Friday 30 November 2012

Day 27 - Side Done

The sides were painted today and look really nice. They need touching up where the masking tape failed. First the black stripe was added (from the other day) and left to dry. Then the orange was added. They each took about 3 to 4 coats.

My mate Pierre did some art samples. The one on the right was another friend who modified the invader.
 After a bit more trialing the following were the contenders:

This isn't the finished article, but Pierre worked his magic and superimposed the image onto the photo. 

Monday 26 November 2012

Day 26 - More Paint

Tonight, the yellow from the previous spraying had dried so we masked off a border of 18mm (3/4 inch) from the outside edge with the nice blue fine line tape followed by masking tape and paper, then sprayed it black. Very nice it looks too (forgot to take photos).

When it's dry we'll sand/white spirit where the black came through (the air was too strong for the crap masking tape and went through in a few places), repeat the process so the yellow shows and spray the middle.

Given the red is more orange now, I've been playing with colours and layout and found three possible fonts. I'm taking ideas (click to enlarge).....

Friday 23 November 2012

Day 25 - Don't Call Me Yellow

Tonight me and my mate Brian sprayed the middle section yellow. When I say me and my mate, I mean Brian sprayed and I watched and gave advice ;)

It didn't exactly start great when I never thought my black finger prints on the cabinet (from painting the other side) may show through when the thinned out light yellow was sprayed on. But it worked out ok in the end as there was some white primer lying around.

Click to zoom the pictures as usual. Bri did an absolutely spot-on job, but it might take until Monday to dry ready for me to spaz it up with the fine-line so we Brian can spray the outside black strip.

The outside black and yellow stripes, btw, will be about three quarters of an inch (20mm or so) in thickness each and below is something like what the design is/was. The font will be different, there'll be no white stripe (too much like hard work) and the bottom will look more like the picture on the right (thanks to Dennis at, which gives a more retro looking fade using black stripes and avoids the need for having a crap gradual fade effect like in the big picture on the left.

If you're near the north-east of England and need the best motorcycle training money can buy, Brian is your man: , and he trains even better than he sprays.

Reminiscing slightly. This is what the cabinet looks like now (and the picture above).

Years ago when I had hair and I first started wanting to do a cabinet, this was my design (to the right), which I later decided was both too hard to cut and looked too much like Elvis.

After redesigning I came up with this, which then got a few more curves and became what I have now.

Day 24 - One Out

I bought the wrong colour for the cabinet. It was cheap enough so I could just get it again, but I'll just leave it. It'll be fine.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Day 23 - Curvulicious

Not really a days work, or even an hours work, as I can't do much until I get some art.

So, I sanded down the cabinet sides to smooth away all the black paint fingerprints. I ordered some fine line tape (32m of 3mm width from 3M) for about £4. This is the stuff they use for lining out shapes on cars for spraying, like flames and such. It's thin, doesn't leave a residue and is very bendy (wish my wife was like that).

So I sized up the stripes and 1.5 inches seems a good width for the two stripes (0.75 inches each). Seems the best way of getting the curves to match was to stick my finger on the edge and run my finger round at a fixed distance.

After that I had a go at the fine-lining. The first curve (bigger curve at the bottom) looks a bit wobbly but the second tighter curve looks a lot nicer. I've a feeling I'll have to do a full side at a time.

The plan of action is to first spray the yellow (it's the inner stripe, i.e. not the edge), then when dry fine-line round it and mask with paper the inside of the cabinet and spray the outside black. Then remove the tape while wet and when the paint is dry tape again on the outside of the yellow to spray the inside the vermillion (orange/red).

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Day 22 - My Stools are Black

Not really any new progress. Just waiting on artwork, as without it I cannot get the controls due to not knowing the colours, and without the controls I can't get the control panel cut or the acrylic sheets ordered, etc.

I have been setting up Mala, Virtual Pinball and a few other bits of software to run the cabinet though. The problem now is my computer broke so I'll be needing to find something new to put in the cabinet....

What has arrived though are two bar stools. I was looking at second hand, but as normal with eBay they all wanted far too much money.

Being the cautious buyer, at first what I thought was a bit of scam, turned out perfectly fine - I saw some bar stools that looked nice, were a good price and had £30 discount if I bought two. The 'catch' being I had to bid for a voucher costing 1p that was then posted to me to redeem.

It turns out it's because eBay don't allow electronic vouchers, and the company selling the chairs is just trying to drum up business.

