Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Setting up a boring old cliche...

You wait ages for an update, then two come along at once.

Yeah... Well... Annnnnyway...

Today I had a day off work. I booked this leave a few months ago when the fixtures for the world cup were published, expecting to take a trip up to Bedford, the place I begrudgingly call my hometown, to see some friends and watch England triumphantly qualify for the knock out stages...

Yeah... Well... Annnnnnyway...

So instead I took a trip to the in-laws to finally put some work in on the MAME cabinet!

It took quite a long time to get going at first. With a limited amount of MDF I was worried about cocking up and leaving myself short.

Still, when I cut a couple pieces to size and laid them out to make my base; it finally felt like I was actually getting somewhere.

You'll notice that's some fairly chunky MDF, 20mm to be exact.
I don't have a lot of this, one large piece that I had to cut to make this base, and two other bits that are 15cm wide and about a metre long, so not much use.
You can see at the top of that pic that I've use another piece to prop up the front of the screen to give me the angle I wanted.
There's another piece further back to support the rear - this is necessary because I've decided to leave the top side of the PC cabinet open to help with ventilation.

Building up my pieces one at a time felt a little like Sudoku.
When I had the base and the supports I knew how high the back would need to be, when I knew that, I knew how high the tallest part was, with that information added to angle of the screen I was able to work out how big the front panel would have to be, and so on, and so forth.

Eventually, through this gradual building up of dimensions, I was able draw out the shape of the side panel on one of large pieces of MDF...

Sorry, that's quite hard to see. But hopefully you get the idea.
If you can see it you'll spot that there's a rather steep slope down from the marquee to the lowest point of the back. (Just to the right of the saw blade).

I'm concious that I want to keep this unit as small as possible, but I must admit I don't like the look of this.

So, for now, I'm not cutting that side down at all, later on I'll test out some angles until I find a happy compromise, but for now.

Taking shape nicely, I hope you'll agree?

Next thing was to do that again, three more times... okay... I confess... Five more times.

With all my larger pieces of MDF (by area) also being the smallest (by width) I was always going to have to double up to make the side panels a decent looking thickness.
I had cut one and used it as template for another before I realised I'd forgotten that the sides were going on the outside of the base - and so needed to be 20mm higher at the bottom. So. Bugger.

Luckily I had enough MDF, and so, soon after I had 4 near identical side pieces ready to be screwed and glued together in pairs:

The screws are too long at the moment but they're only there while the glue dries, I was a bit careless with their positioning too so I'll probably fill the holes and move them when the time comes.

And that, to be honest, was as far as I got. 5 Hours work in total, so pretty slow going, but really happy that I finally have a 'thing'!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Setting me up, knocking me back...

My god has it really been five months!?

I know this blog doesn't exactly have an army of loyal followers waiting with baited breath for each new entry - but I still feel guilty for not filling you few fine fellows in the the status of the project.

Apologies for that.

To get to the point, the project has been held up twice since the last update.

The first delay was self imposed as I decided to wait for a component that I hadn't originally planned for, but which would, and indeed still will, make building my cabinet far easier and maybe even improve the quality of the finished product. This delay took me to early March.

The second delay was out of my hands, and is the reason the project hasn't progressed. It occurred exactly a week after the first delay had been resolved.

Not long after getting back to work after the Christmas break I asked my boss if it was okay to use the internet briefly to check my Freegle posts, the conversation naturally lead to what I was looking for and when I said MDF her eyes lit up.

Turns out her finance is a painter/decorator and has had a stack of MDF clogging up her hallway for months, over Christmas they had argued about it and he'd finally agreed to throw it out.

It took a while to sort out picking it up from her, both of us have small cars,  live in different towns, etc, etc... But finally, in early March, we handed over the MDF in the car park at work and, for the price of  very uncomfortable 20 mile drive home, my garage was finally stocked with this:

A week later, that wasn't my garage any more.

We got a phone call from the landlord explaining that she had decided to sell the house and could we please find somewhere else to live ASAP, thanks.

As a result of all this my 23 consoles, 2 TVs, a scary amount of cabling, and basically the entire contents of my games room are in boxes in someone else's loft.

The MAME Cabinet project, all the components, MDF, and everything else, is in my girlfriend's parent's garage.
It isn't entirely inaccessible, but it is incredibly inconvenient, to the extent that I haven't been able to get over there at all to even look at it.

And with that my tale ends. The project is on hold, but definitely not cancelled.

There are upsides for me, if not for the project.

I now live here:

Have a view that looks like this:

And have discovered a love of mountain biking through narrow, unsuitable bridle paths in the nearby woods in my spare time.

As for the MAME Hidden Gems side of things. I think that may be more of a psychological block.
I have my laptop hooked up the TV and could easily be playing and writing these up - but I'm not, even though I probably should.

All of my gaming is currently taking place on a 3DS I bought a couple of months back.

Where I used to get a game of something or other in pretty much every day, since I moved both my 360 (the only console I didn't box and store) and my Steam account have lain dormant.

I put it down to not having a dedicated space, the cottage is beautiful but tiny and very open plan, we also only have one TV now.

Well. I think that about catches us up.
We're only staying in this house temporarily and using the savings we're making on rent to hopefully buy a place early next year.
I hope to get some hardcore time in the in-law's garage long before then though. so hopefully it won't be 5 months before the next update. I certainly aim to get a Hidden GEms post up in the near future.

Thanks everyone for your patience.