Ultimate Arcade 2 Construction Plans Pdf

Thanks to James Van Horn, here is the example project panel shown on our header.

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  3. – Create layout plans of arcade cabinet parts – Purchase joysticks and buttons (done) Here’s a list of all the posts about my arcade build. Part 1 Part 2 – Decisions Part 3 – Cabinet Design Part 4 – Control Panel Plans Part 5 – Initial Questions and Concerns Part 6 – Online Resources Part 7 – Cabinet Plans.

I built this loaded 4-player arcade control panel for my best friend Mark, and have everything ready to build one for myself too. We didn't hold back. We knew we wanted the best components available, so naturally we loaded it up with Ultimarc components. Andy is the best in the business and has always been extremely helpful. This control panel has:

Ultimate Arcade 2 Construction Plans pdf
  • 52 RBG backlit buttons
  • 4 buttons on the sides for pinball
  • Translucent inserts installed inside the top row buttons
  • 4 UltraStik 360 Oval Tops
  • 2 UltraStik 360 Flight Sticks
  • 2 SpinTrak spinners
  • 1 U-Trak Trackball
  • 4 front USB panel connectors

For the joystick selection, Mark and I believe the best joysticks you can buy for a control panel like this are the UltraStiks, period. Here's why:

  • Ultrastiks can be configured to be 2-way, 4-way, 8-way, 49-way or fully analog! Fully analog means that you can move the joystick a tiny amount and your plane, for example, will only move a tiny amount. Move it farther, and it will react accordingly. In other words, fully variable.
  • On-the-fly programming. Today's modern front ends make it easy to tell the joystick to switch configuration for the game that is about to launch, and then switch back after the game is over. How cool is that!
  • They also allow you to decide the up orientation for players 3 and 4. This is a personal preference whether UP is the same (inward) angle as the control panel edge or the same as player 1 and 2 (straight).
  • If all that wasn't enough,multiple Ultrastiks can be configured so you can have 1 stick in each hand for 2-player simultaneous Robotron style games like Smash TV and Geometry Wars! Player 1 uses both joysticks on the left side of the control panel, and Player 2 uses both joysticks on the right side.

I used SolidWorks CAD to create the layout and to make sure everything fit as this was a complicated build. Having 6 buttons for players 3 and 4 allowed for past and future game flexibility, provided excuses for having more RGB bling, and when neighborhood kids come over to play with my kid, you won't hear 'Why does he have 7 buttons and I only have 4?' We knew that putting a spinner or a joystick directly in front of the trackball is not a smart idea if you like to play games like Golden Tee Golf. Providing a clear path in front of the trackball removes the possibility of jamming your fingers into a spinner after trying for a 300+ yard golf swing. We also decided to mirror the flightsticks and spinners. For games like Tron that use a flightstick and spinner simultaneously, this allowed player preference on which hand had the spinner and which hand had the flightstick. We made sure that there was plenty of distance between Player 1 and 2 so that shoulders and feet won't be touching during simultaneous gameplay. I measured the width of typical pinball machines and made the control panel to match. Front USB panel mounts allows for even more nostalgic feel for authentic hand held controllers like Atari controllers, Nintendo controllers, etc. We have plans to add quick release mounts for a Star Wars yoke, Paperboy controller, or a steering wheel.

For our family, we will be setting the control panel on our coffee table or saw horse legs. We will use our TV and the same HTPC machine to run the gaming software. Mark wanted his to be on a pedestal, so I created one for him with 120mm ventilation fans and an access door on the back side.

The Build

For the main panel, I CNC'ed 3/4' high density MDF. For the frame, red oak was worth the premium. Mark wanted black textured vinyl on his frame. For mine (not pictured), I used black India ink which was also an excellent choice as it shows the oak wood grain.

My garage is just an average garage, so I don't have any way to hold odd angles while the wood glue dries. I found Blokkz universal clamping blocks does the trick nicely for any angle. I strengthened it even further with 90 brackets everywhere. I probably went overkill with all of the metal supports and even glued the frame to the main panel. This control panel will be with us until we die hopefully.

