Arcade project

I've wanted to build a MAME cabinet for a long time and I finally have the means to do it. After a lot of researching, it became clear I didn't have the woodworking skills or equipment to build a cabinet from scratch. So, the first step was to find an existing arcade cabinet that could be bent to my will. After some searching, I decided to contact Tornado Terry who runs a very successful arcade in Keller, TX. I'd been to his arcade a few times in the past, but I had no idea he also dealt in arcade parts and repair as well. He had exactly the cabinet style I wanted with everything included but the screen. It was also in near perfect condition as well. So, last night my girlfriend drove me an hour there in her truck. Another hour and $200 later ($198.50 if you count the $1.50 in quarters I later found in the coin box), we returned home. With some help from a few friends, we manhandled it up the stairs to my second floor apartment...

...and there was much rejoicing

The cabinet has literally everything but the screen (which wasn't for sale) and the gameboards. Since I'm going to be putting a TV and a computer inside it, niether of those things are necessary. The cabinet still has all of the glass, the monitor bezel, coin doors complete with coin mechs that look unused (Terry's arcade is free-play I guess), speakers, lighting, a JAMMA harness, and a working powersupply. Here's some pics of it finally sitting in my living room:

that cat doesn't get excited about anything

here's a shot from the front

virtually unused coin mechs

note the lock-picks I had to use to get the lower door even came complete with two plastic tubs for collecting coins

kitty checks the meter

monitor glass and bezel removed...back and control panel open

power supply

a shot from the back

another shot looking through the back

I forgot to take a picture of the speakers and lighting while I had the marquee open, but they're there and functional as well. Like I mentioned above, I had to pick the lock on the lower door since Terry had never had a key for it (makes sense since his arcade doesn't use coins). Still, he said he'd give me a free lock next time I'm there that uses the same key as the upper door.

I already have a pretty good idea of what control panel components I'll be using. Here's the layout I've come up with so far:

control panel layout

The joysticks and trackball will be flush-mounted, so those squares around them won't actually be visible. They just represent the mounting footprints. The two joysticks are going to be Ultimarc UltraStik360's since they can function as any type of joystick (2-way, 4-way, 8-way, etc). The trackball will be a Happ 3" usb trackball that Terry sells for under $90. The buttons in each upper corner are the player 1 and player 2 start buttons. The row of four buttons at the top are MAME admin buttons (escape, enter, tab, and pause). The other circle above the player 1 controls is a TurboTwist2 spinner control. Coin insertions will be triggered either by actually inserting coins or by pushing one of the coin eject buttons.

As for the screen, I'll be using a 27" TV with component inputs plugged into the computer's DVI port. I have several computers collecting dust that would be suitable for this project, so I'm not really worried about that.

Well, that's all for now, but there will be much more to come.