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First Time Build - "Chimera" (Completed... mostly)

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Cool and clever project!

Here's some more of the pictures I took while working on the build.

Base cabinet 'frame' - freestanding for the first time.

Checking the fit on the screen box.

Cabinet frame and screen box, with the pile of assorted parts that will be mostly used to finish the build.  Note the two OSB 'side panels' that are lurking back there as well, those were used as an initial 'proof of concept build I threw together in the back yard back in like sept / oct 2020 just to see if the whole 'folding out' motion for a drawer slide / screen hinge movement system was actually viable. 

Working on the control pedestal here...

...and here -

'storing' the control pedestal inside the frame after wrapping up work for the day - It looks like I hadn't finished building the extra framing boards yet for the inner bracing of the main drawer slides, and hadn't finished building out the shelves yet.

Checking layout and estimating screen height, and using that to try and extrapolate how the control panel would sit -

Coin Door installed!  - I've since removed the coin reject plungers and may have lightly massaged the plastic housings with a dremel to successfully surface-mount the two RGB 'insert credit' buttons in their place.  I'll try to get a pic of the current state of the coin door next weekend.

Here's a shot of the linear actuator from the monoprice table, prior to installation in the bottom of the pedestal and the cab.  Lurking behind the actuator is a subwoofer, with the shelving containing various tools and other odds and ends.

Linear actuator installed in the pedestal


--- Quote from: vertexguy on November 14, 2021, 06:57:13 pm ---Awesome work so far!  I love that you're going way above and beyond with this creative approach.  Having access to all those tools and a hands on pro grade mentor sure must be nice.  Looking forward to seeing this all come together!  :cheers:

--- End quote ---

Thanks!  The access to the tools and the workspace, and the freedom to come and go and work at my own pace have really been helpful.  The mentoring has been more hands-off than anything, but he's definitely shown me a few different methods for doing things that have been eye-opening, and has been quick to suggest using different tools to get better results for various things.  A lot of it has been simply learning what different tools are actually capable of - I had never used a router before working on this project, for example, and had no idea how versatile those really are.  Same thing with a Dremel - I'd never used one before, now I can't imagine NOT owning one, because they're really awesome, really versatile tools.

--- Quote from: bobbyb13 on November 14, 2021, 07:56:47 pm ---
--- Quote from: javeryh on November 14, 2021, 05:06:07 pm ---This project is crazy!  Really cool.  I do think you should finish it before bringing it inside or I fear it will remain unpainted forever.  Once you get a cab functional motivation goes out the window (at least for me...).

Also, does everyone around here have a 600sqft workshop with 15 ft. ceilings???   :cheers:

--- End quote ---

Mine is only 500 sqft and 10 ft high ceilings

I thought the pinball slide integration here was awesome as it was-

The marquee work is next level.

Stoked to see the rest as this gets finished.

--- End quote ---

Thank you!   The artwork is still very much a work in progress.  I've got 21:9 marquees made for all of the PinballFX3 tables, and for all of my 'steam' games.  I've started working on getting marquees made for any of the arcade games that either have missing marquee art, or really bad quality marquees.  It's probably going to take me another few months to finish up marquees for every game that needs one, even after I get the 'build' part finished, but it's kind of a relaxing zen thing to work in GIMP on cleaning up, resizing, scaling, rotating, and stuff.  Getting bezels made and adjusted is probably going to take a lot longer, and I'm not sure how many I'll actually try to do.

For anyone wanting to 'roll their own' marquee art, I basically just start with whatever artwork I can find doing a google image search, and then 'photoshop' it all together.  A lot of games that have steam releases tend to have pretty good quality art assets on steamdb or steam grid db - and I've definitely relied heavily on those for all the steam games, as well as some of the arcade games - there are quite a few SHMUP games that were originally in arcades that have seen steam re-releases over the years, for example.

other than 'whatever google comes up with,' or 'steam (grid) db,' I don't really have a full source list for artwork.  I do want to at least give a shout out to Ars Invictus and the other really talented artists sharing marquees and other images over on the libretro forums - the marquees I have for deathsmiles, and a few others pretty much came directly from what they've shared, so go check out the stuff over there if you're looking for marquees or bezels.  I will add that the work they're doing over at Vertical Arcade is pretty awesome as well.

--- Quote from: DaOld Man on November 15, 2021, 08:21:41 am ---Man I love this idea! (Of course I am a automation\stuff moving junkie).
Great work and precise engineering.

