Programming and Hacking Tools | Game Editors | Emulators | Batari Basic
 Mame Cabinet Project
Below is a collection of pictures from my Mame Cabinet build.  It was purchased from a thrift store for $50 in January 2015, and I just finished it up at the end of April.  It was functional except for a broken CRT.  It was originally a game called Guardians of the 'Hood, however inside the cabinet was a PitFigther information card, so it must have been converted at some point.
 Day 1
This is the arcade cabinet on the day that I brought it home.  I didn't get a good picture of the back, but the back of the CRT was broken.  The neck board was snapped off with broken and bent pins left behind.   Firing it up I could hear all of the game sounds, but of course couldn't see a picture.













 It's too cold
Due to the fact that I bought the cabinet in January I couldn't do much with it in the garage as the winter months are too cold where I live. I started by custom making a PC with parts I had laying around in the basement, my only purchase for it was a 120GB SSD Drive.  I also decided to use my old 19" Dell 4:3 LCD monitor for the cabinet, you can see where I measured it out in one of the pics below.

The vinyl was damaged and peeling on both sides.  I ended up removing it and painting it rather than re-purchasing brand new adhesive vinyl, which I discovered is very expensive.  It looks like particle board, but the wood is as smooth as glass and it looks good as a painted surface.  The old TV was removed, along with the metal frame that held it, and recycled.

The control panel attaches to a drawer, which allows for easy access to the internal components.  Four wing nuts attach the control panel to the drawer.  It's very easy to remove.   It's really a very nice design, I probably wouldn't have made a custom cabinet this nice.













 Working on the Control Panel
Here's a collection of detailed pictures on the construction of the control panel.  Since I was re-using an original cabinet, this was by far the most time consuming piece of the project.  The old control panel worked fine and I wound up re-using many parts from it.  I bought a new set of Happ joysticks (you'll see them in one off the pics with the red handles), but ended up using the originals because they had a much better feel to them.  I also re-used much of the wiring from the original and about 1/3 of the buttons.

I used MDF for the top panel and re used the box underneath from the original cabinet.  I matched the dimensions of the original but changed the joystick and button layout.

l made a detailed to-scale template for the control panel.


The very first cut.


Here's a pic of the newly cut panel compared to the original.


After cutting it out I routered out the holes for the trackball and joysticks on the bottom of the panel.



The bottom of the panel after I was finsihed routing it.


Test fitting the new control panel attached to the cabinet.  At this point I obviously had removed the vinyl from the sides.


Another view of the test fit for the control panel.


The first primer coat for the control panel.


I taped a small amount of adhesive vinyl to a piece of wood to cut out the holes for the joysticks and buttons.

The control panel had been painted at this point (but not clearcoated yet), so I started installing the blue vinyl surrounds for the joysticks and buttons.


l didn't notice until later that I had misaligned the one on the left, the left side was dropped down a little too far.  In this pic I was working on making the silver stripe around the blue vinyl with automotive pinstriping.


l finished up the right side in this pic.  I ended up changing the silver stickers later to compensate for the tilted vinyl on the left, it hides it.


This is the control panel after two coats of clear coat polyurethane.  It turned out much shinier than I expected, it's almost a mirror like finish.


Painting is now complete.


l bought an iPAC and Happ buttons from from Ultimarc


I started installing the buttons, trackball and joysticks in this pic.


A pic of the wiring, it's almost complete in this picture.


A pic of the control panel after I'd switched out the new joysticks for the older originals.


A picture of the comleted control panel.

 Finishing Up

Notice the date in the lower left corner. This is the metal CRT mounting hardware that I later removed.



I removed the original flourescent light fixture and single cone speaker, then strapped in some new PC speakers and a more modern & smaller light fixture.


This is a rear view of the monitor shelf I added in.


l tilted the cabinet back to remove the bent casters from the bottom, as well as do some touch up work with the paint.


Tilting it back into the sunlight helped me see some imperfections in the paint.



Here you can see the Dell monitor sitting on the new shelf.  The original stand telescopes very high up, it's perfect for this cabinet.


Here's a picture of the very heavy and thick black posterboard that I used for the monitor bezel.  I also cut the bottom off of the original Guardians of the 'Hood bezel to give it an original flair.


Here's the monitor bezel after cutting out the hole for the monitor.


Here's the control panel attached and pulled out.


Another picture of the control panel and drawer.


l ended up replacing the T-Molding on the kickplate, it was badly damaged.


Here's a picture of the finished product.  I wasn't really able to capture any good pictures due to the reflections in the glass.


A full picture of the finished project.  You'll notice the difference in the silver stickers surrounding the joysticks and buttons in this one.


l took this one with the garage door down to show what it looks like lit up.  Commando is running in the background.


l used GameEx as my front end.  I really like it.