This page is where I will post all project info on my EmuPie Mini Arcade Cabinet. I completed the first version in January of this year and did not plan to make a second… but it is going to happen eventually here I have a few improvements and features that I want to add. I will use this page to talk about the cabinet from design to assembly and all sorts of random things so I hope you will enjoy.
For starters, I love video games. When the N64 came out in the 90’s my parents picked one up for me and after playing Super Mario 64 I have not been able to put down a controller or keyboard since. I did a lot of collecting over the past 7 years or so of retro games from local flea markets and on Craigslist but due to limited space and bills ended up letting a lot of them go (I will one day have a collection again).
Growing up I used to play arcade games a fair amount to at local pizza places with my all time favorite game being The Simpsons arcade game which was a kick ass beat em up that took far more quarters than I am proud to admit. It has always been my dream to have a full size mame cabinet in my house but again due to limited space this has not been able to become a reality yet. Then there is 3d printing, a fascinating technology that I have grown to love over the past 4 years of usage. I had the idea years ago to make a miniature version of an arcade cabinet and finally over the past few months I was able to take my dream and turn it into a playable reality.
The hardest part of this for me was design. I have had my share of 3d modeling experience using Fusion 360 but for the most part it has been relatively simple and small single piece designs. Not to say that the arcade model was necessarily complicated but there where new challenges in figuring out how to design it, how to make everything fit, and also how I would connect the separate pieces together. The goal was to make it printable on standard 200mm build areas so that many others with 3d printers would be able to make the arcade. I also had to remember that 3d printing does have its limitations and although you can of course use supports, they can make a model messy if your parameters are not perfect.
The first thing I did was gather the parts. I knew I was going to use a Raspberry Pi 3 because I had one already and wanted the ability to have wifi and bluetooth built in made it a must. Luckily I was able to get Banggood to sponsor some of the project and they supplied me with both a usb joystick arcade setup and with a very nice 7″ LCD screen. The only other things I really needed was a good psu for the pi, along with an Adafruit speaker bonnet and of course some small speakers that I found on Amazon.
Once I had acquired all of the parts I would need for the project I set out to measure everything with my digital calipers. This was probably the more tedious part of the build but an extremely important step to make sure that I would have enough space inside of the cabinet to fit all of the electronics and cables. Along with correct tolerances for mounting the buttons into their sockets. I ended up printing just a flat piece of plastic with holes in it to make sure the tolerances where correct and after that I continued forward.
I drew a rough sketch of what I wanted the cabinet to look like before starting but alot of the design was done on the fly. Originally, I had planned on measuring all of the board mount holes for the Pi, Lcd screen, and joystick to be able to mount them in place with screws but to keep things easier I decided to just allow enough space to mount them in with double sided adhesive which worked very well. To connect the four main body parts together I created notches with 3mm holes in between all of the parts so that I could insert 3mm screws and nuts into the parts and connect them. I ended up not using any nuts because the tolerances where so tight that I was able to just use the screws and they held the parts together much better than expected.
I printed the arcade cabinet at 100 percent infill which may have been overkill but the walls are fairly thin and I wanted to ensure that they would not flex or bow. When I originally printed the first part I did 20 percent infill and with the speed I was going at it was not nearly strong enough. (You may be able to get away with 50 – 80 percent). The prints where printed over the course of 2-3 days although I would say if you print one right after another you can do it in 1-2 again depending on speeds and such.
One thing I wish I had not done was painted the machine or at least I wish I had printed it in black or a color that would have been easier to paint. I printed the arcade in bright green and planned to paint it a dark grey but even with multiple coats the bright screen can be seen on some of the edges and where the pieces connect. I also had issues with some of the supports on the mid screen assemble I could not get them off and there is indeed a pattern of supports still on the unit.
Setting up the electronics was pretty plug and play minus the speaker bonnet which did require soldering of the gpio pin attachment. Was very easy compared to some of the video game modchip soldering I did on the Xbox 360 but be warned if you do not know how to solder, it can be done but will require a little patience and a steady hand. I mounted almost everything with double sided adhesive but the screen I mounted with epoxy… (never again) Some of the epoxy began to seep onto the actual LCD screen and luckily I was able to remove most of it but there is still a bit in the corner (not noticeable when using). Next time I will just use double sided adhesive to mount the screen it is not to heavy and the adhesive is crazy strong.
I uploaded the build to thingiverse which can be found here:
Link also has the bill of materials
So what are the current plans for the second version?
Here is what I want so far:
-USB port I one or maybe two free USB ports on the pi I plan on adding USB extenders and having them mount to the side of the cabinet that way you can use a usb controller to plug into the arcade. (Mostly for an Xbox 360 controller or an N64 USB controller.)
-Adjustable feet, my arcade has some wobble to it from when I attached the front and back pieces together I want to print some feet that will be able to screw into the four corner and can be twisted to raise and lower for any potential wobble. (I plan on using something flexible like tpu or ninjaflex for this but any material should work)
-Angle the button and joystick towards the player, this will look nice along with get the joystick a little more out of the users way. It is fine now but I think it will be a nice addon.
-Print optimization I want to make the back of the arcade smaller. There is a lot of room inside and I think I can cut back on print time and plastic by shrinking it down a bit
What do you guys think? If you have any other features you would like to see or questions let me know below!