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
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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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
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
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Closeup of the buttons and wiring... I hope I don't have to troubleshoot this any time soon
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.