The Control Panel Template

In order to determine where all of the controls go, I can look around online and check what everyone else did.  That’s great and all, but I want to make sure it feels right before i start cutting into my $50 sheets of plywood.

I know that each player will have a joystick and 6 buttons.  You need the 6 buttons if you ever plan on playing the fighting games.  I was never good at them back in the 90’s, but I guess I can at least be bad at them for free now.

There will be the trackball mounted in the middle of the control panel.  along with a pair of buttons.  This will be the acting mouse for the computer.

I’ve also included two spinners.  I can’t think of a game out there that supports two spinners though.  But this does allow for driving games, using the spinners as steering wheels.  GroovyGameGear sells a nice steering wheel attachment for the spinners.

I’ll also need a row of admin buttons; Favorites, Config, Pause, Enter and Exit

Since this is a two player cabinet, I’ll also need 1 and 2 player start buttons.

One thing that this is missing is credit buttons. I decided that I wanted to make the mame experience more like the arcade and therefore it needs to take quarters.  Yes, if you want to continue you need a quarter.  Maybe this will be some form of college fund.  The happ coin door claims that it will hold $1350 in quarters.  Maybe someday I’ll find out.

I’ve drawn the control panel up in AutoCAD and then had my neighbor print it out at work full size.  This made it very easy to get all of the hole locations correct.

Hole Marks:

Drilling locations:

Using the drawing, I’ve marked all of the hole locations and then off to the drill press.

Is there really anything more satisfying than using a nice sharp bit and throwing wood chips everywhere?
The key to drilling nice holes is a forstner bit.  You get perfectly smooth and round holes this way.  A spade bit makes a mess.  Save spade bit holes for the plumbers and electricians.

Using a 1-1/8″ for all of the button holes, spinners and joysticks, 3/4″ for the lock and 5/8″ for the power switch.

I’ve also drilled holes around the edges for the plexiglass hold down bolts, and holes for the joystick mounts.  Having these holes located makes it very easy to drill out the panel.

On the backside, I placed screws. This allows me to simply screw this template to a piece of plywood and then attach the screws and start routing. I can do all of the necessary routing and drilling with the template attached. This ensures a perfect match between the two pieces.

The whole process from raw plywood to a finished panel takes less than 15 minutes.


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