Thursday, November 17, 2016

TableTop Arcade - Cabinet Construction & Cutting

Project Index

    Now that we have all the components selected, and figured out, its on to the actual construction of the cabinet unit.  We already discussed the type and size of wood panels that will be used here, so lets start cutting! Fist we need to utilize our template for the sides of the cabinet.

    I was able to get both sides to easily fit on a 4ft x 2ft MDF panel.  Quick note, my first template was too small.  Had to reprint it out and do the lines again. Luckily I caught this before cutting began.

    The straight edges that aren't already on the sides were easy enough to cut using a circular saw. The curve was a bit more tricky and required the jigsaw.  I actually made an makeshift bandsaw with my jigsaw attached to a piece of plywood. I felt there was a bit more control involved this way. Either way you decide to do yours, just go slow and you will have good cuts to work with.

    Here are the 2 side panels. Turned out well, but they weren't exactly the same around the curve, so had to bust out the wood file to make them match.

    Using a few clamps I lined up the back and bottom of the panels and used my file to get the two curves as close as possible. You can see in the picture below how much they were off after the initial cutting took place.

    Here is what it looked like after filing, nice and even. After prepping the side panels and evening things out, I also rounded the edges just a tad to make it easier to apply T-molding and to cut back on chipping that is common when using MDF.

    In order to apply T-Molding to these panels, I had to use a 9/16in slot cutting bit on my router.  It was pretty easy, but as always when using a router, things got messy really quick.  Prepare for a lot of saw dust.  Below you can see the nice channel created for the T-molding.

    Now that the side panels are ready to go, it is time to cut out the remainder of the cabinet parts. Although I used 3/4in MDF for the side panels, I went with 1/2in and 1/4in for the rest of the parts to cut down on the weight.  Below you can see the marking on the other 2 panels I had for this purpose. On the left is the 1/2in for the back and monitor panel, on the right the 1/4in for the rest of the cabinet.

    Now that we have the pieces all cut out, its time to drill some holes for the buttons. I laid everything out using a template in Photoshop, and printed it out to make sure everything was lined up correctly. 

    After using the template I measured the center-point of all of the holes, and began the process of drilling them out using a Forster bit. Make sure you have a piece of scrap wood underneath when drilling so you don't tear out the back of the holes. 

    If you look at the templates I posted on the other page, you will notice that some of the pieces have angled cuts.  I was able to adjust the table saw to help with these cuts. You can probably get away with not having angled cuts, but it will make things fit together with smaller seams. 

    After my holes have been drilled in the wood, I used the same template to make markings on the acrylic panel to cover the surface of the controller board. Using my "bandsaw" again, I cut the various pieces of acrylic using a blade made for plexiglass. The acrylic will cover the 
    any part of the arcade that has buttons, as well as the marquee at the top where the light will shine through. 

    After cutting out the acrylic, I wanted to check my measurements one more time before I started drilling again. Using the controller board as my guide, I lined everything up, and checked all of the center-points. After making a few slight adjustments, took the acrylic to the drill press. 

    Using a drill-press is recommended due to the larger diameter of these holes, and ensures a nice, clean hole for your buttons. One word of advise... go slow.  I found out the hard way that if you try and go too fast, its easy to crack the acrylic while drilling. 

    With the acrylic done, have just a few more cuts to go.  First up, need to cut out the opening for the LCD display.  As mentioned before, I measure too small at first, but it was an easy fix.  In addition to the screen panel, I cut an opening in the back panel that will be used later on as an access panel. 

    The last bit of "woodworking" is for the speaker grill. This piece sits directly below the marquee, and the USB speakers I will be using will be mounted on top of this part.  I considered using some kind of metal "mesh" as the grill, but in the end decided to just use a small Forster bit to make my own speaker grill from the existing MDF panel. 

    Took a while to get the measurements marked and all those little holes drilled out, but the end result turned out looking pretty nice.

    Here is a shot of all the cut out parts together.  I did mess up on the monitor panel as I cut the "screen" opening too small.  Luckily going larger isn't an issue, but it looks smaller than it should in the picture below.

    Next up, assembly and painting!

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