(Topic ID: 235993)

Building an Addams Family from scratch....CRAZY?


By dangerranger96

1 year ago



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  • 44 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by BrianBannon
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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#1 1 year ago

Hola,

So I have been searching for a The Addams Family or a Attack from Mars project game for a while now. I feel like it is really hard to find "project" machines. Anywho, I got this wild hair today that maybe I should just build one from scratch. They are both popular enough that there seems to be every part imaginable available. My only concern is a wiring harness. I can not seem to find one of those anywhere. I have found schematics, I could reproduce it (after a s*** ton of work). You see people doing restores with repro playfields and cabs but that person seems to always have a donor game to steal parts off of. SO, money aside, is this a possible thing?

#2 1 year ago

It's definitely a possible in fact someone built a MM on here. You will however wind up spending more than if you just bought a nice example.

#3 1 year ago

I think you're better off just being patient and persistent on finding a "project machine" than building from scratch.

#4 1 year ago

If you are going to build one I would suggest starting with a donor machine of similar vintage of a disfavored model (are there any.?). If you can find one that’s beat to crap and cheap, much of the stuff is interchangeable. Cabinets are the same, power supplies most boards (with replacement roms) cabinet parts coin door etc ...you name it.

Dave

#5 1 year ago

Good timing, I am going through EXACTLY the same thing! I have accumulated many TAF parts over the years (mostly used), and have just started putting it all together.
I agree with comments above.
The problem is not the obvious big ticket items (decals, pf etc), its actually all the small bits you dont think about. At the end of the day anything is possible if you are patient.
A couple of things I have noticed about parts in general are the following;
- Under p/f light boards are bloody hard to find! I think this is due to them being theme specific, and not really a part that broke down, so no aftermarket options. I have all the light boards bar the mansion one, so will need to use screwed lampholders for this area.
- Knocker assemblies are unobtainium for some reason (doesn't impact gameplay though)
- New theme specific parts are expensive.

I have noticed that its easy enough to find new metal scoops, the swamp metal work, ramp etc, but now pinball has kind of gone crazy these parts are not cheap. I doubt you would be able to buy all the parts to build a TAF new for less then what you could buy one in fair to good condition.
Quick sums in ($AUS );

P/F $1000
DMD $300
Translight $150
Decals $250
Legs $100
Board set $1500
P/F parts new $2000+ ($3000+ if you need all the metal work as well)
Cabinet $500? (I make my own so only pay for timber and paint, so probably more like $1000 really)
Cabinet hardware (lockdown bar, coin door, wiring harness etc) $500
All metal guides and wire forms will need to be made from scratch
New plastics set $200

Already at $8000 without even getting into the finer details!
Then your looking at the wiring harnesses, which can not be purchased so would need to be made from scratch. Massive job!

Expect to spend 2-300 hours putting all this together also..

I would not have bothered attempting this if I hadn't picked up used parts over the last 6-7 years.

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from Flex_in_Aus:

Good timing, I am going through EXACTLY the same thing! I have accumulated many TAF parts over the years (mostly used), and have just started putting it all together.
I agree with comments above.
The problem is not the obvious big ticket items (decals, pf etc), its actually all the small bits you dont think about. At the end of the day anything is possible if you are patient.
A couple of things I have noticed about parts in general are the following;
- Under p/f light boards are bloody hard to find! I think this is due to them being theme specific, and not really a part that broke down, so no aftermarket options. I have all the light boards bar the mansion one, so will need to use screwed lampholders for this area.
- Knocker assemblies are unobtainium for some reason (doesn't impact gameplay though)
- New theme specific parts are expensive.
I have noticed that its easy enough to find new metal scoops, the swamp metal work, ramp etc, but now pinball has kind of gone crazy these parts are not cheap. I doubt you would be able to buy all the parts to build a TAF new for less then what you could buy one in fair to good condition.
Quick sums in ($AUS );
P/F $1000
DMD $300
Translight $150
Decals $250
Legs $100
Board set $1500
P/F parts new $2000+
Cabinet $500? (I make my own so only pay for timber and paint, so probably more like $1000 really)
Cabinet hardware (lockdown bar, coin door, wiring harness etc) $500
Already nearly at $6500 without even getting into the finer details!
Then your looking at the wiring harnesses, which can not be purchased so would need to be made from scratch. Massive job!
Expect to spend 2-300 hours putting all this together also..
I would not have bothered attempting this if I hadn't picked up used parts over the last 6-7 years.

