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Author Topic: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme  (Read 3224 times)

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niemeyerw

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Ok guys, While I'm a little behind on getting the post started, I have decided to take the plunge and build my first cabinet from the ground up.

After a month or so of reading through the forums, and thinking about likes/ dislikes, and features I wanted to incorporate, I started to lay things out.

I'm a CAD designer by trade, so I did my design in Inventor.

As it turns out, picking a theme for a cabinet is incredibly difficult lol, but I decided to go with a Houston Astros themed cab. 

I looked at several cabinets others had done, and there are some pretty amazing builds out there, but nothing quite fit all the options I wanted, so I decided to start from scratch.  Some of the things I wanted were:

1) 4 player capability
2) Ability to maximize the number of playable games (Easily accessible usb ports for controllers)
3) Storage for existing gaming consoles we already have
4) Light guns with recoil
5) Storage for controllers, etc
6) Ability to easily switch from the arcade pc, to gaming consoles
7) Ability to turn recoil on/off easily
8) Ability to have sound through headphones instead of speakers

As I get further along, I will go into detail into specifics, and will try to post updates as often as possible.  I've been working a lot lately, so for now I've been limited to a couple of hours per day after work, so progress has been kind of slow.  I took on what I think is a semi-ambitious build for my first attempt, and there are some concerns I haven't even addressed yet, as I have never even installed mame on a machine before.

I would like to thank those who have contributed to the forums and answered questions.  It's been really helpful so far, and have provided a ton of help getting me started and inspiring ideas.

Andy at Ultimarc was particularly helpful when selecting components.  I emailed him a button layout with the joysticks I thought I wanted, as well as the I/O interfaces I thought required.  He offered some better alternatives, saved me some headaches and money, and his products were delivered quickly.  I'm excited to get past the woodworking stage and on to setup/ troubleshooting because the components already look awesome just sitting in boxes  :lol

I'll be posting pictures soon of my design, and progress to date.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 10:46:47 am by niemeyerw »

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2018, 11:49:46 am »
Ok guys now that my post has been approved I can get you caught up with pictures to date. 
The first few pics are of the design I worked on.  There are some holes with no components drawn because I didn't see a need to model cup holders and usb ports or speakers.

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2018, 11:51:40 am »
After the design work was done, I laid out all my parts on cut sheets and headed to my local community college which has a fab lab.  I used their CNC mill to route out recesses and cut out all my parts.

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2018, 11:53:41 am »
I began test fitting pieces and was relieved that everything came out with a nice, tight square fit :).  There was still lots of sanding and router work to be done before assembly, as well as planning a strategy to actually assemble.  I tried to think about the building process from the beginning- It's easy to place things on a computer screen, but not always as easy to build in actuality.  Every piece is test fit, sanded, edges prepared, and pilot holes drilled, then glued, screwed, and clamped.

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2018, 12:24:11 pm »
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you'll probably want to recut your control panel due to the angled sticks for P3/P4.   :dizzy:   :banghead:

Green = good.  Red = bad.



https://web.archive.org/web/20160809113045/http://newwiki.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?title=FAQ#Orientation


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Ian

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2018, 01:39:24 pm »
That is a lot of buttons!
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

javeryh

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2018, 01:45:12 pm »
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you'll probably want to recut your control panel due to the angled sticks for P3/P4.   :dizzy:   :banghead:

+1 to this.  Seems like it will be an easy thing for you to do though...

Mike A

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2018, 02:14:08 pm »
You probably should have asked some questions first. This whole project is an overcomplicated mess.

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2018, 03:07:20 pm »
Thanks for the input guys.

1) I did a mock layout, and had a few people come over and test to see which joystick orientation they preferred.  I guess my friends and I are just weird because we all prefer the "wrong" way better.
2)
You probably should have asked some questions first. This whole project is an overcomplicated mess.

I did ask a lot of questions.  Not sure how this is overly complicated, or a mess.  Everything has a specific function, and has been relatively simple so far...

Mike A

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2018, 04:12:47 pm »
Yes you and your friends are weird. The wrong way is wrong. That is why it is called the wrong way.

These builds that try to do everything seldom get finished. When they do manage to get completed only a small fraction of those operate correctly without constant tinkering.

