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Author Topic: The Royal Flush Arcade  (Read 10874 times)

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spOOf

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The Royal Flush Arcade
« on: June 10, 2009, 08:13:08 pm »
Okay, I'm officially posting it here... now I'm locked in.  It's time to create my MAME conversion machine.  My story is the same as many others.  I stubled upon MAME and was hooked.  I've been researching and researching and there is just so much to decide.  And of course I bought the Project Arcade book and have been reading here until my eyes bleed.

I've always been into games - arcade, board and card games.  So for my theme, I'm going with... drumroll please... The Royal Flush Arcade.  I'll probably end up calling it the Royal for short, but there it is.

I'm a novice in nearly every aspect of the hobby, so I'm trying to start easy, and cheaply (but not at the expense of it looking or functioning poorly).

I came across an old NFL Blitz Universal cab for conversion on eBay for $30 and picked it up.  No monitor included, but everything else was basically there.  This cab has seen life as other games in the past too (as seen my the basketballs from NBA Showtime).



Anyway, I stripped off all the old paint and labeling from the sides and it's ready for priming and painting.  I've also done some rough drafting of the marque and side art.

But now I've got some decisions to make, and by posting here, I'm hoping it keeps me motivated and it gets me the great feedback and advice I've seen countless times in my months of lurking on here.

Questions and more details to follow...
My project: The Royal Flush

clickhea

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2009, 08:17:09 pm »
30 bucks? awesome buy

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2009, 08:17:55 pm »
Computer:
I got 2 free computers from friends.  I used 1 for parts trying to fix my old Megatouch machine and that didn't work too well.  And the other computer was so slow that even MAME lagged on it.  So, I turned to either my laptop or my older desktop.  The desktop was a good option; however, not sure of the video card and I saw no S-video output on quick inspection, but maybe I'm not looking in the right spot?  But no matter what I use, I plan to house all of the games on an external 300GB hard drive.  This should have plenty of space to house all games and any future additions.  I don't forsee any problems using an external drive, but perhaps I'm wrong there?  Hope not since there's not a ton of space in the desktop and it would make updating in the future much easier (and could make the gaming somewhat portable).

Monitor:
My plan was to use 1 of the 2 27" TVs I inherited.  Unfortunately, my opening in the cabinet is 24" at the edge, 25.5" inside.  Both TVs are at least 26" in the case.  I'd rather avoid decasing if possible, but it's an option if need be.  But before I'd do that, I'd want to figure out how I will connect my computer.  I'd probably need a new video card, not sure.  At this point, I'm ruling out the arcade montior.  A future cab or addition, that may change.  So, my only other options on hand are tiny 15" and 17" CRT monitors.  Fine for testing, but I have space for upto a 27" monitor, so I really want to go bigger, especially since I enjoy both vertical and horizontal games and I don't want the vert game to look tiny.  I've been considering buying an LCD monitor.  I've read opins on all of these and they run the gambit.  I know the LCD won't look authentic and I guess I'm okay with that.  It seems that is the only real drawback.  Since there are now even guns that work on the LCD, I can't see any other drawbacks to it.  But I'm open to feedback.  Or, I just may buy a smaller TV.

Controls:
First, to see my dilemma on what to include and not include, I made a top 10 list of my favorite games growing up:
Arkanoid
Ms. Pacman
Street Fighter II
Golden Tee
Gauntlet
Spy Hunter
Q-bert
Star Wars
Tron
Pole Position
After Burner

Could I get any more diverse in controls needed?  So, I had to make some tough decisions for this 1st build.  I'm definitely going 2-player.  The existing 49-way joysticks I'm assuming would not work for these purposes so I'll either sell or trade them.

2 - u360s (since I'm going for the u360s, do I really need a dedicated 4-way as I've seen on many other cabs)
7 button fighting/neo-geo layout for the 2 players - haven't decided on brand name, open to suggestons.  May try to use some of my existing buttons.  As for other buttons, not sure how many I need at this point.

I'll also have a trackball and spinner.  Still deciding on which brands for those.  Suggestions welcome.  For spinner, I was considering the TurboTwister2 with the steering wheel.  Any thoughts on those?  What do people use for gas pedal or shifting gears in games that require it with those?

It was suggested to me to use the existing control panel box as it's in great shape.  I'll just need to create the actual panel.  The only drawback is that it's too wide for comfortable pinball playing.  I haven't tried any pinball games at all yet, so am I missing out if I don't include the pinball?  I haven't done any research on the pinball gaming yet.

