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Designing & LCD MAME Cabinet - Putting the Parts Together

The Cabinet Design

Assembling MAME Cabinet
Assembly of MAME Cabinet
For some crazy reason, I decided to build the cabinet so it could be completely disassembled. I guess I figured it may come in handy if I ever moved and needed the space in a moving truck or decided to store the cabinet in a small space. Since I planned on having the cabinet sides and front covered with Formica, it wouldn't be possible to have screws or bolts that could be removed at a later date. Instead, I decided to glue and screw wood blocks on the inside of the cabinet and then screw all of the cross members and front and back panels to these blocks. This would allow complete assembly/disassembly without a single bolt or screw being visible or necessary from the exterior of the cabinet.

X-Arcade Tankstick + Trackball Controller

The X-Arcade Controller comes as a self-contained unit (i.e. the controller panel sits on/in a box that contains all the wires and side buttons). Since I wanted the controller to look completely integrated into my cabinet,
X-Arcade Tankstick + Trackball
X-Arcade Tankstick + Trackball
I measured the width of the X-Arcade box and used that measurement for determining the width of my MAME cabinet. The plan was to remove the controller top from the box and mount the controller top on my cabinet.

Assembling the Cabinet

I started by measuring and then clamping the blocks to the inside of the cabinet sides. I traced an outline around the blocks for later placement. Next I drilled holes from the outside of the cabinet into the blocks. The next step was to drill a countersink hole in each screw hole so the screw heads would be slightly below the outside surface of the cabinet. A countersink bit works nicely, but if not available, a drill bit that is slightly larger than the screw head can be used (be careful to only drill deep enough to sink the screw head). After drilling the holes, I removed the blocks and spread a thin layer of wood glue on then and then permanently screwed them to the cabinet sides.

After installing the blocks for the bottom and the back of the cabinet, I drilled and screwed the bottom and the lower back plywood pieces to the cabinet. After the upper blocks were in place, I screwed in a temporary piece of wood to help the cabinet hold its shape while I measured and cut additional parts of the cabinet.

I decided that I wanted the entire lower-front part of the cabinet to be a door so that I would have easy access to the computer components inside. I also decided that I wanted the upper-back part of the cabinet to be a door so access to the monitor would be convenient.

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