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Author Topic: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen  (Read 5967 times)

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drummajosh

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Well, I finally did it. After years of accountless lurking, I took advantage of the summer and designed and built my own cabinet.

First of all, I'd like to thank my cousin for spending so much time helping me with the woodwork, but more importantly teaching me how to do it myself. If I wanted to build another, I could build it without his help, and THAT is what I appreciate most.

I'd also like to thank all of the people and projects I drew inspiration from, specifically markc74's Blip cabinet for the idea of a black and white color scheme to compliment the changing artwork, and dmworking247's Alien bartop for the idea of a manually rotating screen. There was also a comment in a post I can't find for the life of me where a member suggested mounting two screens in a way similar to the way I ended up building my cabinet. His/her post got me thinking along that path, and I can't say things would be as cool as they are without that post. To my knowledge, however, a dynamic marquee has never actually been done in the way I did mine.

The amount of features I crammed into this cabinet is really a result of my inability to commit to any specific option. Do I want 4 way or 8 way joysticks? Should it be in landscape or portrait orientation? What marquee do I want to permanently represent my cabinet? Rather than manning up and making choices, I engineered up and designed my way around them.

I took build photos, but I never got to posting the build out of fear that the finished product would be a let-down. After seeing it completed, I have no idea how it could be improved. This is the first cabinet and first substantial anything I have ever built, and aside from the woodwork, I did it without any help. I'm pretty proud of that. I can post the build for anyone interested.

Now that that's out of the way, on to the pictures!

as a bartop in landscape

and as a pseudo-upright in portrait

opened up

closer view

my "insert coin" button

Rear view

Guts

mgalaxy frontend and default marquee

admin panel seen in first pic



Things to take note of:
-The screen is rotated through each games' settings, not through a toggle button. Portrait games boot in portrait, and the menu screen is always in landscape. I REALLY want to rotate games and the menu with a button like the Alien bartop can, but I can't figure that out. I am using mgalaxy as a frontend because it is lightweight, but I am willing to change in order to achieve this functionality. Any advice would be extremely appreciated. I'm running XP sp2 with a relatively weak laptop from '05.
-The coin slot is from an actual arcade machine. I rigged up the coin on a track and spring and put a switch behind it. I can post pictures of this for anyone interested. The coin is the button rather than the "push to reject" piece, and I'm pretty proud of that minor detail.
-The entire cabinet is wrapped in textured vinyl meant to wrap cars. It is NICE. Strong, smooth, and looks/feels extremely professional. I have absolutely no complaints.
-The "subwoofer" on the bottom of the cabinet seen in the opened up picture is really just a larger speaker with the bass turned way up, and yes, it is less than a foot from my hard drive (GASP!!!) I took the risk for the sake of sound quality, and I am really happy with the results.
-The left and right josticks are both Happ 8 way. The center stick is a "Zippyy" 4 way. I may replace this brand if I can find one with a similar footprint because Ive gotten some misfires when sliding from one direction to a neighboring direction in games like pacman. When playing games like Donkey Kong or Galaxian, I use the 4 way and the colored buttons on the rightmost side. For games like Joust that are best controlled with a 4 way and are one or two player, I have both the 4 way and the rightmost 8 way mapped to player one input.
-Because of my last statement, I actually have player one mapped to the right stick for most games. It just makes it easier to use the 4 way when alone and the 8 way with friends.
-The "admin panel" is made from the steel from a digital TV converter box and parts bought online. the red button is tapped into the computer's power switch. The temp gauge goes to the ambient cabinet temperature, not the computer.
-The fans are on a temperature controlled switch. The temperature reading probe is in the same place as the side display's probe so I know exactly what temperature they are set to kick on. They turn on at 85 deg, and the cabinet sits at 87-90 with an ambient room temperature of 75. The computer exhaust has its own fan on the right side of the cabinet.
-The entire cabinet is on a switching smart power strip, with the exception of the speakers. this is so I can use it as a speaker system while it is off, and because the light for the coin slot is tapped into the speaker's power indicating light. I wanted that to stay on all of the time because it's just so purty.

