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Author Topic: PLANS - American Ace - Mini Arcade Cabinet  (Read 31912 times)

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Woodshop Flunky

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PLANS - American Ace - Mini Arcade Cabinet
« on: April 30, 2011, 05:37:50 pm »
********************************************************
UPDATE!!!  I've added a complete set of plans for this arcade cabinet:
http://files.arcadecontrols.com/details.php?image_id=3660
********************************************************

Well, this project is about finished.  Notice I said "about" finished. :)

To get a better scale of the project... here is my now five year old son playing the arcade.


...and an over the shoulder shot.  I'm really pleased with how all the art came out.  The marquee looks great lit up, but I'm running 9v instead of 12v through Groovy Game Gears marquee LEDs.  This seems better for this scale cabinet.


Here's a shot of the control panel.  The volocano buttons are not lit up... but they will be. :)


...and more CP.  You can see the detail of the overlay better... not much flash, but I think it works well with the sides and the marquee.


Another shot of the marquee...


My youngest helping out... just because kids are cute!


Thanks again to everyone.

I want to clean up the Sketchup files, and I'll be posting them soon.  :cheers:
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 07:46:06 am by Woodshop Flunky »

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Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 05:38:38 pm »
Okay, I've finally got sawdust on the shop floor, so I might as well add my own project announcement for the mini vertical MAME cabinet I'm building for my son's 5th birthday.

The Games: I've about decided to play vertical games only on this game.  Also, I'm not planning to load every game in existence.  Right now, I have a list of about 70 vertical games... mostly from the 80's and early 90's.

Front End: MALA :) I really like it.

Cabinet Size: My wife did not like the idea of me building a refrigerator sized toy for the house.  I showed her a mini MAME cabinet and she thought it was really nice.  So, the design is going to be a 3/4 scale cabinet (about 50 inches tall).

Cabinet Style: I originally was going to just scale down a Galaga cabinet.  However, I didn't like the idea of using something so recognizable, and then not having it be a faithful reproduction.  So, I looked around at other cabinets.  I really wanted this thing to look like the cabinets I played on in the 80's.  I liked certain things about different cabs.  My favorite was the Galaga/Ms. Pacman cabs and the Taito cabs.  I decided to see what I could put together from the two styles.  Finally, I ended up introducing Rastan to Ms. Pacman, played a little soft 80's music and let nature take it's course.


Their resulting love child was a 3/4 scale cab that had the features I liked best from the two.


Cabinet Theme: The name of the arcade is "American Ace".  My son likes airplanes and shoot'em ups, so I'm going to theme the cabinet after WWII American fighters.

The Brains:  I bought an Intel Atom motherboard, memory, power supply and hard drive.  I didn't feel like messing with older hardware.  In retrospect, I wish I had just bought an old PC off Craigslist (it would have been cheaper.... and couldn't have been any more frustrating. :))

Controls:  I picked up a U360 with an octagonal restrictor, some leaf switch GGG buttons, couple of standard micro switch buttons, four volcano buttons (for admin), a spinner from Ultimarc, and an IPac.

Montior: I’ve got a 17” CRT Pc monitor I’m going to mount vertically.  This is going to be a tight squeeze.  I’ll give more details as things get implemented.


I made a template out of 1/2 inch MDF.  I'll use this to route both side panels.  I made the template deeper than it will end up (I'll likely take an inch or two off the back.  I made it oversized so that I would be able to fit my monitor.  Once the monitor is in, I'll trim whatever I can off the back.


And some components I've collected this far...


« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 11:39:36 am by Woodshop Flunky »

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LeedsFan

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 02:48:05 am »
I quite like the profile of this cabinet. Good to see you are keeping the CP quite simple. Just a stick, spinner and four buttons. Many people try to cram in as much stuff as possible on their first build (I was guilty of this myself).

