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The Pi-Cade

by belch, published

The Pi-Cade by belch Aug 23, 2015
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I present the Pi-Cade: a completely 3D printed arcade cabinet built for the Raspberry Pi 2.

Inspired by the people over at adafruit and their cupcade project (http://www.adafruit.com/product/1783), and the folks over at retrobuiltgames.com (http://www.retrobuiltgames.com/the-build-page/porta-pi-arcade-kit/. I thought the cupcade concept was great, but with a tiny 2 inch screen the playability may be limited. Similarly, retrobuilt is a nice cabinet, but I thought the foot print could be much smaller and still remain very comfortable to use / play. And of course, I wanted a 3D printed version.

With a 7 inch screen, real arcade controls, an amplifier and 3 inch stereo speakers, this cabinet is the perfect size for a desk-top arcade! The system runs retropie, which uses emulationstation to manage various emulators. See their wiki for all the types of emulators that are supported: http://blog.petrockblock.com/retropie/

A quick video here:


This print is made up of fairly large parts, the largest of which is 240mm by 180mm, so at this time you will need a large print bed. The panels also require you to have your printer dialed in and leveled well for good results. If I get time, I may break up some of the larger panels to make this printable on smaller printers.

You can find everything you need to order on the instructions page, and almost everything is available at adafruit.com. I am going to continue to make design enhancements -- perhaps a 6 button panel, a two player version, and options for different controls.

The sketchup file is included for you to edit. The sketchup file does not have rounded edges on the front panels as the printable stl files do. I suggest round corner, with a 3mm setting to round over the sides of the front facing panels (see examples in the STLs).

Happy gaming!


Print all the parts. Choose your marquee panel from the 3 options provided, or use the blank one to make your own logo.

The panels go together using m4 machine screws, like these:
http://amzn.com/B000NHYR4K. You will need 4 longer m4 screws with nuts to attach the joystick. For some of the smaller holes (like the raspberry pie and the video boards, I use m3 versions of the same:
http://amzn.com/B000NHTPPQ. When connecting the pi, these cables always come in handy: http://amzn.com/B00D7SCMZ8.

The HDMI cable is a very tight fit, and you will need a flat style cable with short ends. I suggest something like this: http://amzn.com/B00APYQU4Q.

Here is the list of components from Adafruit:

2 Arcade Button - 30mm Translucent Red
2 Arcade Button - 30mm Translucent Blue
2 Arcade Button - 30mm Translucent Clear

Or obviously whatever colors you would like!

Stereo 2.8W Class D Audio Amplifier - I2C Control AGC - TPA2016
Speaker - 3" Diameter - 4 Ohm 3 Watt

The monitor:

You will need a Raspberry Pi model 2, and a wifi dongle, SD card, and plug, and a wireless mini keyboard. There are many "kits" available on adafruit, I will leave that to you.

I happen to like the american style joystick, as opposed to the japan style that adafruit sells. I will add an additional control panel for the adafruit option, but in the meantime the control panel is made for this joystick from amazon: http://amzn.com/B00EM34ZN4

This project will require some light soldering of the amp unit and speakers. For the buttons, I suggest these from adafruit, although soldering will obviously work: http://www.adafruit.com/products/1152

For this project, you do not need more than the pi 2 for connections to the GPIO. I splice all the grounds together, and use the Adafruit retro game utility to emulate keyboard commands from the joystick and the buttons. There is an excellent tutorial here, although the GPIO diagrams are a bit dated:


Enjoy! Feel free to ask questions!

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Anybody remix this for the official 7" touchscreen display?

Don't understand? Which touchscreen do you mean?

The Official Raspberry Pi 7″ Touchscreen by the Pi foundation. Here is the link: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/the-eagerly-awaited-raspberry-pi-display/

Ah. That is a bit more bulky. May require you to widen the case a bit. The sketchup files are included here, so it wouldn't be difficult.

I did a remix for the front kicker panel so the ports on the Pi are accessible. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1540102

Remix for PiCade-KickerPanel

Ok, someone needs to get their 6-button version uploaded. I'm almost finished with the 4 button....and I don't think it's gonna be enough buttons. LOL

Pix coming as soon as I get it all finished and put together. The 5 and 7 yr olds in the household keep wanting to play with it already.

Mini Arcade videogame with Raspberry Pi 2

Aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!! Thank you! I'll be printing that control top out this weekend!

Mar 30, 2016 - Modified Mar 30, 2016

Can you post a list of the Gipo locations for the 6 buttons or explain how you mapped them? Mine is printed and ready to be wired. I see diagrams for 2 buttons but not 6.

Pi-Cade / NES Color & Japan Stick
by Bigozor

Do you have the control panel STL for the Adafruit joystick?

