How to build a DIY mini arcade cabinet of your own

DIY mini arcade cabinet is an amazing space invader game which is preferred mostly by children. This cabinet is about 7 inches tall which contains a small joystick and some buttons and it looks like a full sized game which was miniaturized into small on the spot. If you are intending to create a DIY mini arcade cabinet of your own, you will need MDF board and soldering skills. A magnetic closure is provided on the back side for the easy access to the charger and components. Turn it to on and keep ready your index fingers. This article will provide you some guide lines and instructions which help you to create your own DIY mini arcade cabinet.

mini arcade cabinet
mini arcade cabinet

The project: DIY mini arcade

Difficulty level: Moderate

Time required: Depending on the performer’s skill

Estimated cost: 320 euro

Resource required:

1. Cabinet with the size of 20 x 40 x 23cm

2. Screen with size of about 5 inches

3. Dingoo: A320 at 420Mhz

4. MDF Board

5. Soldering skills


A step by step manner to create a DIY mini arcade cabinet of your own is listed below.

1. Proper planning

If you are indenting to create a mini arcade, the first and foremost thing is to plan it properly and sketch the plan on a plain paper. Once the planning is made in an appropriate manner, the rest of work will be smooth and easy to complete. After sketching, you must make a version in Google in order to know about the parts that you will need for the project. The following are some of the requirements to build a card board model cabinet.

a) Voltage transformers which should be set to 7,5V in order to power the screen.

b) Heat shrink tubes

c) 24pin D-SUB female connector

d) 24 pin D-SUB male connector

e) Power switch

f) LED stripe to light the marquee 12V

g) 2,5mm DC jack

h) PS one LCD screen which is available at very cheap rate

i) Large number of magnets

j) Screws

k) 15mm – 30mm adjustable drill

l) A mini USB to USB cable

m) Hinges in order to attach the dingoos to the cabinet

n) Tin solder

o) Wires that comes along with the joystick

p) Flex wires

q) 6 seimitsu push buttons which is about 26mm diameter

r) VGA Ram cooler in order to put over the dingoo’s CPU

s) Water resistant inkjet sticker paper

t) Paint

u) A few banana plugs for easier button assembly

v) Acrylic glass for the marquee and screen

Finally, an A320 cabinet was formed. You can save money if you have a dingoo, joystick and an arcade stick already.

2. D-SUB to dingoo

After creating the cab, check the PS one screen and attach the composite jack to it which helps you to use the bundled TV out cable. After that, assign pin for the D SUB connectors. They include:

a) Ground- black

b) Yellow D Pad left and orange D Pad right

c) Green -D Pad down

d) A – white

e) B- purple

f) Y- pink

g) X- blue

h) Start- gray

i) Reset- yellow or black

j) Select- brown

k) Power- yellow or red

l) Shoulder right- pink or black

m) Shoulder left- red or black

n) +V- red or green

At front side, you can see fine solder parts except for A, B, X or Y. The wires are fixed on the board with glue. There is not much space on the back side between the RAM chip and the solder point. You should attach an USB extension cord to the TV out connector. For this, VGA cooler is perfect on the CPU. Finally, attach the banana plugs directly to the buttons and thus you will complete the cabinet’s first version.

3. No need of carpenter

If you are planned to create a mini arcade cabinet, there is no need of a carpenter. You can easily work on wood making without any difficulty. The bottom door of this cabinet is made from cigar box and at backside mill into the acrylic glass which is kept in place by grooves. Start groundling and then paint it. Apply almost 3 coats of white paint on side of the cab and black for the remaining.

4. Assembly

Once the cab is dried completely, the next is to put up together. While assembling, always start from bottom to top controls. The next step is to close the cab and finally test the machine whether it works properly or not.

5. Decorations

The last step is to decorate the entire machine in order to make attractive in nature. Buy some inkjet sticker paper and print the art work. Let it dry at least for some hours and coat it with clear varnish. The varnish helps the stickers that you had made to more resistant and also pushes the colors which make it more pretty.

Finally, a mini arcade cabinet is ready by following all the above steps.

Frequently asked questions:

1. Is card board model is good for creating a cab?

A. Of course, it is an excellent choice to dry the final shapes on the wood.

2. How decorations can be made over the cabinet:

A. Firstly, paint the sides of the cabinet with white and the remaining with black color. Apply it up to 2-3 coats. After that, Print some art work on an inkjet sticker paper and dry it for at least a few hours. Apply a few coat of clear varnish in order to make your stickers more resistant.

Quick tips

1. Proper planning is essential for better result

2. Try to create cardboard model cabinet as it can dry the final shapes of the wood.

3. You can save money, if you have joystick and dingoo already.

Things to watch out for

1 Avoid using red color for D-Pad up.

2. Use VGA cooler as it is fits perfectly on the CPU.

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