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Thank you!  I wish it was more precise.  I started this project with barely any woodworking or 'build' experience at all.  What I've got came from just seeing what other people are building, and visualizing how different things might fit together in interesting ways, and then building something and 'prototyping' until I get something that actually works.  And the more I work on it, the more things I see here or around the internet or just get ideas for that I could tweak or improve - like moving to some kind of better engineered bushing and sleeve assembly for the rear of the main screen mount, or a couple of different approaches for changing up the mounting point for the front of the screen, or re-doing the control panel to include capactive buttons or removable joysticks for analog controls, or adding the vpin shakers / flipper solenoids / exciters / 'analog' plunger / other toys that I've had my eye on, or using usb-connected relays and wiring them up so I can script the transformation to trigger automatically when selecting a pinball table instead of having to manually push a button, or etc...  I'm not sure yet if it will be a complete rebuild, or just further iteration on the existing build, but there will be a Chimera Mark II at some point, just because this hobby is addictive of all the various small things that I've seen while building this that could be better, or think would be cool to add.  I've decided to 'cut off' here though and find a good stopping point for 'Mark I' because I've met me - and if I don't set myself some kind of deadline, I'll have a half-finished project forever because I'll keep tinkering and messing with things, and not actually cross a finish line and get 'done.'   :)

--- Quote from: wp34 on November 16, 2021, 10:49:05 am ---Cool and clever project!

--- End quote ---

Thank you!

I got a bit more work done yesterday - More build pics:

I had originally intended to use a 27" monitor as a 'backglass' display for the pinball configuration.  And I still want to, but it doesn't fit well. 

What I've found is that I could actually cram one in there, but with how it would have to sit in order to clear the playfield, the top 3" or so would be obscured by the marquee while looking into the cabinet from the front, and that's just at my height (I'm 5'3") - anyone normal-sized would see even less of it.  So - compromise.  I've gone with a smaller screen - I had an extra 21" screen that I'll be using, so I measured and marked and cut out holes to accomodate the smaller display.  You can still see the outlines where I had originally marked this with the 27" in mind, but so far, it looks like the 21" will work ok.

Here's what it looks like mounted back in the cabinet - I was showing someone how the dynamic marquees and bezel art SHOULD work once they're all in place, so I happened to have galaga up when I took these -

...and from several feet away -

...and just for completion's sake, a shot of galaga running in 'arcade' mode, with the pixelcade software actually running, and the keyboard / mouse put away and the coin door actually closed for a change (it's open in just about every other picture I have...)

I still don't have the control panel wired just yet, so none of the buttons are connected to anything or lit up - I went with Ultimarc for just about all the controls - using servostiks for the P1 / P2 joysticks, an ultimarc trackball, and their RGB buttons for most of the buttons, which will be controlled via LEDBlinky and will eventually light up per-game (which I personally think makes multi-game cabinets more intuitive and user friendly).  The P1 / P2 buttons that are in there currently came from amazon, and I may swap out for some more RGB buttons - haven't decided yet.  The smaller countersunk 'red' button in the front left is going to be my exit button.  The (slightly off) center knob ( :angry:) is just a windows USB volume control / mute knob.  I know I can use shift keys and map things to buttons, but I wanted everyone to be able to control the volume or simply mute the thing without having to have any prior knowledge or experience with it.  The big white button on the right is the pinball launch button - I'm still not sure if I'm going to go with this one or swap it out for a more normal-sized button yet, so we'll call it a placeholder for now.

Below the control panel on the pedestal, I've got a 3.5" 'front panel USB and audio' connector - this is designed to sit in a 3.5" slot in a PC case.  I want to be able to have the option for people to use headphones with the cabinet though, and with this plugged in to the audio header on the motherboard, it should work just like the headphone jack on a PC - if you plug in headphones, it will sense that and mute the speakers / switch outputs to the headphones automatically.  The two USB ports will be used for guitar controllers for clone hero and/or for lightguns for shooting games, and for just general auxiliary access for USB.  I ordered one of the Sinden lightguns several months ago to test it out and it finally showed up yesterday.  I've manged to resist tinkering with it so far on the test bench system, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it works with the actual cabinet, so that's coming soon.  If it works, great, I'll have the ability to play single-player gun games, and will order another one for player 2.  If it doesn't work well, I may look into the aimtrak guns, or just try to rig up something with a mayflash dolphin bar and wiimotes, or something, because my kids seemed uncharacteristically excited when they saw the gun yesterday and I told them it was for the cabinet, so that's going to happen one way or another.  :)

I will get some pics or videos of the cabinet actually running a pinball table once I finish getting all this 'backglass' stuff in place.

I'm headed back down to the shop today, so I should have at least a couple more pictures to post later tonight or tomorrow.  For now, I'm back to the grind...

Started working on t-molding, lower 'half' of cabinet done.

Incidentally, today I learned that cutting t-molding slots SUCKS, and I am bad at it.  I also learned that t-molding neatly covers the mess I made trying to install the t-molding.   ;D

Not sure yet if I'll get to go back to the shop tomorrrow or Tuesday, but work continues.  I'm not sure I'm going to meet my thanksgiving deadline for getting it fully functional - still a LOT to do for that to happen, like all the wiring...  but I'm going to see how close I can get.


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