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Author Topic: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!  (Read 17507 times)

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KenToad

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #80 on: March 24, 2020, 01:06:55 pm »
I made a 4 player pedestal with a similar layout to your CP. I use the pinball buttons all the time. Desktop VPX is amazing!

My main issue is that my kids are polygon snobs. Generally, they don't go for 2D games with digital controls. And they like new games. They are 9 and 13 years old, so maybe that will change, or maybe they won't embrace retro until they're my age and it will be Switch games or PS2 for my son, since that is one of his favorite consoles.

If you want to get a sense of how much room there is for each player, on the 3rd page of the build thread, there is a picture with 4 kids playing the Simpsons arcade.

I've been very satisfied with the layout of my aircraft carrier, although its large and multipurpose design isn't for everyone. I'm typing on it right now to make this post. Yep, it's also a desk. With the width of the peninsula matching the width of a pinball machine, I can easily type on a full-sized keyboard and have room to rest my wrists.

When he's not on the couch across the room, my son often puts his feet up on the deck while he's playing games on PS3 or on Steam with wireless controllers. Even  though the arcade controls are the least used part of the whole project, I'm just glad it gets used, one way or another, because it seems like only people of a narrow age range want to play arcade games at all, minus playing maybe a few minutes of Frogger or some other classic.

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,154133.0.html

Good luck with finishing your project! It looks really good so far.

vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #81 on: March 29, 2020, 05:09:23 pm »
Here's a very minor update.  I ordered a heat gun and tubing since it became clear that I would inevitably need to extend wiring harnesses for the controls to properly reach the ipac on a 4 player cab.  I'm not very good with a soldering iron, but hoping I can watch a few videos and improve enough to twist, solder, and cover the wires properly for a good extension.  This gun seemed reasonably priced with decent reviews...hopefully it ends up working well.  From my research online it seemed like it made the most sense to buy 3/32" heat shrink tubing as this would cover the bases for 18 and 22 gauge wire used in the project.  Got a 100 foot roll so assume I should have plenty to spare.




I thought I might have more opportunity to work on this given all the forced staying at home for the corona pandemic, but it's actually been the opposite.  I've been working longer hours and we have really big initiatives still trying to kick off.  :dunno

I've been bouncing between different aspects of the project trying to solve outlier things in the design and also experimenting with new themes and names for the cabinet.  Might make a few more mods to the side shape of the design too.

Just for fun, here was a really early design I did over a year ago with a slightly different color schema and shapes instead of detailed graphics.  I liked aspects of it.




@Mike A:  I'm considering your suggestion for hiding the main cabinet door handle with a hidden latch accessed through the coin door.  That of course means I have to leave the key out for the door and leave it in.  Only concern there is the younger kids misplacing or bending the key.  Assuming you can easily get those keys copied I might go that route and keep a spare elsewhere in the cab.


Meanwhile here's a bunch more questions in topics for people to chime in on.

==================
HIDDEN SLIDE DRAWER
==================

Still not sure how I make a handleless slide drawer work.

==============
TV MOUNT
==============

With the TV mount, I was hoping to avoid having to buy an actual TV mount.  All of them seem to be designed to drop and hook into place, letting gravity help keep the TV in place on the wall.  That seemed to present a problem where it could potentially slide off during transportation if the cabs on it's side and say bumping up and and down stairs.  I was looking to simply fabricate my own mount from wood that would have the ease of hanging to get it mounted correctly or removed easily, but also be bolted down so it can bump around in any direction without ever moving.  I think my design for this is sound but the only unknown for me is where I get the proper length / size screws to go into the back of the TV, and how I fit those onto the wood mount.  What have others done?




===========================
BEZEL WITH MINIMALLY VISIBLE SCREWS
===========================

My idea for this was to have plexi resting on wood braces on the sides, and have a small rabbit hole at the base that it sits in.  At the top I would have a small thumb screw on the large side panels that sticks out just enough to hold the plexi in place up top.  Underneath the thumb screw I would tuck a thin strip of material that's attached to the back of the plexi to work as a hidden pull tab once the thumb screw is removed.  The idea here is that I can very quickly remove the plexi (say weekly) to clean it as necessary without much hassle.  If someone has a better solution and a way to be screw free, that would be even better.

===========================
Light Gun Sensor
===========================

I haven't yet figured out how I'm going to mount this.  It doesn't have a case so it just "sits" on something.  Obviously I want it anchored somehow and am not sure if this will work through a tinted / painted plexi bezel or what my best option is to hide it.  I was thinking some sort of hanging metal or wood mount coming down from the speaker area just above the TV to anchor it to, all behind the bezel.

===========================
Marquee With Hidden Screws
===========================
 
Another thing to solve was not having any visible screws on the bottom metal angle bracket holding the marquee.  Every arcade in the real world seems to have at least 2 screws holding this in place.  While I guess it's not critical, it would be cool if I can keep the no visible screw theme in tact and figure out a way to anchor this in place.  The bottom would never need to move again.  The top will have screws to service it as those are high enough up and out of the way to not matter.  Plus there will be other service screws up top anyway.  Also what is the right kind of screw to hold this in place, and do I need some sort of threaded insert for every screw I plan on making a service point?




Drnick

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #83 on: March 30, 2020, 06:17:15 am »
You should fine that Pyle TV's will take M8 Bolts 40mm  (Maybe 50mm) High Tensile should do the job nicely. Just drill corresponding vesa mounting holes in the mounting board and mount through the wood, If you are using 3/4 inch for the mount it will hold with no issues.

vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #84 on: May 06, 2020, 12:14:53 am »
Thanks MikeA an Drnick for the links and advice.  Still got plenty of outstanding questions up there for any takers!

Been very slow going the past few months, but I had to try to make some progress somewhere.  I ordered some new soldering iron tips from Radio Shack because the one I had didn't seem to be working well anymore.  Once those came in I quickly realize that regardless of having a new tip, I still am not very good at soldering!  I decided to try and get my PC power switch converted over to the external light up switch I purchased as what I hoped would be a simple endeavor one day.  However, to no surprise I ran into all kinds of challenges with it.

First I made some rookie mistakes by immediately jumping to soldering on wires confidently trusting everything would be ok.  Boy was I wrong.  Then because I decided to wrap the wires inside the holes of the prong and loop them around before heavily covering them in solder, I had a heck of a time figuring out a way to get them back out.  Turns out my micro flat head screwdriver was helpful because the solder wouldn't stick to it well and I could use that to try to slowly pry and unwrap the wire while keeping the iron on it with the other hand.  Also learned you gotta be more careful with hot solder flying around.  All that tugging flicked some hot specs back at me, causing me to flinch and drop the iron.  Fortunately the iron landed on something metal instead of the carpet. :)  The other big mistake I made was trying to pry a big excess glob of solder off one of the prongs sticking out of the back of the PC power switch board.  Turns out that solder holds pretty tight and I took the prong off with it.  :)  So.... then I had to create a make shift solder connection point with the bottom metal pad that was now exposed on the board.  After managing to get the two wires connected to the bottom of the board, I was finally read to try to do some connection tests and make sure all was good before making anything more perminent.

I was given a wiring diagram online from the seller of the switch and it seemed pretty straight forward, so I thought it would all just work.  However, after many tests I quickly realized that I could manage to get the button to light up, but that was about it.

After a lot of time thinking about it and going for a walk, I came back and decided to start trying other combinations of connections to see if I could get it to work.  In order to do this, I needed to make some additional wire connections based on the original diagram.  Fortunately I have some solid core #22 gauge wire I mistakenly ordered years back thinking it was stranded, and decided to use some of that to make some crude additional jumpers I could bend on and off to test.  This actually worked, and after studying it a bit more and trying different combos, I FINALLY found one that worked!  I still don't quite understand why it's so different than the diagram I was given.  My only guess is maybe it will work different if I have a separate power source like the diagram wants?  Any electronic wizards wanna shed some light on that for me?








vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #85 on: July 19, 2020, 04:50:24 pm »
Itís finally time for an update!  I took a big leap and started working with wood and power tools at one point.  Itís a long one so Iíll break up the posting.  Hereís the updated journeyÖ

Weíll start with something technical on the programmer side.  One of the many tasks left ahead of me was to easily translate my 3d model work into real world measurements to replicate.  The problem is, the version of 3d studio max I have has very primitive measuring tools that take a lot of steps to manually setup and adjust.  Furthermore, thereís no easy way to export all those measurements to a document to print.  This makes iterating a lot slower.  Itís as if they donít want you to make anything in the real world unless you buy autoCAD.   :angry:  I also didnít want to rely on making giant print outs to avoid additional cost and potentially new problems.  Since this was around the start of things shutting down for COVID, I also needed something that I could do myself in isolation.

My solution was to bite the bullet and re-learn enough MaxScript to write my own automatic tool within the software.  I wanted to simply be able to specify an ďoriginĒ point to start all my measurements from, select what I wanted included in the measuring, and then have the system automatically generate all of them in a print friendly format, and provide a visual map for reference.  MaxScript has always been challenging because of odd syntax and the documentation for it is pretty bad.  It took a day or so but I was able to find enough examples of different core functions to stitch together what I wanted, and make it flexible in some areas.
The result looks something like this:





I want accuracy down to 1/32 of an inch with everything but since none of my big rulers have 32nds, I wanted it represented as a decimal value on a 16th.  This way I donít have to worry about getting confused with conversions and making more mistakes when measuring and plotting it in real lifeÖ or at least thatís the hope.  I created a threshold for the decimal to round down, round to a 32nd or round up.  Technically with the way I built it I can pretty easily swap to something else like 64ths or metric.  If anyone is interested in this script, let me know.  I find it pretty handy.

Next I wanted to test out my new measurements in action.  Since I had modified a bunch on my CP layout from the first cardboard prototype I did, I made another one to test it.

Hereís the result:



It turns out there were a few errors, but not because of my tool! Rather I guess precision measuring and doing this late at night with my brother in laws help over Memorial Day weekend was a flawed combo.  You can see that the Player 2 controls are about an inch higher up than they should be.  Couple other random mistakes elsewhere too.



Despite those minor setbacks, I was still able to do some good tests to validate the changes I made.
First checking arm positions to make sure we have good elbow room.




