Apollo 11 - Landing on the Moon

(Topic ID: 238151)

Apollo 11 - Landing on the Moon


By JLay

8 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 14 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 hours ago by JLay
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders

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    11
    #1 8 days ago

    First post on Pinside and I'm diving into the deep end.

    Inspired by the recent release of undiscovered Apollo 11 footage and a general lover of flight and space travel I've decided to create a custom pinball machine themed around the first Moon landing. Given the heavy influence of space travel, both real an imaginary, in pinball's history I think it's a perfect theme for me to sink my teeth into.

    -A little about me-
    I'm a career mechanical engineer and product designer, currently working with consumer electronics for a start up in San Francisco. I recently got into pinball after a pinball bar opened up across the street from me and I've made it quite the obsession. I will be doing the majority of the design and fabrication myself, and will be utilizing the extensive wood shop and prototyping lab that we have at my office (CNC mill and router, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, welders, 3D printers, electronics benches etc). I and very passionate about CAD and designing in 3D so I will definitely be flexing my Solidworks muscles for this. I am fully prepared for this to take a year or more, and will surely need a lot of help along the way. I also happen to have a tattoo of the Apollo 11 flight profile and Lunar Module, so there's that too.

    -My Vision-
    Apollo 11 will be built from the ground up with a custom playfield layout and rule set. The design and artwork will be heavily influenced by the technical documents and illustrations from the mission, which took place in 1969. The overall design of the machine will be mostly gray scale with select colors being used in a very controlled way during gameplay. It will pull more from the machines from the 70's and 80's with a single level playfield and lots of orbital flow. I plan to use updated mechanisms with stronger coils to give the game a more current feel and faster gameplay, similar to that of TNA. The ruleset will be mode-based with the objective being to complete all of the tasks required to successfully land on the moon and return home safely, you will be playing as Mission Control and it will not be easy. I think there's so much fun to be had here and can't wait to get started.

    -The Tech-
    Boardset - P3-ROC, computer TBD
    Audio - The majority of the audio will be real clips from the mission, with some mode-based electronic music. Sub and shaker motor for sure.
    Video - Will be installing a stern style LCD panel in the backbox, but developing that will come much later and will mostly consist of real mission footage and related TV coverage to tell the story.
    Lighting - warm white (2700k) LED GI with RGB LEDs behind translucent white playfield inserts
    Playfield - Big orbit shots with some well-placed mechanical diverters, 4-ball trough with auto kicker, drop targets, spinner, scoop, maybe even a few pop bumpers. Will be working on a custom magnetic mechanism to lock the balls in lunar orbit (this will be a big feature and visual focal point in the game). Playfield will be routed out with a handheld CNC router (Shaper Origin).

    -Status-
    Currently I'm on the hunt for a donor cabinet, ideally one from the 70's or 80's built for single level play, widebody would be amazing. This is currently gating more detailed playfield design, as the cabinet will dictate the playfield size. I have no interest in building a cabinet from scratch, I'm not a wood worker and would rather spend my limited time on other things. I've identified F2K as an ideal cabinet, as there is a beat up, but empty on listed on CL but the seller hasn't been very responsive.

    I've purchased all of the components to assemble an empty playfield with flippers and slingshots, this will let me prove out the my flipper/inlane/outlane/slingshot design and begin prototyping the playfield layout. I'll be using the P-ROC boards to drive the flippers, slings, trough and auto kicker, which while overkill for this will give me a good introduction to the P-ROC architecture and coding simple commands. Fortunately all of these parts will be what I will use in the actual machine so I'm happy to invest in it now. Currently doing all of this in CAD, but need final cabinet/playfield size before beginning the build.

    I've also been trying to drop hints with the girlfriend about how much time this will actually take. Most of my time is spent here at moment, laying a good foundation of girlfriend karma that will hopefully carry me through the length of the project. I've also been learning the favorite beer and pizza toppings of my electrical and firmware colleagues at work, this has also been captured in the budget.

    If you've made it this far - thanks for reading and stoked to have you along for the ride. I plan to provide lots of updates, images, renderings and maybe even some tutorials if I end up doing something cool. In return I hope to lean on you guys for support and feedback, so please don't be a stranger!

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    #2 8 days ago

    Great idea. You have the people to help.
    One suggestion, go with dual layer with simple ramps.
    Find good layout machine to start from.
    Don't reinvent the wheel. Wide-bodies are good. DM is a good candidate.

    #3 8 days ago

    Thread favorited. Looking forward to watching this one.

    Welcome to Pinside!

    #4 8 days ago

    Following

    #5 7 days ago

    Fantastic thread. I have added it to my favorites. The Apollo missions are one of my great fascinations and I am very excited to see you bring that together with our beloved pinball.

