As you may recall from my previous review (Slik Stik Quad Blank) I appear to be going for the record of longest MAME Cabinet Build.
Last year I built the Quad control panel, and it’s now been nearly 5 years since I started this project. I’m proud to say it’s now nearly complete with the addition of a UAII Kit from Mameroom Designs.
Of course I had several different options for how I was going to do my cabinet. My original intention was to build it scratch with some plans I found on the internet (MAMEROOM also sells a plans only version of this cabinet), but as my time became more and more scarce, that was no longer an option.
What was I looking for in my cabinet? Must be able to support a 27” arcade monitor (Like the ones reviewed on Retroblast), fit my control panel, and require very little finishing work.
After drooling over the MAMEROOM cabinet kit for the past year, I finally took the plunge and had one sent.
Shipping and Packaging
The kit arrives in four somewhat large boxes. My kit was shipped via fedex, and although all four boxes were shipped on the same day and time, the fourth box arrived two days after the first three boxes. This is of course no fault of MAMEROOM as Fedex just deemed it necessary to give the fourth box an extended tour of Georgia as it bounced around back and forth between Fedex sorting facilities.
In my opinion the packaging of the boxes was adequate and two of the boxes appeared to have just been handled very poorly by FedEx even though they were labeled as Fragile.
When the fourth box finally arrived, it was in very bad shape and had parts of the panels protruding from the box in several places.
I sent pictures to Scott at MAMEROOM of the damaged panels and he promptly responded and had replacements sent out quickly.
The replacement boxes were shipped with a different carrier and were even double boxed in order to help ensure safe delivery.
The only very minor comment I would have on packaging is that some of the accessory pieces, such as the drawer slides and the marquee retainers were taped down with clear packing tape that left a sticky residue on them after unpacking. The residue came off with some of the standard Goop-off type liquids.
Cabinet Kits Include:
What’s in the Kit?
After unpacking the kit, it was almost overwhelming looking at all the panels and screws/cams and accessory pieces.
In addition to the cabinet panels itself, you get several additional accessories to help finish the cabinet.
The extras include the t-molding, marquee retainers, control panel brackets.
If you’ve ever assembled any furniture from the major retail stores such as OfficeMax or Staples that come flat packed in boxes, you’ll be familiar with how the cabinet is assembled as it uses a similar Locking Cam system.
Assembly is very straight forward and for the most part can be done by a single person, except for the part where the two major assemblies are attached to one another.
The first step is to get all the T-Molding on the required pieces. There are 5 total pieces that get t-molding. This was the first time I have installed t-molding and the instructions provided were very good.
Being a t-molding newbie, my initial reaction when seeing the slot they routed for the t-molding was that it was off center and should be in the center. Of course now that I’ve gone through the process I can recognize this as an attention to detail by MAMEROOM as it saved me from trimming both sides of the t-molding with a razor blade. If I had constructed the cabinet from scratch I most certainly would have made the mistake of putting the t-molding slot in the center which may have required trimming both sides.
After I got the t-molding on and trimmed it was time to start putting the pieces together. This is where I started to get excited about seeing it completed and unfortunately took very few pictures during this process.
The assembly is very straight forward and the instructions are very good. There were several sections of the instructions that I had to read more than once, and one part where I think it had the parts backwards in the descriptions, but much easier to follow than most furniture I’ve had to assemble in the past.
After I had both the top and the bottom assembled I asked my wife to help me set the top onto the bottom. This was also easily accomplished and now the cabinet looked like it was nearly finished. There were just a few more pieces of wood to install and it would be ready to go.
I had ordered a printed marquee which I had ready and immediately installed the Flourescent light fixture (Sold separately) and the marquee using the included marquee retainers.
I then went about mounting my Quad Control Panel and putting my MAME PC and monitor in the cabinet. It was pretty sweet seeing this thing boot up for the first time.
Overall assembly went very well. There were several very tight fitting pieces that took a little “encouragement” to get to fit perfect, but I was very impressed with the finished product.
I was impressed with the overall quality of the kit.
There were a couple little dings along the edges of the melamine in the kit that exposed a little wood, but these were easily concealed with a black sharpie and were not in places that would have been seen anyways.
The hardware package was nice, and appeared to have an extra piece or two left over as spares.
The quality of the accessories such as the t-molding and marquee retainers were also very good.
And as previously mentioned, the instructions were also several steps in quality above any other furniture assembly instructions I have seen in the past.
So, should you order one? Of course! Unless you really look forward to many, many hours of cutting, sanding, routing, painting, and have the required equipment, this is by far the best solution I have seen. I still received some of the fun of building it, without all of the finish work.
Yes, it probably does cost slightly more than if you bought all the raw materials and built from scratch, but just look at my MAME setup before and after. It’s amazing what the UAII Kit and several hours can transform your MAME setup into a high class gaming machine!
And as I mentioned, if you really want to build one from scratch, MAMEROOM also sells plans and templates for this exact cabinet, so you can go that route if you so wish.