Nice details flex. I wonder How much of that could be saved by finding a cheap donor?

Dave

#7 1 year ago

You can expect to spend about $8-$10k building a WPC game from scratch. You would also likely have to fabricate a number of game-specific parts on your own since a number of them are unavailable.

Quoted from dangerranger96:

My only concern is a wiring harness. I can not seem to find one of those anywhere.

That's one of the many things you would have to make on your own.

Is it possible? Yes.

Is it cost effective? Definitely not.

Is a quick project? Heck no. Hundreds of hours of research, scavenging, building, fabricating, hiring out for things you can't make, etc.

Honestly, even though it sounds like a fun endeavor, you're way better off just buying a game at a reasonable market price.

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from Calipindave:

Nice details flex. I wonder How much of that could be saved by finding a cheap donor?
Dave

Just updated my pricing with a couple of additions, instantly sent the total up to $8000. ForceFlow is onto it!

#9 1 year ago

Yeah that’s not a project you want to get into if your ultimate goal was just to reburbish or even restore a project taf .. scratch build is way more work and time and def. not too cost effective as others have stated. If u decide it’s a challenge to take on though - makes a good thread!

#10 1 year ago

One other thing to consider if you follow HEP post on his restorations is you can't always count on new playfields & parts to be 100% correct. He always verifies screw hole locations & stuff from the old cabinet - playfield - etc. Without having a donor machines mistakes are sure to happen. Just another thing to consider if building a machine without a donor.

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from dangerranger96:

Hola,
So I have been searching for a The Addams Family or a Attack from Mars project game for a while now. I feel like it is really hard to find "project" machines. Anywho, I got this wild hair today that maybe I should just build one from scratch. They are both popular enough that there seems to be every part imaginable available. My only concern is a wiring harness. I can not seem to find one of those anywhere. I have found schematics, I could reproduce it (after a s*** ton of work). You see people doing restores with repro playfields and cabs but that person seems to always have a donor game to steal parts off of. SO, money aside, is this a possible thing?

A guy just picked up an addams family project locally to me. He may sell it to you. His name is Cary Hardy, and ge chronicles it on YouTube.

I would contact him on facebook if you are interested.

#12 1 year ago

Reading this makes me wonder if this kind of thing will be more likely to happen in the future. With game prices going up and availability of the classics constantly reducing at some point in the future would the cost effectiveness become a reality?

#13 1 year ago
Quoted from Flex_in_Aus:

Just updated my pricing with a couple of additions, instantly sent the total up to $8000. ForceFlow is onto it!

and most of your pricing must be shit quality as Addams decals are more than $250 and playfields are over $1000 landed

#14 1 year ago

Holy cow. Lots of insight! I was sitting down to figure to try and get my head around the pricing side but flex_in_aus already did that for me so thank you! I assumed it would be around that. I do have an The Addams Family or 2 in the area and I'm fairly certain one of the places would let me poke around under the hood if needed. I did find the wiring matrix in the manual. TONS of work. I like what calipindave said about finding a cheaper WPC donor. What would be a cheaper WPC game that may be easier to find?

#15 1 year ago

Im building (well, collecting parts for) a Bad Cats from scratch...I bought a populated playfield and am starting there, I have since gotten a nice back glass, speaker panel, and cab decals...I am fabricating a replacement cab and I have a buddy who is working on reproducing the back box animation parts for me...I have my eye out for a similar era game in bad shape to harvest the boardset, transformer, harnesses and other parts

20181203_151834 (resized).jpg
When I get it completed I will probably have spent $3,500 to build a game I could have bought for $2100

#16 1 year ago

I can give you some caution if you consider this task.

