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Diy Arcade Cabinet – Step By Step Guide

What Will You Achieve?

Embarking on an arcade cabinet project offers a unique opportunity to develop a sturdy and visually appealing enclosure capable of housing multiple games. This comprehensive guide will walk you through every step, from material selection to final assembly, guaranteeing your cabinet is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Whether you’re an experienced woodworker or new to the craft, this guide has been designed to simplify the process, making it accessible and rewarding for all skill levels.

Materials and Tools Needed

When crafting your very own arcade cabinet, you’ll want to start by gathering the necessary tools and materials. MDF (Medium-Density Fibreboard) is a great choice for its smooth surface, perfect for painting and providing durability. You’ll need approximately 2.5 sheets of this material to get started. To cut down these larger sheets into manageable pieces, a circular saw will be your best friend. For assembling the various components and drilling holes, a drill is an essential tool. If you’re looking to add some finer details, such as cutting out intricate parts like control panel openings, a jigsaw will come in handy. Optional but highly recommended for achieving a professional finish is a router. This will allow you to embed T-molding around the edges and provide a smooth surface. To ensure all your pieces fit together securely, you’ll need screws, T-nuts, washers, and lock nuts. Of course, no arcade cabinet would be complete without an arcade kit, which typically includes buttons, joysticks, and an encoder board. Give your cabinet some personality with paint and primer, or go for a more modern look with a sleek screen – whether that’s an old monitor or an LCD TV. Finally, don’t forget the speakers, which will provide the audio backbone for your retro gaming experiences.


Understanding the Basics

Design Phase:

Before diving into the technical aspects of designing a home theater system, it’s essential to start with some good old-fashioned planning. Take out a piece of paper and sketch out your design. Think about the dimensions of the space where the system will be installed and the size of the screens you plan to use. As you visualize the setup, consider the placement of the control panel, screen, and speakers within that space. This initial planning phase will help ensure a smooth installation process and an optimal viewing experience.

Cutting the MDF:

When it comes to crafting your DIY entertainment center, the first step is to prepare the larger components. Start by using a circular saw to cut out the wood for the sides, bottom, top, and marquee. These pieces will form the foundation of your project. Once you have the basic shapes cut out, you can move on to more detailed work. For features like the slot for the screen and the holes for the buttons on the control panel, a jigsaw is an ideal tool to use.


As you begin constructing your project, start by building from the ground up. Secure the side panels to the foundation, incorporating any necessary reinforcements along the way. Employ a drill to facilitate the assembly process, taking care to ensure each component aligns seamlessly with its counterparts.

Installing Arcade Components:

To complete the installation, start by drilling precise holes for the buttons and joystick on the control panel. This will ensure a secure fit and proper alignment once they’re attached. Next, carefully mount the screen and speakers to their respective locations, taking care not to compromise the overall aesthetic or functionality of your gaming setup.


To set up your arcade controls, begin by meticulously following the guidelines included with your arcade kit to link buttons and joysticks to the encoder board. Once you’ve successfully connected these components, proceed to connect the encoder board to your preferred gaming platform – be it a console or computer.

Finishing Touches:

To elevate your cabinet’s aesthetic, begin by applying a primer and painting it according to your desired design. Allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Once the paint is fully set, proceed with installing arcade buttons and joystick, carefully configuring them for optimal gaming performance.
Finally, add decals or artwork to give your cabinet a personalized touch, setting it apart from others.

Video Tutorial

For a hands-on understanding of each stage in the build process, head over to YouTube for a comprehensive video tutorial that accompanies this written guide. The visual walkthrough makes it easy to grasp the techniques, serving as a valuable companion piece.

Transform your space with an arcade cabinet that sparks nostalgia and joy. By leveraging basic tools and a willingness to learn, anyone can craft something truly remarkable. While patience and precision are crucial for success, the sense of accomplishment will be well worth the effort.

FAQs About DIY Arcade Cabinets

Embrace the nostalgia and creativity by diving into a comprehensive exploration of DIY arcade cabinets. Within this exhaustive guide, you’ll find all the essential information you’ve been searching for, addressing your most pressing inquiries head-on.

What materials do I need to build a DIY Arcade Cabinet?

