Building a Slot Machine

I’ve always wanted a slot machine for my home but I’ve never purchased one. These days, slot machines are mostly electronic and a lot of the technology is available “off the shelf”. So, the time was right and I decided to build my personal slot machine.

Sketch a Design on my Phone

I used the ZenBrush app for android to sketch a design idea on my phone.

Design the Cabinet in QCAD

I designed the cabinet in QCAD and used that to figure out the appropriate piece sizes and cut angles.

Find Buttons Online

I searched for some momentary buttons that I thought might work on Amazon. It’s hard to tell the size or feel based on the online photos, but I’m relatively happy with the buttons I ended up with.

Test Wiring to USB Keypad

I purchased a USB Keypad from Walmart and opened it up. I used a bit of wire to connect one of the buttons I purchased for the slot machine to one of the buttons on the keypad. I connected it to a machine via USB and pressing the button caused a keyboard action on the machine.

Build the Cabinet

With a design and some angles worked out it was time to build the cabinet itself. I purchased a 4×8 sheet of MDF , a battery powered circular hand saw, and some new clamps and went to work.

Paint the Cabinet

This was probably the hardest part of the build. I’m not great at painting and I had high expectations for how smooth I wanted the cabinet. I put about four coats of primer on the wood and sanded it with multiple grades of sandpaper. I was never happy with the results of the primers I used. In the end, I had to be okay with a paint texture similar to that on the baseboards in my house. If I build a cabinet again, I’ll probably just use interior latex primer and paint.

Hang the Cabinet and TV

With the cabinet finished and painted I installed it on my wall.

The Electronics

I still need to find and install the electronics for this machine. I’m considering using an old Mac Mini that I have or a Raspberry Pi for the internals of the machine. Both of these are fairly slow so I’m probably going to end up with a light weight linux distrobution setup in kiosk mode.

The Software

I’m also building the software for this machine from scratch. I’m going to use simple web based technologies, probably plain HTML and raw JavaScript for the software interface. I’ve started work on that but with the cabinet finished I can begin to work on the software side in earnest. Software development is my day job so, although it will take a while, the software parts should be fairly strait forward for me.