Anyone ever built a DIY arcade cabinet ? - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 77 Old 02-17-2015, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
So if I am trying to estimate stuff like costs, time, materials needed, tasks to be completed etc... what am I looking at?

I'd need a LCD screen. Costco or Walmart or some good sale I snatch up a 1080p whatever brand LCD. Probably like 30" or 32" you think ?
I have one actually I could use/test with. I think it's a Samsung...

So perhaps it might be logical to make the PC and get it working nice before I try messing with the cabinet? Do it backwards? What you think? What did I forget. ?
If I may humbly suggest: Check your goal / scope. If you want a machine to play vintage arcade games (don't know your age, but if you went to college in the 90s and want to relive your childhood / mis-spent college years in arcades, say) I'd suggest finding a large, cheap/free CRT. I tried an LCD, which was easier, cooler, and used less power, but it just wasn't right. Jarring, and didn't transport me to a fond bit of nostalgia. Purists will suggest a proper arcade monitor, and I understand that desire, but an old tube CRT was close enough for me.

However, if you decide to tinker with the CRT to make it fit a cabinet, or mount it, or whatever, be VERY careful. The magic smoke inside can kill you, not kidding.

Then, for those who don't enjoy the PC tinkering, look around for a pre-built image, or even a pre-built drive, as was linked up-thread. Might not be worth the time and frustration to DIY completely from scratch. Since it's a hobby: Do what ya' like to do, buy what ya' hate doing, I say!

As for my cheapskate build: 2x4s, wainscotting, garage-shelf-storage PC, $20 CRT, 2x X-Arcade (PC futzing wasn't worth paying to avoid, but I value highly someone else putting to together a known-good control board / wiring), $10 (I think) piece of plexi, and some left-over paint. Oh, and a couple of stools for cheap. It wouldn't have taken all weekend if I didn't need to wait for the paint to dry, and meet up with a befuddled CLer surprised someone wanted to pay him for his beautiful large CRT.

Then again... it can be done easily, or it can be done "sky's the limit!" Google around for some very inspiring builds!
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post #32 of 77 Old 02-17-2015, 09:38 AM
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Really, I'd bet a RasPi would make a perfectly adequate MAME machine... if I recall correctly, the original PacMan ROM board operated at, like, _3_Mhz.
http://pimame.org/

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post #33 of 77 Old 02-17-2015, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like to play semi modern MAME games... I think the Pi can do NES and Genesis and old school MAME just fine but the newer the generation of console and game the harder it becomes. Raspi is just weak sauce, and since I already have a rotting core2 duo E8500 and a Pentium G860 sitting around with mobo to go with them- it's seems logical to stick with the PC platform.

What would something like mortal kombat 4 take to play ?


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Originally Posted by FreakishlyTall View Post
If I may humbly suggest: Check your goal / scope. If you want a machine to play vintage arcade games (don't know your age, but if you went to college in the 90s and want to relive your childhood / mis-spent college years in arcades, say) I'd suggest finding a large, cheap/free CRT. I tried an LCD, which was easier, cooler, and used less power, but it just wasn't right. Jarring, and didn't transport me to a fond bit of nostalgia. Purists will suggest a proper arcade monitor, and I understand that desire, but an old tube CRT was close enough for me.

However, if you decide to tinker with the CRT to make it fit a cabinet, or mount it, or whatever, be VERY careful. The magic smoke inside can kill you, not kidding.

Then, for those who don't enjoy the PC tinkering, look around for a pre-built image, or even a pre-built drive, as was linked up-thread. Might not be worth the time and frustration to DIY completely from scratch. Since it's a hobby: Do what ya' like to do, buy what ya' hate doing, I say!

As for my cheapskate build: 2x4s, wainscotting, garage-shelf-storage PC, $20 CRT, 2x X-Arcade (PC futzing wasn't worth paying to avoid, but I value highly someone else putting to together a known-good control board / wiring), $10 (I think) piece of plexi, and some left-over paint. Oh, and a couple of stools for cheap. It wouldn't have taken all weekend if I didn't need to wait for the paint to dry, and meet up with a befuddled CLer surprised someone wanted to pay him for his beautiful large CRT.

Then again... it can be done easily, or it can be done "sky's the limit!" Google around for some very inspiring builds!
Good advice.

But if I am going to take the time to do it, might as well do it right. I'd like it to get OOOOHHHH and AAAAHHHHH from guests and have the machine work really nice, look really nice, etc... I don't really see the point in making it if I don't do it at a high level. That is just how I am. If I take the time to set up the PC and software (the hard part) I want it to be really awesome- otherwise it's not worth doing.

