I have started a Bartop Arcade cabinet.

Markeno

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I have started a bartop arcade based on the Geek Pub 4.0 Plans.

The only issue I had to get started was that I didn't find any information on the radius of the Compass to make the marks for the sides. If it was to short then I would not have been able to get the second side mated into it, and cut out of what was remaining. I will be rechecking what I used, I think I used 10 or 10.5 inches for the radius. It looks to have been about right, based on the spacing on the printout and what little I had left between the pieces. It was also hard to cut out the first one, and leave just a little bit, but leave enough to not mess with the second one. I did cut the items out in a little different layout to simplify the cuts, and get what little scrap there is together a bit more. I think I will be putting a border around my LCD, as I expect to be using a little smaller monitor on it, and wanted as much extra as I could get. If I ever make another, I think I will take it somewhere to use a tablesaw to get the strait cuts done. I can be done with hand power tools, but I wasn't really happy with how my circular saw as cutting it. I think I needed a finer blade in it, it is a new blade, but it may be for framing or something. The Jigsaw worked great on the sides though. I really like that you only need half a sheet of MDF to make the arcade. I would likely build a second one at some point.

I need to get the slot in for the T Molding and do all of the drilling for the speakers, fan and controls etc. I still need to get speakers, hinge, latch and other hardware for it before I finalize where everything goes. So far I have the pieces cut, I have the Pi, a LCD I will likely be using, and the joysticks and buttons. It will probably be awhile until I get this together as I don't have a proper shop to work on it, or very much time.

I made up a 6 button joystick awhile back to use with Retropi, it was ok, but I didn't like swapping the Pi to the TV. I hope to get a more Arcade feel from the bartop.

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Markeno

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I used 3/4" MDF, the only catch there, was the double stacked sides was then 1.5" thick. The blade on my jigsaw would retract to less than 1.5" long. It extended out far enough though, it was very slow cutting. I went through two 20V lithium batteries on my jigsaw and was pretty hard on the third. That was just for the round cut. If I do another, I will get a longer blade for it. I made the strait cuts with a small circular saw, it was also a 20Volt Lithium, and for all of those cuts I think I drained 2 batteries and was on the third. I have a few batteries as all of my battery tools use the same battery, and I think I recharged one while I was cutting. It was much faster, although it was also only cutting 3/4" of material at a time. I might use my corded circular saw if i do another though, just to save on batteries, and because I think the blade in it will do a smoother cut. I might suggest going with a plug in Jigsaw rather than a battery operated one if you are looking to get one for something like that. The standard charger that comes with the battery I think takes 45minutes to charge, if you only have 1 battery it may take you a few hours just to get that one bit cut. The blade travels a good bit, so you should get a somewhat longer than standard one. I guess they make longer ones, the ones I have are the length I am used to using as I only generally use it for thinner material.
 
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Markeno

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Be sure to post some pictures of the cabinet when you're done!!!
I will as I get more progress. I didn't have a bit for T Moulding, then I have been having issues with the one I borrowed. So I haven't gotten any further. I am hoping to get the Tmoulding sorted this weekend. Then the weather has turned and it is bad painting weather now..
 
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Markeno

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The Jigsaw would be needed to do the side panels. I used a 50in Saw Guide to cut reasonably strait cuts with my small circular saw for the bulk of it. I would think you could do it with a jigsaw and the guide, provided it doesn't overheat and you don't force the blade. It is slower than the circular saw, but my blade was awful for the job I think. I guess it was the blade. I didn't try my larger circular saw, it may have done better. I would have never been able to do a decent job without the Saw Guide though. It is not perfect, but I think it is working out.


The router was just for the TMoulding Slots. That was easy, but it was a horrible thing that the first one I cut all the dust blew right back at me. Horrible stuff, don't breath it in. I went and got out my Respirator that I had around for painting at times, and used it while I did the rest. I would at least use those white masks when working with it. I think when cutting it isn't a bad thing to have. I did all of my cutting outside so the dust didn't build up. The router just powders it though and spits it back at you at crazy speeds. It was super easy and fast to do. I just clamped the required piece to my saw horse then took the router down the side. Then did the next. The sides I had to do what I could then move it and reclamp them once, but that was easy enough to do too. It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I just had to get the bit set exactly in the middle of the material. I really haven't used a router much. I figure the cheap harbor freight trim router could do it. I just wasn't sure how well the depth locking would hold up, but I expect it would work for the job. I used my Dad's old Craftsman router.

