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[DONE w/pics!] My cabinet work log

  • DONE. As is tradition, finished product comes first.

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    Below you can see I have a charging dock setup on the side of the cab for the PS3 controllers, and a slide out keyboard drawer. Ended up with a pretty cool retro apple look to it or something. It's how I envisioned it, and I'm really happy with the look of it. Not so happy with how many fingerprints I will be chasing down... haha, oh well. It's so clean and pristine, I might not let anyone touch it.

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    So I finally dove in this week and started building my arcade cab. Since the beginning, I aimed for a wall-mounted 2 player cabinet. Little different than most designs out there, so I really didn't use any guide. A Frankenstein of my own making :) A requirement for me is being able to sit at the controls with another person and not have our knees jammed into the cabinet. To get proportions and angles to my liking, I first made a mock-up with cardboard. My first thoughts when I did this was... this thing is going to be heavy. :|

    I'm not documenting every step - just milestones.

    Day 1
    Bought one sheet of 3/4 x 49 x 97 MDF. Making the first cut on the table saw with this beast was a pain. The sides, top and bottom were cut. I'm using wood glue and a brad nailer to hold everything together. The brad nailer DOES create a tiny crack in the MDF when you fire it in the end of the wood, so I use it sparingly. It's real purpose is just to hold it together before the glue sets.

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    Day 2
    It's a pretty big fella for a wall mount... Monitor is 27" or something. The extra space at the bottom is for a pull out keyboard and mouse for dos games. I bought some heavy duty drawer slides and mounted the to a 1x4 of finished lumber. I didn't want to use MDF here because screws rip out of MDF fairly easily. Gluing the rails could be option, but strength of mating those two surfaces with glue is fairly unknown to me. Below you can see the rails in their new home. And actually you can also see a crack in the bottom MDf from the brad nailer. I should point out that the ends of all boards will not be exposed on the front of the cab. Since those are the hardest to finish, they will only be seen on the sides. I'm not using T-Molding; going for a minimalist look!

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    To hide this mess, I cut out a face plate with a hole for the keyboard drawer to slide out of. Jigsaws don't exactly give the straightest cut, but some sanding during the finishing process should tighten things up. I got the rounded corner at the top by using a hole saw. Gives it a nice touch I think.

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    So far it's definitely a time consuming process! Making sure to get the cuts right (including angle cuts) is paramount. Sometime this week I'll install the drawer and test it, then it's on to the control panel and the front board with cutouts for the monitor, power button, amp & speakers (sigh).

    Day 3

    Drawer for keyboard was fully installed. Bit of a nightmare here. Because the cabinet is not perfectly square, it's really noticeable when the keyboard drawer is tucked away inside... one side isn't flush with the opening! Took me a while to find a workable solution to hide my lack of carpentry skills.

    Also cut a board for the control panel and the front face. Cut out the hole for the monitor, speakers and amp. All cut with a jigsaw. Have to try and get everything straightened out during sanding. Both panels in the image below are not mounted. They are just laying on there, so they aren't straight.

    Day 4

    Control panel gets a make-over. Pro-tip, spade bits are a millions times better for MDF than hole saws. The hole saw took forever and just burned it's way through the wood. Lots of smoke... sigh. And let's not get into how hard it is to find a 30 mm bit for the sanwa buttons. I think I ended up buying a 1-3/16ths hole saw for those...

    Then onto the router. Quite possibly the worst task so far. I'm using an ancient Black and Decker router and it took a while just to get the bit tight enough. This thing just spews dust everywhere (i.e. my face). Safety Glasses only do so much... but a painters mask is a must for breathing.

    Day 5

    Time to try and hide all my shoddy workmanship :) It's wood-filler time.

    Here's a shot from the back. I'm just going to use some metal brackets to hold the weight of the monitor, then strap it in using some steel strapping. I added a couple of planks of 1X4 planed pine on the sides for structural support. Going to be wall-mounted with a French cleat, so I can't trust the MDF there.

    Day 6... 7, 8, 9? 10, 11? I don't know anymore

    Sanded and painted! Took maybe 5 coats... sanding, filling some more... at one point I created a pimple on the CP with a screw that was too long... sigh.

    I also took some old stools and refurnished them with some Mario fabric. Legs are sanded in the pic, but they are now nice and white. Pretty happy with these. Wasn't much work and they are a nice touch.

  • @Concat Lookin' good!
    Is the drawer for a keyboard, or storage of controllers?
    I appreciate the "just diving in" attitude. Sometimes the only difference between enjoying a home-built cabinet and always wishing you had one is the bold act of just starting the project. I too have built mock-ups to test positions of design elements. It's a smart and inexpensive way to test ideas.

    Looking forward to more pics!

  • @Concat

    Nice first steps! I like the keyboard/mouse drawer idea!

    How many buttons do you plan on using?

  • Drawer is only for keyboard/mouse. I have 2 PS3 controllers that I will be including in the design however. I am planning on mounting a PS3 charge dock on the side of the cabinet. 2 PS3 controllers and 2 sets of arcade controls for 4 player games :)

    For buttons I'm doing 8 buttons per player + 2 for "start" & "select" equivalents. All genuine Sanwa parts. That was important for me.

  • Updated with more pics! Painting will be up next. It's starting to look like something... :D

  • Took a month, but I'm finally done. Ok, who am I kidding. RetroPie is never done. Always more to do and to tweak.

    See OP for updated pics.

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