The cabinet is based on the Ultimate Arcade II, and the control panel based on the Supercade panel.


A lot of people use 3/4" (18mm) MDF to build their cabinets, however I thought that would make too heavy, so I decided to use 12mm instead. Many people also use wooden 'ledgers' to fix the panels together, however I routed dados in the side panels, as I think it makes a neater, stronger joint.

The first materials I needed were 3 sheets of 8'x4' MDF. I had no way of transporting these so I had to get them delivered. By far the cheapest supplier was Wickes, at less than £9 per sheet. Unfortunately my nearest Wickes is 20 miles away, so it cost me an amazing £26 for delivery! However it still worked out cheaper than the cheapest alternative local supplier, who wanted £15 per sheet plus VAT, plus £10 delivery. I also ordered a sheet of 9mm MDF for the control panel.


Marking out the side panels using measurements from the printed plans. Two sheets of MDF were clamped together when cutting to ensure both sides were symmetrical - it also made cutting twice as quick! The interior angles were finished with a jigsaw where the circular saw blade couldn't reach.
Action shot! The straight edge guide for the circular saw is very important. You can make one by simply chopping of the end of one of your 4'x8' sheets, and clamp it down using the factory edge as your saw guide.
The top and bottom sides are cut out. You might notice that the angles on the top of the lower section are a bit steep - this is because I measured it wrong! Luckily I was over with my measurements, so I was able to just trim some off.
Dados routed using a 12mm straight bit. Make sure your bit is sharp, otherwise the dado slots will be too tight to receive the panels, and can cause the MDF to split - you know how I know this!


Bottom of the cabinet assembled. Once the panels were slotted into the dados, I drilled pilot holes into the sides, then countersunk. I used furniture screws which are similar to drywall screws but the thread is more course - they grip the MDF very well. I will fully assemble the cabinet dry, then when everything fits OK I will glue the panels and screw them back together.


Top half with dados routed.
Top half assembled. One panel is not yet in place as I have to cut holes for the speakers.

Here are the two sets of speakers I am using. The smallers ones are 4 inch car speakers that I had spare, orginally from Halfords, and the larger ones are 5 inch speakers I bought from Maplin. The 5" speakers are the same size as used in the bottom of pinball cabinets and I have used these exact ones as replacements for that application in the past.

I wanted the speakers mounted from the rear of the panel with a flat grille also at the rear, so the hole had to be neat. I bought a set of hole saws for this purpose.

I took the panels to a friend of mine who has a nice pillar drill in his robotics laboratory. This ensures that the holes are nice and neat as they will be visible with the speakers mounted from the rear. This is a picture of him drilling the holes for me.

The hole saws I bought were very cheap, and very poor quality! But they got the job done eventually.

I screwed the speakers to the rear of the panels using 12mm self-tapping screws after drilling small pilot holes.The speaker cones will be protected by a flat grille when I get some!
So here's the assembled top and bottom, with the speakers in place. Pretty cool huh?!
And a little way on, here's the bottom painted and the control panel mounted and also painted. Just the top half to go!