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Author Topic: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions  (Read 1877 times)

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Bloviator

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Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« on: September 22, 2020, 04:05:01 pm »
First Project.  First forum or social media post of any kind, ever.  Anywhere.  Iím begrudgingly entering the 21st Century.

Big thanks to all of the skilled and creative (and OCD!) people who have taken the time and effort to document their projects and respond to questions on this forum and elsewhere.  This is such a great project because of the wide range of different skills to learn and use (including 50 ways to use your router (someone should make a song about that)), but it would be awfully daunting without all of your help.

I started thinking about doing this several of years ago.  My plans started simple, quickly progressed to a do everything control panel, then I decided to split it into two separate projects to; make the controls more functional, have another family heirloom to pass down, allow multiple people to play at the same time, and give me a chance to maybe try some new things on the second project (assuming I am even able to complete the first!)

The second project will have a trackball, spinner (with small wheel attachment) and an analog stick.

The first will just be joysticks and buttons.  I am trying to focus my layout on functionality dictated by some of my priority games, being Robotron, Smash TV, and Defender, as well as having a dedicated 4-way joystick.  I am not a big fan of the switchable ones that I have tried and I donít really want to have kids having to do mess with them (I don't have any grandkids yet, but might have 3 or 4 by the time I finish).  I am trying to incorporate a 4 player game option without making the control panel too large, but it will be more of a novelty, so Iím not too worried about extended functionality.  That being said, it seems to be viable after laying it out to size on paper, but I am certainly open to suggestions.  Worst case, redoing the control panel isnít the end of the world.

As far as themes, I plan on making more ďGame RoomĒ themes, using some common interests with my wife.  One of them will be a James Bond theme with the Title ďNo more 4 playĒ with a picture from the scene that quote comes from in Goldeneye on the marquee.  Iím thinking of either the classic gun barrel view or some sort of opening sequence art on the control panel and either poster art or movie screen shots on the sides (either just one or at most 2-3 pics on each side.  It would be nice to include several characters, but i donít want it to be too busy).

The other project will be a Rock and Roll theme with some of our favorite bands (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Guns and Roses, Rush, etc.) titled ďRide and RollĒ.  Probably an empty stage set on the control panel.

Now if I can only decide which theme to use with which control panel! ;)

A few questions:

-I will definitely need to enlist some (paid) help with designing the artwork, if anyone is still around here that does that.  I have tried to dabble with some art programs but I just donít have it in me.

-I would like to be able to play short audio clips with random Bond movie quotes or song clips upon a game launch.  It seems that the paid LED Blinky might have some of this functionality (not sure if it can be random tho), or is there a better option?  I am currently planning on using the paid Launch Box, but will consider other options.

-I will have a functional Coin door and want a switch inside the door to turn off/on the coin buttons on the control panel.  I want to be able to limit the number of coins, especially for the kids.  I think the feeling of trying to make every credit count really adds to the games.  It would seem that a simple open/closed switch at the end of the daisy chain, before going to the desired buttons would work, correct?  Or maybe Iíll just get rid of the coin buttons on top

Control panel:
-I am using Dominux8 Joysticks (tested a number of different sticks and love these).  The 8 ways will be Long setting and round restrictor.  The 4 way restricted will be Short setting and recessed 1/8 inch into the bottom of the control panel.  I have (for now) moved the 4 way a bit forward on the control panel, along with the defender reverse button.  It will also probably have a different color ball top than the other 4.  This seems to give me a bit better spacing and it also seems like it might be more intuitive for people who are new to the panel.  Critique is requested!

-I am using Electric Ice 2 Buttons from GGG with Micro-Leaf switches.  I nominally liked the feel of the IL clear buttons with black plungers from Paradise with the Cherry Microswitches better, but prefer the lighting of the GGG buttons and they have a lower profile under the control panel, which is a little bit of an issue because of my tight spacing in a couple of spots with the IL buttons and their LED board.  I might actually use the IL buttons for the coin, start, and Admin buttons with labels, tho.  I like the idea of the admin buttons being different from the game buttons to make the panel a bit more intuitive, but Iím not sure how this will look with the vastly different lighting.  Thoughts?

Woodwork is already mostly done, except for the control panel.

One thing I would do differently from my design so far is the top rear removable panel.  It has developed a slight bow and will let in some light at the top.  This also made cutting it with the table saw at a 45 degree angle a bit off.  I will put some weather strip to block the light or just redo it, but I should have just made the top edge of the removable panel a 90 degree cut, like the bottom one.

