MAME Cabinet

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MAME Machine

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.

Preliminary Design

  • 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

I'm keeping a running list of the parts purchased thus far in this Google spreadsheet.

Things we still need to source:

  • Play screen (likely just use a 19 LCD)
  • Panels, perhaps adorned with Lowell Makes insignia
  • Paint

The Screen

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

Update I'm not sure if we can really utilize this screen. It's just too bulky, especially in back.

Keyboard Encoder

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 2 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.

I also tested this with the Raspberry Pi, hooked up to a single button. It seems to work exactly as advertised.

Task List

  • Source materials and initial design.
  • Construct cabinet
  • Paint cabinet
  • Design control panel
  • Construct control panel


Mike had a fascinating idea to use layered cut plexiglass on the side panels, illuminated via fibre optics, to show animations.