Bartop Arcade Honors Aspect with 4:3 iPad Screen

Let’s face it, we all love arcades, but not all of us can fit a full size stand-up in our homes. [Bentika] knew the solution was a bartop style cabinet, but it had to be designed and built to his specifications. You see, [bentika] is an aspect ratio nerd. Only a proper 4:3 screen would do for emulating games designed for just such a display. Modern 4:3 displays are hard to come by, unless of course you have an iPad handy. The 1024 x 768 screens used on the early model iPads are perfect for the task.

Driving these screens used to be a chore, but thanks to hacker reverse engineering and overseas manufacturing, these days, controllers are only a few clicks away. [Bentika] ordered a controller for the iPad 1 screen from eBay. What he got was a controller that only worked with the iPad 2 screen. Thankfully he had a pile of old iPads to play with, so it wasn’t an issue.

[Bentika] designed his cabinet using AutoDesk 123D based upon reddit user [joshendy’s] basic outline. His final cut patters were created with Adobe Illustrator. He was able to get the entire cabinet laser cut for around $160, including materials. Cabinet assembly was easy, thanks to plenty of square gussets used to align the various pieces.

The controller for this arcade is of course a Raspberry Pi 2 running RetroPie. [Bentika] used a control block to interface the joystick and buttons to the Pi itself. RetroPie lends itself to “keyboardless” operation, he didn’t have to bring any of the Pi’s USB ports outside the case.

We have to say the final results are very nice. This system has all the portability of a CRT based bartop setup without the weight. You can check out more discussion of this hack over on [Bentika’s] Reddit thread, or click past the break for the video.

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Radio Receiver or Art? Why not Both?

We’ve heard it said before that you should build things twice. Once to learn how to build it and the second time to build it right. [AA7EE] must agree. He was happy with his homebrew regenerative receiver that he called Sproutie. But he also wanted to build one more and use what he learned to make an even better receiver. The Sproutie Mark II was born.

This isn’t some rip off of an old P-Box kit either. [AA7EE] used a four-device RF stage with FET isolation back to the antenna and a regulated power supply. Plug in coils allow reception on multiple bands ranging from about 3 to 13 MHz. There’s an audio stage with multiple selectable audio filters, and–the best part–a National HRO tuning dial that is a work of art all by itself.

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Pull-out pantry fills space next to refrigerator

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Your refrigerator needs a few inches of space on the hinge side in order for the door to open fully. If there’s a wall on that side it means you leave a gap. A bit of lumber and some inexpensive hardware can turn that gap into a pull-out pantry.

This picture is from [Ratmax00’s] pantry project. He had a 6.5″ gap to work with and started the build by making a wooden frame using pocket screws for the butt joints. Four casters were added to the bottom to make it roll in and out easily. He needed a handle and a way to make sure commodities didn’t fall off the shelves. He chose to use a 3D printer for brackets that hold the fence dowels and a custom handle. If you don’t have that just hit the cabinet hardware aisle at your local home store.

We wonder if it would have been possible to use full-extension draw rails mounted above and below the cabinet in addition to a couple of wheels? This would help keep the pantry from scraping against the fridge or the wall.

While you’re building bookshelf sized things why not get to work on a hidden door as well?

Star Wars themed MAME cabinet is perfect in this basement bar

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Fans of the Star Wars series will immediately recognize these illuminated vertical bars as a piece of the style from the original movie. They decorate the MAME cabinet recently installed in this home bar. You’ve got to admit, it looks amazing. But we’re always on the prowl for the build log and this annotated 46 image set has no shortage of goodies.

The project started off as a very ordinary looking plywood frame. But it takes shape quickly as the rounded-over grills were added to the box. Holes were cut behind them to accept the acrylic that serves as a diffuser and to allow the LEDs to shine through from the inside. There are several shelves which will be used to store additional gaming systems in the future. For now all that’s inside is a pretty beefy computer that runs the emulators, allowing games to be played via the arcade buttons or using wireless Xbox controllers.

Make sure you get all the way to the end of the build images. We were delighted by the custom icons in the arcade buttons. Instead of the common player one and player two images there are silhouettes of Star Wars characters and objects. This attention to detail really makes the build something special!

[Thanks Jason]

A folded horn enclosure to make the most out of a subwoofer

To make the most out of his home theater sound system [Baccula] built this folded horn enclosure for as much bass sound as possible. The design was conceived by [Bill Fitzmaurice] who thought there needed to be a better way to use the subwoofers which are typically used in home systems. His design is called the Tuba HT and it is aimed at a 15″ speaker. [Bill] charges for the building plans, but we don’t mind living vicariously through [Baccula’s] construction album.

As you can see, there are a lot of wood parts that went into the cabinet. It starts with a base of 2×4 framing. From there the plywood sawdust really starts to fly as each component is produced. During assembly [Baccula] is careful to fully glue each joint — you don’t want to find out that your sub cabinet vibrates after you get everything installed. All together the new piece of living room furniture stands three feet tall and deep and two feet wide.

The album has no captions but you can read a bit more about the project in the Reddit comments.

Adding digital game indicators to a Neo Geo arcade cabinet

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[George] is a Neo Geo aficionado, and among his collection of paraphernalia, he has a MVS-Mini game console. His mini “Multi Video System” is a 2-slot model, meaning that it can hold two game cartridges at a time, which are indicated by plastic cards inserted in the cabinet’s face plate. Instead of swapping those cards out each time he changed cartridges, he thought it would be far cooler to install digital displays instead.

He scoured just about every retail store he could before finding a handful of small 5” digital picture frames that looked to fit the bill. After some careful cabinet modifications he had them wired up and ready for display. The frames don’t hold a ton of pictures, but they do support the use of SD cards. [George] says that he’ll likely just buy a ton of small SD cards, swapping them out whenever he changes games, though over time that might become as tedious as swapping out the plastic cards.

We would love to see [George] take his new digital display up a level, so be sure to share your ideas in the comments. Perhaps we can persuade him to automate things a bit.

Mame cabinet springs to life from Ikea furniture

[Jed] built a MAME cabinet into some flat pack furniture (translated). For the housing he chose an Ikea Ramvik side table. This is a perfect piece of furniture for the project for several reasons; it’s cheap, coming in at under $70, it’s a reasonable height to use while sitting on the sofa, it has a built-in drawer that will hide the guts of the system, and it was designed to use a piece of glass as the table surface.

The electronics are pretty straight forward. A notebook computer runs the MAME frontend, with an auxiliary screen which is framed nicely under the glass. Controls are standard coin-op type buttons soldered to the contacts on the PCB from a USB joystick. The brushed aluminum bezel added to the surface of the table keeps the modern finished look that one would want with a showpiece like this one.

We always like to keep our eyes open for hackable items when visiting Ikea. Make sure to check out their As-Is department (preferably as soon as they open) to find hackable furniture on the cheap.