Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm Back, Baby!

Wow - it sure has been a long time since I worked on this thing... almost 2 years! I kind of got sidetracked restoring a Donkey Kong - not a bad way to spend some free time! Since that project is now finished I can get back to this one. I was moving things around in the garage the other day and I saw this thing just sitting in the corner under a tarp looking all pathetic so I decided it was time to get this project moving again.

Since I last posted I managed to stain the cabinet and add several coats of poly to the entire cabinet. I also got the t-molding in place. It's a good start. There is still a ton left to do:
  • Install front drawer
  • Install front access door
  • Finish control panel box
  • Wire everything
  • Figure out how to rotate the monitor
  • Buy and install computer
Easier said than done. I really need to get some projects off my plate.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Control Panel Top

OK, I finally found some free time this past week to cut out the CP top. I decided to go with the standard 2 player 6-button layout. It will also have a trackball and spinner - obviously I haven't cut the trackball hole yet. The top row will go something like this: P1 Start, P1 Coin, Spinner, Spinner Button 1, Spinner Button 2, P2 Coin, P2 Start.

This last shot shows roughly where the trackball will go:

If you are interested in the button layout check one of my older posts.

I hope to really make some progress on this thing now that the summer is here. The main thing holding me up is finding an entire afternoon to apply the stain and poly. Once that part is out of the way I will be able to work on it in smaller time increments which means after work and on the weekends when I have a free hour or so...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

65°? It's About Time

OK, after the painfully long winter it finally looks as though warmer weather is headed my way. I'm going to have a long weekend coming up in April where I will hopefully be able to make some progress. I've been a bit discouraged lately since the colossal failure of a CP box mocks me every time I'm in my workshop.

Next up:
  • Re-cut all 5 pieces for the CP box and do a dry fit
  • Stain all of the pieces for the CP box FIRST
  • Glue it up
  • Seal/finish with poly
  • Cut out panels for front door and kickplate
  • Make keyboard drawer
I also want to stain the actual cabinet (I better not screw it up) but I'm not sure how to go about it. I'm thinking about laying the cabinet flat and doing one side at a time. I would have the most control over the staining process if I did that and I wouldn't have to worry about runs. I should be able to apply a nice even stain. The only problem is that eventually I'll have to stain the interior and the cabinet will have to be upright for that. This way will also take a few days per side instead of doing it all in one day. Oh well - no need to rush...

Monday, March 3, 2008


Well, I ruined the CP box over the weekend. I tried staining it and it came out splotchy as hell and I have to redo the entire thing. I'm also apparently blind because there are several spots where I didn't sand all of the glue off (even though I swore I did). I'm so pissed because the box itself came out quite nice. You can be the judge but I'm really disappointed.

I should have stained each piece before assembly and waited until it was warmer outside.

I'll save it and possibly cover it with some black laminate - the shape is still good and it might make a nice CP down the road but just not for this cabinet.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Control Panel (Box: Part 1)

I finally got Bella's Arcade to the point where I can work on this one and not feel guilty about having unfinished projects laying around the house. The next thing on the list was building the control panel box and top. It was quite complicated since I decided to miter every single joint including the bottom panel.

The overall dimensions are:
  • Bottom panel: 12" x 32"
  • Side panels: 12" on the bottom edge; 5-1/4" on the back edge; 4-1/4" on the front edge (it's exactly a 5 degree slope).
  • Front panel: 4-1/4" x 32"
  • Back panel: 5-1/4" x 32"
  • Every corner is mitered at 45 degrees
  • The top edges of the front and back panels are mitered at 5 degrees to match the slope of the side panels so the control panel top will sit flush
  • The two holes in the side panels are for pinball flippers
After cutting all of the pieces I did a dry fit for the side panels to check for squareness and if everything was going to fit together properly. Note that the box is upside down in this picture.

Once I decided everything was lined up properly it was time to cut the slots for the biscuits to hold everything together. I could have probably used just wood glue and nothing else but the biscuits will provide a very secure bond between the panels. Here's a shot of the side panel without the slot:

Next you can see a shot of the biscuit joiner lined up with the mitered edge. All I had to do was set the fence to 45 degrees to cut all of the biscuit slots.

The next shot shows the slot:

The next shot shows the biscuit in the slot. It's a #10 size biscuit - I tried 20s but the slot went all the way through the wood on my test cut so that wasn't going to work.

This process was repeated on all of the mitered edges. I used one biscuit in the corners and ten of them on the bottom panel (three on the 32" long edges and two on the 12" shorter ones). In my next post I'll show the glue up and the final results. Overall I'm pleased although it's not as *perfect* as I was hoping to get everything. I'm hoping the finishing process will eliminate any visual imperfections/gaps in the construction. If not, since the control panel is completely separate I can always try again!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sneak Peek (I'm not dead!)

The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated or something like that. After about 2 months of inactivity I'm finally gearing up to work on the arcade again. Next up is the Control Panel - It's basically just a box that the joysticks, buttons and other controls sit on top of but building it is going to be very difficult because I'm planning on mitering every single joint.

Below is a sneak peek at one of the sides to the control panel base. The two holes that are cut out are for buttons (as you can see) - this is the short side of the control panel base and the buttons will eventually be used to simulate flippers on a pinball machine. There are several great programs out there such as Visual Pinball which recreates tons of different pinball tables. This is really going to be one arcade to rule them all!

This is going to be fun.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Clamps are OFF!!!

Check it out people - the clamps are OFF. The cabinet is VERY sturdy and everything came together evenly and square. I'm really happy. After standing it up I realized how nice a full-sized cabinet is going to feel (well, at least height-wise). The CP area and marquee are set perfectly for someone of average size like me (6ft.). Overall the cabinet just feels right.

Enjoy the pictures:

I was hoping to make more progress this month but with the holidays and work I just couldn't find the time. Hopefully I'll make some more progress before the New Year while I'm off but I doubt it.