Check out signature. Might be a personality thing. I have a long list of want to do projects so not sure if I tackle this one just yet. I am trying to work through that and understand how much work and cost is actually involved. I am not afraid of it- just want to understand it to make a decision.

I appreciate your (and everyone) advice, links and comments so far.
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post #34 of 77 Old 02-17-2015, 10:50 AM
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I saw this a while back and really like the concept of it:

http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Su...eet-of-Plywoo/



Cut from a single piece of plywood with a few other pieces of wood to weigh down the base.
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post #35 of 77 Old 02-17-2015, 11:23 AM
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I recommend an old PC and buying an x-arcade dual tankstick with trackball. They're a couple hundred bucks, but worth it if you don't want to waste your time hacking an old keyboard. If you do make your own controller, make sure the keyboard supports n -key rollover before you start pulling it apart.

I found an old ninja gaiden cabinet for cheap when I built mine. Easy to gut those things and refinish. The plastic trim strips and buttons (if you make your own control stick) are all easily available on the internet. I recommend Mala for your Mame frontend - nice, easy interface, and you can set the PC to boot right into it so that you (your friends!) never see Windows when you start it up. If you have an old PC, download the mame software and test the games you want to play (someone mentioned MK4?) to see if the PC has enough processing power. It is was built in the last 10 years, it does! Older than that, maybe/maybe not, but it doesn't take much processing power.

Lots of good info out there if you type "DIY arcade" into a search browser. http://www.arcadecab.com/
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How about a 4 player model ?
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How about a 4 player model ?
Then the best way to approach this is with an iPac 4 (or two 2s) and some wiring... The control panel wiring is really simple, there's no soldering at all to do, all the components sold are made with connectors it is pretty easy to do...

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This is the place you want to sign up at if you're interested in Arcades

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/
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post #39 of 77 Old 02-17-2015, 12:01 PM
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might as well do it right. I'd like it to get OOOOHHHH and AAAAHHHHH from guests and have the machine work really nice, look really nice, etc...
Totally get the desire for a more-than-necessary PC. Especially if there's already one available -and- it's not destined to be on 24/7.

But, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'd caution again against thinking an LCD screen is the "nice" solution. There is something just, well, "wrong," about playing a vintage arcade game on an LCD screen. The OOOOOHHHH and AAAAAHHH, at least in my experience, comes out as the player is transported suddenly to the fond memories and experiences of a while back, and the LCD just didn't do that the way the CRT did. Too modern. Too clinical. It was probably just circumstance, but the LCD never led to a marathon 8+ hr session until o'dark-thirty in the morning!

Then, of course, further, I think there is validity in the parallel argument: And a CRT is nowhere near as wonderful as a vintage arcade monitor.

But, as always: To each their own!

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I saw this a while back and really like the concept of it:

http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Su...eet-of-Plywoo/
Cut from a single piece of plywood with a few other pieces of wood to weigh down the base.
That is -super- compelling, even if it does use an LCD screen. A great solution for a space-limited project. Thanks for that!

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Then the best way to approach this is with an iPac 4 (or two 2s) and some wiring... The control panel wiring is really simple, there's no soldering at all to do, all the components sold are made with connectors it is pretty easy to do...
Man. I hadn't checked things out in a while: The advances in the MAMEly sciences are boggling -- SO much easier now, on so much more a well-trodden path with many supported options, than it was even just a few years ago! I might have to kick in a few bucks to the pimame project just on principle....
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I have an x-arcade tankstick setup with a xtension cabinet from recroommasters.com . I had a spare pc collecting dust and a 26" monitor I wasn't using. So really the only cost was the cabinet and the tankstick. However, this is still ~1k. That being said it's got a lot less depth than a standard cabinet and has built in mounting for a LCD.

One thing I noticed though, and I lucked out that my pc collecting dust is still not too underpowered (qx9650 and amd 5770 gfx), is that the games look weird on a LCD. The old games really benefited from the scanlines and other features of the crt to add visual fidelity. On a LCD they look like crap to be honest. However, if you have a decent graphics card (less than 5 years old), you can use gpu processing to fake out the crt effects and it looks pretty darn close. This uses MAME's GLSL functionality. Pretty much they are custom graphics shaders you can use to post process the normal rendered image. It went from OMG this looks like crap to looking as good and sometimes better than a CRT.