It is officially a bartop, but it was designed to fit atop a minifridge and stand as a miniature upright cabinet. The height of the control panel and angle of the screen are perfect at standard table/minifridge height.

Like I said, I can post build pics or answer any questions people might have. I'd love to hear what you all think.

Also, I still haven't named it, so any suggestions are welcome! ;D
Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

Zeosstud

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2015, 09:18:30 pm »
I was looking at the vinyl for wrapping cars as an option, curious, exactly which one did you go with.  Cab looks great, hope you enjoy playing all the classics!!

Zeosstud

drummajosh

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2015, 11:14:38 pm »
I used "matte flat black texture vinyl wrap decal sticker decal pro grade sheet" from m-2 racing on ebay (am I allowed to say company names here?). I think I even found the same company and product on Amazon for cheaper after I bought from their ebay store. I was only ever interested in black, but it looked like there was a large selection of colors. I'm not sure if they were all available in textured form, though. I really feel like the smooth black they offered would not look or feel right at all. It's a great product, but it was a gamble when I chose it. They have no worthwhile close up pictures of it, and they don't have many specific details or application advice. I learned a lot when applying. I'll try to help where they don't ;D
Here's a closeup of the texture:

and a better angle highlighting it on the cabinet.

It looks and feels exactly like I had hoped; it's almost like a soft Formica. You have to use the point of a key if you want to scratch it. It covered sanded plywood flawlessly and no plywood texture came through.  When I tested it, I found only raised gashes showed through, so I just sanded and swept the wood off before applying and everything went fine. Here are a couple more pictures:
adhesive side

« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 11:28:15 pm by drummajosh »
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DGP

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2015, 12:33:59 am »
Very creative, that screen rotation is brilliant and I can only imagine the trial and error to get it lined up just exactly right.

Now if you found a way to make the rotation motorized...

 :applaud:
« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 12:35:35 am by DGP »
Multi-Cade x2 (full size and bar top)

Peabo

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2015, 10:51:09 am »
Very clean build, well done!

drummajosh

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2015, 11:21:10 pm »
Now if you found a way to make the rotation motorized...
I thought about automation, but I opted for screen size. The problem with manual rotation though is it takes a 10 minute lesson to make sure people I let use it won't hurt it. That's why I want to figure out a way to play portrait games in landscape and landscape games in portrait if I so choose. The Alien bartop used mala front end, but is that a standard feature there? Anyone know?
Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

processedmeat

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2015, 02:26:23 am »
Great build.  Very sleek.

What monitor and/or size did you use for the lcd marquee?  Trying to get a grasp of the size of the bartop.

drummajosh

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2015, 12:29:42 pm »
Thank you all for the complements! I used a 19" widescreen Acer I picked up at a thrift store. I had already decided on  a 17" monitor for the front when I bought it, and I thought they worked well together size-wise. As far as rough dimensions of the cabinet go, it has a 18.5"x20.5" footprint and stands 24" high. I'd say it's just above the minimum width for a 2 player cab. Comfortable, but I wouldn't go any smaller.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 12:35:30 pm by drummajosh »
Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

markc74

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2015, 01:58:02 pm »
Very nice  :cheers:

There's some clever ideas here and its come together really well.

Now the endless pursuit of missing high quality marquees begins  ;D

aldub516

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2015, 07:12:33 pm »
Great build. And your enthusiasm for your first build is awesome... But! Details on the marquee screen?

drummajosh

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2015, 02:46:41 am »
Now the endless pursuit of missing high quality marquees begins  ;D
The man himself! Glad you got to see it, and thanks for posting your build; I learned a lot from you. But man, you ain't kidding about that art. Luckily, I have a Laser Tag and a Barcadia nearby that have been scooping up a ton of original cabinets, so I've been able to update some of the classics at least. 10 down, just about 1,500 to go.
But! Details on the marquee screen?
What, and ruin all the mystery? ;)
It's a completely normal 19" widescreen computer monitor nested behind the front monitor which is set in its bezel. These pics from the test fit should help.


