An alternative to purchasing an arcade cabinet at an auction
is to simply build one yourself! This can be cheaper or more expensive, but usually more rewarding.
The first step in building your own cabinet is to diagram the paneling on a sheet of graph paper. You may want to take into consideration the width, height, and depth of your TV or monitor at this point in time to avoid getting burned. A good place to find starter plans for an arcade cabinet is LuSiD's Arcade Flashback (http://home.earthlink.net/~seanhat/arcade/). You can use the plans provided here and modify them to your liking.
The second step in building your cabinet is to purchase all the parts you will need to construct it. You have several options at this point, but we'll start with the necessities.
Take the following list to your local home improvement store and shop away:
1. Wood Screws
2. Shelf Brackets to Support the Monitor
3. Hinges to Door for PC Access
4. Handle to Door for PC Access
5. Flourescent Light Fixture for the Marquee
6. Three 4'x8' Sheets of Plywood
Note that when you are purchasing plywood, fiber or pine are cheap and suited best for painting, and oak and birch are more expensive but stain very nicely as they have less knots.
The third step is to tackle how you're going to handle those nasty edges on your plywood. You can either route them and use a T-Molding (as seen on most arcade cabinets) or you can use wooden edge molding which can be purchased along with your plywood. You can buy T-Molding (along with arcade controls) at www.happcontrols.com.
The last pieces you may want to purchase are:
1. A coin door. You can buy these at Happ Controls or on ebay for reasonable prices.
2. Glass or Plexiglass covering for your monitor. This can be cut and purchased at a local glass shop.
3. A vintage or MAME marquee. These can be purchased on ebay as well.
Once you have all of your parts, cutting and assembling is only as easy as your proficency in woodworking, however even for the novice this project is fairly straight-forward. Besides, you'll be able to brag to all of your friends about your great achievement.