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Attic surplus mini cabinet build


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#1 htamas

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 02:36 AM

After watching so many excellent cabinet build threads, I felt I need to put something together myself. Not having a proper workshop and just limited set of tools certainly restricted my possibilities, and my woodworking skills also leave quite a bit to be desired. But all that didn't discourage me enough so I started to explore the available resources.

One main factor of the process was to limit the expenses to keep the spousal unit halfway supportive of the effort. So it is a lucky thing that I usually have a bunch of older computer parts laying around, and I knew that I can hack together something that will work (with some shortcomings). I tried to reuse / recycle as much from junk in the attic and my computer parts bins as possible.

I set up the hardware first, got the PC pretty much configured properly before even starting work on the cabinet.

I already had the following in the parts bin:

ECS AMD690GM-M2 motherboard
AMD Athlon X2 4000+ (Brisbane) processor, clocked at ~2.45 GHz
Xigmatek LOKI CPU cooler
Gigabyte NVIDIA GT440 video card with 1 GB GDDR3 128-bit memory
2 GB A-Data DDR2 memory at ~400 MHz
64 GB Patriot Torx2 SSD
Onboard sound (Realtek)
Sceptre 17" LCD backglass monitor (old 4:3 VGA LCD, with some scratches)
Ultra X-Finity 500W power supply
Altec Lansing ACS-45 2.1 speakers (these are about 17 years old or so)
Windows XP Pro SP3 (32-bit)

Parts I had to buy:

Asus 24" LCD playfield monitor (refurbished)
Cabinet button kit from Noah
I-PAC VE
couple of 120 mm Cooler Master low noise fans

I had enough (not too high quality) plywood from an earlier home improvement project (plus dismantled kitchen cabinetry), and while it was clear this won't provide a smooth enough surface for vinyl art, it was good enough to be painted. (I was too lazy to putty and sand all the sides to make them perfectly smooth)

Measured and designed the cabinet pieces, borrowed a table saw from a friend for a weekend and started working on the box. The garage was turned into a wood shop:
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Only other power tools I had was a drill with a bunch of drill bits and hole saw attachments, a palm sander and a simple jigsaw. So no router or any more sophisticated equipment. Knowing this, the design had to be fairly minimalistic...

For the backbox, I chose a rather unorthodox mounting for the backglass monitor. Instead of decasing it, I opted for simply bolting the base of the screen to the back wall. Also, since the speakers were going to be incorporated in their original housing, I had to find a way to include them as they are... this resulted in the following contraption:
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Bottom of the cabinet, with holes for the speaker and leg brackets in place:
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Primed:
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Got it painted utilizing some child labor (my 13-year old daughter helped out with this as well as with assembling the box):
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Box is painted flat black... later it turned out the paint quality isn't the greatest since it's easy to see fingerprints even on the flat surface, but it's acceptable until I find the time and desire to repaint the whole thing. Or better said, IF.
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Started to add the fans and the tilt bob:
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Backbox, pretty much ready to go. Notice the artistic electrical tape used to cover the silver screen bezel so that it isn't visible when the front glass (plexi) is installed biggrin.gif
Also, speakers hot-glued in place (yes, ghetto - I know, but the end result doesn't look that bad)
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The guts of the machine in place. The PC is on a removable board, and the subwoofer is mounted... ahem... in a rather simple way. Cable management... well, not so much of that biggrin.gif
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Closeup of the buttons and wiring... I hope I don't have to troubleshoot this any time soon smile.gif
Right now everything works the way I want.
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Almost finished, undergoing some preliminary testing:
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Added some plexi cover for the backglass and the playfield. Painted the plexi from the backside and finished the box off with some aluminum trim. All done, and works quite well. Now in its final location, in the office.

Once when I will have enough room, I'll build a proper full size cabinet, with much better hardware and improved materials / tools. For now, this should be fine.
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Edited by htamas, 22 May 2012 - 05:55 PM.


#2 Alchy

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:45 AM

OMG that looks so sweet! Very nicely done! I hope you have some great fun with that table.

Regards David



#3 vidmouse

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 10:08 AM

You did all this in 1 weekend? That's very impressive.

