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Author Topic: Prong (Wall mounted, slimline, vertical screen for square bezel, first build!)  (Read 3103 times)

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zestyphresh

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Building an arcade machine has been a project on the horizon for as long as I can remember and space/money/skills have resulted in it being put off for a while now. We've now finished renovating our house though so it's time to crack on and try and get this thing built before easter! This project takes inspiration from a number of projects on here, especially those with vertically mounted screens that allow for a square viewport.

The name? 'Pong gone wrong'. I expect the name will change, and the only thing pong about it is the colour scheme!

The key considerations when designing it were;

1) Getting arcade machines in our tiny British houses is not ideal, least of all in a position where it will get the most use. Fortunately my partner enjoys gaming so this will be going in our living area (next to the kitchen!) but this requires a shallow design, height and width are less important, as long as it's well proportioned.

2) CRT is obviously out to get to the right dimensions but i'm not a lover of LCD's either. Fortunately I was able to pick up a decent Panasonic Plasma (we have one as our main TV and I love it for gaming). It's a 42" GT50 series, so not as big as some of the vertically mounted projects on here but a 50" was going to end up a bit too wide)

3) I've already picked up most of the controls, servostiks, u-trak and 6 buttons per player (SFII will get a lot of play). I've simply chosen to use the 2P Sega layout, i've used this before and find it really comfortable.

4) It will be PC based, i've already got a spare machine that i've tested the controls with using BigBox. I'm happy enough with that setup so will continue along that path.

5) I've gone for a Missile Command style marquee where it sits on the underside of the overhang with the speakers, this seems slightly more suited/proportioned to the slimline designs and allows space for components that would be difficult/impossible to fit without a marquee at all because of the hidden parts of the vertically mounted screen.

6) Colour scheme is from the pong arcade machine, we've got something akin to 'mid-century modern' decor so the veneered wood panel sides with brighter front portions will fit in just fine. It also means I don't have to paint anything, the entire thing will be veneered/laminated.

Here is my first attempt at modelling it - this isn't exactly final as some of it was eyeballed, hence a few non-parallel parts and the need for some round overs on the corners. It's been some time since i've used CAD so will refine it over the next couple of weeks.



The actual cabinet build actually won't start for another month but i'd really appreciate any feedback on the design and any recommendations.

yotsuya

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You know,  Iíve never been a fan of wall-mounted cabinets, but understanding your space considerations, I actually really like this cabinet!

I love the sleek look, the proportions, the Classic lines, and the research you clearly did. It looks engineered for the purpose, and not simply a cab cut in half and stuck on a wall like many of these wall-mounted projects do.

If I can help you in any way, let me know.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

morton

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Agreed. I like this one a lot.

Are you planning to use T-Mold? If so, I would be tempted to try a nice veneer grade ply for the side pieces. Won't cost much more and instead of vinyl you could just use a good durable finish rubbed on by hand quite quickly.

That said... There is a certain charm to the wood vinyl that nature just can't... Er uh... Fake? If ya follow, you get me hah.

Prong is a good title... also a wicked old school metal band.

markc74

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That's awesome! I've been toying with something similar for a while but never had a design that I liked enough. Yours looks great.

Gotta be chucking a little dynamic marquee in there though...

leapinlew

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If I may make 1 suggestion - is there a way to add one, or two spinners? I think it's a shame to have a Pong themed cabinet and no way to play Pong like games.

Richie_jones

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I like it.  Id play about with the angles at the top a bit though.  And definitely an LCD marquee

yotsuya

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I donít think it needs an LCD marquee. It looks classy the way it is, no need to Vegas it up
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

leapinlew

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Here's an idea I was never able to execute, but I feel a wall mounted cab could really pull it off since it's the right distance from the wall all the time. Drill holes in a space invaders pattern and shine light through it. It should make a pretty cool graphic on the wall. I suppose you could extend this idea out to anything - maybe project PRONG onto the wall, or whatever.

I attached a graphic to help illustrate what I was thinking.




zestyphresh

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You know,  Iíve never been a fan of wall-mounted cabinets, but understanding your space considerations, I actually really like this cabinet!