I designed the overlay in Photoshop and had GameonGrafix print them on textured vinyl. As usual, they do great work. My control panel is slightly different than this one. I went with all Tron colors (red and blue from the original Tron movie, and yellow and white from Tron Legacy).

Currently, UltraMap software can only handle 4 UltraStik 360 ID's, so having 6 of them in this control panel presented a problem. To solve it, I used a pair of Yepkit Ykush USB Switchable Hubs. This essentially allows me to unplug any USB device via command line. This is better than disabling a USB device in Windows. To the computer, it appears as if it was physically unplugged. At any given moment, I only have 4 UltraStik 360 joysticks active. In the future, Andy may update the UltraMap software to handle more joysticks, but for now, this works perfectly. I used a traditional powered USB hub to handle the large number of devices that are used in this control panel. The hub needed 12V and some Ultimarc boards needed 5V, so I use a Mean Well RD-125 dual voltage power supply. The power supply sits outside of the control panel. I only have 2 quick connectors coming outside of the control panel: 5/12V and USB 3.0. This makes it quick and easy to set up in front of our TV.

For the brains of this control panel, I used:

  • 1 I-PAC Ultimate I/O
  • 1 PacLED64
  • 1 U-HID

Technically, I didn't have to use the U-HID because the SpinTraks come with their own USB interface board, but the U-HID allowed me to put both spinners on the same mouse ID (one on the X axis and one on the Y axis). I've seen a small number of spinner games (like Richet Inifinity) that look for the mouse to be on the same ID. So if I'm going to make the ultimate control panel, I'm not going to hold back on anything. I found a program called EitherMouse that offers the ability to set each mouse/spinner speed independently of each other. Windows does not offer this.

For the buttons with RGB LED illumination, Ultimarc offers GoldLeaf RGB buttons with the optional black insert which gives this effect. (The painter's tape on the trackball is only there temporarily to prevent any dust from getting inside the trackball during construction.)

I'm so glad that Andy chose to use the Sanwa JLW as the base for his UltraStik 360's. Compared to the JLF joysticks, JLW's are much heavier duty, and use metal pivots instead of plastic for smoother action. As a fanatical RC racer and designer, we know the importance of perfect suspension components and it was natural for me to polish the JLW joystick shafts, pivots, and washers. This allowed them to have butter smooth action and allowed them to center better. Live for speed mods downloads.

For the front end, I recommend LaunchBox + BigBox. LaunchBox is the power behind maintaining your games, emulators, and hardware configuration. BigBox is used to bring it all together and to protect your hard work with a foolproof interface that family members and friends can use that will not allow them to get into any trouble.

LaunchBox and BigBox have so many powerful features. For example, when I fire up the control panel, it uses an attract mode that I created. LaunchBox and BigBox will do a colorful startup sequence, then go to specified default colors that I created, then when I select Street Fighter II (for example), it will change the 6 buttons to match the original arcade button colors (red, white , and blue), set the UltraStik 360 joystick modes to 8 way, disable the Flightsticks, send the Street Fighter II marquee to the 2nd monitor, and launch the game. With the help of LaunchBox and Ultimarc hardware, each game launches it's own set of RGB colors, joystick configuration, marquees, etc.

Special thanks to Andy and his team for their support and great products. Contact me or Andy if you have any questions.

-James Van Horn

Andy's Comments

This is a superb panel, we have had many comments asking about this since it appeared on our site.

Just to offer some suggestions which are not intended as improvements but alternatives:

Pushbuttons: James built this panel before our black-center pushbuttons were available. We now have add-on black button centers for our Goldleaf RGB buttons.

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Ultimate Arcade 2 Construction Plans Pdf

The two Ultrastik 360 FS offer full analog so some people might want to look at ServoStiks for the main 4 joysticks, as these offer a hard 4-8 way restriction which many people prefer. They can be configured to auto-switch from the front-end.

That would add 16 extra switches to the panel. So the suggested interfaces would be 2 X I-PAC Ultimate I/O boards. These would also handle all the LEDs and trackball and spinner.

One board would be mounted on each side of the panel thus eliminating any short-wire issues.

