Victor’s Tinkerings

Hello! and welcome to a side page type thingy.
This is where I’ll be dumping pictures and quick write ups of stuff I have made, modded or reproduced.

If you have any questions, direct them thru the usual channels…

Pi2Jpac or Jamma Pi Thingy (you decide)

I prefer Pi2Jpac, but the master software tinkerer Rich Gregory calls it the Jamma Pi Thingy, which equally describes this. I have always wanted a small as possible mame setup which can easily plug into any jamma arcade machine, but a PC is rarely small enough to be able to do this easily and you have to power it and interface controls etc etc. Then along came (our now old friend) the Raspberry Pi. Coupled with some sort of video and audio interface to an Ultimarc Jpac does the trick perfectly. As you can see in the pictures the whole unit takes up 7″ x 6″ and has everything you need to play emulated arcade games on an actual arcade machine. The whole lot is powered by the arcade machine via the edge connector. A hdmi to vga adapter and the software putting out a 15khz video signal takes care of the video while a usb sound dongle attached to a small amp to the edge connector does the audio (with a nice volume knob too, so you can have some late night quiet Star Force sessions. Another reason for me to make this and bug Rich for tweaks to the software is the cost. Some pi to jamma pcbs usually run at about £100 + the actual Raspberry Pi computer. The Pi2Jpac is about £45 + the Pi.

Ultimarc Jpac

Huge thanks to Rich Gregory for his tireless work on the software side of this project.
Without him this simply wouldn’t be here.




Atari Warlords Spinner Knob

Fired the old 3D printer up after a lifetime of non use. Shame on me. I used a file that John ‘Battlezone” Keay sent me to try out my settings and table levelling. Worked a treat. Looks kinda nice in white, too. I was also told it looked like a Leprechaun’s hat. Can’t argue with that.





Frogger VFD Mame

A youtube video says a thousand words…






UK Megadrive to US Snes Power Converter

I was given some Snes’s to have a look at – the owner didn’t think they were working properly. One of them was a US Snes, which I’ve never encountered before. I borrowed a UK PSU and TV lead from Alex ‘Nintendo Arcade’ to try them (thanks Alex!) But I was going to need something a bit different to check the US Snes, as the power supply was totally different. The UK one is AC and the US one needs DC. I did a bit of reading and apparently you can NOT plug an AC supply into a US Snes, so an adaptor had to be made. I followed the instructions from Mmmonkey, with 2 parts from maplin and some wire. Here is the end result and the US Snes works fine using this adaptor and a UK Megadrive supply. I think it’s pretty snazzy – I even shrink toooobed it!





This is an odd musical instrument I was inspired to make after seeing Mark Kermode (ace film critic and musician) playing one at the British Film Institute (BFI) – My friend Shane Williams gave me the way to make one – an electronic kit! See his circuit bending too, at Shane’s Facebook Page

I’m also here, looking far too serious making a noise! Facebook Noise Video

The kit also required an Arduino Uno, a wooden box (for effect) and some aluminium tubing (for pitch and volume controls) Here are a few shots – and yes, that is a cheeky arcade ‘function’ button!



Famicom Power LED Mod (NEW)

This was a quick n dirty mod too.  The famicom never came with a power led, so if you are setting up a Famicom and don’t know if it works or not, you’ll have difficulty knowing whether you’ve actually got the thing turned on or not. I just wired in a red 5v led to a +5v point and GND point on the famicom board and routed the wired led to a nice place on the housing. I drilled a 4.9mm hole in the shell, next to the power switch (using just a drill bit and spinning it with my fingers, while applying pressure to the top of the drill bit – it’s only plastic and went thru quickly) I rammed the led in, as it’s a nice snug fit and voila! – Looks like it should’ve been there in the first place!  Many thanks to Lesolei (Dean) for helping me repair other parts of the famicom while I was in there.





Seimitsu 2 Suzo Happ Plate Adaptors

My lovely Podcast co host Shaun Holley asked me to do this for him. He wanted to replace just one of his arcade joysticks (a standard jamma Suzo Happ stick) with a Japanese style stick.  I had a spare Seimitsu in the arcade, but the mounting plate would not fit the hole pitches of a Suzo Happ.  This is where I come in – I have made literally dozens of these kinda thangs before. A piece of material (usually 3mm ally plate) that has the hole pattern to attach the stick to it and the hole pattern to attach the whole lot to an arcade machine’s control panel. Bish bosh!
I used some weird material I acquired from work. Its black perspex sandwiched inside very thin plastic coated ally plate. It’s light weight, easy to cut and remarkably stiff.
Anyhoo, a few pictures speak, well, more than a few words –



