A few years back, I came into a handful of Bingo pinball machines as part of a bulk buy. Although I was only looking for a pair of matching machines, the price was too good to pass up, and so I bought seven machines. Well, six-and-a-half; got six full machines, plus an extra "parts" body.
However, as many good plans go, time went by and those machines just collected dust in my basement.
Last December, though, during a parent/teacher interview, my son's teachers asked what I like to do for fun in my spare time. When they learned that I liked to restore old beat up pinball machines, they were not only surprised to hear it but also thought it would make a really cool class "reverse engineering project". Before I could say anything, my wife "volunteered" a pair of machines for the class.
We delivered two-and-a-half "Bally Big Time" machines to the class in January, and the students (Grade 6/7) have spent the last few months stripping the machines down, cleaning them up, and trying to get one machine up and running again.
Today, was our big "reveal" to their parents, teachers, and the local media.
I'd go in and help out every other week for an hour, mostly just pointing them in the right direction, and pointing out things to be careful of or to watch out for. As things progressed that became once a week, then twice a week, and then this last week I've had two full days out in their classroom helping get the last quirks sorted out.
Along with all of the hard work put in by the students, we were also thrilled to receive the help of Kevin Hull at "Hidden Treasures Restoration" up here in Royston, BC. While pinball isn't his thing (although they do a bunch of other restoration, not just automotive), he was generous enough to help us out with getting the playfields clearcoated so they'll be sure to stand the test of time a while longer.
By the time the students were all said and done, the machine was *fully* functional again, and everyone was excited to turn it on today and play a few rounds of Bingo.
Still lots going through my head from the excitement of the day, and all the little anecdotes and things that happened along the way, but I just had to stop in and share.