Thursday, May 28, 2009

Control panel assembly

Putting the control panel together, everything except the I-PAC and wiring for now. I had to drill the 8 bolt holes in the plexi overlay a little bigger, to 5 mm. So I could fit and sink the bolts I have purchased at (Arcadeshop in France, Europe). Never drilled plexi before and it is said to break pretty fast, but it worked out fine. Left the protective layer on the plexi when drilling. And drilled slowly with several different drill bits (increasing in size) till I reached the needed 5 mm.

Next up, aligning the paper Donkey Kong instruction sheet underneath the plexiglass. Screwing the bolts tight so the paper sheet can't go anywhere. Sticking the buttons through the holes and mount the joystick. The buttons aren't leaf-switches like the original, just Happs Competition pushbuttons with micro-switches. I might change from micro-switches to leaf-switches sometime after reading a bit about them :) They seem more responsive and quieter. And after all, are more authentic ofcourse.

The joystick I am using is no original either. It's my fourth (!) set of sticks I have bought and tried since I decided to built this cab. But it is the best, a Sanwa JLF. For mounting the joystick, is just used screws, not bolts all the way through like the original panels. But this seems strong enough.

Then cutting the T-molding to size and push it in the slot. It looks really tight all together! The red of the control panel, black paint and white T-molding really compliment eachother very well.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's been over a year!

Sorry for the sabbatical people! What can I say, "I've been busy?" :)
But I did change some things about the cab over the last year.

Ditched the monitor and replaced it with a European RGB Scart-TV. Made myself a nice VGA-to-Scart cable to connect the Arcade-VGA card with the TV. This way you get true 15 kHz, low resolutions and scanlines, just like an original arcade monitor! Note that this is probably the best and cheapest method for us Europeans to get an arcade-perfect image. Arcade monitors are not that common (nor cheap) over here, but scart-TV's are. And the result is the same.

Next to a new screen, I also changed the way the screen is attached in the cabinet. Torn out the old platform and made a new one, more like the original Nintendo cabinet. Much better this way!
And because the wooden monitor frame is square, I can rotate the screen in a few minutes so it's horizontal. Easy!

And as you can see, the cabinet is coated with primer and black parts are allready finished.

--- 2009 ---

Today when I was bored together with my brother, we decided to do some work on the control panel. It's been months since I last worked on the cabinet.

Started on the control panel. I've got rid of the idea of building a custom 2-player layout with 6 buttons some time ago. Since I got the Astro City, I don't especially need this Nintendo cab to be about 2-players and all that. So, original look is the way to go. Ordered a Donkey Kong control panel overlay which I am using now. Today we drilled the button and joystick holes, cutted the T-mold slot and applied first coat of primer.

We also attached the clamps to the cabinet which fastens the CP in place. Everything fits well, but no pics of that because I started painting allready.

Next up, a bit more sanding, bondo-ing and priming the cabinet before finally painting it blue!
The bondo shrunk a little over the past year, maybe because it can get near freezing temperature in the shed during winters.

Still not sure about the precise color though. Paint colorcodes I found on various restoration threads or blog websites are not very usefull because local paintshops work with different systems I guess. But haven't checked it out yet! So I might be wrong. I Hope.

One thing that still slightly bothers me is that I don't have an original coin door :( When I started this project I settled with the coin door I have, so made the cut-out to fit that door. But it just looks wrong on this cabinet, I need an original one! I tried Ebay some times, but when there's a Nintendo coin door on it, most sellers won't ship to Europe or the price is really high.
Maybe I should add a PayPal Donate button on this blog :)

Sorry if this update is a bit messy but hey, it's been so long :)
Glad you guys are still reading. And thanks for the replies!

Till next year! :)

One reason for the lack of updates nor work on the cabinet is that I bought myself a Sega Astro City cabinet which I totally love.