Go here for details on the construction of Pac-Mamea!


powerpill.gif (949 bytes) Rotating Control Panels powerpill.gif (949 bytes)

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One of the key features of Pac-Mamea is its 3-sided rotating control panel.  This allows me to play many different arcade games, using their original control setup, with a minimum interruption of play time.  During play, the 2 unused panels are hidden within the body of the cabinet, so there is no chance of accidentally bumping the controls and interfering with gameplay.  In addition, the third panel features a modular design, with support for removable controls, such as a Star Wars yoke, dual Terminator 2 positional guns, steering wheels, USB gamepads, and anything else I minght need in the future.  All the main controls are connected simultaneously, so no connecting or disconnecting is necessary.  Just open the front access door, flip over the panel, and you're ready to go!


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Using my CG model, I printed 1:1 plans of my control panels and the triangular end plates.  After rubbing pencil on the backs, I taped the plans to the wood and traced over the outlines, transfering the computer-world measurements to my panels.  It was then a simple matter to drill and cut from these measurements.


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On the prototype panels (see the PROJECTS section), I used a hitch pin on either side to hold everything in place.  This is basically what Xiaou2 did with his original rotating panels.  I knew I didn't want to have Frankenstein bolts sticking out of my final cab, and ideally, I wanted the panels to self-locate when they were rotated into place.  Finally, looking around Home Depot, I found the answer:
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Roller latches!

These are spring-loaded latches used for wardrobe doors and such.  I decided I would put 3 of these on each side, so with 6 roller latches, it should hold everything pretty well.  (In fact, they can hold the weight of the installed CPs by themselves!)   All I needed was a way for them to lock in with the sides of the cabinet.   Back to Home Depot several times, I never could come up with a simple solution (my favorite kind!)  It was finally on the night before beginning final construction that my eyes caught something I must have passed a dozen times:


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It's a 5" diameter wall protector, you know for keeping doorknobs from bashing the walls.  It was the perfect size to act as a track for my roller latches, and it was plastic, so I didn't have to wear out my tools on a metal plate.   I drilled a 2" hole in the center thru which a PVC pipe protrudes, forming the axle for the CP.  There are three 5/8" holes drilled equal distances from center, and 120o apart, into which the rollers can lock.  The plate also keeps the rollers from getting stuck in the 3/4" slot routered into the inside-right of the cab, thru which the wiring from my CP passes to the PC in the back.


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Another PVC piece is inserted thru a 1 3/4" hole in the CP end plates, and fits somewhat tightly into the other PVC piece.  I will be adding a screw or something to keep it secure, as it tends to work its way out as I turn the CP around.


I will also be adding a bolt thru the inner pipe, and gluing or screwing the inner pipe permanently to the outer pipe, which in turn is glued into the 2" hole in the side panel.  The rotation would be limited by placing a screw in the end plate, in such a way that it catches on the bolt in the PVC when it is turned past postion 1.  Another screw could be placed so that the panels can not be rotated beyond position 3, so that the CP can't be turned around more than 240o.  So you can rotate from panel 1, to 2, to 3, but no further, so the wiring won't tangle or twist.


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And there's the whole thing together, with the CP attached by a piano hinge.  (Ugh, what rat's nest of a wiring job!  I promise I'll clean it up someday...)   Note the white child latches toward the front of the panel.  The black "splash" panel above the white CP provides clearance for the joysticks to rotate under the monitor.  I can put anything up to a full Tron joystick on the CP without anything scraping.  It also provides space to put instructions if I find that my guests need it.  The CP is connected to the splash, which is hinged to the rotating CP frame with a piano hinge.  The plastic child latches click into the holes on the CP end caps, so I can hinge the CP up for some quick tinkering with the controls.

And here, you can see how the panel latches can be exposed by rotating the panel partially, and pressing the fingers into the holes to release them for maintenance.  Hiding the latches this way is not only an aesthetic choice, but is also a security feature.  When the front access door is locked, the panels can not rotate, and the panel latches are inaccessible to guests or children.


I recently rigged a CP "kickstand" out of a folding metal door stop.  This allows me to work on the wiring, hands-free!  A feature I use often--with all the daisy-chained inputs and the tangle of wiring, there's always a bad crimp that needs fixing!


Here's a closer look at the way that the wiring is routed.  All wiring goes out thru a slot that I've cut in the PVC piping that serves as the hub of the rotating system.  This runs down a 1" wide slot, towards the back of the cabinet, where the wiring drops down to  the PC.  Umm...the duct tape is only temporary, and will eventually be replaced by some plastic or metal clips to hold everything clear, once I've connected everything permanently.


Here you can see two control panels at once.  One panel comes out, while the previous panel is automatically tucked neatly away.  No muss, no fuss.  So simple, even a wife can do it!  


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To finish it off, I bolted a metal plate across the top front edge of the front access door.  (Looks ugly in the photo, but in person it's a nice brushed aluminum texture.)  Without it, the door keeps the CP from rotating downwards during play, but there is a little bit of slack in the roller locking system, so the CP would wiggle upward a bit during rough play.  With the addition of the metal plate, the CP is also kept from rotating upward when the front door is closed.  So the roller latches allow the CP to automatically click loosely into place, but the front door provides a second, more stable method of locking everything down.  It also allows me to control access to the rotary feature of my cab, by simply removing the key!  This is good for parties, since my guests don't know how to work the rotation, and tend to play only on the main CP anyway...


powerpill.gif (949 bytes) Future Plans powerpill.gif (949 bytes)

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At this point, my cabinet is playable, but I am planning to make a couple of removable controls for the third, modular panel.  These will be the dual Terminator 2 guns, and the Star Wars yoke.  In order to make them removable, I need to build bases for them from the remaining wood I have.  These bases will have long bolts with plastic knobs fixed to the heads, which can be hand-tightened down into tee-nuts in the panel.  These will go into the PROJECTS section when I have time to finish them.



Go here for details on the construction of Pac-Mamea!

The information on this site is for the purposes of education and entertainment only.  The owner of this site makes no warantees as to the accuracy of the information, and takes no responsibility for any damage or injury sustained due to the use of information herein.  The design of the Pac-Mamea cabinet and all photos, computer renderings, drawings, schematics, and printed information relating to such are Copyright 2002-2004 Robert Meyers.  No ownership of other copyrighted material found on this site is implied.