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Author Topic: Project: Arcade Elements  (Read 855 times)

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tsukikage

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Project: Arcade Elements
« on: December 18, 2020, 11:20:04 am »
Hello all,

I am finally finishing up my shell of an arcade cabinet that a friend gave to me 8 years ago.   I just never got a good opportunity to get it finished as I always struggled with issues of time, money or motivation throughout those years :blah:.  I had a former project announcement about it but I figured it would be a lot easier to start a new one rather than resurrect the zombie.  The old thread is here http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,117791.msg1248428.html#msg1248428 if anyone is interested.  Anyway, let's get crackin to get this thing finished already!

I'll start off with the monitor upgrade which is what truly re-sparked my interest in the project.  I scored a great deal on a 27" Sony Trinitron KV-27FS120 locally for $10 off of Facebook marketplace.  The small monitor that I had in it before always looked ridiculous to me and really kept me from getting excited about the project.  My cab dimensions also made it impossible to fit a respectable looking widescreen in there and the true arcade monitors were $$$!  The Sony was pretty much in immaculate shape, has component input, and was the perfect size after de-casing to drop into my cab.  It was in my opinion the perfect solution for my circumstances.  Here she is out of the case and then again after mounting it up in place behind my newly painted bezel and glass. 

 

Next up was tackling the signal problem of going from my PC's VGA out to Component.  I ended up getting an old AMD Radeon HD 5450 which works perfectly with CRT_Emudriver.  I also grabbed a quality VGA to YPbPr Component Transcoder from Jam off of eBay.  I will say, I was sweating getting one for a month or two as availability on these things are hit or miss.  Patience paid off though and I'm totally happy with the one I got.  It took a lot of reading, time, tweaking settings, trial, error and many many beers to get everything right.  The picture now looks amazing running Groovymame! Here is my best attempt of grabbing a picture of something running in it's native resolution but the scanlines and crispness can only be truly admired in person.  I'll just say it's amazing when you first see it after looking at led screens for so very long.



After getting everything tuned with the screen I tackled my biggest hang up of them of all before actually building the control panel...  Artwork.. For the longest time, I could never figure out what I wanted to do with the artwork.  I've always been a big vs. fighter game fan and the cab's design is super close to MK/Killer instinct design so I kicked that around.  I was talking with my son about the theme and we came up with doing an Avatar the last Airbender cab.  It's something we both watched together and enjoyed when he was little and have very fond memories of that series so that's what I went with.  At the same time I was conflicted as I didn't want to commit to the show totally for arcade art, as it wasn't even a thing for the arcade era of games.  That's when I came up with the idea of just using Aang in the Avatar state.  Those not familiar with the show will probably just look at this like he's some mean looking alien dude.  I think I pulled that goal off nicely after scouring the internet when came across artwork this artwork.  Thought it would look sweet with him holding the trackball inplace of the airball.



I figured it was perfect for what I had in mind.  Getting it refined for the cabinet was another challenge altogether.  I derrrrped around with Painshop Pro and Photoshop for as much as my patience could allow but ultimately decided artwork is just not my thing nor did I have the time to learn how to put it all together.   I contacted and hired out Snaake from the forums here to do my CP and Marquee.  He was awesome to work with, his work was reasonably priced and he was very professional.  I'm totally happy with how it came out.  I highly recommend him so look for him in the vendors section if you need something done!

 

With my biggest obstacle out of the way it was time to build the box.  I built it out of 3/4" MDF.  If I ever take on another project again I wouldn't use MDF.  I'm just not fond of the stuff.  It worked out just fine but it's heavy, the dust is horrible to deal with and it's not the most durable thing imo.  I don't think there is much I can add that would benefit anyone on here as far as the construction other than maybe I can save someone from a mounting mistake that I made.  It was my own fault as I didn't do my research on the hardware for mounting the controllers.  I bought the "Blind Hole" mounting kits from Ultimarc not realizing they are strictly for 3/4" installations.  I routed out my panel where the controllers sit so they sit at 1/2".  I didn't think it would be a big deal since the hole would be covered by the artwork/plexi but one screw hung up and drove through the MDF ruining the artwork on top  :banghead:  :banghead:  :banghead:.  Big $ mistake... Ugh.  It set me back for a couple of weeks because it pissed me off so bad!  :angry:  I attempted peeling the artwork back off but it pulled up the primer underneath and would have been a nightmare to try and salvage it so I just gave up on it and started a whole new top. 

The second time around I grabbed a nice quarter sheet of 3/4" birch plywood from Lowes for the top and I'll never go back to MDF.  It was so much lighter, stronger and easier to work with in my opinion.  I feel like I refined a lot of things the second time making the top so all in all it was worth doing over, to me at least.  I used a black and white template the first time drilling but realized it was kind of a waste of money.  I could have just used the final artwork to mark my holes using a center punch.  That's what I did the second time around and it came out more accurate than the first top I cut.  I also switched over to Tee nuts to make sure I don't have another mishap when it was time to install the controls.