All good, and no need to push the outer players too close to the screen or at a hard 90 degree angle to everyone else.  The viewing angle is the same from the previous test, so I didnít need to put up a monitor again.
Made sure the trackball has just the right amount of wrist rest room for precision play, plus still has enough room for a strong whack in any direction without hitting a joystick.

 


The flightstick sits comfortably in between the P2 joystick and buttons so even with your wrist and arm resting, youíre not hitting anything.



The spinner sits in comfortable reach relative to the flightstick and the 3 buttons for alternate 4 way player 1 controls.



The 4 way alternate player 1 joystick can be comfortably grabbed with plenty of wrist rest room without hitting other buttons.



The Player 3 and Player 4 controls have just enough wrist rest, and have angle cut edges to minimize their profile.




The pinball buttons have the proper distance from the edge of the CP to reach both the top and bottom buttons, with arc of motion considered between them.




Lastly the spacing between the outer edges that contain the pinball buttons are exactly 22.5 inches apart to match average real world pinball table sizes.  Most other CP designs Iíve seen tend to push these out quite a bit wider.

I also tested a few small things in this layout, like a slight angle turn to the P1 / P2 buttons to see if I liked it better and if it helped arm space any.  I believe I ended up reverting that idea.

« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 11:35:56 am by vertexguy »

vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #86 on: July 19, 2020, 04:54:46 pm »
Once I was as happy as one can be with a cardboard prototype, I decided itís time to put on my big boy pants and start cutting some wood!
Fair warning, Iím a total noob at this stuff, so this is going to be an interesting learning process.  I have a good sized piece of ĺĒ ply with some kind of finish on it left over from our kitchen remodel.  I figured this would be a great way to test building out the CP.  If it works itís presumably a decent quality ply so I could probably just roll with it.  If not, not a big deal.



I decided to mark several test cuts beyond the length I needed for the CP so I could get used to the tools a little first.



As you can see, I had some problems.  Oddly enough in this example I tried using a 2x4 as a fence with a jigsaw.  I had issues with the blade bending as I went after about half way through so I wasnít getting a nice 90 degree edge.  I also may have been pushing too hard against the fence?  Somehow between that and perhaps a measurement that was somehow off, I noticed when I got to the end of the cut that I wasnít lined up with my other tick mark.  I then tried cutting from the opposite direction to finish it off and avoid chipping at the ends, and this was the result.  Yuk!

I eventually got a better cut with the jigsaw just free handing it.  Still some wobble though.  My last attempt I switched to the skill saw and used that for my edge cut to get it down to the proper CP size.  That came out pretty straight freehand, and was probably the best of all cuts.  Still not what I was hoping for.  Definitely need more practice.
Next up, I decided to utilize some of the small MDF pieces I got a long time back to start testing out control panel buttons.  I wanted to practice drilling straight, which is a lot harder than is sounds, and then work my way to building out my test joystick ring glow design, which would require a lot more tools and materials, including using the router for the first time.
I decided to try fast tracking the measuring with a print out to see how well it would hold up if only taped tightly at the edges with some scotch tape.



Surprisingly it held up pretty wellÖ but you wanna make sure you start drilling at a high speed or it can tear and pull pretty easily.


One thing I forgot but wasnít too concerned with was the blow out damage on the other side doing it this way.  For the real deal Iíll make sure Iím drilling with a scrap piece of wood tightly under it to avoid this.


« Last Edit: July 19, 2020, 07:10:13 pm by vertexguy »

vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #87 on: July 19, 2020, 05:00:13 pm »
Next up I wanted to try an experiment with a sheet of Lexan I got from Lowes.  Iíve seen others use a thick tube of polycarbonate for this, but when I searched and couldnít find anything less than 40-50 bucks for a small tube, I opted to try another way with a 5 dollar sheet.



  I also have this vision in my head of a slightly different look.  Iím not going for a glowing hole.  I want a nice vibrantly lit up ring under my joysticks.  I also want the top of it to be nice and smooth, crystal clear to give off a nice spectral highlight.

So I found a cheap holesaw set at Harbor Freight that had enough increments to help me create the size needed for the task.
The first go at it shows it creates some rough edges that need to be fixed up.



I think this was a combination of me cutting it too fast and pushing too much alone with some drill wobble.  I intentionally left the cover plastic on the lexan sheet to help protect it from scratches during all this, so that adds to the edge mess too.

I used a file of a finer grit to carefully work the edges down, which took a fair amount of time.  I had to bend the edges back and forth a bit too before it would snap off the excess.  When all is said and done, I got a decent clear ring out of it.



Next I got out my sander. And used a 120 grit (finest I had) to test out making a frosted version that would hopefully diffuse the light a little better.



Here you can see them stacked with the clear ring on top.



More on this a little laterÖ
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 11:46:03 am by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #88 on: July 19, 2020, 05:06:47 pm »
Next Iíll backtrack a tiny bit because I want to cover all the wirework and knowledge of tools and process there in order to extend the wiring from the short LED wires (that are only 26 gauge) to longer harnesses that plug into the PacLED64.  There was a lot to learn here too.  If you know all about this stuff, skip forward, but Iíll probably reference this many times myself as a reminder.
First we need dupont connectors.  I had no idea thatís what these things were called until I got into this arcade project.  Even when I ordered a dupont kit and opened it up, I wasnít sure what all I was looking at.  They come attached to a strip of metal in a long roll.  You break them off like this.



As a side note, Scott was kind enough to PM me these notes about the metal roll after I posted.  I will try this process the next time I crimp and see how it goes.

"Actually, that "pins on a roll" setup is designed for you to cut through the center of the rectangular holes parallel to the pin so you end up with a piece of roll and a pin that look like a T.

The metal roll acts as a depth gauge while crimping.
- Insert the pin into the crimper until the roll is against the side of the die and you're at the right depth.

The roll also provides a handle outside the crimp die jaws for keeping the pin and wire properly aligned.  Changing your grip can cause the wire to shift.
- Use your left thumb and index finger to pinch the wire to the roll at the correct depth in the pin.
- Insert the pin and wire into the die.
- Crimp with your right hand.

After the crimp is completed, that's when you break the roll off the pin.   :cheers:


Scott
"

Here I thought the roll was just part of the manufacturing process to dispense them in rolls.  Cheers Scoot!  So that approach will help with proper alignment of the pin in the crimping tool.  I'll be trying this next time I crimp.


The wire you plan on connecting it to only needs a little bit exposed.  More specifically, just enough to reach the end of the second split metal ring that will be crimped down to grab it.  In this photo, you see the proper length in line with the dupont connector above it. 



The pointy wing like metal tips on the left end of the dupont connector are meant to grab the wire shielding, then just a little further to the right you see metal arcs on the top and bottom that are meant to pinch together to grab the bare wire.   According to everything I read online, you donít want your wire to extend beyond this.

Next we put the dupont connector in our crimping tool that supports this type of connector.  On mine itís the #3 spot. 

Thereís an important lesson coming up with how itís placed in the tool.  Start orienting the dupont connector as shown in the tool, then tighten it down just enough so you can still move the connector within the tool, but it wonít easily slip out.





Now we have a quick example of what NOT to do.  I missed a step with the tool and shoved the wire in and went to crimp too quickly. DOH!





Here you can see the insulation around the wire is too far to the right, pushing into the metal thatís supposed to be grabbing just bare wire.  I also noted that the dupont connector as a whole was now slightly bent.  Clearly something wasnít rightÖ. Then I rememberedÖ

Back to the correct way!

When you put the connector in the tool, you want to PULL it away from the edge and thereís a little notch inside the tool that will stop it from coming all the way out.



Notice the difference?  Itís not lined up with the edge of the tool anymore like my previous photo showed.  This step is important!
The other thing I realized is that it can be easy to shove the wire in too far from that side.  So, once I had the connector hitting the notch, I flipped the tool when inserting the wire so you can see the end of the wire coming through and make sure it doesnít go past the split metal ring part thatís meant to grab it.



The result is a perfect dupont crimp! Yay!  Only about 99,999 more of these to go!



Here was another point I messed up routinely.  DO NOT forget to add your heat shrink tubing at this point or you will end up having no way to get it back on your wire with parts at each end.
The next part of the process is to use a 1x4 housing (not sure what these are called) to hold the dupont pin in the proper place and complete the wiring harness.  This is as easy and inserting the dupont pin into the correct end of the plastic adapter and the little plastic tabs further down it will push out as the pin enters and then snap back to hold it in place.



If you screw up and forget your heat shrink tubing like I did, you can use a tiny flat head screw driver to GENTLY lift those tabs and pull the dupont pin back out.
For this test I wanted to build 2 long harnesses that should work for anywhere on my CP without knowing the exact measurements.  This way Its more than just a test harness and saves on parts.  Technically the PacLED 64 comes with 4 long harness connectors that I could have used, but since this is a tiny test I just wanted to use a small adapter from the dupont set I bought.
Thatís it.  You should not need to add solder anywhere in this process because the crimping is plenty when done right.

The other end of my wires needed to be spliced together to the LED.  In order to do that, first I needed to build myself a little helping hands tool.  I had been looking at these online and reading reviews and all of them seemed to be rather cheaply made and seemingly easy to knock over.  I had bought an alligator clip set a while back just in case, and decided this would be a big part of my solution.  The real trick was finding ďarmsĒ for it that would be strong enough but also bendable.  What I came up with was using this metal strip stuff I got for anchoring my old wooden fence around my house to metal stakes.  When double layered, itís pretty strong but still bendable.  The alligator clips have a little screw on them so that worked perfect to anchor them to the ends.  The other end of the arm just gets screwed into a block of wood.
Hereís the result:



I added some electrical tape around the alligator clips to soften their grib a bit.  As is they were a little too strong and pierced the wiring insulation too much.
In this case I had to connect a 26 gauge wire to a 22 gauge.  That was a bit challenging.  My first attempt without any help was to just do a classic twist of the two wires and fold it over.  I also added some solder.  Apparently there are better ways to do this, which Iíll cover.



After doing some research I found the Nasa grade approach, or Linemanís splice.  While I know Iím not doing it quite right up to the full Nasa standard, and thatís probably a bit excessive anyway, I was able to find a quick twist method that seems to work well.  Just make an X with your wires.  Hold the bottom right of the X straight while bending the top of the X to a 90 degree angle relative to the bottom X.  Then coil it as tightly as you can around the bottom of the X, making at least 2 complete loops.  Then repeat for the left side.



