Build your own pinball? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-10-2005, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello--

Has anyone ever thought about building your own pinball? I thought about it several years ago, but never really put in the time to investigate it seriously. Now that I've got a basement to put it in, I've started looking into it more. It seems to me that the easiest way would be:

a) find a broken pinball for cheap.
b) tear out the guts, leave all the playing field stuff. Or put in a totally new playing field, although that would take a lot of work.
c) connect the all of the scoring stuff up to an I-pac, and write a program to assemble the data
d) add in a low voltage power supply to run the lights and stuff.

Anybody else consider this? Thanks

Taylor34
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-10-2005, 12:57 PM
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It has been discussed many times on other boards. The major problems with designing your own pinball machine is that the playfield is alot more difficult to get exactly right so that it plays well. The angles are important, and the metal on the playfield is always custom for that machine. You will also spend a major amount of money on custom plastics.

The other problem is that a broken pinball with a good shape playfield can be fixed much more easily by getting replacement boards, than trying to wire 60 or so switches and at least 50 or 60 different lights into a computer. Remember each switch has to be individually scanned and processed, and each light has to be individually controlled. There are also medium voltage parts (solenoids), that need switching on and off. On a solid State machine, there is typically a CPU board, a power board, a sound board, and a light/switch board.

If the playing surface is in great shape, and the backglass is in good shape, the price will be high anyways, because a new control board (or a fixed replacement one) can be had for a good price. For example I have a Space Shuttle machine, that had a bad CPU board. I bought a completely fixed one from a great person for $125.00 For the Bally machines like Playboy, and Space Invaders, there is a replacement board available from a company called Repair connection that is around $300.00 On the Bally machines the sound board can be had for a good price, and the light control boards are very inexpensive. There are companies like pinball resource who sell pretty much all the parts you need for pinball repair.

Basically fixing a broken machine is much easier than trying to build a new one.

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post #3 of 6 Old 06-11-2005, 02:31 AM
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You can also hook more modern pins to a computer. I don't remember all the details of the setup I read about, but I think the person was using the visual pinball/pinmame ROMs on a PC hooked up to the switch matrix. You could then change the rules of the game and make a 'new' game that way.

Scott
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-13-2005, 02:14 PM
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It's called vpinmame.. I've been playing twilight zone, Adams family and Monopoly quite often on my PC. Exact ROM as the pinball game. It's put a slight squash on my need to purchase a couple pinball games and has thus saved my wallet and marriage.

http://www.vpinmame.com/
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-13-2005, 02:57 PM
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I would think this would be a HUGE undertaking. I am sure there is someone out there who has the patience and talent and money for such a project. You would need skills in all kinds of areas to pull it off. (Carpentry, Electrical engineering, software engineering, hardware engineering, artistry, sculpting, etc)

If you're that person, I say go for it! Just remember, though, that every major company that has built pinball machines in the last 20 years, have closed those divisions due to the money involved. (Except Stern of course). And those companies had teams of designers, builders, engineers, technicians and money to burn. (R.I.P Williams, Data East, Capcom, Bally)
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-13-2005, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcrandal
It's called vpinmame.. I've been playing twilight zone, Adams family and Monopoly quite often on my PC. Exact ROM as the pinball game. It's put a slight squash on my need to purchase a couple pinball games and has thus saved my wallet and marriage.

http://www.vpinmame.com/
What this guy did was combine the real physical pinball machine with a PC running the software though - it wasn't just playing pinball on a PC. I think he was then changing the scoring rules used on the PC for a 'different' game. Dunno if he could drive the pinball displays though.

I think I saw it on www.pinballnews.com.

Not the same as building your own machine, but might be interesting.

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