8Bitdo arcade tabletop

I’ve just seen the 8Bitdo arcade tabletop machine in my feed and isn’t it a stunning piece of retro gaming hardware!

8Bitdo are the company that have been helping to bring your existing retro consoles into the 21st century with the Bluetooth NES and SNES controllers. Allowing you to play your classic retro console games without the wires of yesteryear.

Appropriately named the 8Bitdo Desktop Arcade, this really is a fancy piece of retro kit.

profile of 8bitdo arcade desktop

Dan8Bitdo arcade tabletop
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The Handheld Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Recently finished on the crowd-sourcing website Indiegogo is the extremely successful handheld Sinclair ZX Spectrum, “Vega+”. From Retro Computers Ltd, a Luton, UK based start up, they have crowd-sourced the concept of the Vega+, a low cost handheld games console with a colour LCD screen and 1,000 licensed games installed. Crowd-sourcing was completed with over 350% of the original fund request.

sinclair zx spectrum profile

The company behind the Vega+ Handheld Sinclair ZX Spectrum

The Vega+ project will be marketed by Retro Computers Ltd, in which Sir Clive Sinclair’s company, Sinclair Research Ltd, is a shareholder. The project is under license from Sky In-Home Service Ltd who inherited the intellectual property rights so the Spectrum computers from Amstrad.

The Vega+ comes complete with 1,000 licensed games built in and has sufficient memory to allow you to download many thousands of additional Spectrum games free of charge.. You can play this using the built-in LCD or the other option is to plug it into a TV set.

The concept design of the Vega+ is by Rick Dickinson, one of the UK’s leasing industrial designers, responsible for the design of Sir Clive Sinclair’s ZX computers back in the 1980s: the ZX 80, ZX 81 and ZX Spectrum.

sinclair zx spectrum connectivity

Controls

  • Classic gaming D-Pad, offering up, down, left right and diagonals.
  • Four primary action buttons and three secondary buttons.
  • System menu and control-set toggle button.
  • Volume up/down / Brightness up/down.

Screen

  • Sharp LCD 4:3 aspect ratio with approximately 0.2565 mm dot pitch. Accurately reproduces the ZX Spectrum 256×192 resolution with minimal screen border.
  • LCD Screen brightness adjustable. Suitable for all light levels, and to extend battery life.
  • Extended “ULAplus” colour palette support, in addition to the classic ZX Spectrum colour palette.

Storage

  • SDSC and SDHC micro SD cards are supported.
  • Additional games may be loaded from micro SD card – popular snapshot and tape file formats supported.
  • SD card also allows preferences and game-saves to be stored for later resumption.
  • Firmware upgradable through SD card.

Although the campaign is now complete, you’ll hopefully be able to pick one up direct from Retro Computers soon.

sinclair zx spectrum handheld playing skool daze

DanThe Handheld Sinclair ZX Spectrum
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555 timer seat

What made me do this? It’s an idea I had a couple of years ago and had to have a go at it! I had the legs made 18 months ago, so I definitely couldn’t let them go to waste!

We wanted to make some interesting seating for our stand at Revival this year, to go with our Dual arcade table. Which would also have one of our Rubik’s Cubes on the other side.

555 timer storage seat

The arachnid IC was made from 18mm MDF, some timber sections to mount the legs to and the legs themselves being 12mm aluminium. I’ve documented my build below in case anyone else wants to have a go.

The assembly was achieved with a mix of biscuits and the use of the Kreg pocket hole jig.

construction of giant 555 timer with kreg pocket hole jig

One part complete after some filling and plenty of sanding. The pocket holes were also filled on the inside.

construction of top of giant 555 timer

Timber sections on the inside were fixed again using the pocket hole jig and plenty of glue. These sections were used to mount the legs to on the base.

internal construction of metal legs for giant 555 timer

After fixing the legs, this was the first time I could see if it really worked as a shape. Slots were cut into the base section for the legs to come through.

giant 555 timer seat unpainted

The notch was added before I could start to finish it. The 555 was first prepared with 2 coats of sanding sealer, then 2 coats of primer. The final paint was then applied. The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but it was a dark metallic grey which gave it that graphite look of an IC.

giant 555 timer painted

Some text was then applied: ST UK, NE555N, AU0314 for manufacturer/country, model and date code.

giant 555 timer with text

What’s the point of having all that space inside if you can’t use it!

giant 555 timer opened with blue insides

A comparison with the real deal. A through-hole 8-pin DIL NE555.

close up of 555 timer IC on scaled up model

Here it is in place next to our arcade table at Revival 2014.

giant 555 timer seat next to arcade table

The over-sized 555 looked great at Revival this year. It really hit the right age bracket with all of the retro-gaming enthusiasts, many of which asked where they could buy one!

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Surface Tension555 timer seat
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