View Full Version : Sourcing a Mame Cab in the UK

12-02-10, 11:59
How do.

I'm planning on setting up a MAME cab later this year and have been looking around for suitable bases to start the project.

So far, from browsing ebay/craigslist/gumtree etc. I have only found the following -

-Working cabs which I am not willing to gut, can't bring myself to destroy something like that!
-Generic cabs which are usually overpriced
-Pre-built MAME cabs costing an arm and a leg.

I'd appreciate some advice on where to look in the UK for a good base for the build!

It's going to be my main "do all" cab with 2 player controls + Spinner & Trackball in the centre of the control panel. I've considered buying a bare kit from http://www.turnarcades.co.uk/ but I have the time to look around for better options before going for that.

I have a PC already set up and ready to be dropped in. I've used the Maximus Arcade (www.maximusarcade.com) front-end. Currently its rigged up to my TV with 4 control pads . . but it's just not right!

Thanks in advance.

12-02-10, 01:36
Your best bet by far is on a gaming forum or there is an ebay seller that has a lot of dead cabs and he is in Yorkshire.

I sourced my MAME cab on a forum and also my recent pinball table.

Probably the best one to try is Jamma+ which is where I got my pinball from.


I think you have to have 10 posts before getting access to the sales and trades areas but that's where you'll find them, or once you have 10 posts up post it in the Wanted thread.

There is also a courier on there called The Deliveryman who has a standard rate Nationwide for shipping any cab you find. He transported my pin and I was happy with the service.

I remember there was a guy in Preston trying to shift an empty cab but it was extremely fugly so people were offering money to see a video of it burning. I think that dropped to 50p and a bag of chips or something.

12-02-10, 02:14
I just remembered, this guy is in widnes but mainly sells refurbed stuff but he does advertise his old beaters on ebay.


15-02-10, 12:36
How about a BNIB Robotron?

Link (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Williams-ROBOTRON-Cabaret-Arcade-Game_W0QQitemZ270529396890QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Vi deo_Games_Coin_Operated_MJ?hash=item3efccf009a)

15-02-10, 09:46
Wow. If I wasn't getting married in a couple of months I would have bought that :D

Thanks for the pointers miner2049er.

This looks promising (I'm assuming this is the Yorkshire based chap that you mentioned) http://www.videotronicsuk.com/

. . . really want that Robotron now :BW:

15-02-10, 11:53
This looks promising (I'm assuming this is the Yorkshire based chap that you mentioned) http://www.videotronicsuk.com/

I think so and he also sells on eBay though he has nothing listed there right now.

28-02-10, 09:18
I heard about thread in this month’s tech questions so I thought I‘d recommend the guy I bought my MAME cab from in the UK. I got a MAME cab a few weeks ago from a guy selling on eBay ‘digitalsystemsdesign’.
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/MAME-TM-Compatible-Video-Gaming-Cabinet-System_W0QQitemZ370318504662QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_ Video_Games_Coin_Operated_MJ?hash=item5638b3f2d6

It was a steal at £395 including free delivery to where I live. There’s a small charge for certain postcodes details are in the eBay listing.

As far as I was concerned it was a very positive experience. The guy, Jeff, was good to deal with and very happy to give lots of details over the phone. There‘s a number on the eBay listing.

I recommended him to someone I work with and he bought one and is also very happy with it. He did say that the courier initially refused to lift the cab into his house but did in the end. The cabs are pretty light anyway and have castors so can be moved relatively easily.

They come with a pre-configured PC running a full version of XP with most of the unnecessary services removed, c.f. the configuration UK Mike talked about in is configuring a MAME cab segment in one of the previous shows. The MAME front end is mamewah which I find good enough but I’m sure it wouldn’t be difficult to change if you wanted to use something else. Mine came with MAME 115 too, I was told as that was the last version to support the Neo Geo games.

I was told the cabs themselves came from a chain of betting shops. Mine isn’t pristine, it has some cigarette burns and the plastic has yellowed a little but that just adds to the authenticity. The controls are all new and of reasonable quality. They are good enough for the amount of play I use it for anyway. I’ve managed to get my Bomb jack highest score up to half a million with them so they must be good.

For anyone looking for a pre-built MAME cab at a reasonable price I’d strongly recommend checking this guy out.

28-02-10, 01:00
Hi Mike first thanks for reading out my question on the podcast re building a mame cab. One question how easy is it to build your cab from scratch? Where in the uk can you otain butttons and cables? Oh and the mickey take of Brummies really funnie and I come from aston in Brum.

28-02-10, 01:43
While I am sure UK can fill you in on local sources better than I, there are a few things here I can help with. FYI, ebay almost always has listings for entire control packages (joysticks, buttons, p1 and p2 start etc.) for about $20 US, you can pay more for better stuff but those sets are fine unless your really picky.