Again this is by no means full quality Nasa standard, but when done, you should be able to tug on both wires a bit and not have them pull apart.  The next step is coating them with a healthy amount of solder on all sides.



This looks better!

Now onto the heat shrink tubing.  I used a mark on a board outside to line up the center of the bare wire as a reference point. 



Then pull the heat shrink tubing over it with equal amounts to either side of that center line.



Next hit it with a heat gun.  For mine it seems to work well with the dial control on setting 3 and the switch turned onto setting 2.   BEGINNING TIP:  When you first get a brand new heat gun, it likely won't warn you about this anywhere on the box or in the instructions, but I found out the hard way it will start smoking A LOT.  Best explanation I found was that it's residual oils from the factory burning off the heating element.  This is why you shouldn't use it in doors unless you want your fire alarms going off. :)



I also had an attachment on the front of the gun to narrow the air flow to a more appropriate size for wiring.  Hit it with that for a few seconds and youíll see the tubing shrunk around it tight.

Thatís it.



« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 05:54:12 pm by vertexguy »

vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #89 on: July 19, 2020, 05:08:00 pm »
The next thing I wanted to try was seeing the difference between 5v and 12v on the Leds.  Everything I read indicated that my Leds are meant to be run at 12v, but the problem is the PacLED 64 runs at 5v.  I spoke with Andy from Ultimarc about this a while back and he told me despite some other posts on this board indicating otherwise, the PacLED 64 can be run at 12v safely without any problems.  All I had to do was alter the molex plug to pull from the 12v wire on the computer instead of the 5v.

I found a neat trick online for getting molex cables apart.  Like the dupont connectors, they use a pinching mechanism (this time on the metal pins) that expands to catch the plastic connector and hold everything in place.  The trick with these is that you canít access them easily like a dupont connector.  You need something very thin yet pretty strong to wedge in between the pin you want to remove and the plastic housing to depress the tab and pull it free. 

The solution was to use 2 staples from my stable gun.  Bend them into an L shape and that gives you a pointy end to push into the molex plug by the pin, while providing a flat surface at the other end of the L shape to push in. 



Push one staple in on each side of the pin you want to remove.  Look carefully at the pin to make sure you line up with the little tabs holding it in.  These go in on the side of the molex connector that plugs into something, not the side the wires are leading into. 



I used magnifying glasses for soldering so I could more easily see the little metal tabs on each pin and line up the staples.  You give them a good push to really wedge them in there and then the metal pin should pull right out without much effort.



In this process you may end up bending the little tab on the metal molex pin too far in (which you can see in the above photo), so you go to plug it back into a slot and it won't stay.  If that happens, just use the staple, this time putting it on the INSIDE hole of the pin and put slight pressure on the end of the tab to bend it back outwards.  When done, the tabs on the pin will look like little wings sticking out a tiny bit, kinda like a V shape.  That prevents you from being able to pull it out backwards.

I did this process with a Y splitter molex plug I had lying around so I wouldnít risk messing anything up on something important.  Once done, I labeled that Y splitter as 12V LED on the end where I switched the wiring around.  Then I could easily plug 1 end into the computer, and swap the Y end between 5v and 12v that goes to the PacLED 64.  You wouldn't want to leave this cable lying around unlabeled and forget what it was meant for and try to use it for something else in your computer.  You would be sending the wrong voltage and bad things may happen.




« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 05:59:03 pm by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #90 on: July 19, 2020, 05:11:49 pm »
Next up, I realize I needed to do more research on Router basics before I attempted the next part of the process with wood.  Since I couldnít wait to try out the ring light and LEDs, I threw together a quick cardboard prototype of it.
Hereís the underside where I experimented with some tin foil and tape to hold things in place.  I put some tape around the rings as well to hold them in, so thatís noticeable in the result along with rough cardboard edges.  I used a sharpie on the cardboard to help give it a more authentic end result look.



Here it is from the top:



And with the joystick assembled:



Not bad.  However I will note that I spent a good hour messing with settings on my phones camera and found some interesting things out about it.  First, no matter what I did, it over exposes the glowÖmeaning itís a lot subtler than this.  I also noticed that the camera failed to correctly represent some of the colors as they cycled from Red to Green to Blue to White.  Green in particular came out far more blue.  Once I hooked up the software to control my PacLED 64 from the computer and test other color combos, I found other mismatches too.  I guess the important thing Iím pointing out is that when you see photos of lit up stuff on these forms, itís hard to trust the camera accuracy.

I wanted to make sure the center of the stick stays nice and black, and the ring itself isnít as thick as the hole / CP thickness as well.  This helps give it kind of an ďeclipseĒ button style. But in joystick form.

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #91 on: July 19, 2020, 05:21:18 pm »
After some additional help on the board here with router bit questions, I realized I had ordered the wrong bits for the type of work I needed to do (I have 3 flush trim bits)Ö bummer.  So after a trip to Lowes, I bought a new mortising / straight router bit that should do fine for the bulk of the work needed.  It was about 20 bucks.



As others have stated, I strongly recommend watching a lot of basic tutorials on handling a router for safety first.  These things are very loud and powerful.  Iím a bit shocked they donít have a safer on / off mechanism.  Mine is really hard to reach when the router is on and youíre trying to hold it steady and flip it back off.  Thereís also clearly techniques to be understood with using them to get good results and not have it catch the wood and bounce back on you, which could be dangerous.

One of the challenges I immediately saw using the router was being able to actually SEE what I was cutting.  The back side of it has a plastic cover to catch debris and allow you to see the cutting area.  However, this window almost instantly becomes foggy and covered with dust, making it worthless.  I found myself leaning to look at the front opening of the router, where again, debris likes to fly out.  By not having plastic there I could at least see the blade a little more clearly.
Another important note, wear good protective eye glasses and use a mask!  I was cutting ĺ MDF in these tests and it makes a TON of super fine dust that gets everywhere and is apparently toxic.  Iím also doing all this stuff outside to have a little better air flow.


The next step was to get the right depth for the cuts. 



I did a mix of drawing stuff out on paper, and then eventually moving it into 3d to figure out how to make this complex channeling work.  A consideration with my design is that I need room underneath for the black dust cover to be able to move around freely, while providing a closed surface to mount the joystick too.  From the top I wanted a hole just big enough to fit my plastic rings and hold them in place with glue and perhaps a tiny wood ledge. 

This top hole is challenging because I donít necessarily have the exact size bit to make this happen.  My rings are custom fabrications of a somewhat odd size.  I purchased a forstner bit set online with a lot of different small metric sizes.  In this case I needed my biggest bit which seems very close to the right size.

Once I knew the right depths for everything from the 3d model, I needed to set the proper depth of cut on the router.  For this I put a ruler straight against the edge of it next the blade and slowly went back and forth adjusting the height until it looked to be exactly what I needed.  Then for further precise confirmation, I made a tiny test cut on the side of the panel to check the depth.  This gives me an easy thing to put a ruler flush against and verify itís the perfect depth.



I highly recommend doing this on some scrap wood before you attempt anything on your real wood for the project.
I marked up the wood CP with pencil on the bottom.  This was again way too hard to see with all the dust from the router during a cut, so I decided to try filling in all the areas I wanted to remove with a red sharpie.  This helped.



I tried my best to make straight cuts, but again, even with red sharpie helping, it still gets really dusty fast and is hard to see and move the router blade in a super straight manner standing in an awkward position to see things.  I imagine I could setup some sort of fencing around the area to push the router against to force more of a straight cut.  I guess this depends on what you care about since no one will ever see this but a person servicing the panel.  I like to do my best everywhere thoughÖ so Iíll probably revisit this.



Another issue I ran into with drilling holes was that these forstner bits donít like to stay nice and centered.  They tend to wander quite a bit when you start a cut with them touching the wood.  To try to help force a straighter cut, I tried making a template with some ĺ MDF.  The theory being that if I just plug into it at full speed and make one perfect hole, all my other holes will be made with this template on top, which will keep the bit from wondering.  This seemed to help when I needed to go back to the other side and make a larger hole to hold my light rings.



I used a piece of paper over the template to give me a reference point for the depth.  I also wrapped some tape around the drill bit.  The idea being when the tape meets the paper, Iím at proper depth.  It sorta worked.

Hereís the result.  I used a sharpie to make the interior black for testing.



The biggest problem I ran into here was again keeping the drill perfectly straight.  That made some strange cuts and the surface area lopsided that the rings would rest on.  I freehanded the drill a little more to try to compensate and get it good enough for a test, but this is not acceptable for a final product.  Iím looking into some devices I saw at home depot to help keep drills straight.  There are some crazy expensive drill guides out there that I canít justify.  Hoping this 30-40 dollar purchase will be good enough to get me straight holes.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milescraft-DrillMate-Portable-Multi-Angle-Drill-Guide-with-3-8-in-Chuck-1318/206520394?mtc=Shopping-B-F_D25T-G-D25T-25_9_PORTABLE_POWER-Multi-NA-Feed-PLA-NA-NA-PortablePower_PLA&cm_mmc=Shopping-B-F_D25T-G-D25T-25_9_PORTABLE_POWER-Multi-NA-Feed-PLA-NA-NA-PortablePower_PLA-71700000034127218-58700003933021540-92700053252310110&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3s_4BRDPARIsAJsyoLPBTB3ikj4LCAvGQMBr-prpu2E0wSYE7IM2fzUxmXR74s8PdOFZV4EaAj5nEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Anyone else have experience with these with recommendations?

Likewise when making my rings, there are some serious alignment issues with the process.  I think this is a mix of the drill not being straight, and also the hole saw bits just being cheap.  I can tell they have significant wobble to them watching them spin from the side.  Hoping my template will help with that a bitÖ. We will see.  If another 30 dollar purchase of some craftsman hole saw bits from Lowes will fix it, I may consider it.

FinallyÖ here are the results of putting it all together in my MDF test control panel.




Overall Iím glad to have gotten this far.  This was a big accomplishment in the journey for me, but Iím not happy with the results yet.  Several things to improve on.

