Old School Retro Arcade





Total Cost ~$300.


That is amazing! I’ve been looking at some commercially-available kits but would much rather cut my own once I get my GF!

Can you share more on the guts (RasPi? Nuc?)

Yep, happy to share. It’s running a Pi2. Screen is a 9" TFT with HDMI in, on eBay for $50.
A good to know: All the wood is 1/4" Baltic Birch Ply, cut with a 40W laser - same as GF!

Can lower costs as I’ve included the gamepads in that $300. Also included a $40 5v/12v power supply, which could be cheaper as well.


This is awesome! What did you use for the artwork?

What program did you use to design it?

Looks like Sketchup

I used Sketchup for the 3D design, exported flattened pieces in 2D as .dxf files.
For the arcade graphics, i grabbed any free vector stuff I could find online and put it into Illustrator.
Printed it on a regular color laser printer, printed paper looks quite fine when backlit and under acrylic.


Oh wow! The paper + acrylic turned out great. This whole project looks really polished, awesome job!


Thanks for the compliments. I’m glad I’m not the only guy living my childhood out. I grew up through 80s and early 90s with video games and still love a good game now at 43! Here’s a few more pics of the process to fill in some blanks.

cool trick with the laser- vector cut masking - acrylic comes with protective paper on both sides, cut at low power/fast speed enough to cut just the paper. Remove the part you want painted and leave the paper on the part you want see-through. Remember to flip the entire thing inside out so that the painted surface on the ‘inside’

this was the first try at the graphics, the printer wasn’t printing to scale so ended up adjusting until it lined up.


wow, thats pretty sweet! I love the external ports you left on the side, and going with light up buttons is an awesome choice!

Im a pretty big arcade junky myself, and cant wait to get my glowforge to help make some cool custom pieces for my cabinet(s).

A few recommendations if anyone else is considering creating an arcade machine:

  • Use sanwa or seimitsu hardware. Their joysticks are so much more responsive and usable than the oldschool arcade sticks. If you want to give them the oldschool look you can buy a bat-top for them.
  • Use at least 6 buttons if you have the room. (not including start/select). there are a lot of fighting games, especially street fighter that use at least 6.
  • A lot of classic arcade games (donkey kong, pacmac, etc) run in portrait mode on monitors, make sure you decide which games you prefer before choosing your orientation.
  • There are a lot of pre-made all-in-one arcade boards that contain all the old arcade games for either screen orientation if raspberry pi isnt your thing.
  • It is possible to build 2 single player arcade cabinets and interconnect them for face-offs! Super fun.

If you are looking for good arcade gear, Susan at paradisearcadeshop.com is really awesome, and they have some of the best arcade customization parts on the web. Check them out!


I totally agree - Happ joystick is what I had lying around. Next build I’ll be using Sanwa with the Red top for that classic look.

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Is the largest piece smaller than 12" x 20" ?

The sides are 9.5"x14" tall. The width of the arcade is 9.75"
It’s meant to be glowforged :grinning:


this looks awesome and needs to be an instructable.


Jaw dropped. This is amazing.


We need a GF badge to put on projects. :bulb:
“This project is GF certified”.

We should have two one for GF+ for projects that require using the pass-thru.


Im curious to know what speakers you used? They look pretty substantial for that small of a driver

lol, they do look impressive with their double stacked magnets considering they’re only 2.5" diameter. They’re actually salvaged computer speakers. They came from the Logitech Z313 set. I used the subwoofer for a virtual pinball cabinet (desktop sized of course) and had these left over.


Thanks for adding the extra information, the tip about painting the acrylic is great! @takitus awesome recommendations for hardware! I’m tempted to make one myself now :smiley:


Looks great. Love the old school arcade games. I’ve got a few designs in mind for when I get my Glowforge.