Arcade Action

Running Total: $2849.18 ($1424.59 each)

August 10th, 2006 - ?? hours

Crapsicles, I forgot to update again. Noah and I got together at least 4 times over the past month and almost finished everything up. I know that we got together on Saturday July 29th to do a number of things like install the kick plate, mount the marquee, mount the control deck, and wire up the speakers.

We got together next, I think, on August 1st, where we had to remount the kickplate due to it the liquid nails not taking the first time. We also wired up the coin doors and tried to figure out how the control deck worked. Unfortunately we realized that the people at SlikStik, despite us ordering a 56 input I-PAC, doubled wired some of the controls and only used 28 inputs. What this mean is that while we have 44 separate inputs on the control deck, there are only 28 unique functions. We have three directional sticks on the deck, but two of them do the exact same thing. We were pretty disapointed by this and considered rewiring some of the buttons to get more functionality from our decks. We still haven't done this yet, though.

That same night, we stuffed my cabinet into Noah's truck and shipped it over to my house. We had to take a door off the hinges to get it into my living room from the garage where it sat for a week.

On Tuesday August 8th, Noah helped me move the arcade up the stairs to my office, where it now sits.

More pictures for you: IMG_1284, IMG_1286, IMG_1287, IMG_1294, IMG_1295

It's still only 95-98% complete. We're waiting on glass so that we can finish off the front of it and I still want to add drink holders, a better solution for my NES/N64 controllers, mount the DVD drive somewhere, pipe in some cable TV, get a remote for the computer, figure out a permanent solution for my light guns, find or create the perfect front-end, and add some graphics to the side (this will likely not happen). In the mean time I am thoroughly enjoying it. I am a Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Killer Instinct professional gamer.

July 11th, 2006 - ~5 hours

Three months go buy without much action, but fortunately things have started to pick back up. Noah and I met in early May and realized we just couldn't go forward without making some purchases first. We finally decided to buy two SlikStik control decks.

Six weeks later, they arrived at work one afternoon. We cracked open one of the boxes, plugged the thing up to my PC at work, and played some Double Dragon. They worked flawlessly and were painfully easy to configure (all the buttons are basically mapped to keys on the keyboard).

After a series of vacations, we got back together one Saturday and realized that we still needed to buy more crap before we could really do anything more. We purchased some Sony Xplod speakers and were able to cut the holes in the final board, put it into place, and mounted the speakers.

So the question, `what's left?`, raises itself again. Just tonight I ordered a marquee from We're now trying to find a plastics shop in town where we can order some smoked/tinted plexiglass from. You'd think this was an easy task, but nobody wants to cooperate. Here's a list of to do's:

  • Find a place for and mount the DVD drive
  • Install the kickplate
  • Wire up the coin door
  • Mount the control deck
  • Install the marquee
  • Find a place to buy smoked plexiglass from, buy it, and install it
  • Hopefully mount the volume knob somewhere
  • Splice a 2.1 speaker set and wire it up to our Sony Xplods
  • Mount the computer and wire it up to everything
  • Move the beast back to my house and hopefully upstairs
  • Play the shit out of it

    To dos, eventually:
  • Find some light guns and mount holsters for them on the sides
  • Mount a volume knob
  • Get a remote control and configure it
  • Install Kaillera and play 4 player with Noah over the internet

    April 19th, 2006 - ~12 hours

    I've done a poor job at updating lately. Noah and I have been pretty busy with other things, so we were only able to meet four or five times in the last month. At some point, we moved development to Noah's house so we could get together more often. We also both finished our keyboard drawers (near the end of March), and assembled the majority of the tops of our cabinets.

    What's left? Some cabinet assembly still remains to be done, such as the marquee retainer, speaker mounts, and monitor cover. After that, all of the wirings... marquee lighting, power strip, audio setup, and the computer.

    I didn't mention anything about the controls because we still haven't exactly decided what we're going to do. We'll either build our own (~$300-400) or buy this SlikStik unit. The advantage to building our own, besides saving $50-100 dollars which doesn't make sense considering build time, is that we can add more features (back-lit buttons, lip for steering wheel mount, DVD mount, volume knob, graphics and plexiglass coverings). The advantage of buying a pre-built one is obviously time. I bet we could blow a good 16 hours building 2 control decks.

