17" Mame Bartop Cabinet


This is the second bartop I have decided to build. This time I will cut the slit for the plexiglass before assembly of the cabinet. During the building of this cabinet I got interested in putting in some console emulators (Atatri 2600, NES, SMS, etc.). So far I have not been able to get these emulators to run rotated. This means I will need to build another cabinet with a horizontal monitor to run the console emulators.
I installed Z26, Nesticle, KGen98 and RockNES and got them to run properly but only with the monitor rotated horizontally. Since I couldn't run them vertically, I just reinstalled from the Boot CD and only have MAME on the cabinet now.

17" rotated monitor (vertical)
433 MHz Celeron, 256 MB RAM, running only DOS

I got the idea from Arcade Cab, I downloaded the plans from there and mostly followed them. The actual cabinet dimensions I got from Menace's Cabinet. To fit the 17" monitor I added 2-3" where appropriate (the front, the height, the overall length).

GLITCH77'S BOOT CD 12_13_02 ver. 3.90 Installs AdvMAME and ArcadeOS and gets the monitor setup properly. Loaded the ROMS and artwork. I also installed AdvMenu this time and allow the player to choose the frontend on boot.

A full description of the software install including configuration files can be found here.

ArcadeOS, AdvMenu and advMAME keymap for the KeyWiz is here.

A list of supplies can be found here (with prices). I decided to go with the Omni-Stik Prodigy 4/8 way switchable joystick again. After building my first cabinet, I didn't think I would ever switch from 4-way to 8-way but as I played more, I found I used the switch alot, so I bought another Prodigy.

Used the instructions here to put in a relay so the computer would turn on the monitor and speakers.

The Project Arcade book was very helpful.

  • I used MDF again for this cabinet since I had almost half a sheet left from the last cabinet. Instead of screwing the cabinet together I used 2-1/2" and 1-1/2" 16 gauge finish nails with an air finish nailer. I did use screws to put some of the bracing together. This seemed to work very well for assembly. Another bonus is the small nail holes the finish nailer leaves. Easy to fill and sand for a smooth finish.
  • I also installed stops all around the cabinet edge for proper placement of the top and back. I did not permanently attach the top and back, so if there is any trouble or maintenance the top and sides will come right off.
  • When using the air nailer to attach the stops (or anything) be sure and clamp the two pieces together before nailing.
  • I used the same cheap contact paper as before due to time constraints. I built this one to give as a Christmas gift and didn't start building it until the week before the holiday. Went with the marble for the control panel, top and back. For now the sides are painted black, I am going to let the recepient decide on the side colors. Before applying the contact paper, I sprayed a light coat of spray adhesive onto the wood. This seemed to make the contact paper stick alot better. Time will tell, on my other cabinet the contact paper is coming off in quite a few places. Ideally I would like to do the finish with laminate but I was trying to keep the costs down on this cabinet. Maybe the next one I will use laminate.
  • The first monitor I used had a switch problem. Sometimes the switch would work, sometimes not. I thought since the monitor is turned on and off by the computer, just leave the switch on and not worry about it. After building the box and installing the monitor.....the switch wouldn't work. Luckily I had another monitor of the exact same model in my garage, so I just threw out the old one and used the new. If I wouldn't have had two duplicate monitors, I would have been in trouble since the box was built for the monitor and the software was setup for the monitors specific refresh rates.
  • Installation of the computer was interesting again. I mounted the power supply on the side near the top and built a shelf for the hard drive and CD. Since there are so many variations in motherboards and other computer parts, the best instructions I can give are to "make it fit without breaking it".

  • Pictures:
    the monitor
    rough frame
    monitor in and testing
    computer and monitor
    top and back
    cp inplace
    everything in place
    the speakers and control
    another view of everything in place, used a shelf to hold the CD-ROM and hard drive
    wire is stripped
    separate two strands, cut off the rest
    tin the two strands with solder. Heat the wire and put into the keywiz hole for the desired key
    another interior shot
    control panel
    control panel
    top and back the finish
    side view, finished
    front view, finished
    side by side with the 1st one
    MameCab and MameCab17