Share this project


Share this project

Build Your Own Arcade's video poster

Build an 80's inspired retro arcade, and play your favorite games with a big stick, and fat buttons. Read more

pledged of $25 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on June 22, 2012.

Build an 80's inspired retro arcade, and play your favorite games with a big stick, and fat buttons.

About this project


I've added a new video including some construction shots, and some additional gameplay!

Last year, for my son's 5th birthday, I designed and built a custom arcade machine... the American Ace.  It's loads of fun to play, sounds great, and looks insane sitting in the game room!  Fast forward almost a year, and this is his only gift that still gets played almost daily.

This Kickstarter project will produce a set of detailed plans, construction manual and full size template, based on my son’s one-off arcade machine, so that anyone can build their own arcade machine.

When I sat down to design the American Ace, I wanted to create something that captured the look and feel of an 80's arcade.  Handheld controllers rule the home gaming scene, but some games just demand genuine arcade controls with a big stick and fat buttons.

Not long into the design process, my wife and I agreed on one thing; we didn't want a refrigerator sized toy in our house.  So, I took my design, and scaled everything down just a bit.

The results were great!  The arcade stands just over four feet tall, so my son and his friends are able to walk right up and play.  Plus, the control panel is the perfect height for adults to play while seated.

What games are you going to play on your arcade?  Well, the American Ace is designed to be completely open ended so you can add a PC, a JAMMA multi-game board, or just about any home gaming console out there... past or present.

Got an old PC lying around collecting dust? Then you probably have a gaming system you can put in your arcade cabinet for no cost at all.  Emulation software like MAME is free, runs great on older hardware, and allows you to play thousands of older arcade titles.  Never heard of MAME or software emulators?  Keep reading; there are some helpful links at the bottom of this page.

NOTE: You can choose to receive printed plans in the mail, or an electronic version (PDF).

You want to be a DIY rock star and scratch build your own arcade cabinet!  There's never been a better time.  Right now, maker's all around the world are realizing they can make things themselves that only industry could have produced in the past.

Certainly, building an arcade machine is no casual undertaking, but the real trick is the design.  When I built my son's arcade machine, there was a lot of trial and error, but these plans eliminate all the guess work.

These plans will take you from a stack of wood, through construction, all the way to a finished arcade cabinet without any headaches… first try.

Besides the plans and construction notes, you're also getting the FULL SIZED side panel template.  Use the side panel template to check your layout work, or simply use it as a pattern to trace.

Finally, these plans will also include a FULL SIZED control panel template you can use to easily locate the holes for your joystick and buttons.

The detailed plans include the following:

  • Fully dimensioned working drawings
  • Construction manual (all the workshop tips and tricks)
  • Full sized side template for layout
  • Full sized control panel template for joystick and button locations

Got the fever?  Check out some of these links:


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question


  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    0 backers

    Everyone gets something! All backers will receive the American Ace desktop wallpaper for you computer.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    29 backers

    Complete set of plans in PDF format. You get the fully dimensioned blueprints, construction manual, and FULL SIZED side panel template!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    12 backers

    Complete set of PRINTED plans PLUS everything in PDF format also! You get the fully dimensioned blueprints, construction manual, and FULL SIZED side panel template! (Please add $10 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (21 days)