Building a Retro Arcade Cabinet – Part 1

Part 1- Swimming to France

So what has building a Retro Arcade cabinet got to do with Channel Swimming?

Well, maybe this blog will help explain.

Thus summer (2018) I swam the Channel from England to France. Hence the Colin2France username. The training for this was all consuming and you can read all about my journey in a previous blog post. I started my main training in April when I attended a training camp in Croatia. Then it was full on from then until July, swimming as much as 17 hours a week. When I wasn’t training in my local lakes or down in Dover Harbour I was either at work or asleep. When I was at work I was tracking friends from Croatia trip or those from Dover Harbour training as they attempted to swim the channel.

Then on July 14th I made it. I ran up the beach in France, and my journey was complete. I’d done it! I had the rest of my summer back. I did swim a bit more and still enjoyed tracking my fellow swimmers on their  attempts but I had no impetus to put in 7hr training swims on a Saturday. I had loads of spare time and I was about to get loads more.

Me running up Wissant Beach July 14th 2018


Just over a year earlier I had taken a job in Ipswich. Now, I live in Leicestershire and the commute on a good day was 2.5 hours. But with the A14 being redeveloped there were very few good days. I would spend 2 days a week in Ipswich and the rest of the week working from home. I occasionally had to travel abroad with work. with that and the weekends down in Dover training, I felt like I was never at home. In September a takeover of the company I was working for was announced and I took this opportunity to resign. I was immediately put on a months gardening leave. So now I had no swimming and no job, just endless days to fill.

Like any good man put on gardening leave, I spent the 1st few days in the pub. But that couldn’t go on too long. I resolved to clear the garage. That took a few days. Then I built a pulley system to hang my Kayak from the roof of the garage.


Now this was my 1st real attempt at any kind of DIY project. I am not normally good at this sort of thing. However, I had planned this project months earlier but never found the time to do it. In the end it only took around an hour and worked almost perfectly. Maybe I could do this sort of thing after all.

After finishing a few more jobs around the house. Including this cooker hood venting, I found myself at another loose end. I wanted a bigger project.


I had a raspberry pi knocking around and I wanted a project that would put this to use. After some googling I found this excellent blog by RetroMash about building an arcade cabinet. I grew up in Weymouth and spent my every waking hour visiting the local arcades. This was definitely a project that sparked my interest. Could I pull this off? I have never done any joinery before. Well I reckon If I can Swim to France then most things are possible.

Keep reading this blog to find out if I can. I will give regular updates on my choices successes and failures (or which I assume there will be many)

Failure is just iterating towards success!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.