 

     

Here it is after laying down the artwork and trimming all of the holes/edges.



With all of that out of the way on to the controls.  I am mostly using Ultimarc stuff.  A SpinTrak spinner, U-Trak flushmount translucent trackball and Classic RGB LED buttons two RGB Lighted J-Sticks all driven by an Ipac4 and two PacLED64's.  I also have a NOS Wico 4/8 way leaf stick fresh out the box and some old school plunger buttons for the classics up top.  Speaking of buttons!  I like lots of them!  I decided on using the Sega 1 & 2 layout for the main controls.  As I already mentioned the fighter games are some of my favs so I figured the more the merrier.  I also figured it will give me options/flexability for more traditional button layouts on other games like some neo-geo stuff.   



I finished wiring up the player two controls last night and this is basically where it is right now.  I tested all of the controls and LED's and so far everything is working perfectly.  I need to decide on what to do about the two classic buttons as the ones I have aren't going to fit properly.  I may just end up going with some Ultimarc goldleafs but I'm going to do a little more reading before I commit to anything.  This was the only full pic I took with controls in on the original CP top before I re-did it.  I'll post some better pics in the next couple of days once my t-molding arrives and I get it solidly put together.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 11:38:26 am by tsukikage »

javeryh

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Re: Project: Arcade Elements
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2020, 11:32:58 am »
Looks good.  Avatar is awesome.

Laythe

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Re: Project: Arcade Elements
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2020, 11:01:06 pm »
Very nice!  Congrats on getting a CRT going in there. 

I dig it.  That's a good looking machine.   :applaud:

morton

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Re: Project: Arcade Elements
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2020, 10:02:47 am »
Very well done. I dig it. Tasteful and not over the top.

That TV is a solid one. Running composite gives great results compared to many others. Had same model I used for Tate until I got curious about service menus LOL.

tsukikage

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Re: Project: Arcade Elements
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2020, 10:33:27 am »
Looks good.  Avatar is awesome.
Thanks, I agree!  I still find myself putting on an episode randomly here and there when I get some rare spare time.

Very nice!  Congrats on getting a CRT going in there. 

I dig it.  That's a good looking machine.   :applaud:
Thank you.  The CRT was a bigger undertaking than I anticipated it to be.  When I dove into the research, it felt like an overwhelming amount of info thrown at me at me!  I'm really happy with how it turned out tho.

Very well done. I dig it. Tasteful and not over the top.

That TV is a solid one. Running composite gives great results compared to many others. Had same model I used for Tate until I got curious about service menus LOL.

Thanks, appreciate it!  I can see how someone can get themselves into trouble real quick in the service menus!  I went in there with fear lol  Turns out all I really messed around with was the horizontal and vertical size/positioning.  I'm sure it's not perfect to the experts but I think the progressive stuff looks amazing!  The interlace is meh but I found out real quick you have to take some of the bad with the good on a CRT tv.


tsukikage

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Re: Project: Arcade Elements
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2020, 11:15:19 am »
Spent the weekend learning LEDBlinky and how to integrate it with my frontend.  It was fairly strait forward.  I had one or two hang-ups but hats off to Arzoo as his documentation made it really easy to figure out once I recognized a couple of problems I was having.  It's running perfectly with Launchbox/BigBox now.  I'll just have to fine tune the animations and admin buttons once I get them hooked up.  For the admin stuff I'm just going to use the four flipper buttons that I have on the side of the CP box.  Here is the top lit up through the test cycle which is nice but man does it totally comes alive once you get LEDBlinky set up!





Speaking of front ends.  I ran into an issue with my preferred theme.  I was using MinimalX which I loved for my 4:3 screen.  I updated Launchbox to the latest version yesterday and it seems to have broke that theme.  I tried to re-download and re-install it but no luck so I'm back to the default one for now.  I tried the bartop theme too which fits good but It's not as refined as Minimal X in my opinion.  Let me know if anyone has any good suggestions.  I'll have some time to mess around with different ones between Christmas and New Years so hopefully I'll find something I like.


javeryh

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Re: Project: Arcade Elements
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2020, 12:17:04 pm »
Thanks, I agree!  I still find myself putting on an episode randomly here and there when I get some rare spare time.

I just watched it with my 8 year old and 13 year old for the first time over the summer and was blown away.  I'm way too old to have seen it when it aired initially but I'm glad I took the time.  One of the best series I've seen.  We are in Book 3 right now of Korra and are enjoying it as well but not quite as much as Avatar.  I would recommend it to anyone looking for a new show to watch...