I'm thinking of including 2 EMS Top Gun II guns as well, that way they're good even if I go with the LCD monitor.  Any input on those is welcome too, especially in regards to MAME games.  I figure the guns add some additional fun to the cab but take up no additional space on the panel.

I also figure on trying to incorporate additional usb connections on the side out of sight, and headphone jacks if I can figure it out.

Encoder: I'm leaning to one of the IPACs, not sure which.  Again, open to suggestions.

Speakers: Probably going to use my existing computer speakers unless they really sound terrible.  I figure this is an easy upgrade later.

Hope I'm not leaving anything out.  I already got wordy, so I'll end here for now...
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2009, 08:20:49 pm »
30 bucks? awesome buy

Thanks.  I spend many weeks on ebay looking for a cab like this from a semi local person who sells cabs for conversion.  Got this one at a price I was happy with and it's in excellent condition.  Only 1 corner has a small piece broken but easily fixed (and barely noticed if not).

Only problem was, when I went to get it the vehicle I planned to borrow become unavailable.  So I had to rent a van, which cost more than the cab!!!  Oh well, it ended up downpouring rain that day, and since I had to drive 60 miles, it would've been ruined in the pickup I planned to use.  Still, not too shabby.
My project: The Royal Flush

Ond

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2009, 08:52:42 pm »

 ...I've been considering buying an LCD monitor.  I've read opins on all of these and they run the gambit.  I know the LCD won't look authentic and I guess I'm okay with that.  It seems that is the only real drawback.  Since there are now even guns that work on the LCD, I can't see any other drawbacks to it.  But I'm open to feedback.  Or, I just may buy a smaller TV.


First of all welcome!  I'll comment on the choice of LCD monitor.  In that type of cab i'd be doing whatever I could to get a genuine CRT monitor into it, they are expensive but well worth it.  Having said that I'll now defend the use of LCDs  lol.  I'm using a high res 21" LCD monitor in my cab, I felt that the flat 'solid' look of the graphics wasn't authentic and went looking for a way to improve it.  Here it is  http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=90143.0.  Read Todd H's comments in that thread, the only proviso with this mame.ini filter is that you use a fairly quick pc, that said the result is very cool, graphics appear like a very sharp CRT with classic looking aperture grille visible.

good luck with your project!

 :cheers:

Ond 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 11:16:37 pm by Ond »

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2009, 12:13:21 am »
Thanks Ond.  It's good to be here!!!

I'm assuming by genuine CRT monitor, you mean an arcade monitor, right?  Could you recommend some 27" arcade monitors then?  For computer monitors, it seems like 21" is the limit for those and if I'm spending money, I'd skip on computer monitor.  If buying in that area, I'll go LCD.  I really planned all along to use my 27" TV not really thinking about the added space of the case.  Since I had 2 free TVs to use, it seemed like a great option.  Plus, I don't see the needed output for it on my computer, so I would assume I need a new video card.  I'm a novice in that area, so not sure.

Thanks again for the feedback.
My project: The Royal Flush

ivwshane

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2009, 03:01:24 am »
For your arcade name I'd go with either of your ideas but drop the word "arcade" altogether.

The Royal sounds nice to me.

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2009, 12:48:23 pm »
Thanks Ond.  It's good to be here!!!

I'm assuming by genuine CRT monitor, you mean an arcade monitor, right?  Could you recommend some 27" arcade monitors then?  For computer monitors, it seems like 21" is the limit for those and if I'm spending money, I'd skip on computer monitor.  If buying in that area, I'll go LCD.  I really planned all along to use my 27" TV not really thinking about the added space of the case.  Since I had 2 free TVs to use, it seemed like a great option.  Plus, I don't see the needed output for it on my computer, so I would assume I need a new video card.  I'm a novice in that area, so not sure.

Thanks again for the feedback.


Found a 25" LCD monitor for about $230.  Looking for feedback here: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=93237.0 or just reply right here.  Thanks!
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2009, 04:24:46 pm »
Well, I went ahead and ordered that 25" LCD.  I figure if I don't like it for the MAME purposes, I'll use it for the desktop as I was planning to buy one there as well.  I'll let you guys know how that works out.

