(Topic ID: 58421)

iCade Mini-Cabinet for iPad

By sotie

8 years ago


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    There are 485 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 10.
    #1 8 years ago

    Hi all! I just joined the pinside forum today after hearing about a Mini Cabinet setup thread for iPhone/iPad on the Coast 2 Coast podcast Episode 10. I'm very excited about this subject because I finished one for myself in June. Since then I've spent many, many hours of my free time working on these in my garage.

    I have completed a few more since I made the original version. The cabinet fits all iPad's (Original, 2, 3, 4 and yet to be released 5). The cabinet was made specifically to run 'The Pinball Arcade' iOS app. If you aren't familiar with it the app has iCade compatibility built into it. The iCade is a bluetooth game controller which can be used to play many games including 'The Pinball Arcade' on iOS over bluetooth.

    I started out months ago by modding my iCade Core to include side buttons to play 'The Pinball Arcade'. Here is a link to the instructions to mod one at pinballarcadefans if you're interested:
    http://pinballarcadefans.com/showthread.php/4182-Modded-iCade-Core-with-side-buttons

    The Mini-Cabinet utilizes the iCade's circuit board. Button response time is great and I'm very happy with the way they have turned out. Gameplay on 'The Pinball Arcade' app is a lot more fun and feels realistic and natural. They're pretty bulky at over 10lbs without the iPad so they have a really good solid feel to them and there are rubber feet on the bottom so the cabinet "clings" to the table.

    The cabinet features a genuine lockdown bar which I have cut down to the smaller width. I've installed them in the original (shiny/chrome) finish, a buffed down/polished finish and painted black (for the modern Stern look). I've also installed the aluminum side-rails in both the buffed down/polished finish and with a black speckled paint finish.

    I thought about doing game specific artwork for the translite but I decided to just go with generic artwork instead so it wouldn't be tied to a specific table. I could easily change it though. It's just a matter of printing and cutting a new one.

    All of the iCade's buttons are mapped to buttons on the cabinet so you don't need to touch the iPad while playing the game:
    Red buttons on the sides are flippers. The black buttons just behind them are nudge. The black buttons in the lower areas of the sides are the 'Specials'.

    Also, on the front of the mini-cab are:
    round blue: Start
    round red: Ball Launch + Menu Down navigation
    red mini-button 1: pause/unpause
    red mini-button 2/3: left/right diagonal nudge up
    red mini-button 4: nudge up

    There are two 'Specials': left and right. There are currently only two tables in 'The Pinball Arcade' which utilize them. Black Knight: left/right magna save; Harley Davidson: the pop-up post in the center drain area.

    Here are some pictures and a quick gameplay video which I originally posted at pinballarcadefans:

    IMG_0601.JPGIMG_0600.JPGIMG_0596.JPGIMG_0595.JPGIMG_0706.JPGIMG_0780.JPGIMG_0781.JPG

    For my original cabinet I cut out a space in the rear of the backbox to slide my Jambox Jawbone bluetooth speaker in. The speaker faces forward. The notch pictured on the left side allows me quickly access the speaker's on/off switch.
    IMG_0593.JPG

    #2 8 years ago

    Pictures of my original and my second mini-cab.

    // Error: Image 120304 not found // // Error: Image 120305 not found // // Error: Image 120306 not found //

    #3 8 years ago

    This is the third one which I recently completed. The iPad isn't sitting in the cab in the pics.

    // Error: Image 120307 not found // // Error: Image 120308 not found //

    #4 8 years ago

    Somebody get a cat in one of these pictures stat!

    #5 8 years ago

    Very, very cool!

    #6 8 years ago

    Nice!!! Are they for sale yet?

    #7 8 years ago

    Are you planning on selling these? I'd be down for one with the chrome lockdown if you're taking orders.

    #8 8 years ago

    I would also buy one of these if the price was right, let me know

    #9 8 years ago

    This is vary cool I would possibly be interested in one vary nice job sotie please let me know if they come up for sale

    #10 8 years ago

    wow the chrome lockdown bar look great, also curious, for sale how much?

    #11 8 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Somebody get a cat in one of these pictures stat!

    I don't get the cat reference. LOL

    #12 8 years ago

    Very...cute. Are you selling them? Price?