1.   The hole in my template to fit the rings is super tight, yet when I used it to drill the top of the CP, somehow the hole is slightly bigger??  This is unacceptable as the rings donít fit properly and you see things in the light channel not meant to be seen.
2.   The rings are all unique in some way with lopsided centers.  I think if I use a forstner bit to do the center hold instead of the hole saw, this may improve the accuracy since the little bit has way more wobble than the bigger one.  Or maybe buy a giant 1 inch standard drill bit if thatís an option?
3.   If I decide I need a dust washer on the top of the panel (trying to avoid it since I have one underneath) then I can make a clear one with this same process.  The challenge though again is that the holesaw does not create a properly centered hole.  I made one test and it was off by way more than 1/8 in 2 directions.  I canít figure out a way to fix this.  I think itís just the cheap hole saw set I got from Harbor Freight.  Anyone know if a Craftsman set from Lowe's will perform better?
4.   Iíve spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to diffuse the light around the ring more evenly without much success.  I really want it to look like itís a solidly lit ring without clear indication of a point light source.  I can improve it a little if I add even more LED's but thatís expensive, and requires a lot more controller hookup spots then I have.  If I can daisy chain them to a single hookup on the PacLED and not lose light intensity maybe thatís an option.  I also need a way to channel more of them under the joystick then.  Any ideas?
5.   I may end up ordering new joystick ball tops.  Originally I thought the simple white and red plastic look would fit well, but seeing it with the ring lights makes me want a more refined look.  So far though in looking at some options online I havenít found anything Iím loving.  There seems to be a lack of white tops in anything other than a flat cheap plastic look.  Just imagine like a candy apple red with some texture / sparkle to it, and then the same concept in white.
6.   Iíve been noodling on how to do this with a spinner, which presents a lot of new challenges.  I need a way bigger ring than I can currently fabricate, and the mounting gets complex unless glue and lexan are strong enough to clamp it to without risk of a player pushing down too hard on it.
7.   The paint finish I put on the test CP is complete crap.  I didnít put a lot of effort into it, but still.  I used some Rustoleum spray and gave it one coat.  Then I sanded it down with my power sander and 120 grit.  That removed most of what I did. (oops).  Then I coated it again.  Looks like crap.  I donít yet have a grasp of how to get a good finish out of this process.  I did pickup some 220 grit which I hope solves some of the problem.  Does everyone use a power sander for this, or should I be doing this by hand?

Next steps for me I think will be more test CPs with just the joystick to figure out the lighting.  After that Iíll try making the ring light for the spinner.  Then the ring light for the Flight Stick.  Then onto the full CP.  All this serves as good practice for me too before getting into more expensive wood for the main cab.  Itís also working with materials I have for the most part.  Finding the rest of the wood and transporting it will be a whole new set of challenges when the time comes.

Iíve also decided that the cab name and general theme are up in the air.  I agree it needs a stronger identity.  The term Arcade really refers to the building itís in with a collection of games.  Iíve got a list of over 30 name considerations now.  Iím open to ideas!  The general principal will remain the same though in that itís celebrating the retro era of pixel gaming and will feature a mix of characters that all come together in a cohesive way.  To me thatís far more fitting than picking a favorite game theme when the cabinet is meant to play everything.  It's definitely proven to be an artistic challenge!

As always, all sage advice is welcome and greatly appreciated as I continue my journey.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 08:10:17 pm by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #92 on: July 20, 2020, 06:06:44 pm »
As you can see, I had some problems.  Oddly enough in this example I tried using a 2x4 as a fence with a jigsaw.  I had issues with the blade bending as I went after about half way through so I wasnít getting a nice 90 degree edge.  I also may have been pushing too hard against the fence?  Somehow between that and perhaps a measurement that was somehow off, I noticed when I got to the end of the cut that I wasnít lined up with my other tick mark.  I then tried cutting from the opposite direction to finish it off and avoid chipping at the ends, and this was the result.  Yuk!

I eventually got a better cut with the jigsaw just free handing it.  Still some wobble though.  My last attempt I switched to the skill saw and used that for my edge cut to get it down to the proper CP size.  That came out pretty straight freehand, and was probably the best of all cuts.  Still not what I was hoping for.  Definitely need more practice.

You can do a long straight cut with a jigsaw, but you will probably never get a perfect 90 degree angle because the blade will wobble. The thicker the board you cut, the more pronounced it gets.

To do the straight cuts, you can use a table saw + fence or you can use the jigsaw to cut the board a bit too big freehand, clamp a straight piece of wood over the pencil marks and use the router + flush trim bit to make the actual cut.


I decided to try fast tracking the measuring with a print out to see how well it would hold up if only taped tightly at the edges with some scotch tape.



Surprisingly it held up pretty wellÖ but you wanna make sure you start drilling at a high speed or it can tear and pull pretty easily.

If you include the center points of the holes in the print, you can tape the print to the CP and use something with a sharp point (a nail or something) to punch a small hole though the center points. After that, you can remove the print and still know where to drill the holes.

I highly recommend doing this on some scrap wood before you attempt anything on your real wood for the project.
I marked up the wood CP with pencil on the bottom.  This was again way too hard to see with all the dust from the router during a cut, so I decided to try filling in all the areas I wanted to remove with a red sharpie.  This helped.



I tried my best to make straight cuts, but again, even with red sharpie helping, it still gets really dusty fast and is hard to see and move the router blade in a super straight manner standing in an awkward position to see things.  I imagine I could setup some sort of fencing around the area to push the router against to force more of a straight cut.  I guess this depends on what you care about since no one will ever see this but a person servicing the panel.  I like to do my best everywhere thoughÖ so Iíll probably revisit this.

You can use some battens, clamped/taped to the edges so that the router cannot wander off. Here's an example pic used in a recent build. javeryh's Nameless Cabaret Copy


Another issue I ran into with drilling holes was that these forstner bits donít like to stay nice and centered.  They tend to wander quite a bit when you start a cut with them touching the wood.  To try to help force a straighter cut, I tried making a template with some ĺ MDF.  The theory being that if I just plug into it at full speed and make one perfect hole, all my other holes will be made with this template on top, which will keep the bit from wondering.  This seemed to help when I needed to go back to the other side and make a larger hole to hold my light rings.

Something to watch:
How to SAFELY use a forstner bit in a hand-held drill   

Easy Forstner Bit Drilling by OTB Thinker   
                  

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #93 on: July 26, 2020, 10:40:17 am »
Trying to cut straight (with a 90 degree edge as well) with a jigsaw is hard. Part of the issue with a fence is that if the blade does start to wander towards the fence then you can't push the jigsaw towards it to get it back straight. It's counter-intuitive and took a while to do it without thinking, but the natural temptation is to 'pull' a jigsaw when the blade wanders which is the opposite of what you should do.

For drilling button/joystick holes I find spade bits to be the best, with a small pilot hole. As with any other hole cutter you need to use a piece of scrap to ensure it doesn't rattle around at the bottom of the hole. Quite easy to get straight as well as you can align it when it starts hitting the wood.

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #94 on: July 26, 2020, 11:49:52 pm »
I avoided paying money for good tools for a long time....I wish I wouldnít have.  It was such a waste of time (and money).  Jigsaws are pretty much only good for ruff cutting.  If you want something you can be proud of, use either a router, or a good circular saw/table saw.  You can see the slow realization I came to in my build.  Since buying the track saw my life has gotten sooooo much better.

Long story short, you get what you pay for, and if you value your time invest in good tools, you wonít regret it.

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #95 on: July 31, 2020, 02:13:45 pm »
If you include the center points of the holes in the print, you can tape the print to the CP and use something with a sharp point (a nail or something) to punch a small hole though the center points. After that, you can remove the print and still know where to drill the holes.

Good point :)  A center hole punch should work well.

You can use some battens, clamped/taped to the edges so that the router cannot wander off. Here's an example pic used in a recent build. javeryh's Nameless Cabaret Copy

I'll try this on the next iteration.

Something to watch:
How to SAFELY use a forstner bit in a hand-held drill   

Easy Forstner Bit Drilling by OTB Thinker   

Thanks for the tips!  Even with something as seemingly simple as drilling, there's clearly tricks of the trade that can make a big difference.


zestyphresh & Arroyo, thanks for the words of wisdom.  I have much to learn yet. :)   :cheers:

« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 02:15:47 pm by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #96 on: September 11, 2020, 12:50:04 pm »
In looking at options for the power inlet / cord extension outside the cab to plug into the wall, and then how a lot of people are connecting it internally to a power strip, I've run into some questions.

First question is around the inlet choice.  Looking on Amazon there appears to only really be one option available and it isn't UL rated.  It has a red power switch with it and a 5A fuse.  It's also the same one featured on the electrical section of the Wiki here.  Is that really it for choices?  Given even the wiki mentioned some reports of melting and corrosion possibilities with these, are there better alternatives?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NWO68JI/ref=ox_sc_act_title_5?smid=A2Y736KGZ14HTQ&psc=1

I'm also now debating if I really need 2 power switches.  One on the inlet, and then a separate one to turn on the PC, which also triggers the smart strip for the rest of the cab.  One idea was to set the bios on the PC to boot when it detects power presence, so I'd just have the one switch then.  The nostalgic side of me also wants to consider a metal toggle switch instead of the red LED rocker.  I only remember those on the backs / tops of cabs growing up.

The next question is the correct wiring gauges to be using to handle this direct power.  With outlets, to be up to code in high use areas (kitchen) you're suppose to use 12 AWG from what I've read.  14 is supposedly OK for something like a bedroom, but I've only ever used 12.  Yet when I look at some of these inlets that come with wires and quick disconnects, they appear to be using 14-16 gauge.  Then to further confuse me, the standard PC power cables all appear to be using 18AWG, which is what I intended on wiring the inlet to, and then connecting that to my power strip so I don't have to ruin the strip.

So given all that variance, what is the right gauge to not burn the house down?  If it's all converting down to 18AWG at the cable / power strip, is that all that's needed?  Why is that so different than outlet wiring gauges, and is that really acceptable given how much draw the full cab is likely to need?  :dizzy:




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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #97 on: September 11, 2020, 03:23:13 pm »
The reason outlets and strips have a lower gauge (thicker) is because they may have multiple devices powered at once.  Therefore the current draw may be more significant.  All you really need to do is figure out the power usage (watts) of each of your components at max usage then you will know the current draw at the outlet (P=V*I) so multiple each of your components Voltage * Amperage to get the max power used.  Add all the power of each of you components then divide that by the 120V that a standard US outlet outputs and you have your amperage at the inlet.

