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Author Topic: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab  (Read 3873 times)

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markc74

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Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« on: September 23, 2019, 06:00:01 pm »
Well my other cab (Pip) is on the back-burner for a while as I work out some annoying little quirks (I totally underestimated the space I needed for internal cabling). Itís doable but I need a rest from it so I can come back to it later refreshed.

While I was building it I had a couple of mates ask me if I could do something similar for them so that made me think about what I could do to simplify the previous design now Iíve got a little more experience with builds of this size. Thereís a lot I liked about Pip but I wanted something easier to make - that meant: no rotating screen, no LEDs, no painting.

Iím going to be making several of these. Three for friends, one for me, and maybe a couple to chuck on ebay seeing as Iím making templates for everything anyway. Weíll see.

Anyway - here's my render of what I'm going for:



Iíve gone for a classic Atari style. Wood grain vinyl on the sides, 12mm black t-molding and black vinyl around the other exposed parts. I might do one with a bit more futuristic artwork but retaining the same shape. Iím in the process of getting some CPO artwork printed

Originally I was going to try and make these as cheaply as possible but there really isnít a lot of wriggle room with these. The things that you can cheap out on (buttons, sticks etc) seems pointless as youíre only saving a few quid here and there and the impact of that penny pinching just isnít worth it. Same with the screen - Iím not putting widescreens in these as 99% of games that run on a Pi donít use widescreen so Iím going for good quality 4:3 screens.

So parts list:

  • Pi 3a (might use Pi4ís once theyíve sorted the firmware/emulators out)
  • Picade Hat (basically an ipac for piís that includes an amp and soft power/volume buttons) + harness
  • 8Ē IPS 1024x768 LCD
  • 5A 4ohm speaker
  • 6 mini arcade buttons
  • 1 8-way stick
  • Start/Select/Vol+/Vol-/Power buttons
  • 12mm black t-molding
  • 18x21cm clear perspex
  • Arcade cabinet handle
  • Oak Robust fablon vinyl for sides and matt black for top back and base
  • Rubber feet
  • 12mm MDF for sides and supports
  • 9mm MDF for top/back/base/CP
  • Black plastic angle strips (to hold the screen in)

Iíve quickly realised that these size builds have quite small tolerances so Iíve spent some time making some templates for the key parts. A lot of this build process will be me using those templates to make the final cabinet(s).

Update 1: Making the sides:

Iím making 3 initially so I got some 12mm MDF to cut the sides and the support panels. Rather than cut lots of small furring trips I thought it would be easier to have an Ďinner profileí which was secured to the outside. This means for each cab I need to cut 2 profiles (left and right sides) and 2 inner profiles to support the top,back,base,speaker and CP areas.

Hereís some wood before cutting



And after (ones in the middle are the outside, right are inner profiles. Left side are what Iíll be using to house the LCDs)



And flush trimmed against a template I made earlier



Some progress made. I've got a bit more done but I need to sort out some pictures for it. Oh, and this thing is really small. 12" x 12" x 9". But I made a mockup of this one including the cabling first!
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 07:13:15 pm by markc74 »

Arroyo

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2019, 06:17:50 pm »
Subscribed!

Mike A

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2019, 06:39:46 pm »
I like the look of that design.

Alejo I

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2019, 03:23:29 am »
I thought PiP was stellar, but this may be even better. That wood looks stunning on it.

Where did you source the display? How good/bad is the latency?

Richie_jones

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2019, 04:01:19 am »

Have you considered using the odroid platform.
What joystick/buttons have you gone for?

Is the amp on the picade any good?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2019, 04:03:09 am by Richie_jones »

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2019, 05:30:34 am »
Looks good Mark.  I love the fact you're building it in your garden :)

Looking forward to seeing this come together!

markc74

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2019, 12:28:14 pm »
I thought PiP was stellar, but this may be even better. That wood looks stunning on it.

Where did you source the display? How good/bad is the latency?

Thanks Alejo! The woodgrain comes from an Asteroids cabaret I made a while ago.

The display I'm using is this one --> https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/hdmi-8-lcd-screen-kit-1024x768

I haven't noticed any latency with it but I haven't set it against my CRT arcade running groovymame. I'm sure there will be some but it's definitely better than other LCD screens I've used.


