Custom Made Arcade Bartop

Following my venture in the creation of an arcade cabinet from scratch I decided to face another project.

This time I wanted to make an arcade bartop. This machine is like a mini arcade cabinet designed to be placed in the top of a table.

With little amount of wood I can easily build two identical machines and so I did.

I changed the design a little bit to mount a 15” tft monitor inside. The size of the control panel should allow for two players too.

Putting all the components inside was a little bit tougher this time, because all of the reduced space.

I used the same buttons and controllers from Ultimarc, just like in my previous cabinet.


I put a door on the rear so I can access all the electronics later on.


The two models side by side.


Nice bartops!



Building the arcade cabinet from scratch

With the blueprints and the measures in my hand I went to a local wood store and had the panels cut in pieces.

The next thing was giving the panels some cool form. Cabinet form, actually 😛

This was my first time using a jigsaw and it went almost right.

Building the cabinet from the pieces was straightforward.

I drilled all the necessary holes in order to build the main control panel. Then I placed and wired all the buttons.

I used an old 21” PAL TV well suited for my purposes.

As a bonus, I planned doors in the front side so I could also use the cabinet to store some stuff in it, apart from being the only way to access the electronics.

I used acrylic glass instead of regular glass. It’s easier to manage but it’s also easier to scratch its surface.

So this is how the cabinet looked completely built up. In this shot you can see that I initially used U-molding but I was not satisfied with the results so I end up ordering some T-Molding directly from here.

Then I started drawing the side and front arts. I based my work on a free Bomberman Illustrator file I found on the net based on this original drawing from Hudson Soft.

The final side and front arts.

Placing the arts is a lot easier than you might initially think. A water spray did the trick.

Finally, I placed the T-molding. My daughter was happy to see it working 🙂

And the final product, nice! :mrgreen:

My custom arcade cabinet blueprints

It’s a long time since I last wrote about building a home made arcade cabinet. See…

  1. Creating an arcade cabinet from scratch
  2. Buttons and controls for our arcade cabinet

My project got started at 2008! but having 2 children since then is not an easy task… and the project become stale.

Fortunately, I recently started getting some more free time so I could manage to finish the cabinet.

First thing first, draw the blueprints!

I used 3D Studio MAX. It’s not the perfect tool to do the task but it’s the tool I am most comfortable with.

So, this is how it looks like:

And the same pieces flattened:

I didn’t want any curve lines bacause that translates into problems when you are cutting the wood panels. This was my first time using a jigsaw so it must be easy.

Straight lines all along! and still looking good, me thinks…

Anyway, in case anyone is interested here is the max file.

In the following post I’ll show you how it went the right way 🙂

Buttons and controls for our arcade cabinet

And there let be buttons… :mrgreen:

Like I already said in my previous post, I ordered all the buttons, joysticks and electronics at Ultimarc.

The buttons and joysticks are controlled by an IPAC interface, that we can connect to a PS/2 or USB port of our motherboard:

I am going to use some spare parts I have from my old desktop PC to build the CPU.

This is the motherboard (MSI K8N Diamond Plus), with RAM (2GB Crucial Ballistix) and processor (AMD X2 4200) already mounted:

The hard disk drive. Segate Barracuda, 320 GB for loads of ROMs!! 😀

The video card. I think this NVIDIA Geforce 7900GT is enough for my purposes:

Some wires and connectors to setup the IPAC and the buttons:

The joysticks. I have chosen the E-Stick model because it’s easier to mount:

This little thing is the switch itself. It is mounted in the base of every button. We use the connectors shown below to plug it to the IPAC:

I am pretty sure you know what are this buttons for… 😉

Well, now begins the hard part: designing and building the cabinet itself from wood panels…

Building an arcade cabinet from scratch

One of my current projects consists in building and old arcade cabinet entirely from scratch.

This would be a long process. I am planning to buy wood panels and cut them off to form the cabinet based on the blueprints I am finishing off.

I have the controls already ordered at Ultimarc, and I am currently preparing the computer I’m going to bundle inside the cabinet.

I have also a 21” CRT TV happily waiting to be dismantled and connected to the cabinet 🙂

For running roms I’m using Mame, of course, apart of some other good emulators for Sega and Nintendo game consoles.

Paired with Mame I’m using Mamewah, which is a Mame front-end that let you browse your rom list with the arcade controls, rather than with a keyboard and a mouse. It let you use other emulators as well, so we can select any rom, from any emulator we have installed, without leaving Mamewah.

In the following posts I will be explaining each step of the construction of the cabinet.

Wish me luck :mrgreen: