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Completed Full-Size Arcade Machine (Mostly) for the Kids

vulcan500rider

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
562
Location
Regina, SK
I recently posted on the Troubleshooting forum about an arcade build I had just finished for my kids for Christmas. Thankfully, I think I've solved the problem, but I thought I would post a bit of a buildlog, as well, in case anyone is interested.

Finished picture first:
20201225_074403.jpg

The genesis of this project was the decision to upgrade my main system to play Cyberpunk 2077. That meant that my old i5 2500k and RX 480 were going to have nothing but free time on their hands, so I thought to put them to good use. Unfortunately, there wasn't much of a budget left after the upgrade, so I wasn't too enthused to spend $175-$250 on some 3/4" plywood to make the cabinet. However, I do have some experience using recycled/freecycled materials and coming up with my own designs, so I decided that I would spend probably $30 on construction-grade 2x4s and then clad the whole thing using 1/8" plywood salvaged from some old doors we changed out when we first bought our house. I managed to pick up what was supposed to be a 32" Panasonic TV off of Facebook Market for $80; it turned out to be a 37" TV, so I just built out to that spec instead of the smaller size.

20201127_141032.jpg

I knew I would need to do the machine in multiple pieces, in order to get it out of the garage and into the house. So, what I came up with was a bottom frame/shelf, onto which the upper half with the TV mount and marquee, as well as the sides and lip upon which the arcade controls would mount. Above is that upper piece, with the TV on to check fit. Below is pre-marquee build, but with the upper and lower pieces together.

20201108_152049.jpg

This next one is the nearly-completed structure, before adding any plywood cladding.

20201121_161348.jpg

And here are a couple of the control panel, which I build out of a piece of old 3/4" plywood I had lying around in the garage. The button kit was off of Amazon. Action is a bit loud, but they work:

20201202_220939.jpg20201202_220918.jpg

And, of course, here are most of the guts. It's a i5 2500k on an ASUS P67 Sabretooth mobo, with 8GB RAM, a small SSD for the OS, and a larger SATA drive for the ROMS, etc. Not pictured are a pair of small Sony speakers from an old Home Theatre in a Box kit, which I mounted in the marquee, and a small amplifier (also Amazon) that I bought for about $20 to boost the sound to the speakers.

20201122_153433.jpg
Oh, and for the curious, here is what's left of one of the doors I was pulling plywood from. This piece was actually for another project, in which I used a few of the doors to build a box that I put around our cats' litterboxes to decrease smell.

20200913_105759.jpg

So, that's pretty much the build. For the software, I ended up using Windows 7 (the journey to that is part of the troubleshooting thread), with Launchbox as a front-end, with their "Big Box" add on, which is the software you see running in the very first picture. The system will now reliably play arcade, NES, SNES, TG16, Genesis, N64, Gamecube, Wii, WiiU (somewhat), Playstation 2. I could probably add more of the lower-end systems in, but that's what I went with. Here's a picture of the kids playing Knights of the Round--the arcade version:

20201225_075151.jpg
 

sswilson

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Dec 9, 2006
Messages
21,066
Location
Moncton NB
Looks amazing, and I'm sure the kids think it's one of the best things they've ever seen..... :)

How did you do the stickers? Did you grab some pre-made ones or print them up on transparencies?
 

vulcan500rider

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
562
Location
Regina, SK
Looks amazing, and I'm sure the kids think it's one of the best things they've ever seen..... :)

How did you do the stickers? Did you grab some pre-made ones or print them up on transparencies?

Thanks! Pre-made. We actually picked up some wall decals at Lowe's for all of $20. Way cheaper than ordering graphics from a printer. Maybe one day we'll upgrade them, but they fit the kids ages pretty well for now.
 

Izerous

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Folding Team
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
1,691
Location
Edmonton
I have always wanted to build one but then i look at the couch and raspberry pi and decide against it. Too many other projects.
 

vulcan500rider

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
562
Location
Regina, SK
this is just amazing!

I bet, if you were to advertise this, you'd get a lot of custom build work and make a mint! ;)
Thanks, Friendly.

That briefly crossed my mind, but I think the final price would probably be too much for most people. Assuming I had nothing, my guesstimate would be:

$200 - Case
$200 - Computer (if you find a decent deal used)
$200 - Software (Assuming legit, Windows-based OS and Launchbox for a front-end. Could also go Raspberry Pi-based for cheaper, but more difficult config)
$120 - Monitor
$60 - Buttons and joysticks
$50 - Amp and decals
$20 - used speakers (hopefully)
$30 - Peripherals (wireless KB/Mouse combo - PS3 or alternative controllers would be more)

So that's almost $900. I assume the build would be a bit quicker, with experience and using full plywood panels instead of fiddling with scrap materials, but it would still take a fair few hours. I'm thinking that I'd want to see a solid $600 for my time, and any headaches of getting everything to play nice together.

That would mean around $1500, at least, which I think most people would choke on.

Not to mention that my wife would kill me, because I'd never get our kitchen done...or, you know...started. lol.
 

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