B the "top" was to long. This made F the top of the back above the door to long. They are to be cut at an angle, but what Angle I don't know and B can't be as long as it was. I don't quite get what the deal was there. I couldn't know that until I started trying to install them at the same time, and looked at the plan sheet to see how they should meet up. I ended up shortening F and putting another TMoulding slot on the back side of B. Now F is just a flat top, with a very small gap between it and B. I figured this would be good for ventilation and let any heat out. I would rather have had B longer yet, so that F would be below it. That is how I thought it was going to go together, but I didn't look at the diagram closely enough.

My door doesn't fit, it is slightly to tall. Due to variations in my slightly wavy cut, and maybe measurements of it or the sides. It is not wide enough, I believe this is due to the type of hinge used, and the fact that the material is 3/4" and needs a lot of clearance? I hope it works out. I have to get a hinge for it yet. It would have been good had the side piece had been cut at an angle and the back door cut to match that and give a nice close closure.

I believe I am putting 2 vented areas on the door for fans. So the door needs a bit more work.

I am putting in an old surge protector internally wired to the power jack. This will let me plug in everything easily. I think I am using a regular Pi power adapter at this point, although I had thought of using a 5Volt Meanwell supply instead. I have one currently, but it is earmarked to make a new Commodore 64 PowerSupply. I also need to power the marquee lighting, which I don't what I am using there. I have RGB led strip, but then I need either to use a controller or an Arduino board, why do I need anything other than white? So I have some white LED strip that runs off of 3 volts, that is a problem to power off of the AC strip, as they are battery operated..

I went with some Logitech speakers. I was doing that as the one pair I had seen inside had a transformer and not a switching power supply. The pair that I received though had been changed over to a switching supply. I wouldn't recommend that. Now I have to deal with exposed 120V AC on that little board. They also make this set of speakers as USB Powered. I expect they are identical except the lack of the switching supply (which supplies 5Volts DC). I first removed the speakers from their cases. I worked to mount the main circuit board in the top of the cabinet and drilled out for the volume control. The speakers 2" are 4 Ohm 3 Watt speakers. I drilled out in the marquee bottom for them with a 2" holesaw. That wasn't much fun with the board already installed into the cabinet, I would suggest doing that before installing it. Due to the thickness of the board, I needed to find a much longer volume knob, thankfully I had one that is just about right for that. I am going to get some inserts for the 2" holes and put speaker fabric across them.

I mounted the small power supply board on the top back area of the marquee as well. That is a fairly protected area. All of the wiring was reworked to fit the cabinet. I shortened the AC line cord so that it just reaches down to the power strip. I reattached the audio input wire as it was minus the couple inches due to the molded strain relief I had to remove. I replaced the wiring for the power lead and speakers with proper length wire for the cabinet.

I also added a button on the back beside my power jack/switch/fuse module. I plan to set that button up as a shutdown button for the Pi. For it I had to backbore the hole so my button could have the the nut put on it. It can only take about a 1/4" of material. I didn't backbore any of the control buttons as I am using the short ones that just friction fit. I did have to get a 30mm forstner bit for the larger buttons, it worked out perfectly.

I am still working out the marquee. I have some stops in place, but I then need to make a constant stop the whole way around to block the excess light and give proper support. To late I realized I could have just used the slot cutter on the inside to and then dropped the plexiglass right into the slot before putting the top on. I am looking at making the top removable, but I am not sure yet if I can keep any screws hidden but still get them back out through the door access. I also don't know how I am doing the lighting yet, the big 2" speakers are kind of in the way, I just hope not too badly.

