Androcade is a controller and stand in one

We remember when retro-gaming required a lot of equipment and a serious time commitment to put together a gaming interface. [Scooter2084] proves that we’ve come a long way with this gaming controller built to complement Android hardware.

It’s not immediately obvious from the image above, but the controller itself looks just like Andy the Android. His head is tilted upward and acts as the tablet stand, while his torso hosts the controls. We don’t the arms and legs have a functional use but they are necessary to complete the look.

Traditionally arcade controls have used a hacked gamepad, or dedicated hardware like the MAME cabinets that use iPac control boards. But this rendition interfaces the joystick and four buttons using an Arduino. A Bluetooth shield lets you control the Android device wirelessly, and opens up the possibility to use this as a controller for laptop-based emulators and the like. Don’t miss the video after the break.

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Cocktail cabinet to be proud of

At a glance you might think it’s the real thing, but if you look closer you’ll see that The Distraction Contraption is an extremely well-executed cocktail cabinet recreation that hosts a MAME setup. [Sam Freeman] took pictures of the entire build process and has posted them, along with captions, as a Flickr collection.

The project started after some inspiration from this diminutive cocktail cabinet. He wanted his own version that was closer in scale to the coin-op versions that would have been found in bars a few decades ago. He designed the case to fit a 17″ LCD screen using Google Sketchup. From there, he cut out the parts and routed the edges. The controls feature buttons and joysticks, as you’d expect, but that red cap on the end works as a spinner. He tried out a few different ideas for this auxiliary control. He found that using LEGO gears to map the spinner’s motion to the axle of a mouse worked best. To give the plastic knob a better feel he loaded it with pennies to increase the mass, bringing momentum into play. The final look was achieved using wood-grain contact paper, and custom printed skins.

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.

Mini arcade cabinet looks as good as the real thing

mame_cab

[Ed] had a netbook he no longer needed and decided to make it into a mini MAME cabinet for some of his family members. MAME cabinets are pretty plentiful, but this one was so nicely done, we wanted to share it.

He removed the monitor from an EeePC 901 in order to get some precise measurements, then went about crafting a mini cabinet from MDF. The whole thing was wrapped in sticky label paper adorned with old-school Galaga graphics, then covered in plexiglass for a nice sleek look that also protects the artwork.

He used an iPac 2 controller board to wire up all of the buttons and joystick to the netbook, opting to solder the controller’s wires directly to the USB header on the eeePC’s motherboard. A power switch was added up on top for easy operation, and the cabinet was sealed shut, though the back does open easily in the event that maintenance is required. The system is managed using the Maximus Arcade front end for MAME, which [Ed] claims is incredibly easy.

If you are interested in making your own MAME cabinet, check out some of the other MAME-based projects we have featured in the past, and don’t miss the video below of [Ed's] cabinet in action.

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Shiny acrylic MAME box

This nice table-top MAME arcade features a two-toned acrylic case. [Fabricio] spent about 50-60 hours designing the 29 parts that make up the enclosure. Originally the sides were meant to be orange but one design flaw meant he had to have them recut and only had enough black stock for the job. But we like it this way. The screen is just over ten inches and inside you’ll find a mini-ITX motherboard with a gig of ram and a solid state drive. The seven page build log features some bending, glue, screwing, and wiring that really show off the depth of the project.

This results a very modern look but if you like your retro gaming to appear vintage we recommend this cocktail cabinet.

Touch screen jukebox

We went “live” with our forums less than 24 hours ago and we already have our first project ready for the front page.  [Elementix] has shown us his touch screen jukebox build. Using an assortment of car audio speakers and amplifiers hooked up to an old Pentium 4 PC with 120 Gigs of storage, he put together the base cabinet. The touchscreen is an ebay find and he built a custom enclosure for that part. For the interface, he started with “Jukebox Arcade”, a jukebox front end for mame cabinets but found he could easily manipulate the layout since it used an xml file for the settings. After some trial and error, and a little work with the gimp, he got it looking the way he wanted. If you haven’t been there already, you should really check out our new forums.

Hackaday links: August 1, 2010

PCB Group Orders

[Phil] wrote in to let us know about the DorkbotPDX group orders. The site makes group PCB orders until a cutoff date or the panel is full. You get three copies of your design with no setup fee for just $5/square inch including domestic postage. Not a bad price. We aren’t affiliated with them, but we’re always looking for board production options for hobbyists. BatchPCB is another popular one, and if you need help getting your design ready we’ve got your covered.

Aspire One MAME cabinet

[Tim] built a MAME cabinet using foam board and some USB peripherals. Inside you’ll find an Acer Aspire One netbook. This build is quick, cheap, and if you get tired of it you won’t feel you’re stuck with it in the way owners of other MAME cabinet builds might.

Embedded Cake

If you are an embedded programmer who happens to be marrying another embedded programmer take note. This wedding cake is perfect for you; decorated with character LCD screens, solderless breadboards, and development boards along with the wires that connect them all together. [Francirius], a read from Chile, says this cake was the handy work of [Paulina Verdejo].