he made the main parts of the control panel as another Christmas present! How cool! You can see the plexi-glass surround with a metal base underneath. The joysticks are
mounted on the metal under the plexi-glass so when the artwork is in place you can't see the screws.
So, I now needed to decide on the art theme for my cabinet. My first thought of course was to make a Beat Hazard theme, but that seemed a bit obvious and I wanted this to be about something I liked, rather than just some sort of advert for my own work.
I also needed high rez art work. It came down to Battlefield 3 or Borderlands 2, two for my favourite Xbox games. In the end I went for the vibrant and striking art style of Borderlands, it seemed a perfect fit for an arcade machine.
I grabbed some high rez artwork from the web and used photoshop to design the control panel.
Lining up the button holes with the artwork was surprisingly tricky. Here you can see a test print fitted to the panel.
Looking good, time to order a real vinyl print.
My first vinyl print hot of the press from here ( http://www.printed.com/
). As this was my first attempt, I ordered 2 versions, one with button art (top) and one without (bottom). This was just in case the art didn't line up.
All the panel pieces ready and artwork trimmed, ready to fit.
I used some foam to ensure the artwork would be pressed up against the plexi-glass.
Artwork and buttons all lined up. It looked so much better than I expected.
The final control panel. Looking very cool!
Here's the inside of the panel. The micro switches and LEDs are ready for wiring to the mini PAC keyboard controller.
The wiring kit you get with the mini PAC is great. It's still a little tricky and you needed to be patient when connecting it all together.
All the buttons and joystick micro switches are now connected to the main connector.
I then needed to run the ground wire (the black one) from one button to the next in a daisy chain.
Finally I had to wire up the power to the LEDs, this is the twisted red and black power cables.
You can also see the mini PAC circuit board in the middle.
I needed a 6V 3A transformer to power the lights. You could feed this from a PC, but I use an old plug and transformer from a mini DVD player the I no longer used. Here, I'm just testing an LED and the power supply.
All connected and powered up! Looking sweet!
I bought a 32 inch HD LCD TV for the display. I needed to invent a way to mount it.
The TV is pretty thin, so I used a U shaped piece of aluminium to hold it in place.
The mount worked really well. Very minimal and strong.
I swear I measured the cabinet and my PC and there was going to be plenty of room. When it came to drop the PC in there was only just enough room! Lucky!
Mounting the draw slides.
Keyboard and mouse draw all done.
I ordered a real coin door and mech from Arcade World
. I'm about to cut a hole in the kick plate to mount it.Notice the 2 twisted cables going to the coin door. One is power to the LED and the other is connected to a micro switch in the coin mech. This is connected to the mini PAC and is used to register when a coin is inserted.
Coin door mounted.
This was the first time the machine was functional. It was amazing to see it work. LEDs, coin mech, buttons and joystick all worked first time!
The cabinet with the back off. I just cut the back into a 5 parts so I could gain access to the cabinet later.
First coat of MDF primer.
Now a coat of black gloss. I've just fitter the marquee light too. And you can see the plexi-glass in the marquee too.
I needed to cover the speaker panel. In the end I just used an old t-shirt and help it in place with carpet grippers!
I order a 5.1 gaming surround system for the audio. It cost around £55 and it sounds awesome!
At this point I moved the cabinet from the garage to it's new home in my office. Even with all the kit and loose panels removed, it was still pretty heavy.
All of the main construction work is done, now it's time to assemble it.
I needed a way to turn the PC on and off from the outside. I looked up the motherboard online and found the twin wires that were connected to the power switch. I simply snipped these off and soldered my own longer wiring . The green arrow shows the join and shrink wrapped insulation.
The wire is connected to an arcade button and hey-presto, I can now turn my PC on and off from another button!
Here's me just starting to put it all together.
Half way through.
All the kit is wired up and working. A quick game of Pac-Man to test!
Here is the machine with the red T-moulding fitted. It's starting to look very polished.
I grew up in the Atari era. The first game I had published was for the Atari 800 computer. So I have an Atari 800 emulator on here too. This is a shoot 'em up called 'Sneakers'
And here is Bruce Lee running on the Atari 800
This is the bottom slot where the screen will sit.
And here's the plexi-glass held on place by the 2 wooden strips. It works really well and it's easy to slide out if I need access to the screen.
I used some of the spare control panel artwork to mock up the plexi screen. Looking good.
Here's the vinyl artwork for the sides, kick plate, marquee and screen. Time for some careful cutting and sticking.
Lining up the plexi screen and artwork.
Trimmed and ready to stick.
All done and looking very cool!
Here's the final plexi screen in place.
Next, to do the backlit marquee.
The backlit graphic is sandwiched between two pieces of 2mm plexi glass.
Slots neatly into place.
Wow - looking good!
The final part was to hang the side art and kick plate art.
This required a lot of patience, measuring, checking and re-checking.
Here the artwork is trimmed and just tacked to the side.
Lining up the right side.
The kick plate art with a hole for the coin door.
Nearly there! Artwork is all stuck down and trimmed. Just the T-moulding to add back.
Woo!! And here's the finished cabinet! 10 months of work and I'm so happy with the result. It tuned out so much better than I thought. I love my cabinet!
Now, it's time to get the lads round and play some games!