Here's a chart for stranded wire current ratings:

https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/wire-gauges-d_419.html

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #98 on: September 12, 2020, 12:37:26 am »
Given even the wiki mentioned some reports of melting and corrosion possibilities with these, are there better alternatives?
The melting and corrosion problems are almost certainly the result of user error.
i.e. Loose crimps, crimping mostly on the insulation instead of bare wire so only a few strands are making contact, high resistance connections, etc.

If you do the simple mechanical and electrical checks outlined in the wiki, you won't have a problem.   ;D

http://wiki.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/Wiring#Inspecting_Power_Wiring

The nostalgic side of me also wants to consider a metal toggle switch instead of the red LED rocker.
I haven't seen any fused IEC inlets with that type of switch, but you could use an un-fused IEC inlet and fabricate a panel for the toggle switch.

Wire the switch in series with the hot/live/black wire -- the tab marked "L" in this photo.



One easy and clean way to mount the switch is to use a blank single gang cover.

 

You may also consider using an "old work" single gang electrical box or low voltage ring with the cover.

 

The pre-fab single toggle switch on a panel options I've seen are usually rated for 12v (car/motorcycle/boat applications), so you'll probably need to replace the switch if you get something like these.

 


Scott

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #99 on: September 12, 2020, 04:12:52 am »
FYI, my power inlet melted because I used an ancient pc power cable.  The connectors inside that end were probably worn out or corroded.  Buy a new cable.  I redid everything exactly the same with a new cable and have had no issues since.

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #100 on: September 12, 2020, 07:15:18 pm »
Thanks for the quick responses guys.   :cheers:  I'll need to recalculate what the total draw will be now that I've got most everything except maybe all the lights.  Although if I can run all those through the PC with the PacLed64 then the total draw is the max of my PC PSU anyway.

Scott, (or anyone), what would be purpose or advantage to having an inlet with a fuse?  My brother in law though the house circuit breaker covered the need for that.  I'm guessing surge protection, but shouldn't that be covered with a smart strip?


He also pointed me to an inset inlet on amazon like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Journeyman-Pro-Flanged-Commercial-Straight-Cap/dp/B01E6N0XFI/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=inset+inlet+outlet&qid=1599951944&sr=8-1

It's quite a bit more expensive but is rated for up to 15 amps.

Thoughts?


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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #101 on: September 12, 2020, 07:53:35 pm »
Quote
My brother in law though the house circuit breaker covered the need for that.

Don't ever take electrical advice from that guy...ever.

Ask him why they bother putting fuses in anything then.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 07:56:24 pm by Mike A »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #102 on: September 12, 2020, 08:16:05 pm »
A fuse can protect your cab from catastrophic damage.

I picked up a Taito cab that someone was trying to convert to JAMMA. He said a power supply fuse kept blowing.

I got it home, disconnected the JAMMA board and replaced the fuse. The power supply works fine, and the board works fine in one of my JAMMA cabs.

The fuse protected the linear power supply and the JAMMA board from damage from a ---smurfy--- wiring job.

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #103 on: September 13, 2020, 09:00:46 am »
what would be purpose or advantage to having an inlet with a fuse?  My brother in law though the house circuit breaker covered the need for that.  I'm guessing surge protection, but shouldn't that be covered with a smart strip?
The circuit breaker is there to protect the house from an electrical fire caused by too much current drawn through the wiring of that circuit.
- You can easily fry a system with far less current than it takes to trip the breaker.

The fuse is there to be a cheap sacrificial part to protect the rest of the system from situations like a cascading failure if one part of it breaks down.
- A cascading failure is where one part fails, which causes another part to fail, which causes another part to fail, . . .

A 10A table saw and a Raspberry Pi plug into the same type of wall outlet, but have very different levels of current draw and protection needs.

Generally speaking, select a fuse based on the current draw and blow time.
- If there's a lot of inrush current when you first apply power (CRT, table saw, etc.), use a slow-blow fuse.
- If it's a sensitive circuit with only a little inrush current when you first apply power, use a fast-blow fuse.
- If it's an average circuit, use a regular-blow fuse.

A surge protector isn't the same as a smart strip, but I would expect a smart strip to include some type of surge protector circuit.

He also pointed me to an inset inlet on amazon like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Journeyman-Pro-Flanged-Commercial-Straight-Cap/dp/B01E6N0XFI/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=inset+inlet+outlet&qid=1599951944&sr=8-1

It's quite a bit more expensive but is rated for up to 15 amps.
That would work OK if you want to use an extension cord instead of an IEC power cord.
- You won't draw anywhere near 15A.


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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #104 on: October 17, 2020, 09:03:12 am »
I placed another order for some more electrical accessories and a heat gun.  Time for some woodworking questions I haven't fully solved in my designs yet. 

I need all you drawer and cabinet maker experts advise.

The front coin door section is intended to have a drawer above it, and the lower half is a larger cabinet door for storage / easier access to accessories like steering wheels / pedals / pc access when I get there.

I've not yet figured out how to make these accessible without an exposed door handle, and not rely on magnets that will probably lose grab over time.  I'm trying to keep it feeling as much like a legit front of an arcade as possible.  The drawer above is to house the keyboard / mouse, which won't be used often, BUT it will also house USb controllers that will get used a lot... so it validates the need more in my eyes.

The idea I had for the main front door was to leave about a 1/2 inch lip at the bottom which would meet up with the base of the cabinet, so it can be colored the same to help hide it and given its on the ground it's less noticeable.  I thought MAYBE I could pull on that easily enough to open and close it with some sort of stiff pull hinges.  Needs to be somewhat kid friendly too.  I'd also like to figure out a locking mechanism so it doesn't flop open in transport

Similar deal with the top sliding drawer.  I have the slides already but am not sure how I can hide a handle.  I figure this drawer will get a lot more action then the bottom cabinet drawer so it should be built to last and kid friendly.  Also not sure how I can have some sort of lock to keep it in place during transport.

Any suggestions?

If you haven't addressed your drawer issue yet, the slides I am using in my build might suit your needs.  Push to open feature is built into the slides.  No magnets needed and they stay pretty securely closed until pushed in to release.  They seem to be working well so far.

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,163631.0.html


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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #105 on: October 18, 2020, 04:38:26 pm »

Quote
If you haven't addressed your drawer issue yet, the slides I am using in my build might suit your needs.  Push to open feature is built into the slides.

Thanks for the idea!  I'll have to check local stores and see whats available. 

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #106 on: October 25, 2020, 10:06:25 pm »
Time for a quick update on progress.  I've been getting advice on a variety of topics in other posts and PMs that I'm now trying to fold into the project.  BPerkins convinced me that Sande Plywood from Home Depot would be good enough and I wouldn't need Baltic Birch.  That saved me a longer trip to a lumber yard that sold apparently over priced baltic birch, and gave me a little more budget to put towards laminate.  I picked up all my wood a few weeks back.  Got an extra sheet of 1/2 inch just in case and splurged on select grade furring. Ordered and received a variety of additional parts including castors, leg levelers, some test LED strips, threaded inserts, laminate, roller pads, rubber cement, etc.  Talked shop with Arroyo for a bit today too, and after revisiting his thread again I think I'm going to go with a layered CP approach to allow me to get the joysticks closer to the surface and allow for a universal mount plate so I can more easily swap out sticks later on if desired.

I'm going to keep a lot of the cabinet held together with threaded inserts so I can easily disassemble it and get in into my basement without fear of killing myself, the incidental kid a the bottom of the steps it lands on, or destroying walls along the way. ;)  So that caused me to need to revise a few things on the design.  Once I have all the furring in place with sides cut, I'll probably end up using a black paint / primer mix on the interior just for general looks and some moister proofing, and the laminate and glue should be enough protection on the other sides.  This will hopefully hold up to the higher humidity swings my house tends to have thanks to our evaporative cooler.

I'm breaking things up into modular pieces so I can focus on each and try to get them to completion.  I need some simpler things to get my feet wet first and then something more challenging.  For the simpler part I thought building the base should be fairly straight forward but will involve plenty of cuts and routing for castors.

Next up I'm thinking of trying to take on my gun holsters.  These little things needed a lot more design work yet from my earlier posts and when done are seemingly every bit as challenging as the full cabinet from my perspective.



Here you can see a simple toon shaded view of the holster design on the side of the cab.  I intentionally removed all the graphics on the cab so I can stay focused on finishing the fundamental design and get building.  The theme has a ways to go yet.  The gun holsters will be covered with black laminate, feature a few addressable LED light shapes, and felt interiors.  Part of the challenge is figuring out how to channel things to run the wiring to the LEDs in a tight space and get a nice diffused shape.  I also needed 1 inch of space between the LEDs and the plexiglass to diffuse it properly, so I added some extrusions.  It adds to the tech look a little bit while not making the whole thing crazy thick.  Then I also needed to create a thin but strong paneling on the interior to hide all the wiring channels and protect them.  The best I could come up with right now is 1/8" tempered hardboard,  I'm trying to keep screws hidden but still easy enough to service with the right tools.  Ideally I don't want potential for the gun to come in contact with any screws.  The 2 rods in the front hole design I thought added a neat look and the idea was to have something smooth and sturdy to wrap the USB cable around to give it a stress catch to prevent accidentally yanking the plug out.

I'm also hoping with the design that the interior is deep enough to keep the cable shoved in the bottom with a little side space by the gun so it looks nice when not in use.  I figure I'll try to build one and validate everything works well.  To attach it to the cab, I'll need a hole to run all the wiring, and then threaded inserts on the back side of the holsters and holes through the side panels.  This way I can screw it in from inside the cabinet, which I think will be easier and not expose any screws outside.

Here you can see some of the updates to the overall cabinet design as well.  Again, toon shaded so we're only focusing on form.  I changed up the front edge design and added a t-molding design that I think is kinda futuristic.





Really hoping to start building some pieces of it this coming weekend.  :cheers:



« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 03:46:09 pm by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #107 on: October 26, 2020, 01:24:38 am »
vertexguy, nice build, keep up the good work! 
I'm assuming you won't be playing pinball very much? If so, disregard what I'm about to say as it will not apply.

