Monday, September 13, 2010

MAME Cabinet, Step 3: Tools

Here are some of the tools you will find necessary for building the MAME cabinet. If you don't have these kinds of things on hand, you might need to arrange to have them.
  • Jigsaw: You will absolutely need one of these for the angled cuts you'll be making for the sides, as well as cutting holes in sheets. This is probably your primary cutting tool for this job. Generally, I always learned about power saws like the circular saw is your primary tool, and a jigsaw is a specialized tool, but in practice I find jigsaws more commonly useful.
  • Table Saw: I didn't realize how useful these were until this project. The point of a table saw is making perfectly straight cuts on perfectly right angles. Seasoned carpenters can probably cut straight with a jigsaw nine times out of ten, but I can't. Even seasoned carpenters know not to count on that, though. They use the right tool to ensure straight cuts and right angles. I borrowed a table saw halfway through the project, and I wish I'd had it from the start. It'd be better if it was wide enough to do 22" cuts since that's the size I needed most often; every time I couldn't use it for a cut, I wished I could. If you can't get a table saw, a circular saw might help, or just use the jigsaw, but you'll find it hard to make everything line up, especially when it's time to work on the drawer.
  • Sawhorses: Strong enough to hold up sheets of melamine and your table saw.
  • Drill: A cordless might not be able to get you through the big cuts and long usage you'll need, unless yours has a better battery than mine, and more strength.
  • Palm Sander: You will need to sand a lot of cut edges. Be sure to have lots of coarse-grit paper for it. Finer grits won't be as necessary for this job.
  • Electric Screwdriver: Have an extra battery for it if you can, because you're going to run it a lot. Or put it in the charger whenever you're not using it, and I mean any time you're not using it.
  • Measurement Tools: Measuring tape, square, long straightedge, and level.
  • Sharpie: You can't just have a black sharpie for this job because most of the lines you'll be drawing are on black satin melamine.
  • Utility Knife: Sufficient to cut the plastic sheeting in your poster frame, and the T of the T-molding.
  • Hammer: Is there such a thing as a project that doesn't use a hammer?
  • Cable Staplegun: The kind with U-shaped staples, for stapling down cabling within the cabinet.
  • Dremel Moto-Tool: If you have a router, you won't need this to route the grooves for the marquee, but a router's expensive and a Dremel can do the job. You will also need it to sink holes for setting the wood screws, so that they will be flush.
  • Clamps: I needed clamps for a lot of things on this job. In particular, I needed a pair of corner clamps for initial assembly of the cabinet frame, as well as the usual C-clamps and spring clamps.
  • Flashlight: The fluorescent light I affixed in the case helped light the inside where I was working, but sometimes, I needed more pointed lighting.
  • Hot Glue Gun: You'll need this to affix the T-molding.

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