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.

Friday, September 25, 2009

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.


  1. Very nice! I'm curious, however, why you chose to just lay the XArcade there, and not take it apart and actually mount the buttons on the surface. Doing that really gives a cabinet an authentic look...here's how I did it for mine: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/BuildingYourOwnArcadeCabinetForGeeksPart3ControlPanel.aspx

  2. Your idea is great....using the x-arcade guts in a new top. Had it occured to me to do that, I certainly would have. I was so focused on the other aspects of the cabinet that I kept thinking of the controls as "done" other than paint.
    The overall response to the cabinet has been great, but this is certainly the sticking point for the few who have had anything negative to say.

  3. I read an article about "where do you have the time" once... they did a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the total time ever spent creating or editing articles on Wikipedia, in any language, ever, and figured out that it's about the same as the amount of time that Americans spend watching JUST THE COMMERCIALS on a given WEEKEND.