Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About MAME Arcade Cabinet Construction Project

  1. Why so many buttons? I use my right hand for the joystick and left for buttons, so traditional button positions don't work for me. But at the same time, I want other people to be able to use it too. The buttons on the left of a joystick are mirror images of those on the right, and left and right are wired in parallel.
  2. What is the button layout pattern? I examined all the various layouts at Slag Coin and modified one to better fit my hand. I prepared Adobe Illustrator template drawings which I used to center-punch the positions onto the MDF control panel (see picture below). Here are links to the right and left template files.
  3. What's with the giant piece of oak? That was a silly (and expensive) idea I had for stiffening the cabinet sides. I didn't want angled braces coming from the top to bottom, blocking access from the back door. It was reasonably successful but I'm sure there's a more sensible and effective way to do it - I just couldn't think of what that would be.
  4. What are the two circuit boards on the bottom of the control panel? One is an I-Pac 4 and the other is the USB interface board for the spinners. The spinners and trackball are optical devices and thus require an interface that can handle optical type devices. The I-Pac can handle switches only. The trackball has a built-in USB interface board. All together, I have 1 USB for the computer keyboard (which sits in the drawer), 1 USB for the computer mouse (which also sits in the drawer), 1 USB from the I-Pac 4, 1 USB for the spinners, and 1 USB for the trackball.
  5. How are the joysticks fastened to the control panel such that there are no visible bolts on top? If you look at the pictures of the control panel construction, you will see metal things embedded into the MDF. They are T-nuts. I countersunk them into the top surface so that the laminate can cover them. Then the joystick bolts can come up from below. The small square piece of aluminum duct tape on each T-nut prevented contact cement from getting into the T-nut's threaded barrel when gluing the laminate to the top of the control panel.
  6. How is the trackball fastened to the control panel such that there are no visible bolts on top? I used a trackball mounting kit which has a black metal plate with four internally threaded posts attached to it. If you look at the pictures of the control panel construction, you will see that I countersunk the metal plate into the top surface of the control panel so that the laminate can cover it. Bolts then come up from below.
  7. What kind of hinges connect the control panel top to the control panel box? These are 107 degree, full overlay, clip-top European-style hinges. They can unsnap so that the base can remain on the arcade cabinet and the control panel top can be removed. The European-style hinges allow the control panel top to flip up without needing clearance behind the control panel. There are three images in the gallery which show, from a side view, the control panel top being flipped-up.
  8. What are the straps used to route cables in the cabinet? They're Velcro Rip-Tie straps with an adhesive back. You peel and stick them where you want. They're versatile because you can strap one or many cables at once and open and close it easily. They are, however, expensive.
  9. What front-end do you use for MAME? I chose MameWah because it's open-source. See details here.
  10. Where did you buy the various parts? A list of most of the parts and sources is provided here.

P. David Buchan