3 years ago my friend (an excellent restorer) purchased a donor Addams and every new part he could buy in order to make an Addams from scratch.
He figured he could use the donor for the hard to find parts (harness and little parts unobtainable). He had a new cabinet built, painted and decalled. He finished the cab and next worked on the harness. The harness was amess with lots of hacks and missing connectors. It took him a month to rewire the harness. With all new parts he continued on the build and got stuck along with way for various little parts (I don't recall which) that were trashed on the donor playfield and unobtainable. He had to have several of these parts made locally from a metal shop. 18 months of hard labor later he finished the build. It was gorgeous and around 8K to build. We were blown away by the build but he said he would never ever ever do that again.

#17 1 year ago
Quoted from dangerranger96:

What would be a cheaper WPC game that may be easier to find?

WPC projects are getting tough to find in general since most are moderately to very desirable. Expect to spend $1500-$3k for a game that flips. A donor game really doesn't make things a whole lot easier or cheaper, though. Maybe when a donor game could be had for $200, but with popularity where it is now, everybody wants project games.

Considering TAF's can be found for $4500-$5500, I would recommend buying one outright instead. It would be much cheaper and easier.

I did a partial spreadsheet work-up a year or two ago of what it would take to do a scratch build of AFM. The parts availability for that is a lot better for that game than TAF and the BOM is a lot smaller as well. And still it was not cheap, and there were still dozens of critical parts that were unobtainable. It is simply not practical no matter how fun you might think it might be.

If you really want to scratch build a game, you would probably be better off designing and building your own custom game.

Quoted from whthrs166:

Reading this makes me wonder if this kind of thing will be more likely to happen in the future. With game prices going up and availability of the classics constantly reducing at some point in the future would the cost effectiveness become a reality?

Not really. It's still way too much work, way too expensive, and too many parts are NLA to be able to build from scratch.

I doubt someone would offer a kit to build a game either. Too many logistics issues.

CGC has the right idea about remaking popular classic games with a high market price in the collector's market. However, they seem to be sticking to non-licensed titles for now, so TAF probably wouldn't be on their remake list anytime soon. I imagine it's on someone's wishlist, though.

#18 1 year ago
Quoted from too-many-pins:

One other thing to consider if you follow HEP post on his restorations is you can't always count on new playfields & parts to be 100% correct. He always verifies screw hole locations & stuff from the old cabinet - playfield - etc. Without having a donor machines mistakes are sure to happen. Just another thing to consider if building a machine without a donor.

This is one really good reason to send your PF to Ron Kruzman, as he has templates and donor playfields from a TON of games to make sure it’s accurate. Nothing worse than setting up a game and something doesn’t fit

#19 1 year ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

If you really want to scratch build a game, you would probably be better off designing and building your own custom game.

I'm building a Scared Stiff from parts. Just picked up the coffin weldment, spider assembly and a transformer this week. I'm doing it partially to understand some of the design choices made. And I'm reverse engineering a lot(driving the dmd from a Raspberry Pi with pinmame, using my own controller boards for the real time components, adapting parts from other games or making custom parts to enhance it, etc). It's more a labor of love and learning, but I've got the vast majority of the machine sitting in my garage, and I maybe have $600 in it, counting the set of decals and the playfield I picked up.
So, if it is something that revs your motor, go for it. Worst case scenario, you learn some stuff and spend some cash.

EDIT: I should note that some good fortune landed me a free cabinet and some wheeling and dealing scored some parts for well under what they would normally go for(the playfield, for example, was a very nice PF that was only swapped out because the owner was going for a really high end resto). And I'm ok with functional used parts that I can later swap out, so my ramps were cheap, etc. If I were building this with the mindset of a factory perfect game, the price would be easily thousands more.

#20 1 year ago

Sounds like you got your hands full! Be interesting to see it when your done!

#21 1 year ago

Im just curious here...but with so many production TAFs around (20, 270), why not just pick one up and do a full shop out?

I mean, I understand if you want everything "new," but you have to figure that is just going to cost a ton (8-10k or more) and take hundreds of hours to do. I guess if you just want the challenge, it doesn't matter. But if time is money and money is time...why get concerned about the price or hours spent?

Maybe I am getting too philosophical...

