Custom EM pin I built as a Junior in H.S.

By brothersun

January 02, 2022

This story got frontpaged on January 04, 2022

1 year ago

As a Junior in HS, I designed and built a custom EM pin from scratch. My Father cut the cabinet wood on his table saw at work. I got a few parts that were discarded in the alley behind pinball distributors in Los Angeles. For example 4 EM score reels and a fake "0" off of a rifle game. And about 2 dozen "Midway" relays. A old  repair guy sold me some used parts such as legs, score motor, knocker and a chime box. The pop-bumpers, kicker assemblies, playfield posts and light sockets were from a trashed cocktail pinball machine.

I bought a few components new such as the 2 flipper assemblies/buttons, and 2 spinning targets. I made a schematic using the same format as the official schematics. I drew the schematic in pencil and when I soldered a wire in place, I went over the pencil with a black marker indicating that that wire was now in place.

The 4 stepper units were not pinball steppers, but DC units that I found at an electronic surplus store. The 2 large ones are what alternates which holes, rollovers or targets are lit. The stepper with 2 coils is for bonus up/down. The small stepper is for ball count. I made it adjustable, 3 or 5 ball per game.

See photos below. I didn't have a video camera to record game play. It was 1975 and cell phones and  the Internet were not invented yet. I eventually sold the machine for $100 (plus $10 for a box of spare parts.) Although it did play well, the most fun was designing and building it. That was the most fun I'd ever had.

Trivia: The top arch has a sticker that shows it was from an "Ice Review."

Story photos

CPU in (resized).jpg
Back open (resized).jpg
Cabinet (resized).jpg
Playfield above (resized).jpg
CPU out (resized).jpg
Inside cabinet (resized).jpg
Playfield back (resized).jpg
Playfield close (resized).jpg
Playfield lit (resized).jpg
Playfield lit close (resized).jpg


1 year ago

Quite an impressive accomplishment. Thanks for sharing.

1 year ago

Whoa that's amazing on many levels. I'm sure you were gunning for a technical career :) I like the creative layout, and that bonus-point rebound lane back to the shooter lane. I hope it's still out there somewhere!

1 year ago

Amazing.... well done!

1 year ago

love it

1 year ago

Unreal! That’s one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in a while. Especially since it was the 70’s. Info wasn’t as easy to come by back then.

1 year ago

Dude you were the coolest kid in high school! This is epic!

1 year ago

Insane. Nice work.

1 year ago

And you never showed this to any of the manufacturers of the day?

I think they would have hired you on the spot!

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