The monitor I am using turns out to not have a VESA mount option. So I have made up a large block that raises it up to the proper height in the cabinet and screwed it to the block. I will put some brackets or something to secure the block in place once I have everything finalized. I plan to put a plexiglass panel over the monitor to fill out the "bezel" to fully cover the opening. I am not sure how I will secure that, possibly backer strips up the sides for the plexi to rest on. I was thinking I may paint the back side of the plex where there are gaps to hide the gaps and the monitors bezel. I did have to tilt the monitor back a little further than the base allowed, so I added some extra thick rubber feet on the front, and have the back most feet not on the block as well as my block is angled a bit

The control panel needs secured on in a way that I can get to it to service it as well, I am not sure how that will be done yet.



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Markeno

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I did get it primed Saturday, except the back door which needs more work done first. I used the recommended Filler Primer, which is not the easiest to find. Lowes did have it, but it took me awhile to find it there with all of the other similar looking grey primers. Walmart doesn't carry it apparently. The primer goes on looking fuzzy, I thought at first that I didn't sand it to well. It was the filler in the primer. If I put on 1 coat it sanded easily, if I put on a second coat, well it didn't sand as nicely as the fuzzy filler bit area then built up thicker. It did actually sand down without alot of trouble, but it took a bit more sanding, and it looked really good afterward. I am just not sure that it needs 2 coats. The End Cuts of the MDF don't look great after a coat, but if you were doing the ends, and sand them better than I did, and maybe had a better blade and smoother cut it could do well, at least I think with a second coat. The top edge of "F" the back top edge that I cut with the Jigsaw turned out looking pretty good, it is a finer blade and nicer cut than my circular saw. I put two coats on the control panel, and it turned out pretty good looking, I wanted three, but the rain started.. The top has 2 coats as well, but looks bad, I think I put the coats on too thin and uneven? I am going to try sanding it a little, then putting some more coats on when I do the rest of the cabinet. I am using a Gloss Black High Performance Enamel from Rustoleum. I like a fast dry so that the bugs won't land on it as much before it drys and I can bring it into the basement more quickly, and it is supposed to be a sturdy if the claim on can is to be trusted. I haven't decided on any graphics yet. If it turns out looking good enough I may get some put on it. If it is to rough looking I likely won't go to the trouble.

Right as I was shaking the spray can yesterday to start the paint, the rain started. I guess it was better then than 5 minutes later. Now it is soaked outside after raining overnight.. I wanted the paint on it today but that doesn't look like it is going to happen. About all I have that I can do inside is get the door cut down and do the openings for the fans.

I am debating having accessible USB ports. I really should quit debating it and buy the insert and get it in before painting the cabinet. A 28-30mm hole is a real pain to drill by hand in this stuff, without using the drill press anyways. The one I am looking at says it needs a 28 or 30mm hole to be installed, I don't know how much play it has. If I drill a 28mm and it is to small it will be a pain to open up, well a mess anyways. If I drill a 30mm and it it too big and falls through.... well... I know I am going to want to use gamepads for Nintendo/SNES type games.
 
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Markeno

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I got a bit more time working on the unit. I went and picked up the hinge for the back door, as well as a keylock for the latch. I really didn't care to do a key, but it was the best looking option that I found. I also picked up a piece of Plexiglass to cover the monitor area eventually, and the marquee.

I did drill a 28mm hole for a dual usb port in the front. I hope it fits when it arrives.

So I got the little excess off of the door. I cut down the hinge, and roughed out the location on the door. The gap is too big, the door to narrow, but I got the wider hinge to try to make it up. I think it will work, but I didn't finish installing it until the painting and other work was done to the cabinet. I drilled for the lock, which I picked up one for 3/4in depth. I then drilled for a 80mm fan vent based on the provided template, although in the center not to one side or the other. I then used the "speaker" templates to put vent holes on the top left and right sides of the door. That was a lot of drilling, I tried the forstner 1/4", it would go about half way then get a lot of resisance. If I pushed it it would burn, and then push out the bottom badly. I was concerned using my regular 1/4 would give a rough entry hole. So I used the forstner as far as it was happy to go. Then I used the standard bit to finish the hole. The standard bit was slightly smaller diameter. For the Fan hole I went back and finished drilling them with the forstner bit to open them that little bit more. The vent holes at the top I just left alone.

So painting was mostly a bust today, but not completely. I took it out and got 3 sides painted in the sun shine, and just as I was going over to to last side, the rain started. I took it inside quickly. Then went to work on the drilling for the vents in the door. It did dry up again by the time I had the door ready, so I did get it primed. I didn't try painting again, as it was getting later and I was outside the 1hour window (by a long shot) to put on another coat on the rest of the cabinet.

