Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Last M.A.M.E standing part 11: Shut the structure up

With most of the structure standing (and standing strong!) it's now time to add a few bits and pieces to make it so heavy no one will want to steal it to really make this unit user friendly.

Ready to go Joe!

Remember the removable hatch from earlier? Well to keep it in place, I've gone with a couple of sets of cabinet door magnets. These have a 4kg pull each but there's still a bit of weight in the section of 18mm MDF so I'll probably end up installing another couple at the bottom of the hatch under the length of pine. (Edit - the section above now helps hold it into place so the second set of magnets won't be needed.)

Not coming off easily..

To hold the BenQ monitor in place I've gone a couple of brackets from Bunnings - not only are they 600mm and the same length as the opening but the pre-drilled holes lined up perfectly with the screw holes in the back. A couple of small screws (taken from an old pc case) and it's not going anywhere. I plan to cut some more wood to fit between the brackets in each end and then screws into the wood into the sides of the cabinet. Once I work out the best angle of course. 

Painting wise anything with MDF needs a decent primer and I had half a can of Rustoleum white primer hanging around that works with wood. Lovely! While not enough for the whole cabinet, it made short work on the back of the escape hatch.

What I forgot was that Rustoleum actually produce 2 in 1 Primer and Paint spray cans, eliminating the need for a coat of primer in the first place. Even better it comes in Apple Red (which I have now re dubbed 'Arcade Red' and came up pretty well in a quick test of how things would look. 

That's a nice red!
For the base I've drilled in some furniture coasters - just to stop leaving huge gouge marks dragging it through the house later.

While on its side it was a perfect opportunity for a quick light base coat. I'm really loving this color!

The monitor brackets were a lot easier to position without the added weight and dimensions of the monitor attached...

Plenty of access to the monitor above and the computer side below.

It's like it's floating by magic!

To mount the speakers I was going to drill some large holes through the sides but thought against that (especially when I plan to use that nice real estate for some future vinyl artwork) so I've decided to create a mini sound bar that will hang from the bottom shelf of the marquee.

While my hole saw made a nice clean cut, it wasn't big enough to allow the speakers to sit comfortably so the holes had to be jigsawed out. Luckily the speaker surround well and truly hides the butchered hole look.

Still thinking of some kind of rectangle speaker cover to hide the screws and rough paint job...

Is it just me or does he look even happier on the big screen?

After reconnecting 2000 wires and making sure the monitor actually stayed on the bracket (somehow I managed to break one of the screw hole brackets in the back of the screen..) I started it up...and got no signal to the BenQ...nor any lights on the keyboard or mouse - but the fan still spun. Great.

After trying everything aside from reaching for the lighter fluid, eventually I had to pull out one of the ram sticks for the computer to actually want to start up but thankfully that was the worst of it. Windows is still being windows, the network is still working, no random resets, life is good!

To test the speakers, I played this:

And it sounds awesome - happily all speakers sing away without a care in the world.

I haven't mentioned it yet but I recently discovered Gameex - a truly brilliant MAME front end full of ripper features. Not only is it simple to set up with MAME itself but point it at your music folders and you also have a pretty decent jukebox. After trying quite a few front ends (and deciding my setup was nowhere near gutsy enough to run Hyperspin) I'm definitely sticking with Gameex and will definitely test out more of its features when I've got some spare time.

Gameex - gets the Almigo tick of approval!
And after all the blood, sweat and copious beers, we finally have this system playing games again. This time a quick bout of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs.

I've been searching for some cheap perspex for the marque for a while now and someone told me about a shop in town that sells old trailer parts - tucked away in a corner were some truly bruised, battered and scratched off cuts covered in mud (not sure why the mud but still..) for five bucks a piece. Bargain!

Dirty but serviceable.
Thankfully the American Vermont Jigsaw bits pulled some double duty and worked perfectly slicing through this clearly. With a bit of a light sand and some elbow grease with a can of Brasso metal polish, the perspex came up a lot better than how I found it in the shop. While not perfect, you really have to look closely to see the scratches - especially when I put in a temporary marquee artwork (whipped up through photoshop one night and printed out at work) between the two sheets.

Quick and dirty!

After using some double sided tape to hold it in place, I was wondering why it was looking strange until I realised the marquee panel is supposed to be flush between the supports, not resting on them. Whoops. Looks like some more cutting to be done tomorrow..

Now to order some joysticks and buttons...

More to come as it happens, stay tuned!


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