my quest to build a replica donkey kong arcade machine

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cabinet sides

I have decided to create a Donkey Kong arcade machine from scratch. My name is Pepper. Pray for me.

My first step was to pull the plans from I've read that these plans were not exact but I figured they're a good starting point.

I bought two sheets of 3/4" MDF from Home Depot. 30 bucks. This stuff is very heavy so bring a friend or a few bucks to tip someone at Home Depot. I pulled something in my neck getting it on top of my Jeep. Learn from my mistakes. I'm sure that will be a recurring theme.

I originally tried to draw the plans on the MDF (like Barry) but I quickly got frustrated. I could never draw.

I noticed that the plans say "1.5" = 1 foot" so these drawings are 1/8 scale. So I opened the plans in Microsoft Paint, went to File->Page Setup, and set the scaling to "Adjust to 800%." I made sure that both "centering" boxes were unchecked and then I set all of the margins to 1/2 inch.

Then I hit "print." I did this at work before anyone else came in. It was something like 90 pages.

I then took a carpenter's square and cut the margins off the pages and taped them together. I used a big ruler to make sure they were straight. I had a full-scale plan. I cut it out with a scissor and traced it on to a piece of MDF.

It was at this point that the wife realized that something was up.

Then I made a religious pilgrimage. For I have one of the greatest assets on the planet: I am good friends with (and live very close to) the creator / restorer extraordinaire J.Avery. I brought him some lemon bars. We played Donkey Kong. He wished me well.

I cut the panels using a router. Almost everyone else cuts with a jigsaw and then sands but I am more skilled with a router than a jigsaw.

I cut it freehand but J.Avery suggested using the router to create a template in 1/4 inch MDF or plywood and then using a flush cut bit in the router to just follow the template, which is a safer idea. That’s what I’ll do for my next machine.

I then clamped the first one I cut out to a clean piece of MDF and used a flush cut bit in my router to cut the second one. I sanded out any imperfections using a palm sander.

This picture raises an important point: MDF creates a TON of dust. Wear a mask and goggles.

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