The Arcade cabinet is built

I built the arcade cabinet I mentioned last month, so in this post I’m going to both show pictures and talk a bit about how it went. Here it is!

(I realize the screen is upside-down, I did that on purpose to cover a mounting mistake. The games aren’t displayed upside-down, just that plexiglass cover over the monitor.)

To refresh your memory, I got this arcade cabinet kit. There are lots of options to consider when getting an arcade machine, and one of the first and most important options is just how DIY you want it. These run the full spectrum from a complete and fully built machine that’s simply delivered for you to start using immediately, to downloaded plans for a long project where you need to cut the wood, order all the parts, etc.

The kit I ordered is somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, with all the wood panels already cut and all (well, most) needed parts in the kit, but all the parts still need to be assembled and then the electronic components need to be wired up. I mean, since it comes flat packed, assembling the unit does invite comparison to assembling IKEA furniture. Let me tell you though, this project was a lot more intense than IKEA furniture. And I liked that! I learned a ton from building this.

Before I added the control panel, you can see the empty box under there.
The box under the control panel houses a Raspberry Pi running Retropie.

One of the most crucial mistakes I made though was in my choice of monitor. That’s one thing not included with this kit, so you need to order a 22″ monitor separately. I actually returned the first one I ordered, because I didn’t realize I needed one compatible with a VESA wall mount. The second one I ordered, and the one I ended up using, did have a VESA mount, but, due to the arrangement of connectors, needed to be mounted really low. Basically, this monitor had plugs sticking straight out (clearly intended to be used with a monitor arm rather than on a wall) so it needed to be mounted below the wood panel behind the screen. To cover up this mistake, I installed the plexi cover upside-down; note how the graphics on it are thicker on one side, and I needed the thick part on top.

Besides that bit of improvising, there were assorted other odds and ends not in the kit that I ended up needing. For example, the screws provided for the control panel hinge (the wood sheet over the empty box is on hinges) wasn’t really long enough, but fortunately I have an assortment of spare screws in my tool set. Similarly, even though the kit includes a Raspberry Pi with Retropie already installed on the microSD card, I needed to image a new microSD and use that instead.

All in all, a fun project for a geek like me!

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