So, I got the voucher, ordered the stools (free delivery) and they arrived the next day for about £25 each. Total turnaround of two days.

Took a while to decide which ones to get, but I chose these as it went really low (so I could ensure they wouldn't be too high for the control panel) and they had a straight high back for monster sessions on Metal Slug.

This is the website, to get the voucher off just go to eBay and search for it. Really helpful people.

The base of the stools could do with being a bit heavier, but then that would mean the stools would be costing three times the price easily and you don't really get that kind of weight unless you buy shop fit quality.

This isn't a problem though as the base is quite wide to stop wobbling and I doubt any weight would really help as the centre of balance is quite high.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Day 21 - Painting Ends

The final painting has been done to the black parts. It looks a lot nicer than what the photo shows. Only problem is it hasn't quite dried and leaves paint marks on the fingers, so it might do this when fully dry so I'm thinking about trialling a matt lacquer spray.

The grill is just to let any hot air from the marquee light and as it's at the rear, looks and paint finish weren't that important.

I also did more playing with the control panel and I think I like what is below, meaning I will put in a trackball afterall. I tried putting the P1/P2 buttons to the far left/right in line with buttons/joysticks but they end up being at different offsets from the edge.

To give a bit more room I've narrowed the gap from the joystick to the first button to 85mm (from 95mm). Not quite standard sizes, but I'm not bothered (63mm was too close).

P1 or P2 will double as the SHIFT key so pressing that and player buttons will give pause, quit, etc. So there's no need to add extra buttons. The mouse left/right button will be the pinball left/right buttons I plan on sticking to the side of the control panel on the edge of the side panels.

Below is a more detailed picture of the panel.

Here's a video I made earlier:

Friday 2 November 2012

Day 20 - Painting Begins

Firstly, I fixed the dimples on the arcade cabinet caused by the screws protruding slightly on the facing side of the cabinet sets (in future either get them 3mm smaller than the depth of the wood or make sure not to over countersink them - 3mm smaller really means I'd have to screw from the outside in and fill every hole). I shaved them with my block plane, sanded then filled.

The speaker and subwoofer holes are finished.

The speaker holes were created by using the router (after this picture was taken the errors on the left hole was corrected with filler - this was my first attempt, I got better on the second :) ).  The majority of this panel will be hidden (i.e. the speaker holes will be centre). The black panel behind the speaker cover, btw, is the first coat of paint on another panel.

The subwoofer was done by making a hole (using the jigsaw) large enough for the speaker to fit through from the inside and the cover is removed and placed on the outside of the panel. This is why I bought this sub-woofer - to allow it to be exposed easily and to have a removable grill.

The two pictures to the right show the subwoofer.

Where I'm up to is this: all panels now have three layers of primer/undercoat and three layers of black paint. The bare MDF was sanded with 600 then 1200 grit, each primercoat was sanded with 240, 600 and finally (to be done) 1200 grit paper. The black paint was left to dry for a day between coats and sanded with 400,600 and 1200 paper.

All coats were put on with one load of paint and not over painted, so the coats could be added gradually to form the finished coat.

Hopefully by the end of the weekend the paint will be fully dried and the final 1200 grit sanding done. I've no idea yet whether this will mean another coat is required (i.e. if sanding with 1200 will spoil or enhance the finish). Each layer was done using a brand new gloss 4 inch roller each time.

It'll then be assembled ready for the side panels. I was going to keep them separate to allow for transport and spraying, but I think I'll use vinyl.

The black paint was by the same firm as I got the MDF primer and is a kind of matt based gloss. Well, it's a solvent based paint with a matt finish. I bought it because of the matt finish and it wasn't water based/emulsion so it would have some strength and depth to the colour.

The primer I used (see previous blog) and this paint is absoloutely lovely.

Almost forgot to mention: the glass has arrived, it's 1mm too wide so I may have to adjust the wood somehow to avoid having big gaps everywhere.

I don't know the percentage of light it allows through but it is grey tinted and adds a layer of quality to the picture below - I tried Galaxians on my tablet (using the MAME emulator for Android) and without the glass it is bright and shiny (somehow like an over exposed picture), but behind the glass it seems to have more contrast, more vivid colours and the game just looks better with that hint of brightness removed.

I'll post a video/set of pictures over the weekend.

Special thanks go to my mate Ahsan who's feeling left out because he hasn't been mentioned as a contributor or inspiration source yet.