First of all what is Mame?
Mame stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. It is a program that emulates arcade hardware allowing you to play original arcade ROMs on your computer. There are literally thousands of games you can play on it. The best part is building an arcade cabinet using authentic arcade controls so that you can play those games as they were meant to be without a keyboard. This may seem extreme but for those of us that grew up on the 80s on these games it is a dream come true.
If anyone is thinking of building a Mame Cabinet, the best place to look is www.arcadecontrols.com. It is by far the best arcade cabinet building resource around.
I am "Nannuu" on the BYOAC message boards. Hope to see you there!
Rotating panels similar to 1up/Frosty:
Originally I planned on building a rotating cabinet similar to 1up's and Frosty's but I would add two wings to accommodate 4 players instead of two (only the center would rotate leaving the wings stationary). But somehow I just wasn't happy with only three panels to choose from. I spent months thinking about and sketching my layouts and 3 was never enough. I'm trying to make my panels nice and clean but still have my cabinet play as much as I possibly can. Frosty's is my most favorite cabinet of all time but I really want at least one more panel.
Hot Swap or Modular Panels:
A second option was to create hot swap or modular panels. This has been done by telengard with great success. But for me, I'm not happy with the idea of storing the panels then pulling them on and off. I am sure to bung them up somehow. I am just enthralled with an enclosed neat design so I won't be making any swappable or modular panels.
Conveyor Belt Mechanism:
My third option was to create a
conveyor belt type of contraption inside the cabinet that would move around
similar to a jewelry case (read
this thread from BYOAC forums). That way it could hold more panels and
still be self contained. I had to ditch this one after looking around for
a few weeks for parts. Possible yes, but more moving parts means more
money and more maintenance. And my simplistic plan probably didn't account
for a giant amount of problems that would pop up.
I tried to make a realistic scale model of what could be done. My conveyor belt/chain is 18"x24" (which could be increased by losing the casters). The control panel is 10" deep without the wiring connections up front.
I think you could make the connections to the encoder rather simple by using screws and homemade leaf switches. The wiring could attach to the screws, then once the panel rotates into position, the screw heads press the leaf contacts which are connected to an Ipac (or other encoder).
This design only allows for the conveyor to rotate in one direction. But it would allow for the motor to adjust the panel into position.
I've gone with the fulcrum on the bottom side of the panel for ease (or so I think) so that the panel can more easily be flush with the cp when in playing position. But doing so will probably make the panel sit at an angle so you could add a guide at the front of the cabinet to pull the panel to the correct angle before the second motor rotates it into position.
I would think that the second motor that lifts the panel could use two arms, one on each side just so that it doesn't twist the panel when lifting, it may be better on the chain that way? And maybe the same with the first motor as well? Don't know much about motors.....
I was thinking of maybe solenoids to hold it in place while playing and this would lessen the strain on the motor. Or create the arm of the motor so that it snaps into place.
By the looks of what I have here steering wheels and such would not be so fun to try and add......
Well this "design" has 5 panels and you may be able to squeeze one more on there if you made them smaller or got rid of the casters on the bottom.
Rotating using 1hookedspacecadet's Idea:
At this moment this is my plan. It is a rotating design but it rotates down an axis parallel to the depth of the cabinet (also see similar post). This allows for 4 player wings and 4 panels rotating. It is really that 4th panel that appeals to me. Do I need that many? Eh, do I need a Mame cabinet? Yes, yes I believe I do.
I am going to try a complete Simpsons theme the my cabinet. I will create custom artwork for the marquee, side art, bezel and control panel. I would like to create Simpsons characters depicting classic arcade games that are similar to classic arcade art. Other crazy ideas include creating a set of joysticks with the heads of the Simpsons characters as handles.