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Author Topic: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)  (Read 11151 times)

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LeedsFan

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Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)
« on: April 23, 2011, 09:03:47 am »
Last year at Replay exhibition in Blackpool I won a "King Of Kong" competition that Craig of Turnarcades was holding on each day of the event. I played poo on each day but still managed to snag the prize on the Sunday.  :P

It's been sitting here for quite a while because I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it. Eventually I decided upon Defender because it's an all time classic that many people love and also because it needs to have the controls laid out properly which a generic 6 button layout cannot accommodate. I did seriously consider a Multi-Willams bartop but finally decided that there is far too much compromise with the controls to allow all games to be covered. I cannot see how you could play Defender with a low placed joystick (so that you can comforably reach Reverse) while at the same time use the same stick to play Robotron. Something has to give surely.

So Defender it is but the panel will have the extra Inviso button on there for Stargate. It will also be hot-swappable so that a separate panel can be plugged in with 2x genuine Wico leaf switch joysticks to enable Robotron and Smash TV to be played. Each panel will have it's own IPac or Minipac on the underside so that swapping is just a case of unplugging and replugging in the USB cable. It's an expensive way to swap panels I guess, but if you are only making 2 or 3 panels then it's the path of least resistance.

Anyway... this thread is useless without pics so here is where I am now after I started 2 weeks ago.....





















Now if I was gonna make a Defender bartop from scratch then I would have made the profile of the cabinet as close to the original as possible. But to be honest if you look in the above pic you can see that it's quite close to a Defender in shape anyway. In hindsight I probably could have reshaped those side panels to make it as close as possible but when I started it I just put it together in about 2 hours or so.

The kit is just the pieces of 18mm mdf ready cut with a big bag of screws and fixings. You get the hinges for the back door (which is removed here ready for painting) and also a genuine arcade style barrel lock with two keys. The t-molding slot is ready cut so you don't need any special tools like a router. The bartop works out at a 75% size of the original Defender. In fact the marquee and CP area worked out at almost perfect aspect ratios to the original panels! Only the bezel area needed me to add a little extra black above the art to fill in the small extra space.

Of course I have added my own extras such as a marquee lamp which I got from B&Q and a cheap pair of mains powered speakers from Maplins which cost only a tenner. I took the speakers apart from their casings and transplanted everything to the cabinet. I cut down the face plates of one of the speakers which housed the volume control etc. and worked that into the back panel. (It's covered in masking tape in the above pics). Taking the speakers apart was a little tricky solely because of the amount of hot glue they used in there. I had to carefully cut and gouge this out to avoid dmaging the little PCB and transformer in there. The speakers just fit in between the marquee and the bezel, facing down just like the mono speaker does on the original Defender.

One of the things I learned from builing my DK bartop is that having control over your speakers is a godsend. This panel also has a 3.5mm jack input for headphones if needed. I also put in a 4 port USB expansion panel in the bottom so that I don't have to open the back door to plug in any USB devices I may need. Something else I didn't build into my DK.

The motherboard is a Mini ITX using a Atom 330 processor with onboard graphics and sound. I've tested all the games I want to use in this bartop and they all run perfectly at 100% with no frames being skipped.





On this project I decided to print my own art. Well it was printed at Staples to be honest but it was far cheaper than getting a specialist to print it for me. Specialists like Gameongraffix are absolutely awesome in their results, but I wanted to keep costs down on this as I had the PC lying around and the bartop kit was a prize anyway. I'm really happy how the CPO and bezel printed out but I might pay to get the marquee done properly as this is the one pice I'm a bit disappointed with. It's not printed on a decent enough paper to really allow the light to shine through.

At the moment we are enjoying a spell of glorious weather here in the UK which is set to last a few more days at least. So I fully intend to have the cabinet itself painted and finished by the end of this Easter holiday weekend. I still have the control panels to build though as I'm awaiting parts to finish those off. More updates later.....

TopJimmyCooks

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 01:05:53 pm »
What a great prize to win and you're putting it to good use.  :cheers:

Let me be the first to say . . . . Nice CABS!

TOK

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 02:26:09 pm »
This is looking great!  :cheers:

Turnarcades

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 07:54:13 pm »
Just caught this thread Dave and glad to see you've found a concept for the kit you won. Will be looking forward to seeing how this build progresses and seeing the finished project.

On a side note, Dave Moore tells me you'll be exhibiting 3 cabinets at this year's Replay Expo; will this be one of them?

LeedsFan

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 05:54:10 pm »
On a side note, Dave Moore tells me you'll be exhibiting 3 cabinets at this year's Replay Expo; will this be one of them?

Three definites... this, the Neo-Geo box I made and the DK bartop I took last year. I want to use a projector on a 100" screen for the Neo-Geo box but I dunno if I will have the space for that. Dave doesn't even know about the projector plan yet 'cos I only just got it.  :P

There is a possible 4th project which is the mini Star Wars cabinet. But I did tell Dave that it might not be ready in time.

Turnarcades

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 09:15:49 pm »
Dave doesn't even know about the projector plan yet 'cos I only just got it.  :P

There is a possible 4th project which is the mini Star Wars cabinet. But I did tell Dave that it might not be ready in time.

I'd concentrate on the 3 you're working on for now mate. Spoke to Dave the other day and he says 'unpaid space' will be limited (except for exhibits they are contributing themselves) as contrary to the retrogamer boys, the show barely broke even last year and they have to turn some profit if it's to continue. Personally  think this is good as although some of the forums praised holding back the 'small-time vendors', most people who I spoke to expressed disappointment there wasn't more to buy.

Dave is supposed to be getting back to me with a plan as I mentioned I will be trying to drum up more home-build contributors and wanted to plan a specific zone dedicated to this scene. I believe your cabinets will already be grouped near ours and he has reserved space for us and Surface Tension, so we could do with getting our heads together about how the zone should look based on the machines we're bringing and presenting it to Dave. I'm hoping to integrate our cabs more as exhibits than just looking like a trade stand so although I'll be paying for a trade stand space, I'll be happy blending our cabinets into the 'zone' and sharing space with other home-builds.

elkameleon

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2011, 09:37:12 pm »
That is one clean looking machine! I've very jealous right now! :applaud:

LeedsFan

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 03:26:44 pm »
Parts arrived today so I can now complete the CP. Final coat of paint has gone on this evening. This project should be done quite soon. I will post more pics tomorrow.

This is the only project I'm working on right now as the others are already finished. Regarding the show I think it would be cool if we were together as a home build section. If my Defender is up to scratch I wouldn't mind you having it on your own stand if you wanted to. Entirely up to you of course.

And the projector I have is a "short throw" projector. So if we were against a wall like you were last time round then I can get 100" image from just a three foot throw. If it's a problem ofc then my trusty 24" tft will have to do.  :P

LeedsFan

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 02:33:16 pm »



I love it when goodies arrive in the post!





Here's a close up of the joystick. It's an all steel reproduction of the 2-way Williams leaf switch stick. Available here:
http://www.arcadeshop.de/Joysticks-2-Way-Williams-Reprostick_1034.html





The buttons are Sanwa 24mm. I wanted to use OBSN (ones with the screw on nuts) to help hold the plexi cover down on top. But unfortunately for some reason Sanwa do not produce the 24mm screw on version in white. Those are only available as snap in. So I had to route out in two different ways to accomodate the buttons. It's still close with the reverse button near the joystick body as you can see.





And here is the 90% finished panel. I say 90% because I still need to go and pick up my IPac from DHL office tomorrow (they were closed today because of some wedding going on). Then I can wire this puppy up and get some playing done. Still need to get T-molding and put the marquee and bezel in place.

Regarding side art... I wasn't going to have any because this is a thin style bartop. But I'm wondering if scaled down original Defender art might look OK. What do you think? Would have to be scaled down a lot because the original art was full side of the cabinet.