SD 2 IEC Case

I bought an SD floppy disc emulator for my C64, without a case, as I hacked my C64C and mounted it inside the computer itself. However – I now have a Vic 20 (my first ever computer) and I can use the SD 2 IEC on that too, so I decided to make a nice case that I can swap between the two computers.

sd2iec-1541emulationsd2iec-inside sd2iec-case




Aloooominum Leaf Switch Arcade Buttons

Some simple copies of arcade leaf switch buttons made out of good old aluminium. I made these about 10 years ago. All parts made on a CNC mill (I didn’t have access to a lathe – the correct machine to make these sort of things on) The plunger is nylon, so no conductive parts ever touch the leaf part of the switch. They have a really nice feel to them, too. I must use them on a machine one day…

I even made a pair out of brass (with a stronger spring) for someone who used them on an Indiana Jones pinball. Cool!





Virtsticks ™

I made a half sized repro Taito Trimline Invaders cab a loooong time ago and I couldn’t find a joystick small enough to use on it, so I thought “I’ll just make one” – I looked at an existing Japanese style stick and made one up. It worked so well, I decided to make a ‘proper’ sized one. I popped it up an one of the arcade forums and then people started asking for them…

I sent one to a particular joystick abuser in Scotland who said he’d actually BROKEN arcade sticks before! He never broke the stick and 8 years on I actually got the stick back – long story and it is still bullet proof!

All construction is aircraft grade aluminium (L168) and stainless steel (S143) The only parts that weren’t made are the microswitches and springs, screws, washers etc.

virtstick-back  virtstick

I personally have 3 Virtsticks and I believe there’s about
25 out in the wild. I’m not planning on doing any more and,
NO, you can’t have mine! 😀


Aloooooominum NES Controller

Now, this one’s a blast from the past. I made this about 5 years ago. Just because I was bored at work and you know what they say – all work and no tinkering makes Victor a dull boy.

I don’t even know if I still have the CNC programs for these any more. Designed with a vernier caliper, OneCNC Cad/Cam software and a Haas VF2 CNC mill. The red buttons look odd, because there was no electronic guts in there at the time. I presume it would work, but I’ve never wired it up! Criminal!

nes_pad1 nes_pad2


3D Printy Madness!

After getting my 3D printer for my birthday in June (thank you Mrs Lovely wife) I went a bit mad and made some stuffs. Sadly, I haven’t had any time to get down n dirty with it for ages. Must make time for that – it’s awesome.

3dprintyocto1 octo2





Atari Button Cones

Everyone in the arcade world knows how hard it is to find Atari Cone buttons, right?
I needed some, so decided to make ’em! –
Note – on the right hand picture, the right hand cone is an original

  • Cut 1″ black nylon bar into roughly 12mm billetscones loads_cones
  • Milled both faces, hole and threaded hole on my CNC mill
  • Turned the 45 degree angle on a fixture on a centre lathe
  • Enjoyed cones…


Modded Pac Man TV Game

mod_tv-gameThis was a simple one, but it had to be neat!  Introducing a power socket for a 6v DC power supply (rather than 4x AA batteries)
I drilled out the back panel (it all comes to bits, handily) I then filed the hole until it fitted the power jack component.  Squeezed it in, drilled some 1.6mm holes thru the holes of the component. Tapped the 1.6mm holes M2 and screwed in some screws to hold it on place. Simples.


Reproduction Subelectro Isis Coin Mech Plates

Right, call me a heretic, but I never use coin mechs on my arcade machines.  It may be original, but it gets very old, very quickly when you have to keep retrieving your 10 pees to put in the coin slot to play a game. Sooo – I make a nice looking (brand new, hot off the cnc mill) repro. Usually with some kind of custom engraving.  I also mounted a button to the centre coin return button, which gives credits.


Reproduction Atari Fuse Block

On investigation, my Atari Centipede had a corroded fuse block (the main 5 power brick fuses)fuse-block2

Replacing this with an original ‘Littelfuse’ block is easy enough if you live in the US and are cheap, but postage to the UK negates this as an option.  Well, let’s buy 5 single fuse holders and knock up a block for them all the snuggle up together on!

I just bandsawed 2 pieces of 3mm (black) perspex and drilled the 2 end / centre holes thru holes for some slightly longer than original 4-40 unc screws and the 3 in the middle M3, so I could screw them in fuse-blockto the perspex and the 2 end screws would hold the unit to the power brick, like the original did.



Quick n Dirty Marquee Insert For My Subelectro ‘Isis’ Cabinet

isis-marqueeThis was just a printed out picture of our podcast logo for my little cab.  Printed on decent white matt paper and stuck behind the glass marquee. I also stuck some frosted sheet material behind that, as the glare of the tube light was to bright and you could see the shape of the bulb behind the art.