I don't expect to get a chance to paint again until Friday, well maybe the back door or top or something, but not the main cabinet. Maybe not until next week even. I was really wanting to get that bit done this long weekend, as then I could let it cure well and get to putting in the tmoulding and then the internals.
 

Markeno

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So the USB Ports I picked up, fit in a 28mm hole, but not FLUSH. They have a lip on them that fits very close to flush into a 30mm hole. Also in a 30mm hole, there is just about enough threading on the port to screw it on. With the 28mm there is no way to screw it on at all. I have to figure out what I am going to do there, it is quite a pain to try to get another 2mm out of it. Although I only need it to go a few mm deep for the lip to fall in. It should probably be back bored as well, but that will be quite a pain at this point.

I also picked up a Meanwell RD-65A power supply. 5 Volts at 6 Amps and 12 Volts at 3 Amps. That will be plenty at 5 Volts for the Pi and the Speakers (then I can get rid of that unprotected 5 Volt switching supply that was part of the speakers). The 12 Volts will be used for the 80mm fan and the Marquee lighting. I think it is also the RD-35A, it is 4Amps for the 5 Volts and 1 Amp for the 12 Volts, it may have just been adequate, but it is barely any cheaper. I used one in my Pi1541, although I had purchased it for a 1541ii power supply replacement, it wasn't a good fit for that project though.

With the back door vented like I set it up, I will have a 80mm fan in the bottom taking in fresh air. I have the open slot along the very top at the back and then the two vented areas on the door itself at the top, so I hope it will keep cool. The two larger vents (based on the side speaker templates), could also each accept a 80mm fan turned 45 degrees if it turns out I feel I need and exhaust fan or two. I thought of cutting out a full open circle instead and then putting on fan grills. With the very thick material that would have looked odd, even though it would have been much quicker than drilling the 145 holes.

For the Marquee I picked up some 12Volt White LED Strip light. I figured that lets me get the Dual Voltage power supply, which I was going to need 12 Volts for the fan anyways. That lets me keep my Pi power supply available for my C64 Mini too.. I may put in an external power switch for the Marquee, but I don't know yet. I don't know that it will be too bright or annoying to have on, and it shouldn't use all that much power. I will have a good bit of work yet getting the Marquee done, it will probably be the last thing to finish. I have to work out mounting the LEDs, and see about how well they will diffuse.

I did some light sanding with 3000 grit paper on the marquee top that was a bit rough and put another coat of paint on it. It looks much better now, I plan to do the same thing to the rest of the case to get those little bumps out from stuff getting into the paint. I want to then put on a clear coat after that. I have had bad reactions with paints at times, so I want to take a scrap and put some of the paint on and then the clear coat and see how it reacts before trying to put it on the cabinet itself.

I am going to try to make a scan line generator for the cabinet as well. I have all the parts, but I have been working on the cabinet first. The painting thing just drags out forever with me, and I hate doing it. I just want to get that bit done so I can finally start installing things permanently into the cabinet.

I do need to workout how to Hold the control panel in the cabinet. I figure on putting some stop blocks on the bottom of it to keep it from sliding down, then possibly 2 brackets with screws at the top of the panel toward the back of the cabinet that will be accessible from the inside. I was actually thinking it would be possible to drill access holes up through the bottom of the cabinet to put screws up into the bottom of the panel. I just thought that was a bit much to lay the cabinet on the side or back to get to them. I don't want to be rocking it around if I need to work on it. I guess I could put hinges along the front, then it would just flip open and when closed stay in place pretty easily. Then it would be a pain to remove though if it needed to be removed..
 
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Markeno

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I finally have the painting as far as I am taking it. I started assembly. I have a lot to work out on the Marquee yet. I also have to work out mounting of the monitor, and I need to put in strips up the sides beside it to receive Plexiglas. I am hoping I will be able to successfully cut it properly.