Not sure I like the way the monitor is laid so far back. I would personally have it more at 45 degrees. But I realise that the original Ms.Pac cabinets had their monitors like that. In actual use you will be using a stool I imagine. Will the angle of view be comfortable? You don't want to find yourself straining to get a more central view if that's how you prefer to play. (I don't mean "viewing angle" as per tft screens... you are using a crt so that's a non-issue. I purely mean for comfort)

emphatic

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2011, 06:30:03 am »
That spinner, is it mounted in a 30 mm hole like a button? If that's the case I would get a button plug as well, so you can just pull it out and plug the hole when you're not in a spinner-game mood. I really like the profile too.  :applaud:

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2011, 02:27:53 pm »
Not sure I like the way the monitor is laid so far back. I would personally have it more at 45 degrees. But I realise that the original Ms.Pac cabinets had their monitors like that. In actual use you will be using a stool I imagine. Will the angle of view be comfortable? You don't want to find yourself straining to get a more central view if that's how you prefer to play. (I don't mean "viewing angle" as per tft screens... you are using a crt so that's a non-issue. I purely mean for comfort)

I actually was concerned when I started my design.  Theres a pizza place by my work that has a Ms Pacman machine.  I went there to check out the cabinet (even though their pizza is not that great).  Sure enough, the screen and CP were on the same plane; around 15 degrees I think.  Given that adults will be sitting down to play, the player's view of the monitor in relatively the same as a full size.  Also, my design has the monitor between 22.5 and 30 degrees.  I won't know for certain until the thing is finished, but I have considered that if viewing is uncomfortable, I could raise the angle and swap out an LCD (don't want to do that :))

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mgb

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2011, 08:04:15 pm »
I love the style of this cabinet.
Nice, simple, to the point like an arcade cabinet should be.
Verticals are great.
I like the angle of the monitor, that layed down angle makes for comfortable playing especially with verticle games.

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2011, 08:50:54 pm »
Thanks for the compliments on the cab style; I really wanted to keep the lines clean and still maintain a very definite arcade feel.

So, today wasn't very productive.  My wife was co-hosting a baby shower after church today, so I had the boys for 4+ hours.  Needless to say, I didn't get into the shop today.

However, I was able to work on the computer, so I hacked a little on the MALA frontend.  I put a menu on the left and a large snapshot region on the right.  I want anyone 4yrs old and up to be able to walk up to the machine and figure out how to play with little or no instruction.  Also, I'm going to select the games that will be installed, so the player won't have to navigate a zillion games; probably less than 100 at any given time.

Like I said in my original post, the theme for this cab is WWII fighters.  I lifted the image of the Mustang from the web, and used a font modeled after the upcoming "Captain America" movie.  I've got the marquee started, but that one is a little more complex, so it will take me a while longer.  Anyhow, here's what I've put together so far.  I've got until the end of July to finish this project before his birthday, so I'm sure the artwork will change along the way.

EDIT-- The green I'm shooting for is going to be more of an OD green.  I'll produce the final version after I get the printed artwork back so I can match what I see on my screen to what the printer produces.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 10:50:40 am by Woodshop Flunky »

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TopJimmyCooks

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2011, 09:02:24 pm »
That Mala Skin is "aces".  It's fun to do the vertical layouts and make them look good, I've found while setting up my mala.  However, if you're trying to do a unified horizontal/vertical pair, it's always harder to get the horizontal layouts to work as well.

oh, and it's a sweet looking cabaret cab too. 

emphatic

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2011, 03:45:15 am »
A very nice theme, but I'd try a smaller radius on the boxes, so they "hug" the screenshots a bit better. Or just skip the box for shots and put a fake drop shadow behind it.  :cheers:

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2011, 07:17:19 am »
A very nice theme, but I'd try a smaller radius on the boxes, so they "hug" the screenshots a bit better. Or just skip the box for shots and put a fake drop shadow behind it.  :cheers:

I think you're right.  Something about the skin didn't feel right to me. Thanks! :)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 08:31:24 am by Woodshop Flunky »

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mgb

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2011, 08:26:01 pm »
I agree with the minor changes that emphatic mentioned, but beside that, the menu looks great. Nice font.

