In this guide, I will build a matching stand for the Bartop Arcade Cabinet I built earlier. This way it can be used as a regular stand-up arcade machine, also while I’m at it. I will add a storage compartment, LED strips, indoor lighting, and a coin door. The storage will be used to store all my retro USB controllers that can be used with the barcade itself.
Note: In the same store I bought my bartop arcade kit, they also sold stands to go with them, I found these rather expensive and these are fairly easy to build yourself.
These are mostly links to eBay for similar products I used for this build, I recommend searching for the items yourself as in some cases a local store may be cheaper or shipping will be a lot faster than items from China.
- Wood MDF 18mm
- T-Moulding and Cutter blade (mill)
- Coin door with Lock, preferably just the door without a mechanism (Here, Here)
- 5 Meter 12V RGB 144L/M Led strip (Here, Here, Here, Here)
- Aluminum LED Strip Profile (Here, Here, Here, Here)
- Front Door Hinge (Here, Here, Here, Here)
- Front Door Lock (Here)
- Terminal Block with Cover (Here, Here, Here, Here, Here)
- Artwork (Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here)
- Inside Lighting strips 12V, Warm White, 50cm (Here, Here, Here, Here)
Before starting you should determine the ideal height for your barcade, this is mostly a personal preference depending on your own height. I’m about 1m79 and having the controls about 120cm from the ground feels right and won’t hurt my back or neck after long sessions. A widely used technique to determine the ideal height is by standing straight, bend your elbows at 90 degrees and keep your underarm parallel with the floor. Now measure the distance from your hands to the floor, this should be your ideal height. also, keep in mind the barcade has an extra 10cm of height until the actual controls. make sure to subtract this from your measured height.
When you decided on the height, you can start by shaping the sides, start by clamping both sides onto each other, make sure both plates are secured tightly. Then draw the outline of your sides onto one of the sides and use the jigsaw to cut it off.
Since both sides are secured onto each other, both sides will have the same cut so your cabinet will be symmetric.
I recommend cutting the T-moulding slot now, I did it later in the build but ran into a few troubles. It’s hard to explain how to properly cut the slot but I found this youtube video explaining and showing how to do it properly.
Now to keep the stand upright, I added 2 shelves to connect both sides and provide structure. I pre-cut 2 boards to the exact width of the barcade minus the thickness of the sides themselves.
I started by adding one on the top and bottom. Then I cut the back to the same size complete width of the stand and mounted it using the same L-brackets.
This should be enough for the stand to hold the barcade and can be used to test the height, in case the cabinet is too high, you can still remove some at the bottom of your stand.
Now add the remaining two shelves, make sure these are a bit shorter than the bottom and top part. I made them 590mm X 270mm shorter than the others to leave some room for the door. also, try not to have one of the shelves block the coin door as it may require a bit more dept.
The front of the stand will be closed with a door, this is just a regular 18mm MDF plate that will hold a coin door in the center. First cut a wooden board to fit the inside of your stand. Make sure to leave some extra on the right side as the hinges will also require some extra space. When the door is sized correctly we can install the coin door. I mounted the frame in the center of the door. Make sure the coin door is not blocked by any of the shelves on the inside when the door is closed, mine sits exactly between the two of my shelves. Use the actual coin door to draw the outlining onto the door and use the jigsaw to cut it out.
Drill 4 holes and use the included bolts and nuts to secure the coin door in place. Now everything should be painted, I went with the cheapest black paint, the outside and visible parts were painted twice, the inside was only painted once and invisible parts were not painted at all to save some time.
To mount the door, i’m using 3 hinges on the left side of the stand. I mounted the hinges on the door first, then placed the door in the stand. Use something thin to keep the door a few mm from the bottom. This way the door has enough space to not scrape the underside when opening. also, keep in mind the door may sag a bit over time. So keep enough headroom on the bottom as well on the top and right.
The coin door and the white LED strips I ordered both works of 12v, I will be using a regular 12V adapter and one of the terminals I ordered earlier. The adapter cable of the adapter is fed through to the bartop cabinet so the LEDs will only turn on when the barcade is powered on.
The coin door came with regular bulbs, these bulbs have no Positive or Negative so just wire them onto the 12v terminal.
To install the LED strips to the bottom of each shelve, I used some double-sided tape. I recommend some decent tape that is somewhat heat resistant as the strips may get quite hot. The strips should be wired onto the same terminal as the coin door, make sure to connect the wire them correctly as the red wire is positive and the black wire is negative.
To keep the door closed, I installed a lock on the right side of the door and a metal plate to keep the door closed. The metal plate is one of the L-brackets used to assemble the stand.
The T-moulding can finally be installed as well, I went with a blue vs red theme so in my case the left side will be blue and the right side will be red
Then apply the artwork on the sides of your cabinet. If the sticker is thick, it won’t come off anymore but for a better sticking area, you may want to use some sandpaper to smoothen out the surface before sticking the artwork on. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean the surface after sanding it as dust may be even worse.
I also installed LED strips on the back of my barcade, I want these to run to the floor on the back of the stand as well, First I cut the LED strip profile to the height of the stand, Drilled a few holes in the aluminum and used screws to mount them onto the back stand.
Then I used the LED strip plugs to attach the strips to the strip that was already installed on the back of the barcade, I made the strips match my intended color scheme of Blue vs Red by only connecting the blue and red wire of the LED strip earlier when building the barcade.
You can also install feet on the bottom of the cabinet to keep it from scratching your floor, in my case this was not needed.
To secure the barcade cabinet on top of its stand, put the barcade on top so the T-moulding on the sides matches. Then drill 3 holes in a triangle form from the stand into the barcade and use large butterfly bolts to keep mount them together.
As an extra secure point, I added another hinge on the back of the barcade and stand.