A) The Microcade project kit is a flat-pack wood panel set including some important extras for customers to build their very own tiny gaming system based on the same dimensions of our very own ‘Microcade’ miniature arcade machine. It contains all you need to assemble a project shell ready to be prepped and painted in your own way, with vital trim pieces all cut to size to cosmetically complete the cabinet. You can then fit out the interior with all the necessary components you need to bring your gaming project to working reality.
A) This kit is aimed at anyone wanting a compact gaming project with a tested, practical design and at an affordable price. As with our other kits it is ideal for anyone who wants to have as much of a hand in building their own machine as there will still be a fair amount of time required to fit it out to completion. However we have made this a more complete kit as there are more possibilities for a compact design like this, such as former customers wanting to attempt a safe, cheap home-build to accompany their larger machine, those potential customers who would never have room or budget for any of our regular range of machines, those after a casual arcade gaming device that is suitably small and inexpensive enough to build on, or project builders wanting to highly modify the concept into a very unique gaming device, without having to test and fabricate their own suitable casing.
A) This is entirely up to you. Obviously we fit our Microcade out in a very similar way to our full-size arcade machines, but there is scope to fit all manner of electronics inside whether it be PC-based, a hacked handheld with custom wiring or even something completely different altogether, like a mechanical game or simply a novelty movie playing device or jukebox. We would like to see the kit used in as many ways as possible, not just as a standard arcade cabinet so the limit is your imagination and creativity!
A) The cabinet is just 17” x 11” x 10” (HxWxD) with the most usable space in the lower section. If planning on paper, subtract 1” all round the edge of your sketches to allow for the thickness of the wood and a margin of error when planning your component layout.
A) It will vary for your own needs, but essentially you will need the following:
- PC – monitor – speakers – controls – interface – power cable – associated wiring
Once gathered, you will then need to make the following considerations for your needs:
- Software – you will need to install games of some kind, whether it be simply MAMEUI or a combination of emulators, roms and a suitable front-end menu system. Ideally you should install and test your setup on the actual hardware you intend to use before any fitting out.
- Components – Ideally you should use a mini-ITX motherboard or a low-energy system like a thin client PC, compact USB-powered speakers (even the motherboard speaker may be sufficient), an in-car monitor or hacked portable DVD player screen, A good 8-way joystick and buttons and a decent programmable interface such as the I-Pac 2.
- Fitting – fitting components will need to be planned carefully to avoid fouling of components. Most fitting out on this scale can be done using small screws, a hot glue gun and cable-ties as makeshift straps for awkward components. You should make a very thin strut or 2 to mount your monitor on, whilst the PC motherboard should be mounted on the lower part of the back door. Using a flash drive will save space, and you should fit your speakers in the lower front of the cabinet facing upwards – they will be heard just fine without external grilles. Take care when mounting your control interface as it will need to be safe from damage, and test close it all up to check everything fits OK. Splice and shorten cables where necessary to reduce snagging risks and create a bit more space, and ideally fit a twin plug bank or hack your wiring into a single connection so there is only one trailing plug for the machine.
- Airflow – be sure to test airflow around the whole system once everything is mounted by letting it run for about 10 minutes with everything closed up. Test for cables getting hot near hot components and adjust as necessary. If cooling is an issue in your system and the PC starts to behave strange, try drilling discreet ventilation holes such as on the upper slant or the base to aid airflow, or even a small case fan if needed.
Q) Are there any optional extras available with this kit?
A) We can supply a Sanwa ball-top joystick, buttons and an interface for £70 extra, suitable speakers for £10 extra and substitute coloured T-moulding for £10 extra. All other parts must be sourced yourself.