I love the fact that you used stuff you already had.
+1 for not decasing -- why go through all that trouble
if you don't have to?

Overall, this looks a lot like my build, except that your
finishing looks better. One thing I noticed is that your
pf is angled instead of horizontal and deeper (I did the
same thing)... in retrospect I wonder if seating it a bit
lower and horizontal would help w/ the illusion of making
it a real table?

Kudos, very nice work!





#4 htamas

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 03:26 PM

No, it wasn't just one weekend (I wish)... it took about three weekends to get everything done, plus a few late evening sessions after work when I was fiddling with all those wires. My wire connectors were not 100% proper size, so I had to process every single one to fit onto the button connector blades. That was a bit tedious smile.gif

Regarding the playfield angle: yeah, I was thinking about doing that but then I decided against it. Reason is that I wanted to keep a better viewing angle, especially because my little daughter is too short to look at the playfield from a proper position. Mounting the pf flat would worsen that angle for her. I agree, it would look more real by it sitting lower... I'll do that when I build a full-size cab. Then I'll probably go all-out, with LEDwiz, vinyl art, proper legs... but it's a big question when will I have the chance for that.
I'll need a bigger place, for starters smile.gif

Thanks for the kind words.

#5 settingsons

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:06 PM

Very nice job htamas - enjoy it! cool.gif

I had a similar problem with my wire connector and ended up adjusting nearly everyone. Sometimes a supposedly simple stage can end up taken 5 times longer than expected think.gif

Edited by settingsons, 22 May 2012 - 09:11 PM.


#6 cdf12345

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:07 PM

QUOTE (settingsons @ May 22 2012, 04:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Very nice job htamas - enjoy it! cool.gif

I had a similar problem with my wire connector and ended up adjusting nearly everyone. Sometimes a supposedly simple stage can end up taken 5 times longer than expected think.gif


Can I ask what kind of aluminum trim you used? I'm building a 24"/19" and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do for trim and to hold the glass in / lock down bar. How easily accessible is the inside of your cab?

#7 settingsons

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:41 PM

QUOTE (cdf12345 @ May 24 2012, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (settingsons @ May 22 2012, 04:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Very nice job htamas - enjoy it! cool.gif

I had a similar problem with my wire connector and ended up adjusting nearly everyone. Sometimes a supposedly simple stage can end up taken 5 times longer than expected think.gif


Can I ask what kind of aluminum trim you used? I'm building a 24"/19" and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do for trim and to hold the glass in / lock down bar. How easily accessible is the inside of your cab?


I did actually build a fullsize cabinet so I invested in the Cabinet Builders Kit from Noah (virtuapin.net) which came with Bally Siderails. At some point in the future I would like to build a mini too, and I think I would try and use the chrome L shaped trim like they sell in DIY shops. There are mini builds here I have seen I think from Rawd and Blitz and I am sure they used something similar if you can find their threads.

My cab is accessible from the back and through the coin door, however when I need to make a major change or want to clean the TV screen under the glass it takes about 10 mins to remove the glass, etc.



#8 swaffar

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:40 PM

Glad you posted pics. It's always weird for me to see someone post a build, start to finish, in a single post.

Edited by swaffar, 24 May 2012 - 11:40 PM.

Check out my mini-cab project

Signature_zps03cd408c.jpg


#9 Rickyboy_3000

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 02:27 PM

Looks fantastic!

Just wondering what sort of performance are you getting from the PC hardware? It seems relatively low spec.
I am about to start building a mini cab and currently using my main pc: i5-2500k, 8GB Ram, Vortex 3 SSD, NV Gtx560Ti etc but would rather put together a cheap-as-chips pc and build it in.

Edited by Rickyboy_3000, 08 June 2012 - 02:29 PM.


#10 htamas

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 06:20 PM

QUOTE (cdf12345 @ May 24 2012, 02:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can I ask what kind of aluminum trim you used? I'm building a 24"/19" and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do for trim and to hold the glass in / lock down bar. How easily accessible is the inside of your cab?