If you want model numbers and such, I have them, but I'm assuming that you thought it was an ultra-widescreen/stretch monitor. I looked at many stretch lcd's and I would have loved to have gotten one, but they are way out of my price range and they never seemed to be the proper aspect ratio for what I wanted. I was going for the cheap route, and I'm pretty happy with the results. I kept track of every purchase, and a properly sized stretch lcd alone would have been more than my total final cost of the cabinet.
(It's possible you were asking about either the software or the mounting of the marquee monitor too, but I think I figured out what you meant. Let me know.)
Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

aldub516

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2015, 10:48:21 am »
Well I'll be damned lol. That's super impressive and genius. I don't know if I could do something like that with my current build. And yes I thought you had a stretch monitor. Awesome build

drummajosh

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2015, 06:05:57 pm »
I thought you had a stretch monitor.
That's the best compliment I could hope for. Thanks! Glad you like it! :)
Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

aldub516

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2015, 10:29:40 pm »
Im thinking of doing something like that for my upright im building.. I cannot go your route due to my current design, but i thought about different designs i can do to add a monitor up top, and trim it with a bezel. On a scale from 1-10, how hard was it to get the set up for the marquees working, and was the fact that you had to set up the display area for the monitor to marquee size, was that a whole other project? Or is that actually figured out during the actual set up of the 2nd monitor for marquees?

Again, sweet ass work man

TheDude

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2015, 08:15:30 am »
This build is really impressive !!!!  :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

Malenko

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2015, 08:50:06 am »
I'm going to steal that coin up idea, I love it. Im a little iffy on the 4way in the middle but all in all its a great cab.
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drummajosh

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2015, 05:35:59 pm »
Thank you all!  :cheers:

I'll split up replies to two posts since they're so detailed...

I thought about different designs i can do to add a monitor up top

You might have seen this before, but you should definitely check this thread out: LCD Marquee Project

As far as difficulty goes, getting it to display the art was one of the easiest parts. Framing it with a bezel was more difficult in retrospect. The software side of things has been figured out by talented people who can write programs, aka, not me. Look up Mamehooker; that's the program that looks at what Mame is doing and can output all kinds of things, including marquee art either in it's original aspect ratio or stretched to fill the screen space you define on a second monitor. It's very customizable and everything is done inside that program. In my project, the default "Mame" marquee I show is simply my desktop background. When Mamehooker is running, only the top part of the monitor displays anything. Outside of that, it exists as a full monitor in the computer's eyes. I had to buy a usb to vga adapter to get my laptop to work with 3 screens.

I have no idea how the top half of the display in the project I referenced worked, but he might explain that in his post. There's a video I saw once where he had it set up scrolling "Now Playing: Pacman," etc.

Best of luck, and you know where to find me if you need any advice!
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 05:39:56 pm by drummajosh »
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drummajosh

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2015, 06:25:01 pm »
And for Malenko:

Here are some pics I took during the build. This is how I did it, but I'm sure there are other ways. And yes, those are coffee stirrers and Popsicle sticks.


in addition to all the epoxy I used, notice I drilled a pin through the quarter to make it safer against people pulling on it. The quarter also sits just deep enough that it's nearly impossible to get a grip on.

Quarter at rest:

Quarter pushed in:



After I took that last picture, I glued the switch to the short leg of the metal "L" piece that is attached to the plywood. The "L" that is on the quarter's piece presses the switch when it's at rest. When the quarter is inserted, the normal-closed switch is released.

That small feature is a real attention grabber, and some people I've shown it to think the coin slot it's the coolest part. I'm really proud to have inspired an interest, so by all means, steal away!  :)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 06:29:54 pm by drummajosh »
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DGP

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2015, 06:49:19 pm »
Missed the base for the bartop the first time through the pics, yet another creative idea.  :lol
 :cheers:
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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2015, 07:12:14 pm »
Bloody nice work on that LCD Marquee... I'm especially loving builds with these in atm.

