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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Photo log of my Nanocade build

A few of my friends had questions on the parts I used and how the assembly went for my Nanocade. Here is a photo log of the entire process.

Parts used and where they were sourced:

Testing the internals and installing the OS.
Taken just before I start removing pieces from the laser cut sheet acrylic 
Pieces separated and organized
Finished cabinet

Internals mounted and wired together
Motherboard mounted to bottom acrylic panel
Everything installed just before first power-up

Left side - monitor power, motherboard power, volume, power jack
Right side - ventilation holes for fan and USB ports
Success... The system starts to boot
Mala Mame front-end working
Quick game of Galaga to finish up the project


  1. Hi Paul,

    How did you mount the speakers? Epoxy, Krazy Glue, tape, staples, chewing gum?



  2. I used epoxy. The speakers had a plastic ring from their enclosures that was just perfect for spacing a little bit from the acrylic. I epoxied the the plastic ring to the acrylic and then epoxied the speaker to the plastic ring. -Paul

  3. Awesome, THANK YOU! Nice work, btw.

  4. Hi Paul,

    It looks great! I wanted one too but I am really bad at building these things. Are there any ways you can help me build one?



  5. Thank you Eric. I would like to help you but I don't have the time to invest in another project like this. Don't be afraid to try it though. The shell itself is easy to put together and the instructions are top notch. The toughest part is getting everything crammed together. Patients and a Dremel tool fixes that :) Good luck!

  6. thanks. I am just scare of putting the acrylic panels together.

  7. It's not that bad. The glue is somewhat watery and easy to work with. It doesn't set for a couple minutes to you have time to adjust things. Make sure you have clamps and a simple jig to hold panels at 90 degree angles. I used a couple pieces of heavy wood blocks.

  8. That's encouraging. Approximately how much time and money should I budget for this project? I suppose it wouldnt be a one night project.

  9. With all parts on hand it shouldn't take you more than a weekend. I spend weeks off and on finding all the parts and Mame components. With my parts list and links you should be able to get everything you need right away to finish the project in a couple of days. Assembly goes quick. You'll spend time waiting for the glue to dry. Take advantage of the time to prep the computer. Getting all the parts to fit took a few hours since you do need to cut monitor's case a bit to clear the motherboard. I also decided to solder in a remote power switch for the monitor since the controls are hidden. The computer/Mame set up takes a little while since there are so many ways to configure it. Take you time, its not a race. Enjoy the process of building it and have fun playing your accomplishment.

  10. it seems you painted the borders of the screen, did you? And how?

  11. Yes I did. The plexiglass came with a protective film. I cut and removed the portion of the film where I wanted it blacked out. I used a generic flat black spray paint. I did this on the "back" of the plexiglass. After it dried I stretched black electrical tape over the black paint to protect it from scratching during installation.

  12. Thank you Paul for the quick reply,
    did you use any trick to cut the film without damage the plexiglass? (Or maybe it's possible to remove the film, cut it and than replace it)

    I'm waiting for a nanocade kit, so if it doesn't bother you I'll ask you for more advice next weeks :P


  13. No trick, just a very light finger on the x-acto knife. I did slightly score the plexi on my first cut but the paint fills it in. You can't see it unless you're looking hard for it.

  14. I bought two Nanocade kits before he stopped selling them and hit a roadblock once I received my Lilliput monitor. I realized it has its own AC adapter. How did you manage that? Did you wire it to the picoPSU on a Molex? Any advice?

    Also, from reading online, there appears to be a hidden menu feature to enable the Lilliput to power on automatically. I might go that route, since like you, I can't access the front controls when installed.

  15. Hi Robert, I discovered the wall transformer that came with the monitor was the right voltage and enough wattage to drive both the monitor the picoPSU. So I went to Radio Shack and got the right male power jacks for the existing power jacks in the monitor and picoPSU and made a splitter cable. You can see it in the first picture. The silver female power jack with twin red and black wires coming out. One leads to the monitor and the other to the picoPSU. The silver female jack is mounted to the Nanocade case. Notice picture 12 under the volume control. You can see bigger picture here:

    BTW- can you post the link to the hidden menu feature so others can see it. I hardwired an external push button to the Lillyput but it was tough. The traces on the monitor PCB were very small and I ended up lifting them which required me to solder in jumper wires. It was @&#^#$@ of a job and I thought I ruined the monitor's button board.

  16. Hi Paul I wondered please how you.were able to create physical volume control - this is the last piece of your cool work I am unable to replicate in some way
    Thanks bob

  17. Hi Bob. The knob was pretty easy. It came from the speakers I picked up at Staples. The knob and amplifier board are already two pieces so I removed them from the speaker housings and mounted them in the Nanocade. You can see the volume potentiometer connected to the amplifier via a white ribbon cable here:

    Hope this helps... -Paul

  18. Paul, great work !!!
    It's possible for you to give me the project because it's impossible to have a kit and the doesn't work anymore. I don't know how to start and how to draw the nanocade.

    1. Hi Gremlin, I apologize for the late reply. I move this domain from GoDaddy and the DNS change screwed up Blogger. The only plans I have are the same ones you can find on the Internet.