Hey all, I'm working on a little project and thought this would be as good a place as any to share my progress.
Long story short, my uncle built me a MAME arcade cabinet for me when I was 13. I was pretty young back then and didn't really understand "building" things. I'm older and wiser, and would like to bring this beast to my apartment next year, so I figured it would be a good excuse to revamp it and change the things I didn't like about it.
Here it is in all its glory back in '06. Notice how huge the control board is and how far it sticks out from the machine.
I didn't see it then, but it's obvious that this box wasn't part of the original machine. (I wish I knew what game it was originally, but I can't think of a way to find out.) The main bulk of this rebuild is redoing the control board to make it significantly smaller and maybe make it look a little more like it did back in its prime.
This is what the control panel originally looked like. It has an 8-way joystick and six buttons for each player, along with buttons for coins, exiting, and single or multi-player. It also has a trackball that acts as a mouse. (This machine runs Windows XP.) The buttons on top of the trackball are left and right click, respectively.
Notice all the blank space on the board. This not only looks sort of boring and bad, but it makes the board much deeper than it has to be.
Here's the machine as it looks with the old control board removed. The control board came off with a few bolts, and I replaced the old 17 inch CRT with a 21 incher. I got this monitor for free off Craigslist and it is quite a beast.
My dad and I used a jigsaw to cut out what will become the sides of the new control board. The gaps between these pieces and the machine will be calked and the entire side will be painted a dark blue. Judging by the construction of the marquee up top, this is probably how the control board used to be built.
I like the shape of the Neo-Geo machines, so I used those as inspiration when designing the shape of the control panel. (Notice how the monitor is so deep it sticks out the back.)
Here's mostly everything laid out on the control board. The board is made of plywood and has a sheet of plexiglass on top.
Today, I got the artwork printed and put together the control panel. (Yes, we cracked the plexiglass, but I really didn't feel like drilling all the holes again, so I'll live with it for now.)
Tomorrow, the slot for the t-molding is being cut into the new side pieces. The t-molding will be yellow.
You might be wondering, where are the player two controls? They'll be there, but for now, I have them wired to a USB controller and mounted to a clarinet case so I can have it in my dorm room!
Pretty cool stuff.
I'll be updating this as I go, and if anyone has any questions on MAME building, let me know, I might be able to help.