Build Your Own Arcade Cabinet With Raspberry Pi

Build Your Own Arcade Cabinet With Raspberry Pi – ‘Galactic Starcade’ is a DIY retro arcade cabinet for two players. It is powered by a Raspberry Pi microcomputer and plays several types of retro games – mainly NES, SNES, Megadrive and arcade (MAME) games. Using a Pi keeps cost, weight and complexity to a minimum, but the case could also house a more powerful PC-based system for playing more modern games.

I’ve always wanted an arcade machine for authentic retro gaming, but they take up a lot of space and cost a lot of money. Building a custom cabinet like this solves both problems. It also gives you potential gameplay

Build Your Own Arcade Cabinet With Raspberry Pi

Games on one computer. This project costs less than £200 (about $320) to make, while a pre-made custom cabinet can set you back four or five times that!

Raspberry Pi Arcade Table

This is my first big DIY project and my first Instructable – be kind! Any questions or feedback are more than welcome in the comments.

UPDATE no. 1: Thank you all for the great reception at Starcade! Very pleased to have placed in two competitions and won some top prizes from . I love the photos in the comments, keep asking for them!

UPDATE no. 2: After tons of requests, I’ve finally managed to produce some handy PDF guides showing all the necessary dimensions to make building this arcade machine even easier! I made printable 1:1 guides for the side panels and control panel and a reference sheet with dimensions and angles for the rest of the panels. You can download the PDFs below. Enjoy!

If you want to follow this at home, here is the basic recipe for making it. Substitutions for similar items are fine – this is just documenting what I have personally used. I’ve shown how much I found each item online for, although keep in mind that quite a few of these things were already sitting around the house and I didn’t actually go out and pay for them. This list should show you the total cost if you bought them all.

How To Build An Arcade Cabinet For Gaming And Storage

You will also need the following tools. Many of these are quite common, but if you don’t have something – borrow it! Personally, I’ve borrowed a lot of tools and tips from my housemate, fellow retro gamer and all-around good Jonny from 1up Living. He appears in a few photos and generally helped a lot with the build.

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I did a lot of research before building this cabinet. Mainly looking at other people’s designs. There are already a lot of great custom arcade machines out there – I’ve tracked down my favorites here – but none of them covered exactly what I was looking for. After getting a lot of inspiration, I decided that the main criteria for my design would be:

I wanted to make something that looked vaguely “real” with authentic controls for a convincing arcade experience at home. A few sketches later and I was on my way!

I designed several iterations of the cabinet using SketchUp, a free and easy-to-learn 3D modeling tool. I already had the basic shape and style in my head, but the modeling process helped me figure out the angles and dimensions that worked best aesthetically.

How To Build Your Own Arcade Machine

I wanted a versatile setup that could handle all the major gaming platforms I was trying to emulate. After some research I settled on a Capcom style six button layout with additional Start / Select buttons on the front. This layout is perfect for Beat ’em up games and has enough face buttons to adequately represent all the consoles the Pi can emulate.

I’ve made a how-to poster to explain the control schemes for each console, as switching between systems can get a little confusing for new players otherwise. This will be framed and hung on the wall as an official reference guide for arcade newcomers.

As for the dimensions and button spacing, I used a lot of trial and error and prototyping to see what felt right. I think the final design is wide enough for two players and with enough wrist support to be comfortable during long games – very important!

The mark is an illuminated title graphic located on top of all arcade machines. I chose the name “Galactic Starcade” because I thought it evoked a slightly cheesy feel of the classic cabinets, while also being (at the time of writing) a completely unique name. Hence no results on google.

Introducing Revo Cade

I found a great source for high-resolution arcade graphics, Arcade Artwork , and Photoshopped some iconic video game characters into spacious tent-shaped graphics. The starry background is from the original Space Invaders cabinet, and the title style is a sort of homage to the classic arcade game logos.

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I highly recommend modeling a full-scale prototype if you are designing the cabinet yourself. However, if you want to work exactly according to my plans, you can skip this section!

Using some spare cardboard, I taped together a rather rough model of the cabinet design. I only really designed the arcade machine digitally and wasn’t sure it would look and feel right in the real world.

The full-size mockup allowed me to assess the size of the cabinet in context (i.e. on the kitchen counter where it was supposed to live) and see if I left enough room for two people to play side-by-side. It also helped me figure out the optimal gaming/viewing angles for the control panel and screen.

Making An Arcade Cocktail Table

Overall, I was very happy with the size and shape of the mockup and only made minimal changes.

I ordered a control panel kit from ultracabs which included two Japanese style (ie ball tip) joysticks and eighteen different colored buttons. After planning the layout of the control panel on the computer, I drilled some holes in some scrap wood and set up a standalone controller to test the setup before transferring it to the cabinet. This is a great way to test out the ergonomics of the design with some actual game time.

I hooked up a test controller and played a good few games on it to see how it felt. See later sections on how to connect and configure controllers. Overall, I was very pleased, but the prototype taught me that the buttons need to be a little closer together and that a little more space is needed at the bottom to support the wrist. I then fed these insights back into the final design. Better to adjust now than too late!

I left the prototype plugged in and used it to play games on my PC to scratch that retro gaming itch while I worked on the rest of the arcade machine. If they made it nicer, the stand alone controller could be a complete project in itself!

Diy Arcade Cabinet Kits + More.

Let’s dust ourselves off! Armed with a dimensioned printout of the design (IKEA style, because, well, why not?) we headed to the shed to cut out the MDF panels. Another big shout out to 1up Living who helped a lot with the next few stages of the operation.

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First we cut some 12mm MDF into 500mm wide boards on the table saw. Once one edge of each was square on the miter saw, we simply machined the panels (base, back, monitor front, control panel, small strip on the front, and tent), set the fence and table saw blade angles for each cut.

To cut out the screen, we carefully measured the screen and cut a hole in the panel with a jigsaw. The screen was then laid in place and thick pieces of wood were glued and screwed to the edges to make a snug fit. That’s the prep work done – more details on monitor installation later.

For the sides, we glued the printed template to a piece of 9mm MDF and cut it with a stanley knife to mark the shape. This was cut out with a jigsaw and a little love with sandpaper to round the edges and such. It is important that none of the corners are too sharp to ensure that the T-shape will fit correctly later. The other side was cut from this using a template in the router so we knew they would be the same.

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The side panels are 15mm thicker than the rest of the cabinet, with a 3mm channel running along the edges around the entire perimeter. The channel must be completely central and will later contain a plastic trim (T-shape). The side panels are slightly thicker than the rest of the cabinet because they also act as legs and will support the weight of the entire machine. Also, T-shaping happens to come in 15mm but not 12mm.

There are several ways to achieve this, but with the tools we had available we found the easiest way was to form 15mm boards from two pieces of thinner wood (9mm

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