Retro Pi Gaming Station Table Part I/III – Building the Perfect Beast

Retro Gamer, that I am, I build my own Retro Gaming Machine for the office. It’s a an old table being fitted with an old display, a Raspberry Pi 3, and the Linux-Distribution RetroPi. The process took half a year (lazy, isn’t it?). But, read yourself!

Material (Computer-Parts)

For a simple machine like this, you won’t need that much parts. I came along with about 79 € in Hardware, 16 € in Material, 10 € in labor (for sawing the hole) and some old furniture. This is my hardware-parts list:

  • Raspberry PI 3 (WiFi) with Power Supply (about 50 €)
  • Micro-SD-Card, 32GB (Amazon, 12 €)
  • Micro-SD-Card Reader (Amazon, 4 €)
  • 2x NES-Controller (Amazon, 5 €)
  • 17″ Screen with DVI, and HDMI-to-DVI-Cable (spare part, cable: 3 €)
  • Active USB-powered Mini-Loudspeakers (Trust Leto, 5 €)
  • Used IKEA TV-Table (Bulk Trash)

Raspberry Pi 3 Set (Emulation Station)

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This is the Raspi 3. It offers a lot of power, enough even for a decent Playstation 2 emulation. It's WiFi-module helps a lot, when using networking.

Material (for building)

I bought these parts at my local DIY vendor:

  • Putty (about 3 €)
  • Expanding Foam (about 5 €)
  • Window Seal (about 1 €)
  • Black Spray Paint (about 3 €)
  • 4 Metal Angles to hold Display in place (about 50 Cents each)
  • 8 Self-tapping screws for wood (about 2 € for 100)


Most people will have these at home:

  • Spatula
  • Screwdriver
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Sandpaper

Preparing Display and Table

First of all, I collected all hardware parts, and building material for this little gambling machine. I removed the stand from the monitor to be able to put it into the old IKEA TV-table. My local DIY store offers sawing holes into wooden planes for about 10 € – which they did quite well. I countered the monitor with four metal angles, and screwed them tight to the thin layer of wood – don’t forget to cover the display glass with paper, or something similar.

Dissecting the Display (Emulation Station)

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Removing the stand is crucial to fit the monitor into the wooden board.

Then, I filled the gaps with Expanding Foam from bottom, and top. This needs to be completely dried, before continuing. Then, using a VERY sharp, long knife, I removed the superfluous material. Next up was to add the Window Seal, building a barrier towards the visible screen. I applied the Putty to the displays bevel, and again waited to let it dry. The raw appearance was sanded clean using SandpaperPaint onto the top of the table. Don’t forget to cover the screen again, if not done before. I will be adding a sticky cover, like Pac Man, an 80s style design, or something similar.

Wooden plank, display, and material (Emulation Station)

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All you need is glue.


Part IB is about the sticker for the table top.
Part II will show how to assemble, cable, and install everything.
Part III will show the finished product, and us playing with it.

joerg Written by:

I am a game designer, and game- & gamification-consultant. Since mid 80s, I played games of all genres on different systems. If you like me to share my knowledge in a talk, or presentation, feel free to contact me!

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