I probably would cut an inch or maybe two of depth from the entire cabinet (make the bottom of the side panels 20 or 21 inches instead of 22, removed from the rear).  I think it would still be plenty stable (especially with the 2x2s and edge to edge framing adding weight in the bottom part), but there would have been issues with the 18 inch drawer slides and mounting the monitor panel at 20 inches.

Also note that the measurements assume 3/4 inch material (mdf).  Plywood requires some minor adjustments depending on actual thickness.  I also scrapped my plan to do wood retainers for the marquee on the plans.

Nothing earth shattering here, but hopefully I can add a few basic things I learned (often the hard way, per usual) and found helpful.





using the simple rectangle one

javeryh

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2020, 05:54:38 pm »
Welcome to the forums.  Your project sounds ambitious - post some pics if you can figure out how.  It is much easier to visualize stuff.

For your artwork, I would go join your second forum over at deviantart and poke around in the "for hire" section.  You can look at portfolios and find an artist you like and hire him/her.  It is expensive but I have had great success with this getting exactly what I want in terms of artwork.

Audio clips before launching a game is something I think Hyperspin (free) can handle.  Launchbox/Bigbox is a great program, but not so great for arcade cabinets, IMO.  About 2 months ago I dove in and learned to set up both Launchbox and HyperSpin and while Launchbox was about 1000x easier, I really like HyperSpin beter for its versatility - you can get it to behave however you want.  YMMV though.

You can set up the coin door to take credits that's easy.  There is a microswitch you just wire to "5" in MAME (or "coin" on an iPac or whatever you end up using) like any other button.  An extra switch inside of the door will work fine to turn it on and off but not sure why you would want this?  Just don't give them any more quarters!

Good luck.

Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2020, 07:27:26 pm »
Thanks, javeryh

I want to be able to turn the coin buttons on the top of the control panel off at some times, to force the use of actual coins.  The coin door will always be on.

A few things I have found useful so far:

I would definitely recommend first timers making a template out of hardboard of the side panels.  Ideally 5mm or thicker.  Good practice rough cutting with the jigsaw, smooth cutting with the router, testing your design, and way cheaper than plywood if you hate it or mess up.  Plus, I'll have it if I decide to be lazy on part 2.

This Incra measuring/marking ruler made marking the edge for the ledger boards, among other things very easy and accurate:



For routing, the circle cut jig was great, just make sure when you are making the final cut all the way through that the inner circle that the jig is attached to doesn't move.  My first one did and made a minor imperfection, not a big deal but could have been worse

I made several spacers for cutting clean straight edges with the router that made things much faster and easier.  I have one for the plunge base (for the joystick recess) and several others for different sized bits.  After you get the spacer the right size, just put the edge of the spacer where you want to cut, clamp your straight edge up against it:



then remove the spacer and go:





Very useful for quickly cutting the side panel template, coin door cutout, handle cutouts, etc

javeryh

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2020, 07:35:18 pm »
I want to be able to turn the coin buttons on the top of the control panel off at some times, to force the use of actual coins.  The coin door will always be on.

A lot of us put microswitches behind the coin return button on the coin door instead of having a dedicated coin button taking up space on the control panel.  This at least forces the player to mimic putting a quarter in even if you don't feel like actually using a quarter.  The coin return still works but if you press it you also get a credit.  I keep mine always active though.

Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2020, 08:15:22 pm »
I've never used threaded inserts before and wanted to get some practice so I am using them to attach the removable rear panels.

It is really easy to accidentally insert them at an angle.  Making a simple jig makes it alot easier to insert them straight.  I made this one out of some scrap 4x4, but any straight edge 2x4 will work.  I have a couple of different sized holes on either end.





In order to easier line up the thumb screw holes in the removable panels, I first drilled a small pilot hole all the way through the ledger board before installing it onto the side panel.  Then i used that pilot hole to drill the hole for the insert to the proper depth, then installed the inserts





Then after assembling the cabinet, I put the removable panel in place and marked the location for the holes in the removable panel through the initial pilot hole in the ledger board.  Ended up pretty spot on.  Only had to slightly enlarge a couple of holes to get them to fit.



The first couple of inserts had a bit of wiggle to them despite being pretty tight going into the wood.  I put a little wood glue on the outter threads of the rest of them and they seem much more stable.  I'm not sure if this will help much in the long run, but it made me feel better.


Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2020, 08:36:35 pm »
To say that the veneer on my plywood is paper thin would be an insult to paper, but this goes way beyond that.

I didnt bother to clamp a scrap board to the back of this dado grove for cables between the bottom compartment and monitor/control panel because i knew it would be on the underside and not visible but yikes!  Wont be doing that again.  Just clamped some scrap onto the other side and turned out perfect.