Building your own cab is a mixed bag. If you already have access to woodworking gear such as a large table saw then it is not so bad. It also depends on what you are going for, a utility type cabinet just to hold the gear or a really authentic retro cab with a coin door, marquee etc. If you are going for that then the little things can add up, the lights, glass, rails, coin door etc. By the time you source all of those it would have been cheaper to buy a cab in most cases.

Plans for building a variety of cab styles can be found here (http://arcadecontrols.com/arcade_cabinet_plans.shtml#Kyle_PacMan).

28-02-10, 02:31
This is a great thread with a ton of machines for sale, though most are refurbs, not MAME material.


Sign up on the Jamma+ forum and you will find a cab that suits you, or even ask for one in the wanted threads and wait for one to find you.

You will find anything ranging from a piece of wood to a working sit down twin cab.

As for controls, I bought my joysticks from Ultimarc which is in the US but I got a great service. The Mag Stik Plus on that page is switchable from 4way to 8way without having to open up the cab or panel.


There is really only 1 good place for t molding and that is in the US but if you make sure to buy enough in one go you will keep shipping costs down.


The interface you should get from ultimarc too. The I-Pac is very easy, solderless and good for a simultaneous 2 player 8 button setup. There are PS/2 and USB versions so pick the right one for you.


For buttons I always use Happ and buy them from Gremlin Solutions in the UK, though sometimes they might ship from the US I think. Their lit buttons look amazing.


If you want a flat pack arcade kit then Arcade Depot now ship from the UK as well as the US.


28-02-10, 02:39
Hi Mike first thanks for reading out my question on the podcast re building a mame cab. One question how easy is it to build your cab from scratch? Where in the uk can you otain butttons and cables? Oh and the mickey take of Brummies really funnie and I come from aston in Brum.

Well, Scott read your question, but it's an easy mistake if you're from Aston after all.

Personally I would not build an upright cab from scratch. You could find a suitable MAME candidate for probably less than the cost of timber, assembly parts and the cost in time to assemble. Most kits will use MDF or particle board where you should be looking to strong ply I think.

The only cab I may build from scratch is a cocktail because most originals would not have space for a big ass CRT monitor, PC and cooling.

The controls etc I already posted but the cables are really only standard PC cables which you will have and a roll of insulated copper wire sold anywhere from B&Q to Wilkinsons though I have a trade account at Screwfix and they were very reasonable. You should buy a bag of Spade End fittings too rather than solder everything as it just makes it easier to swap parts out and troubleshoot later.

02-03-10, 12:45
Cheers Mike thanks for advice. I should have said thanks to all for getting my question answered on the podcast. I quite like the idea of obtaining one of the flat packs from ebay what do you think?

02-03-10, 02:47
Looking at the flat packs, and again, not sure of prices in the UK, but that is competitive with a fair price for a cocktail cab in most areas in the U.S. But I can say that what your getting for the money, it isn't a robbery.

02-03-10, 01:22
Thanks for advice chaps + for the awesome list of links Mike.

A flat kit is looking more and more appealing. The few cabs I have seen on ebay/forums have been unsuitable. Obviously there is still plenty of time for something to surface.

When considering the cost of the flatpacks, I'm factoring in the extra time + tools I'd need to create the cabinet myself from sheets of plywood, which makes it more appealing. If you already had the tools + know-how I expect the kits might look expensive.

(Didn't realise this thread was in this months tech questions, I'm still catching up with the older podcasts!)

02-03-10, 02:25
Dude, worse case, you end up with an arcade machine you love, $50 here or there is not a big deal.

02-03-10, 03:10
Very true!

I could do with the £30 to buy the wife to be flowers after filling a room with arcade machines though :D

02-03-10, 03:14
I have said many times, make the first or "limit" game, her game, I got my wife who is a cat fanatic, a Bad Cats pin. Perhaps a game your wife loves will get things rolling so set that as the boot game for MAME, or the artwork theme.

04-03-10, 03:54
I think flatpack is the way I am going to go. Worst case It all goes wrong best case it will be a starting point for first build and quite a good learning experiance. If I get this right really fancie building a moon cresta cocktail cab fav game of all time. Will start to post some photos of build when I make a start.
Thanks again for help Brian

04-03-10, 03:56
No probs with my wife she will happily play pacman for hours. Its cheaper than flowers all the time.

20-05-10, 11:41
Just thought I would update this thread. I ended up ordering a pre built shell from www.turnarcades.co.uk - As I mentioned, more expensive then modding an old cab but was marginal after I factored all the tools/materials etc if I was to build my own from scratch.

I picked a 4 player cab as I wanted a trackball + Spinner so the 4p panel seemed like a logical choice to give enough room. The control panel is slightly more compact than the one they currently have on their website. I have plenty of gatherings for gaming so the the 3+4p controls will get used :D

I have arranged a courier (thanks for the Deliveryman recommendation ukmike) so it should arrive in a few days. I picked up a 21"CRT yesterday for £10 ($15) which works like a charm.

