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Author Topic: First cabinet build - what I learned....  (Read 1522 times)

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First cabinet build - what I learned....
« on: March 19, 2015, 06:17:36 pm »
I just finished my first cab and just wanted to share some things. I put all the pics I had in a single pdf. Unfortunately, I didn't think to make in progress photos. Don't mind the Assassin's Creed theme as this was a father/sons project and my two 13 year olds decided on the theme. Thanks goes out to Martijn as I completely copied his Street Fighter cab design. You can find the thread of his complete build on this forum. Here's what I used and some observations on each:

The cabinet:

Made from scratch using 2 sheets of 4x8 3/4" MDF and 2x2 porch spindles. Since I had no measurements, I super-imposed a side shot of the cab onto a piece of graph paper with every block counting for 1 inch. I started off the assumption that the cabinet would stand 72 inches tall. I made the cab 30 inches wide. This gives two players as much room as possible while still fitting through a standard door frame (barely). This was mistake #1, The cabinet was both too wide and too deep for my taste but it works, just a little over kill. Clamped both sides together, did a rough cut with a jigsaw and then used a router with a large sanding wheel to get both side smooth rounded and matched. Here's a complaint...if you are not really close on both your measurements and how you cut your measurements, the cabinet will not go together correctly. I used clamps and a saw guide to make sure my cuts were straight and still had small gaps when fitting things together. Another tip: be prepared to pre drill most of your screw holes or risk splitting the wood. MDF has a bad habit "pushing out" the displacement from the screw which results in things not sitting completely flush. YOU NEED TO WEAR A DUST MASK WHEN CUTTING MDF. It reminds me of printer toner...stuff gets everywhere. And it's heavy...

I laminated the outsides and the bits of the inside that can be seen using 3 sheets of 4x8 WilsonArt Matte Black laminate...mistake #2  ;D. I thought I needed laminate just to make the MDF stronger but it sure is a pain in the rear and sharp enough to make me bleed. The smooth finish was worth it in the end though I think primer, sanding and painting would have been easier. I felt stupid messing with all that laminate when I finally decided to use full side art...oh well. If you laminate, you will get to know your router real well.

Here are the components used. I must say, the vendors, which some are member of this board, were excellent:

From Ultimarc: 2 UltraStick 360's with the longer shafts, tighter springs and circular restrictor, U-Track trackball with bezel, and an IPAC2. Andy is very good, has quality parts and knowledgeable about what he sells.

From Suzo: The buttons, coin door, and a couple of extra micro switches for the coin door.

From Ebay: Replacement HAPP buttons (red rather than the amber that came with the coin door), pcb mounting feet, control panel clamps (dang hard to find), and marquee retainers (I used these for not only the marquee but does a good job holding the glass/bezel/monitor while giving the area where the bezel meets the control panel a finished look.

From Amazon: the "Hide a Power" outlet (much easier having this with 2 slide out USB ports than trying to precision route tiny holes in the from of the cabinet), Power rocker switch on the back, and AC Infinity fans and thermostat controls (these fans are cool as they are USB powered), and flexible ribbon LED light strip with strip connectors and power supply to light the marquee

From tempered beveled custom sized glass 3/16" thick. These guys are great. The first piece came to me in about a billion pieces even though the packing was outstanding. They had no issues sending me a replacement after some photos to send to FedEx.

From All the art. Scott prints it and these prints are of highest quality vinyl. I was going to use poly on the CP but Scott laminates his overlays so I decided not to add that. The marquee art came on a single piece of plexi, no need for sandwiching. I also relied on Vlad, their graphics designer. My boys chose the graphics but I still have not idea how to make it fit physically

From me: I already have an Intel i3 machine with a Dell 20" LCD monitor that I used along with a cheap set of speaker and small sub. The speakes are basically hot glued behind the board the holds the LED lights. Speaker holes are covered with 4" metal speaker grills.

Here's some things I learned:

1. Don't laminate anything until you are sure about how you want your hardware mounted. I planned from day one to countersink the screw for the joysticks but I put the laminate on first which torpedoed that idea, so I laminated the underside too to hold the screws more firmly.

2. The blind screw method with the U-Trak is a one time shot when using MDF. I neglected to realize that the screw is too long and without washers, pushes out the back side, that was my fault. After trying to go back in a second time the MDF had lost it's hold. To fix, I put 2 part epoxy in each hole, stucj the screws down into the hole and hope I never have to try and get that trackball out again....

3. Measure 12 times and cut realllllyyyy straight. Or invest in caulk  :-\

4. Don't assume the coin door goes right in the middle. Take a look, it a bit too low.

5. 1/2" of clearance for the casters are a good idea in the garage but that thing does not roll on carpet. Why did I put casters on it?

6. There's a lot to learn and when it's all done, hey, now you need to figure out how all that hardware interfaces with the software. Yea...

7. If you want full side art, make sure your cab is no deeper than 42" or you will have to seam it. Like I said, I made it too deep.

8. Too much contact cement = one heck of a mess :o

The monitor is mounted in mdf held at the back with metal strapping. A 1/8" bezel was cut to cover the LCD bezel and was mounted to the mdf with small black screws sandwiching the lcd in place with the glass in fron of the bezel. It's held up by a simple 2x4.

I ran all power to a "smart" strip and plugged the computer in =to the master socket so when I shut the computer down, everything shuts down and vice versa.

The coin door lights are spliced into a molex connector and powered by and extrat 12v feed from the computer's power supply. I also added a button above the and to the left of the coin door that acts as the computers power button. I tied the wires into the power leads on the PC's motherboard.

The only other thing I can think of is the coin door hack. It really nice to keep a clean control panel but very hard finding information on how to do because it has to be done differently depending on the coin door. I ended up with a HAPP pinball door which has the perfect place to epoxy a microswitch. The caveat is the switch button sits up against the black lever that goes down when the button is pressed therefore allowing the button on the microswitch to release which is opposite of the way these switches function with the push buttons. Most people reading this will know this but I wish I have found this easily when I was doing this but you have to wire to the Normal Closed (NC) prong to get it to work.


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Re: First cabinet build - what I learned....
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2015, 07:02:40 pm »
Nice work man.  Some lessons learned and shared, and some quality time with the kids.  Nothing wrong with that.


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Re: First cabinet build - what I learned....
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2015, 10:31:28 am »
Looks good.   :applaud:

P.S. - Nice bezel (er, ahem - I think you meant "marquee").

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