As with any potentially dangerous project, you need to exercise due care in operating power tools, using dangerous equipment and other tools. Keep dangerous items out of reach of children, ensure you wear appropriate protective gear and that all people in the area of your work are properly protected, warned of your work and minors removed and forbidden access to the work area. Don't try this project if you are not experienced. Work under the supervision of one who "is" experienced.

OK, so I put together this site to help someone like me. Someone who has used MAME, likes it and has an urge to build an arcade cabinet to get that "authentic feel" (and impress your friends.....)

I started from scratch with this project, first trying to find an old used cabinet. I had no luck as no cabinet had what I "really" wanted: space, sturdiness, ease of access and customizability. I decided to build a cabinet on my own. I first thought I could use my own handy power tools in my garage and just work on it over a long period of time. Big mistake. You really need access to a wood shop (or lots of space) and important tools like a table saw and a big sawhorse setup to accomodate a 4' X 8' sheet of plywood or medium density fiberboard (MDF). Luckily, I had my friend Ernie who a) is a woodworking master and b) has his own woodshop. I could not have gotten this done without Ernie's help. I also had my friends Paul, Russ and Don give me key guidance in design and construction. It would have been a mess had they not all been involved.

I knew very little about woodworking and learned, through research and brain picking, about the things I would need and what they do. Here are some important power tools you will need:

I also learned about electrical wiring (but I had a pretty good base as I have built, dissected and destroyed - in the far past - many a PC). Here are some key things to know:

Research and Links
First, learn about MAME at http://www.mame.net. Get used to the program, find your ROMS and play with it before taking on this project. If you don't like the software or games, or can't get it to work, then everything else is out the window for you. I go into more details on the Software page.

Next: Research, research, research. Learn about woodworking, electronics, PC configuration and arcade gameplay. See my Links page for more, but here is a taste below:

What I found:

Happ Controls seem to be the controls of choice for most builders and players. Here you can find the Ultimate Pushbuttons in various colors, the Universal Joysticks, Marquee retainers, lighting, coin door, trackball, etc.

The Smartstrip is a GREAT way of powering on the cabinet from your computer switch.

The IPAC and OptiPAC solutions from Ultimarc are the choice for most for keyboard encoding without ghosting (when two keys pressed at the same time create delays). The IPAC is for keyboard mapping and I chose to use the USB interface. The OptiPAC is for a trackball and spinner (only one can be used at a time and it is automatically detected when used).

Oscar Controlsí Vortex spinner seems to be a top choice. The SlikStik solution is also good, but I opted to save the money rather than have a spinner that will go for 3 minutes at the flick of your wrist.