How to Create Your Own Gaming Cabinet!

Discussion in 'General Tutorials' started by XDKing, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Yes

  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. Don't get it

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  4. I want one, but too lazy to create one

  5. XDKing, I will obey you! XD

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  1. XDKing

    XDKing Newbie

    Jun 24, 2013
    United States
    Hello! In this tutorial, I will be writing a tutorial on making an Arcade Gaming Cabinet. Let's get to it!


    A Table Saw (A Circular saw will do too)
    Router with a Fillet bit.
    A Drill
    Screw bit
    1/8 in Drill bit
    1 1/8 in Hole Saw Bit
    Wire Stripper
    Safety Glasses
    Rubber Gloves
    A computer
    Grounded Screwdriver
    Some C-Clamps, and some pipe clamps.
    A brain (So cliche XD)

    A lot of 1/4 in screws
    3 3/4 or 5/8 inch 4' x 8' Plywood or MDF Board (Ply's stronger, but MDF can be decorated nicely.)
    Hinges and Latch (Many small hinges because your boards only going to be 3/4 to 5/8 inch thick)
    1 25"-30" TV (LCD is preferable, but I used a CRT because it was cheaper to take apart an old TV than to buy an LCD.)
    Speakers (Usually TVs come with speakers)
    Arcade Buttons and Joysticks (I bought it from (not xvideos, not like I know what it is XD), and the 1 and 1/8 inch drill bit is based on these. It's best to buy only the buttons and joysticks; the encoder is quite expensive. I would buy the 2 joystick and buttons pack without the encoder.)
    Some wires and crimps.
    An Encoder for the Arcade Buttons and Joysticks (I use the I-PAC 32-Input Encoder. It's cheap and programmable with a UI.)
    Paint (optional)

    Now I'm a break it down simply. I am not responsible for any injuries or death that occur while using this tutorial. Let's begin!
    1. First is design. The design should be modeled after a gaming cabinet, like the one's seen in an arcade. If you have no idea, then you haven't tried hard enough. I designed mine on autocad (Sorry, I'm an ass, so I'm not going to give one.) using some measurement I found on google. (The site we know and love) The control panel, or where the buttons and joysticks are should be created separate, and be able to slide in the actual cabinet. The TV size should be taken into account when making the monitor bezel. Now I made the mistake of measuring the screen, not the whole TV, without the plastic or metal encasing. For CRT, make sure you take apart the TV, (There are tutorials on that everywhere) and find the actual shape of the tube. (It's not actually square for the people that don't know.) The speakers should be at the top, (Sides look ugly, but if they're pretty big, it may look nice), and should a special hole designated for them.) You should have a small shelf to place your computer. There should be a marque spot at the top for a nice logo you may design. XD

    2. Now the actual cutting begins. You want to make sure you design your console to be unique, but also wasteless. If you have a lot of money, then I guess you can buy more boards, but I'm a NEET, so :P. I would first cut out all the big sides, not the small stuff. If you need more wood, glue two boards together, and continues cutting the SIDES! (I cannot strain my fingers enough to make it clear that the SIDES need to be cut first, because that is the base for the dimensions of the width boards.) After cutting the sides, proceed on cutting the bezel for the TV. This will takeout a lot of wood, so make sure you planned it before hand. The control panel should have atleast half a board for itself. You want to cut the bigger parts, then small. (ALWAYS BIG TO SMALL) Don't worry about the back yet, Make sure you reserved plenty of wood for it. Like a board-plenty.

    3. After you've cut everything, you want to drill all the holes before you actually put it together. Cut out the speaker holes with the jigsaw, and make sure it does not FALL through. (People think I am indirectly calling people stupid, and yes; to those who don't listen, you are stupid.)
    4. Always glue and the screw together. Creates a stronger bond that will last for a very long time. The control panel should NOT be glued with the actually cabinet yet. You want to make sure everything FITS before gluing so no problems will be created. Drill, glue, screw. XD Sounds funny. After you've made the cabinet, you should proceed on wiring the control panel, not gluing it together.

    5. The control panel was probably the easiest, but most time consuming part. Like all wiring, you want to do it in a safe place where tiny parts won't be lost. They're are many wiring tutorials on this, just google, "Arcade Control Panel Wiring", and it's pretty self explanatory. After all the wiring is done, you glue the control panel together.

    6. After everything's been glued, make sure you place the TV Right side up (People will make this mistake), and then screw the monitor bezel into your bezel. Now the CRTs are really heavy, so three people should do it. Two holds it, one screws it. XD again funny. And another piece going from one side of the cabinet to the other to act as support. Always make sure it's discharged.

    7. The speakers should be glued into place, and if they're is holes for screws, screw it! XD

    8. Now for the back, you should take into account the hinge width and length, as well as the latch. The hinges should go all the way down the whole side of the cabinet. If the board is warped, I would place the top hinge first, then bottom, then second to top, then second to bottom, until it reaches the middle.