Feels good to be making some progress on this... next up, joystick and other control purchases!
My project: The Royal Flush

cmoses

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2009, 12:11:21 am »
Welcome and it's good to have another enthusiast.  I am in the process of building my MAME machine.  I was able to find the same cabinet, mine was a Mortal Kombat II originally, that was then converted to a NFL Blitz.  It had already been painted black on the outside when I got it and didn't have a monitor.  I felt it was a good canidate for MAMEing.

I am still working on the control panel but am almost there.  I used the original box and took the original top to route out a new one.  I wanted a wide array of controls to give me the most flexibility.  I went with (2) U360's with (7) buttons in a curved layout.  A Groovy Game Gear Electric Ice Trackball and a few admin buttons.  I am planning to get (2) Turbo Twist 2 spinners and mini racing wheels.  I also plan to put some side buttons in for pinball.  I don't think it is to wide for that.  I went with a Mini-PAC for the controller and have been very happy with it.

I think the U360's are great, with them you really don't need a dedicated 4 way.  I just have them set to use the mappings and they work wonderful.


Here is the link for my project, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=87749.0

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2009, 03:00:36 am »
I was leaning towards the TT2 spinner and mini-wheel, but came across the Logitech Driving Force Pro and got it for $49 with free shipping, so went that way.  It just seemed like a better option for me since it included pedals and shifting and buttons (for use in Spy Hunter I'm hoping).  I'll still likely go with the TT2 spinner, just not the mini-wheel now.

I've done searches for info on the Driving Force Pro but haven't gotten a ton of details about it.  Most discussion is about the G25 (which was too expensive for me on this 1st try at least).  Anyway, can anyone share details on setting this up for the PC and for use in MAME.  I know I'll have to download the driver.  Other tips?

I plan to clamp it to my control panel and am hoping there's no issues there.

Would love to see some examples if anyone has one.  Thanks!
My project: The Royal Flush

cmoses

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2009, 12:11:47 pm »
I have not considered a wheel and pedal combo.  I think I want to try and keep everything on the control panel.  I know it may not be as authentic, but I also know I can't replicate eveything perfectly.

My concern with a add on wheel and pedals would be having to take them out each time to use them, clamping them on, etc.  Also not sure the control panel offers a good enough amount of space to clamp on to.

I will be watching your progress as well. 

Thanks
Clayton

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2009, 06:51:12 pm »
Hey Clayton,

I think we'll definitely be feeding off each other here as we're working with basically the same cab and ideas.  It will be interesting to see how we differ too.

I was pretty set on going with the TT2 spinner with mini-wheel, which is what you were planning (except you would have 2).  I figured if I was willing to remove the spinner head (which requires an allan wrench to remove - it's quick, but that's part of the process) then it wasn't much different to clamp a wheel.  I've seen a video of it, it's quick to do.  Of course, it means I have a piece off the cab.  Again, the mini-wheel would be the same.

What I like as the bonus of this was that I have a pedal and brake and shifter instead of using buttons/joysticks for that.  Add in that the wheel had buttons there (for use with games like Spy Hunter) and the Driving Force Pro won for me.  But, I wanted to make sure I found one for around $50, since that was close to the 7" mini-wheel, which was what I was leaning towards.  This gives a bigger, more authentic wheel.

And I'm not knocking the mini-wheel as I think it looks really sweet and easy to attach.  I may still get that for 360 games if I feel the DFP doesn't feel right.

Anyway, I'm trying to order some parts before I leave for vacation so they can be sitting wait for me to jump in when I get back.  Getting excited to keep going!
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2009, 03:42:09 am »
Got back from vacation and got right to work again.  Stripped more from the front of the cab, took out coin mechs, did some artwork (still long way to go on that front) and downloaded the HyperSpin front-end for testing.  Also, drooled over my Driving Force Pro which arrived while I was away.   ;D

Hope to get some more pics up here soon.
My project: The Royal Flush

cmoses

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2009, 09:51:18 am »
spOOf,

I started with MALA because it was easy to configure and had a U360 plugin.  HyperSpin had just arrived on the scene and didn't have some things I needed.  I recently went back and took a look at HyperSpin and was impressed with how far it had come.  I am in the process of switching over to it now. 

Like any front end there is a little bit of a learning curve in getting it setup and configured.  I really like all the themes it has for MAME.  I have been able to get it configured for all of my emulators I currently have on my cabinet (MAME, Daphne and Visual Pinball) and have tested it for some other I want to add.