Now I'm a huge geek, if you couldn't tell and know way too much about gpus, computers, and everything in between. I make a living on this kind of stuff. That being said I would not trivialize how ridiculously over complicated hyperspin is. If you have tons of free time and just love configuring things via trial and error and cutting and pasting across a million different txt files, then go for it. You can script a lot of it in python, or perl, but it starts feeling like work really quick. Additionally you have to collect video clips, music, etc. Anyways, I tried out hyperspin and felt like my hobby was turning into a job, so I just used the free copy of maximus arcade pc that came with my tankstick. It's not as flashy or as fancy as hypersin, but you can assign custom screenshots to every game and it's good enough for me. I think I spent maybe 6-8hrs customizing the software side of things, and 2-3hrs of that was getting the GLSL settings just right for mame. In comparision hyperspin would take weeks of work and you would still have to go the mame customization to make it look right on a lcd.

Next on my list of things is to do a virtual pinball machine. That's going to break the bank though (5-6k) as it does require a modern high end pc and large lcd monitors/etc. But still cheaper/easier than keeping a few real pinball machines around.

Here is an old picture of my mame cabinet playing super mario 3.
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Looks cool !

( I embed pic for you )
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I really like the idea of a cocktail cabinet. It just seems much more reasonable and functional. I know I'm not going to use a stand up cabinet much. Even when friends are over to watch a Pitt game I can't imagine it being used.

But a cocktail cabinet that you could sit down and put your beer on while you play makes sense. Even if no one is playing at least it would be used. I think a CRT or LCD would work equally well.

If I were doing a stand up I would definitely do an LCD. Just because of weight and overall design simplicity. I'd look for a 21" 4:3 LCD monitor - those pop up on Craigslist often for well under $100. I'd probably consider splicing some car speakers to a PC speaker set for ease of mounting.

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I've done a couple of cabinet repurposing on my side. I have an horizontal and vertical cab + a bartop dedicated to gun games and a virtual pinball cabinet.

If you have questions, I'll be happy to help !

Which of these do you like the best or gets used more? I have been wanting a pinball machine, then I saw the virtual ones and they sound like a great idea. Did you build yours from scratch? I was on the VPforums site but I got lost, looks like it is all about the software, where do people get the cabinets? Thanks
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Which of these do you like the best or gets used more? I have been wanting a pinball machine, then I saw the virtual ones and they sound like a great idea. Did you build yours from scratch? I was on the VPforums site but I got lost, looks like it is all about the software, where do people get the cabinets? Thanks
I must say my virtual pinball and my real one are the two machines that get the most use. Pinball has something universal, everybody loves them...

I did my build from an old widebody cabinet from the early 80's (a Roller Disco that was beyond repair). I removed everything in there and installed three screens, a PC and the extra hardware required for color leds, contactors (to simulate physical noise) and a plunger.

There's a fair set of build threads on VPForums in the Virtual Pinball Cabinets subforum (http://www.vpforums.org/index.php?showforum=29).

Once again, glad to help if you have questions !
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Totally get the desire for a more-than-necessary PC. Especially if there's already one available -and- it's not destined to be on 24/7.

But, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'd caution again against thinking an LCD screen is the "nice" solution. There is something just, well, "wrong," about playing a vintage arcade game on an LCD screen. The OOOOOHHHH and AAAAAHHH, at least in my experience, comes out as the player is transported suddenly to the fond memories and experiences of a while back, and the LCD just didn't do that the way the CRT did. Too modern. Too clinical. It was probably just circumstance, but the LCD never led to a marathon 8+ hr session until o'dark-thirty in the morning!
I originally tried to jam a CRT into my cocktail build. The problem was, a screen big enough had just a ridiculous amount of plastic case surrounding it. I ended up stripping off all the plastic case (and that kind of freaked me out considering theres very bad things inside a CRT while powered up (and even after powered down) that can do bad things to you if you touch them), and I still didn't really like it all that much. The heat it put off and the weight of it made me end up tossing it and shoving an LCD in there. WAY more practical (although, I agree - less authentic) implementation in my opinion. I think with a stand up cabinet it would be a no brainer - you could vent heat out of the top and get a big enough screen to make it worthwhile.

Quote:
Man. I hadn't checked things out in a while: The advances in the MAMEly sciences are boggling -- SO much easier now, on so much more a well-trodden path with many supported options, than it was even just a few years ago! I might have to kick in a few bucks to the pimame project just on principle....
Especially since the Raspberry Pi 2 just got released with over 4 times the CPU grunt and twice the RAM, I may look into stripping my whole PC out of my cocktail table and just putting a RasPi2 in there! (yay, more projects). Wonder how audio would work though.. likely a USB sound card or something...

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Which of these do you like the best or gets used more? I have been wanting a pinball machine, then I saw the virtual ones and they sound like a great idea. Did you build yours from scratch? I was on the VPforums site but I got lost, looks like it is all about the software, where do people get the cabinets? Thanks
You can get a lot of the stuff from virtuapin.net . They have DIY cabinets for about 1k. However you are looking at several more grand for a good pc and monitors to go in it. You can use a broken pinball machine if you can find one, but they seem to be rare these days. Craigslist is full either overpriced machines (broken or otherwise).