Sorry for the late reply... the aluminum trims are simple L-shaped pieces from Home Depot, about 1" wide. They have 4-feet long pieces and I needed only about 22" each side. So I bought one piece that wasn't scuffed, cut it, rounded off the cut corners with a file and sandpaper and attached them using three countersunk screws per side. Looks fine to me.
As for accessibility to the inside, that could be certainly better. My "lockdown bar" is removable (it is just a piece of wood, with two vertical pieces on the underside that prevent the plexi sliding down). So I can easily access the button area. If I need to get at the PC, I have to undo the three screws holding one aluminum trim piece, lift out the plexi screen cover, then remove the screen itself. That part is easy since it is just sitting on the two side rails, so it needs to be lifted out.
It's not too bad, but could be certainly easier.

QUOTE (Rickyboy_3000 @ Jun 8 2012, 07:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just wondering what sort of performance are you getting from the PC hardware? It seems relatively low spec.
I am about to start building a mini cab and currently using my main pc: i5-2500k, 8GB Ram, Vortex 3 SSD, NV Gtx560Ti etc but would rather put together a cheap-as-chips pc and build it in.

Yes, it's a low-end system but surprisingly it works quite well. I wanted to avoid unnecessary expenses and reuse my existing parts, so that limited what I could do.
UVP tends to cause stutter with some tables, but it's not that many where this is an issue. Generally speaking, I'm quite happy with how it works, given its weak performance parameters. The vast majority of the tables run very well, no stutter or any issues, not even in multiball. What really surprises me is that quite a few people reported having issues with some tables that run absolutely flawless on my measly system. An example would be Attack from Mars. I even have UVP active on this one and no problem whatsoever.
All B2S tables I tried run perfectly.
There are a handful of tables that have stutter issues even without UVP... these are Checkpoint (the worst offender), Monopoly (unless the running banner is disabled, then it runs fine) and Banzai Run (which is still very playable, just that I don't like to see the slightest stutter of course).
I must keep alpha ramp accuracy low to avoid stutter (two notches above minimum is my current setting), but I don't remember seeing adverse effects of this, all tables look still very good, no jagged ramps or anything.

With the specs above, you should have no issues. In fact, I firmly believe that even my setup would be rid of most UVP-caused stutter if I could upgrade to a quad-core, faster processor. Unfortunately the board doesn't support any Phenoms, so I can't do that.
VP doesn't really need a monster PC to run well. Some tables cause issues for people running real beastly configurations, so it's more because of the old or not optimized code that there are problems, rather than hardware weakness.

Edited by htamas, 08 June 2012 - 06:35 PM.


#11 MTPPC

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:47 AM

Tell me how you like that VE I-Pac. I'm about to buy an I-Pac and I'm not sure if I want to save some money on the VE. It's my understanding you have to run a program each time you boot to initialize it because there's no non-volatile ram on it. Is this the case? Has it been bulletproof and work consistently? Thanks.

#12 htamas

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 08:47 PM

The IPAC-VE works just fine for me, it is consistent and reliable.
Yes, you have to initialize the config at every bootup because it only knows the MAME defaults without that. However this only requires a simple .BAT file to be placed into the Startup folder of the user, with a single command in it that calls the programming executable with the saved profile... so that's a non-issue. I don't see any problem with that, since it is automated.

Edited by htamas, 30 July 2012 - 08:47 PM.


#13 Gunner

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 01:23 PM

Nice little machine. I am working on something very similar :)



#14 htamas

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:31 PM

Thanks... it worked relatively well at the time it was built, but it wouldn't be able to handle today's VP tables. So since then I upgraded the motherboard, processor and video card. Now it has a Biostar A880GZ MoBo, a Phenom II CPU running at 3.2 GHz, 4 GB memory and an nvidia GTX 560 video card, and it runs everything very well.

About to replace the tilt bob with a Microsoft Sidewinder Freestyle Pro to get better nudging :)

 

Actually I should try the old hardware with a decent video card, I wonder how would it cope with the most demanding tables of the present day... somehow I have a feeling that most would run still fine because in the old setup the video card was clearly too weak.


Edited by htamas, 15 April 2014 - 02:32 PM.