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Monday, August 20, 2012

My DIY Arcade Machine Coffee Table

My DIY Arcade Table Coffee Table running MAME.

So it's been a just over a month since I finished my Arcade Table Coffee Table, so thought I'd post some progress pics of the personal project I've been wanting to do for years.

Being a stay at home dad working from home looking after 2 cheeky monkeys (my 2 gorgeous girls), I find it hard to do any serious gaming, so always loved old skool arcade games for the quick 'jump in/jump out' gaming. So wanted to build a MAME cabinet, but have no room nor have approval from the wifey to embark on the project, so it just sat there in the back of my mind.

Then I saw this...

Double7 Arcade Table by Surface Tension

It is the Double7 Arcade Table by Surface Tension, and I thought it was a really nice design and even wifey thought it looked great, so the plan was hatched to build something similar as a DIY project as I didn't think it was worth the £2,799.00 GBP sticker shock price tag for it. Not being a woodworking expert, I spent a month just researching what I had to do, and then also had an idea to use stuff sourced from IKEA to hack something together, but it never went beyond a few conceptual sketches and links to items on IKEA.

Then about 6 weeks ago, IKEA was having a sale before the end of financial year and saw a BESTÅ Bench on sale for $25 down from $95 so thought what the heck, if I mess it up, it's only $25... Then saw these INREDA drawers on sale for $5 each!

So started the process over a couple of weeks to bring my plan into fruition.

Update: Wow, found out this is featured on IKEA Hackers! Thanks Jules! :)

Update 2: Also got Lifehacker'ed... :)

Progress pics as follows:

IKEA parts ready for hacking!

Assembled BESTÅ Bench and drawer rails test fitted

Test fitting drawers the 'intended' way according to the IKEA instructions

Test fitting drawers flipped around, to provide clearance at rear for internal parts

Eye balling donor LCD monitor for location

Measuring out where the LCD monitor would be

Little know fact: These BESTÅ Benches have a hollow paper honeycomb structure, so all that is required for cutting a hole in the top is a craft knife!

Cutting the underside to match

One hole large enough to fit an LCD monitor... Check!

Using the off cuts from the top panel to build a frame for the hole for the LCD monitor

Framed hole in table

Test fitting LCD monitor, note it's different from the donor one above. Wifey mentioned she needed an LCD monitor so I bought a thinner LED monitor, at a really good price. 

Not quite flush with top of table, so will need to cut the middle supporting beam to lower the monitor.

Area marked out for cutting, and true to the adage 'Measure twice, cut once' I did mess up the measuring numerous times but thankfully double and triple checking helped.

Middle support beam cut ready for monitor to be fitted

1 UP button

Stick of Joy!

The controls will be mounted on a hinged panel at the top of the drawers, so that the joystick can be dropped down to give enough clearance to close the drawers, hiding the controls when the arcade table is pretending to be a coffee table. :)

Looks about right, but really hope I did my calculations right... O_o

1 mm clearance... phew!

Controls when drawer is extended, holes are marked out for where the arcade buttons are going to be

Controls in their final layout, should be flexible enough for most games

Underside of the controls, wired up to the keyboard encoder which just shows up as a USB joystick device in Windows

Testing out the controls hooked up to the donor laptop

Ms 7 helping me beta test the incomplete setup... :)

2nd drawer of controls completed!

It's alive! And running Windows 8 Consumer Preview... *shudders* #AppleFanBoi :)

Arcade table closed up, just needs some final spit and polish and the glass table top

Arcade control drawers extended

Wiring mostly secured and tied down, frame for hole at the top of the table painted and glued on. Sticky tape to hold it in place while it dries.

Sticky tape removed, almost ready for monitor to be mounted and glass table top

Monitor mounted with glass table top on. Added some 2.1 speakers with speakers sitting on top (might mount these to the underside of the table. Sub woofer is mounted internally on the left, just clearing the drawers on the left. Bubble Bobble is the game shown.

Another shot, this time Raiden! :)

Pac Man! Waka waka waka waka! :)

Money shot... this makes the wife happy as it just sits there looking like a coffee table, waiting for the times that I get bored and fire it up for some quick old skool gaming... :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our Girls' Build-A-Bear Workshop™ Experience!

Build-A-Bear Workshop™

Whilst we are on our recent trip to Singapore, our eldest daughter saw a Build-A-Bear Workshop™ at a local shopping mall close to where we are staying, and reminded us that we told her last year at a local Australian mall that if she was a good girl she could do one this year...

So as a treat we decided to let her and her little sister make a bear each and here is their fun and exciting experience! :)

Step 1: Choose Me!

Choose Me!

Girls get to choose a bear skin to stuff. Eldest chose a white bear, youngest one got a light brown bear chosen by wifey cos she couldn't decide... :)

Step 2: Hear Me!

Optional extra #1: You can put in a little widget to press and it'll say something or play music. There were about 20 to choose from and eldest chose the phrase "I Love You!". We veto'ed any decision from youngest one to put anything in as it'll just go off in her sleep and wake her and everyone else up... :)

Step 3: Stuff Me!

Stuff Me!

Eldest all excited from helping step on a switch to turn stuffing machine on, whilst bear making specialist ensures bear is well stuffed. Bears can be stuffed to different huggable factor, from soft to hard. Eldest chose a soft huggable factor... as did the youngest.

Youngest one's bear is being stuffed in the video... stuffing is inserted via a rather large needle through a slit in the bears back, and girls were reassured that the bears are not harmed in the process and feel no pain...

After the bears were stuffed, the girls got to choose a special heart for their bears and give it special kisses and rubs, and make special wishes that their bears will have a happy and cheerful life. Much like what we all want for our kids eh?

Then the girls put the special heart into the slit in the bear's back, then decide on if they are going to be a girl or boy bear. Both girls decided that their bears are going to be girl bears.

Then the bear making specialist go perform some awesome surgical suturing to stitch the bears up.

Step 4: Fluff Me!

Fluff Me!

Once the bears have had their stitches done, it was off to give them their first 'bath'. It was more like showing the girls how to look after their bears by brushing and fluffing their fur, so it was off to the fluffing station to show the girls how to give the bears a 'bath'.

Step 5: Dress Me!

Dress Me!

Next step was for the girls to choose an outfit for their bears, and believe me there was a huge range of clothing, shoes, hats and accessories... Check out the range that was there, much larger range than most human boutiques... :)

Strangely enough, neither of the girls wanted my choice of outfit for their bears. :) A Darth Vader bear would have been awesome!

After the outfit was selected, it was off to dress our bears!

Bear's all dressed!

Step 6: Name Me!

Name Me!

Next step was for the girls to name their bears. Eldest daughter chose 'Emily' as the name for her bear, and youngest chose 'Bear'... :) So we got the eldest to help pick a nice name for her younger sister and she chose 'Sophie'.

And finally to make it official, the bears get their birth certificate!
Bears all dressed and ready to go home!
Youngest daughter's bear 'Sophie' on left, and eldest daughter's bear 'Emily' on right!

Step 7: Take Me Home!

Take Me Home!

Eldest daughter all smiles! :)

Likewise with youngest daughter! :)

Bears that Daddy wanted to make but wasn't available at the time:

Captain American Bear!

Iron Man Bear!

Hulk Bear!