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Author Topic: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion  (Read 2561 times)

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GearHead

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Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« on: May 19, 2016, 08:08:37 pm »
I started this project over a year ago. Now that I am getting closer to finishing it I thought it might be time to start a project thread.

A late night Craigslist search came up with a Tekken 3 game for only $100.  I picked it up and found a quarter and a Tekken 4 Magic Gate card in it.  Sold the card and brought down the total price for the cabinet under $75. The game was in a universal Midway cabinet which had been painted black several times.  It was in ok shape but needed some TLC. The bottom panels had some water damage and wear, the control panel was flaky and the monitor was dim. It also smelled like a cheap perfume store.



A new flyback and cap kit got the monitor working nicely. A few new switches and some wiring work had the game up and running nicely.

Cabinet Work
These kind of Midway cabinets are huge and heavy. Moving them is not easy, especially up stairs. I happen to live on the second floor of a house so I decided to cut the cabinet in half so I could move it in pieces. I though about having everything fit in the upper half of the cabinet but didn't want to cram too many things into it and increase its weight.

I stripped the cabinet with CitriStrip and found that the cabinet was clad in vinyl. I decided to keep the original graphics intact.
Cutting the cabinet in half was made easy using a Makita Plunge Saw on a track.  The cut was made at the same height as the control panel bottom.  I also trimmed the bottom of each side of the cabinet to remove damaged sections.





To make removing and installing the top I bought some aluminum h channel from http://www.brunnerent.com/.
The top slides in and lines up easily with the bottom.



I added some 2 x 2 bracing to the top and bottom for strength. To secure the two halves I used control panel latches.  I had to make some spacers out of some aluminum bar stock to put between the cabinet and the latches so they would clear the h channel.
























Slippyblade

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2016, 08:19:10 pm »
You... cut it in half.

I'm not sure how I feel at this moment.

wp34

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2016, 09:35:20 pm »
That's a nice saw.  Just curious why you didn't build a cabinet from scratch if you wanted something more mobile?

GearHead

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2016, 10:13:51 pm »
Yep, I cut it in half.  I thought about it for a while.  It was a generic / universal cabinet so I wasn't slicing up any original graphics. I would not have "chopped" a dedicated cab. These universal cabinets are fairly available in my area so nothing rare either.

Why didn't I build from scratch? I like this cabinet design and the materials and time to build one would have far exceeded the $75 this cost me.  The saw is really nice.  I borrowed it from the school I work for.  Hope to buy one at some point.

I'll post some more updates with pics after I did some touch up work and some painting later.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 10:18:53 pm by GearHead »

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2016, 10:23:20 am »
This is after filling in some gouges and a quick coat of paint.  Since the sides were covered in vinyl I used Duplicolor Vinyl and Fabric paint that was a perfect match. If you use it, make sure your space is well ventilated. The fumes off this stuff are pretty nasty.  My Defender restoration is peeking out in the background. 



« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 10:25:46 am by GearHead »

Slippyblade

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2016, 01:44:26 pm »
I wasn't bagging on you for the cut, just a little stunned.  Not something I'd do myself.  Now if you'd done that to an original Q-Bert or Stargate or something then you'd be getting virtually crucified.

I was a little jealous of the saw as well.  I'd LOVE a good brand track saw.  As it is, I've got a Skil saw with a sawboard.  Does the job, but it's ghetto as hell.

GearHead

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2016, 10:49:10 pm »
Fast forward to today, many months after I started working on the game.

This is the refurbished and reassembled cabinet. In addition to running MAME I decided to also keep it a functioning JAMMA cabinet so I can test and run original boards in it.
The cabinet got some patching and painting and some new t molding. I also put it on 4 casters. Tekken 3 is back up and running.






Here it is with an old MAME control panel I built. I'll use this one until I figure out a new control panel system.



I figure it's about 80 percent done now. I'll post more on the mods I've made and some of the features I've added.

tomstewdevine

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2016, 11:51:29 am »
With that early 90s inspired hot Pink graphic on the bottom of the sides, I say you go with a hot pink t molding.
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GearHead

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2016, 03:29:59 pm »
Converting a black universal Midway cabinet isnít very exciting (hot pink t molding might help) especially compared to some of the incredible work that others have done but I like the large monitor and shape of cabinet. It will also fit in nicely next to my Mortal Kombat.  I was going to scratch build one but when this cabinet showed up on Craigslist I decided to do a conversion for my first emulator cabinet. The looks of this cabinet will pretty much stay the same so most of my build has been focused on adding some features that aren't necessarily noticeable from the outside. I may add some graphics once everything is working.

CONTROL PANEL
I initially built a large control panel to play multiple games with two 8 way joysticks (currently one leaf and one microswitch for testing), trackball, spinner and the usual array of buttons. Thereís also a Williams 2 way joystick in there for Defender and Stargate. I also wanted to play some flight stick and driving games so I started to think about a modular panel where I could swap out different controllers. My first idea was to use trackball mounting plates. This worked out fairly well and put the joystick/spinner/flight stick in the middle of the control panel. Nice for games like Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Zaxxon, etc. I used wing nuts to hold the plates in so swapping them out wasn't too bad. Still working on the best way to do the wiring.  Some of the controller / button spacing is off but I'll fix those things later when I build the final panel. I am also thinking about going to all leaf switches.

