Marco Valleggi's Tiny Arcade Cabinet Upcycles a Clever Compact CRT From an Old Video Intercom

Using a Sony display designed to move the electron gun underneath, rather than behind, the screen, this compact cabinet looks like magic.

Italian maker Marco Valleggi has built a tiny desktop arcade cabinet, which is more convincing than most, thanks to an actual cathode-ray tube (CRT) display — salvaged from a vintage video intercom.

"[The intercom display] is a CRT, although black and white, but it's super thin," Valleggi explains, in translation, of the device chosen for conversion. "It it has nothing behind it, there is nothing, and yet it is a CRT. This is possible thanks to a very old Sony technology where the electron gun, instead of being placed behind the screen, is placed underneath and it shoots the image on a curved screen."

A desktop arcade cabinet with a real CRT? Possible, if you salvage a display from an old video intercom. (📹: MVVblog)

With the display chosen, Valleggi needed the arcade hardware — and turned to another off-the-shelf device, albeit one a little newer than the video intercom: a replica joystick designed to be plugged into a TV through a composite video input, which hosts a selection of emulated Namco arcade classics, including Pac-Man.

The cabinet, meanwhile, is designed to mimic the appearance of a classic arcade upright — but in miniature. The exterior is made in wood — "otherwise," Valleggi explains, "what the hell is the cabinet" — with 3D printed internals to hold all the hardware in place.

"With the CRT down there it's incredible," Valleggi says of the finished build, "because there is nothing behind it — yet there's still a CRT, it's the coolest thing on Earth. Not that this is perfect, for example on the screen there is a bit of interference because I did not use a shielded cable to bring the video to the monitor."

Full details are available, in Italian, on the MVVblog YouTube channel; Valleggi has also published design files for the arcade cabinet to Google Drive under an unspecified license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles