Ubuntu MAME Arcade Project – Part 5, Graphics and Finishing Touches

The Grand Finale!20160315_013141

Here are the finishing touches.

 

1.  The monitor

This is a very important piece and I spared no expense here.  I purchased a Wells Gardner 27″ LCD arcade monitor from X-Arcade for $429 to finish this project off.  This this is big, heavy, and industrial quality.  I am very impressed with it.

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Here is what comes in the box.  We have an AC power adapter, some black masking tape, and some brackets.

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Here is the back of the monitor.  Very shiny.  You can see it accepts DVI or VGA connections.  I didn’t notice any real difference in quality between them and decided to run with DVI since it should provide a smoother picture when this system is being used as a full fledge computer.

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It took me a few minutes to figure out how the monitor brackets work.  Its not readily apparent and there are no instructions provided.  Maybe this fuzzy image will help someone.  🙂

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Here is the monitor bolted into place with the UA2 monitor mounting kit (optional, $49.99) and some heavy duty bolts.  I opted to hose the brackets down with heavy duty construction adhesive to make sure under no circumstances would the monitor move around in the cabinet if/when I eventually have to move it.

 

2.  Graphics

So we have spent all this time, money and effort on this project and its time to decide what it’s going to look like.  After expending this much effort I really wanted something that would pop to tie the whole thing together as well as cover up any of my screw ups.  😛

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After some fruitless internet searches, I was referred to Game On Graphix by another vendor and contacted their graphic designers.  Apparently you need exact sized PSD files for your cabinet to submit your own designs and I had literally no interest in creating them myself.  I decided to just hire their people to do the graphic design work since they already have templates for most cabinets.  I emailed them some high-res images I had found on the internet, and answered a few questions.  They provided the side, kick plate, marquee, and bezel graphics.  I was blown away by how great they looked and I highly recommend them over trying to do this yourself.  Everything comes cut to size except the monitor hole in the bezel and I think everyone can agree that this machine is a piece of Geek Artwork when its done.

The graphic design work cost $90 and was worth every penny.  The final printed graphics ab out $200 for the bezel, sides, kickplate, and marquee.  This is not the place to save money on a project like this, and it totally paid off in the end.

 

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Our custom Bezel…

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I want to note a pitfall that I found here.  I could not find a single place on planet earth that could sell me a monitor bezel for this monitor that fit an upright cabinet.  They simply do not exist.  Eventually I purchased a cocktail bezel kit because the dimensions were at least larger than what I needed and I decided I could just cut it down to fit.  Dumb Idea.  The kit cost $75 from Suzo-Happ and consisted of 1 roll of black masking tape that already came with the monitor, 1 bracket for said monitor that I already had, and a warped piece of heavy poster board with no hole for the screen pre-cut.  I carefully cut it to fit the same way I would have done a piece of poster board anyway, only I am out $75 for the trouble.

Just measure carefully and cut your own.

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This monitor is huge and beautiful in this cabinet with our custom bezel.  The black effect on the sides is nice too because not all games have the same resolution, so most of the time the sides of the monitor are dark depending on the native resolution of the game.

 

3.  The Coin Door

So what good is a life sized retro arcade cabinet without a working coin door?  Twisted Quarter to the rescue again.  I purchased brand new, fully functional dual slot coin door from them that fit the cabinet opening perfectly for $75.99.  I wired up the lights to my mini-molex connector that I used to power our big cabinet fans and soldered them in.  
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Next, I soldered my connections for my microswitches.  Since this is a 2-player control surface, I wired the left slot to player 1’s coin door wire that we left hanging out during our controller mod, and player 2’s wire to the right side with the shared ground wire we included.

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I used marine grade heat shrink tubing after soldering to make absolutely sure they would never come apart again…

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Here is the coin door installed and wired up.  The last step is to connect it back into our controller.

20160304_172531We just added on to the internal circuit for the coin buttons on either side and now we connect them before we drop the controller into its final resting place and screw it down wth some wood screws.
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Easy right?

I am happy to provide my PSD files if anyone wants them.  Just hit me up.  If anyone else builds one of these I would love to hear about it, and if you have pics, suggestions, or want to tell me why I am an idiot please feel free.

 

Thanks.

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