I love the sleek look, the proportions, the Classic lines, and the research you clearly did. It looks engineered for the purpose, and not simply a cab cut in half and stuck on a wall like many of these wall-mounted projects do.

If I can help you in any way, let me know.

Really appreciate your comments. I've got pages of sketches trying to design something that maintained the 'feel' of an arcade machine, but lacking most of the bulk. I originally intended to build a floor standing machine (albeit too shallow to be completely freestanding) but it just didn't look right, making it wall mounted and cutting the base down made it look much better. For me it was a combination of the controls and the marquee (hence not copying the viewlix style cabs) that gave it the right look and keeping those two relatively traditional kept it looking like an arcade machine (to me at least).

Are you planning to use T-Mold? If so, I would be tempted to try a nice veneer grade ply for the side pieces. Won't cost much more and instead of vinyl you could just use a good durable finish rubbed on by hand quite quickly.

That said... There is a certain charm to the wood vinyl that nature just can't... Er uh... Fake? If ya follow, you get me hah.

Prong is a good title... also a wicked old school metal band.

I was going to use t-molding, probably black like the original pong machine. It's in a high traffic area so will inevitably get bumped into a lot. Veneered plywood isn't that easy to get hold of in the UK so i'll just use normal plywood and wood veneer. I could use vinyl but the veneer should be a little bit more hard wearing and gives me the option to adjust the tone slightly with different finishes. I've never been able to vinyl anything without bubbling too! I will check out the band later, always partial to some 80's metal!

If I may make 1 suggestion - is there a way to add one, or two spinners? I think it's a shame to have a Pong themed cabinet and no way to play Pong like games.

If the screen was larger (giving me a larger control panel) then I probably would, I really don't want it to get too busy though, especially as i'm not a love of most of the spinner games. I do have some nice large aluminium volume control knobs from some old hifi projects though so I may use one of those for volume, so at least there might be a small homage to it's origins.

I like it.  Id play about with the angles at the top a bit though.  And definitely an LCD marquee


Yep, I think it's possibly a bit too big still and the rear angle will then need adjusting. I'm not keen on an LCD marquee though, by the time i've got a small enough screen to go between the speakers it's going to be pretty small. I will probably illuminate whatever graphics I choose to go in there though (i'm toying with how to get some missile command graphics in there instead of pong maybe!)

rablack97

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I like this one as well, but never tried one due it being a ---smurfette--- to service.  Taking it on and off the wall deterred the effort.

zestyphresh

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I'm going to mount it on a french cleat and secure it at the base so while still not easy to remove (the sheer weight of it!) it's also not the end of the world. I haven't finalised construction yet but most of the panels will be removable with internal batons providing the strength. Couple of questions for the experts here;

1) How do most people construct/fit the monitor bezel/glass? Is it even worth it when it's only going to be ~15mm from the screen?
2) I was going to add shift, escape and pause admin buttons (possibly momentary toggle style). Any recommendations?
3) What to do about a coin door/buttons? The angle of the base makes it unsuitable for a coin door. I'm happy using a button/buttons but not really sure where to put it. Don't want to overload the control panel and the front will inevitable get lent on and don't want to trigger it unnecessarily.

yotsuya

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***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

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2) I was going to add shift, escape and pause admin buttons (possibly momentary toggle style). Any recommendations?
If you want to use shifted functions on an I-Pac, the default shift button is P1 Start.

Most people use either shifted functions or dedicated buttons.  There is a list of pros and cons to each approach in the FAQ.

http://wiki.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/FAQ#Number_of_admin_buttons

Either way, disable the shifted function for Menu (P1 Start + joystick right on I-Pac) so kids or party guests can't button-mash their way into the configuration menus and make a mess that can take a looong time to verify/restore all of the settings back to what they should be.   :soapbox:


Scott

zestyphresh

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Not entirely sure why I forgot about the wiki, i've read that bit before! I'm using an ipac so i'll stick with the existing shift key and only have Esc/Pause buttons (although still need to decide what they will be).