    9. Paint (optional). Don't know how else to say paint, but paint it. It will look nice if you do.
    10. Programming. Now I can go over all of it, but I'm just going to tell you what I did. I made a little computer from some scrap that I had, You can use a rasberry pi, and then since mine didn't have component for the CRT, I used a HDMI2RCA converter (I think thats the name). I booted it up on a NORMAL monitor, and proceeded on installing a OS called Tiny7 (Can use TinyXP). It is nice because it removes all the useless services. After installing, I used my normal computer and downloaded Hyperspin. Hyperspin is a nice Frontend (Look up what it means) for emulators. I went to emulatorzone and set up all the emus with the frontend, and then I transferred it all to my arcade computer after the frontend and emus were running fine. For ROMs, thats your own buisness :P. After everythings complete, I programmed the encoder. MAKE SURE YOU SET UP THE BUTTON ON THE ENCODER, AND THEN SET UP THE CONTROLLER BUTTONS FOR ALL THE EMULATORS. I slid the control panel in, and place the computer on the shelf. I plugged everything in, turned it on, and voila! LOOK AT THE BOTTOM PICTURE XD. (That erased part was just a person)​
    Have Fun!​
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    An interesting tutorial.. some feedback

    The tools. No doubt I would seek a setup with similar tools if I was given the chance but some of it might be overkill and just as easily accomplished with basic woodworking skills and your standard saws and chisels (and probably a lot of sanding). I will give that I still get to teach people how to use a saw and would probably be impressed if I met someone under the age of 25 that knew how to use a Tenon saw/back saw properly.

    The design. I can understand not sharing yours but a reference design would have helped.

    No cross bracing in your cabinet, especially if you have MDF as a building material? Granted I do prefer to avoid anything resembling a monocoque/unibody construction where I can (too many years building ramps) so that probably comes down to a difference of design style.

    On the CRT. I dislike taking the things apart and I am supposed to have some training in the matter -- those tubes are a bit high voltage to be messing around with if most of your previous electronics experience does not go above 12V.
    soulx and Monty Kensicle like this.
  3. Monty Kensicle

    Monty Kensicle Yay!

    Aug 4, 2008
    United States
    Commonwealth of Virginia
    I'm interested in outfitting my cabinet with Coin Slots that will register a credit with the current game loaded or even some kind of multi-emulator credit system.
  4. XDKing

    XDKing Newbie

    Jun 24, 2013
    United States
    In response to FAST6191, the tools are overkill, but the thing is the work you get from it is nice. I've done many hand craft things, but making something as large scale as this will require some good electric tools. The tenon machine would be nice, but I used a kreg jig which is a much cheaper and efficient way of joining parts.

    They're plenty of designs online. Mine was based of one actually. I just redesigned it because it didn't "balance" in my eyes quite right,

    Cross bracing is their choice. It's part of the design, and cross bracing is only needed if their were to be heavy weight placed upon it, which as I said for the CRT; a brace should be used for support. And MDF isn't as weak as you think. XD

    True, that the CRT is very dangerous. I actually was shocked, but didn't do anything at all. Now I'm not saying I agree with the idea that it's smart to take it apart, but without taking risks, what fun is the world? lol I'm still not an adult, so it may not be as credible, but if your smart enough, you won't get hurt. And if you get hurt, I GUESS YOU WEREN'T SMART ENOUGH. XD (My mom was very scared when I was doing this, so I respect the idea that it is a STUPID thing to do.)

    Please don't take this as sass. XD

    In response to Monty, there are coin slots out there, and when your wiring your encoder, you just have to wire it with your buttons and joysticks. Of course, you should cut out a hole at the bottom, and put it in place before wiring. After you've put it in the encoder, just set Mame up with the credit button being the same button that the coin slot would be. A coin slot is just a button after all. (I'm not talking about the recall change button XD).

    Also, if your interested in a multi-emulator credit system, you can always set the Coin Slot key as a shortcut to launch the emulator. Just for MAME you would need to insert two coins. One for starting, another for playing. XD (MORE MONEY!)
  5. Ethevion

    Ethevion Wannabe Artist

    Sep 23, 2010
    Great tutorial! I'd love to make a cabinet, but I don't have the time or the experience.
  6. macmanhigh

    macmanhigh THC = Truly High Caliber

    Mar 29, 2012
    United States
    If Only i had Space for one of these....My Buddy in High School had a Cabinet with MAME setup on it Sweet Jebus the Late Nights i would spend over on that Beautiful piece of Machinery :sleep:
  7. AwesomeMarioFan

    AwesomeMarioFan RiiConnect24 Dev

    Jun 21, 2013
    United States
    Ah, I thought this mean't gaming cabinet as in storing games, awesome tutorial though!
  8. Xexyz

    Xexyz GBATemp's™ Official Xexyz

    Jul 29, 2013
    United States
    *arcade/mame cabinet