Great build for your first one - lots of creative and innovative ideas...Just don't rotate that monitor after a few snifters... :)

I'm currently working night and day (when I don't have to be at my inconvenient day job - oh to win the lottery) to get my Marquee Display software up and working. It may be helpful at some point.

On that note:

Now the endless pursuit of missing high quality marquees begins  ;D

Too true... had a quick scout round - Mame marquees are just scattered around everywhere. Shame, because those old 'screen print' and comic-book type marquees in HQ just look stunning (especially like Alien Syndrome). If I had more time, I'd knock together a google sheet and invite fellow HQ-Marquee Hunters to co-ordinate efforts.

That's always puzzled me about this scene - there's stuff everywhere and lots of very capable folk - why aren't we co-ordinating efforts more? Did this once for developer logos and me and just one other fella managed to source 1,700 images between us in about 2 months. It's easy when minds are put to it...

https://sites.google.com/site/alienarcade74/logos#stats

Anyways, I ramble. Nice cab, chap. How about some vids?
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 07:15:35 pm by stigzler »

Malenko

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2015, 08:42:28 pm »
That small feature is a real attention grabber, and some people I've shown it to think the coin slot it's the coolest part. I'm really proud to have inspired an interest, so by all means, steal away!  :)

Its brilliant. Great take on the "push coin reject to credit up" idea.   Materials used to make it dont matter much, its the execution that counts.  :cheers:
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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2015, 08:46:22 pm »
I was wondering why you had that pretty sharp angle on the marquee area. Makes sense now.
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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2015, 10:14:17 pm »
Thanks again for the praise, DGP!

Bloody nice work on that LCD Marquee... I'm especially loving builds with these in atm.
[. . .]
How about some vids?

Thanks! Hopefully, the way this new cost-effective approach to a dynamic LCD marquee turned out will inspire more people to incorporate one in their cab, therefore increasing the desire for HQ marquee art. I like your idea of a collective cataloging effort; I definitely think it's a realistic venture.

I'm going to try changing from Mgalaxy to MaLa so I can rotate via button press, and after I decide whether or not it's compatible with my setup, I plan on putting up a video.


I was wondering why you had that pretty sharp angle on the marquee area. Makes sense now.
I didn't really elaborate on it in the original post because as the designer, it seemed obvious to me. The fact that it's bamboozled a few people is actually pretty flattering. I was bouncing around design ideas in my head for a while, but the final shape of my cabinet was loosely inspired by the Discs of Tron wrap-around cabinet's artwork. Picture the triangle with the "Discs of Tron" words as the base of my bartop. It's different from the traditional "Asteroids"  form factor by necessity, but I think it came out pretty slick and unique. It definitely still has that arcade machine feel, which was my main design goal.


Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2015, 01:32:16 am »
What monitor and/or size did you use for the lcd marquee?  Trying to get a grasp of the size of the bartop.

Bravo.  I totally thought you had a stretched monitor.  Now I feel like I need to add this awesome idea to my machine...

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2015, 08:56:16 am »
Bravo.  I totally thought you had a stretched monitor.  Now I feel like I need to add this awesome idea to my machine...


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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2015, 09:19:02 pm »
Bravo.  I totally thought you had a stretched monitor.  Now I feel like I need to add this awesome idea to my machine...

I'm glad it's been such a hit with everyone here. I'd be pretty flattered if this approach inspired other projects.
Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2015, 09:39:59 pm »
Oh, come one.  I already have this one covered.


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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2015, 03:07:40 am »
Who's that guy?

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2015, 05:24:41 am »
That's why I want to figure out a way to play portrait games in landscape and landscape games in portrait if I so choose. The Alien bartop used mala front end, but is that a standard feature there? Anyone know?

Yes, it is. It's a keymapping option, and also available on the right-click menu. It also optionally supports launching the game in whatever aspect ratio the menu is currently at -- eg, toggle the menu to vertical, and all the games will launch vertical. Toggle it to horizontal, all the games will launch that way. And the layout files support a horizontal and vertical layout both in the same file.