    Latest pictures: one, two, three.

    March 20th, 2006

    Did some research and found a nice power strip that triggers power to other outlets when the master outlet requests power. So we should be able to easily wire up a nice switch anywhere on the cabinet that simply turns the computer on. When the computer is powered, the power strip will give power to the television, lighting, and PlayStation2 if I decide to put it in there.

    Also got some answers on what to buy and how to wire up car audio speakers to the PC.

    March 19th, 2006 - 2.5 hours

    We met today to throw on 5 more pieces of wood on each cabinet (the back and the top of the middle section). Things went smoothly and quickly. We discussed how exactly we wanted our drawers to function, but didn't finalize anything.

    March 16th, 2006 - 4.5 hours

    The plan for tonight was to cut holes in 2 pieces of wood to fit our coin doors and dvd players we'd ordered earlier this month. Not realizing that the coin door board was only 21" tall and the coin door itself was 10", we didn't really have that much room to work with. We both agreed that we'd only account for the coin door and kick plate at this time and work in the DVD player elsewhere, later. Noah did most of the cutting because he's a master-cutter.

    After mounting the coin doors, we were ready to assemble. When we met on the 7th, I nailed some start holes in the wood where we'd be screwing. Only I didn't account for the fact that our wood is 3/4" thick and the plans called for 5/8". Because of this error, we had to make some emergency cuts on 1 board, but the rest shouldn't be a problem.

    We ran some test holes in some scrap wood and noticed that it would split under certain conditions, so we used a thicker bit and drilled the screws is slower and more carefully than we probably would have if we didn't test any pieces out. Unfortunately, in the end, some pieces still started to split, but I think the integrity of the cabinet will still be fine. It was pretty incredible to see progress. It got me hot for more. I think we'll meet again this Sunday to finish off at least the bottom assembly if not some of the top.

    Some pictures of our progress: 2006-03-16_IMG_9379.jpg - 2006-03-16_IMG_9384.jpg - 2006-03-16_IMG_9385.jpg - 2006-03-16_IMG_9387.jpg - 2006-03-16_IMG_9388.jpg - 2006-03-16_IMG_9393.jpg

    March 8th, 2006

    Ordered 2 Double Entry Coin Doors from and 2 DVD Drives from NewEgg. When they arrive, the next step will be to cut holes to fit these two items on the bottom/front of the cabinet and then we can start assembling the damn things.

    We're at $562 each right now and still need to buy the control deck, the computer, bezel/plexiglass monitor cover, the marquee, and any graphics/decals we want. I'm estimating I'll have spent ~$1800 when it's all over with. I don't think I'm going to skimp on the PC.

    March 7th, 2006 - 3 hours

    We wanted to sand the edges of the pieces before installing the T-molding because they were a bit rough. So we sanded and touched up all but the 1 bottom piece that we already put T-molding on. Seems like a tiny amount of work for 3 hours, but oh well. We quit early because we had to cut a big hole in 1 of the pieces to fit the coin door in... and we didn't have any coin doors.

    March 2nd, 2006

    Purchased two 27" Emerson televisions for $188 a piece from Wal-Mart. It was a toss up between the Emerson and the RCA.. the Emerson was flat and looked a tiny bit better, so we went with it (it was $10 more than the RCA). We hooked one up to my PC via S-Video and were happy with the results. It's not LCD-sharp, but it's sharp enough and will be great for MAME games.

    February 26th, 2006 - 5 hours

    We met up on another Sunday around 9:30 AM to get some painting done. And oh, did we team-paint. Noah started us off proper and by the end of it we were all painted. After that we had a few minutes, so Noah ran some T-molding while I stood there like a twit. Noah had to school me hard on how to properly implement the T-mold.

