The goal for this project is to fabricate an arcade cabinet for a MAME machine. This could be the beginning of a Lowell Makes Arcade. This could definitely be a selling point with new members.
- The aracde machine size would be dictated by the size screen we put into it.
- There are many tutorials online that go into building cabinets in great detail.
Parts and Materials
We will need wood or mdf for the cabinet.
Small PC to run the software. An old laptop or junk pc should do fine. The software does not require a lot of power. Graphics are something to keep in mind though.
Panels, perhaps adorned with Lowell Makes insignia
Electronic Horizons donated an old TV. It's a Toshiba 27A23 CRT. I managed to find a manual online that included the following specs.
- 27 inch Screen
- Dimensions: 25 9/16in x 22 1/2in x 19 11/16in
- Weight: 80.5 lbs
- Power Consumption: 125 W
I (Keith) went ahead and ordered an I-PAC2 from Ultimarc. Based on my reading this seems to be the go-to encoder for DIY cabinet builders. It has room for 32 inputs, which should cover our needs. The board itself has PS/2 outputs but comes with a PS/2-to-USB cable. We should be able to simply wire our controls to these inputs and get USB keyboard commands out of it.
The silkscreen on the thing indicates the default controls (8 buttons, 4 directions, coin and start per 4 players) but it looks like there's also a means to rebind them as necessary. It's also all just keyboard commands so we should be able to configure the games to accept whatever we throw at it.
- Source materials and initial design.
- Official MAME website
- MAME reddit community
- ArcadeCab - DIY arcade cabinet step-by-step walkthroughs (from scratch)
- Ubuntu MAME installation tutorial
- Instructibles article on DIY arcade machine (One of many such tutorials out there)
- Another Instructables on building your own cabinet
- RetroPie Project - Raspberry Pi Multi-emulator image