(Topic ID: 172723)

Homepin OFFICIAL Thread - Pinball Parts & Machine Progress


By Homepin

2 years ago



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#101 2 years ago

I don't know Mike
There is a small factory in Geelong that recently closed that hadmost of the equipment to make a pinball machine

#102 2 years ago

Great updates.

Regarding the coloured LED DMD, I hope it'll be one of the higher density / resolution ones, not standard 192x32. I know they're considerably more expensive, but I would assume you can obtain them for reasonable prices within China. I think it'd make the machine a lot more eye-catching. Also, personally, my preference would be for a taller 3 (SEGA) aspect.

#103 2 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Great updates.
Regarding the coloured LED DMD, I hope it'll be one of the higher density / resolution ones, not standard 192x32. I know they're considerably more expensive, but I would assume you can obtain them for reasonable prices within China. I think it'd make the machine a lot more eye-catching. Also, personally, my preference would be for a taller 3 (SEGA) aspect.

We are still considering several options - even at this late stage. It will come down to two things:

(1) What is RELIABLY available in the quantities we need & at the price we want to pay.
(2) Which option will best interface with our system.

We have different options working at the moment but have not settled on any single one just yet.

#104 2 years ago

Thanks for the reply.

I'd settle for higher resolution (i.e. eye candy) over taller aspect, though, if it were a choice between that. I'm afraid pretty wins over more information, for me. But then, the excessively letter-boxed format is going to suck for the guy doing animations ... 6 isn't going to allow too much scope for rockets blasting off vertically. I suppose that would be where creativity could come in, and things could head towards the player and make use of perspective.

#105 2 years ago

Thanks for the answer. This is very interesting.

#106 2 years ago
Quoted from Homepin:

Skip to "HERE:" if you don't want the boring details...........

I just wanted to chime in here that from what I have been told from a number of people who I know that do work in China - not in the pinball world - this is all true. China has discovered some personal wealth, and as a country is now demanding better paying jobs and cleaner cities and so on. They are still the kings at making certain things (like electronics, plastic trinkets, and so on) because they set those up before the middle class started demanding things that the rest of the world expects already.

Because the infrastructure is there, they continue to have the ability to do a lot of this work significantly cheaper than other places, however the costs have been rising. If shipping costs go up significantly, or if tariffs are enacted, those types of goods will rise in price significantly as there really isn't any way to switch a lot of that manufacturing away at this particular point in time.

The above is also why, until HomePin came along, it really didn't make sense to send the few pinball manufacturing jobs overseas. You would still have to create all of the infrastructure to build a machine in a new factory, and then you would have to deal with shipping all of your product away from the country as China isn't a pinball hotbed (at all). By keeping manufacturing in the US, you are in one of your largest markets.

For HomePin, where the infrastructure doesn't exist in the country they are in, and where they are touching in other related markets, it makes total sense for him to use China.

Finally, I'll just toss out there that I bought a board from Homepin a few months ago, and it arrived quickly in great shape with some nice extras thrown in. I wish them nothing but the best!

#107 2 years ago

Granted Australia's average wage is higher than China so that is one big benefit to make them in China but in years they might align more so, but Australia does have hardwood plywoods at reasonable prices and can be custom veneered for close to half that estimate.

A shame they aren't made in Aus, but you have a wealth of experience in China.

As for the rest of the infrastructure Australia's major cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle are capable to do press tooling, injection molding etc with 2 options do it in-house by hiring machinists to design and build in-house or use external companies, but as soon as you hire an external company to design / make a press tool the price jumps fast ($20k for a small 100-150mm part to $50k for a large 400-600mm 3mm thick part) but they know what they are doing and can often achieve results in 1 run maybe with a few minor component changes. In a previous job I got external companies to quote on all our press tooling but then used that to justify keeping most of the work in-house as the machinists work wonders at close to 2/3 the cost. My advice with your press tooling is make sure you store it and own it when not used and when shearing and stamping thousands of parts keep a few spares of the main cutting blades for quick swap out as depending on the machine steels used for stamping and the material you are reforming the critical blades could last 500 stamps to 20000 stamps.

#108 2 years ago

More importantly, do they have good Chinese takeout food there?

