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Author Topic: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme  (Read 996 times)

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UnclearHermit

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Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« on: June 09, 2019, 04:41:09 pm »
Okay, here we go.  I've been planning to build a Nintendo cabinet for a while now, having been considering building an arcade cabinet on and off for far more years than I care to remember.  I'm going for a Nintendo cabinet simply because I like the look of them and not out of any particular nostalgia for Nintendo cabinets.  I don't even think I ever saw an original one growing up in the UK.

I'm doing this partly because of the hoped end result of some kind of working arcade cabinet, but just as much because I like the challenge of doing this.  I've not built anything like it before and so there are lots of new skills to be picked up along the way.

Theme-wise I'm not sure what this is yet.  So I don't know if it'll be a DK or a Popeye or something custom, so even the colour choice is yet to be made.  I've got to think through all of the questions around horizonal/vertical games, 4-way/8-way joysticks, repro joysticks or something else so I can switch 4 to 8-way etc.  But I've already spent an absolute eternity reading and re-reading all the wonderful posts on here, and capturing notes and photos as I go of all of the little parts of the cabinet to help me as I go.  My thanks to all of those people who have invested their time to provide such great posts for others like me to follow.  I'll try to post as I go to try and give something back for others in the future, including all of the mistakes I'm likely to make along the way.

I'm using the Gaetan plans and already have a 1-1 print and have started some panel cuts, but I'm finding inconsistencies between the 1:1 print, the measurements on the plans/dxf files etc.  For instance, my printed 1:1 control panel is a couple of mm different in size to what the plans say it should be, and similarly the dimensions shown on the pdf seem to be a couple of mm different to what I find if I take measurements off the dxf files.  So I'm having to be careful to make sure that I don't end up with panels in different widths across the cabinet.

And so to my first question.  The interior horizontal panel which forms the bottom panel for the marquee, and which support the vertical panel holding the marquee light, is shown on Gaetan's plans as 10mm deep.  But I see photos (I think from Chance when he and Gaetan were taking measurements for those plans) that show it as 8mm deep.  I'm build this thing out of 15mm MDF, and will live with the pros and cons of that decision, but either way I'm probably going to struggle to find some that's either 8mm or 10mm.  The depth of the panel is presumably going to impact either the space for the bezel or the space for the marque, so I'll probably end up buying some 1/2" MDF and then routing off a few mm at the front.  But is it supposed to be 8mm or is it supposed to be 10mm?

Photos of some initial "work" to follow, once I figure out how to upload to the photos thread and link here...

thanks

Mike

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 06:49:03 pm »
Let's try a couple of pictures.  This has always seemed convoluted but I'm sure there's a good reason.  Hopefully these will show up..

I ordered a 1:1 print of the Gaetan plans a little while ago from planprint-it.co.uk, which cost about £18 once delivery was factored in.  They have a minimum order of £10 before VAT, so I added in the other non-1:1 diagrams just to bring the cost up to the minimum.



I then went around the large print with a craft knife and a metal ruler and carefully cut it out.  This wasn't actually too bad to do.  It's just a question of taking the time rather than rushing the cuts.


I don't have the confidence/experience with the wood to go straight onto the final MDF for these, but I didn't want to use a full-size template either just to keep costs down (some hope).  So I used an old piece of smaller 1/4" MDF and transferred onto it the corners and angles from the full size cabinet side.  I figured that I didn't really need a template for the straight lines!

This was all a while ago now.  I've found that I have not a lot of free time to progress this, and when I do progress it I seem to be very slow :)  So I've got a bunch of pictures that I can post when time permits to bring things up to where I am now.  At least it'll feel like progress in the thread, even if I'm not making much in reality!

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 10:43:33 am »
You can see here the small piece of 6mm MDF that I used the template the corners/curves.



I traced the outlines from the 1:1 sheet onto the various sides/corners of this piece of wood and then cut using a jigsaw, followed by some routing off the straighter edges and sanding for the curves.  For the internal curves I wrapped a bit of sandpaper around a spray can lid I had lying around, to make it easier the sand the curves without destroying them in the process.  Apart from the bit on the right that I caught by going a little too far with the router this generally went okay.  A bit of filler mostly fixed up the routing mistake.

For the final cut onto the first side of 15mm MDF I traced around the 1:1 paper template and rough cut with the jigsaw.  It's been a long time since I used a jigsaw and my memory was me being pretty terrible with them, so I was pretty pleased to find this bit going well.  Once I had the rough cut I simply overlaid the MDF template onto the various curves/corners once at a time and used the router to clone the template.  Whilst doing that I somehow managed to get the router to gouge a hole into my wood around the control panel area, and thought I must have accidentally tilted the router or something.  You can see the rough repair in the image below.



