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Design &

I have had the idea for a control panel with build in computer for quite some time. I really need something that fit's my living room or I can take with me to family and friends. I got the idea to include wireless controllers from Xbox 360 to expand the use to all the classic consoles too, making it a versatile machine.

While you can always argument that external arcade controls could be more practical in some situations, I find the design much more striking this way and the Xbox 360 controllers still provide the wireless action. This is sort of a living room altar or statement to retro gaming.

The is a complete platform for mini-itx, harddisk, arcade controls and cooling solution. This makes it perfect to incorporate in a MAME cabinet too, you only need to plug in monitor and speakers.

I would like to thank for sponsoring some of the parts for this project. I can definitely recommend for their great support and great products. Now go buy some pushbuttons and joysticks:



I wanted the cabinet to fit a mini-itx board perfectly including standard motherboard standoffs and the standard IO-shield you get with the motherboard. I really had to study several form-factor specifications to make it just perfect. The whole design would be a disaster if it didn't fit the mini-itx standard.

Another requirement from my side was that the hard disk and fan could be mounted with just standard screws and that the underside of the cabinet would be totally flush with no screw heads sticking out. I think I accomplished this in the simplest way possible, making the design as easy to put together and inexpensive as possible.

The hole on the left is for the 12 volt plug and the hole on the right side



Another important requirement I made, was that it needed a very effective cooling system, so that even the most powerful mini-itx can be used with the system, even Intel i3, i5 and i7 cpu's.

The solution was to place the air intake directly above the CPU area on the motherboard and place a 60mm fan in front of the hard disk mount to suck out the heated air.

I really believe this design to be very effective, always providing only cool air directly to the CPU/GPU/APU/Chipset.

I received the laser cut parts after a week or so, and I must say I was more than pleased with the result.

The air intake looks just as good as I hoped for and as you can see, I really tried hard to fit this design onto a single board.

This is how it looks when you open the box.


This is how it looks when you remove all the excess material. Only a small handful of excess material is removed. I always save these to make reinforcements or other things. You just never know if you are going to need it later.

Well - With a new born daughter, it's pretty hard to find the time for assembling the cabinet, so I have to do this in the late hours. This also means that the pictures will be a little fuzzy due to the lack of natural light.

Once more I use my trustworthy kitchen table and wall, knowing this has an exact 90 degree angle.

Same procedure on the other side. This is quite easy.

I recommend using Acrifix 116 solvent from Evonik (Europe) or Weld-on #16 (US). These similar products have some gap filling properties and this makes them perfect for laser cut materials with angled edges.



This is the critical part. You really have to make sure the back panel is turned the right way around, or the whole project is wasted :)

I guess we found out when mounting the mini-itx motherboard later.

I love the part where the control panel is mounted. This makes all the difference. What you don't see here is that I use a lot of tape to make sure everything is in place while the solvent makes the initial bond. Usually I just forget to take pictures of it, before ripping if off again. I recommend using office tape, the kind that can be removed again. Some call it magic tape.


I forgod to take a picture of the small panel in the front, so we jump directly to mounting the screw hole mouldings for installing the bottom panel. The mouldings is placed 10 mm from the edge. You see why on next picture.
The bottom panel has holes for standard brass motherboard standoffs. I recommend using some glue or epoxy before screwing them in, just to make sure they stay there.

You can also see the clever system for hiding the screw heads and mounting the 2.5" hard disk with hidden screw heads. Under each hole there is a bigger hole with room for the screw heads.

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If you decide to make your own MAME cabinet using my drawings, please feel free to make a donation,  as I'm trying to raise enough money to make a new up-right cabinet, that's hard to do as a student.




[ Copyright koenigs 2008 ]