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Reputable MAME Arcade Cabinet Company


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Can anyone recommend a reputable company who builds cabinets for MAME machines? It will be going in my living room almost as a piece of furniture as well as something I'll play on so I want something that looks decent.

 

I've got a budget of about £1500 (maybe a bit more if there's something truly exceptional) and it'll mainly be used for 90s fighters so ideally I'd like to have it configured with Sanwa parts and Astro City layout etc. I'm not massively concerned about the machine inside it because I can always upgrade that myself (I'm thinking PC with HyperSpin...) although it would be handy if it was set up for 4:3, rather than the 16:9 which most seem to be.

 

I've done some brief Googling and I've come across a few companies, which I've listed below:

 

https://www.punchingdragonarcades.com
https://bitcade.co.uk
https://www.customarcademachines.co.uk
https://classicarcademachine.com
https://www.bespoke-arcades.co.uk
https://vivid-arcade.co.uk
https://www.arcadecity.co.uk

 

Does anyone have any recommendations or companies to avoid etc.

 

Cheers!

 

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I've no experience with these companies but "real" arcade cabs are made of laminated chipboard, usually 19mm iirc so they are pretty substantial than thinner MDF. Just worth checking that the ones aimed at domestic use are sturdy enough for your needs.

 

You might struggle with a 4:3 as most domestic machines I've seen use LCD's which obviously come in the wrong format. That said, the real cab I had had a useful feature where I could position the CRT either horizontally or vertically depending on the game. Bit of a faff but maybe worth considering to give you options.

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I've been in talks with a couple of the above companies who both use 18mm MDF. Sturdy enough but frustratingly it's too thick for me to use Sanwa buttons as they're made to clip into the metal frames of candy cabs. I think you're right with 4:3 being a struggle. Even the companies that will do 4:3 are using old Dell TFT screens which would probably have a slower response and worse viewing angle than a modern 16:9 screen.

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There's definitely a gap in the market here.  From my experience, nobody really does it properly.  So you basically have to choose between hunting down a proper machine or accepting a cheap alternative.  I ended up modding an Arcade1up and sticking an RPi 3b in there.  It's been used more than anything else I've ever owned.  My two eldest play it for an hour everyday when we are cooking dinner and I have the odd blast of R-Type etc.  Bloody brilliant (once you accept it for what it is!).  Looks smart too (it's the SF2 edition with riser).

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56 minutes ago, Das said:

I ended up modding an Arcade1up and sticking an RPi 3b in there.

 

Yeah, that's another thing I considered. I don't really like the small size of the 1up machines, though. Even with the riser. Like you say, there's got to be compromises somewhere and I have to decide what I want that to be. How easy/difficult was it to mod? I'm pretty bad with any kind of woodworking/DIY. Plus, I don't really have any space to do any kind of work like that either.

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2 minutes ago, DennyDifferent said:

 

Yeah, that's another thing I considered. I don't really like the small size of the 1up machines, though. Even with the riser. Like you say, there's got to be compromises somewhere and I have to decide what I want that to be. How easy/difficult was it to mod? I'm pretty bad with any kind of woodworking/DIY. Plus, I don't really have any space to do any kind of work like that either.

I followed a guide I found online. It is fairly involved. Not loads woodwork wise though, only drilling two new holes for the 'coin' buttons. Thats the only extra function you have to add. The guide recommended new buttons all round buy I just soldered the existing ones onto the wires of the usb controller directly (so only had to buy two new coin buttons). If you aren't happy with soldering then you can just replace the existing buttons with ones that fit the usb controller by design. The pi itself then needed some programming so that it worked with the existing volume and power switch. Again, followed a guide and it was pretty easy. 

 

Equipment wise it doesn't work out very much. You need a power board, raspberry pi, a few cables, buttons (and joysticks etc if you want to replace the stock ones). Wood bits for drill if you don't have already. I think in total it cost me £250 for the cab and then about £70 on top for the other bits.

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Oh and I managed to get the built in speaker working using the LCD power board too! Saves having to buy new speaker setup and amp etc. It was really fun to do as a project. Took me probably 4 or 5 hours.

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On 16/02/2022 at 23:42, DennyDifferent said:

 

Yeah, that's another thing I considered. I don't really like the small size of the 1up machines, though. Even with the riser. Like you say, there's got to be compromises somewhere and I have to decide what I want that to be. How easy/difficult was it to mod? I'm pretty bad with any kind of woodworking/DIY. Plus, I don't really have any space to do any kind of work like that either.

 

I'd start looking at a load of UK arcade Facebook groups. Plenty of people on there building their own and buying them to order from others, you can usually find a few people who do pretty good work for advice if you get stuck.

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There are a lot of suppliers who I think have happened into manufacturing arcade machines by having access to CNC routers.

 

If you wanted to use sanwa buttons any of these manufacturers should be able to make a control panel with a cut-out for a metal panel, although you would probably have to get the panel itself fabricated by a metalworker.

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1 hour ago, Ninja Doctor said:

Without wanting to be that guy, would a cheap Jamma cab plus a mistercade or jammix be a better option?

 

Admittedly you will have fewer games to choose from though. 

 

One day I'm going to build a nice wooden cabinet which can seamlessly house any 20" PVM in a modular fashion, all wired up with a MiSTerCade.

 

One day I will be that guy. Everybody wants to be that guy.

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1 hour ago, Ninja Doctor said:

Without wanting to be that guy, would a cheap Jamma cab plus a mistercade or jammix be a better option?

 

Admittedly you will have fewer games to choose from though. 

 

There's also this MiSTer to JAMMA solution - https://irkenlabs.com/jamma-expander/introduction

 

I'd take an original cabinet with a CRT over one of these MAME cabinets myself, but honestly, getting a good condition cabinet is a pain and there can be some maintenance overhead too, so I get why there's a market for them. 

 

They're mad expensive though! 

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