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Arcade Machine

Status: Work in Progress
Initiator: Lorenz
Materials Used: MDF, Framing Lumber, Electronics
Software Used: FreeCAD 0.19
Approx. Cost: >500 €

This is my first project and it is work in progress so this page is also very much not finished.


The idea is to build an Arcade Machine also known as Arcade Cabinet. Think of an old Pac-Man machine. "Insert Coin"... "New Player"... that kind of stuff.

I designed the cabinet in two parts. An upper part that houses the computer, the buttons and joysticks, the screen, and the speakers. The bottom part is is just the support to bring the upper part to the right height and then also serves as storage. The two parts are held together by four screws.

The cabinet is almost completely build from 16mm MDF and with the exception of the bezel around the screen which is only 3mm. Since MDF is not well suited for being screwed together and I put 24mm x 48mm framing lumber in the corners to screw into.

For the electronics I wanted a Raspberry Pi 4 but unfortunately due to the current (2023) chip shortage this is not readily available or only at unreasonably inflated prices. As an alternative I bought a Raspberry Pi 400 which is essentially the same hardware in a different form factor with a heat sink and a keyboard for the same price tag. And it has the great advantage that it is readily available from several vendors. Including a 5.1V 3A USB-C power supply, a micro HDMI to HDMI cable and a 128 GB micro SD card this set me back ~100 €.

The screen is a ASUS 24" (VK248H) that I picked up from ebay-kleinanzeigen for 20€.

The buttons and joysticks I bought an amazon from EG-STARTS as a 2 player kit which comes with 2 joysticks 20 buttons and the electronics to connect it via USB all together for 50€. be continued.

Materials List

ID Quantity Description Source Total Price
Support Cabinet
2 MDF 1100x1000x16 mm Bauhaus 50 €
1 MDF 1400x800x16 mm Bauhaus 20 €
4 Framing Lumber 2000x24x48 mm Bauhaus 8 €
2 Hinge with built-in damper; full-overlay (Innenanschlag) 11 €
8 Rubber feet; 38x10 mm 7 €
8 Gewindeschrauben 25x6 mm + Unterlegscheiben + Muttern Bauhaus <1 €
4 Gewindeschrauben; 80x6 mm Bauhaus <1 €
2 MDF-Foundation Paint (375ml) Bauhaus 24 €
Arcade Cabinet
3 MDF 800x600x16 mm Bauhaus 32 €
3 MDF 820x525x16 mm Bauhaus 29 €
5 Framing Lumber 2000x24x48 mm Bauhaus 8 €
4 Kistenverschluss 6 €
1 ED-STARTS Arcade Kit: 2xJoystick; 20xButtons; 2xUSB encoder 50 €
1 Screen; ASUS 24" (VK248H) 20 €
1 RaspberryPi 400 90 €
1 USB-C PSU 5.1V / 3A 8 €
1 SanDisk Ultra microSD 128 GB 14 €
1 Micro-HDMI to HDMI Kabel 6 €
1 Micro-HDMI to HDMI Adapter 8 €
1 4-Port USB 3 Hub 8 €
1 USB 3 & HDMI extension Dash Panel 15 €
2 USB 3 extension Dash Panel 22 €
1 Kaltgerätekabel (unten gewinkelt) 7 €
1 Power switch 8 €
500 Screws 4x35 mm; partial threaded Bauhaus 20 €
1 Pinselset Bauhaus 7 €
1 Pinselreiniger (500ml) Bauhaus 5 €

Log Book

Day 1

  • Buying materials:
    • 2x MDF 1100x1000x16 mm
    • 1x MDF 1400x800x16 mm
    • 4x Framing Lumber 2000x24x48 mm
    • 500 Screws 4x35 mm partial threaded
  • Instructions for Reciprocating Saw

Day 2

  • Marking cut lines on the boards
  • Instruction for handheld circular saw

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

  • Instructions for handheld sander
  • Instructions for laser cutter
  • Finish drilling holes with cordless drill.

Day 6

Day 7

  • Drill pilot holes into framing lumber.
  • Cut corners from middle shelf to make room for rear framing timber.
  • Start test assembly to check whether everything fits together.
    • Middle shelf and Top shelf are slightly to wide. Need to take of 1 mm from each side.

Day 8

  • shorten middle and top shelf with handheld circular saw.
  • Experiment with 35mm Forstner drill for pot hinges. Turns out the 16 mm MDF is too thin and the tip of the drill but pokes through. Solution was to not drill all the way and scrape some material out with a chisel. The MDF is soft enough to make this a viable option.

Day 8

  • Finish pot hinges. Drill pilot holes on corpus
  • Disasemble test assembley. All parts of the framing support were made unique by sawing off certain corners so that the cabinet can be reassembled with the parts in the correct location in case they are not 100% the same.
  • Drill 44mm hole in back wall to allow cables to be passed through.

Day 9

  • Paint 4 walls (side walls, door and back) of support cabinet with foundation

Day 10

  • Buy MDF plates for arcade cabinet.
  • Start measuring and cutting.