Turnarcades

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2011, 08:51:59 am »
Personally I'd have sought a 2/4-way stick simply to expand the potential range of games the machine can play, but well done on getting everything to fit under there with such an unusual joystick housing. Good call on the 24mm Sanwas; standard 28mm would've looked out of proportion with the scaled artwork.

Speaking of artwork, it'd be nice to finish it off so why not simply shrink down the defender side-art so the 'defender' writing spans the bottom edge, with the remaining colour flashes above it fading to black at the top. Alternatively, 'shop out the writing on the side-art leaving the man, zoomed right in on each side, and paste in the marquee logo in the top space where the marquee protrusion extends? I can send you a .psd template of the slim bar-top sides if you want.


TOK

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2011, 09:45:46 am »
Personally I'd have sought a 2/4-way stick simply to expand the potential range of games the machine can play, but well done on getting everything to fit under there with such an unusual joystick housing. Good call on the 24mm Sanwas; standard 28mm would've looked out of proportion with the scaled artwork.


His stick choice actually makes the install easier. I did what you said and went with a regular Sanwa stick so other games could be playable. Due to how skinny the Williams 2 way is, you need to trim a standard stick to get the button spacing right.

The penciled area is what I had to hack away from the mounting plate and I also had to trim some plastic underneath. The standard Multi-Williams layout puts the Reverse button far enough away to use a standard stick without cutting it. Moving it that extra half inch out kills the feel of the game for me.


Turnarcades

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2011, 10:05:21 am »
I guess you gotta be a big fan of the game to notice that though, and Ive never cared that much for Defender. I got to play on the first original Defender cabinet for years a few weeks ago and the stick felt so alien, probably due to only handling similar 4-8way sticks so often these days and also probably as it's been so long since I played this game as an original.

LeedsFan

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2011, 11:31:51 am »
I did consider a regular joystick at first. But I knew the mounting plate could cause the issue as outlined by TOK above. I think the Seimitsu LS33 has the thinnest mounting plate and I probably could have got away with that. I don't think it's any wider than the base of this repro stick, and it would have been quite a bit cheaper. (Repro was EUR 50 and LS33 is about 18)

However since I built my Neo-Geo box I've not been too fussed about my projects playing more games, as the Neo-Geo covers all I would ever want and more. I've kinda stated getting into the original controls now. If my projects don't look as close to the original I'm trying to get them to at least feel/play as close to the original. That's why I got a repro Nintendo 4-way from MikesArcade for the DK bartop and took out the U360.

I think I will stop short of actual arcade cabinet collecting though. I simply do not have the room. Or funds!

LeedsFan

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2011, 03:22:55 pm »
OK it's update time. I finally finished the Defender panel and it plays great! Here's a finished pic of the underside.....





Craig mentioned earlier about using a different joystick to allow the bartop to play more games. I didn't want to compromise the original "feel" of the Defender panel. But I did buy three used original Wico sticks from QuarterArcade. I didn't really have a plan for these sticks other than make some sort of Robotron panel for either this bartop or my Neo-Geo box. In order to make up the $50 minimum international order from QA I had to buy three and not just two ($16 dollars each plus shipping). My original plan was to take a good look at them and then take apart/re-assemble to make up the best two sticks for a panel, as I had no idea what condition they would be in.

I did get one pleasant surprise on arrival.... I had gotten 2x 8-ways and a 4-way. I was expecting 3x 8-ways. I'm pretty sure that's what I ordered but it's worked out fine anyway. Because at that point I realised I could make a panel similar to my Neo-Geo box with an 8-way next to the 4-way using a toggle switch for choice (switching the gound), two action buttons for the classics and the second 8-way for Robotron/Smash TV.  ;D

Here are the disassembled Wicos.....





