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Author Topic: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood  (Read 2322 times)

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Boz

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What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« on: June 20, 2006, 04:55:50 pm »
I'm finally ready! A month ago I purchased most of the wood-working tools I will likely need and have purposed a wood project or two to get myself familiar (at least in a general way) with using the tools. I'm finally ready to start building a stand-up cabinet from my sketches.

However, I'm a little curious which I should buy/build first.

One the one hand, I think I should have all of my controls here in hand so that while I'm building the cabinet, I will have the controls/monitor/misc handy for "actual" measurements and dimensions. In my mind, this would make the shaping of wood easier and potentially faster since I won't have to wait for any parts to come in from arcade vendors. I'm aware that little electronic niceties are probably missing from my design and that I'll have to drive down to the local computer store to pick up the straggling USB cable for this'n that. But, having everything here will make putting the wood together go better.

One the other hand, I'm tempted to build the entire cabinet first to get the design bugs worked out and get most of the woodworking out of the way. Of course I'll have some modifications to do when I finally get the monitor and some other stuff, but the cab would be finished for the most part.

Any thoughts on what to do first?

Thanks.

ahofle

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2006, 04:58:54 pm »
Not sure there is an answer to your question, but I can tell you having all those beautiful arcade controls sitting around waiting to be installed certainly boosts your motivation for finishing the wood working part.  8)

Tahnok

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2006, 05:16:43 pm »
Not sure there is an answer to your question, but I can tell you having all those beautiful arcade controls sitting around waiting to be installed certainly boosts your motivation for finishing the wood working part.  8)
Not to mention you are more likely to have the money for the controls and monitor earlier on in the project.
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MovingTarget

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2006, 05:18:03 pm »
I would get the monitor then start in on building the cabinet.  I also recommend building the CP sooner than later.  Some people avoid this because they're affraid they'll just sit around and play instead of finishing the cab (which is what I did) and left it for last.  But, I can tell you that's a lot of work doing the CP and while you're waiting for the primer and paint to dry it's nice to get moving on that.

Oh, also, get the artwork done as soon as you can too.  Depending what you're doing you might need that to go under your CP anyway.

All just my opinion though.  :P

Buddabing

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2006, 05:18:03 pm »
I would say do the wood part first.

First, if you build your control panel first, you may never finish the project. :)

Second, a new control, encoder or other device may come out between now and the time you are ready to install the controllers, e.g. the new Ultimarc stick

Third, you'll probably change what controls are on your cab several times between now and the time you're ready to create the control panel.

Good luck on your project,
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tmasman

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2006, 06:04:31 pm »
Monitor first!
You'll need that to design your cabinet around...

Another tip...
Do NOT put anything smaller than a 19" screen in your cab (if you have to due to $$$, design the cab to accept a larger screen when you have the $$$.)

After you get the framework of the cabinet in place & going strong, then start to figure out & order your parts for the CP... If you do this up front, you'll seriously delay the building of the cabinet because you'll want to play too much! I'm another fool who finished the CP too soon & 2 years later I still haven't taken it back apart to put on the CPO.

Test you parts, but don't test them in the CP until it's finished for that very reason.

Otherwise, have fun! It's a blast playing on a working machine!
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NoOne=NBA=

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2006, 06:31:26 pm »
I would BUY the monitor and speakers before I did anything else.
You need to make sure those will fit, and they vary widely in shape/size/etc...

If you plan for larger joysticks, trackballs, buttons, etc... and end up buying smaller, you'll be OK.
If you plan for a bigger monitor, and then buy smaller, your cab is going to look funny.
If you plan for a two speaker setup, and then go with a subwoofer system, you may not have room for your computer and coin door.

javeryh

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2006, 06:45:32 pm »
I'd buy the wood first - how else would you start?  Plus, with an ongoing project sitting in the basement or workshop or where ever I think you would be more motivated to work on it...

JustMichael

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2006, 07:44:34 pm »
I would buy a pencil and some paper first so that you can plan out everything.  Second, buy or aquire a large enough piece of cardboard so that you can build a control panel mockup.

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2006, 08:06:42 pm »

I agree with the others.
Unless you have very precise measurements I would buy the monitor and speakers first.
A scratch built cabinet is generally based around the size of the screen you are going to use.

Next, buy the wood, then the rest of the gear.


Ghoward

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2006, 09:32:06 pm »
I would say as much as you can if not everything. There is nothing worse than building your cab only to find out your monitor which you have just got doesn't fit! In my first cab I was going to install a 27" TV but after building the cab found out it would not fit so I ended up using a WG9200.

I had other such problems too all caused by not having all the parts first.

Now I always buy everything first, that way no mistakes.

Gary

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2006, 10:34:58 pm »
For me, I had to ship away for the control parts.  I could get all the wood locally.  So naturaly I ordered the control deck parts ahead of time.

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2006, 01:16:49 am »
At least gotta have the monitor to build around. 

