Sunday, September 12, 2010

MAME Cabinet, Step 2: Materials

I already published the bill of materials for my project, so I refer you to that for some ideas on the things you'll need. But your bill of materials will depend on your own design.

Start with the melamine. You can probably get black satin finished melamine in 4x8 sheets from a kitchen store for not much more than the white sheets at Home Depot, and you'll thank yourself for not having to paint it later. (But you will still need some matching touch-up paint.) You need sides, then account for all the other surfaces, including the back doors and middle brace, the front, the bottom and top, the panels between the marquee and monitor, the controller shelf bottom and back, and an internal shelf for the monitor to sit on.

For the hardware, trim, and electricals, following my list is a pretty good starting point. Add a bunch of wood screws if you don't have any -- I recommend black finish. You might also need hot glue sticks, and some extra tips for your Dremel moto-tool, if you don't have a router. Don't forget sandpaper, too! Also, some masking tape, a tiny can of paint to match your melamine's finish, and a small paintbrush. If you don't have a grille for your fan, you'll want some scraps of the kind of screening you use for window screens, too.

When picking out feet for the cabinet, leveling is important but strength is more important. You need something that can handle the considerable heft of the cabinet, plus the fact that as you slide it around, it's going to put a lot of torque on the feet due to the height of the cabinet.

You will also need something to cut out a pattern from. I used some 1/4" plywood I had lying around. It needs to be sturdy; cardboard might do, but it'd be tricky. It also needs to be big enough to enclose the part of the side that's cut out.

Buy extra of everything. You will not want to have to stop the project for some more wood screws.

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