Thursday, November 29, 2007

T-molding arrived

Got my order from in today - two 20' rolls of Galaxian green. I haven't decided yet if the sides of my cabinet will be painted an identical green or if I'll go a shade or two darker for contrast.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Marquee received

Got all the putty done and the sanding and will be priming tonight. Hoping to get to the painting before Sunday. Also, my marquee arrived today from and it looks great. The cut is perfect, too. I haven't had a chance to test it yet but I want to prime the inside of the cabinet before I mount my LED strip.

Friday, November 16, 2007

2 new items ordered and received

I received two items today for my cabinet:

1. NovaMatrix™ LED Marquee Light - a bunch of super-bright LEDs that will light up the marquee from behind at the top of my cabinet.

2. TurboTwist 2™ Arcade Spinner Control - for games like Arkanoid, Tempest, etc.

That concludes all the items I need for the viewable area of the control panel. I've got my joysticks, buttons, spinner, and trackball. All that's left is the "innards" - control devices for handling the controls and sending the signals to the PC.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Speakers installed and video/sound test

I'm learning that progress, for me, occurs in very small steps. I'm usually only able to do an hour or 2 (3 max) at a time on my cab, but now I can really start seeing the progress.

Today I got the speakers mounted and tested. Since I'm following the book closely, I ordered the Klipsch 2.1 system and the speaker grilles shown in the book. One of the images below shows the speakers mounted to the speaker shelf. Just like the book said, I had to countersink about 1/4" for the 1.5" screws to be able to grab. (I wasn't able to find 1.75" #6 screws like the book suggested.) This allowed the screws to grab and hold the speakers firmly. (And I've got to reverse the way I've mounted the speakers so the speaker cable is closer to the sides of the cab - in my haste, I missed that part.)

The good news is that the 8 screws I removed from the speakers were black and I was able to recycle them and use them to hold the grilles in place. No painting screws.

Finally, I hooked up the speakers and monitor to my laptop and tested the sound and video out. Everything looks awesome... and cranking the volume up to 8 gave me a Pac-Man experience I've never had before I can't wait to try out other games with these speakers.

Up next:

1. I've going to mount the front panel using barrel bolts (4) on the inside. If I remove the control panel, I'll be able to unlatch them and remove the front panel if I like. With the Luminglas mounted on front, I don't want the front panel to be able to open on hinges like a door. Using the barrel bolts will keep it locked in place but accessible anytime.

2. Filling in holes - I've got maybe a dozen or so holes to fill in and sand down before priming and painting.

3. Prime, paint, t-molding...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Today I was able to cut down the speaker panel so it would fit properly above the monitor. I also started on my modification of the front panel. I long ago decided not to go with a coin door. I'm not building this for vintage accuracy and I don't want to rely on tokens (or a cheat button combo) to pay for a game. Instead, I've purchased a 12" diameter Luminglas circle (in green) that will be mounted flush from behind the front panel. A smaller circle (viewed from the front) will allow the viewer to see only the lightning effect and not the approx 1" clear edge around the effect.

There are 2 ways to do this, I've found out. The first is to cut out the inner circle first and then route out the back so the glass fits inside flush. The problem with doing this is once you cut out that inner circle, you've lost your center point to mount the little device that allows your router to cut a circle. The second method is to cut out the larger flush circle (about 3/8" deep into a 3/4" panel) so you keep your center point. The problem with this is that once you clear out the inner circle, there's not much wood left for the device used to cut a circle to rest on and stay flat with the wood. (This probably isn't making sense unless you actually see it).

I went with the second method, figuring I'd find a way to cut deeper into the smaller, outer circle. Long story, short - I did a little tweaking and used a longer pivot point nail, extended the router bit deeper into a second board clamped to the bottom of the front panel and I was able to get a perfect front circle.

Attached are some images... the lightning effect looks great in person. It looks washed out in the picture, but is very bright even in a lit room. I haven't actually mounted it to the rear of the front panel yet so it might look a little off center but I'll fix that.

Up next:

1. Wood putty all the holes on the cab in prep for priming.
2. Mount the speaker shelf using an alternative method from the book (I can't use braces underneath so I'll go above)
3. Mount the front panel
4. Order my marquee
5. Mount LCD light behind marquee area (I've ordered one)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Marquee design

I've got a friend who's wife is a graphic artist and she's helping me to fine-tune my marquee, sideart, and CPO. This isn't the final marquee image, but it's getting there as we make little changes here and there. She took my original concept and greatly improved it - I love her version of the saucer and the "burning" effect applied to the lettering is very original and somethign I would never have thought of...

The biggest change? I've changed the title of the game from "Saucer Invasion in Sector-J" to simply "Saucer Invasion" - sounds more arcade-y anyway. The image here is low-resolution but the hi-res colors look much better.

What am I working on now? Well, I've managed to cut some small wooden pieces to raise my monitor in the front, providing it with a suitable angle for viewing by 2 players. Now that I've got the angle done correctly, I can move forward again. This weekend, I hope to get the following done:

1. Cut the speaker shelf down to size and test out placement of speakers and make certain they don't interfere (magnetically) with the monitor image.

2. Special Effect woodwork for the front panel. I have decided NOT to go with a coin door but have instead found something else I want to try. I'll hopefully have some pictures this weekend of my attempt.

3. If 1 and 2 get done, I plan on starting with some priming and sanding. Painting won't happen this weekend, unfortunately.