What to do with an old monitor and a pallet…

What to do with an old monitor and a pallet…

I have load’s of old computer parts around and this is something I had planned on doing for a long time. Make a Pallet Arcade!

So armed with my trusty Roughneck 64640 Demolition And Lifting Bar I set about pulling apart a couple pallets to use for my project. (Image 1)

After around 30 minutes I now had a stack of de-nailed pallet timber to use.

pallet arcade
Image 1
pallet arcade
Image 2

I laid the monitor down on some pallet wood and marked out the size of the monitor and cut it to size.(Image 2)

pallet arcade
Image 3
pallet arcade
Image 4

I continued to box the monitor in to the pallet wood. (Image 3 and 4)












After the main screen area was complete, I set about making the sides and the front hand rest and joystick area.(Images 5 & 6)

pallet arcade
Image 5
pallet arcade
Image 6

Next I set about making a door for the rear of the cabinet to hide away any wires etc. Image 7

You can also see I had started sanding the cabinet down too. I used a basic cheap palm sander I bought from Amazon. Apollo 180W Palm Detail Mouse Sander

pallet arcade
Image 7









Things were really starting to take shape now. I also added a bottom to the cabinet but I forgot to photograph that!

I could not decide if to use joypads from an Xbox or Playstation for the pallet arcade cabinet or to purchase true arcade style joystick and buttons….


After some deep thought and research I opted for the arcade style controller.

I found and purchased this kit here the XCSOURCE Zero Delay Arcade Game USB Encoder PC Joystick  (Image 8)

pallet arcade
Image 8








A day later the arcade joystick and cables were here. Got to love Amazon Prime service and you can grab a 30 day FREE trial right here:

I found my rusty old large drill bits and went about installing the joystick and buttons. I was a bit worried about this and did not want to get them in the wrong place so searched on Google for various layout plans for real  arcade cabinets. There are various layouts here for you to choose from. 

After I marked and drilled out the holes I gave the cabinet another good sanding.

Images 9 & 10 of the button layout I had chosen.

pallet arcade
Image 9
pallet arcade
Image 10


After this I marked where the speakers were on the monitor  and drilled two hole out for them as you can see in Image 12.

Next up I put some draught excluder tape around the outside of the monitor screen and screwed the monitor to the inside of the cabinet.(Image 11)


pallet arcade
Image 11
pallet arcade
Image 12






With all four corners of the monitor screwed in place things were really starting to look good with my pallet arcade but no Space Invaders as yet!




Next left to do was install the Raspberry Pi 3 into the cabinet and hook it up to the screen and the controller.

The Raspberry Pi 3 is tiny so there is no problem in fitting it inside.

The next issue I ran in too was because I wanted to keep the pallet arcade as authentic as possible I used a 4:3 monitor and not a widescreen.  These older 4:3 monitors do not have HDMI ports so I needed to use a HDMI to VGA Converter to convert the HDMI out on the Raspberry Pi 3 to VGA for the monitor.

You can still buy 4:3 monitors brand new but my advice is to look on eBay or Facebook buy and sell pages for an old one. You could use a widescreen monitor but these retro games do not look so great on those if you ask me.

The Joystick and buttons were simple to setup and pretty much plug n play with USB direct in to the Raspberry Pi.

The speaker setup was simple too with an RCA to 3.5mm jack plug from the monitor to the Raspberry Pi.


Image 13 shows the inside of the cabinet with all the cables connected.

pallet arcade
Image 13

Next on the to do list for my pallet arcade was to add some software to the Raspberry Pi3 and boot her up. So off to Google I went to see what I could find.

I knew that the Pi3 had a Retropi operating system and you can check that out here at Retropie.org.

I had a play around with this and it worked great and even comes complete with a few games which brings me on to the next section.


Legally you have to own the original game to play the Roms via your retropie emulator. You do not have to rip your original games as you can find the Roms on the internet with a few Google searches for the games that you own.

While looking for the Roms that I own I found this really good website, ArcadePunks. It also has it’s very own Pi downloads section.

Some of the SD card images that you can download from there have Roms included in them, so please make sure you own the games of the Roms that are included!!

I downloaded and installed this setup to my SD card and popped it in to my Raspberry Pi3. You can see a video of this SD Card in action HERE.

The games that I own played really well check out the images below:

pallet arcade pallet arcade pallet arcade pallet arcade pallet arcade pallet arcade

Over all i am really happy how this has turned out, yes I could have bought a pre made MDF cabinet but where is the fun in that ?

I hope you have enjoyed my rustic pallet arcade blog post and any questions please ask Didds.


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