Having an arcade cabinet in my home has been a goal of mine for many years. I’m not the kind of person to want things like flash cars or a big mansion house. I just want a happy marriage and healthy kids, both of which I’m very lucky to have, and the main material luxury item that I have always really wanted is an arcade machine. I only ever used to play them in the past as a real treat, on holiday or on special occasions. Now that I have one, at the tender age of 40, it’s great and the fact that I’ve been able to make it myself makes it even more special.
And let’s make one thing clear, I really have no experience of making things like this. I like to thing I’m creative and reasonably arty, as I went to Art School, but I don’t have any real experience of using tools to build anything like this. So if I can do it, you can do it.
I wanted to document the whole process, hence the 23 part blog post series, because I gained so much knowledge and motivation from watching other people make theirs online, such as Abs Delfuego, Neil Neg and Bob Clagett. I will be letting them all know just how useful their videos and blog posts were to me. I’d love to think my posts might help someone with their build in the future. So if you gained any useful knowledge at all from reading these posts then please do let me know. I’d love to hear from you. And if you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact me to ask a question. Seriously, this was a labour of love and I could talk it about it until the cows come home.
Anyone can do this. If you have the time and patience you can build an arcade machine. It’s a great feeling to have the finished product at the end of the process. Here’s a quick GIF to show the process in 7 seconds.
One thing I’ve really taken from the project is that it has rekindled a passion within me for making things with my hands. I used to be hands on artistic/crafty but my art has gone a predominantly digital way for the past 25 plus years. It felt great to be designing things that were going to become tangible objects and then actually build them myself. YouTube channels and podcasts such as I Like To Make Stuff and Making It have inspired me to join the maker community and I’m already thinking about what I can make next.
Here’s a list of all the posts about my arcade build.
Part 2 – Decisions
Part 3 – Cabinet Design
Part 4 – Control Panel Plans
Part 5 – Initial Questions and Concerns
Part 6 – Online Resources
Part 7 – Cabinet Plans
Part 8 – Buying and Cutting the Wood
Part 9 – Tools and Materials
Part 10 – Building the Cabinet
Part 11 – Building the Control Panel
Part 12 – Sanding and Painting
Part 13 – The Coin Door
Part 14 – Artwork
Part 15 – Printing and Applying the Vinyl
Part 16 – Adding all the T-moulding
Part 17 – The TV Monitor
Part 18 – Making the Bezel
Part 19 – The Marquee
Part 20 – Installing the Electronics
Part 21 – Setting up MAME
Part 22 – Issues to Watch Out For
Part 23 – The Finished Cabinet
Here’s a one minute video showcasing the final product. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I’ve gotta go now. I’ve got some games to play :-)