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Author Topic: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off  (Read 15351 times)

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tom_g

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A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« on: August 21, 2011, 10:32:42 am »
Hi all

It has been something I've wanted to do for a while and finally I have completed my project. It was quite a learning curve getting all the MAME software working properly and also building something that had to accommodate all the components inside. We don't really have enough free space for a full height cocktail cabinet/table so making a coffee table version for the middle of the living room seemed the best compromise.

The main design requirements (from memory) were-

2 player
try and keep the table as small as possible just so it doesn't impose too much on the living room
for every part of the table to look 'well considered' - especially wanted controls to be concealed and not look like stuck on the side as an afterthought to the overall design
modern clean design with retro references
full glass top
i'm sure there were lots of other things i'd thought of when I started...

I'll let the photos do the talking anyway:

Here's the first rough idea of the sizing
The screen is a 20 inch Hewlett Packard LCD that I got pretty cheap off a friend. The stand for the screen unscrewed off it easily leaving a large flat back area which was a bonus


Sketching....



wanted a retro feel with the wood grain effect on the side walls.... and the side-profile shape was inspired by an old console design, any guesses which?



From this I was able to take some rough measurements about overall sizes and what would work well ergonomically. Quickly I realised I wouldn't be able to have the screen in this rotation as the controls would have to stick out too far. I wanted to go for the vertical screen as I think this means you can always play shooters to their full potential and for horizontal games, both players get half a horizontal screen which is perfectly acceptable versus sitting next to each other and being cramped.


Next was to get it drawn up so I had something to work to having taking into consideration the all of the screen/laptop/speakers and control panel sizes. So now the design has the screen in a vertical layout with players at either of the 'ends'


« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 04:02:29 pm by tom_g »

tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2011, 10:57:11 am »
To the workshop



Here is the brains, an old Acer windows XP laptop with a broken screen hinge, think it has about 500mb of RAM, 40gig harddrive and wi-fi, had tested MAME on it earlier and it was all good. The black box in the middle of the unit is the subwoofer for the speaker system which is more than adequate, probably too good really. This I got for free from my housemate. Another reason why I wanted to use this speaker set is that it has a separate volume and bass controller which is on the right Control Panel to be mounted. There are an additional 2 speakers that I got from a surround sound kit which are being connected up so both players can enjoy stereo sound.

The main carcass is made from 25mm MDF and the control panel boxes 15mm. Having the table already drawn up in CAD and a table saw where you can digitally set the angle and fence made this relatively easy.







So it was basically glued together and held in place with the clamps/grips, then the excess glue was chiselled and sanded off

Side walls cut, 18mm MDF, these will be biscuited in to place



on the edges of the MDF the dark patches are sanding sealer which is a PU based solution that is brushed on then sanded to give a smooth finish

« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 04:05:09 pm by tom_g »

tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2011, 11:13:33 am »
Next- Side walls laminating and making the legs



The laminate is a dark wood grain effect. This photo doesn't really show it properly here yet sorry. For the laminating I used just normal PVA glue (which is what always gets used at this workshop) although I've noticed other people on here using other specialist adhesives? So PVA spread out, laminate both sides of the panel to prevent warping, put it in the press for an hour, trim the laminate edge with a bottom bearing trimmer.



Control Panels are fitted in place. Cutting the button holes was a bit of a pain to be honest as I didn't have a hole-saw the right size (28mm?) so had to do smaller holes and then trim out the hole to make the buttons fit through. I could have used the CNC in hindsight but then again that would have made the whole job too easy and I wanted a bit of a challenge.

Also you can see the speaker holes at the bottom left and right of the unit now.

Legs on-







So here are the legs, simple to make, just set the angle and cut a loads of blocks to stick together. They are chunky and angular which i think fits with the design well, kind of reminds me of space invaders....

What colour to paint the outer carcass?
I had always thought of doing it black as this would be very retro with the dark wood too. However, I had started to feel that if all of the coffee table was dark, that it really would impose on living room and suck the life out of it. so..... I mocked up part of the table in white





I was happy with the white. Having the wood grain and the white looks modern and definitely fits with the living room.

So next the unit has to go down to the sprayshop

« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 04:07:22 pm by tom_g »

tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2011, 11:41:36 am »
Actually, before the spray shop there was the top to make-

jigsawing


routing for straight edges. also did a rebate around the screen hole so that the monitor can 'sit up into' the top. The top is 18mm MDF, but the screen is now approx 6mm from the top of it due to this which is better as there will be a thickness of glass too on top of the 18mm MDF too.



so shortly after and all was primed up (except the screen bezel, that got missed out there)



Control Panel primed




Here I have cut the perspex sheet to size and fitted the button holes. Again this is a job that the CNC could have made light work of. I wanted a perspex CP as it will be more hard wearing than just paint.