Let me know if you have any HyperSpin questions or check the HyperSpin forum.  I have been able to get all of my questions answered by searching there.

 

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2009, 05:07:30 pm »
Thanks.  I'm also checking out MALA to compare the 2. 

One thing I've struggled with so far is trimming the game list.  I got my ROMs from a burner so I have ALL of them.  Trying to figure out the best way to trim out the repeats and the non-working games.

I've considered purchasing a gaming machine because this current machine is seeming laggy with what I have so far.

It's an HP Presario with Intel P4, 2.50 ghz, 512ram, 120gb hd, windows xp.  All the ROMs are on an external HD right now so that may be my issue.

My project: The Royal Flush

cmoses

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2009, 06:20:41 pm »
spOOf,

System should be good for most of the classics, could use more memory, 512 is a little low.  Also have you trimmed windows down so that you are not running all the unnecessary services?

As far as ROMs go I have two directorys under MAME - ROMS and ROMS not used.  Always easier to get the complete ROM set, but I don't need all those games.  I move the ones I want into ROMS, but this way I have the others in case I want to try one out.  Once you have the ROMs in a directory, then you can use HyperList to create a new XML file in your HyperSpin database folder.  Rename it and then only those names will show up. 


spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2009, 10:58:29 pm »
Clayton,

Thanks much for the tip.  It's funny, as questions come up I've been searching the forums, and I keep coming across your name asking or commenting on those same questions months before! 

Anyway, I'm getting ready to buy my pieces and want to make sure I'm not missing thing or buying pieces I don't need.  I posted a question in the main forum since questions seem to get answered quicker there: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=93993.0
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2009, 11:03:42 pm »
I did a quick design and will try to post the artwork.  Right now it's just the concept in wallpaper format for the background but it's a spade royal flush with 5 arcade characters standing on top or around the cards - ryu, qbert, mario, donkey kong and pacman.  Looks pretty cool.  I'll try to post it up here soon.
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2009, 11:10:21 pm »
I should also mention that I had built a monitor shelf but have decided to mount the LCD monitor instead.  Seems much more secure that way.  Sorry, I know pics are much better here and I'm working on that.

I've also been filling in the dings and dents in the cab and am getting ready for another round of sanding so I can prime the cab.  I'm trying to have this up and running by August if I can.  It may not be 100% at that point, but I want a working, good-looking cab by then.

Thanks for keeping me motivated and for the advice so far!
My project: The Royal Flush

Epyx

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2009, 11:15:43 pm »
Welcome SpOOf!  My only suggestion would be for additional buttons for player 1 and 2.  I would try to add at least 3 additional buttons to those two players.  Or 5 if you are going to emulate any other platforms.  Other than that you got a great steal for $30!!!

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Epyx Tutorials:
Tutorials

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2009, 11:44:22 pm »
I plan on having 7 buttons for each (the classic fighter setup with 1 extra to give neo-geo layout).  Are you saying I should add more, or were just referring to the 3-button that comes with the NFL Blitz?
My project: The Royal Flush

Epyx

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2009, 11:58:45 pm »
I was referring to having 8 in total for some of the emulations that would require them...PS1/Dreamcast/Saturn etc.

Although if you are just aiming for Neo Geo max then that is fine :)
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Epyx Tutorials:
Tutorials

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2009, 12:38:13 pm »
Something like this:
My project: The Royal Flush

Gatsu

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2009, 02:16:41 pm »
just some friendly input. I've used this layout with most of my custom sticks and its really comfortable for 8 buttons. Its the sega astro city layout I believe. From slagcoins page.



also that monitor is an awesome deal....Im gonna have to save up for one.


spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2009, 02:35:43 pm »
Thanks.  I'll try out a few from there and see how they feel.

The monitor is totally sweet.  I've been using it for a few weeks and love it.
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2009, 10:14:46 pm »
Just ordered my smartstrip and monitor wall mount.  Also, I bought a 33-pc security bit set so I can finally remove the speaker cover on my cab (it has Torx tamper proof screws so I couldn't remove them so far!).  The bit set was under $7 with shipping, so worth it.

I haven't bought the controls yet, I guess I'm still waiting to make sure I don't buy anything I don't need!
My project: The Royal Flush

smalltownguy

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2009, 10:45:13 pm »
Hey if you ever need any other security torx bits than what your kit has, stop by your local hardware store -- they usually have a plastic case of bits to buy by the piece. I got the one I needed for under $2 last winter. (Ace Hardware for me)

Man, will my cab EVER be finished?

