eds1275 2011-03-26 - 11:54am

Tolexing - aka something I've been planning for years and started in January.

Who else grew up in the 80's... mostly in arcades? My dream as a boy was to have arcade machines. But then the price of real estate got a little out of control, so I got into the emulation scene and man do I love it. But of course there's something a little missing from that equation, isn't there? Standing at the machine, putting your quarter on the glass to mark your place in line. The controls, "space invader's wrist" etc etc. So I decided to build my own machine. I wanted an all-in one, but I didn't want it to be ugly.That's a pretty hard bill to fill. I wanted originally a Zombie theme as zombies are cool, but then that wouldn't exactly fit the studio theme. Hmm, looking around I chose something so obvious that it's genius. Here's a hint. Black, white, and brass. Then I went one step further, you know... that little extra push over the cliff and went to eleven. I went SPINAL TAP. So it is Marshall colours with a spinal tap theme.

I did a d render of my idea so bad some stranger on the internet did a good one for me. Here's how it looks as an idea.


So as you can see I put an awful lot of thought into this. The design is entirely my own though you can see I was inspired by many sources, a 26" LCD, two analogue sticks for the players, a 3" trackball and a spinner on the front. The spinner will also have a steering wheel that attaches to it. The 2 holes in the front are gun holsters. Each player gets 7 buttons, kind of a hybrid street fighter/neo geo layout [which actually works as a run button for mortal kombat as well]. The analogue joysticks are auto sensing so that they act like regular 4/8 way sticks as well, so you can play just about any game on them, from flying games to fighters.


Can I make it as good in the "real world" as I can as a 3d render? Let's take a peek. Last night I got home from a business trip and got gluing the tolex on. I used Press-Tite contact cement. 3 coats on the tolex and one coat on the mdf. The damn tolex has a mesh backing that really soaks in the glue. Then it's all about carefully putting it lightly in place, and smushing out any air from the center to the edges. On an amp I would use my hands, but because the machine is 6' tall, I used a rolling pin.

One cooooold day in January when I started building.

Assembly! No screws, all glue and biscuits.

Here's the brass before I bent it up. I had to make a metal brake out of angle iron to do that, but it turned out really well.

Here's the game selection screen I made, it's nearly done. Ima hide a mini stonehenge somewhere and put a knob above the guys that goes to 11.

So back on to tolexing... I didn't take any pics during, because of course I was busy. But here's the vinyl saturated with contact cement:

And here's the machine after the tolexing was completed, and I put the t-molding on. The vinyl will tear before you can peel it off.

The brass looks a little sloppy, but when the buttons are in it pulls it all down tight. The 2 holes in the back are for brass 4x10 heating vent covers to provide some air for the TV - I may or may not mount some PC fans in them, we'll see if it needs it. I have some black buttons but I'm going for red - I don't have any other parts yet, gotta get some money together before I do that up. The art for the marquee is done as well, havent got it printed yet.

   As for relevance here on guitar.com, I was gonna post in the offbeat but then I thought that this actually has lots to do with my studio and was greatly designed around my amps. I don't record bands often but when I do, the last thing I want is for them to be partying right behind me in the control room while I'm tracking the drummer. Especially if they bring uninvited friends like their girlfriends or what have you. This thing should hopefully keep them in the lounge.

My buddy has a JCM900 head that needs retolexing - I'll be doing that in a few weeks and I'll write up a tutorial and take lots of pics. Maybe a video.

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