Mame Cocktail Build:

Due to the fact I been selling off all my machines (arcade and Pinball machines more info on that in another article) to pay for other things. I did find a way to convince the wife to make a low cost cocktail table. Well she isn't building it for me (which would be nice) but I am going to attempt to make my first cocktail table. I have dabbled a bit in a few control panels, minor repairs with monitors, replaced buttons, etc but a full build I have not yet had the pleasure. I bought a stack of hand selected wood at the local home depot and Lowes combined. I just never got around to cutting it or even convincing myself I have the correct tools to build a cabinet that will look nice enough or authentic enough to want to use in my gameroom. I own a circular saw, jig saw, cordless power drills, etc but I do not own a Router. Router seems to be a key part of building a lot of the control panel and slot for T-molding.

So with my lack of knowledge and skills with a router lead me to believe I am not ready to build a cabinet from scratch. So my search was on to find a Cocktail Table kit. I first went to but all the main guys seem to show up first and I wanted a cocktail table that I could stain myself. I really wanted it to match my whole "wood" 70's theme I have going in my basement. The basement is where my game room is. Even though I do house one video game in my Family room. The basement is where I wanted this cocktail table rest. I recently bought this house and the basement was already finished the way it looks. At first I was thinking of sheet rocking it and painting it but the 70's wood paneling really is starting to grow on me. Also seeing both my wife and I where born in the 70's and the same year the house was built. It seems fitting to leave the basement the way it it.

I started looking on and dropped in the search box "cocktail arcade". The results came back with a ton of already built, to used, to kits. I found one I really liked because it was bare oak wood. Bingo that was it and I went with that. As you can see from the photo it is a nice kit. Only a few minor flaws. One being the slot for the T Molding is a bit off in certain sections. This is going to make my T Molding a little crooked but It might not be noticable. I won't be sure till i stain my machine and lay in the t-molding. I hoping it will look nice. Second flaw is that I wish I didn't have the guy cut out the sqaure to the monitor because I can not find a 19 inch monitor that would fit that slot. Now I need to make a bracket/brace for my new Standard Sized Asus Monitor. I also had to trim a few edges a little more square but don't let these things discourage anyone. This thing is built like a Tank. I thought I was going to have to assemble it but it came shipped all the way you see it in this photo.

Now seeing I got basicly step 1 out of the way with building the cocktail arcade table part. I concentrated on looking for a coin door to make it look authentic. I first was going to not use a coin door but I was looking around the net and it just looks like a block of wood with out one. So I hopped on the internet again for the best price for a coin door. I saw a dummy coin door on ebay for 36 bucks plus shipping and it was solid metal door and solid metal frame. I went with it and it shipped fast. It was shipped from and I noticed they sell the same item off their website. Great Score as you can see from the photo here that it has a great look to it. I even got an idea from a user at BYOAC forums (huge fan of this site I even own Saint's book a must read/buy) that you can put a leaf micro switch button at the back of the coin return to have it used for coin credits. I am not 100% sure if I will go this route but it is a great option. Here is the link to his build. (can't find it right now but will before I lauch this article)

On with my search for parts for this cocktail arcade build. Now that I have the cabinet and the coin door. I was thinking maybe I would want a control panel. I was toying with the idea of building my own out of wood. But I decided against it after finding these on the internet. I wasn't crazy about the artwork at first glance but in person it isn't so bad against the dark walnut we finally decided on to poly stain the cabinet. The control panel i bought off of ebay and of course forgot the website but I have it at home somewhere. The panels are fabricated out of metal and included the buttons, joystick and artwork. So in my opinion it was a better deal to buy then to build it out of wood. The Control panel only had a fire and a jump button. I was thinking I might have some other games other than Mame on this machine so If i was playing genesis or super nes I would be short a few buttons. Oh well I guess those games will have to go into another cabinet in the future. I did decide to mount two pinball buttons on the sides of this control panel. Other than then 1/2 hour it took to do each panel it was pretty easy to do. I actually used two hole saws. I am going to try my best to explain this with some photos to see if it makes any sence. The holes came out perfect and work really well for what I was trying to accomplish.

I first dissassembled the control panel that came asssembled from ebay vendor. It was glue slightly and screwed. I took the screws out and lightly put pressure on the side panel and snaped he glue bead that was connected to the side panel and the bottom panel. No wood was damage and it came apart a lot easier than I thought it was going to.

I then drilled a pilot hole. The reason i drilled a pilot hole is because I wanted the two holes to meet in the middle and wanted to make sure the pinball button hole lined up and wasn't off to the side. I know I had a ton of room for error but never to safe.

Next I took the larger hole saw I owned and started cutting out the hole for the inside part of the control panel. The reason for this was the push buttons I owned wheren't long enough to make it through 1 1/2 inches think of oak plywood. I only cut halfway through the wood and then flipped the wood and took my smaller hole saw and did the other side. I had to be carefull with the larger hold saw because there where brad nails in there and I had to possition it correctly and around the nails not to hit one and send my drill into a wrist breaking spin or dead stop. (yes I will post both sizes of the hole saw when i know the exact messurements.

So now with the larger hole cut 3/4 of the way through the thickness of two pieces of wood glued and nailed together by the previous builder. I took the smaller hole saw that fit my push button for the pinball button and drilled/cut through till the larger hold snapped perfectly leaving me a nice clean hole on the outside and a bit of a ruff finish on the inside but no one will see that so it is all good.

As you can see from the photo of the finished side that it came out really good and worked out a lot better then planed. I know there was probably a better way to do with with a router or something better but I did what i could do with the tools and knowledge i had/have.

You can see by this photo on the inside panel that a little bit of the wood and the glue married themself together and didn't want to separate. It is ok it is on the inside and no one will see it once assembled.

As you can see you don't notice any the issues with wood and clean cuts on the inside of the wood. Just a nice working and nice looking if I can say so myself button for pinball action. Should actually work pretty good for pinball games. I am not sure If it will have hyper pin on this Cocktail Mame project but it will be ready if i decide to.







Added more photos as of 4-05-2012

arcade power cable grommet


Cocktail arcade vent hole


monitor in place cocktail arcade machine

hinged monitor arcade cocktail table

Mother Board in Cocktail Video game machine mounted

Decased the Dell computer and also dismantled the computer case and re-used the mounting plate for the montherboard in the cocktail cabinet. All i had to do was drill 4 holes in the corners to mount it to the side of the arcade cabinet


cocktail arcade monitor hinge

arcade cocktail hinged monitor closed


I actually recycled the wood from where i cut the coin door out. It isn't perfect but it won't be seen but the wood is oak and really strong so it will work out prefect for what i need to do. Hopefully I will have it finished soon and post photos so it makes this photo make a whole lot more sence

cocktail glass clips

Photo above is a normal viewing angle for game play on the cocktail arcade table.

Photo above is a low view angle

left angle of the monitor

the worse look of the monitor

New update just ordered the following below 5/18/11:




Video Game Rentals Delivered