I love those GGG coin buttons but I just don't think they'll look right at an angle. I know some people have buttons on the front of the control panel but i'm not sure I like the look. I really like the old chrome, flat, coin doors but as above won't have anywhere to put them so am thinking of doing the following with some momentary toggle switches and a U bolt. The latter is partly for protection but also replicates the reject lever/arm on some old coin doors and the toggle switch will activate on an upwards push simulating rolling a coin into the slot. It needs a bit of finessing, and maybe some sort of label/graphic otherwise it just looks like a security loop! I may also add a headphone port here as it would be barely visible but I will need one.


yotsuya

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See dude, thatís creativity! :cheers
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

morton

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I too like those style coin acceptors and the U Bolt trick is definitely a good one IMO. It's hard to get the Nintendo style coin Mechs local to me, and always appreciate when others also take initiative to try something crafty like this. Only difference is that you'll probably do it, while I just like to talk gah.

Agree about veneer over vinyl. As a woodworker, Ivan appreciate natural grain and how it looks. Classy and as you said, more durable.

zestyphresh

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So we hadn't quite finished the renovation and coronavirus has caused further delay. On the upside I have picked up a lot of the materials (yellow chrome formica and teak veneer). Unfortunately I can't get hold of any plywood at the moment so need to sort that out!. I have some hardboard so i'm going to make a template for the sides so I can finalise some of the dimensions. Picked up a nice freud slot cutter for the t-molding too.

The U-bolt & switch looks like it should work well. The switches are dual momentary, partly so they stay 'central' rather than up or down, partly as it's an additional input that might be a useful. Just need to decide on the U-bolt orientation, horizontal as shown above is the obvious choice, but vertically seems to work better with 'hooking' you're finger under and flipping up to simulate coin entry. I'm also going to add a headphone socket to this panel as it will be an unobtrusive place to put them.

To try and keep some more references to the older machines i'm going to make some volcano buttons for use as esc/pause, but can't do that until we're out of lockdown. I'll probably make these with a metal finish rather than black (and non-illuminated), but nothing finalised yet.

Just a couple of questions about one or two things i'm not sure on;

1) How do most people handle volume? On the PC side with a fixed amplifier, or with a volume control somewhere on the machine?
2) Gloss or matt black t-molding for the sides? I've got some small samples but it's difficult to tell what it might look like the entire length of the machine. My gut feel is shiny will look better but the laminate and veneer will both be reasonably subdued.
3) Flush or protruding speaker grills? I can do either really, just curious what people's personal tastes are on this.
4) Does anyone know anywhere in the UK that does one off aluminium (or stainless steel) laser cutting reasonably priced? Could even be US or Europe if they ship to here.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 09:09:52 am by zestyphresh »

zestyphresh

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Finally took a saw to wood today. I delayed and kept going back to the design, partly to simplify and partly to try and get the construction right.

The two concerns I had were;

1) Ventilation - while it is one of the later plasma screen models, and as such lower power than older models, it still gets pretty hot. Coupled with the angle of the screen it will effectively funnel all of the heat (including from the PC) through a potentially tiny gap at the top. To try and help it is going to sit slightly proud of the wall (~5mm) and there won't be a full back, so that should help allow the heat to escape. I've left space for a 6mm window but will wait and see how the temperature is before fitting.

2) Construction & Servicing - I ideally wanted most of the machine to be serviceable without having to remove it from the wall, but this created a lot of construction problems, not least because the screen covers ~80% of the vertical space making it difficult to run any supports from front to back. In the end i've settled on creating a 'skeleton' frame using 17 cross members (some joined into t,l or u shapes) to create a rigid frame. The mix of orientations should create a strong enough frame that doesn't require the actual visible portions of the machine for strength (although these will be bolted on so will help). This means the 3 visible portions (marquee, control panel + front, and bottom) will be built before fitting and can be removed easily. Likewise the PC will sit on a tray half behind the TV and can be dropped out should it need to be. I suspect this frame will need some tweaking to maximise the strength!