To create a DIY arcade cabinet, you’ll require a diverse array of materials. Start by sourcing plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) for the main cabinet structure. You’ll also need plexiglass or another protective material for shielding the screen from dust and scratches. For controls, gather buttons, joysticks, and any other peripherals you want to include. A suitable monitor and a computer or Raspberry Pi will serve as the game-playing hub, while wires will connect all the components together. To give your cabinet some personality, consider adding paint or decals for decoration purposes.

How can I customize my arcade cabinet?

Customization is where the real fun begins for your arcade cabinet. From selecting distinctive artwork for the cabinet’s sides, marquee, and control panel, to opting for specialized button and joystick types, adding LED lighting effects, and curating a personalized software interface – the possibilities are endless. With these choices, you can craft an arcade cabinet that truly reflects your unique personality and style.

What tools are required for building an arcade cabinet?

To embark on this DIY project, you’ll require a fundamental set of woodworking tools, including a saw, drill, screwdriver, and sandpaper. For the electronic components, wire strippers, soldering iron, and a multimeter will also come in handy. It’s essential to prioritize safety by having the necessary protective gear, such as goggles and gloves, readily available.

How do I wire the controls for my arcade cabinet?

When it comes to wiring the controls, the first step is connecting the buttons and joysticks to a controller board, which subsequently links up with your computer or Raspberry Pi. A crucial aspect of this process is ensuring that each button’s positive and negative wires are correctly paired. Fortunately, there are numerous online resources featuring detailed wiring diagrams designed to simplify the setup and guide you through it step by step.

Can I install any game on my DIY arcade cabinet?

The range of games available for installation hinges on the software and hardware configuration in use. For instance, if you’re utilizing a Raspberry Pi, you’ll likely employ an emulator capable of running a diverse array of vintage arcade titles. It’s crucial to ensure that any installed games are legally obtained and compatible with your system setup.

20 DIY Arcade Cabinet Plans and Inspirations

Elevate your gaming experience by transforming your home into a thrilling arcade paradise. Explore 20 innovative DIY arcade cabinet plans, bursting with creativity and inspiration. Kick-start your project today!

How to Build a Arcade Cabinet

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Transforming your living space into a vintage-inspired haven, the process of creating an arcade cabinet is a thrilling journey that combines creativity with a love for retro gaming. By tailoring the design to your unique taste and selecting a diverse range of classic games, you can curate a personalized arcade experience that perfectly blends form and function.

DIY Retro Arcade Cabinet

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Crafting a DIY retro arcade cabinet offers a unique blend of nostalgia and innovation, marrying vintage charm with cutting-edge technology. This rewarding project allows you to relive the excitement of classic gaming while adding a modern twist, making it an ideal centerpiece for game nights or gatherings with friends.

Cocktail Style Arcade Cabinet

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Step into the retro-futuristic realm of the cocktail-style arcade cabinet, a nostalgic nod to the iconic 80s arcade experience. Its compact, tabletop design is specifically engineered for intense two-player face-offs, making it a fantastic centerpiece for any game-filled gathering or man cave setup.

Wall Mounted Arcade Cabinet

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Embracing nostalgia and modern design, wall-mounted arcade cabinets cleverly conserve space while injecting a dash of excitement into any room. By streamlining the classic arcade experience, these compact wonders effortlessly blend functionality with flair, making them an ideal choice for compact spaces or contemporary interior designs.

Build an Arcade Machine at Home

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For dedicated gamers, building an arcade machine at home can be a thrilling endeavor that offers unparalleled customization options. By crafting a unique cabinet and selecting a curated library of games, enthusiasts can create a one-of-a-kind gaming experience that perfectly reflects their tastes.

Building an Arcade Cabinet

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Building an arcade cabinet from the ground up can be a uniquely rewarding experience, offering a level of customization that’s hard to find elsewhere. By selecting the games, controllers, and design elements that resonate with you personally, you’re creating a space that truly reflects your individuality and passion for gaming.

Retropie Bartop Arcade Cabinet

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The retro pie bartop arcade cabinet seamlessly marries the space-efficient design of a bartop with the flexibility of the retro pie system, resulting in a compact yet comprehensive gaming experience that can accommodate a vast array of classic titles.

Cardboard Bartop Arcade Cabinet

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Building a cardboard bartop arcade cabinet offers an accessible and environmentally conscious way to construct a game cabinet. By embracing unconventional materials and injecting a dash of creative thinking, it’s possible to create engaging gaming experiences without breaking the bank or contributing to waste.