I found some full extension drawer slides with built in push to open feature for a hidden drawer below the control panel.  Pricey, but they seem to be working out pretty well so far.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CXHTFRY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1





Face panel attached:




Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2020, 09:06:28 pm »
I love the pocket holes for simple boxes like this drawer and the control panel box.  I found it easier to loosely dry assemble them (using a more than necessary number of clamps), then disassemble and reassemble with glue.  Much neater than gluing during the initial assembly.  I doubt the glue adds much overall strength to the joint but I think it helps limit loosening from vibrations and it fills in small gaps for easier painting

Speaking of clamps, I constantly have to remind myself to use enough of them.

The gap between the ledger boards and the shelf below the drawer was pretty snug and when I assembled and glued it up it was a little tight and I didn't clamp it enough.  This left a small gap (bottom left) and resulted in it being very slightly out of square.  Doesn't seem like much here but was more noticeable at the top.  I was able to compensate during assembly, but it could have caused a bigger problem.



Test fitting everything before I start my first bondo experience:










JRobATL

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2020, 10:14:21 pm »
Very nice! I especially like the construction of the pull-out drawer.

vertexguy

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2020, 11:06:34 pm »
Welcome!  This is looking great so far!  Clearly you've got experience with wood working.  The control panel is probably the single most important thing to get right.  There are plenty of members with a keen eye who can give you input on that.  4 player panels present lots of challenges to make sure every player has a great experience.  :cheers:

Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2020, 05:21:39 pm »
Tks for replies.

Filling pocket holes with a quality wood filler still resulted in several areas of shrinking and cracking

Planning on going over them with Bondo when I fill some gaps in the plywood, exposed screws and small gap at speaker panel at the bottom of the marquee.  Anyone have experience just filling pocket holes with straight Bondo.  Does it do better than wood filler?



Control Panel mock up in place.  Any thoughts before I start drilling?



Drnick

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2020, 05:31:04 am »
Could just be the angle, but looks like you are getting mighty close to the right hand edge with the buttons/joysticks,  have you checked for clearances required under panel?

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2020, 09:33:20 am »
Could just be the angle, but looks like you are getting mighty close to the right hand edge with the buttons/joysticks,  have you checked for clearances required under panel?

Tks Drnick.  It is snug but should fit, although I was planning on moving those buttons slightly to make sure I didn't have any trouble from it.  I only have 1/2 inch overhang of the top panel on the sides.  You can't rest your button hand  palm on the top, but I am not too worried about extended 4P play.

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2020, 07:17:36 am »
With regards to the pocket holes you can just buy the plugs (assuming it's a Kreg). It's a bit more expensive than filler but they can be easily glued in place and the flush cut/sanded to remove the excess. No more work than a single application of filler, and if you're applying filler twice then probably quicker.

Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2020, 10:03:35 am »
With regards to the pocket holes you can just buy the plugs (assuming it's a Kreg). It's a bit more expensive than filler but they can be easily glued in place and the flush cut/sanded to remove the excess. No more work than a single application of filler, and if you're applying filler twice then probably quicker.

Definitely will try that next time.  Tks

firedance

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2020, 01:10:14 pm »

Control Panel mock up in place.  Any thoughts before I start drilling?



for me all the controls need moving all to the left, as the way it looks now player 1 is almost in the middle of the screen with players 2 and 3/4 squashed in to the right.

what are the extra 2 buttons/holes for between players 1 and 2 ?

maybe start with player 1 and player 2 more central on the panel then position players 3 and 4 to try and give as much room to everyone when all 4 players are playing.

up to you as its your cabinet
« Last Edit: September 30, 2020, 01:13:16 pm by firedance »

vertexguy

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2020, 07:00:52 pm »


It might just be the image, but to me it looks like your holes might be a bit big to what is required for most buttons / joysticks?  I also can't tell but I'd highly recommend having center points on all of them for easy alignment when drilling.  Tap a small hole at each point to help the drill start out in the right spot.

As far as layout, they look mighty squished to me and shoved far to the right as others have mentioned.  Consider this image below as an example from my own research.  I'm accounting for an above average adult arm size with these cardboard slabs to make sure everyone has a comfortable space during frantic gameplay, an average sized body space with some outward bend at the elbows, wrist rest areas, no colliding with any buttons / interactive points they shouldn't be, and the viewing angle is still good for all.



I also had questioned what some of the buttons / holes were intended for in your layout.  Can you clarify?

Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2020, 08:51:46 pm »
Good advice, tks

The holes on the paper may not be to the correct size, but the spacing is.

I will definitely be using printouts (from slagcoin) with accurate center points when it comes time for final marking

The two holes toward the front between P1 and P2 are a dedicated 4 way joystick and a defender reverse button that I am trying to work into it.