And then the glass top came that I had ordered. It's 10mm thick toughened with a small chamfered edge. It fitted the MDF top perfectly.
This was to be back painted white so I had to mask off the area where the screen needs to be seen through and also the top side incase of overspray



In hindsight i'm not sure if back-painting the glass was necessary
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 04:09:14 pm by tom_g »

tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2011, 12:38:05 pm »
Finished painting

Screwed legs in position. Here you can see the biscuit slots for holding the side walls. Also the areas where the CP will be glued into place have been masked off so the glue will stick. The large 90mm holes are for ventilation and for access to the power switch


Here is P1 with the admin button holes on the rear face and a slot on the side for the volume controls. The CP's have been designed so that the perspex sits flush with the cabinet edge


And the screen with the painted bezel back on it


The paint was a PU 20%gloss (satin) finish. Should be hard wearing and last

Assembly and wiring it all up

This is the interface which I got from ebay seller - http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/digitalsystemsdesign/?_trksid=p4340.l2559
They also made up the extended wiring loom as the CP's are further apart due to it being a cocktail cab


It was pretty tight getting in there and connecting all the buttons up so I had to do it with the table on its side


Standard wiring mess photo


This is the view into the table without the screen in place. So there's half a laptop and a load of wires


P1 CP -
Red- Exit/no. White- Pause. Blue- Menu/tab. Green- Enter
Yellow- Credit. P1- Start
In hindsight again, 6 buttons is overkill, have only played anything like the Streetfighter games a couple of times. Next time 3 buttons will suffice


So with the screen in you can see how much of a tight fit it all is. For the screen I just made a little table for it to sit on with adjustable legs that you screw or unscrew to adjust the height. They are the legs that are used for kitchen cabinets and are good as it means I can get the screen to butt right up to the top with no gap anywhere.


There is a gap at the front middle but the opposite side is taken up by the bass box.


Here is the volume and bass control dials mounted


The next problem to overcome was how to turn on the laptop. I had seen a guide whereby you solder a switch to the laptop for remote powering on- http://www.mp3car.com/how-to-power-a-laptop/108758-simple-and-clean-remote-laptop-power-switch.html


however, having tested and found which points to solder to, the switch was tiny and would just not take anything being soldered to the tiny points.


So the solution came in hacking the laptop's power on panel down a bit and placing it close to a hole that you can reach it from. This was a little tricky as the ribbon was not very long and everything had to be installed around this power button being accessible by that hole


Another inside photo. Here you can see more wires, two of the speakers at the back, and one of the two USB powered fans (these are meant to go under laptops to keep them cool but do the job for a couple of )





tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2011, 12:51:53 pm »
Top on. Finished  :) :) :)



















thoroughly satisfied with the end result. actually I may take an inch off height of the legs as proportionally it looks just a bit too high. also need to find some solid cushions or small footstool type things to sit on.

running Mala frontend, boots straight in. I made a new menu for it  ;D



I'd also like to find some white joystick dust washers if anyone knows where to get them? The black aren't too bad though as you don't see them with the table top being solid

having built this has been a cool project, I'd like to do another once I acquire the bits to go in it.

any questions or comments (good or bad I don't mind) please let me hear, I've probably missed out a lot of the details

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2011, 01:52:50 pm »
Very nice build!  :applaud: Love the frontend.  :laugh2:

shrunkenmaster

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2011, 04:50:59 am »
Very unique look, my man! For white dust washers, try contacting FrancoB on this forum. He has made custom washers in the past for people.

BurgerKingDiamond

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2011, 07:58:05 am »
really awesome design, but is there room for your hands to comfortably play? and why'd you go for 6 button layout with a vert screen?
-Welcome to the Fantasy Zone.

tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2011, 08:38:31 am »
thanks for the compliments

@shrunkenmaster, I did contact this person I believe (blingstix) but he didn't have any unfortunately. It shouldn't be too hard to make some actually

@BurgerKingDiamond, yeah it's fine to play, the CP is 200mm deep by 350mm wide, I made a test box first to make sure as I wanted it to actually be playable (form<function?!). I didn't really want to make the CP box any wider than necessary as it would have made the side parts look too thin.
When you play 2 player horizontal games (fighters/sidescrollers etc) the screen splits into two halves like in the top finished photo which shows Mario Bros being played. So both players get a 'normal horizontal screen' at the same time so to speak, which means you can play 6 button fighters. However, as this was my first build I did that thing whereby you put too many buttons on just because you can, and we don't even play on fighting games ever. The most played game is puzzle bobble/bust a move on 2 player.
And finally a reason I wanted to have the screen vertical is because of the viewing angle... as the screen is in the table top around 90 degrees to your eyes, this way the screen is perfectly viewable compared to if it was horizontal

Sjaak

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2011, 08:46:00 am »

TopJimmyCooks

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2011, 08:54:38 am »
Beautiful cab.  I am a real fan of modern design and I love the aesthetics.  Especially the details like the pattern of the speaker grille perforations.  The white carcass looks great with the woodgrain laminate and the blue/green of the glass top.  

The glass top is thick - do you get any weird reflections or refractions that you can see while playing?