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2011, 12:24:48 am »
I made a little adjustment to the menu and snapshot windows.  I'm mostly happy with it at this point; so I'll put it aside for a while.  If I look too hard at this sort of thing, I start getting greatly diminishing returns on my effort. :)

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emphatic

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2011, 03:40:51 am »
 :applaud: So much better.

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2011, 09:22:59 pm »
Given that this cabinet is 3/4 scale, I need to save as much room as I can.  I decased the monitor and made a board to mount the monitor.  Brass threaded inserts were put in the board to make things more secure.


I mounted the control board as well.  I'll have to drill out holes to allow the control buttons and power to be reached from the front side.


This is about how the monitor will be oriented in the cabinet.


Running MALA with my Mustang skin... this really gets me excited.  The lights in my shop kind of wash it out in the photo... but I think it is going to look awsome in the cabinet.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2011, 09:40:58 pm by Woodshop Flunky »

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Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2011, 09:34:18 pm »
I kept swinging between mounting the CRT tube on a board like this, and just mounting the PC monitor in the original case.  Besides saving space, this method will allow me to change things down the road if need.  The board that the monitor is mounted on is going to slip into a frame in the cabinet.  If the monitor goes out, or I decide to change it for a different CRT or even a 19" LCD, I can simply mount the new display on a board that fits the cabinets frame and I won't have to modify the cabinet itself.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2011, 09:38:22 pm by Woodshop Flunky »

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jimmy2x2x

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2011, 09:41:26 pm »
Looking good!

How did you get the mounting hole for the monitor so accurate?

elkameleon

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2011, 10:07:47 pm »
Looking good!

How did you get the mounting hole for the monitor so accurate?


Measure 17 times, cut once  ;)

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2011, 10:37:07 pm »
Looking good!

How did you get the mounting hole for the monitor so accurate?


If I can, I avoid measurements.  I only made two measurements while positioning the CRT; one for the width, and another for the height.  I didn't take pictures of the process, but I'll try to explain.

1. I first made a template out of poster.  This was way more simple than trying to measure anything, and I could cut and tape pieces of poster to fill in any gaps.


2. Next, I drew straight lines from one opposite corner of my plywood board to the other.  Now I had the center of the board identified at the intersection of these two lines.


3. Then I measured the width and height of the poster template hole.  I set a compass to half the width and drew two arcs from the center equal to the width of the monitor.  These two arcs are what I used to align my template horizontally on the board.  I did the same for the height.

4. Once I had the template positioned, I traced and then cut it out with a jigsaw.

5. Now the board fit over my monitor, and I simply transfered the mounting holes to the board, and drilled them out.

Hard to measure wrong when you don't measure. :)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2011, 11:14:10 pm by Woodshop Flunky »

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jimmy2x2x

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2011, 10:47:10 pm »
Nice technique and good explanation, thanks!

IG-88

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2011, 11:18:12 pm »
jimmy2x2x must be smarter than me. Could you go into a little more detail on how you used the compass? I'm more of visual kinda guy.

And how on earth did you get that monitor traced onto the poster paper? I've tried that myself and found that balancing the tube on its face like that and getting it to hold still while trying to trace around it is a real pain in the arse! 
"I know what a HAL 9000 is... I was wondering if HAL 7600 was his retarded cousin or something..."
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Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2011, 12:13:42 am »
jimmy2x2x must be smarter than me. Could you go into a little more detail on how you used the compass? I'm more of visual kinda guy.

And how on earth did you get that monitor traced onto the poster paper? I've tried that myself and found that balancing the tube on its face like that and getting it to hold still while trying to trace around it is a real pain in the arse! 

Sure...

I made only half the poster template first; that was a lot easier to handle since the poster piece was smaller.  Then I traced the first half onto another piece of poster to make the second half and taped the two together around the monitor.  I then cut a couple of scrap pieces to fill in some mistakes.  I kept the monitor face down on a towel most the time.


Using a compass beam I drew a total of four arcs from the center of the board.  For the yellow arcs, I set my compass to half the width of the template hole and then drew the two arcs.  For the blue arcs, I set my compass to half the height of the template hole and then drew the last two arcs.