The use of the U-HID for the spinners is not really required, as James suggests. Definitely not needed for Mame. Its best to have the two spinners as different device IDs to avoid Windows randomly swapping them, but that's easily accomplished by connecting one to each of the Ultimate I/O boards. In some other configurations this could best be done by having one use its own interface and the other via an I-PAC board.

Optional extras would be:

  • Joystick mounting kits (5mm)
  • PCB mounting feet x 2
  • Goldleaf logo inserts (Please note these are on the way, not yet in the store)
  • Extension wires are unlikely to be needed in a 2-board config but otherwise, the 'Extension harness pack' handles 10 longer pushbutton wires and '200 mm M-F 4-way extension' handles spinner and trackball (two needed for trackball).


Ultimate Arcade 2 Construction Plans Pdf Template

How to Build a Home Arcade Machine

This is meant to be both a beginners guide to explain the different parts needed to build a home arcade machine. We will do software and hardware recommendations along the way.

Here is a video sample of what you can do.


Let’s start by breaking down the different components you need to consider.


A cabinet can get as creative as you can be. You could go traditional like the arcades of the past, build a pedestal consisting of just the control panel and use your mounted TV as the monitor, down to just your computer and keyboard.

One option to consider is our CNC Bartop Arcade Kit. It goes together via camlock system with just a philips head screwdriver. This was designed to fast track your build and get playing fast.

If you are wanting to build a full size arcade consider retrofitting an older cabinet. You can locate them fairly easily on Craigslist in your area typically for under $100. I got this Mortal Kombat 3 Cabinet from Craigslist. I printed up some graphics, had the glass smoked, replaced the t-molding, and added one of our LED 2 player kits. Keep in mind it is frowned upon to take a working cabinet and convert it to a MAME cabinet.


You can also build one from scratch. This takes either very solid carpentry skills or CNC skills. I learned how to CNC and built my own plans for this one. It is much more involved than retrofitting an older cabinet, but you have ultimate flexibility in how you want it to turn out.

Another popular look is a pedestal style cabinet. This is where essentially the control panel is a separate unit and you play on a wall mounted TV. They are nice, because they are somewhat portable and you are not limited on the size of the monitor/screen. I built this one from scratch as well.


You will obviously need a monitor of some kind.

LED20″ to 23″ LED Monitors From Amazon

I have found that the 20″ to 23″ monitor is a great size if you want something cheap (around $100). They will give you top notch resolution, just make sure the are VESA compatible so you can mount them in the cabinet. If you are doing a pedestal style then you can go as big on the wall mount as you feel will fit your game room.

Arcade monitor

These are harder to find, very heavy, and typically very expensive ($400+). They will most definitely give you the true arcade low res feel to your project. I personally think they are more trouble and $ than they are worth, but if you want a more authentic machine then this is something to consider. Keep in mind you may have to have a video converter board so your PC can connect to it as they are different typically than your standard RGB computer display connection.

Old Television – CRT

You may already have one of these laying in the garage. If not you can get them on Craigslist for around $25. You will need to make sure your PC has a standard video output (yellow single connector) or S-Video. Both are old style connections, but video cards for these types of connections are usually only around $20. If you are brave you can de-case it, but be careful as the coils can still maintain a charge even when not plugged in. These are a good option and typically a 25″ is comparable to a larger arcade monitor.

Control Panel Components

Full size arcade control panel components

  • Usb Encoder that will communicate joystick and button presses to your PC
  • Arcade buttons – LED/Illuminated or standard
  • Joysticks – LED/Illuminated or standard

We sell kits that contain everything you need to build a 1 or 2 player unit here.


Independently or in addition to arcade controls you may want to add or solely use some USB game Pads. Some options would include

  • Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for PC to use with your Xbox 360 wireless controller

These are a great option if you want to have a similar feel to the actual console.


Ultimate Arcade 2 Construction Plans Pdf

You will need a PC of some kind to power and run the games. These can vary from very powerful machines that are capable of playing today’s most graphic intensive games down to a low powered raspberry pi device. It depends on how deep you want to get. For me personally I like the AMD AM1 processor/boards. They are strong enough to run a very graphic intensive frontend software like HyperSpin along with more power hungry emulators such as Dolphin (DreamCast or Wii) or PCSX (Playstation). You can build one for around $250!