To answer your question - you rarely see PVA glue used for plastic laminate because most people don't have access to a press.  Most hobby laminate is done with J-rollers or even hand pressure, so the high initial tack of contact cement works better.  

sunnyp

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2011, 09:07:12 am »
Amazing - job well done  :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2011, 09:55:24 am »
Beautiful job and nice to see a very innovative cab design  :applaud: :applaud:   Also love the equipment in the shop you were working in. CNC is great.

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2011, 10:57:42 am »
Nice Job!

I hadn't seen the build thread for this before. I love the clean lines....

tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2011, 11:15:23 am »
@Sjaak, thanks for the dust washers link

@TopJimmyCooks, the glass is fine, no problems, yes there are reflections but the screen is nice and bright so they do not distract. here is a close up photo of the bezel, if the glass is clean it's as though it's not there (considering it is 10mm thick on top of the table top)



also I think the thicker glass works better proportionally 10mm on top of the 18mm top, which also nearly matches the main carcass which is 25mm thick



and the speaker holes design I just did as I was going, should have done a few test layout pieces first,
this would also have been a good job to do on the CNC as drilling 120ish holes did get a bit tedious.
I'm actually surprised at how clearly and loud the sound comes through the holes.




Evetsllub

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2011, 06:53:37 am »
This is the shiz!  Awesome stuff!!

javeryh

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2011, 10:37:03 am »
I love this cab.  Very nice and very original!  You are also very skilled in the shop.   

However, the one small criticism I have is that the front end theme needs to go, IMO.  I get the joke but I think this thing would be so much better with a slick theme with an angular/futuristic font that matched the style of the table itself.  I don't know... that's just me.  Either way, awesome job.  :cheers:

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2011, 10:53:12 am »
since when does Ikea make cocktail cabinets? >:D

tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2011, 03:59:08 pm »
have since cut the legs down by 35mm, much happier with the way the coffee table sits and looks, as the legs seemed just a bit too long. before & after-







« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 04:15:08 pm by tom_g »

dextercf

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2011, 05:24:07 pm »
I need to change my shirt, i drooled all over this one!  :applaud:

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2012, 12:21:15 pm »
Thanks dextercf

Just a couple of updates-

Now have a proper power button, I took the 'power on' circuit to someone at work who soldered a couple of wires onto the back of the switch, it's much easier now to turn on than reaching into that hole and finding the old laptop button.



Located on the underside, out of the way



Also I had an issue with the laptop not finding the monitor after a disconnect and move (very frustrating). So instead of the old laptop screen sitting around doing nothing, I decided to connect it back up and mount it inside the coffee table permanently in case this issue should happen again. Very tight in there and the laptop to laptop screen ribbon was very short understandably so had to move it all round to accommodate the screen. The internal screen is usually switched off but is turned on for photo-



So I think it's fully finished now, fingers crossed no more problems.

Final photo from last week.... The coffee table was able to meet his long-lost father  ;)



My new upright cab build is nearly finished, just the electronics to fit, so will be posting it up soon, thanks again for the compliments on this one
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 12:28:45 pm by tom_g »

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2012, 04:43:28 am »
Final photo from last week.... The coffee table was able to meet his long-lost father  ;)

This is just as close to porn homemade cabinets ever gonna come.
LOVE the white finish and the green stained glass!  :applaud:

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2012, 09:10:59 am »
Loving it.....sleek, retro, unique.....well done :cheers:

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2012, 10:21:57 am »
Wow! This turned out cool! Very retro.  :applaud:  As I was reading this post I thought our cabs were going to look similar, but you took it in a totally different direction.  Very awesome. :)

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2012, 04:40:11 am »
Love this table any kind of plans available so we can make our own?

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2012, 09:09:18 am »
That's one fantastic table Tom! I really like the mix of white and wood grain.

racecar

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2012, 08:49:55 pm »
love it!

Seith

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2012, 11:35:39 am »
I tip my hat to your project!  Try and find someone who wouldn't want this in their house.  Photos are stellar, thanks for sharing

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2012, 05:23:27 pm »
tom, outstanding job on this. I love the design and look. I believe it could fit in anywhere and never look out of place! Well done :cheers:  A suggestion on dust washers: picture them made from the same glass you used for the top. Round smooth and polished the same as the edge of the glass above. Would be very nice accent pieces.

tom_g

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2012, 04:04:19 pm »
@childsremix, I don't have the plans anymore sorry, they would be back at the last place i worked, was intended as a one-off, I'll note down some dimensions soon though and post them up, it's a fairly simple shape/build

@NIVO, made a dust washer from some spare 3mm thick satin opaque perpex, unfortunately the centre hole was a touch too big (like1.5mm), so it rattled a lot with every joystick move pretty much, shame as it took quite a long time sanding the disk down as circular and smooth as possible

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Re: A Cocktail Coffee Table Cab - one off
« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2012, 10:17:23 pm »
Missed this one last year - looks fantastic!