At this point we’ve seen a good number of desktop-sized arcade cabinets, and while they’ve naturally all been impressive in their own ways, they do tend to follow a pretty familiar formula. Cut the side panels out of MDF (or just buy a frame kit), stick a Raspberry Pi and an old LCD monitor in there, and then figure out how to control the thing. Maybe a couple strategically placed stickers and blinking LEDs to add a few extra horsepower, but nothing too surprising.
[Andy Riley] had seen plenty of builds like that, and he wasn’t having any of it. With the heart of an old laptop and bones made of IKEA cutting boards, his build is proof positive that there’s always more than one way to approach a problem that most would consider “solved” already. From the start, he set out to design and build a miniature arcade cabinet that didn’t look and feel like all the other ones he’d seen floating around online, and we think you’ll agree he delivered in a big way.
Powering the arcade with an old laptop is really a brilliant idea, especially since you can pick up older models for a song now that they’re considered nearly disposable by many users. As long as it doesn’t have a cracked display, you’ll get a nice sized LCD panel and potentially a rather powerful computer to drive it. Certainly the graphical capabilities of even the crustiest of used laptops will run circles around the Raspberry Pi, and of course it opens the possibility of playing contemporary PC games. As [Andy] shows in his detailed write-up, using a laptop does take more custom work than settling for the Pi, but we think the advantages make a compelling case for putting in the effort.
Of course, that’s only half the equation. Arguably the most impressive aspect of this build is the cabinet itself, which is made out of a couple IKEA bamboo cutting boards. [Andy] used his not inconsiderable woodworking skills, in addition to some pretty serious power tools, to turn the affordable kitchen accessories into a furniture-grade piece that really stands out from the norm. Even if you aren’t normally too keen on working with dead trees, his step-by-step explanations and pictures are a fascinating look at true craftsman at work.
If you’re more concerned with playing Galaga than the finer points of varnish application, you can always just turbocharge the old iCade and be done with it. But we think there’s something to be said for an arcade cabinet that could legitimately pass as a family heirloom.
11 thoughts on “Gorgeous Bartop Arcade Build Is A Cut Above”
Bamboo is a sustainable grass so no trees were harmed.
+1, good call.
I like the fact that it’s renewable material! But the shape of the cabinet doesn’t stand out as anything special, I wouldn’t exactly call it gorgeous…
Uh. . . wood is renewable, too.
hey I like my hacked up icade
I boxed it all in to look like a frogger cab and its running lakka with a netbook strapped in the back
Yeah the icade cabinets are on the cheap now and the perfect size for these easy diy arcade projects. I made a gameboy themed one with working power led next to the screen and rgb buttons the light up correspondingly to the selected console rom that is loaded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2ZfkCZJzQg
Damn, that is nice.
Gorgeous? Yeah, ok….
Shame that it’s using a hacked-up, ancient version of MAME that has none of the tons of accuracy improvements that have gone in over the past 15 years.
ok, show me how You play on “Tempest” without cilinder potenciometer.
some games need more than button and yoistick
yea like 2
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