    #13 8 years ago

    Looks great. How do you turn the ipad on though?

    #14 8 years ago

    I plan on making one of these also with a couple of different design features. I don't plan on selling these but I will be making one for myself. I thought it would be cool to have the nudge buttons inside the machine with a plumb bob swinging to hit each direction. Also it would be cool to run the Bluetooth speakers from the same battery pack as the icade, or at least have them on the same switch. I plan to make little 12"ish legs to give it an authentic look.

    My icade core is on order, I should get it next week.

    I was originally wondering if there was a way to connect the iPad to a 24"tv and use that for a minicade but currently that doesn't work, the picture always renders horizontally on the screen. Even pc monitors with the rotate stands, still use the graphics card to render the image. No screen does it internally that I can find. So my only other thought to play on a larger screen, would be a picoprojector in the cab, shooting from the bottom up.

    The pinball arcade app would have to render the side of the tv screen as the bottom, so that a tv could be connected vertically in a cabinet build.

    So my cabinet will be iPad sized for now. ....some day I'll build a three screen pc cabinet.

    Where did you get your lockdown bars from? Or did you actually cut up a new lockdown bar?

    #15 8 years ago
    Quoted from sotie:

    I don't get the cat reference. LOL

    No reference...I just want to see one next to one of those things!

    #16 8 years ago

    How much? Will these be at Expo?

    #17 8 years ago

    I asked for a price to build one for me a few days ago and it was almost 2x more than my comfort zone. Granted that was with the cabinet loaded with everything he offers in his third build. It is a custom build at this point so I have no idea what a realistic number would be for this type of work. I love it. Not quite sure how much I love it in cash value yet.

    Kudos to Sotie for coming here to show off his work.

    #18 8 years ago

    I like it, how much?

    #19 8 years ago

    Definitely interested in purchasing if you're planning to make more!

    #20 8 years ago
    Quoted from sotie:

    I don't get the cat reference. LOL

    Many of the pins you see here on pinside have a cat on them. Damn cats.

    #21 8 years ago

    Thanks everyone I really appreciate the compliments! After I have finished one of these bad boys it feels really great to see what I accomplished. Yes, I'm building them and selling but I'm doing it on my free time so my output is very limited.

    Quite a few have asked for pricing so here goes... I'm fairly certain that it's going to be higher than most would expect but please read on as I explain why. I'm going to be transparent with my costs as I'm not trying to hide anything. The parts and materials costs currently total to $157 (it's actually a bit higher because I forgot a few items when I added everything up). Some of the larger cost items are: iCade $30, Lockdown Bar (it's a real one cut down to the smaller width) $28, Buttons $28, Custom cut plastic (acrylic for translite, ABS for faux coin door, plastic bezel which covers iPad) $19, Laminated Wood $15. Then there's a bunch of smaller cost items.

    Now that I've ironed out the kinks I've got the total build time to 20 hours (the first one took me much longer). One of the reasons it takes so long is because I'm pretty obsessive about the build quality. I want people's first impression to be that it was purchased in a store, not made in a garage! I'm asking $355 plus shipping to cover the parts and my labor. As is, I'm only benefiting less than $10/hour for my time and labor.

    I am collecting a deposit of $157 to cover parts/materials and the remainder due when it's ready to ship. The shipping weight is 12lbs and I'm located in N. California Bay Area if anyone wants to pick up locally.

    I can cut down on a couple of things to bring the cost lower:
    1) Laminated wood: I'm using laminated wood because the spray paint creates a very nice effect when applied to the sanded laminate. I have tested particle board and it doesn't look as nice when sprayed. I can probably reduce the price by about $10 if I were to use particle board instead of laminate. I will need to check the hardware store's pricing to confirm.
    2) Power switch: It's not totally necessary because the iCade circuit board will power itself off automatically after 5 minutes of inactivity. I can reduce the price by $3.50 if you don't want the switch.
    3) Battery compartment: I'm using an enclosed battery compartment which is housed inside the cabinet. Instead, I can cut out and use the existing battery compartment that is in the iCade. The plastic battery compartment is built into the iCade case so it won't look nice when I cut it out but since I'm installing it inside the cabinet the only time you will see it is when the rear door is open. I can reduce the price by $2.75 if I use the iCade's.