    I will be watching this closely. I am in Marin so I would very much love to check out your work in progress and finished product. Good luck and godspeed.

    Dave

    #6 7 days ago

    there is an empty wide body for sale on sf Craigslist as I type. As a fellow Apollo Space geek I look forward to seeing you progress.

    #7 7 days ago
    Quoted from lint:

    there is an empty wide body for sale on sf Craigslist as I type. As a fellow Apollo Space geek I look forward to seeing you progress.

    Yeah, I've been in contact with him, it's been on there for a few months now. I assumed he was just looking to clean the house and I emailed him asking if he'd let me have it for free if I come down and pick it up asap. It was used in a virtual pin table and kinda beat up so I figured I didn't have much to lose. He didn't seem to like my extreme lowball...

    We agreed on a lower price but he hasn't been replying to emails anymore so who knows. If I can get that cab I think it'll be a great foundation...

    Quoted from Jjsmooth:

    Great idea. You have the people to help.
    One suggestion, go with dual layer with simple ramps.

    Care to elaborate? My decision to stick with 1 layer was purely out of simplicity and bounding the project a bit to 1 layer. I think this is going to take 10x longer than expected so just tryin got keep it simple in design. But I am open a 2nd level, if I can keep it relatively simple and end up with a newer style cab with more Z height.

    #8 6 days ago

    Starting to rough in some of my front end geometry, finding it hard to juggle slingshot size, the ability to back hand shots (which I love) and appropriate in/out lane width. Have assumed a standard body playfield for this model and am open to some simple ramps, but I'd still like to move to a widebody if I can score a nice cabinet though.

    I model in Solidworks, render in Keyshot (still learning this) and will also rely a lot on Adobe Illustrator. I use a master modeling approach to create a single skeleton part (master model) that drives all of the part geometry and assembly locations in an isolated sketch that's easy to move and update parametrically. Happy to show a bit of this process if anyone is interested, it's a huge help for these kinds of projects where you're constantly tweaking things and want to avoid a bloodbath of failed features. The sketch file below only contains sketch features and is inserted as the first feature for every part, each part references that live geometry so everything updates accordingly and I have only one source of truth for my models. This will definitely save me some sanity when things get much more complicated and allow me to iterate quickly.

    Rendering in Keyshot, while time consuming and kind of overkill at this point, lets me explore the materials that I hope to use in a more realistic way. At the moment I'm really curious to try gray stains on lighter wood for some of the playfield, and some exposed stainless steel components. I've always loved the B&W Twilight Zone project, and the new B&W Munsters (Premium) version so I've got those in the back of my head.

    My big Pinball Life order is on it's way with all my mechs and P-ROC bits, although it might be a little bit before this first proto comes to life as there's too much snow in Tahoe right now and the mountains are calling...

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    #9 6 days ago

    As a SolidWorks long time employee I have to say COOL!

    #10 3 days ago
    Quoted from KozMckPinball:

    As a SolidWorks long time employee I have to say COOL!

    Same company too
    Awesome project. Put as favorite as well and look forward to see the next steps.

    #11 3 days ago
    Quoted from noitbe1:

    Same company too

    Whats the Dassault // Pinball connection?? you guys got a club going on in there somewhere? Also can I come here and whine anytime it crashes?? You guys should think about sponsoring a pinball project... I know a pretty cool one

    Current steps are build ramps in Solidworks, delete them and build different ones. Rinse and repeat... P3 boards and all my mechanisms come in today and power supplies are on their way. Have assumed a standard WPC PF size at the moment, and will likely have to build my own cab down the road. Will move to foamcore once my flippable sandbox is complete...

    #12 3 days ago

    My Dad worked on most of the Apollo Missions and many others that went into space. He was an electrical engineer that help write the some of electrical code. My dad has a big collection of the flight patches and other cool stuff from the Apollo Missions.

    #13 3 days ago
    Quoted from Quadrat:

    My Dad worked on most of the Apollo Missions and many others that went into space. He was an electrical engineer that help write the some of electrical code. My dad has a big collection of the flight patches and other cool stuff from the Apollo Missions.

    That's amazing - what a historic project to be a part of. As an engineer that heavily relies on computers to help me to do my job I'm always blown away at what they accomplished with such little technology. There was no email, no wifi, no google, just extremely smart, hard working and resourceful people with a singular mission. I bet your dad has some amazing stories, has he been able to go see the new footage?

    #14 11 hours ago

    Parts came in from PBL - currently CADing the more critical assemblies (4-ball trough, auto kicker, etc). Slowly starting to wrap my head around different post and sleeve options, if anyone knows of a good reference for which metal/plastic posts work best together please let me know. The websites don't really give much detail about the post geometries and compatibility and this engineer needs more info... got a few trips coming up so progress might be slow and focused on computer based activities.

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