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Topic: Arcade Game Construction Tutorial
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JohnBoy
Joined: May 14, 2008
Topics: 81   Replies: 512
posted on Mar 25, 2009 03:52 PM:
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At long last, I am posting the build tutorial for these kits. My apologies for the delays; I know there are many people who are waiting for this, and I appreciate your patience.

You may want to go read the tutorial for the Pinball Machine Construction:

http://www.jcstudiosinc.com/BlogShowThread?id=18

Those kits are very similar to the Arcade Game kits in that they are made of the same 0.06" black styrene, and the adhesive and techniques are the same.

I almost always dry-fit the parts together before starting in earnest, to ensure I understand how all the parts go together, and also eliminate any issues with tabs and slots not fitting together before trying to do it with glue. Some of the slots may have burrs that need to be removed in order for the tabs to fit into them. Sometimes the lasering process does not completely remove these cutouts (the heat causes the cutout to melt partially and re-fuse). They usually come out pretty easily by pushing them with your thumbnail.

The first thing I do with these Arcade Game kits is take one of the side profile parts, and lay it down on the work table.

Then, I simply go about inserting the various lateral parts into the piece that is laying flat on the table.





You will want to apply the stickers to the parts before gluing, but here you can see I've done a dry-fit first, which is always a good idea.

I usually put the back piece in first, and then the screen frame, then the coin box.

Next I insert the three cross-bar parts. The widest one is the title bar, and this goes at the top. The second widest is the control panel, which goes in laterally on the upper part of the little bump-out in the profile. The narrowest crossbar goes vertically right under the control panel. This part is mostly to alleviate light-leaks from the interior.





Once all the lateral pieces have been put into place, you then place the opposing profile side piece on top of them. This is the hardest part of this kit, and it can sometimes take some fenagling to get all the tabs of the lateral parts to slide into the slots of the second profile part. But they will all go in eventually, and you'll know because the whole unit suddenly snaps into a nice, solid shape.



 

   

JohnBoy
Joined: May 14, 2008
Topics: 81   Replies: 512
posted on Mar 25, 2009 04:05 PM:
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After dry-fitting, you'll want to take the machine apart again to apply the stickers.





The stickers are not pre-perforated like many commercial products. I looked into this, and it would have added significantly to the cost of the kits to get this done, so I opted out. But it's really not too difficult to cut them out - carefully - with scissors. As with the pinball machine stickers, don't panic if you end up cutting one in the wrong spot, or even in half. You might be able to position them onto the surface of the parts without a glaring edge between them. If not - just email me and I'll send you a new set of stickers.





You want to cut the stickers just on the inside of the black lines. Before peeling the backing off and affixing to a part, always take the cut-out sticker and dry-fit it onto the part to ensure it looks Ok, and also to get familiar with how best to apply it.





With the crossbar pieces, be sure that the stickers don't extend past the edge and into the tab area on each side, as these tabs go into slots and this will cause the sticker to bunch-up. The stickers are printed to fit pretty much perfectly on the parts, so as long as you cut them carefully, and center them when applying, they should be a good fit.

Be sure to apply the side-profile cabinet art stickers on the outside of the opposing side parts - look at the above photo for reference.

For the Centipede game, the control panel sticker is larger than the surface of the control crossbar. This is by design, and it is an attempt to model the real Centipede machines which have a similar "wrap around" graphic on the control panel. Because of this, for the Centipede game I chose to apply the control panel sticker after assembly.
 

   

JohnBoy
Joined: May 14, 2008
Topics: 81   Replies: 512
posted on Mar 25, 2009 07:02 PM:
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The screen is the hardest of the stickers to complete, because you want the surface to face out. There are a number of ways to do this, and it depends on how much effort you want to put into the project. The simplest approach for the screen graphic is to just cut it out to size, and then don't peel the backing off, but just glue it into place behind the screen frame part.





Alternatively, you might want to peel the backing off and apply the screen sticker to a white, blank piece of paper, and then cut that to the right size to glue to the back of the screen frame piece. Either way will work.





If you place the screen frame over the sticker, you can see where it is you need to cut it to make it fit. You might even want to trace lines with a pencil to help you cut.





Once you have trimmed it to the right size, and dry-fit it behind to ensure it will fit, you can apply some glue to the back of the screen frame piece.



 

   

JohnBoy
Joined: May 14, 2008
Topics: 81   Replies: 512
posted on Mar 25, 2009 07:13 PM:
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Then, simply apply the screen sticker gently to the screen frame part. Using too much glue, and/or pressing them together too hard, will cause some of the glue to seep out onto the surface of the screen graphic, so try to use as little glue as possible. This is not a joint that is going to be subject to a lot of pressure, so a tiny bit of glue should suffice.





Be sure to look at it carefully from the front side to make sure the image is straight and centered in the screen frame.





Let this dry for a few hours (follow the instructions of your adhesive). When it's dried, you can begin gluing the parts together. The order of assembly doesn't much matter, but I started with the back panel. Note the orientation of the parts before committing them with glue. The back panel has a half-circle hole at the bottom, to allow the wires of a potential light bulb to exit. Apply a small amount of glue to the straight edge between the tabs:





Then affix it to the profile part that's on the table. Examine it carefully to ensure the two parts are fitting snug and straight. You can wipe excess glue from the joints with a Q-tip or small napkin.









Here I tried to show what the control panel crossbars look like in their orientation when assembled:





Note that the wider of the two is oriented somewhat parallel with the floor, while the skinny one is oriented vertically.

Note here the orientation of the coin box part:




 

   

JohnBoy
Joined: May 14, 2008
Topics: 81   Replies: 512
posted on Mar 25, 2009 07:20 PM:
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Now you have all the pieces half-way installed: they are all glued into the profile side-part that is on the table. The next thing to do is to apply small amounts of glue to the edges of all the parts that are still exposed, and place the opposing profile side-part on top.





Just like with the dry-fit, this will take some jostling to get all the tabs to slip into their slots. But again, you'll know when they all go together because the whole machine will pop into shape.





For the Centipede game, I saved the control panel sticker for after assembly. I dry-fit it first to ensure I had it cut to the right size:





Then I peeled the backing off, and applied it. It took me two times to make sure I had it straight and flush with the bottom of the screen. Once that was Ok, I bent it down and wrapped the remainder of the sticker over the edge of the control panel:




 

   

JohnBoy
Joined: May 14, 2008
Topics: 81   Replies: 512
posted on Mar 25, 2009 07:22 PM:
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The last thing to do is apply some glue to the top edge of the back panel, and the top edge of the screen frame, and then place the roof piece in.





That's about it. Allow the glue a proper amount of time to cure, and then you're ready to put it wherever you want it. You can also install a small light bulb inside to light up the screen. More on this later, as I will go into some detail about light bulbs, heat, and interior reflection to get the best results.

Please feel free to register and post questions, comments, suggestions, or just show off your work.

Cheers,

John
 

   





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