(Topic ID: 303763)

Best tool for leveling a table

By BriannaWu

73 days ago


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  • 31 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 64 days ago by jjga
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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#1 73 days ago

If money is no object, what's the best tool to level a pinball table? It seems like every method has pros and cons.

The reason I'm asking is I own TMNT, which is a brutal table. I just cannot consistently hit the ramps, and I bought the table new. There's a bubble for horizontal tilt built into the table, but left and right seem to require the level be mathematically straight. Seems like guesswork.

#2 73 days ago
Quoted from BriannaWu:

If money is no object, what's the best tool to level a pinball table? It seems like every method has pros and cons.
The reason I'm asking is I own TMNT, which is a brutal table. I just cannot consistently hit the ramps, and I bought the table new. There's a bubble for horizontal tilt built into the table, but left and right seem to require the level be mathematically straight. Seems like guesswork.

I dont go by the bubble level in the machine, I find those to be junk. I use a digital level. I taped a piece of mylar over the metal bracket so it wont scratch my playfield. With the glass off, first level side to side at the front o the playfield, the mid playfield and I also do it off the backbox. Then once I am at zero degrees from side to side, then I start on the putch level. I like to go 7 degrees. Same thing, check it in one or two locations on the playfield. Now, pro tip....after you have it leveled the way you want. Put the glass back on and take measurements again on the glass. If you write down those numbers, you can just use those numbers to adjust the level in the future, no need to remove glass again.

#3 73 days ago

I use the PinGuy app. Phone on playfield about 6 inches above the flippers in the middle. Make sure you calibrate the app on a perfectly flat surface first.

As far as TMNT, it is just a brutally hard game, level or not.

#4 73 days ago

I think the best would be a really high tolerance disc bubble level, the problem is that will only allow you to level left to right unless you mount it on an angled block at the slope you want for your table.

I can see a market for these if someone were to build them to a high accuracy with a 7 degree slope on the base.

#5 73 days ago
Quoted from kermit24:

I use the PinGuy app. Make sure you calibrate the app on a perfectly flat surface first.
As far as TMNT, it is just a brutally hard game, level or not.

I wasn't sure about if these apps need to be leveled or not and I read that they level against gravity naturally, but I wasn't so sure. They seem convenient but not as much if you need to calibrate them each time.

#6 73 days ago
Quoted from Anony:

I wasn't sure about if these apps need to be leveled or not and I read that they level against gravity naturally, but I wasn't so sure. They seem convenient but not as much if you need to calibrate them each time.

You just need to calibrate one time.

#7 73 days ago

The app is nice, provided you don't have a newer phone where the camera protrudes. That makes it a pain in the butt. I've leveled more machines than I care to admit between my house, my friends machines and the ones at leagues over the last few years.

I start with the front levelers most of the way down and the back ones about half way up. Then level side to side. Make sure when you're leveling side to side that if you turn the front right 4 turns that you turn the back right 4 turns. If you don't, you're going to end up with literally a twisted machine.

Once you get it side to side, then go front to back. If the pitch is lower than the 6.5 degree target, drop the front levelers first if possible as opposed to raising the rears. The goal is to get the machine as level as possible with the front levelers as close to being bottomed out as possible. A lot of people end up with machines that have the levelers too extended which makes for a wobbly machine.

I'd recommend a digital 6" level with a resolution of 0.1 degrees. I use a craftsman one I bought years ago, but you can't get them anymore. Something like this should be fine;

amazon.com link »

#8 73 days ago

Digital level as others have mentioned. You will find that most playfields have a little twist to them so usually I try measure three points on the playfield and then get mid field or flippers closest to 0 degrees.

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#9 73 days ago

Most people use case where that phone lays flat. You'd obviously want to calibrate it with the case on.

#10 73 days ago

fold up a little piece of card board!

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#11 73 days ago

I know that you said that price is irrelevant, but you can get a level at Lowes for about $5 and my thought is that it will work fine.
Once the bubble is in the middle across the playfield and the bubble in the shooter lane level is where you want it, you should be good.
See attached link for the $5 option:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Johnson-Level-9-in-Magnetic-Torpedo-Level/1000085615

#12 72 days ago

Home Depot normally has this angle gauge/level the shelf. I’m sure it isn’t the most precise tool, but it’s good enough for me, and the size and price are good:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Tools-Digital-Angle-Gauge-and-Level-935DAG/311131769#product-overview

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#13 72 days ago

Use a bubble to level left to right... the type you already have in your toolbox that you use for leveling pictures. Use legos to get the level "square". See this thread for a better explanation. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/tip-how-to-level-your-machine-and-how-legos-can-help#post-6297773

#15 72 days ago

Thanks everyone for the very kind suggestions in this thread! This is a great community - and I really appreciate your chiming in with your expertise.