But if you plan on playing pinball more than just a little, consider that pinball players will naturally put their palms on top of machine to rest some of their body weight on their arms for more comfort.  The way your control panel top panel wings out, this won't be possible. Hence the reason for the 4-player carrier control panel design. It serves a purpose.

(The average pinball machine is 29" wide.)
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 01:33:38 am by Katana Man »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #108 on: October 26, 2020, 01:53:18 am »
Quite the learning curve aint it...Like the way you get the right tools for the job at hand, It seems like it will never end, perhaps it won't, but quality tools last a lifetime and would consider that as an investment in ones future.

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #109 on: October 30, 2020, 01:59:27 pm »
Hence the reason for the 4-player carrier control panel design. It serves a purpose.
(The average pinball machine is 29" wide.)

Thanks for the comments Katana.  This is a tough one.  Honestly the pinball add here I want functional enough to see if I really get into it or not.  So probably just lighter play right now.  I'll be surprised if my kids give it much attention.  If it turns addictive, I guess I'll have to build a dedicated pinball cab to support it properly. ;)

I wrestled with this quite a bit early on but then never really went back to focusing on the pinball buttons.  I understand why the carrier design benefits pinball but there were some other considerations.

1. If I simply made the top of the panel more carrier like without changing panel dimensions, you compromise the wrist wrest area for P1 and P2 in favor of pinball.
2. You can overcome the wrist area by making the panel even deeper, which I tried but ultimately didn't like how big it became.
3. You can also make the pinball controls come out a lot wider to not interfere with the P1/2 wrist area but that's quite a bit away from a typical pinball table width.  I remember a few tables that were much wider than normal, but they were not very common.  I was trying to keep things closer to regulation and smaller to be more kid friendly.
3. Play stance could be different on a cab like this because you're looking up at a monitor instead of down at a playfield.  I get that you still want some form of arm / wrist and perhaps overall body support though.

I'm hoping the concept of hooking your thumbs around the top edge along with a little lean in with your palms on the cab edge will help support your hands enough for some reasonable play times while promoting you to stand like you normally would at an arcade cab and look forward.  It might also be a situation where it's only decent to play if sitting on a stool.  :dunno

It would be interesting to see if anyone has pics of people playing pinball on their carrier design CPs from the side to see what their play stance is like.  Also knowing average play times would be a factor to consider.  I was never a pinball wizard so I think my average game time was less than 5 minutes a game.  Even just feedback from people who have played pinball on these cab designs would be great.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2020, 08:33:22 pm by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #110 on: December 01, 2020, 07:50:54 pm »
It's finally time for another big update!




I'm playing catch up on posting so this should be fairly lengthy with lots of pics.  Back in September / October I finally went out and picked up all the major lumber I thought I would need.  After getting advice from a number of folks and debating between MDF vs Ply, I opted to go with Ply.  Then I researched where to get Baltic Birch in my area since that seemed to be the hot choice around here.  After speaking with others including bperkins on it, I was then convinced it wouldn't be necessary and he pointed me to a Sande Plywood stocked by Home Depot that was quite a bit cheaper than the 115+ a sheet I was seeing for 8x4 Baltic Birch.  This stuff was more like 39 a sheet which left me with more budget to try out laminate.



Unfortunately after spending just a few days in my garage I noticed some warping was occurring.  The top 1/2 inch sheet got it the worst with a wicked bend.  You can also see the pvc pipes I picked up for about 1.25 a piece that I'll be using later for laminating.



That's when I cleared a space in my basement storage area and brought all my lumber in doors.  Fortunately the top most warped piece was a spare so hopefully the other pieces are still decent enough to use.  We shall soon find out.

I ordered a bunch more parts over the past several months.  You never realize just how much there is to buy until you're deeper into this I guess.  Among these items were castors from Penn Elcom as recommended by Arroyo.  These weren't cheap and shipping was just as much as the castors!  However an important factor here is that they are rated to hold more than enough weight indefinitely.  Many castor varieties are intended for shorter term movement where these are intended to be like legs.



I also ordered leg levelers from eBay.  I had a hard time finding ratings on these to hold enough weight.  These were supposed to hold 250 per pair.  I'm hoping between those and the castors I should be more than fine.



One important thing to note with these however was that when I got them, I discovered one of the mounting plates was improperly welded.  It's just a simple nut welded onto a metal plate, and there was a big gap on one side of the weld resulting in the leg leveler not being anywhere close to level.  Kinda defeats the purpose!  So my backup was to run to home depot and grab T-Nuts instead.

I wanted to approach this project in manageable components / sections that challenge my building skills incrementally while also showing broad progress towards a complete cabinet.  As such I decided to start with the base.  It seems simple in concept but ultimately had me using most of my tools and presented all kinds of challenges.



I started by plotting every piece out in a layout in photoshop to give me a nice reference and help me find any potential measurement flaws in the 3d model.  There were plenty.  Turns out 3d Studio Max does some interesting rounding that could make for things being off by a 1/16th in some situations.  Once I averaged those things out and triple checked my work, I printed it off and with the help of my oldest son, measured and plotted everything on a scrap piece of 3/4 ply from my kitchen remodel.  I was going back and forth on the thickness of the base and ultimately went back to keeping it 3/4 for strength and needed thickness to support the castors and leg levelers.  Even with that, there were problems that you'll see in a bit.  One important lesson in this part... notice I marked all new edges for my base inside the wood scrap.  This is because I discovered that even factory edges can sometimes have flaws, and the other sides I had cut definitely had issues.  I even discovered the giant T square I got for dry wall has 1/16th of play in it so I ended up trusting my solid metal 48" ruler to get everything perfectly square.  Other reasons for this approach was that there were little tacks embedded in the edge of this piece that I couldn't easily get out, and the size of my base just barely fit to avoid all the flaws in the wood.


First I needed to setup shop in my cold garage with crap lighting.  This was my make shift solution to get more light where I needed it with a bonus of a little more heat from the lights.



I even found a way to get my boys to help out.  They measured some of the underlying structure and I let them do some cutting as well.

One tool I picked up to help with getting straight cuts was the Accu-Cut from Kreg.  I got this local at Home Depot and it is a fantastic tool!




Before doing anything serious with it I tested it out on some scrap MDF.


You simply set it down directly on your cut line and slowly move the saw across the track.  The results are an incredibly straight cut I could never achieve on my own.


There were some tricks I had to develop as I continued working with the Accu Cut.  In general, if your wood is flat, and dust free, the rubber under the track is plenty to keep it in place.  However if you're dealing with slightly warped plywood, it can cause for some issues where it spins on the high surface.  To counter this, I either used some speed clamps (Harbor Freight special for 3 bucks a pop...WELL worth it! Shown further down with my portable drill press)  and placed one on the far end well passed my stop point, or I walked my hand in front of the saw pushing down on the track as I went.  That plus the weight of the saw kept it straight.  I guess Kreg makes special clamps that attach underneath the track that I might look into, but so far my work arounds are sufficient.

With a good result in the tests, I moved on to the base.






Since I opted to use threaded inserts so I can take this thing apart to get it into my basement, I needed to revise several things with my initial design.  I also realized I had other detail work still remaining.  Turns out for me it's easier to make a 3d model that looks pretty but still miss details necessary for the actual build.  One of the changes was a way to thread the side panels onto the base without taking away additional space on the inside.  Along with this I needed to find a way to confidently drill perfectly.  The solution I arrived at was a 35 dollar portable drill press from Home Depot Online.



It's got a bit of play in it, but ultimately does a far better job than I could do by hand.  It also has a handy depth stopper which is necessary for this work.  Here I did a practice hole that needed to be inset to the right depth to work with the length of hex bolts I went with.







I decided to use black hex bolts (amazon) everywhere for ease of working with in tight spaces and being far less likely to ever strip.  I went with 2 different lengths at 1/4-20 x 1.5mm and 1/4-20x .75mm.  I also got a small kit of assorted lengths that I ended up using most of on my castors (they take 14 a piece and although that's likely overkill, I like the look better with all the holes full.)





Once I had the base cut out I sanded off the white veneer from the ply so I had a good wood on wood surface to glue and screw into.  It was a shiny veneer that was quite slippery and glue didn't take to it at all.

I picked up a little trick on the net for glue spreading.  Bought a threaded rod from Lowes for less than a buck and used it to quickly and evenly spread glue over large wood surfaces.



I went with locktite III for my glue and got some gorilla glue for backup.

All these 1 6/16" boards were the cheap stuff from HD.  In retrospect it would have been nicer to work with a slightly better quality wood but I figured it would suffice for this purpose.  In general it didn't splinter too badly when cutting, but it was really hard to find decent pieces in the store to begin with and all had flaws.  I also accidently grabbed star bit style screws when looking for exterior screws of a shorter length.  Maybe it was intentional subconsciously since I wanted to work with star bits... who knows.  Either way it should be plenty protected and solid.



This top piece required a bit of routing.


The castors have a lot of uniqueness to their shape with subtle 32nd extrusions and such that can cause some headache.  I used the jigsaw on most of these cuts (and my boys helped) as I figured ultimately it didn't matter to much if it was dead on or not.  I ended up breaking out a file and doing a bunch of sanding because it was ultimately too tight of a fit.

Here's the base fully assembled from the bottom with castors and leg levelers on.  I will probably go back and remove the remaining veneer and prime / paint it for extra protection... and to look nice for all the dust mites passing under it. ;)



I then sanded the top veneer off.  Here you can start to see the little problem I ran into.  My depth was somehow off on both my leg levelers.  I was supposed to have 1/8th left but I didn't account for the thickness of the veneer and it's possible the diagram I looked at for the bolt size was slightly off too.  Given my success at depth with the other threaded inserts coming out perfect, that's the best answer I can come up with.



Now I'm left wondering what I should do here.  My intention is to laminate the top with the same black laminate going all over the cabinet.  However I don't know if I should go over the top of the holes and risk it cracking over time if it's ever pressed on.  I also need to get some washers to prevent the leg lever from screwing up quite so high.  Another alternative would be to keep the holes and add holes in the new laminate so it can move up another 8th or so.  Generally speaking you shouldn't ever need to drop the front legs this much but I tried to give it equal movement up and down for versatility.

If I tried filling in the hole any I'm not sure of the best way to do it.  I'm guessing bondo but would it be enough to really matter for strength?



