Rick and Tom's Cruis'n Project

Through an unusual set of circumstances I've been very fortunate to have a dual Cruis'n USA set up in my basement. A few months back my friend Wayne Whitney scored the really neat Deluxe Header on Ebay. He realized it was too big for his basement and passed the deal on to me as seen. My friend Tom Wisnionski really wanted a set up of his own in a bad/good way! ;-) Wayne and Tom talked me into going to the first Indy auction I'd been to in many years where Tom's main goal was to look for some Cruis'ns. I thought auctions were a waste of time way back and they haven't improved... Typical prices on a single Cruis'n were around $3000! so I said the fateful words... "Why don't we build some???" Tom and I are both pretty good with tools and just about all the pieces are still available and logic boards are difficult but not impossible to find...

Sounds like a fun project that shouldn't be too hard right???? ;-)

Before I get into our little project I do have take this opportunity to show the picture that made that whole auction worthwhile. Somehow I managed to talk Mark Jenison into piloting the BS1!!! Seeing as Mark is always after me to do some web page stuff I figured this was the perfect opportunity for him to find out what a dangerous thing all this web stuff can be my hands!!! ;-) ;-)
On to the Cruis'n project!

Tom had some great ideas on what materials to use and how to duplicate the curved pieces for the cabinet sides and seat pedestal sides. The material is called "Melamine". It's kind of a plastic coated particle board. It's available in white at the local Builder's Square type places but with some research Tom found a local place where you could order it in black. Using this material provided a real professional looking finish without having to deal with any painting at all!

First we had to make a template out of plywood as seen and clamp it down.

For the actually cutting Tom brandished his 3 HP router!!! which was fitted with a carbide bit and a special piece that allowed the router to follow the template without destroying the template.

Talk about serious dust!!! but it worked out nicely!!!

As you can see once we got rolling we decided to get into some mass production while things were all set up. The initial goal was for 3 cabinets but we increased that to 4.
Here's Tom getting ready to make the sides needed for the seat pedestals.
And again some more mass production. This was the end of the cutting that involved the router.
The next step was to layout and attach the inner pieces that would hold everything together. Getting these in just the right place was a critical step and this first one took lots of measuring and was used to lay out the rest. We used a pneumatic nailer a great deal on this project and I couldn't imagine doing the job without one. If you do any serious cabinet construction or even repairs it's a must. We also used some Liquid Nails construction adhesive at each joint but it really didn't stick all that well to the slick plastic surface of the Melamine.
Here's a shot of some of the first assembling. We did the construction in my garage and we just about wore a path between the garage and the basement where my existing games are kept taking measurement after measurement to make sure everything was right. Surprisingly, we made almost no serious mistakes.
Like I said MASS PRODUCTION!!! :-) Quite a site! We were starting to feel like Lenc/Smith/Wisnionski & Schieve by this point! Lenc/Smith is the company that built the original cabinets for those that don't know.
Now on to the seat pedestals. What you see is the inner pieces just temporarily in place to make sure everything fit.
Here are the pedestal pieces laid out before the final assembly. We had to be careful with the order of assembly to make sure we could get the nailer inside when putting things together. By nailing from the inside we were able to have almost no exposed screws for nails on the outside of the main cabinet or pedestal.
Some more mass production. I think we determined that between the 2 of use we had some like 80 hours invested in our "little" project so far. At this point we were pretty much done with the wood cutting phase and Tom took his two cabinets home and I continued with my two.
These are my completed seat pedestals. There is a fair amount of work here not shown working out the seat mounting with slides. The seats are not the correct ones for Cruis'n but as the correct ones cost twice as much as these from Happ I figured the people playing would just have to live with them! ;-)
One of the few pieces not standard Happ that would be difficult to make was the blank dash panel. Fortunately these were still available from Williams though of course pricey. One the right is a blank panel and on the left is one that I wired up.

Standard sitdown Cruis'n USA has force feedback steering while the upright cabinets were cost reduced a bit only having spring centered steering wheels. We decided feedback wheels weren't worth the additional expense and just used the spring centered wheels. On the left is a control panel I assembled using a standard Happ spring centered wheel, shifter and buttons.

Here's a front view showing all the pretty buttons! :-) More standard Happ stuff.
On to the wiring! The logic board is mounted with wiring going off to the control panel. You can see the back side of the gas/brake pedal assembly. Cruis'n is standard JAMMA with quite a few additional connections.

By this point I'd lost track of how many hours I'd put into the "little" project...

This is looking farther down into the cabinet where you can see the power supply, isolation transformer, and power line filter. There is also an additional transformer needed for some AC used by the sound section.
Cruis'n cabinets had a molded plastic cover on the back side to cover where the monitor sticks out. I built my version out of scrap plexi though I later replaced the top piece with a vented metal piece for more air flow.
There were a few sheet metal pieces that were needed as seen at the top and bottom of the Marquee seen in this picture. Fortunately, I was able to get some help from someone with access to the right tools and it only cost me a box of donuts!
OK!! So here's Tom's dual!!! The seats are done now too but I'm waiting on a more current picture. He got the Deluxe Linking Header from a local operator. As Cruis'n are being moved out of the more serious arcade type locations and into smaller street locations a lot of operators are turning the duals back into singles. It says a lot for our clone Cruis'ns that the Deluxe Header fit with no problem.

So now we are down to the end. I know there are quite a few details left out but one of the larger ones that may have occured to you is what the heck would I want with 2 Cruis'n cabinets when I already had 2???

For the Grand Finale Click Here!