#16 68 days ago

I decided to order a disc level and I'm going to make a 3d printable base for it that has it sitting at whatever angle you want your playfield. I think this should make it pretty easy to level . I'll post it when I'm done.

#17 66 days ago

Here's what I came up with. Probably going to tweak it a bit and then I'll post it to thingiverse and here

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#18 66 days ago

I find bribing friends with free beer and pinball to the the best tool for leveling machines.
Leveling machines by yourself sucks.

#19 65 days ago

I use a digital level. To make sure that it's lined up right, I have a short piece of PVC pipe that I put across the tops of the slings. Then the level has a flat surface to rest against. You can also turn the digital level 90 degrees to measure slope. (I might laser cut something prettier than my plain old pipe.)

When I adjust things I always wiggle the game like I was nudging it and see where it settles before making any more changes.

#20 65 days ago
Quoted from Anony:

Here's what I came up with. Probably going to tweak it a bit and then I'll post it to thingiverse and here[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Please do let us know in the thread when you do! I will undoubtedly print one myself!

#21 65 days ago
Quoted from horseflesh:

I use a digital level. To make sure that it's lined up right, I have a short piece of PVC pipe that I put across the tops of the slings. Then the level has a flat surface to rest against. You can also turn the digital level 90 degrees to measure slope. (I might laser cut something prettier than my plain old pipe.)
When I adjust things I always wiggle the game like I was nudging it and see where it settles before making any more changes.

This is good advice. I'm trying to figure out the best way to ensure my disc level sits straight and isn't rotated and something along these lines sounds smart.

#22 65 days ago
Quoted from Anony:

This is good advice. I'm trying to figure out the best way to ensure my disc level sits straight and isn't rotated and something along these lines sounds smart.

Yeah, if you could set the disc into something with square sides then it would be easy to line it up flush with another straight edge.

Your angled shim for the disc is a good idea... I was actually thinking about that the other day. But I am a laser cutter guy, not a 3d printer guy, so it's not quite as elegant for me to make a precise wedge shape. Once you post your design I'll get a buddy to print one for me!

#23 65 days ago

I decided to give it a mustachio. You lay the mustache along the top of the flippers and set the disc into it.

Will print tonight once the printer is free and if it works I'll publish it.

What are the most common angles people will want? 6.5, 6.8, 7and 7.2?

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#24 65 days ago
Quoted from Anony:

I decided to give it a mustachio. You lay the mustache along the top of the flippers and set the disc into it.
Will print tonight once the printer is free and if it works I'll publish it.
What are the most common angles people will want? 6.5, 6.8, 7and 7.2?[quoted image]

Those are the ones I would want!

#25 65 days ago

I just use my eyes. I level it, play it, tweak it. Then some one will come over and shake the shit out of it and throwing it out of level. Repeat.

After years of leveling pool tables you get an eye for it.

#26 65 days ago

That looks great Anony !

#27 64 days ago

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5139728

Done. I removed the post at the top because the level itself is not aligned with the mounting holes.

You have 6.5, 6.8, 7.0 and 7.2 degree versions. The mounting bar is optional but it helps keep the disc straight.

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#28 64 days ago
Quoted from Anony:

Done. I removed the post at the top because the level itself is not aligned with the mounting holes.

You have 6.5, 6.8, 7.0 and 7.2 degree versions. The mounting bar is optional but it helps keep the disc straight.

That is fantastic! Can you share a link to the specific disc level you are using?

Also, can I butter someone's bread to print me this setup?

#30 64 days ago
Quoted from dapperdan24:

That is fantastic! Can you share a link to the specific disc level you are using?
Also, can I butter someone's bread to print me this setup?

amazon.com link »

That's the one.

#31 64 days ago
Quoted from Anony:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5139728
Done. I removed the post at the top because the level itself is not aligned with the mounting holes.
You have 6.5, 6.8, 7.0 and 7.2 degree versions. The mounting bar is optional but it helps keep the disc straight.
[quoted image]

Nifty!

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