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Published on January 23rd, 2013 | by Jules IKEAHacker

9

Mammut Retro Arcade Cabinet





Materials: Mammut Children’s Shelf Unit

Description: About a year ago I bought an X-Arcade Tankstank, a pro-quality joystick designed mainly for playing retro arcade games. The joystick itself was fine, but playing with an arcade stick on the sofa didn’t feel right, so I set about creating a more arcade-like experience.

I didn’t have the time, space or budget for a full replica arcade machine, but what I did have was a spare 32-inch LCD TV, so I set about finding a piece of furniture that could house it.

The unit had to be sturdy and it had to fit in with the look of our summer house, which is basically a room for my three year old son. When I saw the Mammut shelf unit in IKEA it seemed like the perfect thing.

Step one was to find a way to mount the television. I bought a cheap £10/$15 LCD wall mount bracket from the local supermarket. I then used half inch square metal tubing to build a couple of uprights coming out of the top of the Mammut.

For strength I bolted them through the sides, and angled them so that they exited at the top of the rear of the unit. An old wooden shelf joined the two uprights across the top and gave a mounting point for the TV bracket.

The Tankstick is bolted to the top shelf of the unit using a couple of old L-shaped brackets I had lying around (no doubt from previous IKEA purchases).

I then used one of the Mammut shelves to create a door on the front of the unit to hide the PC, speakers and other components. The door is mounted vertically, hinged on two mirror screws at the top, and secured my a magnetic latch at the bottom.

An additional shelf was added at the top to house the wireless keyboard, instruction manuals and other misc items.

The bottom shelf was intentionally left free for storage of kids toys and games.

The PC is a completely bare bones system comprising an ASRock motherboard, AMD CPU, budget power supply and an old scavenged laptop hard drive.

The speakers are a recent addition, giving a pleasing retro thump to games like R-Type Leo. A second output on the motherboard goes to an old Denon amp powering the main summerhouse speakers, so I can get the whole arcade vibe going, minus the sticky carpets.

The whole kit is finished off with a chrome power button on the left, a Pepsi bottle opener on the right and a five meter string of LEDs on the rear which can be set to just about any colour.

The stickers on the wall are from IKEA too!

~ Grant Gibson, Scotland

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The Author

Jules IKEAHacker

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

9 Responses to Mammut Retro Arcade Cabinet

  1. jj says:

    Very cool, looks like good fun.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Grant, i would like to recycle my daughter’s mammut drawers. Can i ask you if Mammut materials can be painted over? If yes, what kind? appreciate your help. And yes, yr arcade cabinet looks ultra cool!

  3. Grant Gibson says:

    I’m afraid I haven’t tried to paint them myself – mine were originally red and all the decorations are stickers. However, I did a Google search for “paint laminate countertops” and the advice given looked good – a light sanding, then primer, then paint.

  4. Looks like a sweet cabinet. Nice decor.

  5. Kait says:

    Pretty much my favorite hack ever!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    How did you handle the ventilation for the computer? Wouldn’t that enclosed space get hot? I’m looking at doing the same kind of hack, although I’ll be mounting the monitor to the wall instead of to the cabinet.

    • Grant Gibson says:

      Hey…. sorry for taking so long to reply – I’ve never worked out how to get notifications when there’s a new comment.

      I was worried about ventilation when I was building the cabinet, but it’s turned out not to be an issue. I left a 5mm gap between the front ‘door’ and the wooden shelf. Across the full width of the cabinet that 5mm gap is approx 3500mm square, or roughly the same air flow as a 2.5×2.5-inch hole. I’m running the computer as a bare motherboard and power supply, so I guess that helps too.

      If heating was an issue (e.g. with a high-end PC) then it would be easy enough to add extra holes to the rear or to replace the internal wooden shelf with a steel mesh equivalent to allow more air flow.

  7. Leon Pryor says:

    I’d love to see a photo of the back – can I see how the television is mounted. What about the center of gravity? Do you have any counter weights.

    Great work.

    • Grant Gibson says:

      Hi Leon,
      Kinda embarrassed to show the back… it’s a bit messy, but here goes: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grantgibson/8609760017/in/photostream

      In the pic you can see the square section steel tubes that support the screen. They travel in through the back of the cabinet and are secured to the vertical sides of the cabinet in several places with screws. At the top they’re joined with a piece of timber which is bolted to the top of the tubes. It feels surprisingly solid, but if I was doing it again I might use slightly heavier gauge tubes.

      There’s a standard wall mount TV bracket on the other side of the timber. Although the tubes come out from the rear of the cabinet the centre of gravity of the TV is actually directly above the cabinet… it hangs approx 2 inches above and 1 inch in from the rear of the cabinet. The whole thing is pretty stable, although I tend to have it pushed hard against the wall anyway to keep it in place during frantic two player Street Fighter competitions.

      Cheers,
      Grant

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