3) I've adjusted the design slightly, making the bezel square and changing the bottom panel to a single piece. Primarily for simplicity but also as I had more space behind the TV than I anticipated and could push the PC up slightly. I've tried to keep the screen at a reasonable angle (10 degrees) but that has pushed the depth to around 50cm, which is a touch more than I really wanted. I'm going to see if I can trim any out but short of reducing the screen angle (really don't want to do that) or reducing ventilation (might be able to mitigate) i'll just have to stick with it and hope the t-molding does it's job every time my partner walks into it!!







I also built a small arcade machine with bits I (mostly) has knocking around to test a few things, including the toggle switches, which worked really well. So i'm happy with those. I also didn't realise that Launchbox had implemented a 'Pause' screen which pretty much negates the need for anything over a single admin button so i'm going to go with that.

Going to cut the exterior panels tomorrow, and get everything temporarily fitted to make sure it all fits and then try and get the sides done as well!

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Looks good so far.

Does a pocket jig not actually pierce the end of the panel?  I never knew that... 

What does the launchbox pause screen do?  I'm messing around with it for the first time but I'm not convinced that it will be able to do everything I don't want it to do if that makes any sense.  I don't want any bells and whistles or access to admin functionality without a keyboard so my weiner kids won't screw up all the settings...

zestyphresh

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The pocket holes are fine in panels, although I do tend to reduce the depth by 1mm or so just to be sure. Plus keep the clutch on the driver low to avoid going through.

I haven't actually tested the pause screen, just read about it. It's not compatible with all emulators by the looks of it but does work with Mame. It gives you a few different options (again, haven't checked this in detail), but at least one of them is 'Exit' so can do away with the exit button.

Made a bit more progress today - cut out all the visible panels and one of the sides (will just pattern match the second with a router).






The marquee is quite bulky, certainly versus the original design, but the speakers aren't tiny and it still has to deal with the hidden part of the screen. Plus I made all the joins 90deg to help with the build. Some of the panels still need angled cuts but i'll do these after laminating and various cut outs required for controls etc. still need to be made. All in all though it's going ok, if the worst happens and the 'skeleton' frame isn't strong enough i'll just have to use some of the panels for strength and resign myself to taking it off the wall if there are any issues!


zestyphresh

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Made some pretty good progress last couple of days;





Control panel took the best part of a day but went pretty smoothly. I had to modify the servostik motor boards to fit on the short edge of the joystick though, the control panel is 630mm wide and the combination of 6 buttons plus a trackball make it very tight. Had to drill new holes in the motor board and remove one of the screws holding the motor to the board. I cut a couple of small cheap chinese drill bits to length (it was all I had to hand that would fit snugly) to wedge in the hole to stop the motor rotating. Worked pretty well in the end.











zestyphresh

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Laminated all the front facing panels, everything cutout ready for speakers, vent and controls.



Laminating didn't go great at the start and one or two of the panels are a bit lumpy. Switched to a new tin of contact cement as the one I was using was clearly a bit thick. Thankfully the laminate is a matt finish so isn't visible unless close up, but frustrating either way. I've screwed the panels together so not a lot more to do on them.

I fitted the controls this evening, which highlighted a couple of minor issues;

1) I routed out the panel for the trackball to sit flush with the bezel but forgot to account for the laminate. Now it sits 1mm shy. I'll re-route it before fitting.
2) One set of contacts on the P2 joystick are close to the trackball so can't be wired as normal. I'll just have to solder an extension or something to the relay.
3) I didn't route out any depth for the servosticks so the shafts are a bit short. I'll probably just make a new shaft to extend them slightly, but this can wait until after it's finished.

zestyphresh

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I thought i'd use a separate post to cover how I did the cutout for the trackball. It needed to be reasonably accurate as the bezel isn't massive, and hold cutters don't come in the correct size. Routing holes that small tends to be tricky though and I didn't have a base to do it with. I came up with a simple way of doing it with a hole cutter and router with a few different steps, but using stuff that most people should have (assuming you've got a hole cutter and a trim router).

