So, yes, I’m building a pinball machine. The process of building a proper pinball machine entails quite a few hurtles, a considerable sum of cash, and a lot of time and fun.
A bit of history is owed to you the reader. Back in 2008, I had the notion of building a pinball machine, but being only 15 at the time, I just didn’t get a lot of the concepts, and I was also in a position of quite limited fiscal resources. Thus, for about four years, a wooden contraption sat in the corner of our garage, collecting dust and cat hair. It was originally going to be constructed completely from scratch with self-wound solenoids, hardware store mechanics, and a plain wood design.
But a lot has changed since then. I’ve secured a somewhat steady income, (thus I have money) and I have had some significant brain development. (I think.)
So, in recent history I have actually been planning, building, and designing a real pinball machine. I began by pulling that skeleton of a pinball machine out of the corner of our garage, and removing all it’s unusable components. Like the flippers I cut out on a band saw, and the bearing systems that were made only out of wood and carriage bolts.
I then began the re-construction of a prototype play-field on a preliminary stand. I built a 30v DC power-supply out of a simple transformer, bridge-rectifier, and some electrolytic capacitors that were too small. I was then motivated to make my first purchase. I bought a right and left flipper mechanism from a guy in Greece. From what I understand he parted out an old Gottlieb Pink Panther machine. I waited about two weeks for those to arrive, and when they did, I spent that morning installing them in my play-field, the next evening, I had them flipping a wood ball around. (I didn’t have a steel 1 1/16″ ball yet.)
It’s from several weeks ago, but that progress can be seen in the video. Remember that this is a very preliminary prototype of the play-field. It doesn’t even look like this any more.
Real planning was something that I really wanted to do from the beginning of this project’s re-boot. I knew that if I planned, it could be done right the first time. (Hopefully.)
So my plans thus far are as follows:
- Build a full cabinet.
- Get quality graphics printed and applied.
- Design the play-field in CAD first.
- Use a Raspberry Pi with an expansion board to control almost every active element in the play-field.
- Design an awesome theme.