Build Your Own Arcade Kits & more
Build Your Own Arcade Kits & more

The Build Page (News)

Doing-It-Myself since 2000-something.

<<Jan 26, 2015>>
I have noticed a surge in traffic /orders the past two weeks :) So, I'd like to know how you got here! Check out the 1 question survey- it helps me a LOT.

<<Jan 13, 2015>>
If you live in Pittsburgh (or the area) I am teaching a workshop about the Raspberry Pi on Jan 31st 2015. 

<<Jan 11, 2015>>
RPi B+ Arcade Button Shield PCB is now available in the shop. I only have a few on hand as this version was a prototype order. Working on the production order:)


Also- want your joystick to feel "just right"? See how to 3d print a part, plus adjust the feel of your joystick. Getting to know your arcade parts.

<Jan 3, 2015>
Because why not? There's a RPi shield for everything but buttons! 

<<Jan 1, 2015>>

Added the 9Inch LCD to the shop!



<<Dec 28, 2014>>

Updated the video for Advanced Config/Setup for Retropie v2.3 / PPOS 4.x



<<Dec 16, 2014>>

Never noticed the large (and confusing) copy-and-paste error on the Fully Assembled Kit page. Fixed and should make sense now.

<<Dec 10, 2014>>

My Web server has been experiencing DDoS attacks since Tuesday (Dec 11th). Thanks for those messaging me and tweeting at me expressing concern. Like any DDoS there is no expected time when it it stop. The site goes down randomly. Sorry everyone.



The good news is I've added new items to the shop!


Raspberry Pi B+ Computer

SD card with the Porta Pi Arcade OS installed

USB power cable for the RPi

<<Nov 26, 2014>>

How to add a working coin acceptor to your arcade!

I think I've seen this before

<<Nov 21, 2014>>

In an unfortunate turn of events, it looks like my design has been copied without my permission and is being sold without my consent, credit, or compensataion.
Full story here.

<<Nov 5, 2014>>

The Porta Pi Arcade is now one year old and it's that time of year... So, Holiday prices are in effect. The Wood Full Kit 9" is now $280 (that's $5 below the origininal Kickstarter price). Original price was $315. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me. You are the stuff.


I have twitter now! Follow me using the button on the side panel (left).

<<Nov 4, 2014>>

 GBA XXL, because why not?

<<Oct 23, 2014>>

Current design modeled in Invetor Professional 2014 with exploded assembly animation. Should aid with assembly.

<< Oct 16 2014>> 

Porta Pi Arcade 9inch rendered inside an empty lab using Inventor Professional 2014. Because? I'm trying to learn Inventor.

<< Oct 14 2014>> 

Custom control panel. Laser etched then filled with paint and finally sanded a bunch.

<< Oct 9 2014>> 2nd post
Bought a box (27) of ultra-compact PC's (Lenovo Q150) from an e-recycler. If you want to supercharge your Porta Pi Arcade they work rather well.

<< Oct 9 2014>>

Made a video to show off RetroPie 2.3 and how to edit/change a number of config files to aid in your mini arcade cabinet experience.

I get a number of questions about these things. Hope the video helps. More help can be found in the help page (seems almost too logical).

<<Oct 2, 2014>>

2 Player Mini arcade prototype for sale.

Thanks to those who responded to the survey. Looks like this guy just wont cut it. 

<< Sept 30, 2014>>

1) Removed some now obsolete Porta Pi Arcade images (2.x and 4.0 from the OS download page. Uploaded an updated OS for the B+ and B (this is v4.1). I fixed some GPIO mapping in v4.1 (v4.0 had player 2 mapped to some hotkeys for graphics and made things not user-friendly).


2) Added an option to the Wood Panel Kit 9"; now you can buy the wood panels and the nuts/bolts to aid your assembly :)

<<Sept 22, 2014>>

Selling this bartop prototype, need to make room and build the next almost-final version!

<<Sept 22, 2014>>

I now sell Suzo Happ Arcade buttons. New colors too (purple and yellow). You can now buy just buttons for your Arcade projects here! 

<<Sept 18, 2014>>

First prototype of a two player mini arcade kit. Screen is 10.1" . Tell me what you think here (2 question survey via google docs).

<<Sept 17, 2014>>

You can now select the colors of the arcade buttons for 9" kits at no extra charge! Want all 10 buttons to be red and black? Done. Just enter the color+qty in the text field by the "add to cart" button.

