Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Last M.A.M.E standing part 1: Almigo has a plan

Yes I've decided to embark on my most ambitious project to date (well aside from changing a rocker cover gasket on a WRX, on a scale of what I can do that one was pretty ambitious) and build a fully functional arcade emulation machine for the back shed.

Probably not this one though..
Do I need a fully functional arcade emulation machine? No not really.
Will I complete a fully functional arcade emulation machine? Well hopefully.
Will I break things along the way? Undoubtedly.
Am I in for a world of pain for doing this? Damn straight.

Come join me, this should be fun...(ish)

WAIT, WHERE DID THIS SUDDEN INTEREST IN BUILDING A MAME CABINET COME FROM EXACTLY?

Well ever since I was introduced to the wonders of MAME and reliving the awesome memories I had of playing coin operation games for years (wait, I can play Aliens Versus Predator on my own computer now?) there's always been a little thought in the back of my head...what if I had my own cabinet to bash away with...(also the kids are growing up and I reckon it'd be a pretty cool project that they could enjoy when it's all finished)

I always ended up playing the Predator Hunter for some reason...

And of course not being a master woodworker at school (I think I built a pretty awful bookend once with a giant letter A on it and that was pretty much it) and having only the rudimentary level of understanding of power tools - basically enough to not stab myself - I've left the idea of building anything on the back burner for quite some time. Until I made a saw horse and suddenly things clicked into place enough for me to think 'well I can't stuff it up that badly now can I?'
I mean I have the space to bolt it together, at least one decent saw horse to clamp things to cut to and a hankering to play more GROWL..

My closed fists bring all the boys to the yard...
I'm picturing future bbq's out the back of Casa De Almigo where all the fellow dad's gather round my mighty machine of much amusement and reminisce over games they grew up with. I'm picturing King of the Monsters high score challenges, explaining to my son one day how rare (and expensive) home Neo Geo systems were and trying to keep my father in law off the damn thing when I introduce him to the wonders of Golden Axe.

THE PLAN

I plan to do as much as humanly possibly at home, in the comfort of my back shed, complete with my sparse knowledge of building things and basic construction principals. My budget is minimal (read: almost non existent), the selection of tools about the same. The results should be hilarious ok. I'm thinking hopefully more like this:

The Good
Rather than like this...

Oh dear..

Luckily I've kept a few bits and pieces handy to help the build along without looking into my wallet and crying. I already have a bare bones spare Windows XP computer doing not much to dedicate to the project, I've got some speakers from a Logitech unit I saved from the work bin and I'm currently working on the software side (more about this soon) which won't add to much.
As much as I'd like to work with thick plywood, I think MDF will help keep the costs well and truly down even if it means investing in a proper table saw with a carbide blade rather than attempt everything with my jigsaw (reading plenty of others posts the jigsaw seems like a terrible idea to take on the majority of cuts.) I also have a compressor to help paint it and Warsawhorse to help keep it stable during creation.

Plans are free thankfully and available here (at 60 pages there's plenty of reading there) although everything's in inches and so I'm going through and changing it to cm to not hurt my brain so much. I'm forgoing the coin slot part, I just want it to work first and worry about how it looks later..

(6/1/2016 EDIT: Instead of the coin slot panel I'll be putting the power/reset/motherboard temp panel and the amp on/off switch and volume control. Far easier up front than behind it when it comes to turning things on and up.)

The mission has begun...wish me luck!

Up next in part 2: This creature is going to need a brain (or two). Continue the adventure right here!

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