After owning my Raspberry PI for aR year, I decided it was time to actually do something useful with it.
I’ve decided to ruin my girlfriend’s coffee table and convert it into a fully functioning arcade cabinet for entertaining guests.
Full Photo build log after the jump
The Victim – a £16 IKEA Lack table. Very cheap and replaceable.
Lifting it up it’s very light, due to being primarily made out of cardboard honeycomb. Here you can faintly see I’ve roughly drawn lines to cut out for the monitor. I don’t recommend doing this with a 30cm ruler.
I sourced a cheap monitor off Ebay, which unfortunately was VGA only, so what money I saved went on a HMDI to VGA adapter. The resolution was pretty poor, but for old arcade games this does not matter. A few screws and prying got the panel out of the housing.
The next step was drilling the holes for the buttons, the general consensus from the internet was to use a stepped drill bit, rather than numerous costly hole cutters. This also saved many headaches later on with adding button holes to the plexi glass. The cut is not the smoothest, but the button caps hide that.
The joysticks then screw into the wood on the reverse side, holding them in place:
For wiring the buttons, I found a GIPO extender in maplin, it allows inserting raw wire into a breadboard (No soldering), all 14 buttons run into this block, a simple script on the pi translates the GIPO switches to a keyboard key presses (http://learn.adafruit.com/retro-gaming-with-raspberry-pi/buttons)
To protect the screen I opted to cover the table in plexiglass brought from homebase (~£20). When cutting plexiglass, you can never scour it enough, the first cut shown below was perfect, but my second… not so much. I was left with some fragments still attached which needed to be jig-sawed off.
Using a scrap bit of plexiglass It dawned on me just how hard this stuff is to drill. If have any impatience it cracks, I practiced at least 12 holes to get a feel for its breaking point before facing the main sheet. I cannot stress how slow it needs to be cut, taking breaks to vacuum the waste – which melts and acts a glue between the drill and the sheet.
After a painful week of drilling every evening, I finally had the holes cut without any cracks.
I initially had an idea of using wood for mounting the monitor, but it proved to be quite difficult to cut the groves without any woodworking tools. Instead I saw some tough foam in a pound shop, that could be moulded using a Stanley knife. These were then glued at the base.
Here it is testing the mount and monitor with steam’s big picture. One thing you can’t see is that the monitor is mounted upside down, due to the viewing angles, the video-card rotates the image and no one is the wiser!
I’m currently wiring up the board and controls to the pi, so more pictures are soon to follow!
EDIT: It is now done, See the final part