    Also, someone has proposed to me that I come up with something different for the lockdown bar to further reduce cost. I can't think of anything that will look good but I'm open to ideas.

    ------------------------------

    The following two pictures are closeups to give you a better idea of what effect the paint has when it adheres to the laminate. When I get more paint I'll post pictures of what the painted particle board looks like (not anywhere near as nice!).
    IMG_0798.JPG IMG_0796b.jpg

    Here is a closeup of the battery compartment I'm using (instead of cutting out the one built into the iCade).
    IMG_0794.JPG

    #22 8 years ago

    Have you thought about using mercury switches or accelerometer for nudging?

    #23 8 years ago
    Quoted from roger0043:

    Looks great. How do you turn the ipad on though?

    There is a black plastic bezel frame that completely covers the iPad's bezel. All you have to do is slide the plastic bezel up a bit and you can press the iPad's home button to turn it on.

    #24 8 years ago

    I have to say that the price is, at the moment, out of reach for me personally.

    Having said that, the breakdown of costs/labor seems reasonable and very justifiable.

    If you get to the point down the road that some of the manufacturing can be automated, and therefore reducing the overall cost, I would definitely seriously consider ordering one.

    That's just me though, and I'm sure there are PLENTY of pinsiders with more disposable income than I have who will jump all over this. It is a VERY nice cabinet, and there will be some very happy people when they get theirs, I'm sure.

    Nice work!

    #25 8 years ago

    Maybe when ios7 hits the pads, with gamecontroller officially supported, we see more custom made pins and might see some from a shop too. If the interest is big enough.

    #26 8 years ago

    Your design and workmanship is outstanding, and well worth your asking price. Personally, I just cannot justify such a high price tag for an accessory. I am primarily interested in the functionality and ergonomics which feel the closest to real pinball. The cabinet and other aesthetics are not that important. If you or someone else can design a purely function-targeted device, I would be very interested.

    Either way, I hope you sell a bunch.

    #27 8 years ago
    Quoted from alveolus:

    Your design and workmanship is outstanding, and well worth your asking price. Personally, I just cannot justify such a high price tag for an accessory. I am primarily interested in the functionality and ergonomics which feel the closest to real pinball. The cabinet and other aesthetics are not that important. If you or someone else can design a purely function-targeted device, I would be very interested.
    Either way, I hope you sell a bunch.

    I can build a no-frills version of just the main cabinet section out of particle board. I can even ship it "in the raw" without spray paint if you don't care about aesthetics. The question is what to do about the lockdown bar? You can play without it but in my opinion it really conveys the feeling of playing a real table.

    #28 8 years ago
    Quoted from sotie:

    I can build a no-frills version of just the main cabinet section out of particle board. I can even ship it "in the raw" without spray paint if you don't care about aesthetics. The question is what to do about the lockdown bar? You can play without it but in my opinion it really conveys the feeling of playing a real table.

    I don't disagree with you. I guess I'm just a cheapskate, but the main issue for me would be merely the position of the button relative to where your hands rest rather than the tactile feel of the lock bar surface. The backbox for me would also be unnecessary.

    #29 8 years ago

    Here is a picture I took of a work in progress a while back. A no-frills version would look similar to this picture. However, in this picture it's the laminated wood instead of particle board. Also, I probably wouldn't include the rear door, the black plastic bezel that frames the iPad, and the ABS plastic that's mounted behind the front 4 mini-buttons. Obviously, this is also painted.

    It would drop the costs significantly.

    IMG_0556a.jpg

    #30 8 years ago

    Looks good to me. I would also wonder about dropping all the non-gameplay related buttons and just use the iPad screen for navigation, etc.

    Or maybe I could just ask my wife for the deluxe model for Christmas.

    #31 8 years ago
    Quoted from alveolus:

    Looks good to me. I would also wonder about dropping all the non-gameplay related buttons and just use the iPad screen for navigation, etc.
    Or maybe I could just ask my wife for the deluxe model for Christmas.

    If I were to exclude all the front buttons and only include the 3 on each side it would further reduce my parts cost by $11.75 and approximately 2 hours labor.

    #32 8 years ago
    Quoted from alveolus:

    Looks good to me. I would also wonder about dropping all the non-gameplay related buttons and just use the iPad screen for navigation, etc.
    Or maybe I could just ask my wife for the deluxe model for Christmas.

