Anyone ever built an arcade machine ??? Like a legends machine? From scratch with modern PC parts /ROM emulators/ Wood working ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-12-2013, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Possible ?

Thoughts?

Places for items needed ????

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post #2 of 17 Old 02-12-2013, 07:48 PM
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Go to BYOAC.

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post #3 of 17 Old 02-14-2013, 03:35 PM
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I am in the process of building one myself, found an empty cabinet on craigslist for $100. I mounted a 32" LED on the cabinet and I am using a jtagged 360 which I think is the best solution. I am able to play 360 games, xbox live arcade games, and mame emulators.
Check out:
www.mameroom.com they sell cabinet kits and pre-made full arcades
www.groovygamegear.com they sell arcade parts

Here is a pic of mine
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-15-2013, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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That's pretty cool !!!!

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post #5 of 17 Old 02-19-2013, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Does Xbox have advantage over HTPC or pc ?

How would I hack it ?

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post #6 of 17 Old 02-20-2013, 06:03 PM
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Well I went with the J-tagged xbox 360 because I could play MAME games, xbox 1 games, xbox 360 games and xbox live arcade games. I was able to install a 750gb hard drive which has all the aforementioned games on it. Here is an overview on what a Jtag can do.
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-04-2013, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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What's reasonable total cost for a project ?

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post #8 of 17 Old 03-08-2013, 06:43 PM
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It can be a little bit hard to estimate because these types of builds are a great way to dispose of otherwise throwaway computer gear. You don't need to buy a new PC to run emulators, so whatever was decommissioned after your last upgrade is perfect. Same deal with displays, personally I think an arcade cabinate is a great way to use an an old 20"+ CRT monitor or TV, it looks more authentic and IMO better than using scaling/oversampling algorithms and an LCD display, but I understand people have weight/packaging/convenience requirements.

I built a full cabinet with some guys at work a few years ago (not as outrageous as it sounds as we were a handheld/mobile games developer) and would estimate the build cost a couple hundred bucks. We did scrounge around in our discard pile for the PC we used, a monitor, and one of the guys had enough woodworking experience to do the cabinet construction so we were only in for the cost of raw materials on that, basically a few sheets of MDF and screws. I can't remember what we covered it with, but the guy who did the woodworking laminated it himself just like the real deal, if memory serves you just buy that stuff by the sheet and apply with contact cement or spray adhesive.

The control hardware itself is surprisingly inexpensive. For the control board I used an Ultimarc iPac4:

http://www.ultimarc.com/JShopServer/section.php?xSec=2

For $65 this lets you wire up enough buttons and joysticks for a giant 4-person control panel. For $39 you can get the iPac2 and that's good for 2 Street Fighter style stick/button layouts and a few auxiliary buttons. It plugs into a PC and pretends it's a keyboard, and then you can map the buttons on your layout to keys for MAME, and Ultimarc has their own programming application that is pretty good.

Most of our controls were Suzo Happ:
http://na.suzohapp.com/amusement/gameparts/gameparts.htm

You can Google and find a few vendors that sell small quantities to the DIY cabinet market. Expect buttons to run $1-2 and joysticks $10-20. We ended up getting really into it and buying joysticks from a couple different brands and optical joysticks and other gimmicky things, but in the end the Happ competition buttons and competition joysticks were the overall favorites, which also happen to be among the least expensive. If you want to try other brands, especially Japanese imports, it might be 2 or 3 times as much per item. In general everyone seemed to feel like the more basic the stuff is the better, although a stick with a restricted 4-way gate can be really nice if you have dedicated Pac-Man players or any other games that didn't use an 8-way stick, it can actually be awkward when you are inadvertently on one of the diagonals that don't work in a given game.

The unconventional controls are significantly more expensive, like if you want light guns, trackball, spinner, steering wheels. We played with some of that stuff and it was fun but IMO, unless your favorite game ever is Arkanoid or Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road, it's really not worth the hassle. Just build a panel with 2-4 Street Fighter style layouts and if you want the other stuff maybe build another cabinet or separate control boxes you can plug in.

I just did some quick googling and it looks like there is quite a bit more stuff available than there was when we built, so have fun.

