Building the 7e Arcade HD Prototype MAME Cabinet – Part 1

The 7e Arcade HD MAME cabinet is my second arcade cabinet build. You can view my Atari 7800 Arcade Cabinet by clicking HERE. This cabinet is a much bigger and more complex arcade cabinet then my first.

Goals

The goals I want to achieve with this MAME cabinet will take some time and money to complete, so this will take several months to build. I want this machine to have the ability to emulate most arcade cabinet games and console games. In addition I will be able to play PC games that function well with the consoles control scheme.

The front end menu system I will use is Hyperspin, which will start after Windows has booted. This gives you an arcade look and sound while choosing your game.

Controls Included

  • 4 arcade quality joysicks with 8 buttons for player 1 & 2 and 6 buttons for players 3 & 4
  • 3 Pinball Buttons – Two for flippers and one for the launcher
  • Trackball
  • 2 Spinners
  • 2 Lightguns
  • 2 USB ports for game controllers and RockSmith guitar cable

Design

MAME Cabinet in Google Sketchup

MAME Cabinet in Google Sketchup

I began with the design stage of my MAME cabinet with some sketches on paper. With the help of my buddy Richard Boots converting it into Google Sketchup we finalized the design, size and features the cabinet would have.

Building the Cabinet

We began the project with two free pieces of 8’x4’x3/4″ MDF that we got from a bankrupt custom cabinet store. Our goal was to make the entire cabinet out of just these boards, but we ended needing an addtional 2’x4′ piece of MDF for the top control board.

3 - Sides

When we got to the point of tracing the cuts for the side panels we began to realize that what looks good in CAD doesn’t always translate well to the real world. The base of the cabinet was too shallow, so we streched it out to give the cabinet a more stable footing. This also caused us to change the angles on the bottom front of the cabinet so that the depth of the control panel would not change.

With all the lines traced we made a stencil and drew the other side on the same board in a ying yang fansion to optimize board useage. Next we made a rough cut on one of the sides so that we could make the final cut for both sides at the same time. This technique made both sides identical.

Half complete MAME Cabinet

Half complete MAME Cabinet

At this point the cabinet has really begun to shape up.

Prototype Control Panel

Mini Prototype Control Panel

Mini Prototype Control Panel

Richard and I created a small prototype control panel to wire up and test on my desktop PC to ensure proper functionality. This allowed us to test out the button layout and joystick placement before implementing the final design to the cabinet.

The final template is on the left.

The final template is on the left.

The final design is on the left shows the button layout I will be using. I will use this as a template to trace and drill out holes on the final control panel.

Planning the Layout

Planning the Layout

Above I am planning the layout. The buttons and Joystick in their final poisition, while the spray paint cap repristents the trackball and the Atari paddles are placeholders for the spinners. The Start, Coin and Function Buttons have changed location in the final layout.

This is as far as I have gotten with my MAME cabinet so far. Check back in a month or so and I will post part 2 with the progress of my cabinet.

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