Sunday, January 31, 2016

Last M.A.M.E standing 10: Scrapheap Engineering

At this part of the juncture the plans call for some wood. In the spirit of me being me and the project being able to outlast WW3, I've gone one better..

Let's see what Almigo comes up with here...

If you've been reading up on Steve's ripper project at Cold Beam Games you'll have noticed/read that he used sections of 2mm x 6mm wood to put it all together and it's come up trumps. However I'm after structural overkill as I have some hyperactive nephews that will probably attempt to headbutt it to death in their excitement of playing Breakout so I need this stronger than Brock Lesner in a pissed off mood.

Thankfully I have access to a half decent recycling yard in this town and at the back of work, enough scrap junk to build a pretty decent patch work frigate. Between these two stock piles I figured the odds were decent enough to find some kind of brackets to really reinforce the MDF staying together. And after an hour of going through both options, I found just what I was looking for.


In surface rust we trust!

At a guess some kind of 80's/90's glass shelf support. Covered in both dust and surface rust (nothing a quick sand and hit with a spray can can't fix) it's nice and strong, has plenty of holes to screw into and would take plenty of weight (not that it will, but still..). I picked up the 6 for a measly four bucks.


You can almost smell the old television signals on this thing..

While I couldn't find any proper brackets, I did find the next best thing - the metal casing of a piece of 80's broadcasting tech! Yes once upon a time my latest recycled arcade support part helped broadcast kids shows, poker tournaments and god knows what else. What I like was that after removing a million screws it broke down into sections I now had a couple more L shaped super strong supports pre-drilled and ready to go (plus a couple of space looking handles that will come in handy for a pull away rear access panel later down the track..)


Small but strong!
A handful of these will also come in handy when I run out of bigger braces and brackets and at only 66 cents each, pretty damn affordable.They might be small but anchored in the right place, they'll do just fine.

Gentlemen, start your power tools!

Through various trial and error I discovered that when you're screwing wood to MDF and you don't start with a guide hole (pre drill) you're going to run into some splitting. However just driving the screws through the pre-drilled holes in my scrapyard engineering bits didn't faze the MDF in the slightest. I used plenty of masking tape to hole the brackets in place and then ripped it off when the screws were firmly embedded.
While it's certainly overkill, I also used a couple of glues under some of the brackets too - just cos. 

A handle on the situation..
Remember the handles from the transmitter? It took me a while to find suitable sized screws to go into them but now I have a fantastic access panel in case I need to upgrade anything on the inside or more than likely...try to work out why the damn thing isn't working as it should. Grab the handles, pull, work out where the smoke is coming from...

Digging out the hole saw attachment I gave all the cords access through the back of the cabinet and also some extra ventilation:
I see the light!
After a solid afternoon of tooling away, it seemed the Mame machine was getting quite comfortable in it's new home and even managed to form a brand new killer WWE heel Bray Wyatt! While he continued to exclaim all afternoon that he was the 'Eater of Worlds' and 'The Man of 1000 Truths', he seemed well and truly chuffed in his new cabinet. I have to admit this was far more enjoyable than the previous incarnation of Stoned Ultron.

I love you Sister Abigail...
The monitor stand is only wedged in their temporarily to see how things sit. I was supposed to pick up a bargain 22 inch screen this weekend (really filling that area nicely) but sadly it fell through. Still it's only a matter of time before another one pops up and Mr Wyatt doesn't seem to mind the 16 inch screen he's currently sitting in.

After another afternoon in the shed, the control panel was starting to take shape. Screwed and glued within an inch of it's life (as well as some cut out 45 degree angle supports), I made sure the cabinet supports were well and truly in the right place so everything would slot in without a hassle. 

(Seriously the $10 market bargain multi tool with the straight edge, ruler and spirit level has paid itself over tonnes of times in the building of this thing alone! Bonus points to the 1000mm G Clamp which has been both so incredibly handy and incredibly lethal at the same time, constantly attempting to clothesline me with it's super long slide...)  

At this stage, things look like this: 

Amazeballs. Now this is excitement!
(The control panel is just sitting comfortably on its supports at the moment as it needs to be easily removed to install the joysticks, buttons, wiring etc)

It's really heartening to see it standing proud in it's unprimered, unpainted, unfinished glory - plenty of work left to go but so much that's amazingly gone well and I can't wait for the next weekend to roll around to continue working on it.


I've been on the look out for a decent sized monitor to not only fill the space in the cab but also make the monsters look as realistic as possible in Rampage: World Tour. Today the gods of Gumtree smiled on me with this ripper BenQ E2200HD 22 inch monster which suits the space perfectly!

22 inches of pure mame fury!

Best of all was the bargain price - 25 dollerydoos! Yep, 25 bucks! An absolute steal and perfect for my limited funds project. Aside from a few marks from a couple of years of hardcore gaming, it works just fine.

Motherboard: $20
BenQ E2200HD $25
New capacitors: $6.40
Bosch 1500w 184mm circular saw: $79*
Irwin 40T Carbide blade 184mm: $22*
Oh hey you look damn good safety work shades: $12
Brackets to hold it all together: $9.28
Screws and masking tape: $6
Some proper blades for the Jigsaw to actually you know, cut things smoothly $10
Decent file to work away at the rough bits $10
Speakers: Free
Speaker amp: Free
2 Gigs of random DDR2 Ram: $10
Wire for speakers: $5
Logitech K120 Keyboard: $14.40
4 x 1800mm x 600mm x 18mm thick sheets of MDF: $39.60

Total so far: $262.68 ($101.40 if you borrow the tools and shades)


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