Wiring the stuff up is just a couple of spools of solid copper wire and crimp connectors, the stuff comes in big bags for a few dollars at electronics supply stores. If you're doing a big panel, it's definitely worth investing in a pair of decent crimpers with interchangeable dies, it's basically impossible to consistently and efficiently work with the $10 stripper/"crimper" combo tools. The wiring is not sophisticated at all, it was basically my first "electronics" project and it's really just one signal wire from the iPac to each button/stick direction and then a common ground wire, easy but tedious work.

Tools wise, it's saws, drill, crimpers, screws, maybe some glue. If you have to buy that stuff it would increase the cost of the build but it's pretty basic stuff. I didn't do the full cabinet build but I did a prototype control panel myself that was just a freestanding 3-player panel built of three pieces of MDF screwed together at right angles like a basic shelf. Basically just had to drill out all the holes, I think button and joystick holes were all the same size, a few screw holes for securing the joysticks, the buttons have screw-on retainers on the back.

So basically I would say you start at low hundreds for an iPac, controls and raw materials, and depending on how much of the build you can do yourself and how many tools you have to buy it could vary quite a bit. No spare PC? A few hundred bucks? No spare monitor? A couple hundred? Need to buy all the tools? Maybe $100-200? Don't want to build the cabinet yourself? Kits are a couple hundred bucks.

But I think anyone on this forum is resourceful enough to beg and borrow tools and expertise and spare parts and put something together pretty cheap.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-07-2013, 05:45 PM
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Here's mine that I built last year.



MAME really needs very little to run - an old Pentium 4 will work fine, and can usually be had online for $75 or so. (I managed to snag a dual core PC from work that's handy since it lets me run other emulators like PS1). The components for the control panel are your big cost - about $200 for buttons, joysticks, and the keyboard mapper. The cabinet itself is 5/8" MDF covered in black formica. I'm a graphic designer by trade, so did the artwork for it all myself, and had it printed at a local Fastsigns, but it's overkill for most folks. This is the cabinet I found on BYOAC that I copied, in terms of a layout: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=55789.0;all (If I built another one, which I'm thinking about, I'd do a bartop version of that. Love the wood!)
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-18-2013, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Sweet ! Looks great !!!

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post #11 of 17 Old 06-19-2013, 05:45 PM
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Check out forum.arcadecontrols.com

You will find tons of projects that people have done for building there own arcade machines.

People are even making their own virtual pinball machines which are really sweet!! They use two tvs,,,one as the playfield and the other as the backglass...check it out!
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-25-2013, 01:48 PM
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Well, I actually collect arcade machines. I never bothered to build a Mame machine though. I would recommend getting yourself a nice cabinet to begin with. Depending on what type of games you want to play, that would vary from person to person. I prefer fighter's, so I would probably get a big Midway style 25" cab. Relatively inexpensive as well.

If you want an arcade like viewing experience, I would grab one of the tri res tube monitors while they are still available. They will soon be gone for good. The Lcd's just don't look the same.

The rest of the equipment is still available and probably will be for some time.
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-27-2013, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megrog2 View Post

Well I went with the J-tagged xbox 360 because I could play MAME games, xbox 1 games, xbox 360 games and xbox live arcade games. I was able to install a 750gb hard drive which has all the aforementioned games on it. Here is an overview on what a Jtag can do.

Is there a functional frontend for a jtagged 360? Would love to have the flexibility for the new games but I need a front end like maximus arcade to do the picture and video previews.
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-28-2013, 01:29 PM
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I've never built an arcade cabinet myself, but one of the blogs I read on a regular basis had a post about building an arcade cabinet using a Mac Mini

http://joethepeacock.blogspot.com/2009/08/ms-mac-man-our-new-mame-cabinet.php
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post #15 of 17 Old 08-01-2013, 04:22 PM
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Or find an Gen 1 Arcade Legends machine (can be had cheap now) and drop a MAME PC in it running hyperspin. That's what I did.

I don't really like talking about my flair

My Home Theater Project:
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-13-2013, 05:15 PM
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I built a scratch built cabinet out of Oak with 27" LED display , full flashing LED lit buttons and PC. Total cost around 1500.00
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post #17 of 17 Old 02-08-2014, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I think this is a project I want to do when the weather warms up. I'm thinking I can use a PC inside to power it.

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