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2009, 10:54:37 pm »
Great tip, thanks!  I tried 2 local places but neither had the tamper proof bits.  Sears had it though, but it was more than double the cost of this set.  I did see the bit I needed online, but it costs almost $3 by itself.  So I figured I'd spend the extra $3 and get 32 more bits!  But if I'm missing something I need, I'll definitely go local.
My project: The Royal Flush

Gatsu

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2009, 11:19:04 pm »
did you mean $3 or $30....because $3 for a bit is a helluva deal....almost too good.

Usually router bits around where I am cost between $15 and $30 easy. Whole sets are $60+


smalltownguy

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2009, 11:44:49 pm »
No, not a router bit. He/we mean this:



Man, will my cab EVER be finished?

Gatsu

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2009, 11:47:21 pm »
ah my bad.

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2009, 08:07:04 am »
My project: The Royal Flush

severdhed

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2009, 03:54:52 pm »
when i couldnt find any tamper resistant torx bits, i just used a dremel with a cut off disk and cut slots in the head of the screws.
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spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2009, 01:33:03 am »
when i couldnt find any tamper resistant torx bits, i just used a dremel with a cut off disk and cut slots in the head of the screws.

 :lol I thought about doing the same thing! But this set was cheap enough, so I decided to get it.  Might come in handy again sometime.  This tamper resistant screws seems to be popping up more and more.

For the Royal front, I've been sanding and filling in wood.  Also have been researching my parts and getting ready to order.  And I've been working on the art too.  Before I buy, please someone help answer my questions, which I'll post in the next entry...
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2009, 01:46:58 am »
I will have 29 buttons max (8 per player, 5 pinball, 2 players starts, 2 player coins, pause, exit - and perhaps 2 other hidden admin buttons).

2 Ultimarc 360s with USB cable
1 U-Trak trackball
1 spinner (probably TurboTwister2)

Assume I have nothing else.  What else do I need to hook this bad boy up?

Do I get Mini-Pac?  With harness? I-Pac2?
Do I get the USB hookup for the trackball? 
Would the TT2 be master or slave?


This is what I'm confused about.  Certain parts give options of hooking them up individually.  Obviously, with all those buttons, I need some kind of hookup for them.  But what?  And will the choice affect the trackball and spinner hookup options?  I don't want to buy all of these extras if they aren't needed.  I'm sure I can go many different ways, so please explain the pros/cons of each.
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2009, 10:27:30 pm »
Had a good weekend.  Sanded everything and cleaned it up today (have some cute pics of my daughter inside the cab wiping it down!).  Just ordered some cool blue T-molding and a Turbo Twister 2 (USB/master) with black dome and Accu-Twist™ System.  I have my list for my other parts, just trying to figure out the encoder I'm going to use 1st.  Please see my question above about that.

In the meantime, I picked up some black paint and primer.  I need to buy wood to replace the missing back door (1/4") and I need wood for the control panel... I'm going with 5/8" if I can find it, because I plan to have 1/8 plex and I'd like the T-molding to cover that.  Sound like a good plan?

Anyway, I should have a full week of parts arriving which should be exciting!
My project: The Royal Flush

spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2009, 10:28:39 pm »
Oh yeah, I also added 4 casters to the cab, which is surprising a great addition.  The cab is heavy, so moving it around has been a pain.  No longer!  :applaud:
My project: The Royal Flush

brock.sampson

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2009, 10:55:40 pm »
Didn't your blitz cab have the tilt wheels on the back?  I haven't had any problems moving my cab around using those.
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spOOf

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Re: The Royal Flush Arcade
« Reply #39 on: July 12, 2009, 11:48:20 pm »
Didn't your blitz cab have the tilt wheels on the back?  I haven't had any problems moving my cab around using those.

Yes, it did.  That's how I've been moving it around.  But it's pretty heavy and I plan to have its final resting spot in my basement on a carpet flush against a wall.  I may need to move it occasionally, which would be a real hassle with just the tilt wheels.  I kept the tilt wheels on there as it's perfect if I need to go through a low overhang.  But for a quick shift of position, the casters are a life-saver.  And for about $10 for all 4 of them, well worth it for me... especially since I hurt my back last week.  I'll be wheeling it in and out of the garage over the next week for painting so my back thanks me for $10 well spent  ;)
My project: The Royal Flush