On inspection the ball tops weren't in too bad shape, but certainly not mint. The springs were the worst part. One was stretched and all were rusty. The grommets looked fine but one was a little softer than the others. The leaf switches were not bad either with only one switch in particular looking bent and damaged. But it did work OK after some straightening up.

I decided on a refurb with parts from Arcadeshop.de.  They have the Wico shafts complete with new springs, e-clips and actuators for EUR 5.00 each. Unfortunately they didn't have any in red so I had to settle on black. I also got 3x new grommets. These feel much stiffer than any of the three used ones. Couldn't get any leaf switches though. But I reckon the used ones will be fine after a bit of TLC.

The shafts all came with new 8-way actuators so I will need to clean up and use the old 4-way actuator.....
(Oh and those new dust washers are for Seimitsu LS40 which fit the Wico shafts great)





I'm really looking forward to trying out Robotron and Smash TV with the correct controls.  :laugh:

leapinlew

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2011, 03:33:37 pm »
I guess you gotta be a big fan of the game to notice that

I think you'd be surprised. It makes an immediate difference to even a novice player. I been longing to play some defender again.

LeedsFan

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2011, 04:12:44 pm »
Well it's taken me longer than I anticipated to get across the finish line on this one. Mainly because at the last push I decided to make a separate panel to play the classics using the Wico leaf joysticks. But it is now finally complete.....








I don't think I'm gonna bother with any sideart to the cabinet either as it is quite narrow. I'm thinking along the lines of "less is more" with this. I kinda like the clean profile it has now without any art.






Here is the underside of the Wico panel. It's a bit rough and ready under here.  :P

I had to recess a 2mm aluminium plate into the panel because the Wico units are quite chunky. They just fit in the bartop with this method. Those metal strips along one side are just carefully placed to wedge against the inside of the front panel so that there is zero movement up/down when playing.





I went for an all black "classics" panel. I did think about some artwork but in the end I wasn't even sure how I would like these sticks.....











The Wico leaf joysticks took quite a bit of time to get set up correctly. At first I wasn't getting good contacts at all and the controls were just performing really awful. In the end I got the gist of how to set them up and they are great. Pacman is lovely with the 4-way and I'm really getting the hang of Robotron with the dual 8-ways. That toggle switch on the left hand side of the panel is to select between 8-way and 4-way. When one is active the other becomes inactive so any accidental knocks won't affect gameplay.

The two start buttons are just plain Happs affairs but the action buttons are Ultimarc gold-leaf buttons. They are really nice and match the look of the Happs products perfectly. I'm a bit of a Japanese Sanwa lover when it comes to buttons for that classic look these buttons are excellent and are a great replacement to original leaf buttons.

Overall I'm really pleased with how this has turned out. The finish of the cabinet is not as good as my DK. I just don't have the patience with painting. It is nice but I didn't go that extra mile with this project as I did with the DK. I'm slacking.  >:D

But now for more slacking as I get stuck into Defender and actually try to get some reasonable scores after all these years.....

opt2not

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2011, 04:25:02 pm »
I think it looks wonderful dude. Very nice bartop rendition of Defender. I'm also glad you went for proper controls (i.e. 2way joy for defender, and real leafs for robotron). The japanese style buttons are a good compromise for size and play-action.

Overall, great job!  :applaud:

BobA

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2011, 04:27:04 pm »
Looks great.  You did a fine job on that bartop. :applaud: :applaud:

Malenko

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2011, 04:54:20 pm »
amazing. I need to stop converting cabs and actually make one from scratch
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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2011, 04:55:00 pm »
The lack of mini-frankenpanels is awesome! I just wish more people would go the multiple panel types route instead of ruining their panels with everything they can make room for.  :applaud:

TOK

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2011, 07:18:31 pm »
A+ build dude. Simple, great shape, great art.  :cheers:

Turnarcades

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Re: Defender using Turnarcades bartop kit (Finished!)
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2011, 03:23:31 pm »
Well done Dave, like the finished result. Still waiting on word about Replay, but it'd be good to see this one there!