Bartop Arcade

I’ve wanted to build a bartop MAME cabinet for a while, my first attempts last year led to 4 failed CNC jobs, infact the first side panel I did for this project ended up the same way (top left):

The Z axis fails; instead of going up, it skips the instructions to raise, and then drills down into the wood, going further and further until either the bit snaps or I turn it off (to prevent fire). This second attempt was successful – I worked out that if I don’t put the front and top panels on the CNC machine it doesn’t happen. I still don’t know why, but it does mean that it’s a lot louder and there is more dust.

In this cabinet I wanted to press fit the center panels into the sides and glue them, to make sure there are no screw holes. The control panel is screwed to allow for changes in the future. This is the model I used: (Cheers mattsplatt). Some of the modifications I made: I didn’t mill the screw holes and the screen size was changed.

The sides are cut and nailed, then lightly sanded to make sure they are the same size:

Cut the button panel and center panels.

Glue and clamp the sides, and test fit the button panel and buttons. You may notice the horizontal panel above the screen has black grooves cut in it, those where spare off-cuts which are hidden behind the grill.

Test fit raspberry pi, monitor, external USB HDD, and controls, and check to make sure it’s all functional, then remove them.

Sand and spray paint the cabinet, mount the speakers, cut the speaker grill from gutter guard strips, install the right angle strips of metal to hold the grill in place, and finally press on the chrome edging. I used super glue in some places to make sure the edging adheres better. The chrome edging I bought has thick double sided tape so it doesn’t hide the rubbish edges well.

All done!

The distro used on the raspberry pi was RetroPi, It works pretty much straight out of the box and was compatible with the controller I used for the buttons and joy-stick. This project was made using spare chipboard sheets and the only items purchased were the paint (3 cans), and the right angle metal to keep the speaker grill in place.


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