    Geez dude....just steal a cardboard box from the back of a grocery store and cut out enough space to fit your iPad...VOILA....seems like all you want is something for nothing anyway!

    #33 8 years ago

    Have you thought about cutting the lockdown bar in the center?

    What about shipping a flat box "ikea" style un assembled modle. Just have the wood pre-cut and include all the bits. Make the DIY kit cheap and have customer buy there own icade. Create simple instructions to build it.

    #34 8 years ago
    Quoted from Pinballerchef:

    Geez dude....just steal a cardboard box from the back of a grocery store and cut out enough space to fit your iPad...VOILA....seems like all you want is something for nothing anyway!

    Will the cardboard box come with the buttons?
    Seriously, I wish the OP all the success in the world with his deluxe cabinet. I am just of the opinion that there is a limited market for a $400 dollar peripheral. As I stated, I am just looking for a functional solution for a more natural flipper button interface. The OP has been gracious enough to humor me, so I have furthered the discussion. Sorry I offended you.

    #35 8 years ago
    Quoted from alveolus:

    Will the cardboard box come with the buttons?
    Seriously, I wish the OP all the success in the world with his deluxe cabinet. I am just of the opinion that there is a limited market for a $400 dollar peripheral. As I stated, I am just looking for a functional solution for a more natural flipper button interface. The OP has been gracious enough to humor me, so I have furthered the discussion. Sorry I offended you.

    Hey now! I said $355, not $400.

    #36 8 years ago
    Quoted from alveolus:

    Will the cardboard box come with the buttons?
    Seriously, I wish the OP all the success in the world with his deluxe cabinet. I am just of the opinion that there is a limited market for a $400 dollar peripheral. As I stated, I am just looking for a functional solution for a more natural flipper button interface. The OP has been gracious enough to humor me, so I have furthered the discussion. Sorry I offended you.

    I understand that but it seems like he has to jump through massive hoops for people who can't meet his current price point?! I can't afford it either but if it was currently possible for me I'd want the exact product he has hand crafted....it's a sweet set up and I wouldn't want some dumbed down version for cheaper than cheapy cheaper cheapskate prices. He doesn't have a machine in his basement fabricating these things.

    You either want it/need it/can afford its worth.....OR NOT

    #37 8 years ago

    If anyone wants an iCade cab to try this out with, I will sell mine for $30 shipped in the US. It is perfect condition, looks brand new. Still even has the plastic over the light up coin slot plastic. Shoot me a PM. icade-1.jpg

    #38 8 years ago
    Quoted from LesManley:

    If anyone wants an iCade cab to try this out with, I will sell mine for $30 shipped in the US. It is perfect condition, looks brand new. Still even has the plastic over the light up coin slot plastic. Shoot me a PM.

    I assume yours is an original iCade since you mentioned a coin slot. I know someone that tried to play The Pinball Arcade with an original and he indicated to me that there was a flipper lag over the bluetooth connection. I don't know if he just had bad luck with his device or if it's indicative of all original iCades. You should test it out first to check. There are no flipper lag issues with iCade Core units. I have personally played/tested with 4 separate Core units.

    #39 8 years ago
    Quoted from sotie:

    I assume yours is an original iCade since you mentioned a coin slot. I know someone that tried to play The Pinball Arcade with an original and he indicated to me that there was a flipper lag over the bluetooth connection. I don't know if he just had bad luck with his device or if it's indicative of all original iCades. You should test it out first to check. There are no flipper lag issues with iCade Core units. I have personally played/tested with 4 separate Core units.

    I didn't know there were multiple versions. Mine does have the light up coin slot in the lower right hand corner. That sucks they took that out in future versions, it is a really neat feature. I never used it with the pinball arcade. I bought it to play the Atari arcade games on and I just play the pinball arcade on my Android tablet while holding it.

