Before I talk in-depth about how I put the cabinet together, I’ll do a quick post about the tools I used. I didn’t really have many tools to start with, so I had to buy some and I borrowed some others from my father-in-law. So here is a list of tools and some building materials that I used throughout the process. Some of these will be mentioned in more detail in later posts.


MDF wood – This was what the majority of the cabinet is made from

Wood batons – The bits of wood that were attached to the main frame in order to attached other panels too. I bought these from B&Q and cut them down to size. I think mine were 24mm x 36mm.

Circular saw – Borrowed from my father-in-law. I used this to cut down any panels I had to resize or to cut any extra bits I hadn’t planned for or to cut down pieces of wood for testing purposes (testing screwing or painting etc).

Jigsaw – I didn’t use this but my father-in-law used one for cutting the curves of the main outline, the holes of the speaker grill and the hole for the coin door

Router – Also used by my father-in-law to cut the slot for the t-moulding

Slot cutting bit – I’ll explain more about this in the post about applying the t-moulding

Handsaw – For lots of little bits of cutting where I just think it’s easier to use a handsaw instead of a bulky circular saw

Hacksaw – Handy for any small bits of cutting you need to do

Clamps – Used to hold the frame together during building or to hold bits of wood that were being glued. So useful. You can’t do it without them and you can’t have too many. I had just enough. I had small, medium and also one super long one. As well as these I had a few plastic spring loaded ones that were useful for positioning things in place but not strong enough for holding things for drilling.

Wood glue – Obviously used for glueing bits of wood together

Straight edge – I had a nice big straight edge with a handle and built in spirit levels. Used constantly for measuring and for drawing lines. I really wanted a T-square with a sunken crossbar so that you can slide it up to the edge easily, but for some reason these are really hard to find in the UK.

Ruler – I had a little plastic ruler from a geometry set which really came in handy for measuring small distances where it was hard to fit in the straight edge or even the tape measure

Tape measure – Needs to always be within hand’s reach. Sometimes you can’t measure with a straight edge or a ruler and you need a good ol’ fashioned tape measure

Rubber mallet – Used to hammer in the t-moulding into the slot round the cabinet edges

Panel pins – For attaching the first bit of t-moulding into the cabinet

Spade bit – This was used for cutting the holes for the buttons. I used a 28mm spade bit and had to borrow this from my neighbour

Mask and goggles – Essential for working with MDF

Micro-fibre dusters – Good for dusting down the wood before and after sanding

Sandpaper – I’ve never used so much sandpaper in all my life. From 40 grit through to 1000 grit. See my later blog post about sanding for more detail

Screws – I bought lots of different lengths of screws for different purposes. The main ones were 4x40mm for screwing panels into other panels but I also used a lot of 4x30mm, 4x16mm and 5×20 ones for things like screwing castors or angle brackets onto MDF sheets etc

Stanley knife – Again an essential item

Power drill – Of course. Probably the most used item of all. Drilling and screwing

Screwdrivers – Of course. Sometimes you can’t get a power drill into every space. And how else are you going to open a can of paint? ;-)

Polyfilla – For filling any holes made by screws etc

Cable ties – For cable management inside the cabinet

Pencil – Always essential for marking

Sharpie – Great for marking too

Here’s a list of all the posts about my arcade build.

Part 1
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