Painting the Monitor Bezel

Having the monitor mounted in the cabinet has been great, but it still doesn’t feel like a proper arcade with the big gaping space around the monitor (oh yeah, and that you can see through to the back!) With the first “public” unveiling of the Flash Arcade coming up soon (an internal Adobe event on 6/23), its time to start getting things in shape. It’s time to paint the monitor bezel.

The bezel is just a clear piece of plexiglass that goes in front of the monitor. I don’t think I could have fashioned something that could go around the monitor that wouldn’t look cheesy, so I went with painting the back side of the plexiglass.
First step was to mask out the monitor area so I din’t get any paint on it. I squared up the monitor, turned it on so I could get a good view where the visible parts of the screen are and placed the plexiglass in place. I used regular blue painters tape and started by (very) carefully outlining the edges as squarely as I could. After that, I filled the rectangle with long horizontal strips of tape.
With the monitor area masked out, it was time to paint. I picked up a small can of black spray paint from a local hardware store and headed out back to paint. I should have picked up the larger can since I neglected to take a windy day in San Francisco into consideration. In any case, the paint went on pretty easily. After waiting for things to dry (and explaining to my passing VP why I was standing outside with a can of spray paint) I took my newly painted bezel back inside.
I sat the bezel in place, flipped on the top bezel light and turned out the lights in the office to check things out. I had put about 3 coats on before my little can ran out, but I could tell it still wasn’t enough. It was looking good, but I could still see through with the light on behind it. Being the impatient type, I took the bezel home to put on a couple more coats and let it dry overnight.
My local hardware store didn’t have the same type of paint as the one near our office did (a flat black vs. a gloss enamel). I figured since I already had a couple coats on and as this was the back of the panel it wouldn’t be a big deal and applied probably 3-4 more coats. In hindsight, I should have waited an got the same paint as the new paint produced a slight “crackling” effect in some spots. Its not that noticeable unless you look up close so I’m not too concerned about it. We can always order another bezel (which we’ll have to do anyway if we change monitors.)
So the next day after everything was dry I very slowly and very carefully removed the painters tape. It came off quite easily and I didn’t have any chipping or flaking of the paint. The edges outlining the monitor came out perfect, nice and square.
Instead of screwing the bezel in place, I went with the suggestion from the instructions of using velcro. I had already placed one side of the velcro along the perimeter on the inside of the cabinet. Now that paint is dry, I placed the other side on the back of the plexiglass. As a result, I can now easily remove the bezel by giving it a push from the inside for when we move the cabinet or should we need to adjust the position of the monitor.
It looks really great having the bezel in place. It really completes the look of the cabinet (save of course for the big gaping hole in the bottom where the coin door goes).

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