    #40 8 years ago

    This is an iCade Core. I purchase these and yank out the circuit boards. I'm not saying that your original won't work. I just suggest that you confirm there is no flipper lag with an iPad. By the way, the buttons are dreadful on these.

    iCadeCore_Layered_angle_web.jpg

    #41 8 years ago
    Quoted from Pinballerchef:

    I understand that but it seems like he has to jump through massive hoops for people who can't meet his current price point?! I can't afford it either but if it was currently possible for me I'd want the exact product he has hand crafted....it's a sweet set up and I wouldn't want some dumbed down version for cheaper than cheapy cheaper cheapskate prices. He doesn't have a machine in his basement fabricating these things.
    You either want it/need it/can afford its worth.....OR NOT

    He doesn't "have" to do anything. He could have ignored me or told me to kiss off and I would have understood. Yet he was trying to accommodate me. I'm not sure why you are taking it so personally. Not everyone will share your desire for "only the best" at whatever cost.

    And to the OP: Yes, sorry $355 plus shipping.

    #42 8 years ago
    Quoted from alveolus:

    He doesn't "have" to do anything. He could have ignored me or told me to kiss off and I would have understood. Yet he was trying to accommodate me. I'm not sure why you are taking it so personally. Not everyone will share your desire for "only the best" at whatever cost.
    And to the OP: Yes, sorry $355 plus shipping.

    I'm not taking it personally....it's just weird to see his final product being transformed into a particle board box. It doesn't even look fun to play with (albeit functional I suppose...which is what you want). No disrespect meant....his final product is bad a$$ and I wouldn't want to own one any other way....I guess I don't understand why someone would besides the money issue. Not for me to worry about though

    #43 8 years ago
    Quoted from LesManley:

    If anyone wants an iCade cab to try this out with, I will sell mine for $30 shipped in the US. It is perfect condition, looks brand new. Still even has the plastic over the light up coin slot plastic. Shoot me a PM.

    I will buy it for $30 shipped. Sending PM now.
    --Ed

    #44 8 years ago

    Just got my icade core in the mail. I also plan on building a wood cabinet like yours.

    I got 2 pinball flipper buttons with leaf switches, so it feels more realistic. I also plan to mod a "tilt" plum bob to activate the nudge buttons so that when you shove the machine the nudge feels natural. ....wish me luck, I have a full shop and some skillz

    Where did you get your lockdown bar from? Is there a cheap source?

    What did you use for the metal side rails?

    And I plan on making legs, any thoughts on that?

    #45 8 years ago

    And the plunger.... I have an idea to hack that into working like a real pinball game. Hopefully.

    #46 8 years ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Just got my icade core in the mail. I also plan on building a wood cabinet like yours.
    I got 2 pinball flipper buttons with leaf switches, so it feels more realistic. I also plan to mod a "tilt" plum bob to activate the nudge buttons so that when you shove the machine the nudge feels natural. ....wish me luck, I have a full shop and some skillz
    Where did you get your lockdown bar from? Is there a cheap source?
    What did you use for the metal side rails?
    And I plan on making legs, any thoughts on that?

    I experimented with many different button types and the one's I settled on feel very realistic. With the design I'm using there isn't clearance for leaf buttons for all of them and I didn't want to use two different types of buttons.

    My cabinets have solid rubber feet on them to avoid movement. As for legs it depends on how high the surface is that you place it on. I typically play with it on a table which is 30" high or kitchen counter which is 36" and both are fine. Any higher or lower and it wouldn't feel realistic to me.

    #47 8 years ago

    I want to clarify two points because there's been a bit of confusion from people that have contacted me about purchasing this week.

    1) Price: For the cabinet that's pictured it's $355 plus shipping with $157 deposit.
    It got confusing for some people because I listed a few things I can skimp on to reduce the price for people with sticker shock.

    2) Speaker: The Jambox Bluetooth speaker that's featured in the first set of pictures isn't included!
    If you have the same speaker that you'd like to use with it I will cut out the opening in the rear to slide it into the backbox.

    Thanks for all the kind words everyone has sent me.

    #48 8 years ago

    Here's the latest one I just completed for a fellow pinside member:

    IMG_0853s.jpg IMG_0854s.jpg IMG_0855s.jpg

    #49 8 years ago

    Just received my iCade from Sotie! Looks even better in person. Just finished playing Attack from Mars and was amazing! Felt like I was playing real pinball. This is an absolutely amazing product with incredible build quality. Sotie kept me updated throughout the building process and even got to customize button colors. Got to go back and play more!

    #50 8 years ago

    I want one! PM sent. Been hoping something like this would turn up for a while. Please let me know how to buy one

    Thanks!

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