This kind of damage is irritating, not just because of the damage but because it then delays things while I have to wait/sand/fill/wait/sand etc.  Anyway, once I'd repaired this latest setback I was able to get the completed side clamped onto the second MDF sheet ready to be traced, rough cut and then cloned.




More to follow when the image thread doesn't think I'm violating some kind of security...
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 10:46:53 am by UnclearHermit »

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 05:07:17 pm »
No idea what the security violation was, but I've resized the next images and then they seem to upload fine.

Patched up side section.



I'm using a lightweight filler for this and I might need to change that if I have more problems.  It's a bit TOO lightweight, so it's easily dented.

With the damage repaired and the second size roughly cut out I set about clamping and cloning the first side.





Things went fine for a while and then the router bit into the wood again.  This time I knew I'd been holding it straight so I stopped to figure out what was going on.  It turned out that the bearing on the router bit was able to move upwards, and so it was moving up above the piece I was cloning and so the bit could bite into my wood.  This meant that it actually damaged both bit of wood in the process.  This is obviously my inexperience with not having the router bit inserted high enough to prevent this.  This is only my second project with a router; we live and learn...  Fill/wait/sand etc.  At this rate this thing will be more filler than MDF, although I suppose it'll be lighter.

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 10:17:13 pm »
Looking good! 

The setbacks are frustrating, but as long as you can fix it as many times as you mess it up, it'll all be fine in the end.

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 08:06:40 am »
and thought I must have accidentally tilted the router or something.  You can see the rough repair in the image below.

I did the same thing with my FFJR cab.  I had the luxury of doing it with my slot cutter and made the slot too large for about two feet.  Like Laythe said this is the time for mistakes.  Patch it and move on.

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 01:24:51 pm »
Thanks. 

Moving on, I needed to transfer the blocking markings from the 1:1 onto the wood.  Clamping it on top seemed like a good start.



Someone in another build had the great idea of making a couple of blocks to make it easy to accurately position the blocking based upon the MDF depth, with either single or double spacing.



But I couldn't think of a great way of transferring the marks from the 1:1, other than using tracing or copy paper, neither of which I had to hand. So for the large areas I just cut them out, and the cut-outs will come in handy later.



For the blocking I just cut small notches are the end of each blocking mark, and could then draw through the hole onto the wood.



UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2019, 06:02:19 pm »
Can anyone help with what the five marked holes are from Gaetan's plans?  My assumptions was that they were all related to mounting the monitor, but looking through various threads I can only see the top left two holes being used to secure a bar at the top of a monitor mount.  What are the other three for?  And do these all bolt right through from the outside of the cabinet for strength?



I'm a long way from deciding about monitor options, but I'd like to at least understand the mounting holes before I get too far down the road (especially since if I paint then I won't know where I made these marks!).

thanks

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2019, 08:15:45 am »
A word of warning for anyone else following the Gaetan plans for this.  Don't get me wrong.  The plans are fantastic and without efforts like this it would be impossible for people like me to even start a project like this.  But I'm finding inconsistencies between the 1:1 plan and the dimensions shown on some of the other sheets, which might be issues with the 1:1 plan or might have been introduced during the printing.  A good example is the base.  I've cut this to 730mm because that's what the dimensions show it should be.  But if I measure the 1:1 plan, which is what my entire side panel measurements are transferred from, then this distance is about 736mm.  So I'll end up with a 3mm gap between the front and back panels and the base.  I think most of this will get masked by blocking and the blocking is still deep enough to not cause any structural issues, but if you're going to build from the plans then it's worth
a) checking a few of the larger measurements when you have the 1:1 print and comparing with the dimensions shown on the other sheets.
b) if you find discrepancies then take your cut measurements manually from this 1:1 where possible rather than taking/calculating from the given dimensions.

javeryh

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2019, 01:00:27 pm »
I'm pretty sure those holes in the sides of the cabinet are all for monitor support.  I can't remember exactly but I had to fill in a lot of them when I restored my DK+ because I preferred to support the monitor from inside (I just thought the bolts were ugly and unnecessary).