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2018, 04:27:23 pm »
I guess I can look at a screen and still move my hands up/down, and left/right at different angle than the screen is orientated. I guess that's why they call them custom builds huh?  That way I can have it however I want?  If it doesn't work the way I have planned, the only thing I'm out is about $200 in materials as well as my time, which I enjoy working on these projects.  Maybe it will work exactly like I hope, and can help someone else save some tinkering time.  If you ever decide you want more than a burger time machine, let me know.  I'd be happy to draw it up for you and orientate your joysticks wherever you'd like.  ;D

Mike A

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2018, 04:35:18 pm »
Ooooh. Getting snippy. Good luck with your build.

rave0035

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2018, 09:26:32 pm »
Are those cup holders along the back?  Will they be functionally reachable given the size of the CP?  There is a high likelihood that someone spill their drink on the CP and/or your consoles at some point. 

+1 on Andy @ Ultimarc's helpfulness! 
You can't truly know how something works until you've ruined it by taking it apart.

jmike

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2018, 07:10:29 am »
 :applaud:

Looking forward to your next update. Good luck.

 :cheers:


I guess I can look at a screen and still move my hands up/down, and left/right at different angle than the screen is orientated. I guess that's why they call them custom builds huh?  That way I can have it however I want?  If it doesn't work the way I have planned, the only thing I'm out is about $200 in materials as well as my time, which I enjoy working on these projects.  Maybe it will work exactly like I hope, and can help someone else save some tinkering time.  If you ever decide you want more than a burger time machine, let me know.  I'd be happy to draw it up for you and orientate your joysticks wherever you'd like.  ;D

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2018, 07:32:44 am »
Thanks jmike.

Rave-  They are cup holders.  For some reason the pics seem a little distorted after having to resize them, but they should be plenty reachable.  The good thing about this is that if I don't like the joystick layout or if the cup holders turn out to be an issue, those pieces are easily re-created.

The whole idea behind this was to try as many things as I thought that I wanted, and learn what works, what doesn't,  what may not be as good of an idea as I originally thought, etc.  This definitely won't be my last build so I wanted to gain some experience so the next ones get easier.

proplayer77

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2018, 04:55:24 am »
I also agree on that there might be some  4 player setup issues on your model, but hey, its your machine, and you decide. Also, im sure you arent 4 ppl playing all the time, very sure. I made my 2 player bartop 6 months ago and now its been unused for 3 months. Most fun is to play old NHL and other sports games  :applaud:.

I also just started to build a full size arcade, and had this kind of plans but my 4 player plans got reversed over night before starting the build and i changed all my plans to make a 2 player cab to fit cup holdes etc better the way i want. I dont have expert tools, and i use plywood, so its a lot more handtools use and manual measuring, but its good therapy without critical timelines for the project.

GL on your project, post more pics :)  :cheers:.




Mike A

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2018, 05:46:11 am »
Cup holders invite people to spill drinks all over your control panel. A small table next to the machine is a much better choice.

proplayer77

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2018, 06:04:21 am »
Cup holders invite people to spill drinks all over your control panel. A small table next to the machine is a much better choice.

Im planning to put them on the sides of the CP thats outside of the screen on boths sides, but i agree - one spill of beer can mess up the all cab.... :D




Mike A

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2018, 07:00:04 am »
Arcade machines play video games. Tables hold drinks.

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2018, 07:36:26 am »

GL on your project, post more pics :)  :cheers:.

Thanks man.  I'll post some more when I make some progress worth taking a picture of :)  Right now it's been just a bunch of sanding, using a router to round over edges, and cutting t-mold slots.

Arcade machines play video games. Tables hold drinks.

Mine will do both.

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2018, 02:11:23 pm »
   I like the overall concept, and the complexity is almost a dream.... However there are a few changes, (already pointed out) that could be incorporated into a revised design before you get too far.

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2018, 09:23:45 am »
I haven't got a lot actually put together yet this week, but I have prepped a lot of pieces with the router and sanded a LOT.   Hope fully I can get the cp assembled and the back storage box assembled this evening.

