A Raspberry Pi + IKEA arcade table to make yourself

Barely a month slips by at the moment without my ordering some new flat-packed goodies from IKEA. Our family, still gradually settling into the house we moved into just before our eldest was born, goes about its book-savouring, toy-categorising, craft-supply-hoarding life within a sturdy framework of TROFAST, EKBY and BESTÅ. The really great thing is that much of this furniture lends itself to modification, and spannerspencer‘s PIK3A Gaming Table, using a Raspberry Pi and the iconic LACK side table, is a wonderful example.

PIK3A gaming table - a glossy red IKEA LACK table with inlaid monitor, joystick and buttons

Shiny retrogaming loveliness

The build instructions over at element14 are generously illustrated with photographs, bringing this project within reach of people who don’t have a ton of experience, but are happy to chuck some time at it. (If I give this one a go, I’ll probably start by getting a couple of tables so that I have a back-up. The mods to the table don’t need any fancy tools – just a drill, a Stanley knife and a hole saw – but these are the steps at greatest risk of mistakes you can’t undo.) The tutorial takes you through everything from cutting the table so as to avoid too many repeat attempts, to mounting and wiring up the controls, to the code you need to run on the Arduino and how to upload it.

Cutting holes in an IKEA LACK table for buttons and other controls

Holes much neater than the ones I will cut

You can buy a new LACK table for £6 in the UK, although the nice red glossy version in the pictures will set you back a whole £2 more. A Raspberry Pi, an Arduino Leonardo, an old LCD monitor, some cheap computer speakers, a joystick, buttons, cables and connectors, and a power supply complete the bill of materials for this build. If you want to make it extra beautiful or simply catproof it, you can add a sheet of acrylic to protect the monitor, as spannerspencer has. He’s also included a panel mount USB port to make it easy to add USB peripherals later.

A cat standing on a PIK3A gaming table protected with a sheet of transparent acrylic

PIK3A, with added catproofing

The PIK3A Gaming Table went down a storm over at element14, and its successor, the PIK3A Mark II two-player gaming table (using a LACK TV bench) is proving pretty popular too. Give them a go!


Lorna Lynch avatar

I’m sorely tempted to do something like this: we are only about five minutes from an IKEA…

Liz Upton avatar

I really liked your blackboard table mod; Ikea’s so much more fun when hacked!

Kevin avatar

There is a tech expert somewhere in Ikea’s design department. Why else would it be that this same Lack table is the perfect size to take any rack mounted equipment – from servers to guitar effects/power amps.

Never buy an expensive server enclosure again.



Going to have a go at one of these over the weekend…. already have a Pi 2 B running Retropie, got joystick kit from eBay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Zero-Delay-USB-Encoder-To-PC-Joystick-10-Buttons-For-Arcade-DIY-KIT-Parts-MAME/201574449112?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D36381%26meid%3D00493bd01e8c4068b78b350356c39da1%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D191855377672) includes joystick, 10 buttons and a zero delay USB encoder. Also picked up a DC-DC converter so can power the screen and the Pi from the screens 12v PSU

Spanner Spencer avatar

Glad you guys like the PIK3A table (as we like to call it!).

We actually made four; two red, a black and a white. The white looks particularly good.

They’ve been massively popular. Loads of element14 members making their own, and the tables recently went to the Maker Faire in Newcastle with our buddies from CPC.

Great weekend project for the whole family!

Oh, and that’s Baxter in the photo at the bottom. He says hi =^.^=

Alan Mc (Pyrower) avatar

Absolutely brilliant. We’re doing a arcade workshop in our Makerlab tomorrow, I’ll have to make reference to this great build.

Dan avatar

I’d love to view the details for this but the Element14 website has been down for the past two days. Looking to build something like this for my daughters bedroom. Hoping the website will be back up and running soon!

AndrewS avatar

Oh no, the Raspberry Pi effect strikes Element14 again?! ;-)

Archie Roques avatar

I’m just working on exactly the same thing! Mine has 2 USB controllers external to the table though.

I also took the bottom completely off, to be able to better mount the screen, speakers etc. inside of it.

I love IKEA lacks though – I always keep a couple in stock for future projects!

solar3000 avatar

For a moment there I thought IKEA had a new product.

Mr L Abbott avatar

Here at the Eastwood Academy Southend we are planning to build a couple of these as an extra activity outside of our regular computing lessons.. I think it is VERY important we train our pupils to become MIGHTY PIRATES by playing The Secret of Monkey Island and maybe experience some other classics!

Alan Mc (Pyrower) avatar

Yes! Pikea all the things! Apparently they may even be selling solar panels soon in that particular chain of stores – oooooooh automonous swedish Pikea table.

Unfortunately, I think our bright red LACK may have recently ended up on the pi-re (Sorry…..*exits stage right*…..) [BTW: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pyre%5D ;o)

c1696113 avatar

Does the cat come with the table?

Jesus Rosas avatar

You stole my question,
I love cats :3

dcp avatar

Hm, I already have a Leonardo I don’t know what to do with, the friggin’ Interrupt 2 problem because of that almost no Uno sketch will compile for it, you know… Oh, there are 2 leftover Pis too, catching dust on the shelf… and a black Lack in the corner over there… Seems I know what this weekends scedule will look like ;)

Luke Castle avatar

This is a great project. Must do it more often… Better go to IKIA

Chris avatar

impressive, all that can be do with a Raspberry !
Very nice idea. It could be a gift for my daughter or for all 80’s lovers. Next time, we will try to find such a table and follow the element14 description.
Where can we find the old games such a the Monkey or Street fighter ?

Noel Evans avatar

You people are all so talented. I’ve been looking for a nice DIY “game” table post to pass along to my FB audience. Thank you – I will share!

suny avatar

great idea

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