Antique MAME cabinet

A MAME cabinet built as fine distressed wood furniture

In 2003 I had a small obsession with MAME. I found several sites that showed various custom and conversion MAME cabinets, and I decided I should try and build one. Fortunately, I know a professional cabinet maker and carpenter, so I enlisted his help to build one of the finest looking MAME cabinets I have ever seen. I purchased plans on the Internet for a cabinet close to what I wanted and then Bryan (a friend and cabinet maker) and I made modifications as we built. I knew from the start that I wanted something made of quality hard woods that would have the look of fine furniture. I had worked with Bryan on a previous project to hand distress wood to look antique, so we used that technique as well. The rest just came about creatively.

We started the project in 2004. The shell of the cabinet is built in the same way you would build kitchen cabinets, using 3/4 inch Cherry veneer plywood. Veneer plywood has a 1/8th inch laminate of quality hardwood sandwiched on thin sheets of other woods. Plywood is extremely strait and stable, perfect for building cabinets. The trim is made from solid Cherry and Alder.

One of the cool things about the design is that the control panel is detachable. This serves two purposes: The panel can be wired up while off the cabinet in a comfortable and viewable position, and additional panels can be built to serve different functions. I have plans on building a four person control panel, but have not done so yet.

The project was 75% complete within about a month. Unfortunately circumstances made completion difficult. I started working on a new company idea and was working and traveling a lot. Later I moved from Tahoe, where we were working on the cabinet, to Menlo Park, in the Bay Area. Bryan finished the trim and stain in 2006 and the cabinet sat in the shop for two and a half years. :(

In the fall of 2008 I finally picked up the cabinet from Bryan's shop and brought it to my new offices in Sunnyvale. Within a few days I had it wired up and functional. Yay! The controls are all stock arcade parts from Happ Controls. The interfaces boards are from Ultimarc. The monitor is a 27" Wells Gardner 9200. The main joysticks are rotary, with a secondary 4 position joystick. A trackball and spinner complete the controls. The original plans came from Ultimate Arcade by Cyber Tech designs.

More complete pictures of the cabinet are here.

If you are looking for custom cabinets or home construction in the Tahoe area look at Bryan runs the cabinet shop...