#22 1 year ago
Quoted from Daditude:

Im just curious here...but with so many production TAFs around (20, 270), why not just pick one up and do a full shop out?
I mean, I understand if you want everything "new," but you have to figure that is just going to cost a ton (8-10k or more) and take hundreds of hours to do. I guess if you just want the challenge, it doesn't matter. But if time is money and money is time...why get concerned about the price or hours spent?
Maybe I am getting too philosophical...

I dont know about the OP but Im doing mine just for personal satisfaction

#23 1 year ago

I also think that selling it eventually will be tough.

#24 1 year ago

Just do it and post your progress here

#25 1 year ago

Just start a thread, update it a bunch for a month, abondon it completely when you figure out it's an impossible task, update once a year or two later; just like normal people!

#26 1 year ago

Well, I had the idea of building a Twilight Zone from scratch and had lots of people tell me that I was crazy for considering it. To see several other people looking to build machines from scratch in encouraging. I am looking for a project TZ that i can use as a reference for building one. For me it's not the cost but the challenge of doing it.

#27 1 year ago
Quoted from too-many-pins:

One other thing to consider if you follow HEP post on his restorations is you can't always count on new playfields & parts to be 100% correct. He always verifies screw hole locations & stuff from the old cabinet - playfield - etc. Without having a donor machines mistakes are sure to happen. Just another thing to consider if building a machine without a donor.

I can speak to something simple per this example; with my TAF, I purchased it in very good condition, a new playfield etc... I started to get a bit of chipping on the chair scoop and the far swamp pf edge (on the shooter lane side of the swamp, so I ordered a full TAF cliffy set and was shocked at how misaligned protector holes were. I had to extend holes with my dremel and the shooter lane protector (ball eject side) was completely off. I had to skew the protector to make it work and while I'm here, I had ground shorting issues... this actually traced back to using the stainless protector at the ball eject. This was shorting one of the switch lines to ground somewhere. Bizarre!

Anywho... back to the convo.

#28 1 year ago

I think what I am going to do is keep a look out for any project standard body wpc game to use as a donor. I would love to buy a TAF but unless it beat to crap and going for 2 grand, I don't have the money for it. Its easier for me to buy parts one by one than save money lol. I want a project pin but it seems hard to find any non working games. Another game I would love to do is The Machine: Bride of Pinbot. Honestly, I would take just about any project game at this point that's newer than the early SS's for 2 grand and less.

#29 1 year ago

Everyone has this dream of finding a project game and restoring it saving thousands of dollars. The reality is many times you are better off just buying a nice example because you will more often than not wind up spending the same amount or more getting it up to snuff. That's even if you manage to source all the parts.

Another option you could explore would be buying a nice example using a credit card. It will get you the game you are looking for right now while also sratching the itch you have to over pay (interest).

#30 1 year ago

IF I were going to do a scratch build... I'd rip off the work done by GAP and do it in Black-n-white.
IF you're going to do something like that; might as well make it your own / unique.

I'm tempted to do a BW Addams... but only because well; I want AF - but don't want to pay someone else. I'm a cheap arse sometimes.
Maybe I'll get lucky one day and it'll just fall in my lap. (yeah - right... never that lucky)

#31 1 year ago

If you are building one, might as well go widebody.

http://www.specialpinball.com/taf.html

#32 1 year ago
Quoted from Ballypinball:

and most of your pricing must be shit quality as Addams decals are more than $250 and playfields are over $1000 landed

Geez keep your nickers on! This is why I said $8000 and up, sheesh ...

#33 1 year ago

Save your dollars guys Trust me you never know what is on the cards Wink Wink...…

That new car smell

#34 1 year ago

I have got three (almost fully) populated WPC games in a semi recent deal for a good price. I have bought BSD and TZ aprons plus TZ bridge diverter ramp assembly for approx $150. I will be reviving BSD in the future. I ll have the cabinet built or use one from some parted out game. I also have generic cabinet hardware and translite for it. It helps to have a lot of patience - you can get used parts for a reasonable price. It also (economically) helps to be in the hobby for a long time. I have accumulated a lot of parts during the years - translites, generic parts, boards (I have like 20 spare WPC/WPC-S sets and 5 spare SYS 11 sets) and I have got really good deals on those (many of those for free or as return of a favor).
If you are not in a hurry you can build the thing for a much lower price (not counting your time).