As for the controls, you might want to buy some and build a standalone panel first.  You'll play with it and figure out how you want your REAL panel to be once you've figured out what you got wrong the first time.  Of course, that'll delay your main project for who knows how long...

vrf

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2006, 02:15:54 am »
I have to agree with the others on getting the monitor first. Too many cabs look downright goofy with a tiny monitor floating in a vast black sea of bezel. Careful planning is the name of the game here, and no area is more important than the thing you'll be looking at all the time.

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2006, 06:28:22 am »
I would get the wood last.... I got the wood first and my projects not done yet.... but then again I also found EE and that really slowed me down......

danny_galaga

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2006, 07:04:11 am »

i bought controls first. made a crude control panel to play with them, and THEN buoilt  a cab.



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danny_galaga

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2006, 07:09:02 am »
oh, and that is NOT a pc of my c ab  ;)


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MYX

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2006, 09:41:26 am »
which came first the chicken or the egg?

It is a back and forth argument. there are plusses and minuses for both sides. I had been collecting little bits and pieces for a while, but when I finally truely decided to build my cab and had saved up some $$$ (and you will need a lot of $$$), I went and got my obligatory 3 sheets of MDF. I did not have my monitor untill a couple of months after the start of my build. The trick is when designing, find a couple of real cabs somewhere so you can measure and make logical choices for sizing. Another expense before the wood is even though about is the Project Arcade Book. It is a great place to start even if you decide not to go with the project arcade plans. It will give you the frame work to start. If you dont have a cab, you have no place to put yer tronics. Right now I have my cab part about 90 percent done. I have switched spending modes and am now buying all the little bits and pieces that will bring it all together. I keep getting a little bit of money and think great this should do it.Then I remember... crap I still need to buy the marquee light and the ....
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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2006, 09:47:28 am »
If your limited on funds and can only get a few things up front - get the computer first. (assuming your using a computer) It took the longest for me to setup. It takes hours and hours to go through the roms, clean them up, setup a front end, etc.

After that I would get the CP(which means the ipac, wiring, and controls) so you can fully configure your cp to work with your computer.

Then get the monitor and wood to build the box to house your computer.

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2006, 11:45:59 am »
The way I am doing it. Had the computer and monitor already. Bought the arcade parts, bought the wood.

I started by throwing together a mock cp out of the mdf. Two versions later I had the layout I wanted. In retrospect I should've built a cardboard mock-up, but since I'm not much of a carpenter, it was good practice.

Next started building the frame. I had cut the sides and the base. Took it upstairs to see what it would look like...found out the cabinet was way too tall and the monitor needed more space in the back. I almost skipped setting it up, and man...that would've cost me untold hours more than it did.

After that was fixed, I later on noticed that the coin door I had recently bought would not fit. Over/under coin doors take alot of vertical space on the cabinet.

So, after all my mistakes...I would say buy as much as you can, because you never know when you'll screw up. And if nothing else, it gives you something to do inbetween watching that darn paint dry.  :P

Boz

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2006, 04:46:56 pm »
Folks, I appreciate the feedback here. Truly!

I futzed with controls and layout a bit, way before I had any wood, just to get something going. (Neighbor cut the wood for me and I screwed it together and drilled the holes) Learned what I do and don't like about Competition joysticks, but that's another conversation. Learned a couple of things about wiring, soldering, and programming the I-Pac that I'll do differently when I start the cab.

Then I decided I was *really* interested in woodworking and fortunately for me I was able to drop about 1500 on tools and "stuff". Built a set of adjustable shelves for my storage room to get the hang of cutting a straight line with a circular saw (not NEARLY as easy as I thought it should have been) as well as becoming more fluid with repetitious actions (clamp here, glue there, dado's over there, screw this, nail this, measure that).

I'll buy monitor, speakers, and wood first and design around those.

I could be posting my project announcement as soon as this weekend. Thanks for the input.



« Last Edit: June 21, 2006, 04:49:55 pm by In2ishun »

danny_galaga

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2006, 12:28:10 am »
well, hang on. didnt you ask if you should buy the controls first? is that not a picture of your controls youve got there?


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Boz

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Re: What to buy first - controls/electronics or wood
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2006, 02:23:43 am »
well, hang on. didnt you ask if you should buy the controls first? is that not a picture of your controls youve got there?

Yes and no. It's actually a picture of my impulsive personality.

After months and months of reading page after page of project after project, I decided I couldn't wait anymore and just ordered *something*... *anything* to put an ad hoc desktop control panel together so I could stop using my keyboard to play Galaga. It's by no means an accurate test project, though I did learn a lot from throwing it together. The full-sized cabinet I end up building will have not only different joysticks and buttons but other stuff that I've learned I can't live without (trackball, four-way's, spinner). The control panel pictured above I put together about 4 or 5 months ago.

I've taken the advice of several in this thread and started with a cardboard mock-up of my cabinet which I will post in my project announcement this weekend. Here's a few snaps of what I have so far. CD shown for scale.