(Topic ID: 280899)

Cuphead Home Brew Pinball

By scottacus

1 year ago

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  • 425 posts
  • 57 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 days ago by A_Bord
  • Topic is favorited by 87 Pinsiders


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    There are 425 posts in this topic. You are on page 9 of 9.
    #401 61 days ago

    Onevox prepare to be even more jazzed because I know I am. For those of you just joining the build, Cuphead is Onevox's brainchild that he was gracious enough to let me bring to life.

    Behold after a day's work the plastics are done and the playfield sits in the cab.

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    I doubled up the clear decals as well as the white backing decals. The second layer really made the reds pop so I guess they needed a bit more white behind them. The really long plastics required two of three piece decals for them but with the bold stripes it was easy to hide the joints between decals.

    I still need to make the new in/outlane wire guides before the the topside is done. The new set will have a slight curve in the upper section to help guide the ball around the corner. The prototype just had two sections that were straight and the ball tended to go "thunk" onto the lower wire before making the bend to the flippers.

    After that is done then it will be time to start pulling off the mechs to set them aside so that I can get at the lights and transfer those since they sit on the "lowest" level with the mechs above them. Hopefully I don't break anything in the process. The way this project has gone, the smart money is on breaking something.

    #402 60 days ago

    I made wire guides for the in/outlanes and mounted those onto the surface of the "A" playfield (PF). I also moved the index plastics that keep the PF from sliding in the cab and cut two short grooves in the bottom leading edge so that the hasps that hold down the lockdown bar in place had enough room to swing into position.

    Here's the old PF prior to stripping, so the trick is going to be getting all of the mechs off in one piece so that I can get at the lighting.

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    I pulled all of the rollover switches and moved them to the "A" PF.

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    Next I was able to get all of the mechs up, labeled and ready for removal. During the build process I had a few lighting wires get intertwined with the mech wiring so those had to be unsoldered and put back together on the right side of setup. The with the help of my wife and a big whiteboard we started on one end and put mechs onto the whiteboard, advanced the board an inch or two and then added more until all the mechs were safely on the whiteboard. This was then set aside.

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    The lighting runs were marked, pulled up and moved to the "A" PF. I had to add a short string of lights for the bumpers as a bridge since they are part of the chain but the LEDs are not easily removable from the mechs yet connect sections of the single chain together.

    20211007_193514 (resized).jpg

    The table was booted up and all the lights work!

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    Here's a video of the attract mode, this was a full day's work!

    #403 60 days ago

    Great methodology. It's a beaut.

    #404 60 days ago

    Today is the start of repopulating the playfield (PF). I started out by carefully measuring the angles of the kickers and transferring those to the new PF for placement of the kickers. The kicker shots were fine tuned on the white wood but with the new high gloss PF who knows how these will work? At any rate this is the best that I can do at this time.

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    Here's the old PF with its gazillion holes and plugs both big and small, it served me well.

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    Here are the mechs on the whiteboard with piece of plywood on saw horses spanning the new PF for the transfer of mechs onto the new PF.

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    Here is is with everything in rough position and nothing seems to have broken.

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    I started with the leaf switches since they are the lowest pieces and thus I figured they should go on first. They sort of anchor all of the big mechs so I figured this was a good place to start. All of the switches are in place and adjusted in this photo.

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    Here's some info for anyone who's thinking about a home brew that will have star rollovers. When you buy star rollovers they come with the plastic insert with a plastic star of the same color in it along with the white star for the actual game. I figured that the red (in this case) star was there for clear coating to keep clear coat out of the inside of the insert so I put them in when I sprayed but not fully inserted so that I could get them to move out while the clear coat was setting because I didn't want to have to use any force to get them out of cured clear coat for fear of fracturing either the clear coat or the insert.

    At any rate I popped the white stars in before starting to populate the mechs and I found that the stars wanted to bind at one portion of their run. The problem is that the way these star inserts (and I assume all of them) work is that there are four tabs that spring together to hold the button of the white star in place. These are moulded from the same plastic that the insert is made from and look like they would be easy to fracture if you tried to pull the white star out. If they fractured I would be screwed. I then was faced with the dilemma do you pull the stars and risk a potentially serious problem to file out the insert or do you leave them since they work for the most part?