Control panel with trackball


4 way joystick


8 way joystick


Ultimarc Spinner


I'll need experiment a bit more and do some play testing before finalizing the design. Not too sure about the panel and joysticks under the trackball hole and how to make that look better.



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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2016, 03:50:29 pm »
tooo many controls you'll never use.
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harveybirdman

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2016, 05:41:30 pm »
No one is going to know how to use that control panel intuitively.

Malenko is right, you can play a absolute crap ton of games with two joysticks and four buttons, if you're a fighter lover then twelve buttons is understandable but a dedicated four way, defender layout, and trackball/spinner support is too much to add for one cabinet.

GearHead

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2016, 06:46:42 pm »
Agreed. The Mega Panel, while great for testing, isn't the best idea.

While using it a few things became apparent.

1. It's confusing.
Only one person knows how to use it and sometimes I forget how the buttons are mapped.
Most people look at it and go WTF?

2. It compromises too many things. 
Yeah I can play a lot of different games but the panel doesn't feel right for a lot of them. The layout isn't right, spacing is off, there are controls in the way or you're shifted too much to one side.

3. It doesn't fit how I play games and the ones I play the most.
I don't switch between a lot of games and find myself playing a small set of games.

The panel was built a long time ago and I knew I would replace it. It did teach me quite a bit about layout and construction.  I liked the idea of swappable controls so I started to develop another panel which I will post up in the future when I have more done on it.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 10:56:14 pm by GearHead »

harveybirdman

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2016, 07:48:07 pm »
Also I'm all for pink T Molding and a custom bezel and marquee that evokes that 80's graffiti thing you got going on at the bottom of the cab.

Perhaps watch Rad if you need inspiration...

GearHead

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2016, 10:13:40 pm »
While it was clear that the control panel wasn't going to work I did decide that I liked the idea of swappable controls.
Having different joysticks, spinners, flight sticks and other controls meant I would need a place to put them when they aren't being used.
The bottom half the Midway cabinet is huge. I decided it would make a nice storage area. I kicked around a few ideas and came up with this.



From the front  thereís little evidence that itís a drawer.  To open it I just pull on the coin returns or open one of the doors. I may put in a drawer pull later.

The drawer has two shelves with plenty of space for controllers, AIM-Traks and a control panel. It also has a keyboard/trackball shelf on top.
The drawer is about two thirds the width of the cabinet to leave room for the computer which sits on the left. The original coin door is intact and wired.
I took the coin box off to make more room for the shelves.







New t molding to match the side graphics is not off the table...

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2016, 05:42:29 am »
Oh frak, that is a great idea! :applaud: :cheers:
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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2016, 09:44:08 am »
Pretty cool idea if you are doing swappable panels! I like it.

GearHead

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2016, 10:13:04 pm »
it's been a long time but here are some more updates...

Coin Door Mods
I hope to keep my new control panel design simpler and design it with as few buttons as needed.

Although the coin door is wired up there are times I don't have quarters handy and don't want to keep opening things up to retrieve the ones in the machine. I also took out the coin box and don't have anything in there to catch the quarters.  To get around using quarters I added two Cherry lever switches to the back of each coin slot. There was only room to put one screw in per switch but it's enough to hold them in place.  If they start moving I'll add some adhesive.



Pressing the coin reject pushes the coin reject mechanism back to activate the switch. No extra buttons on the control panel and coins still flow normally (and end up on the bottom of the cabinet).




Some Wiring - Power, Computer ON/OFF and USB Ports
I did a little wiring to make things more convenient.
I moved the original power switch from the back of the machine to the front under the control panel.
Next to it is the computer ON/OFF switch.  Had to open up the Dell desktop to solder the wires to the front switch panel.
I also added two USB ports by installing a MOTONG Dual USB extension normally used in cars & trucks I got from Amazon. These will be used for AimTrak guns and other USB stuff.
I mounted the unit on the bottom of the control panel box.  Mounting is as simple as installing a button.
Everything is easy to get to, not too visible from the front and the Computer ON/OFF switch is far back enough that it isn't going to get pressed accidentally.






More stuff to come including the inside of the cabinet.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 09:54:04 am by GearHead »

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Re: Midway to MAME cabinet conversion
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2017, 12:19:26 am »
After a long hiatus I am back on this project.

AimTrak LED bar install
I have a pair of AimTrak guns and needed to mount the LED bar in the cabinet.  I didn't find any place great so I decided to mount the LEDs in the monitor bezel.  I pulled the board out of the housing, drilled holes for the LEDs in the top of the bezel and grabbed the hot glue gun. 





From a distance the LEDs aren't noticeable unless you know they are there.  The AimTraks work nicely too.



Next up is the modular control panel.  I'll start a new thread for that...
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 12:21:02 am by GearHead »

  
 

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