Have you considered using the odroid platform.
What joystick/buttons have you gone for?

Is the amp on the picade any good?


I did consider it but as I have a few Pi's laying around and they plug directly into the PiCade I didn't see much benefit. If anything I'll move up to the Pi4 as I have most of the software setup and running now.

Joystick is this one --> https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/joystick 
It's quite clicky but it does feel quite good, especially in a small build where you need a lighter touch. I'll build the first 3 using these ones and then might think about using Sanwas in the other ones. I'll see how they feel when the whole thing is together.

Buttons are these --> https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/mini-arcade-buttons?variant=40377171338
These feel great. They're smaller than fullsize as it was the only way to get 6 buttons on a CP this small and unlike my Pip cabinet this will be playing console stuff too so it was kinda necessary. That said, the layout works really well on my prototype.

Regards to the AMP. Hell yeah. This thing kicks out a hell of a lot of sound (and bass) for the size of the speaker I'm using. As it's a tabletop it doesn't really need to fill the room but sitting in front of it I don't think you would have it on 100% for very long

Looks good Mark.  I love the fact you're building it in your garden :)

Looking forward to seeing this come together!

Well - until I've actually turned the jungle at the bottom of my garden into something resembling a garden I've got free reign to make as much mess as I like  ;D

javeryh

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2019, 02:11:07 pm »
Wow I'm in on this.  Love the design.

Laythe

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2019, 03:17:29 pm »
I really like all of markc74's designs.

Blip, the cabaret, Invaders, Pip, the unused designs he's played around with, and now this... they all have a lot of differences between them and show a lot of range, but the one consistent attribute of all of them is that they all look -great-

Thanks for the ongoing inspiration.   :applaud:

markc74

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2019, 09:06:54 am »
Cheers Laythe!  :cheers: I only wish I had the time in front of tools that I do sat in front of a computer!

Update 2: Prepping and Gluing the profiles

The cabinet has a dark theme but only so much is visible so I primed and painted the insides. Hereís a pic of me preparing to stick everything together.



That thing you see at the top is a little jig I made to make sure that the inner profile would be attached in the right place. Basically it keeps the inner profile a set distance from the top while I used the square tool to make sure it was the same distance around the other sides.



Once it was in the right place I secured it with wood glue and some brad nails to help while the glue dried



Aaaaaand all finished bar adding vinyl and t-molding



Thatís the sides sorted from a woodworking point of view so next job is to do the back and top panels which will be covered with matt black vinyl

javeryh

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2019, 02:25:20 pm »
Looks good - I'm curious why you didn't just use 1/2" square dowels for the inside.  I assume the extra layer of MDF is to help attach the cross pieces?

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2019, 06:08:21 pm »
Awww man, I got all misty eyed when I saw that Atari aesthetic in your design.  Love it!  Your projects are to BYOAC what tasty spices are to a barbecue.  Delicious.

markc74

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2019, 01:17:07 pm »
Looks good - I'm curious why you didn't just use 1/2" square dowels for the inside.  I assume the extra layer of MDF is to help attach the cross pieces?

Exactly that reason. Also this means i just need to flush trim 1 piece and make sure itís centred. It adds a little more weight but for this size of build it seemed the easier option.

Awww man, I got all misty eyed when I saw that Atari aesthetic in your design.  Love it!  Your projects are to BYOAC what tasty spices are to a barbecue.  Delicious.

 ;D me too! My original plan was going to be the trusty Commodore 64 but browsing for retro artwork i came across the Atari joystick surround and i knew what i wanted to do. The 2600 was the first machine i ever had so it hit me right in the feels! That and i hadnít seen anyone else make a mini build in that style.

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2019, 01:42:22 pm »
I love this concept and it looks like it's shaping up great! Have you considered using momentary toggle switches instead of buttons for Coin and Start?


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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2019, 05:28:04 pm »
I love this concept and it looks like it's shaping up great! Have you considered using momentary toggle switches instead of buttons for Coin and Start?

Dammit. Now that's a cool idea.

Anyone know where I could find switches that have that style?

I guess I should be looking at a newish switch rather than attempting to harvest original stock...