    February 22nd, 2006 - 1 hour

    Hit up Home Depot and Lowes to shop for a lot of crap we still needed to buy including all the screws, nuts, and washers to assesmble the wood, painting supplies, fluorescent lights, drawer rails, and other assorted crapsicles. The only stuff left to buy now are the electronics, graphics and whatever we'll need for the control decks.

    February 20th, 2006 - 4 hours

    We started off by cutting all of our pieces down to (at most) 28.5" long so that they would fit through standard doors (31") with the sides on (an additional 1.5"). So the cabinet was to be 30" wide. Unfortunately we figured in the blade wrong when we went to make the first few cuts and came up with something like 28 and 3/16ths. No problem though, we just cut all the other pieces according to our first cuts. After that, we made all of the angled cuts (45°, 22.5°, 21.8°, 11.3°, and 10.5°) and finished off our day by routing out the wood for our T-molding.

    February 17th, 2006 - 2 hours

    We made the final four cuts to the top section of our cabinets using the circular saw and hit up Home Depot and Lowes for at least an hour trying to find the right bit and the matching arbor for the router we had to make a trench for the T-Molding that was develiered from HappControls today (ordered Monday). We also talked to this dude with like 4 teeth and a lazy eye who kept trying to help us find the right solution for Lowes lack of carrying L-brackets with keyholes in them. It was Noah's birthday the next day so we cut working short to throw him a surprise party.

    February 12th, 2006 - 5 hours

    Noah and I woke up early this Sunday (8:30 AM) to go pick up a table saw from David's house, which turned out to be the absolute best tool we could've had for the job (thanks David). We started off at 9:45 AM by laying our 8x4 planks down and cutting around the shapes with a circular saw, planning to perfect the cuts later with the table saw we borrowed. When we started cutting with the table saw, we realized that most of our tracings of rectangular objects probably weren't 100% necessary or didn't need to be 100% accurate since we were calibrating the saw to cut the exact dimensions we needed anyway.

    At 2:00 PM, we had most every piece cut out and ready to be primed/painted/glued/screwed (the big piece left over is for our two control decks). We still need to cut out the 4 top pieces (2 per cabinet) with the circular saw and finish off the edges with the jigsaw. We estimated this would take 40 minutes on Friday when we can meet again... we'll see if it works out that way. My garage looked like a sandstorm blew through after it was over. It swept up nicely, though.

    This week we'll need to do some research to find decent TVs/monitors and probably order the parts we need for control decks.

    February 11th, 2006 - 5 hours

    The templates arrived in the mail! Noah and I were so excited that we decided to spend our Friday night working on it. We figured that we could at least cut some wood and make some progress. Reality check set in when we realized it was harder than we thought:
    1. We had to cut out a bunch of sheets of paper from the template (they were on a huge 24 foot roll)
    2. Then we had to figure out how to lay all the sheets of paper properly on the wood to make all the cuts across 3 pieces of wood.
    3. Then we had to tape the cut outs down, hammer nail holes into the corners of the edges, pull the papers up, and trace each shape.
    Did all that from 4:30 PM until 10:00 PM with 30 minutes set aside for lunch. Five hours. Ow. And after doing all this, Noah realized that the cabinet was going to be 32.5" wide, so he measured my door ways and found out that they were only 31" wide. Ouch. I wanted this thing in my office upstairs, so I think I'm going to trim 2 inches off it and go for a 25" monitor instead of 27".

    February 2nd, 2006

    Noah borrowed a trailer from Steve, so we went to Lowes to purchase 7 sheets of MDF ($146.63). While we were there, we scouted out some flourescent lights and asked at least four different people about T-molding, which apparently Lowes doesn't stock. My 2nd Google search found some just fine though.

    January 31st, 2006

    Started transfering the list on paper to PC and finding links.

    January 30th, 2006

    Ordered plans from ($74.98) and started on another list during a meeting of things I'll need to buy and consider during the building process.

    January 27th, 2006

    Priced out individual control deck parts and compared the total price to the SlikStik control deck I wanted.

    Thursday January 26th, 2006

    Sketched an arcade machine on a pad of paper so that I could visualize everything I may want and need in a functioning machine. Discussed it briefly with Noah and came up with a few more items we'd want/need.