The other option is moving those between P1 and P3 (near where P3 buttons currently are) and making P3 play with the buttons to the left of the joystick in a similar position to P4 currently (not ideal obviously, but doable).  If I do that, everything else can move left, but then the 4 way is way off center.

The asymmetry does bother me but I'm trying to focus on function for my priority games.  I know I'm trying something different from most standard layouts (and that there is a reason why they are so)  ;) so I appreciate helping me talk through it.

The way it is currently, P4 stands at more of an angle to the screen than P3 but still has visibility.  P3 only has to stand at a partial angle

P4 buttons are in the top right corner (the group of 3).  The other 2 buttons at the top right are just start/coin buttons.  I didn't bother trying to print out the other start/admin buttons along the top

Perhaps I'm trying too hard to keep the width of the control panel down (its currently 38 inches).

Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2020, 06:39:40 pm »
Finished cutting the control panel (hopefully, see below)

I'm waiting on a guy I know who rebuilds old cars to help me do the painting in his paint booth.  While I wait, thought I'd start planning wiring by installing the controls.  It seems like it might actually be fairly playable for 4 player games.  I think the only nuisance might be the 4-way thumb button getting in the way of P-2 joystick hand, mostly on fighters, but that is not a big priority for me.  Any additional space between those was going to cause more undesirable problems on other games.  I might end up regretting not putting the furthest to the right pair of buttons for P1 and P2 on the same plane as the second pair from the right (instead of the curved, ergonomic alignment), more in keeping with Stargate arrangement





Another lesson learned the hard way today.  I was planning on using tropical mood lights for my joystick lighting but they have been out of stock at paradise arcade shop for awhile so I contacted them and they said they did not intend to make them any longer.  I had only bought a few for testing purposes so will need another option.  I have found some similar sized unwired pixels online that I could probably wire myself without having to modify the slots I have cut (much).  Does anyone have any similar options they are aware of?

Bloviator

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2020, 07:06:38 pm »
Also started planning my audio with a volume control on the speaker panel.

I'm not sure how most people are doing this now, but I was going to try using a mini amp board in this picture.



Instead of hacking a 3.5mm audio cable, I'm using these repair cables which already have the wires separated:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08133YLZ7/ref=sspa_dk_detail_5?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B08133YLZ7&pd_rd_w=CQHU5&pf_rd_p=7d37a48b-2b1a-4373-8c1a-bdcc5da66be9&pd_rd_wg=5x3SP&pf_rd_r=A575SC6Y096N6K95Y52T&pd_rd_r=982a736a-a004-43e2-8ab3-50ce39037364&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyOVcxS0U5SUc2SzJYJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNzY2Njk1MTFDQU1WV0RPQzk1WiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNzEzNDczMVRROU5YSEYwVkYzRiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbCZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

A long one will run from the computer up to the potentiometer input (3rd set of pins, furthest to the right).  Then a short one will run from the output (middle set of pins) into the mini amp.  Note that the shorter one I bought for some reason had the Left channel wire as red and the Right as green.



This is a 50k Potentiometer, which seems to be about right, although I might test out a 20k one instead

The only problem I've noticed is that this board includes bluetooth and a wired input.  It is surprisingly powerful and sounds great via bluetooth, but when using the wired connection, there is a bit of a hum when there is no sound.  Not a total deal breaker, but not ideal.  It doesnt appear to be coming from the potentiometer or the audio wires I am using, as different wires skipping the Potentiometer, and even having NO wired audio wires connected still have the hum.  Only after you pair a bluetooth device does the hum go away, whether there is a wired connection or not.  There doesnt appear to be any way to disable the bluetooth.  It is present whether using a brick power adaptor or Meanwell, both 12v.  Any thoughts?  I might just go with a cheap Kinter amp I have instead

vertexguy

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Re: Dual Project, Frankensplit. Several questions
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2021, 08:00:34 pm »
I don't have an answer for your latest question, but was just reviewing this thread again and admiring the woodworking skills.  There are some nice tricks in here like your router fence approach that I need to try.  I noticed your issue with not being able to get the LEDs from Paradise.  I'll be curious what you come up with.  I bought some a year ago but don't have enough to complete my project with them either. :/  It also looks like you're planning on using the same lit acrylic tube approach as chance on your panel?  One consideration there is how close your LED is to the tube.  I've struggled to find the right distance and spread to get only 2 LEDs to really diffuse evenly.  My ring design is a little different but I'm thinking 3 or even 4 may be needed to get it evenly lit without hotspots.

Keep up the good work and keep posting progress!  :cheers:
« Last Edit: January 06, 2021, 06:40:03 pm by vertexguy »