MAME update – trimming excess t-molding

I’ve always wondered how I would trim the excess t-molding that pokes out above and below the edges of the timber. I tried using a really super-sharp chisel on the control panel and it worked, but you could see the marks for each different cut. Not too happy with the result.

I just did some searching and I found a tool called an “edge trimmer”. I am going to have to get one.

[UPDATE: Couldn’t help myself – I just ordered one from mcjing about 5 minutes after writing this blog entry]

Edge Trimmer

Looks like they are available from a variety of places:

Arcade machine update – t-molding and monitor

I got a few hours to myself this afternoon so I got a few things done to the arcade machine that I have been dying to do for ages.

T-molding on control panel: Managed to get some t-molding attached to the control panel.

galaga control panel with t-molding galaga control panel with t-molding (part II)

T-molding on top half sides: I really worked hard on taking my time doing this as I have learned from experience that cutting the slots requires a bit of concentration to ensure that the slot-cutter does not wander from the centre line. You can see that I did not concentrate hard enough – I had to use a bit of duct tape to fatten up a small section of the t-molding to ensure a snug fit.

close-up of slot borked slot

Tools to cut slots for t-molding

Tools: You need a few tools to get this right:

  • ear muffs: so the router doesn’t make you deaf
  • rubber mallet: to bang the t-molding into the slot. I once tried it just by using the heel of my hand – not a good idea – hurts too much the next day. Followed that up with a standard hammer – not a goo idea – marks the t-molding. Get a rubber mallet.
  • clamps: to stop the timber moving when cutting slots and banging in t-molding
  • gloves: to protect my dainty hands from splinters
  • pencil: mark out where the starting point of the t-molding. When I pull it out to paint the timber I know the exact point to put the t-molding. Yay for thinking ahead.
  • t-molding: to make your timber pretty and comfortable.
  • router: to cut slots. My router is adjustable from about 22,000 rpm to 32,000 rpm. Cut slots as slow as possible – otherwise flaming timber is the result…
  • chisel: I needed this to help bang in the t-molding on the internal corne. (In the pic the corner I am talking about is between the duct tape and the utility knife). The handle of the chisel had a diamater that matched the curvature of the corner, and was also coated in rubbery material that would not damage the t-molding.
  • duct tape: if you make your slot to big you can use some duct-tape to fatten up the bottom of the ‘T’ to make a snug fit.
  • screwdriver: toaid in the removal of the t-molding
  • utility knife: cut little wedgesfrom the base of the t-molding so going around corners does not crimp the t-molding.

cut a notch to go around hard corners

Removed speakers from the TV:  It took me ages to pull the back off the tv, remove the speakers, av-inputs and back-plane and chop off the speakers from the sides of the TV.

trimmed the speakers from the sides of the TV I can see your insides!

I am going to lengthen the wires from the tv to the speakers and mount them above the TV – behind or below the marquee.

Mame cabinet progress

I managed to get some really great nuts and bolts to fix the top half of my cabinet to the bottom half. I have no idea what they are called. They will allow me to screw the panels together without taking up any significant room on the inside. This is quite important as there is no room to spare – the TV will be taking up all the internal space.

funky nuts and bolts

I’ve also managed to re-build the control panel section in it’s entirety. It has working hinges so now maintenance can be done on the inside wiring without pulling the whole thing apart. More pictures on that later…

3D models of the arcade cabinet

I am getting closer to doing a bit more work on the MAME cabinet.

I have found Google Sketchup invaluable. It’s a great tool to help me visualize what pieces go where. Using it the other day I realized that my Galaga control panel was going to have a few dramas when mounted on the base. I had forgotten about the curved ‘corners’, which led to a few millimeters of the base poking out beneath the control panel.

Luckily, it presented the perfect opportunity to implement a strip of timber that can be used to mount some 110° cabinet hinges. I planned it out in Sketchup. The model can be found by clicking the image below:

MAME cabinet 3D model

Hopefully I’ll be able to get a bit of spare time this Australia Day long weekend holiday to get some construction done…

MAME cabinet update

MAME Update

Ages ago I had my first attempt at routing the slot for the t-molding. It went OK but I stuffed up the slot for one of the side panels.

I spent some time the other night fixing up the MAMe cabinet. I pulled the entire thing apart and cut out a new side panel, and routed it with my new router – a cheap Ozito. Did a better job this time round – still not perfect.

I have learned that cutting slots at 32,000 RPM is too fast for plywood. The smoke and the embers helped me figure that out pretty quick.