First step was to cut a hole using the closest size I had available;



Next was to setup the trim router with a straight bit and the adjustable bearing guide that came with the router;



I set the distance to trim out to the line. To get this to work though you need to hold the router perpendicular to the hole at all times. To do this I carefully routed to the line and placed it perpendicular to the hole, I then added some tape to the base and marked it where it needed to follow (you can see the tape in the previous picture but I put it on the wrong side initially);



You then follow the line with the mark you've made, keeping the guide pressed against the material. By following the line with your mark it keeps the router perpendicular. You get left with the following;



Swap out the standard straight bit for a guided bit, removed the adjustable bearing, and route out the remaining lip. (Unfortunately the pic I took for this was blurry).



It probably sounds a bit complex but once I started it worked really well and gave me a far more accurate hole than i'd have got using a jigsaw.



zestyphresh

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Had another good day yesterday. Made the speaker grilles - wanted something that fitted the retro look so they are made from 3/4" material and will have black fabric attached to them. I'll round over all the edges once i've attached the fittings;



Getting ready to veneer the side panels;



Dry assembled the main panels on the floor so you get an idea of what it looks like;






The side panels will look great after a coat of oil. It's a bit chunkier than I had originally imagined but I do thing it gives it some of the 'heft' of a traditional machine while still being reasonably slim (48cm / 19"). Been spending some time configuring Launchbox, not all plain sailing but it's getting there.

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Looking good.  Pic unrelated.
This forum needs more threads about Arcade 1Up cabinets.

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Nicely done  I like your design and choices along the way.  This is looking great.   

The oversize vertical display is great for making horizontal and vertical games both look right, and you did a good job hiding the masked off areas. 

I dig it.  :applaud:

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This is being executed well, nice design, and nice work.

tomton

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This looks really good! Finishes you chose are working well together. Cant wait to see it with display mounted.

zestyphresh

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Looking good.  Pic unrelated.

 ;D If it makes you feel any better i'd quite like independence from our current government....


Made a bit more progress, although spent a fair bit of time on the software and curating the games list.

After oiling one side, i've sanded them lightly and they just need another coat once the weather improves. I love the colour, exactly as I had hoped;




Ipac & servostik mounting;




Speaker grilles ready for fabric covering;




I'm going to hang the machine from a french cleat. originally this was just going to be a single piece of MDF but having got a better idea of th  final weight i'm going to double up;




Did a few other bits to the control panel;

1) Tweaked the control panel so the trackball almost sits flush (I epoxied in the nuts, thankfully a couple of mm below the surface but one protrudes so it is at a very slight angle.
2) Routed out a button hole slightly so that it lines up properly
3) Wired most of the panel, just waiting for a few crimp connectors to finish it off

There are still a couple of annoyances, the player start buttons are slightly out of alignment (no idea how) which I can solve by shifting them both across slightly. I might just leave this mind, it's only noticeable if you compare them to the trackball.


I applied all of the T-molding but on one side panel it doesn't quite cover the veneer. I routed the channel at the same time but the two sides were cut from a different sheet. In hindsight this probably wasn't the best idea and I should have checked.It's very minor, and on the inside edge so a fair bit of it is hidden. I might just try a sharpie to see if that hides it enough, if not i'll remove the moulding and widen the gap slightly (it's less then .5mm out). The t-moulding went onto the laminated panels fine (although very close in places!).


I'm starting to get a bit nervous about the final construction, lining everything up is going to be difficult enough but I have some concerns about the overall strength without the visible yellow panels in place. It may well end up that it can't be serviced (other than removing the large bottom panel) without taking it off the wall. If so, then so be it, not the end of the world.



« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 12:23:32 pm by zestyphresh »

javeryh

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That color you got on the side panel is beautiful.   This is going to look very nice hanging on the wall.

zestyphresh

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Haven't done loads more on the cabinet as i've been working on the software side. Control panel is all wired up and working though;



Not the tidiest, the panel is a bit too cramped to do much in the way of cable routing (especially with all the lighting). At some point I think i'll pick up a dupont crimp kit and create a new harness.

The software side is coming along nicely, albeit time consuming. I've currently got ~130 games and I want to keep the total under 150. I've updated the colors/controls ini files for all of the Mame games, setting up alternative controls for the handful of games that need it. Thanks to Laythe I have bezels for a good number of the Mame games but will need to add the ones that are missing.

zestyphresh

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I've started to drag my heels a bit on this as it approaches crunch time and I try and align the whole thing to screw it together. I've decided to change how the cleat atatched to the unit so i've got to build those tomorrow. I'm also going to install a proper support towards the bottom that will be screwed into the wall. The 2 together should give it more than enough strength.