#109 2 years ago

China may be an emerging nation with a growing middle class, but they still have a long way to go before they reach the standards of many Western countries particularly in terms of employee conditions and guarantees, workplace safety standards and quality control for many of their mass produced export products.

It needs to be remembered that many of the current generation of entry level factory line workers in China are only one generation removed from an agrarian focussed economy, many of whom still have parents that eke out an existence on the family farm that has been held in the family for the last few hundred years.

When there is no reasonable long term prospect of flourishing there, of course many of that generation will move to the big cities in search of a more stable income on the factory lines. The problem being that without ever being exposed to this type of technology before, coupled with a lack of proper training and in house quality control you cannot expect to obtain an end product with a quality and durability that is befitting to its purpose and price point.

China's middle class will continue to grow and with that will come the expectations of further improved employment conditions and living standards. I predict at some point in the future, the concept of a foreign investor setting up a manufacturing base in the country will no longer be profitable/beneficial enough to make it a viable long term prospect given the amounts of capital injection required and evolving workplace standards.

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#110 2 years ago

pinsanity makes some correct observations with one major "misunderstanding" that many have in the west.

I am constantly barraged by people saying things like "made in China is shit" and they are usually very adamant about it.

What needs to be understood is that "China" usually doesn't make anything that is not ordered by western buyers. These western buyers generally want the lowest price and they forsake most things in order to achieve that - including finish and quality.

It is (in many, many, instances) not any fault of China or the Chinese suppliers if the product you buy is indeed "shit" - you need to refocus your anger at the buyers and ultimately the companies that asked the Chinese factories to produce the goods for them at the quality and price point the buyers demanded.

The larger chains are the most responsible for this. I have been involved many times over the years liaising between buyers and factories and it quickly became obvious to me that practically every western buyer wanted to buy a "widget" for $1 and sell it for $20 and I am NOT exaggerating here.

Look at the large number of very high quality goods produced in China - laptops, mobile phones and a very large proportion of all appliances and electronics used all over the word. These are goods that certainly could not be classed as anything other than world best and sold at "reasonable" prices.

Those that blanket call all goods Made in China "shit" need to have a logical look at why they think that and place the blame for SOME made in China goods being poor quality fairly on the shoulders of the buyers in your own countries being greedy a lot of the time.

#111 2 years ago

We get some the items we sell from China and they are pretty good really. They will make you shit if you ask for it and will make it to a better quality if you ask for it. They are good at reproducing what you want them to make, just depends on the quality you are after and how much you will pay for it.

Made in China most certainly does not always mean crap product.

#112 2 years ago

R&D ... replicate and distribute.

a good Chinese factory with a good QA manager is gold. Keep it up mike.

#113 2 years ago

This is interesting. I assume though that Chinese workers are still very cheap compared to American labor because somehow it's still profitable for companies to have them make their item and ship it to the U.S.

#114 2 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

This is interesting. I assume though that Chinese workers are still very cheap compared to American labor because somehow it's still profitable for companies to have them make their item and ship it to the U.S.

Probably not. If you're talking about a US factory employing immigrants without papers, paying well under minimum wage, as a large % of the assembly labour, as has been repeatedly alleged for pinball past & present ........ Versus a foreign (particularly Western) owned and operated factory in China where the authorities and workers will both demand decent pay and reasonable lodgings. As Mike suggested, infrastructure, materials and machinery are another matter entirely, however.

#115 2 years ago

It is as disingenuous to claim that all Chinese manufactured products are "shit" (which I didn't) as it is to lay all the blame for the lack of quality control in the end product on the Western buyer and their desire to only wanting to pay the lowest possible wholesale price.

By that rationale you could then put forward the proposition that due to being strongarmed by a Western buyer the Chinese manufacturer would therefore want to maximise their own profits by cutting corners or using substandard materials in the manufacturing process itself. For example, carbon steel balls that obviously contain impure raw materials and quickly magnetise when put into use in a pinball machine.

I agree that both views are a far too simplistic analysis of Chinese manufacturing (and the overall culture) as a whole and in such a case blame for any manufacturing defects must be apportioned both fairly and even handedly at both the manufacturing and managerial (quality control) level.

