What is this all about?

I like steampunk, Harper Goff (designed the disney Nautilus from 20,000 leagues) and Kenneth Strickfaden (set designer and prop builder for Boris Karloff's Frankenstein. I thought it would be fun to combine all that into a MAME (multiple arcade machine emulator) cabinet to play video games and use as a jukebox. I found all kinds of inspiration at places like Stelter Creative's website, The Steampunk Workshop and many others. The cabinet wouldn't be nearly as fun or interesting were it not for my CarveWright carving machine, which I use almost every day. I used it for the Lithopanes and the marquee sign and much more. One last note, the image of Frankenstein in the lithopane is from a piece of art by Rick Baker (DaVinci of the special effects makeup world IMHO).

I hope you enjoy it.

Oh, yeah...I know those of you who are serious about MAME cabinets will beat me up for using the pre-made x-arcade controller...please forgive my current lack of electronics wizardry in this matter.

I've been contacted by some of you who are interested in plans...if you go to:


you can find the base plan I used. I modified it in several ways: I used 1/2" plywood instead of 3/4 (the 1/4" trim still gives you a 3/4 edge) and lengthened the base. I also changed the width a bit and modified the shape of the control panel.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Pics on the way, with some video

I have caved in to some of the concerns about my controller...but only mildly.  I have modified the joystick handles and plan to get new pictures up by tomorrow.
I also found out that once I took the cabinet off of the rolling platform I was building it on that it was shorter than I liked, so I've built a 4" platform that it now sits upon, which I think turned out nicely.
I can also finally show off the front end I'm using....which is Maximus Arcade.  There are a dozen popular front end solutions out there, but I can tell you from experience that this is the only one that could pull off what I had in mind.  I tried any number of the others and ran into minor issues that didn't have to be deal breakers, but required that I give up on what my vision was for the front end.  Maximus Arcade has a robust front end, an amazing editor for building your own version of the front end (you can also easily set up multiple versions and switch between them).  This was certainly THE way to skin my particular cat.  I've been running it for a couple weeks and making tweaks (my first audio intro was WAY too long).
I plan to put up some screen shots and a quick video.

It appears I'll be working on a new Mame project for a friend in the near future and I look forward to posting some pics of that as it progresses as well.

Hope you all had a great halloween!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Why make a mini-version of the machine? Well, I've been watching the really cool minatures a guy named "Big J.W." has been making and a co-worker brought a couple in for us to see.  My work is not nearly as meticulous, but I thought it would be fun...
My memory card for the camera is at work..so I took these with my phone. Sorry for the poor quality.  The lower door does open to reveal the PC inside and, of course, the book.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mame, I want to game forever....

Someone asked, "Is there anything on the back of the machine?"
Good question. Yes.  I thought I'd put a non-intrusive sign proclaiming my loyalty to the good people who work on MAME. Here it is...I think a knife switch below that is still an option.

More pics of the work in progress.

Here is the X-arcade put into the control panel.  The label, however, wasn't going to go with the cabinet, so it had to get a little paint...sorry X-arcade!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Got wood?

Here are some pics during the building phase.


If you build it...they will ask where you found the time.

Nobody means to be rude when then ask "where do you find the time?" or they say "you have too much time on your hands!". I understand they mean "wow, that must have taken a long time".  I do find it strange that people can spend an entire weekend watching television (sports, dramas, reality shows) and nobody asks or says the same thing.  It's almost as if our culture has begun to look down on the concept of putting forth effort.  You can waste as much time as you want on any number of endeavors, but if it results in a tangible 'thing' it somehow moves into the realm of needing to be evaluated in terms of how much time you spent on it.  Does it really matter?  For example: I spent about 60-80 hours on this cabinet. I've probably spent over a hundred hours watching LOST.  Which was more worth my time?  Anyway...enough ranting...here are more pics.

 A quick explanation: To start the PC that runs this arcade machine, I've hidden the power switch in a fake "book" of Dr. Frankenstein's lab notes....it's mounted on a door on the bottom of the cabinet. The toggle switch on the side only controls the lights. I didn't want children toggling the power to the computer on and off.

It's alive I tell you!