This comment has been deleted.
Mar 11, 2016 - Modified Mar 11, 2016
Bigozor - in reply to mrpottermw

I made a control panel for the Adafruit joystick (https://www.adafruit.com/products/480) but I can't make a good STL file despite Sketchup file is good. Something is wrong with the exportation.

You can find both file here https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1A6OF4XcLa0VG9DdkJWaFVUWlk

Tell me if u find a solution with the STL issue

EDIT : I think I find a solution, STL works fine when turning model on the side. I try to print this piece next week.

I used Magics to fix the STL (had an issue where the side screws are) and Im using a Fortus 250 to print it out. Processed with Insight and no issues came up. Im printing it flat with buttons down.

Belch could you give me a little help with connecting the adafruit amp to the rpi? I'm kind of a noob and I don't want to mess it up. Thanks!

I do not understand how you use RetroPie and Retrogame together and make your arcade buttons or joystick work? I have RetroPie installed but I do not know where to go now to configure my arcade buttons or joystick... Can someone help me?

Go to the adafruit link and they have instructions for compiling that utility and getting it working...


This allows you to take an stl file and split it wherever you want to in order to fit the print on your bed. I wouldn't split the main control panel, but it seems to have worked pretty well on the side panels.

what size print bed this for mine will bee 200mmx220mmx200mm will this fit?

The largest part is 240...

240 by what? and i made typo my printer suppose be 200x280x200

"This print is made up of fairly large parts, the largest of which is 240mm by 180mm, so at this time you will need a large print bed. The panels also require you to have your printer dialed in and leveled well for good results. If I get time, I may break up some of the larger panels to make this printable on smaller printers."

Jan 7, 2016 - Modified Jan 7, 2016

have you checked if dimensions compatible with official rpi 7" screen?
i want do a remix a raspberrypi-Pet like comadore-pet
will be control centre for my 3d printer

Do you have the i2c control on the stereo amp hooked up or using it strictly as an amp?

I do not remember... I think I just followed adafruit instructions, and hooked it up as an amp... fairly certain

I made an arcade similar to this for my father for Christmas, but I had trouble with the sound. I did not know how to use the i2c pin on the stereo with the pi to use a higher gain. The sound is just extremely soft. Any advice is greatly appreciated!


Quick, stupid question - I'm in the process of printing this on my large table Lulzbot but can't seem to print the RH side or base plates for some reason. When I pull them up in CAD to look at them, they seem...odd looking, like they're "spiky" - hard to explain. So, stupid question, are those files OK or were they corrupted? I'm assuming others have had success, so I can only assume it's an issue on my end, but I also have a pile of parts already printed...so I'm at a loss. If you could shove me in the right direction I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Dec 8, 2015 - Modified Dec 8, 2015
belch - in reply to simanod

They do not seem corrupt to me. I downloaded them from thingiverse and compared to the originals. All of them have been put through cloud.netfabb.com for cleaning. You can try to submit it through that service again to be sure. What CAD program are you using? You could always open the SKP and grab the part - re - orient it - and export it again (then clean)...

Just some suggestions.

Thanks for the quick response! I'll give it a try and let you know how it goes.

Hi Belch,
Are you working on designs for smaller beds? If so when will they be out? Thanks it looks awesome and really want to print it!!

How did you run power to this? Do you have two cables coming from the back of this?

belch - in reply to Dhim

There is a small slot in the back. Plug the cable to the PI, tie a knot a couple of inches away so it will not pull through the slot...

Have you considered smaller pieces yet? My build plate is just shy of 200mm. That'd would be amazing.

I've finally completed this, and have to give you props, this really is awesome.

I would love if you could make a 6 button panel, that would make it perfect.

That's cool! Post a pic! I will upload a six button panel soon...

Any progress on the 6 button version?

I'm building a second printer and it will have a long bed. Anxiously awaiting the 6 button version!

Dhim - in reply to belch

This looks awesome. My little ones really want to build this with me (7 and 5), so it's going to be our little project. Do you think the 6 button layout will fit with the other components?

I'm patiently waiting on the 6, I think it can be done.

Very cool, just put up a pic, very awesome build !!!

Can a raspberry pi 2 be used for this project.

belch - in reply to DarioJ

thats what i used here

Can you please post a picture of how you wired everything up? Thanks and awesome project!

found an alternative screen that's much cheaper than the adafruit one (if you don't mind ordering from China that is...) but the driver board mount may need a little adjustment.

This is fantastic! I'm currently building a 17" (screen) weecade bartop but this something I can keep in my sons room ;)

I'm actually making some for my kids rooms as well!

What, no coin door? LOL!!! Just kidding. This looks like a great project. I am from the arcade generation and still enjoy playing the old retro games with genuine arcade controls like this. Kudos on the design and the attention to authentic details. A six button setup would be pretty cool like you mentioned. Even a setup with switchable control panels would be pretty slick. Great job.

Adafruit does sell a coin slot...