Salooncab fueling up. Keys are in the ignition.

This is probably my favorite part of the build. It’s far enough along that you can begin to see the fruits of your labor and appreciate seeing your ideas come to life, but it’s not SO close to completion that you see all of your mistakes that make you regret not spending more time on it than you already have. This is the safest state of the build for fragile egos.

Fortunately I know the state of my skills. They ain’t great. But this thing is going to be fun for gaming.

Below is a pretty good view of what the inside looks like before the monitor goes in and the insignia lighting is installed. It probably looks like theres a lot of room, but the control panel is basically hitting the motherboard with the CP is closed. It’s a fire hazard without cleaning up some of the cabling.

Before I began dropping everything into the cab, I spent a good week or two trying to get the white paint job finished the way I wanted it. Ideally, I was looking for a glossy piano white finish. Painting is another area in which I have zero experience and this proved so difficult that I eventually determined that I needed to give up and move on or this project was never going to be completed. I would spray on a coat, sand, spray another coat, sand, etc. I tried “wet-sanding” or in my case just dipping the sandpaper in water and sanding. It seemed to work okay, but in the end there was really only one surface on the cabinet that gave me the finish I wanted. No matter how hard I tried I could not get the rest of the cabinet to have the nice glossy finish. The good news was, most of the “finished” surface area is on the back of the cabinet. Nobody is going to see that unless they’re looking under my hood, in which case I have plenty of other dirty secrets I’m more concerned with. The front is mostly the control panel (acrylic), the screen (acrylic), the marquee (acrylic), the top (which was the area I was able to get mostly glossy looking). The sides are going to be covered with artwork, so I made the decision to give up on the paint and move forward with getting the machine game-worthy.  

Ah, right. The back. Not only is the finish not perfect, but I also REALLY half-assed any measurements when cutting holes for the cable jacks. In fact, if you look at the DB25 jack, I didn’t even plan out how I was going to connect the cable. That thing isn’t even screwed in!

The lock and key was kind of an arcade cabinet staple and had to be there. It did serve a useful purpose though. Since the PSU is basically hanging off the inside of that door, the weight of the PSU wants to swing the door open. So the lock and key actually holds the door closed. Dope.  

The wiring took awhile. A long while. If you only count the MAIN controls, 8 buttons and a joystick, then I had 21 pushbuttons connections and 32 LED connections to wire up, just for player 1. I tried to keep it as neat and compact as possible, but with manual wiring it ends up using a lot of space.  

There was a larger issue with this though. I had purchased the UILA LEDs because they were built to be inserted into the pushbuttons for easy install. I took a gamble though and assumed they would fit into the Sanwa pushbuttons I wanted to use, and unfortunately (and not surprisingly) they did not fit. So I needed some way to utilize these awesome RGB LEDs with these awesome Sanwa pushbuttons.

The solution ended up providing two keys benefits. I used some large heat-shrink tubing as the method of securing the LEDs to the bottom of the buttons. This meant the light was shining through more plastic than was originally intended, but I had no problem with that because these things are BRIGHT. Like carnival bright.

The other benefit of the tubing was that it solved my other problem of preventing light spilling from one button to another. Now when one button was lit, the others weren’t receiving a faint glow from light leak. This did have one major drawback though, and that’s that using heat-shrink tubing means you have to use a heat gun dangerously close to sensitive PCBs.

And yes. I did fry at least one LED PCB. But that’s not bad in the long run.  

The visual result with the clear pushbuttons and opaque white buttons gave me a perfect lit ring around the button. Next, I’ll share the spoils with you visually.