If you love arcade games as much as we do, we’re sure that you’ve thought about building your own arcade cabinet at least once. But it’s so difficult, right? Wrong! Here’s how we built our own Silent Hill arcade cabinet and we’ll show you how we did it in this article. Just follow the steps and you’ll be able to build an arcade cabinet too.
We started by hopping online and finding a plan for an arcade cabinet. We found a good one at http://www.koenigs.dk/mame/eng/. Once we had the plan, we got hold of some MDF and scaled the plan onto it. We then used a jigsaw to cut out the parts. If you’ve never used a jigsaw before, it’s a good idea to practice first – you need to know what you’re doing and your hand has to be very steady to get an even cut. By the way, cut out one side first and then draw around it to make sure the second side is exactly the same. That would save you a lot of time and trouble.
When we finished cutting out the parts, we assembled them with 2 x 6mm wood and countersunk screws. That’s when our cabinet started looking like it should.
We then put the MDF cabinet onto a solid wood base. You don’t really have to do that (you can make a base out of MDF), but a wooden one makes the whole construction heavier and sturdier. Plus you can add pads or wheels to solid wood easier and be sure they won’t break in less than a week.
Then we were ready to cut out the slots. That was not an easy job if you don’t have the right tools. You will need 6702A slot cutter (47.63mm Kerf 2.03mm), B25 bearing (outer diameter 28.58mm, inner diameter 7.94mm) and A200B arbor (shank 6.35mm) to cut the correct slot for standard arcade T-moulding. http://www.routercutter.co.uk is a great site where you can get everything you need.
We then concentrated on the control panel and ordered all the parts we needed from Arcade World UK (http://www.arcadeworlduk.com). We made the main parts from plexi-glass and cut out the holes for all the controls. We then mounted the joysticks onto a metal base, added all controls and made sure the wiring was connected the way it should be, including the connection to the main connector. That took some time, but we did it in the end. Then we connected the black ground wire to the buttons one by one in a daisy chain. As a final wiring step, we powered the LEDs with twisted red and black power cables. You will need a 6V 3A transformer to power the lights.
Then it was time to mount the display. We used an old 19-inch LCD screen for that purpose. It fit well into the cabinet because the LCD’s width was 480mm and the cabinet’s internal width is 600mm. We used U-shaped aluminum to hold the TV in place.
We then placed artwork in such a way that no screws were visible. We’ve selected Silent Hill as our artwork theme. When installing it, we added some foam to make sure it stuck to the plexi-glass and the sides to insure there were no “bubbles”.
We then put the PC (running TinyXP) inside the cabinet and mounted a coin door ordered from Arcade World.
Our arcade cabinet was ready: everything worked as it should and it looked just like we wanted. Now it’s time to play some games!