I checked that everything was level and walked and jumped on the base a few times to ensure it was sturdy.  It can be moved with the right motion but it also doesn't have much weight to it yet.  With the full cabinet I think it will be quite solid.



Here's the base trying out it's future home in my basement.


Next I was debating on attempting to laminate, but with the outstanding hole issue I decided I want to wait a while to tackle laminating and focus on building progress.  I was debating moving on to tackle my gun holsters next as a complex little project that starts to address some remaining LED lighting issues as well, but ultimately decided I wanted to feel like I'm making bigger progress on the cabinet.  To me the answer was clearly to continue with the sides.

Here I am plotting that out in the comfort of my basement.  This one I did myself and spent a good amount of time making sure everything was perfectly aligned.  Given the switch over to plywood I found my original designs needed some adjusting.  I had planned on MDF a year ago which meant slightly bigger sheets.  That meant I needed to bring each of my side panels in by about an 8th to have it fit and have a comfortable wiggle room space between them for a clean cut.  Once I got that all sorted out, here's the end plot.



For the cutting I wanted to use my accu cut as much as possible but couldn't use it as much given all the angles.  I ended up using a combo of a lot of jig saw cuts and then going over them again with the accu cut where possible.  The first side was a rougher go with more fine tuning needed.  For the second, I simply traced my first, then rough cut it with the jig saw, and then was able to use the accu cut in more places.  A fatal mistake as I went was the drill holes I used to turn the jig saw.  The fatter drill bits tend to jump a bit when starting, so if you start too close to your finish line, you end up screwing things up.  I had that happen in one area.  I'm hoping it's a small enough indent to not really matter and be hidden by the T-Molding.  Otherwise I'm guessing I have to use bondo and rebuild the corner.



I filed down areas where my jig saw didn't do a great job and used a small finishing sanding block on all of the edges.  Generally the chipping wasn't bad, but I do have some sections that I may need to use bondo on to clean up.  I guess that's one of the down sides to plywood.



This all ended up taking me a lot longer than I expected.  I'd enter the garage thinking I could knock something out in an hour and then look at the clock and 3 hours had gone by. Either way it's a fun process and I'm trying to keep myself tasked with something daily when possible so I can keep moving.



Can anyone tell me if I really have to round off every corner for t-molding to lay down correctly?  Right now I have a couple 90 degree angles on the sides.  Are there techniques to make this work?  If not, what's the minimum I have to round off by?

Thanks to all the great insights provided from the community that has helped get me this far.  As always all thoughts, advice, opinions, etc are very welcome.  Let me know how I'm doing so far and help keep me motivated to cross the finish line!  Next up are the major cross supports so I can get a standing cabinet.  There will be many challenges including a method to precisely drill the threaded insert holes in the side panels that perfectly align to the holes in the cross supports.  Any recommended techniques to help with that other than just really accurate measuring?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2020, 11:34:59 pm by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #111 on: December 02, 2020, 12:13:32 pm »
Congrats on getting started.  Taking that first step on cutting is definitely the hardest. 

It looks like you are getting some good results with the tools, learning how to use them for the first time is tuff (well it was for me).  Your base looks very solid, and your castor cut outs looks like they were well executed.

I think you using the Accu Cut as much as much as possible is a good idea. If it were me I would break out the router to finish the edge and make it clean for anywhere you couldn't use it.  The jig saw is great for rough cutting, but personally I wouldn't use it as a final cut unless it was a tight 90 deg interior angle, and then just to finish it.

Curious why you choose the veneered Plywood, were you going to paint some areas and wanted a smoother surface, or perhaps you were going to laminate against it?  You should be fine to laminate it.  I'd try a practice piece and see how it comes out.

Keep it up!

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #112 on: December 02, 2020, 02:21:51 pm »
Looking good so far.

I would second the router suggestion.  I don't know how much experience you have with one, but I know that I was intimidated by it before I got started on my project, since I had never really used it for anything other than simple round-overs, but it is an incredibly useful tool and this project is a great opportunity to learn how to use it.  In fact, that's probably been the best thing about it for me so far.  You are going to need it for the the t molding tracts and, I assume, trimming the laminate (i've never used laminate before), so might as well get familiar with it if you aren't already.  Also useful for cutting out coin door cutout, circles, dadoes, perfectly matching the sides, recesses, etc.  Lots of good videos out there.

It makes so much cleaner and straighter edges, which will be really important for your t molding to prevent small gaps.  With simple jigs, you can make nice, consistent, rounded corners with it also.  I feel like it is a huge time saver in the long run once you get used to it because you spend less time (i.e. none) filing, sanding, patching, and re-sanding the edges.

I can never get the blade to stay right at 90 degrees and make good straight cuts with my jig saw and the router cleans up the edges amazingly after a quick rough cut with the jigsaw.

This is my first project, so I cant speak much about the t molding, but I got a number of color samples and have been using them to practice cutting them for both round and 90 degree corners.  There seems to be a bit of a different trick to getting it to lay flat for both ways, so do some trial cuts first.  Also handy to have samples around when you make your t tract cuts to make sure you have your router bit depth right.  Make sure you check your actual plywood thickness.  My "3/4" is actually only 11/16.  They have a much smaller range of colors in the other sizes, unfortunately.

It can be tricky to get those inserts lined up precisely.  It's also very easy to insert them at a slight angle on accident if inserting them freehand, which makes a bigger difference than you might think.  A simple jig can help insert them straight.  I remember reading this post where he used inserts and had lots of pics, if you haven't seen it yet:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,156272.0.html

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #113 on: December 02, 2020, 11:58:30 pm »
Curious why you choose the veneered Plywood, were you going to paint some areas and wanted a smoother surface, or perhaps you were going to laminate against it?  You should be fine to laminate it.  I'd try a practice piece and see how it comes out.

Hey Arroyo,
I used it because I only bought 1 sheet of 3/4 Sande plywood and wouldn't have enough remaining for the base once the sides were cut.  No other special reason.  I might use more where needed.  The ply underneath seems nice to me.  I intend on removing the rest of the white veneer and then laminating it fresh with the black matte laminate you pointed me to for the inside surface.  The white veneer chips really easily on cutting so I thought it better to just remove it all rather than try to glue laminate to it.   I still have to figure out what to do about the accidental holes from the leg levelers...

I will need to do some research on how to use the router to clean up those edges.  I'm not well versed.  I THINK the edges are fairly decent after sanding but I'm sure a router would be more precise.  In my head right now all I can picture is having to somehow align a perfectly straight board underneath the cut side panel section which the flush trim bit bearing would ride on.  My bearing is on the end of the bit after the blades.  That way there's a flat surface on the top for the router to lay on while I trace the template underneath?  Seems like I'd have to reposition the straight piece for every cut.  Not sure if I need a fence up top too or what risk there is to screw it up.  Will definitely need to practice on some scrap first.   Trying to get my measurements notated for the cross pieces tomorrow and then on to the inserts to bring it upright.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2020, 07:12:53 pm by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #114 on: December 03, 2020, 12:02:30 am »
This is my first project, so I cant speak much about the t molding, but I got a number of color samples and have been using them to practice cutting them for both round and 90 degree corners.  There seems to be a bit of a different trick to getting it to lay flat for both ways, so do some trial cuts first.

Thanks for the ideas.  I'll definitely test it out with some of my sample pieces.  You mentioned making it lay flat, but looking at the cross second on mine, the t molding doesn't look flat.  It's more like a squished letter C.  I assume it's suppose to only be flat at the edges and not the center when applied?

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #115 on: December 03, 2020, 09:49:32 am »
i was referring to the edges of the molding in relation to the side edge of the panel if there are any irregularities of the panel edge

vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #116 on: December 09, 2020, 12:15:19 am »
Progress update:

Trying to get the cab upright is my main next goal.  I spent a bunch of time figuring out the key supports needed and tweaking their measurements, then spent several hours plotting with my oldest son helping out a little.

I tried to utilize my Accu Cut to make a sort of table saw / chop saw type rig to make really quick cuts but my efforts didn't work out.  For some reason I was getting issues where I was off by as much as 1/8.
 After several error cuts and lots of time wasted I opted to go back to the jig saw.  Honestly if it weren't for the potential of not getting a 90 degree cut I would favor this tool above the others.  I can cut extremely straight with it without a guide and actually SEE what I'm doing as I'm cutting.



All of these were quick and easy to do with the Jigsaw.  I sand all of the ends lightly when done.  There will be more of these later, but this should be enough to get the cab standing.

Then I started cutting out large sections with the accu cut for the back panels.  These all have a bunch of vent holes that I want to cut with the kinda classic Nintendo'esque cab speaker style with the pill shape cuts.  To start I measured everything out and then used a starter punch to help give the drill a better resting point.  That mixed with the portable drill guide proved to work really well on the first try. 






At first I had the board over open air taking my sons advice that it would be faster to get through them quickly.  Well... sorta, except I forgot about all the blow out that inevitably would occur underneath.
Here you can see that even when I tried adding painters tape, it didn't help much.  Ultimately I think I just needed a sacrificial board tightly clamped under it.



Outside of that, which I sanded down, so far so good.  Then came figuring out how to give my router some fence guides to try to make this perfectly straight.  I tried several different things.



It worked!  My first attempt was a pretty decent success.  So then I continued with a similar approach on the others.



For the most part the row came out pretty good with a couple areas where the end holes were getting a little bigger than I'd like.  I thought, ok, this isn't so bad and seems to be working, so I'm continue to the next set.... then the ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- started hitting the fan.  :timebomb:



As I kept going things just kept getting worse and I couldn't understand why... and it's too late to really fix.  My best guess is that my fence just wasn't staying perfectly in place even with the way I had it clamped in 2 places (which was tough to stay out of the way of the router).  Also when I reached the end I think the bigger hole in the ends was a result of me trying to shut the router off, which is a bit of an awkward reach to hit the switch.

I thought maybe I could salvage it somehow and carefully lined up edges to try to correct it.... well, it's a fatter vent slot....


Ultimately I ended with this, which has a ton of mistakes and I'm not too happy about. 



I should have enough spare 1/2" ply to go back and make another, but I really need a new approach first.  This also makes me pause before continuing to do any vents on my back panels.