IMG_4620.JPGIMG_4629.JPGIMG_4646.JPG
#35 1 year ago
Quoted from Flex_in_Aus:

Geez keep your nickers on! This is why I said $8000 and up, sheesh ...

Go ask Paul in Brisbane he build an AFM and MM and doing an Addams now, he will know exactly

#36 1 year ago
Quoted from dnaman:

I can speak to something simple per this example; with my TAF, I purchased it in very good condition, a new playfield etc... I started to get a bit of chipping on the chair scoop and the far swamp pf edge (on the shooter lane side of the swamp, so I ordered a full TAF cliffy set and was shocked at how misaligned protector holes were. I had to extend holes with my dremel and the shooter lane protector (ball eject side) was completely off. I had to skew the protector to make it work and while I'm here, I had ground shorting issues... this actually traced back to using the stainless protector at the ball eject. This was shorting one of the switch lines to ground somewhere. Bizarre!
Anywho... back to the convo.

Was it a genuine Cliffy set though? There's a lot of fakes about.

I just fit a full swamp set to my TAF (also has a new playfield) and it fit fine and I didn't have any ground short issues. I've heard it is possible to get ground short errors on the left hand side of the swamp (where the ball drops in from the main playfield) due to the standup targets leaf switches touching the protector.

Did you mean that or the actual trough ball eject protector?

#37 1 year ago

often finding the right cabinet is quite tough and TAF has some specific requirements.

#38 1 year ago
Quoted from ArcadiusMaximus:

Everyone has this dream of finding a project game and restoring it saving thousands of dollars. The reality is many times you are better off just buying a nice example because you will more often than not wind up spending the same amount or more getting it up to snuff. That's even if you manage to source all the parts.
Another option you could explore would be buying a nice example using a credit card. It will get you the game you are looking for right now while also sratching the itch you have to over pay (interest).

I'm not looking to save a bunch of money in the long run. I want the project because I enjoy the hobby and I enjoy building and restoring stuff. I'm also not looking to make a quick turn and sell it for a profit.

#39 1 year ago
Quoted from Ballypinball:

Save your dollars guys Trust me you never know what is on the cards Wink Wink...…
That new car smell

Oooohhh, is TAF going to be reproduced?

#40 1 year ago
Quoted from dangerranger96:

I'm not looking to save a bunch of money in the long run. I want the project because I enjoy the hobby and I enjoy building and restoring stuff. I'm also not looking to make a quick turn and sell it for a profit.

I salute your enthusiasm! If you start a thread detailing your endeavor, i will surely follow it!

If you decide to move forward with this, you're going to learn a *ton* of stuff along the way. To me, that's worth the price of admission.

Good luck!

#41 1 year ago

Wallybgood has already built a few games from scratch

#42 1 year ago

Iam in start of restoring TAF. Have working donor but 4 things in looking couldn't find.
1- thing plastic box - had 3d printed
2- wireform.- have from donor
3- high power board - donor but made new one A-15416
4- under playfield light boards - donor
I did have a wire harness from a hurricane bottom cab not to bad to do just have to add about 6 wires. Only difference is colors seen to be same but Trace different. Meaning TAF grey with red stripe trace . hurricane grey with red square trace and so on

#43 1 year ago

If you are going to do this, I would contact third coast pinball. They do wire harnessing.

https://pinside.com/pinball/biz/directory/1180-third-coast-pinball

#44 1 year ago

Back in 2005 I happened upon a semi-populated Addams playfield plus a broken Addams head missing boards, and built a game around it. Ended up using a parted out Dr Who for most of what I didn't already have, everything went together with minor modifications. Finding parts wasn't as hard back then. IIRC, the most expensive item then was an IPB NOS playfield going for about half of what one would sell for now. It was a fun project that my dad and I worked on together but I wouldn't do it again. Anyone starting from scratch has a helluva job ahead of them.

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