Cabinet Design

Click here to download the cabinet designs in pdf format


First off, my design was definitely influenced by two friends, TheQleaner (TQ) & Genom. TQ built his cabinet first and convinced me to build mine. It was something I'd wanted to do ever since I first saw Tim's page go up, but I just didn't think I could pull off the woodworking. I'm perfectly at home with a soldering iron, but had never touched a jig saw. TQ talked me into it. Genom actually helped me cut the wood, let me use his tools & his workspace (we converted his living room into a woodshop), and helped me haul it all back to my place. He was a huge help & should be starting on his cabinet soon.

I went through about 6 design revisions on the cabinet before I bought the wood. The primary consideration is the monitor. The monitor dimensions determine how wide the cabinet will be. The control panel dimensions & monitor depth determined how deep the cabinet needed to be, and everything else worked backwards from there.

I knew I wanted to use a TV for my monitor, so I measured 25" TVs at Best Buy & every other home electronics store I could find. I decided to settle on a width of 26", because it will easily accommodate just about any 25" TV. I also noticed that there were several 27" units that would fit, so that may be an option as well. Making it a little wider would have ensured a 27" TV would fit, but I still wanted to be able to fit it through a door. I measured the depth as well and found they were all about 21" deep or less, so I wanted to have at least that much room for it to sit back into the cabinet.

Next I went to an arcade, and measured the height of the control panels at around 36", and the cabinets averaged about 6' 2" tall. I also checked out the marquees, and they were about 7" - 8" tall.

Then I did a full size mock up of the control panel top, so I could figure out how big it needed to be. I ended up with 16" X 32", but later added a bit all around to give it a little better overhang. In the end, the CP ended up being 18" X 34". I also decided to use a CP box, rather then integrating it into the cabinet. This way I can have more space for the electronics, and I can remove the CP as a unit to get the cabinet through a doorway.

I took all these measurements and started plotting out cabinet profiles in scale on graph paper. I decided to make the entire front of the cabinet (where the coin door goes) a big door to access the interior. I also decided to use a wireless keyboard so I wouldn't have to have a keyboard drawer. I also left the back partially open hoping to avoid the need for a loud ventilation fan. For the drawings, I used custom graph paper printed with a great little utility I found online. I used it to make graph paper representing 4' X 8' sheets so I could get an idea of how much of the cutting I could have done at home depot, and how many sheets of wood I would need. When I was satisfied with the shape of the cabinet, I built a miniature scale model out of cardboard.

Up until the very last revision the cabinet had a high back similar to a defender cab. Genom helped convince me to go with the angled back, and I'm glad I did. I like the way it looks.  

You may notice on the design sheets I made 2 control panels.  I know that eventually I'll want a dedicated panel of some kind and will want to be able to swap the panels.  I don't know what the next control panel will be, but I have the extra CP top sitting here just in case.  Also, I forgot to cut the front and back base plates, so I left them off the actual cabinet.