Power jack/fuse/switch unit is in. The power strip, Meanwell 5/12Volt supply. Speakers and grills are in. Power for the Pi is into the Meanwell along with the speaker power. The fan is on the back door, but I am not putting it on until I am about done. I assembled the control panel, and put in the stop blocks one the bottom. I did make brackets to put two screws into it at the back, but I don't yet know if they will be accessible once the monitor is in place.

This picture was after I got the panel together and was checking fit of the monitor. I used all but 18" of a 20' piece of Tmolding. There was one more piece across the back of the marquee top that I used than the plans called for. It ends at the bottom of the cabinet and doesn't go under it. I was going to go under it at first, but had decided not to. Which I guess is good as I wouldn't have had enough. I will be installing some feet under it so the Tmolding won't get snagged.

The paint is the filler primer as recommended. Then sanded smooth and wiped down a few times. I did a first coat of black, then after that had dried, I sanded with some 3000grit to get anything off that was in the paint for the most part. I then wiped it down and put on a second coat. The control panel I think there are 3 coats of black. The second coat did turn out smoother than the first. I then coated everything with a clear coat for more protection and in hopes of evening it out. I am not likely to try to polish it, I would think I needed more layers of clear to be able to get away with that.

I can just about do a test hookup in it now as I have to power wiring for the Pi done now. The main things are the plexi work around the monitor area, then securing the monitor in place. Beyond that the Marquee lighting and framing it out properly. The controls are untested as well so hopefully they work properly.

20190908_204759.jpg
 
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Markeno

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Well last night I put in the Pi and tested it out. I had to make some adjustments, as it was setup for my other Pi using a different monitor (composite) and speaker (audio/av jack) connections compared to the HDMI I am using for both on the cabinet, but beyond that it worked fine.

Per what has been said in the setup both joysticks are wired in the same order, and as I have one made with the same controls that is independent arcade type controller, I actually wired them the same as it is wired.

I also setup the Safe Shutdown button on the back of the case. It is also a startup button, and will start the Pi back up after a shutdown. It only took a simple change to the config file.

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Tonight I started working on the marquee lighting. I decided to make an aluminum pan to fit and fill in the void behind the marquee. I then took some 12Volt LED Strip light and stuck it on the outer sides facing to the middle. This should reduce hot spots. It is quite bright and pulls around 425mA at 12 Volts and is very bright. I don't know, but I may have to back off the brightness with a pwm based dimmer or something. I'll know more once I have the marquee installed. I still don't know how I am going to do that. I guess my next step is to cut out some Plexiglass to fit.

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For the picture I actually backed the voltage down to 10Volts I believe. Cameras show up brighter than in person, so I wanted it closer to what I was seeing at 12Volts. Below 8Volts the LEDs won't light at all. With some changes to the lighting you can see the USB ports better, the alternate camera picked up more accurate colors. You can also see the installed speaker grills, 2" Desk Grommet rims, that I covered with some speaker fabric. You can see the little dots of LEDs reflecting off of the paint in places, it is fairly glossy, but not polished.
 
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Mike

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That's looking fantastic. I'm not going to be able to hold off doing something like this for much longer. Time to go shopping for a jigsaw.

I need to build a workbench too - but I'm sure the jigsaw will help with that. It's not going to be hard to talk myself into any of this.
 
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Markeno

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hybrid.jpg

It is almost done now. The marquee is just an inkjet printed thing with 3 sheets of paper put together. It is also an edited image that I made from a lighter and a darker image. The Marquee really doesn't pickup well with the camera.

I made a Plexiglas cover over the Monitor. It makes it look like a single complete display behind glass. To do that I just marked out the monitor display area on it, cut away the protective film and removed it from the outer area where I wanted to paint. I then painted that area and removed the rest of the protective film to show the monitor through it. The paint is on the Back of the Plexiglas, not the front. This gives a virtually flawless effect of black gloss (or any other color of paint). The paint can't be scratched from the outside of the cabinet then as well. I have done that before on other projects. I did use a paint that was listed to work with plastics and not the same paint the cabinet has on it. I figure that has a better chance to get the right finish and one that will last the longest.

I probably won't get real marquee graphics at least for awhile. If I do, I will get some side graphics too. I am thinking something like what I have seen on Galaga cabinets, with a graphic on the side but not a full side of graphics.
 
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