I wasn't sure how I was going to do the holes for these pushbutton switches.  They aren't long enough to mount in 3/4" mdf.  I started the nut on the backside and laid the switch against the side of the piece it was to be mounted in.  I then put a piece of tape on my spade bit to mark how deep the wider hole needed to be.  I drilled a pilot hole all the way through first,  then from the backside where the tightening nut goes, drilled down the required depth with the spade bit.  I then finished the hole through from the finished side with a forstner bit.  Checked the fit, and all is good!

I knew from the beginning that I wanted light guns.  I couldn't build and arcade cabinet and not have the ability to play Area 51 lol.  I found some neat modified Aimtrack guns with recoil, but then I got to thinking- If I want to watch a tv or something, and the kids still want to play, I need to be able to turn the recoil off.  I didn't want to have to access the software everytime to do this, so these pushbutton momentary switches will interrupt the power supply to the recoil module.

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2018, 11:36:12 am »
I guess I can look at a screen and still move my hands up/down, and left/right at different angle than the screen is orientated. I guess that's why they call them custom builds huh?  That way I can have it however I want?  If it doesn't work the way I have planned, the only thing I'm out is about $200 in materials as well as my time, which I enjoy working on these projects.  Maybe it will work exactly like I hope, and can help someone else save some tinkering time.  If you ever decide you want more than a burger time machine, let me know.  I'd be happy to draw it up for you and orientate your joysticks wherever you'd like.  ;D
;D ;D ;D ;D

 :applaud: :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

 :cheers: :cheers:

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2018, 04:52:24 pm »
Dang, that's a big boy!  Nice CAD work.  It's going to be a pedestal right?  What kind of screen is this going in front of?

If you are going to dedicate that much real estate to the cup holders, you should at least put some rudimentary chilling components on each to keep those brewskies cold.  Or milk I guess.  :cheers:

PS - I gotta agree with the others on the angling of sticks.  Even if your brain got used to one side, it would work the opposite way on the other side!

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2018, 12:28:37 am »
Thanks Rob, Barry and Jennifer. I realize there wasn’t the best explanation going into this, but I promise things will “click” by the end. It is a pretty big cabinet, but I had to multitask. This also has to hold two game consoles. So picture a 4 player pedestal on top of a small entertainment center?  The areas where the cup holders are lifts up for storage for gamepad controllers and possibly a few other things.

I did make some more progress this evening. Will post pics in the morning. It’s funny how various stages can feel like they just stall and take forever, then all of the sudden things start coming together quickly.

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2018, 05:53:47 am »
I haven't got a lot actually put together yet this week, but I have prepped a lot of pieces with the router and sanded a LOT.   Hope fully I can get the cp assembled and the back storage box assembled this evening.

I wasn't sure how I was going to do the holes for these pushbutton switches.  They aren't long enough to mount in 3/4" mdf.  I started the nut on the backside and laid the switch against the side of the piece it was to be mounted in.  I then put a piece of tape on my spade bit to mark how deep the wider hole needed to be.  I drilled a pilot hole all the way through first,  then from the backside where the tightening nut goes, drilled down the required depth with the spade bit.  I then finished the hole through from the finished side with a forstner bit.  Checked the fit, and all is good!

I knew from the beginning that I wanted light guns.  I couldn't build and arcade cabinet and not have the ability to play Area 51 lol.  I found some neat modified Aimtrack guns with recoil, but then I got to thinking- If I want to watch a tv or something, and the kids still want to play, I need to be able to turn the recoil off.  I didn't want to have to access the software everytime to do this, so these pushbutton momentary switches will interrupt the power supply to the recoil module.
That recoil on/off switch is a pretty smart idea.

Sent from my SM-J320R4 using Tapatalk


niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2018, 10:43:24 am »
Thanks Luiz.

Now that I'm back at work I have some time to upload pics from yesterday's progress. 
I got the pieces for the storage box and the cp mocked up and assembled.  I've gotten as much assembly done now as I can before paint.  Now It's time for bondo, and more sanding.  I have to fill in and re-cut the t-mold slot on the cp.  I cut the wrong depth the first time.  It would probably still work, but I would know what's underneath and wouldn't be happy.  I may wind up having to re-cut the control panel anyways because its bowed a little on the edges.  It's almost 4' wide, and the outside edges stick up almost 1/4".  I have some weight sitting on the middle right now, but I don't have much faith this will work to get it straight.  Anyone have any ideas on how to get the bow out of mdf?  Where it goes, I don't have the option of attaching any sort of bracing really...
Here's the latest pics:

Mike A

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2018, 10:57:06 am »
Is you CP top laying flat? It should slope at about ten or eleven degrees.

niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2018, 11:01:48 am »
Is you CP top laying flat? It should slope at about ten or eleven degrees.
I chose to make it flat because it sits higher than most, and seemed more comfortable.

