Hive13 Cabinet

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Hive13 Project
Hive13 Mame Cabinet
Status: Inactive
Start Date: 12/20/2009


We have two standup arcade units. We will be combining these into one good unit and will either donate or scrap out the other one. This cabinet will stay in the space and will be 100% open source/open hardware and it is intended for people to be able to pimp it out and add features whenever they feel inspired. While this cabinet will be free to play for members I would like to set the coin door to accept coins/tokens to play for fund raisers, etc.

Project Members

ALSO: Please sign up on the mailing list!

Design Goals

The goal of the Hive13 Cabinet is to build an entertaining arcade experience for the hackerspace. This project gathers skills from a multitude of professions: mechanical, electrical and software engineering to name just a few. The cabinet should have a modular and accessible design. It should be easy to add any type of game including writing your own game. It should be accessible on the network. It should support as many game configurations as possible. It should also be very easy for people not involved to be able to play the games. It should be easy to modify the design in the future. It should also be easy for new members to pickup and join in on this project.

Short Term Goals

See the TODO list below for detailed list. We need to create a module control panel design that can be used to drop in different control panel layouts. We also need to get all the parts cleaned and organized. A logbook and some containers will be purchased to assist this. We need to get a motherboard, Video Card, etc, mounted into the cabinet with linux installed. This should be a good gaming machine. Think about the low end gaming machines you can buy at Microcenter today. Something like that. We will be supporting a lot more emulators than just mame so the beefier the better.

Progress so far

The base cabinet has been cleaned and prepped and the top marque was created last year. Now we are reviving the project to get it finished and completely knocked out. At least up and functional. I would be nice to have this as an ongoing project where any member who is interested in expanding or experimenting with the arcade could.

Right now we are re-evaluating the design and organizing the way to collaborate and the initial milestones.


Sept 10th, 2011

We took inventory of what we had and set some design goals. We added supports to the control panel to handle a module design. We decided to toss the PC that is currently in there and mount a more modern one inside. It would be really nice to be able to support DOS based retro games too. We will be putting a logbook by the cabinet to keep track of progress and work and make an easy place to take notes before posting to the wiki.

Images from todays work can be found in this picasa album:

  • Resetting this project --Craig 02:32, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Worklog from 2010

This are provided just for reference.

Jan 21, 2010

Measured out the control panel and entered the data in Qcad. DXF file is available here: This was my first time using qcad and this file may get changed and updated. After doing all the measurements for everything including the drill holes I found out the next day that the file didn't properly save and I lost all my work. Luckily I took most of the measurements down and was able to recreate the control panel (minus the drill holes) fairly quickly. I also measured out the hole layout for a joystick and put that in the file as a "group" This will allow placement of the joystick holes as a single object when designing a new control interface. I tinkered with importing the dxf file into blender and Inkscape. Blender worked better if you first convert the dxf into a vrml file (dxf2vrml) and inkscape could read the file fine. Eventually I will probably use Inkscape to draw the art for the panel and use the imported qcad file as a 'mask' to lineup the artwork. Blender is just to visualize it in 3d and to make it look cool :P

Hive13-cab-controlpanel.jpgBare control panel layout

Jan 26, 2010

I have a proposal for the control panel layout which I will post here. If there are not any objections then the next step for me is to rent a metal hole punch and begin cutting this out. I think we can fit 3 players in a street fighter layout, include one trackball and two additional non-standard buttons (one for 'exit game' and one for 'pause')

Cp-proposal1.png Cp-proposal-3d.jpg

Feb 4, 2010

I bought a kit of metal hole punches from Harbor Freight. The largest one we could use for arcade buttons was 1 inch. I tested out the tool on the top of a PC case. While they worked I was not happy with the fit. One inch is too tight and the buttons basically have to be threaded into place. This often times leaves a lip and the button not flush with the metal. So I ordered a 1-1/8" sheet metal hole punch.

I drew out the first player controls in pencil on the control panel and was not happy with the spacing of the buttons. They felt awkward. So I measured a few others and decided that a button spacing of 2" (center-to-center) was too far and made it 1-5/8" instead. Also the metal control panel rests on a wooden frame which is 1 inch thick. I thought it was smaller than that when I did my original layout and the track ball is too close. So I had to move it up a bit but it should still fit fine. The new DXF file for the layout can be found here:

Control-panel-layout2.png TestCutsForButtons.jpg

Feb 7, 2010

The 1-1/8" metal punch kit came in so I wanted to test it out. I cut another hole in the PC case and dropped in a button. It looks much nicer and you can see from the picture below how much more flush this button is (BTW, it's the BLUE button ;). This punch requires more of a standard pilot hole (1/2") as opposed to the 3/4" one that the harbor freight kit needed. So all-in-all this one is better. I went a head and did the pilot holes for the Player 1 controls and punch in the joystick. The first button got too tight for the adjustable wrench so I will see if I can find a 3/4" socket to finish off the buttons for next time.

NewButtonTest.jpg Pilot holes.jpg MetalHolePunch.jpg CrankHolePunch.jpg FirstHolePunched.jpg

Feb 8, 2010

Got a 3/4" socket and that worked MUCH better. Although the last two holes were very hard. I noticed that my drill marks were very rough in that area too so maybe it was just a hardened section of the sheet metal...shrug. I managed to get the Player 1 controls punched out! (minus the drill holes for the joystick mount) But still, great progress.



Update TODO List: --Craig 00:24, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Clean the Cabinet
  • Replace/clean Marquee Plexiglass
  • Get Dimensions for the control panel modules (In Notes section of logbook)
    • Cut Masonite in storage area into three pieces that can be used for the Control Panel and fit in the laser cutter
  • Add puty to cracks in control panel trim
  • Sand control panel
  • Buy new holders to organize buttons and parts
  • Clean existing buttons
  • Mount a good Motherboard, Powersupply and Video card into the cabinet
    • Install Linux on new system
  • Make black mask around monitor
  • Buy plexiglass for base of cabinet (too see the motherboard, etc.
  • Test speakers in cabinet
  • From the nerd who loves old DOS games and still knows in detail how to build a DOS setup for gaming (i.e. Hodapp): If our goal is to support as many games as possible, I'd love to dig out the old DOS machine I made almost 2 years ago at the Hive and make this a part of it if that's possible. (Is it? Is this a fixed-frequency CRT?) Answer to Hodapp: We would like to support DOS games as well.


Current inventory that can be used for the cabinet

  • Buttons
    • 5 Brownish ones
    • 10 Yellow
    • 35 Red
    • 12 Green
    • 13 Black
    • 63 Blue
    • 38 White
    • 1 Orange
    • 1 Player 1
    • 2 Player 2
    • 2 Player 3
    • 1 Player 4
    • A few assorted other buttons
  • 15 Trackballs
  • 2 New 8-way joysticks
  • 1 Old 8-way joystick
  • 4 cup holders (each holds 2 cups)
  • 1 Intercard reader
  • 1 j-Pac controller