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2015, 11:27:56 am »
Who's that guy?

Someone doing a reading for Magnolia 2: Magnolias

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2015, 02:52:21 am »
Yes, it is. It's a keymapping option
Great, thanks for the reply. I started toying around with MaLa. All was good... until I started getting the famous loss of focus on game quit. Tried the focus plugin to no avail. Switched to the newer beta MaLa and the problem went away. It seems to be exactly what I'm looking for as far as a front end goes, aside from the bugs. Once I design a layout that works for me, I'll see about putting up a video.
Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

kiel0909

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2015, 02:49:20 pm »
i think ill be using your wrap for the interior sides of my cab since the outside will have wrap around art.  You said you had some install issues? care to elaborate?   im assuming its just peel and stick?  did you trim with xacto or with router? I'm also guessing its pretty thin and you didnt need to get any wider T-molding?   Also Ill be applying it to MDF. 

drummajosh

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2015, 08:48:06 pm »
i think ill be using your wrap for the interior sides of my cab

My honest advice? Don't use this to just do the inside. Don't get me wrong, it came out great, was pretty cheap,  and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but it's a decent amount more effort than just peel and stick. IMHO worth the effort for the outside of a cab, but not the inside. Another thing that's playing into that advice is that painted MDF looks great if you do it right. I originally planned on wrapping the inside of my cabinet too because about an eighth of an inch of the inside shows on all edges, but after playing with this stuff for a while, I decided to paint it and save the effort.

If you still think you want to, here's what goes into it:
- apply with a hairdryer, and when you first apply it, go inch by inch as you have a helper unroll it for you. If you don't do this, once the cabinet gets a decent bit above room temperature, the vinyl will start to bubble up around the edges. It does react to temperature, but if you use a hair dryer, the vinyl would need to get ridiculously hot before you saw these effects.
- DO NOT FLUSH TRIM WITH AN EXACTO!!!!!  When I was putting the vinyl on some test pieces, I started practicing flush trimming methods as that was my original plan too. That test piece heated up in my car to about 100, and once it cooled off, there was about a millimeter of wood exposed on all sides. Just enough to look terrible. This happened quickly in my car because of the intense heat, but I would be worried that it would happen gradually over time as well with normal room temperature fluctuations. This shrinking property is actually a good thing if you apply with a hairdryer and follow my next tip.
- when you are trimming the excess after applying the vinyl, leave about an inch hanging over on all edges of the wood. Tuck this excess into the slot that you cut for the t molding, and using the hairdryer again, heat up the vinyl and tighten it around the corner and into the groove. Again, you have to go inch by inch around the whole thing.  As the vinyl cools, it tightens up and gives you nice sharp edges. Then you put in the t molding, which also pulls the vinyl tight.

All of this considered, by the end of the process, your fingers are raw and your joints are sore. Well, mine were at least, but I did my whole cabinet in one night. The painted MDF I've seen has been really slick. Especially since the inside doesn't need to match the outside, I think it would be a much better time if you painted.

That being said:
I planned on wrapping the inside, but decided against it. This means I have some extra. If you're really serious and want to check it out, send me a PM and I might be able to get a small sample to you.
Best of luck!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 10:04:01 pm by drummajosh »
Check out my nameless-for-now bartop!

djlunchbox

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2018, 07:43:39 pm »
This is awesome! What did you use for the "bezel" around the monitor? Meaning whats the black stuff haha.

bperkins01

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2018, 08:30:34 am »
Cool cabinet and well executed!  Great job.   :applaud:
My Arcade Build and other projects here:
https://bperkins.wordpress.com/

bad_boo

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Re: [Finished]-Very first bartop build with lcd marquee AND rotating screen
« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2018, 04:01:20 pm »
I think this was the third time I saw this thread and didn't realize the trick for the marquee monitor   :applaud:

I will change the plan of my cabinet to that direction, with a partially covered monitor for the marquee..... I don't want to pay $500 or more for that marquee screen. Not even the main TV will cost me close to that.

  
 

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