Slot cabinet project

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  • Slot cabinet project

    Hey all, I need your advice. I do woodwork, but I generally do simple pieces such as benches and outdoor tables (the rustic stuff). The reason why I haven't ventured into the more complex stuff is that I've only begun working with wood last year.

    Anyway, I have a friend who is obsessed with slot machines, and he essentially wants me to make him one. Now, being he's a good friend of mine, I took the job. The only issue is that I've never built something like this before, and have no idea what type of wood to get.

    From what I've been told, the electronics shouldn't weigh too much. It's not going to be one of those old school rigs with massive CRT screens or anything. He wants to run an android tablet, load it with games like these and then hook up a set of custom buttons to the whole thing.

    Overall, I think the most complicated part of the entire build is figuring out what type of wood to use, where to add all the right supports, and how to produce a classic slot machine lever out of wood? If anyone has done anything even resembling this project, I'd love to hear from you.

  • #2
    I have no experience with this what-so-ever, but it should not be that complicated. However, I did have to laugh at one sentence: " It's not going to be one of those old school rigs with massive CRT screens or anything"

    "The old School rigs that I grew up knowing - weighed in at 150 - 200 pounds and had no electronics nor did any have electrical connections for lights." My dad had a friend who bought, sold and repaired them in the '40's and into the mid '50s. As a kid I got to play around with them in his shop.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


    • #3
      My only advice is to look at google search for DIY slot machine or DIY gaming console or something similar. For some ideas.

      A classic slot machine handle is usually a metal rod with a 1.5- 2" black ball on the end with a return spring.
      Wood balls are easy to buy and you can drill it to accept a dowel or screw to a lever (I'd be tempted to use a 1x2).
      Last edited by LCHIEN; 07-22-2021, 07:40 PM.
      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ -


      • #4
        I have not built anything like this, but I do have experience of playing on one like this many years ago.

        A friend had a "gaming room" in his basement and we would play cards on weekends there. He had inherited the home (with basement and the games in it) from his uncle.
        In one corner was something like a slot machine housed in a wooden structure. I had always thought it looked great and had conjectured that it must be made with expensive wood (it looked grand and heavy). \
        Then he found there was moisture in that basement that had also seeped into the furniture and the slot machine, and I helped him analyze if it could be fixed. We found it was made of MDF!!! Good quality mdf, but still, not real wood. But for the moisture it would have survived many more years, but as it was, it swelled up ugly.
        I figured it would be a big task trying to rebuild the whole thing with new wood or mdf, but he ended up throwing away the entire thing.

        Anyway - the moral I came away with, was that as long as you are building an indoor piece, and it's not furniture like a chair or bed that you would sit/sleep on, MDF can be pretty strong material too.

        Not knowing your parameters, I can only provide my own preferences. I presume this will be indoors and climate-protected.

        If I had to do this project, my choices for material would be, in descending order:

        (a) Maple - cuts straight, looks great. But it's tough to work with, and can be expensive unless you are in Canada
        (b) Oak - because I find oak most available around me, is of medium range in price, and can become an heirloom
        (c) Select Pine - I mean the slightly expensive one with fewer knots. It's cheap, and you wouldn't feel guilty if you paint it.
        (d) MDF - I am not big on this, but it's cheap, and apart from the huge dust clouds thrown up, pretty easy to cut and rout. But you will have to paint it for looks and for protection. I have seen some members here create beautiful stuff with MDF, so I believe it's do-able.

        Hope that helps.
        It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
        - Aristotle