How to Build Your Own MAME Arcade Cabinet with PDF Plans
If you are a fan of retro arcade games, you might have dreamed of having your own arcade cabinet to play your favorite classics. But buying a pre-made cabinet can be expensive, and building one from scratch can be daunting. That's why we have compiled this guide on how to build your own MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) arcade cabinet with PDF plans that you can download and print.
MAME is a software that allows you to run thousands of arcade games on your computer or Raspberry Pi. You can use MAME to create a custom arcade machine that suits your preferences and budget. You will need some basic tools, materials, and skills, but the result will be worth it.
Here are the steps to follow:
Choose your cabinet design. There are many types of arcade cabinets, such as upright, cocktail, pedestal, or bartop. You can find PDF plans for various cabinets online, such as this one for a 4-player pedestal cabinet, this one for a collection of 36 different cabinets, or this one for a full-size cabinet using Raspberry Pi.
Cut and assemble the cabinet. You will need some wood or MDF boards, screws, glue, hinges, and a saw. Follow the PDF plans carefully and measure twice before cutting. Use clamps and a square to ensure straight edges and right angles. Drill holes for the screws and the wires. Attach the panels together with screws and glue.
Install the T-molding. T-molding is a plastic strip that covers the edges of the cabinet and gives it a professional look. You will need a router with a slot cutter bit to make grooves along the edges of the wood. Then you can insert the T-molding into the grooves and trim the excess with a knife.
Paint or decorate the cabinet. You can use any color or design you like for your cabinet. You can use spray paint, acrylic paint, vinyl stickers, or printed artwork. Make sure to sand and clean the surface before applying any paint or adhesive.
Install the monitor. You can use any monitor that fits your cabinet size and resolution. You can mount it with brackets or screws, or use a VESA mount if available. You can also add a bezel or a plexiglass cover to protect the screen and hide the edges.
Install the speakers. You can use any speakers that have an audio jack or USB connection. You can mount them inside the cabinet with screws or brackets, or cut holes in the wood and insert them flush with the surface.
Install the controls. You will need some arcade joysticks, buttons, trackballs, spinners, or any other input devices you want to use. You will also need a USB control interface that connects them to your computer or Raspberry Pi. You can find these online from various vendors such as Ultimarc or GroovyGameGear. You will need to drill holes in the control panel according to your layout and wiring diagram. Then you can insert the controls and secure them with nuts or bolts.
Wire everything up. You will need some wires, crimp-on connectors, zip ties, and a soldering iron if necessary. Follow the wiring diagram provided by your USB control interface and connect each control to its corresponding terminal. Then connect the USB cable to your computer or Raspberry Pi.
Install MAME and ROMs. MAME is a free software that you can download from here. You will also need ROMs, which are files that contain the game data. ROMs are not included with MAME and you will have to find them yourself from legal sources. Make sure to get ROMs that are compatible with your version of MAME and place them in the appropriate folder.
Configure MAME and enjoy! You will need to launch MAME and configure some settings such as video aa16f39245