ok thanks everyone for the comments.
Sathi, yes, version 3.0 will be a win8 tablet version with touch screen. I'm also thinking a laser POINTER with feedback from cabinet to laptop would be way cool.
RetroLefty, yes, the gory details need to be there. I'll be posting illustrations of the electronic schematics. The shift register, transistor arrays used here are really nothing more complicated than what has been posted by many other people. Not sure about best way to document the laptop software development which is a whole visual studio thing by itself. If anybody wants, i can give you code.
The cabling was one of my central issues. It all had to come apart for maintenance. So I created my own custom DB9 cables. Regular DB9 cables wouldn't work because the 2 amps to each cabinet would melt the tiny wires. I'm sitting at my load limit for the PC power supply. Gotta upgrade for more cabinets.
For woodworking it is all flat panels screwed together. My simplified version 3.0 cabinet only has some routed grooves on the side panels so i can slide in the plexi glass. So maybe the router is the only tool some people might not have.
Mikmo, HA. Yes, it ROCKS. I had to laugh.
AWOL Moderator, Sorry. I hate SPAM also. Thanks for merging posts. I didn't realize I could edit the original post. I had reshot my Youtube video and all the links changed. I edited my links above. It has been very tough to demo this project on a single video monitor on Youtube in a manner I liked. Getting close enough to the cabinet AND the software so people can actually see it is tough.
PaulS, yeah maybe this post goes somewhere else. Not sure. I picked here because there is interfacing with the computer. The videos I discuss this some about using serial communications over the USB port and also some of the difficulties of splitting BYTEs into NIBBLEs.
Rockwallaby, wow what an eye for minerals. Yeah I'll have to check that one you are talking about. I was originally going to put UV LED's in the cabinet for the cool luminescence but I went over my electrical power budget and it required more cabling so I relented. Now I can just wave a blacklight over this whole cabinet and see cool rocks.