Tag Archive for: WoodWorking

Retro Arcade Cabinet


I’m old enough now to be of that gen­er­a­tion that I have expe­ri­enced the orig­i­nal game con­soles (think Atari 2600, Cole­co­v­i­sion, C64, etc.).

Obvi­ous­ly, gam­ing has come a long way at the time of this writ­ing (late 2021); how­ev­er, I have always want­ed to cre­ate a retro-style arcade game cabinet.

I remem­ber spend­ing way too much $$ (in quar­ters) attempt­ing to play var­i­ous clas­sics such as Gaunt­let, Space Invaders, 1942 etc., in the arcades as a teen.  This project was all dri­ven by the actu­al gam­ing expe­ri­ence on my Atari 2600 in the ear­ly 80s.

Current Status of Project

As of Octo­ber 2021, the sta­tus of this build is:

  • The main cab­i­net is com­plete and sched­uled for painting
  • The design of the var­i­ous decals for the main deck and the sides of the cab­i­net is com­plete; just wait­ing on time to get around to print­ing them.
  • Core soft­ware build (uBun­tu 20.04LTS with Retropie and oth­ers) is complete
  • Hard­ware has been test­ed thor­ough­ly with 2 USB encoders for dual joy­sticks and three buttons
  • Addi­tion­al con­fig­u­ra­tion is still required for the addi­tion­al 2 play­er joy­sticks and the var­i­ous con­fig­u­ra­tion tem­plates for the games that sup­port 2,3,4 and up to 6 buttons
  • Reverse the lay­out of the stick and but­tons back to a favoured right-hand­ed lay­out of the stick.
  • The phys­i­cal wiring of the cab­i­net is pend­ing paint­ing of the cabinet.
  • Post­ing of the con­figs for Retropie TBD
  • Uploading/sharing of the plans for the cab­i­net TBD
  • Uploading/sharing of the wiring dia­gram TBD

Design Goals

As men­tioned above, I have want­ed to build a fun mul­ti-pur­pose cab­i­net since the 90s and have exper­i­ment­ed with a lit­tle of this.

This project had more for­mal goals, they are:

  • Build a 4 play­er cab­i­net (there are some clas­sic 4 play­er games that I want­ed to be able to invite some friends over to play against)
  • Have the cab­i­net be usable as a pin­ball set­up with front bumper style but­tons, with a slight­ly inclined deck
  • The cab­i­net should include audio/visual bling to repli­cate the feel and ambiance of the play­er cab­i­nets I grew up with. 
    • That means bells, whis­tles, coloured lights, buzzers, and translu­cent head­er logo.
    • Use mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy (such as LED mul­ti­colour light­ing strips) to repli­cate old school style.
  • Include the abil­i­ty to have USB plug­gable NES, SNES, Sega Gen­e­sis and Playsta­tion 2 style con­trollers so that old­er games could be played with­out the clas­sic joystick/buttons.
  • Include a “rea­son­able” sized screen for the cab­i­net — so many of these builds use large TVs in the cab­i­nets for max effect; how­ev­er, most CRT-dri­ven cab­i­nets rarely had a 4:3 screen larg­er than 19 inch­es (not a 42 inch or larg­er LCD).  I end­ed up reusing an old­er 22 inch Dell Touch­Screen LCD as a com­pro­mise, which has the added func­tion­al­i­ty of dri­ving the inter­face with­out a key­board and mouse!
  • A deci­sion was made NOT to uti­lize mod­ern coil oper­at­ed slots, instead opt­ing for the “insert coin” but­ton on the cen­tral con­sole deck.

Hardware and Software

When I start­ed with this project, like most arti­cles on the web, I start­ed with a Rasp­ber­ry Pi as the core machine and used RetroPie as the distribution.

While a Pi3 was pow­er­ful for many of the old­er emu­la­tors, I quick­ly found that the Pi strug­gles to do addi­tion­al advanced tasks.

I just hap­pened to have an 8th gen Core i5 sit­ting around and decid­ed to move the project to that hard­ware.  Giv­en that I have old­er HTPC hard­ware that is due to be replaced, this cur­rent machine dou­bles down as my HTPC.


