Arcade Games Verticade

Cabinet

The construction of the Verticade cabinet is quite similar to my Asteroids cabinet. Both use a structural frame made of plywood, and front elements – including the control panel – made of perspex.

Frame

The cabinet’s structural frame is made from two side panels (9 mm plywood) which are connected by multiple transverse panels: Top and bottom of the marquee box, and internal shelves to carry the screen, the control panel, and the Raspberry and electronics. With the exception of the top plate, which also serves as a carrying handle and is 9 mm thick, the transverse panels and shelves are made from 5 mm plywood. These boards are glued together, with moldings to make the connection stronger.

Verticade cabinet, side view

The Verticade is 35cm tall, 22cm wide, and 26cm deep.

Verticade cabinet, read view

The speaker is placed in the back. This provides a relatively large speaker baffle-board, resulting in a decent low end from the small speaker. The rectangular opening at the top serves as a carrying handle, and also provides ventilation.

The back, another 5mm plywood panel, is screwed on and provides access to the Raspberry Pi and the internal wiring. Front, marquee, and control panel are made from 3 mm perspex. The bottom is a screwed-on perforated aluminum sheet. It can be removed to get access to the control panel wiring.

The Verticade uses passive cooling only. It sits on 10 mm tall rubber feet, which allow air to circulate in through the perforated bottom, and out via an opening at the top of the back panel.

Verticade cabinet, bottom view

The perforated bottom, which sits clear from the table on 10mm rubber feet, provides good passive ventilation.

Control Panel

The control panel is made from 3mm clear perspex, which I bent after heating it with a heat gun (for stripping paint etc.). This creates a smooth radius which is easy on the wrists. Please see th description of my Asteroids cabinet for some additional detail on bending and cutting perspex.

Different from my Asteroids cabinet, the Verticade control panel sits on top of a 3mm plywood shelf. This is not needed for stability – the perspex, especially with its 90° bend, is quite sturdy – but allows for hidden mounting of the joystick. The snap-in arcade buttons and the screw-mount player selection buttons are mounted directly to the perspex.

The control panel graphics are simply laser-printed on heavy paper stock. The graphics (in Powerpoint format) are available for download in the Design section below.

I have used the following controls in my build:

Control panel

The control panel is made from 3mm perspex, bent using a heat gun.

Control panel, bottom view

The joystick is mounted to a plywood panel below the perspex, so its mounting screws remain invisible. The buttons are mounted directly to the perspex, with larger holes in the plywood, since their snap-in or screw mounts support a limited panel thickness only.

Marquee

The marquee motif is inkjet-printed on transparent film. A layer of translucent paper behind the film acts as a diffuser, and a piece of 3 mm perspex as the cover glass. The marquee motif is available for download in the Design section below.

The marquee is back-illuminated via a few white LEDs. I used a segment from an IKEA “LEDBERG” strip which I still had around, powered by 12V. Due to the wide emission angle, setting the LEDs about 7 cm back from the marquee motive is enough to provide a nice and even illumination.

Back-iluminated marquee

The marquee is back-illuminated by white LEDs. Its perspex cover, transparent inkjet film, and translucent paper diffuser are held in place by two black PVC L-brackets.

Design

The graphics design for the Verticade takes its cues from Q*bert, but incorporates characters from several other of my favorite games. I have cobbled together the marquee and monitor bezel designs in Powerpoint, which are available here for download:

The “Cooper Black” font used in the marquee is included in many versions of Microsoft Office. If you don’t have it yet, you will find various versions for download on the web.