<<Sept 13, 2014>>

Fine-tuning/ trying deeper cabinet model for the 23" plywood kits... I present to you the Button Hero Arcade Machine.

<<Sept 9,2014>>

Today is an important day. It's the Dreamcast's 15th US release aniversarry! I happened to buy mine exactly 15 years ago (for the modest price of $199). If I only knew how different the Sonic game would be from that day on  :\


I will be updating the site (slowly) to use a 'shopping cart' style checkout. This will allow you add extra parts, colors, and add-ons (like the clear plastic control cover). It will be a slow transition and the site might get messy. If the buy-it-now buttons dissapear, it's because I'm working on this. 


The 7" Wood Porta Pi Arcade Kits (all types) are discontinued! I need to make room/resources available for new kits. The 7"  acrylic kits are still available.


I've also got a special cabinet in the works I call "Button Hero".

<<Aug 29, 2014>>

Been busy with orders; things are going well! I have the latest prototype of the "bartop" MAME for the Raspberry Pi B+ here


September 1st-5th I will be on "vacation". I likely will not be responding to e-mail. I don't expect this to delay orders, if at all. 

<<Aug 20, 2014>>

New Porta Pi Arcade image with Retro Pie v2.3 is up. This is pretty much a complete overall of the front end. It looks awesome. I will try to make a FAQ for this on the site as there are many changes that lack documentation (and most of my documentation is now obsolete because of it. Please be patient:)

<<Aug 18, 2014>>

A million thanks to Clint at Lazy Game Reviews for doing a review of my Porta Pi Arcade Cabinet. I don't have the tech nor the smooth sexy voice like Clint to make a video showcase of my arcade. But now, thankfully you can watch one, and many other excellent video game related videos on LGR's YouTube channel.

<<Aug 11,2014>>

The 3" speakers I have been using have been discontinued. I found a replacement. I did try a cheaper alternative but I was not happy with the sound. I've upgraded to this 3" midrange (4ohm) speaker. I tested these guys today and I am very pleased. These speakers cost a bit more, so there is small bump in the 9" kit costs. The hole mounts are almost identical, you can get by if you previously bought a wood kit. I will be revising the cabinet so things fit perfectly. 

<<Aug 3,2014>>

All the Porta Pi Arcade manuals are now free. Download them from the respective Shop pages. If you ordered a kit and are waiting for me to email you the manual, please just grab it from my website. 


<<Aug 2,2014>>

New SD card imagesuploaded! Featuring:
Support for RPi B and B+.
Slightly updated RetroPie version (with better MAME compatibility).

<<Aug 1,2014>>


In process of redoing the Porta Pi image for model B+ using RetroPie v1.10. Also just doing a firmware update of the current image bc it just works the way I want it. I am expecting to have two images up for the old model B and new B+.


Side note: Look at those LEDs!

<<July 25, 2014>>

New Clock! Thanks to Shayna for drawing 58% of the artwork.

<<July 24, 2014>>

So My B+ was not DOA... I had to format (the slow kind of format) the SD card for the B+. It is a picky update Pi. My SD card needed to be TOTALLY clean of any old data, so a quick format was no good for this. I used the "overwrite" format with the SDFormatter tool. I'm in the process of setting up the image from scratch. I'm also working on uploading a new Porta Pi image with RetroPie v1.10 that will work for B and B+. Stay tuned. I'm waiting for a 4GB SD to come in the mail (I only have an 8GB as luck would have it).


Until a solution is found for GPIO input, I'm holding off on using RetroPie v2.3. I agree, it does look very nice :)


All 9inch kits are updated to fit the RPi B+ model, just note my image does not work for the B+ at the moment. I will upload a new image for the B+ soon(ish).


I also have a big show this Saturday in Cleveland ,Ohio. So, this new image will have to wait until next week.

Show details are on the bottom left. Please stop by if you're in the area!


<<July 19, 2014>>

Updated the CAD files to fit the RPi B+. Reworked most of of inventory to fit. Did a test fit on the 9" Model. Looks ok. Will try the 7" cabinet later. Again, check the Shop pages to see if current kits fit the B+. The change is minimal, but at the moment I have a mix of kits that fit one or both. I liked to sell old inventory before I make the offical update, as it is easier to manage fewer variations of the arcade kits.


Unfortunately my B+ came DoA. I will test the image when I get a different one.


<<July 14, 2014>>

The Raspberry Pi Model B+ is out! More GPIOs and USB ports!!! Once my B+ arrives in the mail I will update kits to fit the new Pi model. All the pages will be updated to show this added compatibility. So until then all kits are for the Model B still....


