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

By brothersun

January 02, 2022

24 days 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

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


21 days ago

Quite an impressive accomplishment. Thanks for sharing.

20 days 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!

20 days ago

Amazing.... well done!

20 days ago

love it

18 days 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.

11 days ago

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

5 days ago

Insane. Nice work.

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