Lasercutting the Arcade Cabinet
I made three versions of the arcade cabinet for testing. The first was a Nintendo switch arcade cabinet that I purchased on Amazon that used slotted wood and rubber bands to stay together. I added my potentiometers to this and displayed the game on my phone for testing. This arcade cabinet was great for testing quickly, but felt much too small.
The second version was a scaled-up version of the “Mini Pi-Powered Arcade Machine” by Tobias Pi that was laser cut on cardboard. This felt much closer to the size that I was hoping to build, and wouldn’t be too heavy with all of the components installed. The main advantage was that this was very quick to get started, and taught me how to use the laser cutting machine before starting with the final design. I was also able to put my laptop behind and pretend that it was the screen.
The main problem I ran into was cost. This version was designed to house a 10-inch screen, which I found to be very expensive. Most of the materials needed to build the final version of the cabinet meant that I really needed to budget carefully with expensive components.
The third (and final version) was built with a 15-inch display in mind that I got on eBay for 15 pounds. I altered Tobias Pi’s design to accommodate the new display, holes for the servo motors, a new hinged rear panel design with space for a power socket and switch, and the significant increase in size and materials. This design was cut with MDF, and while I spent more on the materials than I would have with a smaller design, the 15 inch display and materials came to a total cost that is less than the suggested retail price of even the 7″ raspberry pi display linked in TobiasPI’s tutorial.
To complete the aesthetic look of the cabinet, I painted the entire cabinet with two coats of grey primer basecoat and two coats of satin black paint. I designed a series of vinyl stickers that I cut and distributed along the exterior of the cabinet to give the impression of motion to the cabinet. I also lasercut a section of clear acrylic to cover a printed sheet of paper with “Shape Arcade” printed on it to be lit up with a series of LEDs.
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