    I could hear Dirty Harry saying "Well do you feel lucky punk?" followed by one of the guiding principles of life which is "The enemy of good is "better". What this means is if something works ok and you try to make it better, a fair percentage of time you will screw it up in the process of making it better. Well today I felt lucky so I carefully opened up the bases of all three star inserts and was able to get the white stars out. A few passes with a fine file and now they all slide like butter!

    The moral of the story is, clean up the star inserts before popping the white stars in, even if you used the protectors during clear coat.

    #405 59 days ago

    I check the white stars as well as they often have mold marks/flanges/flappy bits on them that can cause issues, so I make sure they are nice and smooth. I've had enough playfields with star rollovers that I bought a nice supply of extra white stars, so if I need to remove one I just cut of the end of the one in there. I have broken a tab that holds them before and what a pain that was to redo the insert/clear etc. oh, and I use the one I nipped the end off of to put in the insert for clearcoating, but upside down so it has a nice handle on it.

    #406 59 days ago

    I never thought to put the red insert in upside down and use its post as a handle. Great ideas!

    #407 57 days ago

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    There are a few software issues to fix up but for the purposes of this build log I'm calling this done. Thanks for following along on this year long journey!

    #408 57 days ago

    Looks like a best in show at MGC to me

    #409 57 days ago

    You did a great job. Hope to see it at a show some day.

    #410 57 days ago

    Bravo Zulu!

    #411 57 days ago


    #412 57 days ago

    Tuned out awesome! It's been fun to follow along on the build, and glad to contribute some parts (even if small) along the way!

    #413 57 days ago

    Any plans to bring this beautiful work of art to expo in a couple of weeks?

    #414 56 days ago

    I'm not going to any pinball conventions this year but hopefully next year. Thanks again for the lockdown bar animesuperj.

    #415 56 days ago

    As a huge fan of Cuphead, I feel like I absolutely have to play this at some point. Amazing job, it looks terrific.

    #416 56 days ago


    #417 56 days ago

    That looks awesome! Congrats

    #418 55 days ago

    Incredible. Tasteful, nothing sticks out theme-wise, perfectly executed.

    1 week later
    #419 47 days ago

    Here's a video of some of my poor game play. It does show most of the shots except for the multiball which is pretty hard for me to get with this table. It used to be too easy to get on the white wood.

    Oh I forgot to mention that I cut off all of the zip ties that were on my wiring snakes and replaced them with "old school" dental floss. I've always admired the neat wiring runs on old EM's and I had some floss laying around so I thought I'd give it a try. Turns out that the wax grips the wires and the floss container makes it pretty easy to to the wraps. Now I don't have zip tie ends that get caught on things in the machine plus the look is classic.

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    #420 46 days ago

    In a PM Bord asked me "what you'd do differently if you had to start from scratch again?" I thought that I'd post my reply here just in case it helps someone out who is thinking about building a home brew.


    That's a great question, in that case I would...

    -CNC the white wood so that there are no unknown variations between versions. I'm old school and love making things by hand but in this case WYSIWYG is more important.

    -Not use a driver system that was in Beta form. I spent weeks trying to fix a problem physically and in software when there was a bug in the firmware for the Cobrapin STM32's. I knew this was a possibility as a beta tester so I knew what I was in for but there were times when I thought about putting the cab out in the yard and lighting it on fire.

    -Not try to cheap out on my power supply. For almost 3/4 of a year I tried to make the old ALI transformer supply all of the power for the table. It ran very hot (Ben Heck suggested that I drop the control rods a little because the reactor was running a bit too warm) and did not supply enough voltage to drive the modern coils. With MPF's ability to limit coil pulse times, even old coils can be run at "high voltage" safely. Modern switching power supplies are relatively cheap, powerful, run cool and are energy efficient.

    -Learn how to program in Python. Mission Pinball Framework can be very frustrating to work with because it is strongly typed and has a steep learning curve (at least for me). Getting the very complex Perdition Lane with multiple players, virtual ball locks, multiball fail, etc working was a nightmare. It would have been much better to write some helper code in Python and run that along side MPF then to work with MPF's logic blocks, counters and player variables.

