I started this project by taking stock of my components. Like any good hacker, I have a stack of spare PCs and monitors for occasions like this. I selected a set that was particularly hard to repurpose, due to its crappy CPU, use of expensive RDRAM, and then the monitor is a 13" CRT. These specs would run a vertical cabinet with 4-way joystick nicely. The "modern" solution is to use some single board computer (say, Raspberry Pi) and an LCD. I'd rather not send e-waste off to the landfill, plus I'd have to pay for something I already have on hand!
So what I managed to pull together was a "Gateway Performance 1300" (that's a 1.3ghz P4...) and a PS/1 13" CRT monitor, which only had a working red and green channel (no blue!). Full details are on the Hardware page. After gathering my bits of stuff, I proceeded to de-case the monitor and motherboard.
I took measurements of the new pieces, imported into SketchUp, and proceeded to draw up some plans. I ended up not using CAD tools extensively, but it was enough to help me visualize how the parts would fit together, and where all the important pieces might go.
Planning also helped me place my order for controls. One joystick and four buttons. Last cabinet, I chose the Happ Ultimate bat-top joysticks, plus cheap eBay buttons. They're all terrible, and I was not about to repeat that mistake. Instead, I ordered a Zippyy Ball-Top with short stick (this is a Seimitsu LS-32 clone) and a set of Happ concave pushbuttons - just like the American arcades from the 80s and 90s. It seemed like a waste of shipping money to just get these, so I threw in a few feet of black T-Molding as well.
Decasing the monitor also revealed this somewhat frightening sticker... does clear plexiglass count as "special shielding precautions against X-ray radiation"? I certainly hope so.