DIY Arcade Cabinet

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Embarking on a DIY arcade cabinet project is akin to taking a trip down memory lane, where you get to relive childhood nostalgia with a personalized spin. The best part? You have complete control over the game selection and aesthetics of the cabinet, allowing you to curate a one-of-a-kind piece that embodies your gaming spirit.

Barcade Arcade Mini Cabinet

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For gamers with limited space but an insatiable passion for gaming, the barcode arcade mini cabinet presents an ideal solution. By packing a punchy gaming experience into its compact frame, this miniature marvel can seamlessly integrate into even the most constricted of environments, delivering a big dose of fun in a tiny package.

Make an Miniature Arcade Cabinet

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Incorporating a miniature arcade cabinet into your space can be a delightful way to infuse nostalgia and entertainment value. These compact creations are ideal for adding a touch of whimsy to small areas, such as desks or shelves, while still providing the thrill and challenge of playing classic arcade games.

How to Make an Arcade Cabinet

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Crafting a bespoke gaming haven in the comfort of your own home is a tantalizing prospect for any retro gaming enthusiast. By taking charge of design, game selection, and peripheral configuration, you’re free to create an uniquely tailored arcade cabinet that reflects your personal taste.

Best Vewlix slim Arcade Cabinet

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For those seeking to bring a touch of nostalgia and style to their gaming setup, the Vewlix slim arcade cabinet offers an unbeatable combination of aesthetics and functionality in a remarkably slim package. This sleek design makes it an ideal choice for enthusiasts looking to add a sophisticated yet fully functional arcade piece to their collection.

DIY Arcadecabs Mame Cabinet Plan

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With the goal of making it easier for DIY enthusiasts to create their own MAME cabinets, these carefully crafted plans provide a step-by-step approach to building a functional and aesthetically pleasing cabinet that can house a vast library of emulated games. By following this structured guide, individuals can bring their favorite retro titles to life in a unique and personalized gaming setup.

Build Your Own Mini Arcade Cabinet

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Embracing the nostalgia of classic arcade experiences, building a mini arcade cabinet offers an exciting DIY endeavor. By condensing the essence of the original arcade phenomenon into a compact format, you can effortlessly integrate this miniature marvel into any setting, all while reveling in its surprisingly straightforward construction process.

Custom Arcade Cabinet Tutorial

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By following a custom arcade cabinet tutorial, enthusiasts can unlock the perfect fusion of innovative technology and artistic expression, ultimately crafting a one-of-a-kind gaming sanctuary that reflects their unique personality. This collaborative approach combines inspiration with practical guidance, empowering creators to bring their vision to life and produce a show-stopping cabinet that’s as much a reflection of their personal style as it is a testament to their gaming prowess.

Multiplayer Basketball Arcade Game from Cardboard

Innovative minds can rejoice! Creating a multiplayer basketball arcade game using cardboard is a thrilling DIY project that showcases the potential of simplicity to yield something truly engaging and competitive. By leveraging humble materials, you’ll unlock boundless fun and creativity, making this endeavour an excellent testament to the power of imagination.

Ultimate Raspberry Pi Portable Arcade Cabinet

Embracing the nostalgia of classic gaming and the convenience of modern technology, the ultimate Raspberry Pi portable arcade cabinet presents a unique fusion of both. This compact, portable powerhouse enables retro gaming enthusiasts to access a vast library of beloved games in a sleek, easy-to-carry package, making it an ideal solution for those seeking to relive cherished gaming memories on-the-go.

Arcade Cabinet for Under $3

With a dash of creativity and practicality, it’s entirely possible to construct an arcade cabinet without sacrificing your wallet. A testament to this notion is the DIY project that can be completed for under $3, making it an ideal solution for those on a limited budget.

DIY Mame Arcade Cabinet

By creating a DIY MAME arcade cabinet, you can seamlessly merge nostalgia with modern technology. This hands-on project enables the creation of a unique gaming experience, storing a vast library of retro games within a bespoke cabinet that reflects your personal style.


Assembling your DIY arcade cabinet is an exciting adventure that can be tailored to fit your unique gaming style. By embracing the process outlined here, you’ll have a personalized gaming space at your fingertips, offering endless hours of entertainment for yourself and fellow gamers. The journey begins with selecting the perfect materials, followed by the satisfying experience of bringing all the components together. Don’t wait any longer – dive into this project and relive the nostalgia of retro gaming!