Building Your Own Retro Arcade Machine: A Beginner's Guide

A helpful run through building your own games machine to be able to play classic arcade games and arcade hits of the golden era of arcade gaming with helpful tips and links to get started! 


Intro

Seeking a thorough guide for those who want to construct their own arcade machine? We'll detail the materials and tools needed, plus step-by-step directions for constructing the cabinet, connecting the controls, and setting up the game system. Additionally, we'll provide advice and techniques for personalizing your machine and the advantages and disadvantages of building vs buying one.

Pros

  • More Cost Effective
  • Can make the machine exactly how you like it
  • Get to enjoy the experience of building something from scratch
  • Choose your own game board

Cons

  • No warranty, or help if things go wrong
  • Time intensive and requires skill level
  • Not up to manufacturing safety regulations and quality standards
  • Have to research a lot to make sure components work and fit togeth
Building your own arcade machine can be a fun and rewarding experience so you can play the golden age of arcade games. Not only will you have the satisfaction of creating something with your own two hands, but you'll also have a unique, custom-built machine that you can enjoy for years to come. 



Step 1: Plan and Design

Before you start building, you'll need to decide what type of arcade cabinet you want to build, such as a stand-up cabinet, a sit-down cabinet, or a bartop cabinet. You'll also need to decide on the size, shape, and design of the cabinet. Sketch out your design and make sure you have all the necessary measurements. Want to speed up the process and skip the woodwork? Check out our arcade kits

Step 2: Gather Materials

Once you have a design and a list of materials, you can start gathering everything you need. You'll need wood for the cabinet, acrylic or glass for the screen, and hardware such as screws, hinges, and a power strip. You'll also need a control panel, game system, monitor, speakers, wiring, and any other hardware or accessories you want to include. You can opt for a multi-game arcade game board or stay true to real retro gaming by installing an original game board. 



Step 3: Cut and Assemble the Cabinet

Before you start building, you'll need to decide what type of arcade cabinet you want to build, such as a stand-up cabinet, a sit-down cabinet, or a bartop cabinet. You'll also need to decide on the size, shape, and design of the cabinet. Sketch out your design and make sure you have all the necessary measurements.

Step 4: Install the Monitor

Once you have a design and a list of materials, you can start gathering everything you need. You'll need wood for the cabinet, acrylic or glass for the screen, and hardware such as screws, hinges, and a power strip. You'll also need a control panel, game system, monitor, speakers, wiring, and any other hardware or accessories you want to include. You can opt for a multi-game arcade game board or stay true to real retro gaming by installing an original game board. 



Step 5: Install the Arcade Controllers

Before you start building, you'll need to decide what type of arcade cabinet you want to build, such as a stand-up cabinet, a sit-down cabinet, or a bartop cabinet. You'll also need to decide on the size, shape, and design of the cabinet. Sketch out your design and make sure you have all the necessary measurements.

Step 6: Connect speakers and any other hardware accessories

Once you have a design and a list of materials, you can start gathering everything you need. You'll need wood for the cabinet, acrylic or glass for the screen, and hardware such as screws, hinges, and a power strip. You'll also need a control panel, game system, monitor, speakers, wiring, and any other hardware or accessories you want to include. You can opt for a multi-game arcade game board or stay true to real retro gaming by installing an original game board. 



Step 7: Closing the machine up

Before you start building, you'll need to decide what type of arcade cabinet you want to build, such as a stand-up cabinet, a sit-down cabinet, or a bartop cabinet. You'll also need to decide on the size, shape, and design of the cabinet. Sketch out your design and make sure you have all the necessary measurements.

Arcade Machine Kits

Sale Off
Minotaur Cabinet - 2 Player Full Size Cabinet Kit
£0.00£299.00
Sale Off
Bitcade - 2 Player Control Panel Kit
£79.00
Sale Off
Cyclops Cabinet - 2 Player Full Size Cabinet Kit
£0.00£399.00

Helpful Links

Go to the list for arcade machine parts:


 Arcade World UK - https://www.arcadeworlduk.com/


This website offers a wide range of arcade parts including joysticks, buttons, controllers, and monitors. They also sell arcade cabinet kits and offer custom design services.


Ultimarc - https://www.ultimarc.com/


This website offers a variety of arcade controls and parts, including joysticks, buttons, and trackballs. They also sell ready-to-use arcade controllers and offer customization options.


arcade-projects.com - https://www.arcade-projects.com/


This website offers a variety of arcade machine and game system advice and is a community centred around DIY arcade machines.