Clearly there are a multitude of reasons why manufacturing standards in China can and often do fall well below quality standards and are in many cases deemed not fit for purpose or fall below basic safety standards upon arrival in export destination countries. The reasons for some of these I alluded to in my previous post and cover not only practical firsthand on site problems (as well as subcontracting out manufacturing work to offsite third parties) but social and generational transitional issues as well.

#116 2 years ago

Loving the thread Mike!

Keep the info coming, so awesome to see and read so much information that we would not normally get a chance to know about.

#117 2 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Probably not. If you're talking about a US factory employing immigrants without papers, paying well under minimum wage, as a large % of the assembly labour, as has been repeatedly alleged for pinball past & present ........ Versus a foreign (particularly Western) owned and operated factory in China where the authorities and workers will both demand decent pay and reasonable lodgings. As Mike suggested, infrastructure, materials and machinery are another matter entirely, however.

So you're saying it's not cheaper to make an item in China and ship it to the U.S.? Then why are U.S. companies making a majority of items in China?

-2
#118 2 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

So you're saying it's not cheaper to make an item in China and ship it to the U.S.? Then why are U.S. companies making a majority of items in China?

NAFTA.... you hardly pay customs or taxes to ship items from China to North America.

#119 2 years ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

NAFTA.... you hardly pay customs or taxes to ship items from China to North America.

I thought NAFTA had to do with free trade among the countries in North America, Mexico, U.S. and Canada. Nothing to do with China.

Besides tariffs or taxes there's still shipping costs but I guess that's miniscule when spread out over a thousand items.

#120 2 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

So you're saying it's not cheaper to make an item in China and ship it to the U.S.? Then why are U.S. companies making a majority of items in China?

No I'm not ... read latter part of post.

"As Mike suggested, infrastructure, materials and machinery are another matter entirely, however."

Meaning they should be much more affordable and accessible.

#121 2 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

I thought NAFTA had to do with free trade among the countries in North America, Mexico, U.S. and Canada. Nothing to do with China.
Besides tariffs or taxes there's still shipping costs but I guess that's miniscule when spread out over a thousand items.

The equivalence of NAFTA with China then LOL

#122 2 years ago

If you have ever bought an electronic part or trinket, phone case or small electronic accessory or cable the chances are VERY high that your purchase was either sent from, or originated at HuaQiangBei Shenzhen China (pronounced "Hwa Chang Bay") - without doubt the largest electronics market in the world.

Sid & I were there a couple of days back sourcing some electronic parts and managed to grab some footage of a delivery truck being loaded. There is every chance your purchase was treated exactly the same way!! Beware buying fragile items online! The first video is the one I took and the second is Sid's.

We are there at least once a week looking for various bits and pieces. The markets are in central Shenzhen about a 30 minute drive from the Homepin factory.

#123 2 years ago

He shoots.. he scores...!

#124 2 years ago
Quoted from Homepin:

If you have ever bought an electronic part or trinket, phone case or small electronic accessory or cable the chances are VERY high that your purchase was either sent from, or originated at HuaQiangBei Shenzhen China (pronounced "Hwa Chang Bay") - without doubt the largest electronics market in the world.
Sid & I were there a couple of days back sourcing some electronic parts and managed to grab some footage of a delivery truck being loaded. There is every chance your purchase was treated exactly the same way!! Beware buying fragile items online! The first video is the one I took and the second is Sid's.
We are there at least once a week looking for various bits and pieces. The markets are in central Shenzhen about a 30 minute drive from the Homepin factory.
» YouTube video
» YouTube video

I swear FedEx workers did that to my kitchen cabinets when I redid the Kitchen a few years back. You would think these workers or bosses would know this is the most inefficient way to load a truck.

#125 2 years ago
Quoted from Homepin:

Sid & I were there a couple of days back sourcing some electronic parts and managed to grab some footage of a delivery truck being loaded. There is every chance your purchase was treated exactly the same way!! Beware buying fragile items online!

I've seen american dock workers treat boxes way worse. There's a reason why there's extra tape on the outside of your box, it probably ripped open at one point.

