Arcade Projects >> Arcade Paradise

Cabinet Assembly

Sides. Click for a bigger view.

Once I was happy with the design, it was time for my first trip (of MANY) to Home Depot to pick up the lumber. I bought three 4' x 8' sheets of 3/4" MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) at $12.50 a sheet, and a box of 2 1/2" black drywall screws. Of course, I didn't own a circular saw at the time, so I had no way of even cutting the wood! I was talking with the father-in-law, and he said that he had a spare saw that he would donate to the cause. He drove up a few weeks later (which was an agonizing wait, lemme tell you) so when he came over, we got crackin'. We laid one of the sheets down on sawhorses (I had already traced out the design that I wanted) and used the groovy circular saw to make the cuts. Once the first sheet was cut, I clamped it to the other sheet and used it as a template for the other side. Once the two sides were done, I sanded them down while they were still clamped together to make sure that they were perfectly uniform with each other. I also cut out the necessary pieces for the bottom, the bottom half of the front, and the bottom of the marquee at this time.

Assembly. Click for a bigger view.

With those pieces done, I called on the assistance of my comrade T to help with the assembly of the skeleton. By the way, this picture shows the heavy-duty locking casters that I put on the bottom. That was one of the smartest moves that I made on this thing. I can't imagine what a pain it would have been if I had to drag this thing on the floor every time that I wanted to move it. Plus, it protects the bottom from wear and tear.

Raw.  Click for a bigger view.
Primed.  Click for a bigger view.

Once we got enough of it assembled that it would stand on it's own, I primed it with 2-3 coats of Behr Interior Enamel Undercoater. I only found it available in white, so I had the guy at Home Depot put some black in there just to darken it up a bit.

Here's a picture of the assembled and primed skeleton, and a picture of it with the keyboard door and control panel frame temporarily attached and with the monitor sitting inside of it. It was starting to actually look like an arcade cabinet at this point! Well, sort of...

Shiny.  Click for a bigger view.

After putting on the primer, I then applied 2 -3 coats of Behr Interior/Exterior Hi-Gloss acrylic latex. It only comes as "deep base" (which I'm assuming to just be some kind of "neutral" tone), so I had Home Depot make it into a black paint for me - "lamp black" to be precise. Once that was finally done, I then coated it with three coats of Mixwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Clear Gloss to give it a nice shell. I'm glad that I did this, because it not only gives the cabinet a bit of extra protection, but it also makes the whole cabinet that much more glossy. Here's a good profile picture of the cabinet; you can see how much it glistens in the light from the polyurethane.

[Achtung!]: If you're thinking about using polyurethane, be careful of what kind of polyurethane you get...some of them are made to be applied to bare or stained wood only, and not to painted surfaces. The Mixwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Clear Gloss said "safe for painted surfaces" on the can, and it applied just fine to my cab. Also, make sure that each coat of the primer, paint, and polyurethane is dry before applying any subsequent coats. It took me nearly two weeks just to prime, paint, and coat the cabinet. It too so long because it was literally 20 minutes of work and 24 hours of waiting, but I'm glad that I had the patience to do it right. I'm very pleased with the results.

One thing about my cabinet is that you can see the screws if you look at it just right. I chose not to putty over and sand them. The reason I did it this way is because I assembled the cabinet in the basement, and given its dimensions there is no way that it'll make it up the stairs in one piece. So, on the off chance that I'll ever have to move it out of the basement, I left the screws uncovered so that I always have the option of unscrewing it and taking it apart.

Keyboard drawer.  Click for a bigger view.

I saw a few people that had pull-out keyboards in their cabinets, and I knew that I'd want to do the same. I just bought an ordinary under-the-desk pull-out keyboard tray and mounted it to two 2x4s just underneath the control panel. I'm constantly having to access the keyboard, so I'm really glad that I did this. I used 2 three-hole hinges to attach the bottom part of the front of the drawer in place so that I could swing it down, and I installed two barrel locks to lock it closed when it's not down. Like a lot of the hardware on the cabinet, I also had to spray paint the hinges and locks black.


« back   |   top   |   next »