Friday, December 28, 2012

MAMEcade Rev 1.2

Lightguns and Stickers
  I know I have not updated the blog in awhile, but I have recently updated my arcade with light guns and also a few stickers to make it go faster.

  I hopped by my local Hobby Lobby and grabbed a pack of alphabet and number stickers in Red, Green Yellow, and Blue.  I wanted to indicate the coin up buttons with 1P Coin, 2P Coin etc.  I also wanted to indicate the exit game button in the center of the CP.  I tried to line up with lettering as best I could, but I feel I fell short on this.  The letters tend to go either down or are not all in a straight line.  Still, I am happy with the way it turned out.

After I had the stickers in place, I went back over the areas with mod podge to give it all a consistent look. I think it turned out pretty well.

Light Guns
  Now onto the really fun stuff.  I ordered a pair of light guns from, they have a pair of guns plus a sensor bar for $168, which is not too shabby.  I got the sensor bar uncased since I will be mounting it to my bezel.  When the package came it contained the two guns with 10 ft usb cables, and the sensor bar with around a 5 ft. cable.  The cables for the guns were plenty long, but I wish the sensor bar cable had been longer, as I had to move my computer around in the cabinet, but it was not a huge deal.  The package also came with some manuals.  I picked these guns specifically since they used the Ultrimarc Aim Trac components which I read were the best.  I was not disappointed.

My first tasks (after moving the computer), was to mount the sensor bar behind the bezel.  I drilled holes for all the IR sensors (5 on left and 1 on the right) to poke through.  I was able to get a snug fit, and the sensor bar did not need anymore mounting as the led's held it in place.

  Here are the leds in the bezel (They do not light up where the human eye can see them, so they are pretty incognito when you have it all rigged up.)

  One of the hardest (if not the hardest) parts of the light gun MAME setup is the calibration.  I spent a few hours tweaking the calibration by re calibrating the guns and judging were the best place to stand was.  I finally figured out that the best place it a few feet away and in the center, this was hard for me to figure out as I was calibrating the 1 player gun to be standing just to the left, and 2 player gun standing just to the right. After I found this out, I calibrated the guns in the center, and I haven't felt it to be really off, although I still need to play test it with friends more.  If anyone knows any good calibrating tips, please let me know by posting in the comments, I would be very appreciative!

  The final part to have the guns added to the mamecade was having holsters for them.  I searched around online, and saw a few ideas of using towel holders, bike mounts, etc, but what I was looking for was more of the big metal pentagon holster that I remember from the arcades.  I found that HAPP sells something like this, but it would have to be modified, and I did not want to pay $30 for them, so I headed over to Home Depot, and I found what I was looking for.  In total it cost me around $5 and a lot of sweat equity.
  First I found some sheet metal that were  bent at a 70 or so degree angle, and they were longer on one side then the other.  I bought 4 each for each gun, and a mounting hurricane bracket for each gun.

  Next I started to solder the "plates" together to start to form my pentagon.

Yes, Yes I am awesome at soldering...

After I got to the last two plates I had to duct tape them together as they didn't quite reach, I then solder the tops together and voila!

I have my holster.

I then drilled two holes to mount the hurricane bracket at an angle, and then spray painted it black.

After that I took off my control panel and screwed the holster to the back of the front end of the CP.

Rinse and repeat for gun #2 and I have my holsters.

They look pretty snazzy!

Thanks for tuning in!