Hey guys! I've been watching this forum for some time and, being inspired by many great projects by all of You guys in here and - most notably - by the Pixel Kabinett 42, I decided to attempt to build my own and - well - here it is
The UNITRON 1984.
(Unitra was a polish electronics manufacturer back in the days of communism, hence the name)
I don't have many photos documenting the process, as it was very random and relied on trial and error more often than not
Initially, I was going to build a PC-based cube. I even bought an old C2D main board complete with ram, a hdd, power supply and what not. The rest of the electronic parts remained pretty much the same as in the very beginning:
- a used 5:4 NEC lcd monitor. Completely stripped of the casing, all the metal parts, with nothing but the screen and the electronics left
- a set of low-end 2.1 Creative speakers. I ripped them open, not sparing the sub. I also unsoldered the original potentiometer (as it was attached to the amp board itself) and replaced it with a slide potentiometer I could put in the control panel
- two sets of joystick + button + usb board sets, courtesy of Aliexpress
- some extra cables and such (like double usb extension cords for being able to plug things into the rPi)
- since putting a PC inside seemed to pose nothing but problems: cooling, air circulation, mounting and placing all this stuff inside, I finally opted for a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
- a 64gb SD Card
I also intended to cut the entire box myself, but - to be honest - I've never done any SERIOUS carpenter work, nor did I feel up to it. It turned out that an affordable way to do this is to design and then order a laser-cut plywood set. And even though it needed some touch ups here and there - it still proved to be the best way to build the box. Meanwhile, since I've decided to use the raspberry instead of a PC, I changed the design - so that - instead being a clunky box (which was supposed to be on wheels), the arcade would now stand of vintage legs (acquired from an auction site). What I'm especially happy with is that I managed to build most of the box just with glue, only using screws for the lid, the control panel (so the detachable parts), the hinges and such. Everything is coated either with oak-coloured or black paint.
As a final touch, I redesigned the Pixel skin for Emulationstation to more closely fit the style I had in mind. It runs nice, having only 8/16 bit systems + the MAME romset installed and looks like a cool eighties piece of furniture when not in use
Hope you like it!
The building process:
Emulation Station custom skin complete with sound effects: