Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hidden Treasure!

It's nice when you find a little something extra in a cab. I bought my Dragon's Lair cab assuming everything of interest had been stripped out of it. One bummer was this:

That's the scoreboard plexi--painted over. I figured I would have to hunt down and buy an original (or a repro) scoreboard. When I got the cab home and took off the back door, I was pleasantly surprised to find this:

That's the scoreboard card, between the two speakers. When the machine was converted, it was left in place. Score! I did some digging online and found a wiring scheme that makes is possible to hook the scoreboard up to a PC parallel port for reading scoreboard output from Daphne. I ordered the appropriate connectors and ribbon cable, built the cable and plugged it in for a test:

It works great! This cab is one step closer to delivering an authentic Dragon's Lair experience.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Getting Medieval

I've been kinda busy lately with work, but in my not so copious free time I have been trying to do bits and pieces of my many arcade projects. One of the big items on my list is deconverting a Clutch Hitter back to a Dragon's Lair. I started with the marquee, which was kind of a tricky task. The Clutch hitter marquee was stuck on there pretty good, over the original Dragon's Lair plexi:

So the trick was--removing this thing without ruining the plexiglass. Fortunately, the repro I ordered (from Quarterarcade) sticks on over the plexi, so slight imperfections in the plexi wouldn't be a problem, provided that enough light passed through. My tools of choice for this were my trusty heat gun, a metal putty knife, paper towels and a can of 'Oops' remover. I started by GENTLY heating the marquee material, and peeling it back. Some gentle scraping with the metal putty knife helped me get the stubborn bits off. This left me with a piece of plexiglass with a TON of adhesive left on it. There was so much, it would have made it tough for the new marquee to stick properly. This is where I came in with the paper towels and just a little bit of 'Oops' at a time. The nice thing about the 'Oops' is it was gentle enough not to melt/fog the plexi, but strong enough to lift this particular adhesive. It took some time (and elbow grease) but I was able to get the plexi pretty much crystal clear! I was very happy with the results:

(I took another pass with the 'Oops' and got it even clearer than that pic.) Next up was applying the new marquee. First, I cleaned off the plexi with some Windex, to get rid of my fingerprints. Then I lined up the marquee, clamped it in a few places, and then removed the backing on one edge. I stuck it to that edge, and slowly worked my way across the marquee from left to right. Fortunately, there is a bit of wiggle room with this application; the edges of the plexi get covered by the angled marquee brackets, and the marquee sticker doesn't quite fill out the plexi.

Next up, I tried it on for size in the cab:

For the full effect, I killed the lights and fired up the fluorescent fixture in the cab:

Next up, I'll be showing you my progress on the control panel.