Anyways, as I stated on my previous post, this is my next game project. Although I'm lazy and will probably just get a fully configured system from virtuapin.net or vpcabs.com . Then I just have to load the tables I want. Some would say it's not as fun as building your own, but I have more money than time these days. Work and kids get any "hobby" time.
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Every couple of years I get the itch to do this. The slim models are tempting.
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I have a friend who built his own arcade console. I'm willing to ask him questions or get him on here if people need help. PM me if you do.
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This is the place you want to sign up at if you're interested in Arcades

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/
This. It has everything you're looking for, including the guy who designed the Vigolix. (He designed it in a dream, IIRC. So that should tell you something about the community there!)
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Gonna take me a while to get through all that ^haha.

I hate they make you enter in the humanity verification code a million times. Annoying. Surprised anyone even bothers posting there.
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Seriously. I've been reading for over two years now and working v-e-r-y slowly toward a build. You have questions? Thar be answers.

Oh, and register for the site if you're going to post (or read/search extensively). Eliminates all the verification jazz.
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I did register.
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MAME can add scanlines programmatically when displaying on "perfect" LCD screens. There are also some interesting dongles that add scanlines on the VGA output (in case you aren't using MAME). Google "VGA scanline generator" and there are a few good results on the first page of results. For authentic scaliness you shouldn't need to get an actual CRT unless you really want the rounded look of the glass.
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I am not at all interested in scan lines. I'm cool with a perfectly smooth LCD, and i to P upconversion. Ideally I would like a 1080p display, and then for 4:3 games it would add the bars on the sides. Not just black bars, but I think hyperspin has the ability to add bars with logos, like NES, or SEGA or whatever game or system you are playing and make it look cool and authentic in a modern way.
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What's the ideal screen size ?
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What's the ideal screen size ?
The horizontal cabinet I have has a 27" and it's pretty nice when you play...

I've seen models using a 42" if you plan 4 players for instance... But the resulting cabinet is gigantic...

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Yeah I kind of wanted 42" but now I figuring out I might rather 30"
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post #58 of 77 Old 03-16-2015, 09:39 AM
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Wanted to bump this thread up again and see if anyone is making progress. I am pretty much all in on building a full size virtual pinball cabinet. I have pulled my HTPC out of the rack and going to repurpose that for this, started loading software and configuring which isnt all that much fun! There are some tutorials but its a mixture of old and new, many different ways of accomplishing the task.

I bought a 46" LED TV that will be the playfield, need a 31-32" for the top and a 19" to go below that. Started buying the stuff that will go inside the cabinet, ledwiz, solenoids, buttons. This project will keep me busy for awhile!
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post #59 of 77 Old 03-16-2015, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhamp View Post
Wanted to bump this thread up again and see if anyone is making progress. I am pretty much all in on building a full size virtual pinball cabinet. I have pulled my HTPC out of the rack and going to repurpose that for this, started loading software and configuring which isnt all that much fun! There are some tutorials but its a mixture of old and new, many different ways of accomplishing the task.

I bought a 46" LED TV that will be the playfield, need a 31-32" for the top and a 19" to go below that. Started buying the stuff that will go inside the cabinet, ledwiz, solenoids, buttons. This project will keep me busy for awhile!
Nice ! If you have any question, feel free to ask !

Steve - Blogger at http://www.nextgenhometheater.com
Home Theater: Marantz SR7010 7.2.4 - Emotiva XPA-5/Outlaw 770 - KEF Q Series 2017 Speakers - SVS PB2000 Subs - JVC DLA-X550R - Samsung UBD-K8500
Living Room: Denon S710W 5.2.1 - KEF/Polk Speakers/Sub - LG OLED65C7P - XBox One X
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post #60 of 77 Old 03-16-2015, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhamp View Post
Wanted to bump this thread up again and see if anyone is making progress. I am pretty much all in on building a full size virtual pinball cabinet. I have pulled my HTPC out of the rack and going to repurpose that for this, started loading software and configuring which isnt all that much fun! There are some tutorials but its a mixture of old and new, many different ways of accomplishing the task.

I bought a 46" LED TV that will be the playfield, need a 31-32" for the top and a 19" to go below that. Started buying the stuff that will go inside the cabinet, ledwiz, solenoids, buttons. This project will keep me busy for awhile!
I am going to be doing this... but I need to find some time to get the HTPC part perfect first. I know I can do the wood working, but I want to test the PC side of things first and get it nice.

If I can't make it reliable and turn key, I won't do it. My passion for PC is dwindling though... I don't enjoy messing around as much as I used to enjoy it.
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