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2019, 06:07:45 pm »
Thanks.  I must admit I thought the same about the bolts from the outside, especially when you see that they're normally bolted through the side art.  I also can't quite understand the need for bolting at all.  Looking at the cabinet design the entire weight of the cabinet, which includes the monitor, is transferred through the sides of the cabinet onto the base piece.  The base is only attached to the sides with blocking.  So if the whole weight of the cabinet can be supported with blocking then I can't see why the monitor, as a fraction of the cabinet weight, can't be supported the same way.  I might be missing something, of course!

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2019, 09:50:51 am »
Great build look forward to seeing the completed cabinet and if its going to be a standard or custom finish.

Mike A

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2019, 10:13:27 am »
Quote
(I just thought the bolts were ugly and unnecessary)

Blasphemy.

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2019, 03:51:33 pm »
Great build look forward to seeing the completed cabinet and if its going to be a standard or custom finish.

Thanks, and looking forward to seeing that myself  ;D

The slow progress continues, along with the mistakes 8) I cut a 1/2" recess in the rear of the two sides to accommodate the door.  It's times like this that I find myself going back over notes I've made to try and figure out things like how deep the door is, and therefore how deep that recess needs to be.  Similarly, how wide is the door and so how much does it overlap at the sides?  I think I ended up at 1/4" X 1/2" for this recess in the end.  Some of the door width measurements I saw would have left the side panels cut really thin.



The recess doesn't run all the way from top to bottom.  It stops above and below where the top and bottom rear panels attach.  Or, at least, it's not SUPPOSED to run all the way.  I'd originally cut it correctly but with a 1/4" X 1/4" slot.  When I figured that it actually needed to be 1/2" deep and cut it deeper I completely missed my "stop" markings at one end. 



So out with the filler again to try and rebuild the missing section.



And after a fill/sand or two:



You'll also notice a load of masking tape already on these panels.  I might live to regret this, but I'm planning to paint the inside of the cabinet before assembly.  That seems a lot easier than trying to paint it later.  The downside is that I need to be able to attach the blocking to wood (not paint) and so I've had to carefully mask out where the blocking goes and hope that I can still see everything I need to when the tape gets removed.  I've also got to hope that I don't end up with loads of visible gaps in the paint where the tape is right on the edge of where the blocking will go.



I'm entirely expecting this all to fail horribly, but if it works then it will save me quite a bit of time painting around blocking later on.

I'm using an MDF primer, partly just to see if they're actually any good.  The last time I painted MDF I used normal white emulsion and was quite happy with that, plus I sealed the edges with a wood glue/water mix.  This time I'm just using the MDF primer. 



The key thing I've noticed so far is that the fibres raised a lot less than they did with the emulsion, which isn't entirely surprising but was good news.  I only needed a light sand before moving onto a second coat.  I'm using a microfibre cloth to wipe down after sanding.  I've never tried that before, but it seemed a reasonable way to shift the dust without it just flying into the air.



I'll never understand Nintendo's logic in only painting parts of the inside of the cabinet.  I mean, I understand why the black bits are black, but the seemingly random points at which the black stops make no apparent sense.  They also seem to be different on different cabinets.  So I've gone for something similar to some that I've seen and will probably spray the areas I've currently got masked with a matt black (that's "flat" black for US readers) because the area is small.  I've never sprayed anything before so this will be an interesting experiment.  I highly doubt I'll be spraying the outside. 

The other annoying thing about parts of the inside being unpainted is that I'll be left with exposed MDF faces and edges, whereas I'd far rather have things sealed to reduce potential water damage etc.

One paint question - where does the gloss black starts and stop?  In photos I've seen it seems to run along the front few inches of the cabinet, so I think that's all that's visible from the outside (but some gloss will be "inside", where you'd think there would be a risk of reflection).  I don't know what happens at the top of the cabinet where the "inside" of the sides are visible for about 15mm.  Does the gloss also cover this area, or does it transition from gloss to matt somewhere as it goes up past the front of the marquee?
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 05:45:23 pm by UnclearHermit »

ChanceKJ

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2019, 04:24:37 pm »
The inside front panels on non-American, wood cabs are a Semi-gloss laminate. Kind like formica, very tough. Same as the outer blue/red/orange of the cabinet. Nothing on the cabs are ever glossy, not even the metal bits :) very little of the cabs in some cases are painted, mainly the back edges and panels on the outside. Usually they covered or painted the inside panels because it was done before the walls were assembled and it was just easy that way manufacturing wise. The interior around the monitor was covered or painted black so you wouldnt see any bare wood looking in from the bezel past the cardboard surround.