I was about to 'fix' the side panel that had the veneer protruding above the t-moulding (and already sanded one of the slots) when I though i'll just check the moulding itself - turns out i'd been sent 5/8 instead of 3/4, feel like an idiot for not checking first! Means my routing is ok though so I can just fit the new stuff that will arrive next week. I've covered the speaker grilles, always forget how much I hate this. Really should do some sort of upholstery course!

I've laid it all out today for a dry run and to make the last few fixes to get everything aligned. Still need to make some batons for a few of the panels.

All panels in place. The opposing sides were both pulling inwards on the marquee. I looseded the pocket screws off slightly and installed some heavy duty brackets. It's now square so will fit over the yet-to-be-made battons fine.




This gives a good view of how much of the length of teh cabinet the TV consumes, and the design problems that creates if you want the panels to be removable.




Good view of the VESA mounts, holes for improved ventilation. I'm still a little worried about heat but having thought about it more i'll only be using max ~57% of the screen and Plasma screens effectively switch off any black (unused) pixels.




This 'rib'was originally intended for use elsewhere but i'm going to use it to keep the bezel in place, should I use one.




Close up of the marquee, no blocking shown although will be used to bolt in place. 2 bolts will be rebated next to the vent and 2 will be hidden under the speaker grilles. These will keep it in place but also make it easily removable.





 

javeryh

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Looks great.  How are you going to tell the computer to display only in the 57% of the monitor that is visible?  I really love the cabs around here that do what you are doing - seems like you get the best of both worlds (horizontal and vertical games) without having to figure out a rotating solution.   :cheers:

zestyphresh

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It's pretty straightforward, you just have to set a custom resolution from within the Nvidia or AMD control panel. There are some emulators (not Mame and Retroarch thankfully) that don't like it, but you can use something like Reshade to fix the aspect ratio on those.

zestyphresh

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Made the two brackets that will hold it to the wall (minus a couple of holes).




And here's a dry fit of the components.





The new t-moulding arrived today and i've picked up the various fittings for the wall brackets so very nearly there!






zestyphresh

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Screwed it all together today!




Took the best part of a day, without any blocking I had to measure and attach the second side on the fly. I suppose it's the problem when most of us here are building something unique, the final product, is well, both that and a prototype at the same time! It feels incredibly strong though, there is no shifting or sagging and i've lifted it up (as per the picture) by tilting up from the bottom edge. I've installed the hardware into the wall for the two brackets and got a friend coming round tomorrow to help put it on the wall.

I'll do a better review of this when i've spent some more time with it and assuming it stays on the wall, but just some random thoughts already;

1) The construction and alignment could have been made a lot easier if i'd made it with false sides and then simply attached the 'decorative' sides at the last. This might have increased the weight but would have made the overall design a lot tidier.

2) It's probably right on the line of wall mounting being desirable. I kept the screen at a reasonable angle (10 deg I think) and enough depth on the control panel to be able to rest your hands comfortably. Maximum depth is about 48cm (I think), while I would never have made this freestanding I could have used legs of some sort to reduce the amount of hardware required on the wall.

3) The removable panels work reasonably well, albeit a lot better had I made them another mm or so narrower. The marquee and control panel can still be removed but they are tight. I will actually trim the base down as that will need removing more frequently.

pbj

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Kraken and Makers Mark?  We could hang.

 :cheers:
This forum needs more threads about Arcade 1Up cabinets.

zestyphresh

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It's split into three shelves, clear at the bottom, brown in the middle and then 'multi-coloured stuff my partner likes the look of but only uses in a cocktail once a year'.

 :laugh2:

javeryh

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Looks great - not bad for a prototype...   Good call on organizing the liquor - need quick access in case of a rough day!  :cheers:

pbj

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Bushwhackers are an excellent use of kahlua.

This forum needs more threads about Arcade 1Up cabinets.