Portal is awesome. Got a copy the other day and played it non-stop for maybe 10 hours. The wife had to drag me away from the PC at about 4am. If you have never heard of it’s an action/puzzle-solving game. You are given a gun that creates two portals (blue and orange). If you walk through the orange portal you come out of the blue portal (and vice-versa). One puzzle room might require you to cross a moat. Shoot at a wall on your side of the moat to create the blue portal. Then shoot at a wall across the moat to create the orange portal and you can walk through the portals avoiding the moat completely.

It gets more challenging when you have to use portals with physics/momentum laws on the more difficult levels:

portal momentum

Guitar Hero

Played the Nintendo Wii version of Guitar Hero at a mates house after losing a poker tournament. It’s fantastic. Those playing Guitar Hero provided a nice soundtrack to those still competing in Hold’em. The concept is great. Play guitar, whoever hits the most correct notes wins.




Wrecked my Happs trackball

Uh-oh. The other day I was checking the fit of the drilled out control panel backing (mdf) to the actual control panel overlay. In a total blonde moment I picked up the CPO and moved it to my workbench, but forgot to detach the trackball – which was not fixed to it permanently – just holding there via friction.

Two steps away the trackball’s usb cable pulled taut and ripped the trackball from the CPO. It was going to do a 5 foot fall to concrete. I couldn’t do anything but watch (as my hands were full holding my just-delivered CPO). Luckily the usb cable was not long enough to let the trackball reach the floor. It fell short of the floor by only a few centimetres, but managed to de-tail the connector from the cable.

The pic below shows the trackball, with the de-tailed connector sitting near it. The individual strands of wiring have been expertly photo-shopped in to demonstrate where they should be :-/ I had to use this web page to determine the pinouts :

The fact that the wires had been pulled out did me no favours. It was really hard to solder the wires back in the slots as they still had the remnants of wires in them. I tried to solder them back but to no avail. I suck at soldering:

I thought of soldering the wired directly to the board, but the previous soldering attempt, along with a modicum of common sense led me away from that very bad idea.

In the end I rummaged through my spare parts drawers and found an old floppy drive connector. They are four-pinned, so should fit perfectly. Unfortunately the keys and slots on the trackball connector are different to a floppy drive connector. A little bit of work with my trusty exacto nice trimmed the connector to fit. A quick bit of easy soldering, and the application of some world-renowned duct tape, and wallah:

I tested it with my multimeter and was getting good results. Final test was to hook it up to the PC. Mouse-up; Mouse-down; Mouse-left; Mouse-right – all good. Yay!

What was it actually printed on?

The Control Panel

I created a vector image in Adobe Illustrator CS2. (I couldn’t use CS3 as I am running Win2K still – not exactly sure what i am going to use when I migrate to Ubuntu). I got the two biggest images – the galaga logo and galaga bug from Everything else I screen-captured whilst playing Galaga and traced them in Illustrator.

I provided the final Illustrator vector image to Wild Digital. One of the layers in the Illustrator image indicate where the edging should be routed and where holes for buttons, joysticks and the trackball were required. Wild Digital provided the acrylic (3mm perspex) and did all the cutting.

The final image was reverse printed directly onto the underside of the acrylic. They then put a white protective layer over the printed image. They did a fantastic job. It came out much better then I expected.

I was originally going to purchase a piece of laminex and do all the cutting and routing myself, but after seeing how good the Wild Digital job came out I am really happy I let the pro’s do it. It would have been cheaper if I did it myself AND didn’t make a mistake. That’s a pretty big if on the mistake.

I was originally going to use this design:

Galaga was/is my favourite old-school arcade game, so I thought I should stick with what I know.

I’ve uploaded the Galaga Illustrator files to localarcade in the homebrew section.

MAME 0.119, my arcade machine and facebook

Woohoo! Version 0.119 of MAME has been released. I downloaded the 0.118 to 0.119 update from

I have ordered the 3mm reverse print of my control panel overlay from Wild Digital in Fyshwick.

Here’s a smaller version:

I can’t figure out how to upload the Adobe Illustrator files, if you want them just leave a message.

I am also a facebook addict now. It’s helped me get in touch again with heaps of old mates.

Optimized MAME builds

I got the latest MAME verison (0.118 at the time of writing) from Mamedev the other day. You can download two binaries versions. I did not know which one I should get:

  • mame0118b.exe: MAME 0.118 Windows command-line binaries.
  • mame0118b_i686.exe: MAME 0.118 Windows command-line binaries (I686 Optimized)

My CPU for my MAME box is an Athlon XP2000. I am assuming the I686 optimizations are for Pentiums…maybe it’s cross CPU architecture, maybe it’s not..I was in a bit of a quandary until google came to the rescue.

A search for optimized mame led me directly to a variety of optimized builds stashed at Yay. I grabbed the and I am just about to move it over to my MAME box. Double YAY.