The split changes depending on the origin of the cab.  My red Japanese 5 slot stops mm after the top marquee bracket as shown in the attached picture. However on my DKU (the one that your plans are based on, also Japanese wood) its a few further mm, almost a cm after the bracket heading back. Whats even more interesting is that the American particleboard cab doesn’t have a split, the semigloss runs right to the back as the majority of the inside panel is the same finish. 

There are MANY inconsistencies between different versions of these cabs depending on their origin. Even amongst the Japanese or American cabs too. Nintendo definitely tweaked the manufacturing of the product over time so feel free to take liberties with things that are a few mm here and there, or finish.  When put under the microscope, all three of my actual Nintendo cabs differ greatly in various ways and as i come across others in the wild im constantly finding more differences. Even in cabs that should have been on the factory floor together at the same time!
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 04:30:46 pm by ChanceKJ »

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2019, 04:47:13 pm »
Thanks.  I've read so many threads, including all of yours many times, and somehow never picked up on the fact that there was laminate on the INSIDE as well as the outside.  A couple of questions, if you don't mind.

In your photo here https://www.flickr.com/photos/chancekj/18583008985/in/album-72157649587158666/ (sorry, not sure how to get a direct image link from Flickr) is that the semi-gloss laminate that you can see extend back to an inch or so behind the bezel support?  I'm assuming that means it runs vertically and appears at the top of the cabinet at the point in the image that you linked.  Makes a lot more sense why there's a solid vertical line if it's a sheet of laminate!

Also, it might be the light but that picture you linked of the side panel "inside" appears to show the semi-gloss laminate, then a tiny groove a recessed bare wood, then nearly an inch of wood that appears to have grain running horizontally and then the rest of the exposed wood running with a horizontal grain.  Is there a reason for the two wood grains that or is it just a past repair or something?  I can't think of anything I've read that would explain it.  Thanks again, and also thanks for the massive amounts of posts you've made on these cabinets over the years  :applaud:

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2019, 04:49:43 pm »
I'm pretty sure those holes in the sides of the cabinet are all for monitor support.  I can't remember exactly but I had to fill in a lot of them when I restored my DK+ because I preferred to support the monitor from inside (I just thought the bolts were ugly and unnecessary).

Yes,  all the bolt holes in the side are for monitor support.

-Two upper ones if it was a vertical monitor cab: DK, DKjr, RadarScope.

-Three lower if it started life as a horizontal cab: Popeye.

-Five if it started life as one and then was converted to the other. Like a DK/DKjr/RS being converted to a Nintendo Vs kit, Mario Bros, Popeye, or Playchoice 10 kit.  The manuals for those kits actually include a hole pattern template/instructions to drill the other three.

Its one of the ways we use to try and figure out the original game that was in the cab when you compare it to the colour and any other bits you find inside as you work on it.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 05:26:25 pm by ChanceKJ »

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2019, 05:03:01 pm »
...A couple of questions, if you don't mind...

Yep, in the plywood cabs there is a solid strip of black laminate that runs top to bottom of the inside wall. Thats what that dividing line is. Then the top half of the inside wood is painted black, (the area the surrounds the CRT). The rest of the interior is bare wood. 

This completely changes on the particle US made cabs, as the entire inside wall is covered in a thinner matte black laminate, almost like a more robust matte black contact paper. (Picture below)

As to your second question, the tiny grove is the gap between the laminate and the bare plywood. I feel like they routered down the thickness of the ply to install this front laminate layer so as it maintained the same thickness as the rest of the cab wall. Theres a gap because it wasnt installed right up along side the wood edge. This also shows why the newer American cabs have a solid sheet of cheaper matte finish along the whole side, as it simplified the manufacturing process (for time and cost) and still retained the uniform side wall thickness.

Oh, and the wood grain switch is just damage to the top layer of ply that was painted over when i cleaned up this cabinet. I made the decision it was way to minor to bondo, so it just got hit with black when did the top.

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2019, 05:05:14 pm »
And heres the inside of a Japanese plywood cab...

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2019, 05:16:36 pm »
 While we’re on the topic of finish: The wood cross beam that locks in both the control panel top edge and the lower bezel bracket is actually always covered wood. Its a thin laminate in the Wood cabs, and a thicker black laminate in the US particle cabs.

