Nintendo Bartop Arcade - Scratch Design/Build with X-Carve 1000mm

Hi All,

I’ve seen so many amazing projects here that I was inspired to share my own! Hope you enjoy…

I’ve built a few mini arcade cabinets over the years now by hand, and got a 1000mm X-Carve partly to aid in my builds. I started from scratch with a new design, and given the size of the bed, I opted for a bartop form factor. Being a “child of the 80s” and having grown up during the “golden age” of arcades, I wanted to replicate that experience as closely as possible and create the most “arcade accurate” cabinet I could. I decided on a Nintendo silhouette because:

  1. The shape is iconic
  2. The control panel is flat wood (and not bent metal), meaning I could CNC it
  3. I’ve seen other Nintendo bartops on BYOAC and absolutely loved them

So here’s my all-original, made-by-me, X-Carve-cut, 3D-printed bartop cab:

Oooh…“but you wrapped it in Pac-Man graphics!” you say? That’s because this one I sold, and the customer wanted Pac-Man. That said, I have full graphics packages for Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, and Popeye. :slight_smile:

My design process is as follows:

  1. Trace cabinet silhouette in Illustrator (including location of cross members)
  2. Import into Sketchup
  3. Push the flat outlines into 3D
  4. Model all hardware (rPi, power supply, amp, LCD, joystick, latches, etc) and place in the model
  5. Flatten and export all the pieces to be cut on the X-Carve
  6. Clean up in Illustrator (including expanding pockets by .5mm due to physical limitations of X-Carve)
  7. Export SVG to Easel
  8. Create dog bones for pockets in Easel (ugh…what a pain…why doesn’t the dog bones app replace in-place rather than creating a new object at 0,0?)
  9. Paint inner cabinet surfaces
    10.a. Cut! (wood and plexi)
    10.b. 3D print! (about 20 parts total, including marquee retainers, circuit board holders, fan guard, etc)
  10. Cut t-molding slots
  11. Apply vinyl wrap to front pieces
  12. Glue it together (yay tab and slots!)
  13. Apply vinyl to sides
  14. Tap in t-molding
  15. Add hardware and wiring (including a custom-programmed Arduino that acts as my keyboard controller for the control panel)
  16. Load up Retropie
  17. Have fun!

I’ve added a lot of nice touches that reflect my love of arcade days gone by, including:

  1. Keyed access with hinged back panel
  2. Latched control panel (sorry, I think visible screws holding down control panels are ugly and not service-friendly)
  3. Donkey Kong-themed, 3D printed rear exhaust fan guard
  4. Yep, a rear exhaust fan
  5. 2 x 3" Dayton drivers for surprisingly good stereo sound
  6. Backlit marquee
  7. Single pushbutton shutdown controller for easy and safe Linux-friendly on/off
  8. Push button “coin slots.” When pressed, they send “1” and “2” for direct compatibility with MAME
  9. Select, Start, and Pause “service” buttons hidden under the control panel
  10. Leg levelers provide a stable base on uneven surfaces
  11. USB port on the back panel to connect retro controllers
  12. Handle on the back panel. Pick it up and take it with you!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy!

Here are a few more pics:


Fantastic project. Two arcade style projects on the forum recently that are out of this world awesome.

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Thank you for a detailed write-up! :smiley:

Love it!

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Amazing craftsmanship and detail!!

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Beautifully done. Bravo.

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How do you go about licensing the roms that are included with that, I am thinking of doing the same thing but not sure how to go about getting licensed.

wow looks great! really well done.

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Hi Dominick,

Thank you for your interest in my project. I am simply a cabinet builder. The only software included with my machine is:

  1. Embedded controller code for safe shutdown
  2. My keyboard controller Arduino code in the control panel

The platform, emulators, and games shown in my video are NOT included and are for demo purposes only, with the intent of demonstrating what my arcade game cabinet is capable of.

I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have about how I designed, cut, and built my arcade cabinet, my experience with X-Carve, etc. However, a discussion of software (including ROMs) is out of scope for this forum.

Thanks, and I appreciate your understanding.



Hi, you can share this project with us? :blush:

Hi RobertoM,

Thanks for your interest in my arcade cabinet! I sell these, so I am not sharing the project.

If you decide to build your own arcade cabinet, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions!


I recently bought my xcarve, and I would like to make this cabinet to give to my son, it would be a dream. Do you have the cut file?

Hi RobertoM,

Again, I sell these cabinets so I am not sharing the projects, nor cut files, nor any original source files. I apologize if that wasn’t clear from my earlier post.

That said, I would like to reiterate my offer to answer questions you might have as you design, cut, and build your own arcade cabinet for your son. It’s a fun and rewarding project to take on!

Good luck and game on!


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How do i purchase just the cabinet from you ?

Hi Steve,

When you write “just the cabinet,” I’m assuming you mean you want to source everything else that isn’t made of MDF, such as the plexi, buttons, t-molding, power supply, computer, wiring, keyboard encoder, feet, marquee lighting, speakers, audio amp, etc?

Given how tightly my cabinet is integrated with the all the rest of the parts, (as well as the sheer number of custom-designed 3D printed parts) I don’t offer it separately on its own. Take a read through my build instructions and see for yourself:

Here is my website if you are interested in purchasing the full machine (assembled or kit):


Thank you so much for the fast reply…
I was just interested in building my own ( Guts ) for the cabinet. I have a ton of parts that i wanted to use for this build. Finding the cabinet on its own seems to be almost impossible…
Stay Safe.


My pleasure, and sorry I couldn’t help you out, Steve!

There are a few cabinet providers out there, including:

And there are several Easel projects you could cut out right now:

Best of luck, and please don’t hesitate to ask questions!


New the CNC x-carve. I am glad I found this one. I’ve made 2 of these but nothing like this. I had to jig out my whole design!