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2019, 09:26:23 pm »
These are lighted and much too expensive, but there's got to be something out there with a similar appearance. Glad you like the idea  :cheers:

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2019, 10:22:07 pm »
Anyone know where I could find switches that have that style?
The non-illuminated ones are much more common.
https://www.amazon.com/MGI-SpeedWare-Toggle-Switches-Waterproof/dp/B07HS4HBD3/

Keywords to search for are "SPST momentary toggle switch".
- "OFF-(ON)" translates as normally OFF, momentary ON.

There are also many SPDT (ON)-OFF-(ON) options if you want to use a single switch for two functions.


Scott

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2019, 12:21:05 pm »
Cheers PL1 / jeremymtc - I'll look into those options. I might get a couple of different ones and see if they can work in the space I've got (or if flicking a switch is awkward in the space available)


Update 3: Back of the cabinet

The back of the cabinet is made of sections (each made of 2 pieces of MDF). Iíve done it this way as itís easier to reproduce and doesnít involve too much sanding and filling. There may be a small gap between the pieces but Iím not too worried about that (at the moment!). If it bugs me I might revisit this part.





The pieces with the four holes will form the lower back of the cabinet. The holes are for volume up/down, power jack and power buttons

The pieces with a single larger hole are the top and upper back of the cabinet. They have a hole for cabinet handles so they can be moved around easily.



I used 9mm MDF for these pieces and glued and tacked together. I rounded over the corners with a router so theyíre nice and smooth and then covered them with matt black vinyl.



I had to do a test fit of the handle to make sure it fit (I had a bit of a nightmare getting these handles so I'm pleased they do!)



This bit was quite straightforward. The next part won't be... the speaker/start button has a few cuts/curves so I'm going to need to think about it for a while. My artwork is off to the printers at the moment so hopefully I should have that soon and that might inspire me to get moving a bit quicker on this build!

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2019, 12:32:19 pm »
A quick thing about the handles. The reason they were so difficult to get was that I needed the specific ones that were open at the back to help out with ventilation  :)

Here's a render showing the back panels (or how they're supposed to look anyway!)


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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2019, 02:32:41 pm »
The aesthetics of your designs (shape and graphics), are always a joy to look at.  Great inspiration here Mark, I'm gonna continue to steel ideas from you.

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2019, 07:11:52 pm »
The aesthetics of your designs (shape and graphics), are always a joy to look at.  Great inspiration here Mark, I'm gonna continue to steel ideas from you.

Steal away matey. I try to plan but some of this stuff just kinda evolves as I'm doing it. I did spend a lot of time thinking about the angles on this one as when it's on a desk you gotta rethink about the angle your looking at the screen and where your hands will naturally lie. Then design around that.

I'm enjoying this build a lot. It will be playable and that's what I'm shooting for.

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2019, 11:10:52 am »
Well itís been a while but this is still happening - a new job doesnít leave me much time at the moment so Iím trying to squeeze bits and pieces in as I can. I got my artwork from the printers last week so that kinda pushed me to spend some time on it



Update 4: Speaker panel

This piece was a pain in the ass. One of the things that I donít really like about the Pip cabinet is that the speakers point to the sides and it means you really lose a lot of sound - a lesson learned afterwards... Iím only using a single speaker in this build so it has to be pointed at you. Also on the same panel are the Coin and Start buttons.

I ended up using photoshop to design a template for the shape and holes. I had the correct drill bit for the speaker hole but ended up using an Ďupcycledí baked bean can to create enough border around the speaker hole to ensure it was strong enough. To be honest I didnít need to make this so exact as some of it will be hidden behind other panels but if I was going to be making several it made sense to get it right before making copies.





To make the speaker hole look nice, Iím using a black plastic desk grommet with the cover removed. Luckily, I have a hole cutter of just the right size (44mm). With that cut I then used the next size hole cutter (50mm) to cut a hole on a spare piece of wood to use as a template. This was just so that I can have an inset hole so that the desk grommet can fit flush to the panel. Pics will explain what I meanÖ





And finished by getting the artwork on.



These arenít the buttons Iíll be using. Iíve still got some research to do on those.

All Iíve got left to do for this panel is to get some speaker grill material as I donít want to see the speaker behind it. Iíve got access to a 3d printer now so Iíd probably print something up and attach it to the back of the panel.