    -Take the playfield to a body shop and have them shoot it with clear coat. Spraymax is great for rehabbing pins but after playing 50 games in the last couple of days I see all of the imperfections in the clear coat. Probably something that bugs me because I know that they are there.

    -Don't make real mechs try to replicate what mechs do in vpx. The Dash saucers bugged me until I resigned myself to the fact that mechs in vpx are not real and can do things that a real mech can't do. Once I bought into that, I made the Dash saucers help drop DT's and now they are an asset to the game.

    -Use translight material for the plastics graphics. The decals are working ok but I bet translights would look a little better.


    The reverse question is also a good one, what would I do again:

    -I would use a VPX table as the base for a white wood because vpx physics are actually very good and you can have confidence that your layout geometry will work. The VPX to MPF bridge let me write code and run it with vpx to gain the confidence that I could actually make the table and not end up with a half built mess that I have to walk around in the basement.

    -Use a donor table with its mechs as the basis for the table. That saved time and money in building the cab.

    -Use a TV for the backglass. This gives me options for displaying graphics and video that a static piece of art doesn't.

    -Don't dread doing the playfield graphics. It would have been great to have the PF professionally printed but I bet the graphics would not have lined up perfectly. Doing the graphics by hand took time but the end result is really very good minus my clear coat as mentioned above.

    -Use Cobrapin in its stable current form. Once the bugs were worked out, this is a great system that is very inexpensive, works well and has great tech support.

    #421 46 days ago

    Nice writeup Scott. Great work.

    Someday I hope to 'finish' one of the ones I've started.

    #422 45 days ago

    Thanks Dan I look forward to seeing Nobs in action, it's a really nice and unusual vpx table.

    #423 44 days ago

    So beautiful! Congrats on seeing your vision through! Love the choice of theme.

    1 month later
    #424 6 days ago

    Cuphead has been running great and is fun to play but starting the table up is a pain. You have to turn on power, open the head, point the remote into the head and hit power, wait till the TV starts and gets to its "Smart TV" screen and hit input, grab a keyboard and open cmd, navigate to the Cuphead folder, enter "mpf both" and lastly hit return. Not a very user friendly system! You also have to be able to get to the left side of the head so this precludes putting another pin or wall to the left of Cuphead.

    Wouldn't it be great if you could just flip on the power button and have everything start up on its own? I've spent the last two days getting that to work. First off the TV doesn't have an external button for "input" so I didn't need to uncase the TV which is good since I've trashed a set once by doing that. The remote doesn't have any screws on it so I ended up cutting off the front top of the case to get access to the PCB. I then scratched off the carbon coating over the power and input button traces and soldered on lead wires that I connected to a 4 pin molex connector.

    20211201_120529 (resized).jpg

    Those wires were then run to the front of the cab where they were connected to two left over arcade buttons that I 3D printed a mount for. These buttons are there as a backup should the next section fail for any reason.

    20211201_120257 (resized).jpg

    In between the remote and buttons I put an arduino that is programmed to wait 6 seconds (TV needs that long after seeing power to accept inputs) run a pin high/low for 100ms that turns on a switching trani for the power button, wait 30 seconds and run a pin high/low to another switching trani that turns on the input button. The switching electronics were put onto a perf board and that was mounted as an "arduino shield" over the Uno.

    20211201_120336 (resized).jpg

    Now that the TV will turn on automatically, I needed a way to start up mpf. I played around with CMD for a while and couldn't figure out how to enter "mpf both" and hit return after navigating to the right folder in CMD. I then made an AutoHotKey script to open CMD, navigate to the Cuphead Folder, enter "mpf both" and then hit return. Some "Sleep" timers were needed to get everything to work out. Here's a minute long video of Cuphead starting up all by itself.

    #425 4 days ago

    Don't forget Cuphead for homebrew game of the year nominations: https://twipys.com/2021-pre-voting/

    There are 425 posts in this topic. You are on page 9 of 9.

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