Build your own Mini Arcade Cabinet with Raspberry Pi

The Porta-Pi Mini Arcade is a desktop-sized, fully functional, mini arcade cabinet measuring just under 13 x 9 x 10 inches (HxWxD).

This Porta-Pi Arcade turns your Raspberry Pi in a mini arcade machine. Of course you could stuff any other retro console inside, but the RPi is so versatile, powerful and awesome that I stuck with it to build this mini arcade.

Build your own Mini Arcade Cabinet with Raspberry Pi

The Porta-Pi Arcade Kit features:

  • Precision Laser Cut Cabinet, made from 0.25 inch Oak Plywood .
  • 7″ (800×480 HDMI/VGA/Composite) LCD screen
  • (1) Commercial arcade joystick (micro-switch style)
  • (10) Commercial arcade buttons and micro-switches
  • Speakers (3″ mid-range) with amplifier PCB (2W, Stereo Class D)

All running off a 5v 2A power supply!

Step 1:

Start with an idea, and test it out.

I started with a proof of concept shown above. I made this from 1/2″ plywood using a template I made with a cereal box. It was a little crude but I was proud of it, and everyone who saw this chunky machine loved it. I then, decided to make another one, but this time pour my heart into a new design. I also tried to engineer it so I could build another if I wanted… That was the hard part.Build your own Mini Arcade Cabinet with Raspberry Pi

The cabinet design took over 200 hours of drafting, prototyping, and ‘improving’. But like any good design, the cabinet fits common off-the-self commercial arcade parts, an OEM 7″ tablet screen, and other common parts. This mini arcade can be laser cut, assembled, glued, and wired in under 8 hours. (I’ve built over 60 of these so far). Getting that build-an-arcade-in-a-day time took over 11 months of constant tinkering, designing, and engineering. A couple thousand hours of work over the course of 2 years. The video (next page) shows how the laser cut pieces are assembled (you can also build this design with 1/4″ acrylic plastic). The rest of the video shows how to install and wire the monitor, LCD driver board, speakers, amplifier, arcade buttons, 8 way joystick, and raspberry pi.


So what about the software?! The software was an entire other story that took months and months to figure out. Back in 2012 I started messing with Retro Pie (an awesome compilation of retro emulators with a slick front end for the Raspberry Pi computer). After months of troubleshooting and frustrating nights with Linux, I got a stable image with the code needed to run the arcade controls hardwired into the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins. I have the image available for download at my blog! You dont want to go through the headaches I went through; so I saved you the trouble 🙂 Be sure to stop by the petRockBlog and see their great work with RetroPie.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

Download the BOM to see what items are needed to build this mini arcade.

For more detail: Build your own Mini Arcade Cabinet with Raspberry Pi

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