Iím *almost* ready to start assembling - I just need to cut the control panel, build the mount for the LCD and cut the bottom door Iíll be using for access but all of these pieces should be relatively straighforwardsÖ (famous last words)

Mike A

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2019, 11:17:46 am »
 :applaud:

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2019, 11:31:57 am »
Looks great - the attention to detail is what really sets this apart.  I also really like the minimalist artwork.  Always makes me wish I could make something like that myself in photoshop or whatever the kids are using these days.  :cheers:

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2019, 03:00:41 pm »
Looks great Mark, that's some fine wood working.  The print material, is that polycarbonate?  Is it a local vendor or are they available state side?

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2019, 06:48:59 pm »
Looks great Mark, that's some fine wood working.  The print material, is that polycarbonate?  Is it a local vendor or are they available state side?

Hi Arroyo. Thanks! It did take a while but I'm happy with the result.

I got my art printed here. https://www.arcadeartshop.com/

Hes uk based but sends to anywhere I think. I went for the heavy laminate option as it's the stuff I have on my blip and invaders cabs and after 5 years they still look great

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2019, 09:41:40 pm »
Nice update Mark, nice to see you back at it.

 :cheers:

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini
« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2019, 07:12:32 pm »
Itís all coming together.

Iíve been pretty busy with work over the last month but when Iíve had a chance Iíve been spending time on this - Iíve recently completely switched careers (ex software dev manager, now a teacher) so this has been my constant to try and keep me sane whilst I attempt to learn a whole new craftÖ anywayÖ on with the show...

Not many photos on the way Iím afraid but basically itís been:

  • Applying vinyl and t-molding to the outside
  • Cutting the control panel and applying artwork
  • Adding a speaker grill to the speaker panel
  • Fitting the carry handle
  • Gluing. Lots of gluingÖ

Hereís where Iím at:











Itís getting there I think. This is the first build of several so any mistakes I make on this one will be fixed in the next one. My slot cutter turned out to be wobbly so the t-molding fit isnt great - Iím gonna have to hot glue it. But apart from that and a (very tiny) slight wonk on the artwork application on the back itís coming together quite nicely. The templates seem ok

Next thing is to cut and fit the base panel with a hinge so you can get inside once itís all together, finishing the screen mount and fixing the perspex overlay. And wiring. Bah.

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2019, 09:46:51 pm »
---gosh-darn--- you make that look easy.  You have a real eye for aesthetics and design.  The whole thing screams ďcouldíve been a real product back in the dayĒ.  I love it, every aspect. That would be a real winner for a kit IMHO.

javeryh

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2019, 01:53:13 pm »
Wow this thing is coming out so nice.  It all looks so clean inside too - even though you haven't done any wiring yet.  Leaving the bottom panel open is something I wish I thought of - dealing with a removable CP is unnecessarily difficult.  I absolutely love the wood grain vinyl and black t-molding.  Such a classic look.   :cheers:

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2019, 03:59:33 pm »
In a word, Beautiful!

LTC

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2019, 07:42:55 pm »
WOW, that is coming out absolutely amazing  :applaud:

wp34

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2019, 07:54:39 pm »
You nailed the Atari look.  That thing is amazing.   :applaud:

markc74

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2019, 08:50:43 pm »
Cheers guys - glad you like it! Hoping to have some time tomorrow to get the base cut and screen in so I can start mounting the pi in.

I do like the wood grain a lot which is handy because I've got tons of the stuff left over!

morton

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2019, 01:25:08 pm »
This looks great. I gotta ask... where did you get your wood grain vinyl? I've contemplated several sources but always chicken out. Wanting to try a full cab.

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2019, 07:38:00 pm »
Pretty sure I picked it from home base or b and q.it on amazon too
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fablon-67-5-Roll-Oak-Robust/dp/B00CZ6UW9G/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=Fablon+oak&qid=1576370139&sr=8-5

Haven't posted in a while but this thing is practically done now. I'll get some pics together over the next few days  ;D

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2019, 04:29:53 am »
Great looking arcade cab. Love the detailing. Looks like it could be a production model.

edekoning

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2020, 07:44:23 am »
Wow, that looks fantastic! I especially like what you did with the speaker.  :applaud:

javeryh

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Re: Micro Arcade / Polybius Mini - starting to resemble a cab
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2020, 11:27:24 am »
Haven't posted in a while but this thing is practically done now. I'll get some pics together over the next few days  ;D

You're killing me Smalls...