<<July 7, 2014>>

Nintendo DS and 3DS game case coming soon. SD card case too.


<<July 5, 2014>>


New kit prototypes are coming along well. These will be bare-bones kits/ plans aka wood kits or drawing files only. They are geared for a two player layout using PC monitors 15 - 23 inches. See more pics here.






<<June 22, 2014>>


Vote for the Porta Pi Arcade in the Instructables Epilog laser contest!
It would make me so happy if you Porta Pi Arcade fans would support me. Having my own laser would reduce many of my costs and help new protypes come to life faster :)

Thanks for stopping by my page!


<<June 20, 2014>>


A proper video showing the Porta Pi Arcade in action! I realized I didnt have an updated video for those wondering "How is it with games?".


<<June 19, 2014>>


I made a video demonstrating all the steps for Full Kit assembly. The 44minute video covers all the major steps, required tools, and tips when building. So, if you're on the fence, or just curious what building a cabinet is like, this will help. The video is also a compliment to the PDF manual. It will help with the assembly as it serves as a detailed visual guide.


<<June 13, 2014>>
I'm working on new kits right now. A CNC kit of a bartop-styled arcade. Here 's the first mock-up and trial run. It needs a few adjustments for sizing. The goal is low cost. The monitor will be mounted from a bracket system cut from the same plywood as the cabinet. Since this is entirely CNC'ed I have the feeling it will take some time to perfect the design/CAD drawing. I do like the look of it. These kits will house a 17-19inch monitor and have room for two players. They can either fit a small PC  or RPi.


<<June 11, 2014>>
 My GPIO cheat sheet. Cut out and carefully push this onto your headers for a fast and error free wiring when using my SD card image.


GPIO header mapping cheat sheet.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [112.8 KB]

<<June 2, 2014>>
Want to use an Xbox 360 [wired] controller with your Porta Pi Arcade? Or just want controller support with the awesome Porta Pi SD card image? Check it out here.

<<May 28, 2014>>
I tried some stain-in-a-can. Seen below is a side-by-side comparison. This is after 6 spray coats. I painted this after I assembled the cabinet panels together. I painted a fully assembled (empty) cabinet.  I think this is the easiest way to paint, as one does not have to worry about 1) the cabinet not fitting together if you get paint in the joints or 2) using up the floor to layout all the pieces individually for paint. A can of this will set you back $9.50. It feels like it could do another cabinet of 5 coats. Color is 'Pecan Gloss 420'.
Verdict: I would buy it again. Results are not as good as the brush/rag method, but spray can is 10x easier.

Custom order done for Jeremy W.

<<May 19, 2014>>

1) The first 30 pages of the Porta Pi Arcade Manual are now FREE.

That means you can view the Bill of Materials, see the tips/tricks for building, and view the cabinet shell + monitor mounting assembly steps. 


Now, before you buy the Kit you can see exactly what is included by veiwing the Bill of Materials (BoM). 


2) The Porta Pi Lite is done! Check it out here.


3) I added a hall of fame gallery of those who sent me a pic of their finished porta pi:)

<<May 17, 2014>>

New-er website layout. Removed some clutter.

New SD card download link. I re-uploaded the image. Should fix the broken Zip file.

Thanks to Kahne for letting me know it wasnt working.


And this button panel cover made by Spiros (a Porta Pi Backer!!)

and that paint job. It's superb! 

<<May 5, 2014>>

Uploading a video to explain some new features on the Porta Pi Arcade's design. 

Also to grab some traffic from youtube :)

<<April 29, 2014>>

The download link is back up for the image! 

It appears to auto-reset every day. When the link reaches the 20GB/day bandwidth cap it will go down, then reset the following day. 

I took a decent photo today

<<April 28, 2014>>

A few things:


1) Site is updated and ready for new orders!

2) The Kent Ohio Gamer's Con was a fun trip!

3) I've upload the link to download the OS image for the Porta Pi! Feel free to test it out. Please consider buying a kit! 


<<April 22, 2014>>


I'm still updating the site. This is one of those things that needs to work right the first time. Pardon the wait.


<<April 16, 2014>>


As of today ALL but two Kickstarter Kits have been shipped. Of those last two, I either just got your address info this week, or you have still not filled out the address survey.


This means I'm done with the kickstarter. Finished by the dead-line too! From what I hear this is a rariety for Kickstarters.


