Can A Ferrett Build An Arcade Cabinet?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Can I build an arcade cabinet?  Honestly?  I don’t know.  But it begins, my friends.  Check out this particular birthday present to myself:

That is the X-Arcade Tankstick, hooked up to a MAME emulator on my laptop running Ms. Pac-Man.  It was a really magical moment, when I finally doped out how to get the software to work with the controller, and pressed a button to start.  It was like I’d somehow literally captured a part of my childhood, in a half-assembled laboratory spread out across the guest bed.
(Incidentally, if you ever do want to build an arcade cabinet, X-Arcade has its shit down.  The MAME Plus! software is configured by default to have all the controls work with the joystick, and their very affordable coin door is set to work with a splitter to tie right into your computer.  It’s extremely, satisfyingly, user-friendly.)
What I intend to build is, eventually, this:
As designed by the fine builders at, and with a few tweaks suggested by my friend Todd.  But right now, all I have is this:
…which is to say two very large and heavy boards of 3/4″ cabinet-grade birch plywood.  I’ll need to find some way of mapping the small JPG I have onto that larger surface, and then use my power jigsaw for the first time.
(Fun fact: Since we have a Lowes right across the street in the mall, and the boards were too cumbersome to fit in the car easily, I simply borrowed a wood cart and pushed it the three blocks home.  Which was a good, cheap plan, except that a) it was a windy day and I was pushing two large, flat sails across the asphalt, and b) the rattle-and-bang as it hit every crack ont he sidewalk alerted Gini I was coming from half a block away.  Here I was, a wild-haired balding guy grudgingly pushing a stolen cart down the street, announced by huge hollow-tubed booms, distinctly not making eye contract with anyone.  And I’ll have to do that again.  Lord knows what the neighbors think. [And yes, I returned the cart.])
So that’s this Sunday’s work.  I hope Erin helps.  I could use some help.  Because standing at the base of those two huge sheets of wood, knowing that somehow I have to shape these into that, is intimidating as fuck.

1 Comment

  1. Carmel J.
    Jun 22, 2013

    Rock on! 🙂 Measure twice, cut once! One of the cabinets from our basement died and we sold it when we moved to someone who wanted to make it into a Mame cabinet. But this way you can decide how big it is and make it fit into your space the way you want it to. So, rock on! 🙂

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