At this point I have a template with a hole that matches the outline of the monitor.  Also, I have the height and width extents of the template hole marked on the board about the center of the board.

Now I place the template on the board so that the four sides of the template hole are tangent to the arcs (the arcs should just barely fit within the template hole).

If I've done everything correctly, then the template hole should be centered on my board horizontal and vertical.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 12:15:51 am by Woodshop Flunky »

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Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2011, 12:25:25 am »
In all fairness...

Positioning the monitor could have been done simply by placing the monitor on the board and eyeballing it into position.  Then transferred some critical points (corners and widest points), with pencil.  These points will keep you from cutting too much and scrapping the board.  With this done, you could just do a series of cut and test until you got what you need.

I just did it this way, cause that's how my mind works. :)

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emphatic

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2011, 06:21:43 am »
That looks awesome!  :applaud:

BlasterMaster

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2011, 10:50:46 am »
This is going to be a great build! Mind sharing the plans when you are done?

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2011, 12:25:46 pm »
This is going to be a great build! Mind sharing the plans when you are done?

Yes, I'm doing all my design in Sketchup and I plan on posting the file when its complete.  That way, anyone who wants can either use it as-is... or make changes directly in Sketchup.

Thanks for the compliment, my son is certainly excited about the build. :)

« Last Edit: May 21, 2011, 10:37:27 pm by Woodshop Flunky »

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Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2011, 06:43:53 pm »
Spent a LOT of time in the shop today, and got little to show for it.  I picked up a sheet of black Formica laminate from Home Depot this morning and got the insides of the two side panels covered.


I got a little more done than just these sides today, but I'll wait until I have some more interesting photos before I post them.

Also, you can see the profile is not as deep as the previous post.  After I got the monitor mounted on the board, I was able to make sure how much room I needed, and I ended up taking two inches off the back end of the sides.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 10:05:38 am by Woodshop Flunky »

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emphatic

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2011, 03:31:15 am »
Those profiles look hot!  :applaud: Laminate oozes quality as well.

BurgerKingDiamond

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2011, 07:28:04 am »
Dude, that fact that you're decasing a CRT instead of going the lazy route with an LCD makes this kick so much ass. And it's a vertical! did I mention it's gonna kick ass?
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Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2011, 07:47:17 am »
Those profiles look hot!  :applaud: Laminate oozes quality as well.
Thanks!  I really like the other cabs I've seen here that were laminated.

Dude, that fact that you're decasing a CRT instead of going the lazy route with an LCD makes this kick so much ass. And it's a vertical! did I mention it's gonna kick ass?
I was frustrating over the battens yesterday, and asked my wife, "Why didn't I just take the blue pill?" :)  Anyhow, I'm sure the extra effort will pay off in the final product.  Thanks!
« Last Edit: May 22, 2011, 08:22:27 am by Woodshop Flunky »

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Meph

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2011, 08:34:35 am »
I picked up a sheet of black Formica laminate from Home Depot this morning and got the insides of the two side panels covered.

What is the thickness of that laminate and where was it located in the store?  I went to my local Home Depot looking for the same thing and was told they don't sell it.  I got the impression the fool I was talking to had no idea what I was looking for.  I looked where the counter tops are and saw nothing.
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BobA

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2011, 10:25:19 am »
At any Home Depot that I have been it it is along the back wall where the prefab laminate counter tops are found.  There is much less of it on display now so I can see them all going to special order so they do not have to stock it.  In the counter top display area there is usually a board with laminate samples showing what they can order.

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2011, 01:08:05 pm »
What is the thickness of that laminate and where was it located in the store?  I went to my local Home Depot looking for the same thing and was told they don't sell it.  I got the impression the fool I was talking to had no idea what I was looking for.  I looked where the counter tops are and saw nothing.

The stuff I have is 0.043 inches... that's really close to 3/64.  If you go back to the kitchen area, there should be an area with different counter top materials (including samples of laminates).  I had to special order it.