#126 2 years ago
Quoted from Homepin:

If you have ever bought an electronic part or trinket, phone case or small electronic accessory or cable the chances are VERY high that your purchase was either sent from, or originated at HuaQiangBei Shenzhen China (pronounced "Hwa Chang Bay") - without doubt the largest electronics market in the world.
Sid & I were there a couple of days back sourcing some electronic parts and managed to grab some footage of a delivery truck being loaded. There is every chance your purchase was treated exactly the same way!! Beware buying fragile items online! The first video is the one I took and the second is Sid's.
We are there at least once a week looking for various bits and pieces. The markets are in central Shenzhen about a 30 minute drive from the Homepin factory.
» YouTube video
» YouTube video

The complete lack of care displayed in that video is shocking...

#127 2 years ago

I'm sure it was something nice though........

#128 2 years ago

I like old mate at the end, turfing them in there from way back

#129 2 years ago

They are treated like a guest. LOL

12
#130 2 years ago

A report that was done last week here:

#131 2 years ago

We have been gearing up the last couple of days for a run of 250 flipper assemblies (125 each L & R).

First had to finish making 300 flipper links.

flip5 (resized).jpg

flip6 (resized).jpg

fl2 (resized).jpg

flip2 (resized).jpg

flip3 (resized).jpg

flip4 (resized).jpg

flip1 (resized).jpg

#132 2 years ago

Wow, great video. Those cabinets look sweet!

#133 2 years ago
Quoted from solarvalue:

Wow, great video. Those cabinets look sweet!

Actually I was quite skeptical when he was actually in the factory but when Andrew sent me the video (before publication for approval) I was actually pleasantly surprised. It's short and to the point but does show a little bit of the factory for people to see, most especially like the toilet - LOL

#134 2 years ago

A very important addition, I've never had a lot of success with those squat ones

#135 2 years ago
Quoted from blue95:

A very important addition, I've never had a lot of success with those squat ones

Nothing more important than good planning I say. That Western toilet is a stroke of genius and an absolute must have in the factory. Well done.

It was a good little video and great to be able to see a little of the factory. My only nitpick is he referred to them as pinball tables, but I won't harp on about that old debate.

#136 2 years ago

We are getting closer and closer. I cannot wait to see it.

#137 2 years ago

Will it be possible to order your more generic parts for doing custom games? I imagine your stuff will be both cheaper and higher quality than what's available now.

#138 2 years ago
Quoted from PinSinner:

My only nitpick is he referred to them as pinball tables, but I won't harp on about that old debate.

Mainly because Andrew is a video gamer and they generally call them "tables" when they are in electronic form. I agree with you however. It really irks me as well.

#139 2 years ago
Quoted from jwilson:

Will it be possible to order your more generic parts for doing custom games? I imagine your stuff will be both cheaper and higher quality than what's available now.

We are building enough parts and making an initial run of 100 machines. This should flush out any minor issues, adjustments and niggles that we will undoubtedly have - after that we will be making much larger runs of parts and then be in a position to sell them separately.

At the moment however, we are only building enough bits for in-house use.

#140 2 years ago

Mike, those flipper links (the whites ones in the first pic) look like soft plastic, can they stand up to 1000s of cycles? I don't remember but weren't the old flipper links made from some kind of composite?

#141 2 years ago

Hi Mike-and fellow followers of this informative,educational and generally interesting thread here on Pinside,

It appears that Homepin is turning into just a great "New" pinball company-with what appears to have solid morals,values,business sense and their own resources from other ventures to support the "start up" and growing pains of a venture in the 21st Century.

Here is the link I found to Homepin when doing a Google search for "Thunderbirds are Go".............need to find some episodes and watch some of this program,this winter

Mike,Looks like it is almost time to update your website with the latest video you shared with us yesterday !!!

http://www.homepin.com/abouttag.html

Following with much interest,Kirk in Colorado

#142 2 years ago
Quoted from kvan99:

Mike, those flipper links (the whites ones in the first pic) look like soft plastic, can they stand up to 1000s of cycles? I don't remember but weren't the old flipper links made from some kind of composite?