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2018, 11:11:31 am »
You might find that shorter people will have an issue with that. That is one of the reasons that CPs are sloped. It better accommodates people of different heights. You might want to consider that. I know you don't like to take advice but there is a reason that virtually every arcade cabinet ever built has a sloped CP. I will continue to supply information, but I will try not to be pushy about it.

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2018, 11:26:52 am »
Ok Mike- It's not that I can't or even don't like to take advice.  What I have an issue with is being told what is right or wrong on a CUSTOM project.  There is no law book on cupholders, or joystick orientation.  I don't allow short people in my house unless they are actual midgets, because THEY ARE AWESOME!!!  I will build a stool just for when they come over, and before I do, I will get all of your ideas on stool design before I start my build ;D  If I spill my beer on my cp, I promise I will say out loud- "I should have listened to Mike!" lol

But seriously, I did think about orientations, and spills, and even the slope of the cp beforehand.  I did a mock layout and set everything up at my table.  The consensus from the weird friends was that this was the best and most comfortable.  The good? thing about this build is that it's almost modular.  Don't like the final cp? It's removable and replaceable easily.  Cupholders a bad idea?  Cut a new lid. 

I do appreciate advice and ideas.  That's where I learned to take these things into consideration before designing it.  However- just because you wouldn't do it the way I did doesn't make me wrong. 

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2018, 12:10:53 pm »
What was the expense of getting it cut at the community college? 

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2018, 01:20:47 pm »
What was the expense of getting it cut at the community college?
Our community college has a fab lab which is open to the community on certain nights.  Usually its $18/ month, but since ours is new, right now it's still free  ;D

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2018, 01:24:15 pm »
So you just brought in a sheet of lumber and went to town?


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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2018, 01:43:45 pm »
So you just brought in a sheet of lumber and went to town?
Pretty much. Except it took 4 sheets lol.  There was a guy there working on a project that was new to cnc cutting as well, so I worked with him for a couple of days while we figured out the machine and software doing his project.  When he was done, I jumped in and took a vacation day from work and got it all done.
Depending on where you live, there are several fab labs around, and I believe there are other similar services like teclabs, etc.  Fab lab is totally independent of the college system, they just happened to be housed there through an agreement.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 01:45:30 pm by niemeyerw »

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2018, 01:50:05 pm »
I live in Houston and haven't found much on Google.  Some places that want $50/month membership.


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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2018, 02:00:49 pm »
I live in Houston and haven't found much on Google.  Some places that want $50/month membership.
I'm in Odessa now, but am from the Houston area.  Sounds like you guys are getting a fab lab soon on the North side:
https://www.fablabs.io/labs/fablabhouston

Looks like it opens sometime in June of this year.

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2018, 02:03:22 pm »
Oil takes you many sad places, friend.  You're in my thoughts and prayers.


niemeyerw

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build Houston Astros Theme
« Reply #38 on: May 10, 2018, 02:19:40 pm »
Oil takes you many sad places, friend.  You're in my thoughts and prayers.
Thanks buddy lol

Ian

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Re: My First Cabinet/ Entertainment Center Build
« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2018, 10:22:38 pm »
I guess I can look at a screen and still move my hands up/down, and left/right at different angle than the screen is orientated. I guess that's why they call them custom builds huh?  That way I can have it however I want?  If it doesn't work the way I have planned, the only thing I'm out is about $200 in materials as well as my time, which I enjoy working on these projects.  Maybe it will work exactly like I hope, and can help someone else save some tinkering time.  If you ever decide you want more than a burger time machine, let me know.  I'd be happy to draw it up for you and orientate your joysticks wherever you'd like.  ;D

Trust me it is not as easy as all that.... Instinctively you will press towards the screen for up. Just watch, I did the same thing on my first build. But overall It really doesn't matter. There are like 5 4-player games anyway. Players 1 and 2 will probably be used most.
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

  
 

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