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2011, 01:48:37 pm »
Yeah I think im going to have to special order it at my Home Depot.  I know a lot of people here get a black laminate in a roll but unless your wrapping it around corners, sheets seem much easier to work with to me.
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Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #33 on: May 22, 2011, 01:53:49 pm »
Got some goodies from Groovy Game Gear in the mail.  I ordered a new black anodized spinner top to replace the red one I got from Ultimarc.  I liked the red one, but it seems just a hair too large for my control panel, and the anodized red didn't work for me.  I really do like this new spinner top.  It has a nice satin finish, and the smaller size seems better suited to my control panel.  Also, I think it is going to look nice with my volocano buttons.

I also got a new Hand-Candy joystick ball top.  I didn't mind the seam or the dimple on top of my old ball top, but I added this to my order to better justify the shipping (I know there's no logic in that :)).  Anyhow, I really like it now that I have it. http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=368


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Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #34 on: May 22, 2011, 01:59:14 pm »
Yeah I think im going to have to special order it at my Home Depot.  I know a lot of people here get a black laminate in a roll but unless your wrapping it around corners, sheets seem much easier to work with to me.

I think the stuff in a roll is the self adhesive laminate.  This stuff is much thicker, and needs to be glued down with something like contact cement.  This post has really good information concerning the type of laminate I used.
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=101315.0

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mgb

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2011, 11:28:56 pm »
The laminate looks great. Definately a nice route to go.
When I got my laminate, I also had to special order it (from Lowes), Flat black Formica brand

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2011, 11:39:36 pm »
The laminate looks great. Definately a nice route to go.
When I got my laminate, I also had to special order it (from Lowes), Flat black Formica brand

Thanks!  Your Vertical Retrace build looked really nice with the laminate and helped me make the decision to go laminate.

Complete mini arcade cabinet plans available.

mgb

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2011, 08:13:37 am »
The laminate looks great. Definately a nice route to go.
When I got my laminate, I also had to special order it (from Lowes), Flat black Formica brand

Thanks!  Your Vertical Retrace build looked really nice with the laminate and helped me make the decision to go laminate.

Thank you. Now if I could only get off my butt and get working like you have done.

Woodshop Flunky

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2011, 01:50:12 am »
After laminating the inner face of the side panels, I needed to put the battens on.  I'm completely confident that simply screwing the battens in place would have been sufficient.  However, I'm a little OCD when it comes to this sort of thing, so I decided I wanted to glue wood to wood, in addition to the screws.  To do this, I needed to remove the laminate where the battens would go.  Obviously, the battens need to be as close to a mirror image of each other on the two panels.  Along the bottom and the back was no problem since I could use the edge as a reference point. Since the top and front are full of curves, several of the battens were a bit more tricky.

I'm convinced there is NO way I could accurately layout the top and monitor battens twice.  So, instead of trying to duplicate my layout on the two panels, I did my layout only once on my MDF template.  Now, I was able to return the template to the side panels and remove the laminate identically on both panels. :)


And after all the batten locations are removed.


Getting the cabinet together square was a big concern for me.  The flatest surface in my shop is my tablesaw.  So, that's where I put it together.


This is what I was shooting for; no light coming through the rule of my square.  Of course, wood has a mind of it's own, and as I was screwing things down, the wood drifted slightly due to varying densities in the wood.  The final results are still very close to square, and I can't detect any variance without putting my square against it... so I'm happy! :)


One of the things I did that payed off was in cutting the panels that will connect the two sides all at once.  I set the fence on my table saw to 17.5 inches, and then cut the bottom, back, top, front door, etc.  Now all my connecting panels are exactly the same width; which will help tremendously when I try to keep all my joints tight.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 09:52:09 am by Woodshop Flunky »

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mgb

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Re: American Ace - Mini Vertical Cabinet
« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2011, 08:05:40 am »
Man that is looking good. :applaud:
I like the laminated inside, very nice touch.
Sure doesn't look like you flunked woodshop

  
 

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