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2019, 06:02:00 pm »
I was just wondering about how the depth of the laminate was accommodated on the inside! Routing of that section makes sense but would certainly have been tedious and time consuming.  It's surprising that was ever cheaper/faster than just laminating the whole panel, so not surprising that the US approach changed.  I know I'm only doing a repro here, and using MDF it's hardly authentic, but it's nice to understand the original cabinet detailing to try and get something that at least feels right.

Those photos are interesting (aside from being upside down and messing with my head), especially because they also show another detail that's rarely captured in photos.  That small piece of wood that goes between the speaker panel and the front door panel is show on the Gaetan(/your  :)) plans as sitting 5mm higher than the bottom of the speaker panel.  But in your photo of the Japanese cabinet it appears to be flush, and with an unfinished end to the ply meeting coloured wood, compared with the US one which also seems flush but with black wood.  So a colour detailing difference, but also neither of those cabinets matching the one you'd used for the Gaetan measurements, which I think is shown here:


I've spent so much time trying to understand areas like this, but every time I think I've got a handle on something I find that there are multiple variants anyway!

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2019, 06:05:57 pm »
While we’re on the topic of finish: The wood cross beam that locks in both the control panel top edge and the lower bezel bracket is actually always covered wood. Its a thin laminate in the Wood cabs, and a thicker black laminate in the US particle cabs.

Adding that to the list of things I didn't know.  Again, I don't remember ever reading that.  I assumed it was just painted.

Thanks for the bolt info as well.  That makes so much more sense now.  I couldn't understand why there were so many holes when the bracket didn't seem to require it in any photos I'd seen.

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2019, 06:23:19 pm »
Yeah no worries. As I mentioned above I'm quite surprised myself when I find slight differences in the cabs.  I find among the plywood cabs there is a lot of variation, where less so among the US cabs.  My red Japanese 5-Slot cab for example, I discovered a second one with a very close serial number, both converted RadarScope cabs. Smart money has it that they were both on the same boat over from Japan, possibly even on the factory floor at the same time and even they had some very slight differences.  some strange things too, like how my Red cab has a coin box with white laminate on the front.

You can definitely tell they tried to use ever bit of scrap wood in places too. because if you look inside, the support 'keys" that hold up the control panel on the sides have the same laminate of the exterior colour. I'm quite certain these were each made from the off-cut scrap of the top front rounded corners of the cab.

Also, if your so inclined I have other Flickr galleries where I document the cabs:

Red 5-Slot JAP Plywood, vertical monitor:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskC4aCH7 (72 Photos)

DKU (converted) 7-slot JAP Plywood, vertical monitor:
https://flic.kr/s/aHsk6BKLzq (367 Photos)
https://flic.kr/s/aHsk7Zk6GM (95 photos)

Mario Bros (converted) 7-slot USA particle board, horizontal monitor:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskiiaDBL (45 Photos)
https://flic.kr/s/aHskhTM9ak (65 Photos)

or if you Really get bored and wanna see in-depth photo sets of all of my cabs/projects I have over 3400 photos here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/chancekj/albums

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2019, 06:40:35 pm »
Thanks, I’ve been through all of those albums many times already to get me to this point  :D

UnclearHermit

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Re: Nintendo cabinet build with undetermined theme
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2019, 06:12:57 pm »
Spraying commences...

As I said, this is new to me.  The first things I found out are that the spray area is really small.  The second is that you can't point a can at any kind of decent angle towards a horizontal surface without it starting to splatter dots.  Luckily this wasn't a problem I couldn't deal with at this stage and a light sand got things back on track.  Having the panel vertical would probably make the spraying work better, especially because I see a lot of spray going outwards across the board and not doing much, but presumably puts me at more risk of runs.



After a few coats things are looking a lot better (yes, that's the other side panel, but they're both coming along okay).



Still a bit patchy with the primer underneath, and I also notice a bit of striping.  I do have to tell myself that this is the inside of a cabinet, but I'm also learning for if I decide to do the outside sprayed.  I'm also finding out that spraying is rather expensive.  I could have rolled on some matt black for a fraction of the cost, or even perhaps rolled on for a base coat and then finished in spray.  I've got some satin black for the front inches of the cabinet so I only really need to get the rear sections looking a bit better in the matt.

The edges soaked up a fair bit of paint, which isn't surprising for MDF but I'd hoped the MDF primer would do a better job there.  For any other edges I'll probably start with a glue coat.  I could put on more coats of the primer on the edges, but that just creates more work keeping the faces clean of any excess paint.

I'm still quite nervous about removing that tape and seeing if the blocking will be easy to locate still, and if I've left gaping gaps of wood between the blocking and the black areas.