Next I decided to try to move on to speaker cut outs.  I don't have a circle router jig, and if I had more time I might have tried building my own....

First I predrilled holes for my jigsaw to ruff cut the shape.








Then I mounted the inner frame of the speaker mount to trace with the router.



Here's where I also discovered another problem.  I bought a new router bit that was a 1/2" shank with a bearing at the end.  This would have enabled me to flip the board over to have a smoother flat surface for the router to ride on which probably would have prevented the upcoming mistake....  Turns out I was mistaken and my router only supports 1/4" bits.  Fortunately I had a flush trim set I got over a year ago I could try, but the bearing is on the opposite end.

I put some cardboard under it to raise the edge up a little bit to try to get it more on the bearing and away I went.



Everything worked out pretty well until I got close to the end.  I must have accidently leaned into the circle a bit because I started hitting metal.


So I thought... great.  I came this close to a perfect circle and now I screwed up my frame and the circle.  Fortunately these are all inside and hidden, but still.... disappointing.

In the end the speakers look good mounted at least.




My next task was to cut the 3/16ths hardboard sheet I got in half so it is a little more manageable.  Once that's done I started measuring out a small section to try to make my own template for the vents.


I plan on using this stuff for some wire panel covers in various places of the cab and on my gun holsters, but I should have plenty of extra.

My hope is that by leaving a 3" margin around the entire template, I will have just enough flat space for the router to ride on.  Then I just have to make 1 perfect vent, and can then hopefully use the flush trim bits to mirror that perfect shape without a chance for error.  Now obviously if the router tips somehow its going to screw up my template just like my speaker mount...but I don't think that will be nearly as likely when always on a flat surface.  I also need to come up with the best way of holding it down.  I know a few of you have relied on a double stick tape method, although I'm not sure of the exact type.  I was thinking of going to HD to get some to test.  If it holds well enough and doesn't strip away my wood surface it would be a lot easier than finding a way to clamp it down from multiple sides.

More on this attempt soon...
« Last Edit: December 09, 2020, 12:16:58 am by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #117 on: December 14, 2020, 01:45:19 pm »
After spending a bunch more time trying to understand why my first attempt at the vents failed so badly, I believe I finally have it figured out!

Welcome to the quest for the perfect pill shaped hole! ;)




It turns out my first attempt was doomed to fail for a variety of reasons I didn't realize at the time.  Rather than using a full template approach, my first attempt was using a moving fence.  Seems like this should work, but there were several factors I didn't consider that resulted in this not working right.  First, it was difficult to figure out ways to clamp both the vertical and horizontal fences in place and then have the vertical fence be easily movable so I could jump from hole to hole.  This resulted in a lot of tear down and setup between each hole, and adjustments on everything which left a margin for alignment error.

The next culprit was the holes I was drilling.  Getting those to be absolutely precise down to a 64th or less even with the drill guide is very challenging, and some of my holes were not lined up correctly.  This is in part why if you look back you'll notice a tendancy for the top or bottom of the hole where it's round to be slightly bulging out on one side.  When the holes are off but the fence is straight, it makes a bulge.

Then the real kicker....  it turns out my router base is not actually a circle.  After banging my head on the wall for hours trying to understand how I could get such horrible slippage with a fence, I figured out that the likely culprit was in part my technique, and a result of the router not being round.  Sure enough, as I was making these lines I wasn't keeping the router lined up exactly the same way on each attempt and reversed my approach on the second set of holes  (that came out far worse) to accommodate my clamped setup.  The side measurement from the blades edge is 1/8th less than the measurement from the blade to the front of the router.  So as I was going if I didn't keep the router aligned (which I wasn't) that would cause a big variance.  Pretty sure the back was a unique measurement as well.  So WTF craftsman?!  Why on earth wouldn't a round looking router base actually be perfectly round?

So after figuring all this out, I decided to try making a template instead to hopefully get more consistent results and speed up the process.



To make these, I tried using my drill with a 1/2" bit to make the ends, being extremely careful to get them as perfectly aligned center as possible.  Then I used my jig saw and hand cut out the rest of the shape.  This of course was not C&C grade by any stretch and left me sanding down inner bumps trying to get a more perfect edge.  Using this method I really should have used a fence to help get a more perfect straight cut.  The end result on the template looked OK, but I could still tell it wasn't perfect.  Regardless, I tried it out on some scrap.

The next challenge in using this was holding down the template.  I did some digging and saw that some folks recommended using a brand of double sided carpet tape.  (Shuretape) I went out to Lowes and found a roll for about 6 bucks.



This stuff is interesting in that it's a somewhat thick fiber texture as it goes on.  It does stick fairly well on the first try, but I quickly learned some set backs with it as well.  The hardboard I'm using to make the templates has a lot of fiber like texture to it on the back, which likes to stay stuck to the tape and makes it hard to reuse it for multiple cuts.  Also it's a heat activated tape and I'm working in my garage with the temperature outside averaging about 18 degrees this week.  That combination doesn't work well and makes it where the tape doesn't stick at all.  I figured out a work around to this which was to hit the tape strips with my heat gun once it was applied just for a few seconds.  This rejuvenated it and I was able to use the same tape to complete several cuts.

Here you can see the results of testing this template out on some scrap.


Not bad.... way better than my first attempt.... but also not perfect.  You can see some of the ends bulging from where I drilled and things not being perfectly aligned, along with a subtle waveyness in the straight section.

This is the point where my wife thinks I've lost my mind trying to make this even better for a vent that no one see's sitting against a wall.  I figure that's not the point.  I want to learn how to do the best job I can regardless the part, and getting things right here means I should be better equipped when doing parts that are more front and center.  Plus this process of making one at a time is still fairly slow.  My design has a lot of these vents. 6 sets of 7 in this style, and 2 more sets of 3 in a slightly longer horizontal variety.



My 5" vent came out slightly better, but still has some hand done qualities to it.


Instead of attempting to make the rounded ends with the drill bit I decided to let the router make as much of everything as possible.  Here I realized all I needed was a straight edge to ride with stops on either end.  For this I used a jigsaw against a fence to get a perfectly straight edge.  I then measured out the 7 vent holes I needed for a set and with this simple little half cut template, lined the edges up to perfectly match the lines.  For the holes I still used my 1/2" router bit and painstakingly made perfect starter holes for it with a center punch that I aligned and hand pressed first, then hammered a little bigger.  The top of the hardboard is really slick so it makes the center punch want to slide around really easily. 




To the right you can see 2 failed attempts at making a single slot template.  These were a combination of measurement error and drill bit alignment.

After all this.... here's the first test result.  Finally... a perfect vent!


Now the next question is, can I replicate it consistently?



It would appear I have success!



Here I lined up the old cuts in my top panel next to the brand new template cuts.... it's night and day. :)  I showed my wife this and she saw the improvement, but still didn't think it mattered given it was against the wall.  Yet I know if she bought something and saw it looked like the vent on the left, she wouldn't be happy with it either. ;)

Next up was to test the template and make sure everything worked well before I risk ruining another large panel.



For these I decided to use a slightly smaller drill bit so there would be less risk of accidently damaging the template, but also making sure the starting holes are always inside the template as opposed to drilling them with measurements before putting down the template and risking something being slightly off.

The trade off here is that it's just a little snug for the router bit.  It makes it where the router can't start spinning initially, but with some subtle wiggling it eventually is able to kick in.  The trouble with the kick in part is that I'm near positive this is causing the pitted marks you'll see in the middle areas of each vent slot. (see how it's lighter in the middle.)  I just couldn't figure out a better way to quickly give the router bit a large enough starting area to spin freely but not risk damaging the template or having to do ultra precise measurement and predrilling.



With the second test coming out nicely, it's time to test it out on a real panel.  Below you'll see I'm using a plastic (I think drywall) scraper as kind of a spudger tool to gently get underneath the template with a few taps from the rubber mallet.  The tape can stick really well and make it quite difficult to pull it off by hand, so this technique made it much faster and didn't damage the template.






Below you can see the little pits that the router blade seems to be making on startup.  It has to be the kickback force of the blade struggling to start.  I really didn't want to have to do a bunch of fine detail work on vent holes, but I'll probably attempt to fill these in with some light bondo somewhere down the line...  If anyone has ideas to further improve my process, please share!





Overall I'm happy with the results I got now.  WAY better than my first botched attempt.  I managed to knock out 2 of the back panels yesterday.  I still haven't decided if I will make another template set for the horizontal longer vents, or just utilize this template and slide it over once the holes are made to get them to the correct length.

Another side note.... I noticed there seems to be a bit of a difference in my noob opinion between the 3/4" and 1/2" ply I'm using despite it supposedly being the same type.  The grain on the 3/4" has more red in it and just looks nicer IMO.  The 1/2, especially when cut down to smaller pieces just feels more like a balsa wood for lack of a better description.  It's still got some strength...but I feel much more confident in the 3/4.  The 1/2 inch also seems to want to have more bow in it just across a 30" strip.  I'm doubling up the 1/2 now for some of my designs, particularly on the lower front where I have a drawer and cabinet to make the frame a lot stronger, and hopefully correct some of the bow.  If I can't get good enough results I may have to start all over with 3/4" everywhere.  However I will note that even the 3/4 has some bow in it depending on the cut.  From what I've read this seems to be common in ply and is one of the advantages of working with MDF.  That said, I'm hoping it's not significant enough to matter, and hoping that when pieces are put together they will straighten out a bit more.  I also realized that the glue I'm using doesn't work so well in 18 degree weather.  I'm going to have to migrate pieces to and from my basement it seems to solve that issue....


« Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 01:47:55 pm by vertexguy »

yamatetsu

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #118 on: December 15, 2020, 11:01:13 am »
If anyone has ideas to further improve my process, please share!



If you want to give it another try, here's a link on how to do it. How to Route a Nintendo Speaker Grill
                  

vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #119 on: December 18, 2020, 11:51:04 pm »
Thanks for the reference Yamatetsu.  :cheers:  It seems like I'm doing pretty much the same thing outlined in that post, but the main difference is that I don't have a plunge router, and I'm attempting to blow thru all of the depth in one go vs shallow passes.  I might try a shorter bit to see if it helps, but then of course it takes a lot more time to swap out bits and change up depths.... but it might make the difference.  These cuts are good enough for this panel, but I will end up touching them up with some filler.