  • 8th Gen­er­a­tion Core i5
  • 16GB RAM
  • Inter­nal GPU (I had oth­er Nvidia and Radeon cards lying around; how­ev­er, I found the inter­nal GPU more than suf­fi­cient and why waste the pow­er while gen­er­at­ing extra heat)
  • NVMe SSD


  • Lin­ux, not any form of Win­dows (in this case Ubun­tu 20.04LTS with Wine)
  • RetroPie x86
  • KODI

Some Images of the Project thus far:

Final thoughts

This project is still being com­plet­ed, final paint­ing is sched­uled for Oct 2021 and once that is com­plete the final instal­la­tion of the com­put­ing gear, decals, logos, lights and of course the joy­sticks and but­tons will be finalized.

Stay tuned in the com­ing months for addi­tion­al images and fur­ther details in the write-up.

Orig­i­nal­ly Post­ed: Sep­tem­ber 19, 2021
Updat­ed: Novem­ber 29, 2022

| Arti­cle post­ed in: Bit­stream || Tagged as: , , |

42“x18“x1.5″ Custom Cutting Board — Edge Grain

Orig­i­nal­ly Post­ed: July 6, 2021
Updat­ed: Feb­ru­ary 25, 2023

Maple, Walnut, Cherry

It sounds like a dessert ice cream.

I love to cook, as you can see from my Insta­gram pro­file and the new Cui­sine sec­tion on this web­site.  Over the years, I have had var­i­ous store-bought cut­ting boards, most of which have worked rea­son­ably well.

How­ev­er, they all suf­fered from var­i­ous issues (lack of sta­bil­i­ty, dura­bil­i­ty, warp­ing due to poor man­u­fac­tur­ing, etc.).  This year my boards were get­ting to a point where they need­ed to be replaced, and thus it was a per­fect time to design and man­u­fac­ture a cus­tom board.

Design Requirements

A few of my require­ments for the new design:

  • The var­i­ous boards were nev­er big enough (16x16, 16x20, 8x10, etc.) — it had to be larg­er, much more promi­nent on the kitchen island.
  • I want­ed to move to an edge grain style board for my pri­ma­ry board for dura­bil­i­ty and rock-sol­id stability.
  • I have want­ed to make a cus­tom board for years (I am a hob­by­ist woodworker)
  • I want­ed to source Cana­di­an woods only.
  • The board had to fea­ture a unique design both in struc­ture and in colour; how­ev­er, I want­ed to use woods that were: 
    • not tox­ic
    • less than or rough­ly 1200 on the Jan­ka Hard­ness scale (my Japan­ese knives made from Aoga­mi Super (Super Blue car­bon) Steel clad with Stain­less Steel are brit­tle under cer­tain con­di­tions on hard sur­faces) — they have a Rock­well Hard­ness of 63:64 !
  • With wood prices soar­ing in 2020/2021, many hand­made boards can be ultra-expen­sive, and noth­ing I found on the web were the dimen­sions I was look­ing at.

Hence it was time to design and man­u­fac­ture my own per­son­al­ized board.

Materials and Tools

Materials (Woods):

  • Cana­di­an Walnut
  • Cana­di­an Maple
  • Cana­di­an Cher­ry was not avail­able, so I used a US import­ed Cherry

Materials (Other):

  • Tite­bond III glue
  • Sand­pa­per (80, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320 grit)
  • Cut­ting board oil (Caron and Doucet Cut­ting Board Con­di­tion­ing Oil)
  • Cut­ting board wax (Caron and Doucet)


  • Hand sand­ing block
  • Pipe Clamps, lots of pipe clamps
  • Flat work­bench
  • Orbital Sander
  • Router
  • Router Plan­ner Sled (will post the arti­cle on how I made my cus­tom one shortly)
  • Dou­ble Flute bit

The final result

As the image below show, the wood was ultra smooth, near per­fect­ly glued togeth­er and the final oil and wax process real­ly brought out the grain in all of the woods.

Final thoughts

Design­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing the board was around 8 hours of work and required sev­er­al cus­tom tools & jigs to be manufactured.

That said, the result speaks for itself, and the board is a unique piece of art as much as it is a rock-sol­id surface!

I have been using the board mul­ti­ple times dai­ly for near­ly four months now, and it’s so sol­id that my knives cut dra­mat­i­cal­ly bet­ter on it.  It should last for years with con­tin­ued main­te­nance — the only real issue with it is the weight and size of the phys­i­cal board, as it makes it dif­fi­cult to give it a good wash in the dou­ble sink.

The real ques­tion now that friends are asking:

Will you go into mak­ing boards and sell them ?

Hon­est­ly, I am con­sid­er­ing the idea more and more.

| Arti­cle post­ed in: Bit­stream,Wood Work­ing || Tagged as: , , |