After a great deal of research and physical cycle testing on several different compositions we settled on POM (Polyoxymethylene). We have chosen a Taiwanese brand for it's consistent quality between batches and the paper trail that the supplier can provide us. It's a little more expensive than the Chinese brands but only slightly. This testing multiplied by thousands of separate parts is one of the reasons things have taken a while to get to this point. It's a tough job.

I'll let the Wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyoxymethylene) explain it better than I could but here is a short excerpt:

"Polyoxymethylene (POM), also known as acetal,[1] polyacetal and polyformaldehyde, is an engineering thermoplastic used in precision parts requiring high stiffness, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability. As with many other synthetic polymers, it is produced by different chemical firms with slightly different formulas and sold variously by such names as Delrin, Celcon, Ramtal, Duracon, Kepital and Hostaform.

POM is characterized by its high strength, hardness and rigidity to −40 °C. POM is intrinsically opaque white, due to its high crystalline composition, but it is available in all colors. POM has a density of 1.410–1.420 g/cm3.[2]

Typical applications for injection-molded POM include high-performance engineering components such as small gear wheels, eyeglass frames, ball bearings, ski bindings, fasteners, guns, knife handles, and lock systems. The material is widely used in the automotive and consumer electronics industry."

pom (resized).jpg

#143 2 years ago
Quoted from v8torino:

Hi Mike-and fellow followers of this informative,educational and generally interesting thread here on Pinside,
It appears that Homepin is turning into just a great "New" pinball company-with what appears to have solid morals,values,business sense and their own resources from other ventures to support the "start up" and growing pains of a venture in the 21st Century.
Here is the link I found to Homepin when doing a Google search for "Thunderbirds are Go".............need to find some episodes and watch some of this program,this winter
Mike,Looks like it is almost time to update your website with the latest video you shared with us yesterday !!!
http://www.homepin.com/abouttag.html
Following with much interest,Kirk in Colorado

Thanks for the kind words. There is someone working on a fully revamped website at the moment. I just have to find the time to actually sift through thousands of pictures and send them.......

#144 2 years ago

wow,

18
#145 2 years ago

It's amazing how much shit Mike had to deal with on pinside early on, along with stated personal issues, and had the fortitude to put all that behind him, come back here, and now show with complete transparency what it takes to make a top quality pinball machine. Which is what I'm sure it will be.

Hats off to Homepin!

#146 2 years ago

Things seem to be progressing nicely.

All this work without preorder money?!

18
#147 2 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

Things seem to be progressing nicely.
All this work without preorder money?!

I am holding a very small number of preorders. Some paid in full but most are $1000 deposits only. The enticement for preordering was a Thunderbirds animated topper will be included with every preordered machine and this topper will not be available for separate purchase.

I won't go into detail about the exact number of preorders other than to say it is extremely small and one of the main reasons for this is that at the exact time I announced preorders the WOZ debacle was in full meltdown in Australia and I have many calls and messages stating that basically they wanted a machine but were too gun shy.

In hindsight I'm happy that I don't hold large preorders and we can get things done at a pace that will set us up for the long term.

Yes, it has cost a HUGE amount of money, time and a lot of anguish and yes, I have had to overcome some unbelievable personal and business hurdles but I hope this will all be rewarded very shortly when we start shipping.

#148 2 years ago
Quoted from Homepin:

I am holding a very small number of preorders. Some paid in full but most are $1000 deposits only. The enticement for preordering was a Thunderbirds animated topper will be included with every preordered machine and this topper will not be available for separate purchase.
I won't go into detail about the exact number of preorders other than to say it is extremely small and one of the main reasons for this is that at the exact time I announced preorders the WOZ debacle was in full meltdown in Australia and I have many calls and messages stating that basically they wanted a machine but were too gun shy.
In hindsight I'm happy that I don't hold large preorders and we can get things done at a pace that will set us up for the long term.
Yes, it has cost a HUGE amount of money, time and a lot of anguish and yes, I have had to overcome some unbelievable personal and business hurdles but I hope this will all be rewarded very shortly when we start shipping.

Wishing you the best of luck! Great thread by the way.

#149 2 years ago

Yeah, but that small number of fully paid preorders get their games first

#150 2 years ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

Yeah, but that small number of fully paid preorders get their games first

That's true - a second bonus I guess....

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