"Are you taking new orders?" Yes, in a few days.

I'm adding Paypal buttons to the website. I am also revampping the layout in some areas to make this site easy to find what you're looking for. I'm not a web designer, but I will do my best.

Look for the big update in a few days.


I also need to restock inventory and make a few changes to the kit. These changes will be to aid me in the time it takes to pre-assemble kits. Expect to have to crimp, strip, and solder wires to build the Full Kits. When I say solder, I mean solder wires to panel-mount DC jacks, and wires onto speaker tabs. Nothing difficult like PCB soldering...


Stick around..

I will also be closing up shop on Etsy. This website gives me more control and power (and way less fees :)

<< March 12, 2014>>

Still cutting cabinets. I've reached the halfway point for laser cutting. Shipping information to come via kickstarter.

I can't emphasize how crammed my apartment is with inventory. It's almost silly. 


I've uploaded a video showing how to mod/hack a game console to work with a Porta Pi cabinet. It doesn't go into extreme detail. But shows the basics.

<<Feb 22, 2014>>

Still cutting cabinets. Getting ready for the first initial shipment; some prepwork is involved. Every cabinet I cut I will do a dry-fit assembly. Just as a feel good to make sure everything fits ok and I don't forget a piece when it goes out. 


Here's a neon-red cabinet I made for a 'show'.


I've also been working on a controller box version of a Porta-Pi Arcade. Essentially it's the Porta-Pi without the monitor, speakers, and upper 2/3rds of the cabinet. The RPi was relocated so you can plug a HDMI cable straight from this box to your HD TV. It's a hybrid of the old Plug-n-Play tv games from 2010 mixed with a beefy fight-stick controller.

This will become a kit too. But not for a few months.


<<Jan 13, 2014>>

"The Kickstarter has ended, but I still want a Porta-Pi Kit/PDF! Can I get one?"


The answer is yes! Thanks everyone for all the requests, inquiries, and general questions about the availablility of the Porta Pi after the Kickstarter. I can assure you, the Porta-Pi's life has just started"


At the moment, I'm getting some things situated, mainly placing part orders for the Kickstarter backers, and getting a handle on building the kits. 

I will make the Porta Pi kits available for anyone outside kickstarter; but, not until I have my backers' rewards on schedule and the best I can make them. 


So until that happens, please continue to check back here or my Etsy store for updates! 

My Etsy store is RetroBuiltGames

<<Jan 6, 2014>>

Happy New Year!

Kickstarter is coming to a close on a very high note. 
Check out the latest built of the Limited Edition Porta-Pi Arcade!

<<Dec 10, 2013>>




And it's taking off!!!!

First 24 hours and already 91% funded. Insane.

Thank you backers. Thank you so much!

<<Dec 8, 2013>>


The Porta Pi Kickstarter fell short of its goal at $21,815 of $36,000 making it the most successful failure ever.


I will be relaunching the kickstarter.

I've had many requests to sell a prototype or whatever I have completed.

Trust me guys, I want to say yes. However, making just one exception would hinder the re-launch of the kickstarter.


I'm hoping to have the relaunch "Porta-Pi Kickstarter: Revenge of Success" up this week.

The new goal is less than half of the original $36k.


Many others features, rewards, and shipping options have been improved, so, please stick around.

The pic above is a teaser. It's worth it.


Thanks everyone, 

<<Oct 31, 2013>>



Go there now, check it out,  and maybe support me if you'd be so kind!

And thanks for visiting my site!

<<Oct 23, 2013>>


Prototype phase is just about over. Approaching alpha phase!

Check the "DIY KIYS" tab for why you should care.




Get ready for a Kickstarter......

<<Sept 29, 2013>>



DIY Kits are taking shape!


I spent a few hours (about 6) drawing this cabinet for a 7" screen and Raspberry Pi.

See the photos in DIY Kits. It's still in the prototype phase, but I cut 3 of them. So If you've like what you see, let me know.


(Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation)

Upcoming shows/vending:


CCAGShow 2015*
Cleveland's Classic Console and Game Show

Saturday July 25, 2015. North Olmsted Soccer Sportsplex 31515 Lorain Rd. North Olmsted, Ohio 44070. Noon to 8 PM. Admission only $7

 Know of a show I should go to? Tell me!

* indicates big show (attendance in the thousands)

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© 2013-2014 Ryan Bates and © 2013-2014 Retro Built Games, LLC. All photos, documents, and graphics (C) Ryan Bates. All Rights Reserved