Sample AM1 Build from Amazon
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  • Quad Core Processor
  • Micro ATX Motherboard with HDMI and DVI output
  • 4 GB DDr 3 RAM 1600 speed (supported by the processor)
  • 1TB Hard drive
  • Computer case with 400 watt power supply
  • Smart Power Strip that will turn on all of your other devices when the PC powers

Again you can go more powerful and spend more $, but I have a very similar build and it is not limiting including some newer PC games.

A side note if you want a simple cheap solution that will run your basic emulators/systems like MAME (arcade games), Nintendo NES/SNES, Sega Gensis, etc, then you may consider a raspberry pi kit. They run around $60 all in. I would not consider this option if you are building a full cabinet, but it you want to simply connect some usb controllers to your TV and be able to play most of the console games from the 80’s and early 90’s then this might be an option. I will go more into this later if you like this option.
Raspberry Pi B+ (B Plus) Complete Starter Kit — Includes Quick Start Guide

Emulator Software

The emulator software is simply software that makes your computer think it is that console. We will go into more detail on how to download and configure them later, but here are the default emulators for each system:

  • Atari 5200 – messpp.exe
  • Atari Lynx – handy.exe
  • Daphne – daphne.exe
  • Future Pinball – Future Pinball.exe
  • Gameboy Advance – visualboyadvance.exe
  • Gameboy – visualboyadvance.exe
  • Gameboy Color – visualboyadvance.exe
  • MAME – mame.exe
  • Neo Geo – mame.exe
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color – NeoPop-Win32.exe
  • Nintendo 64 – project64.exe
  • Nintendo Entertainment System-nestopia.exe
  • Panasonic 3DO – FreeDO.exe
  • Sega 32X – fusion.exe
  • Sega CD – fusion.exe
  • Sega Dreamcast – nullDC_100b1_6.exe
  • Sega Game Gear – fusion.exe
  • Sega Genesis – fusion.exe
  • Sega Master System – fusion.exe
  • Sega Model 2 – emulator.exe
  • Sega Naomi – nulldc.exe
  • Sega Saturn – ssf.exe
  • Sony Playstation – psxfin.exe
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System – zsnesw.exe
  • TurboGraFX 16 – mednafen.exe
  • Turbo Duo – pce.exe
  • Zinc – zinc.exe

Game Rom

Think of the game “rom” as the console cartridge or CD you use to put in the system to play that specific games.

Frontend Software

The Frontend software is essentially a piece of software the integrates all of your systems and games into one interface. It is the workhorse and the flash of your system.

The most popular options:

  • HyperSpin-FE.com – Free
  • Maximus Arcade – $25
  • Mala – Free
  • GameEx – Free and $30 version

We have a full guide on how to setup HyperSpin, Hyperlaunch, Hypersync, and MAME.

Break Time

If you are new to all of this, let’s take a second and have some fun. Remember this process is a journey and you don’t want you to lose steam along the way. If you are on a computer, let’s take a min and actually play a game to keep us motivated. Don’t worry about folder structures, frontends, gamepads, etc.

Download Nestopia emulator below for what computer your on now.

Ultimate Arcade 2 Construction Plans Pdf

Extract it to a folder where you can find it. I put it on my desktop in a folder named nes

Get a favorite game by googling : “Game name” nes rom

The game will be in zip format. For example I got Contra.zip

Open the folder you extracted Nestopia into and run the application

Click File -> Open and select the zip file

I’m Excited, are you excited?

Quick default keyboard controls

  • Left = Left arrow
  • Right = Right arrow
  • Up = Up arrow
  • Down = Down arrow
  • A = .
  • B = ,
  • Start = Enter
  • Select = Right Shift

Go ahead and play a game or two and visualize all you could do with this technology. How you could wow your friends and family. Teach your kids about your favorite games growing up. Explore games. Possibilities are endless.

We have a full guide on how to setup HyperSpin, HyperLaunch, HyperSync and MAME. It will get you playing asap.

Please share our site out on your social media or at your favorite game room forums if you found this helpful.

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