Just the controls to sort out now which I am ordering mostly from www.gremlinsolutions.co.uk - I will keep you posted on the build if anyone is interested! (might try the blog feature here at gamegavel). Pic below.


20-05-10, 12:20
Nice pick, that should be suitable for the main room in hour house. They make a nice countertop as well if you want to start looking for a second one. Keep us posted on how the build goes.

20-05-10, 12:23
Definitely keep us posted and blog each step with pics too.

03-06-10, 01:49
How do!

I'll start a proper thread/blog soon, but I just took delivery of my cab. Looks excellent and "The Deliveryman" provided a great service :) Just thought I would pop a few pics in here for now. All the parts arrived from Gremlin Solutions this week so I plan to get started ASAP! Just waiting for the spinner top and the stiffer spring+circular restrictor for the U360 joysticks.

If anyone reading this is thinking of building a cab/ arcade controls, you should listen to RGR episodes 3,4 and 5. Some great stuff in those.

I couldn't resist sticking the trackball and a few buttons in place . . . even though I am "Working from home" today :)




18-05-11, 10:34
Anybody fancying a pinball type project, there are 3 empty cabs up for grabs on the UK Pinball group.

Located in Blackpool.

20-05-11, 04:28
Blimey! I have neglected online forums for a while!

I'd love to snap one of the empty pin cabs up but I'm in the process of putting a racing sim/cockpit together so I'd better leave it :S Not much room in the "man cave" at the moment!

I should try to post details of the final build of the mame cab too at some point. It's working like a charm :)

01-06-11, 04:55
I’m late to the table here because apparently the OP’s decision has already been made, but for the benefit of any others who might be lurking here in search of info, I can provide perspective on designing and building a cabinet from scratch because that’s what I did recently.

First of all, you’re definitely not going to save money with this approach. I lost track of exact figures, but I easily spent over $1000 Canadian (equivalent to about $1050 USD) on the project. That price doesn’t even include a PC because I used one I already had. My monitor is a 20” CRT I bought for only $15 in local classifieds. My speaker system was another item I already had. So that gives you some feel for the cost of materials. I used one big piece of plexi for the marquee, bezel, and control panel—that alone was $50. I shit the bed the first try, so had to buy another one--ouch.

I had to buy 4 sheets of 4’x8’ MDF at $35 apiece. I could have got away with 3 had I gone with a cabinet width of 23”-24” rather than 25”.

I already had most required power tools (router, circular saw, chop saw, jig-saw, drill) but you can expect to spend close to $100 on different specialty bits (flush-trim router bit, spade bits, slot-cutter for t-molding, etc.). You can get by without a table saw if you make yourself some good cutting guides for your circular saw, but I would say don’t even bother trying to build your own cabinet if you don’t have all of these other tools available and are not willing to buy them. If you’re going with MDF, be prepared for a mess like you’ve never seen before.

The 2 joysticks, mounting kits, wiring supplies, and all buttons came to a little over $100. Other big dollar items were the track ball (I went with an Ultimarc U-Trak which plugs directly into USB—great product, but it’s almost $100), and the artwork. I got my artwork (side panel, CP overlay, and marquee) printed at gameongrafix.com and the quality is tip-top, but it ain’t cheap (I think my bottom line was $230 or so for all of it). The rest is $10 here, $20 there on odds and ends (marquee lighting, cooling fan, screws, brackets, paint supplies, etc.).

So that’s the dollars and cents, which is only part of the story. I will not sugar-coat this next part, because it’s very important for any and all prospective builders to consider: if you’re like me and somewhat of a novice wood-worker, you’re in for some cussing and swearing, lots and lots of time spent scratching your head and figuring things out, heart-break moments when something doesn’t look as perfect as you hoped it would, etc. I couldn’t even tell you how many hours I spent building the cabinet, but it was a lot. And I mean a lot.

Still, for my situation, the big cost and large required effort were necessary evils because, even though I knew the end result was going to be far from perfect, I just had to have a one-of-a-kind cabinet built and designed solely by me. I think it’s called a “labor of love”.

Lastly, I’ll mention that when ordering buttons, unless you have a perverse desire to develop tendonitis, avoid the Happ buttons with vertical micro-switch like the freaking plague. I naively ordered and installed these and they absolutely suck. The springs are all stiff and crunchy sounding—awful product. Just the other day, I received a shipment of 12 new buttons, but this time the horizontal micro-switch type. So much nicer.

04-06-11, 07:00
Pool Sharks Pinball fully working, just needs a bit of a clean and re-rubber. Pick up from Uttoxeter, Staffs.

£400. Available on the UK Pinball Group.

11-06-11, 02:15
Freebie in Grays, Essex, about to be smashed up.