(Topic ID: 172723)

Homepin OFFICIAL Thread - Pinball Parts & Machine Progress


By Homepin

3 years ago



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Topic index (key posts)

33 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 10 items.

Display key post list sorted by: Post date | Keypost summary | User name

Post #29 Images of flipper coils being assembled in the Homepin factory. Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #31 Images of prototype Thunderbirds mechs. Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #46 MPU Testing: Image and Video Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #47 Pinball Cab CNC Tests: Images and Video Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #61 Fliipper Coil pictorial Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #122 Delivery trucks being loaded in China Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #130 Factory tour video Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #131 Flipper links & other assembly parts Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #142 The plastic used for flipper links Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)

Post #153 Flipper buttons Posted by Homepin (3 years ago)


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45
#1 3 years ago

Hello Pinball Enthusiasts,

I thought it was time to start a thread where I can show our progress in the Homepin factory with all things Pinball and Arcade related. In fact this is the first thread I have started on Pinside.

For those who don't know who Homepin is I will explain briefly here (skip the next couple of paragraphs if you are already aware of Homepin).

Homepin was started about six years ago in a small electronic workshop under my house in Kuranda Far North Queensland Australia. Initially we manufactured replacement boards for numerous pinball machines. The idea to start a factory in China grew from my lifelong desire to run an electronics factory manufacturing "something". As I had been involved in the amusement industry from when I was 21yo I figured that pinball or something arcade related would be a good place to start.

For about 15 years I had been trading with China and had started a small office there in Guangzhou mainly sourcing things for various customers and also having items manufactured, checking quality and organising shipping for other customers. I was already in China several times a year often for a few months at a time.

Fast forward a bit and now I have a factory in Shenzhen (just across the border from Hong Kong) with many different machines from plastic injection to folders, lathes CNC milling machines and pretty much what you would expect in a factory including facilities for printed circuit board assembly. Homepin is a 100% Australian owned and run business. We do not have any Chinese partner and there is always an Australian engineer present in the factory supervising operations.

I want to make it totally clear here about what we do and about this thread. Homepin is an amusement company. In fact our registered Chinese business name is "Shenzhen City, Arcade Game Science & Technology Company Limited". We are not exclusively about pinball machines, we make anything relating to arcade machines in general and that happens to include pinball.

For various reasons we have found ourselves manufacturing licenced Video game tables under a very famous Australian brand name, "Hankin". Back in the day, Hankin was a very big player in the amusement industry in Australia and did quite a lot of manufacturing. They made the tables that we now build under licence and also made five models of pinball machines.

A.Hankin & Co are still in the amusement business to this day operating juke boxes and pool tables in hotels mostly around New South Wales. Homepin has a very close working relationship with the Hankin company.

Initially, after establishing the Homepin factory in Shenzhen, I didn't think much about continuing the manufacture of replacement PCBs but when we had some quiet times it occurred to me that it would make sense to make boards to keep the staff busy. To that end, the latest boards we are building are replacements for WMS MPU boards. The pictures below show our work on them and the jig that arrived this morning to enable us to test them before packing and shipping. It will take some time for us to wire the jig so it might be a week or so before we are ready to ship these boards out.

Official Homepin agents for all of our replacement board products are "Johns-Arcade" in Australia and "Pinball Life" in the USA.

A quick word about "other Pinside threads" relating to Homepin and Thunderbirds pinball. It was never my intention to have much of a presence in the USA or Canada initially. I wanted to get the factory running smoothly, have our first machine shipping and then work on further products that would be more suitable for those markets. Most know that things turned sour pretty quickly and "most" of that was connected with a few stirrers on here at that time. It seems the moderators are doing a much better job more recently of curtailing keyboard warriors (just my observation).

I intend to show various things as we are doing them in the factory because I know there are many who are interested. Sometimes these things might be arcade related rather than pinball but that's the business we are in. I welcome CONSTRUCTIVE or POSITIVE feedback. If you want to niggle or be negative please don't bother posting in this thread. Where possible I will endeavour to answer questions when they don't clash with commercially sensitive matters.

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#3 3 years ago
Quoted from Grizlyrig:

I'm interested to see how you do competing in the ever growing pinball market.
Best wishes,Mike.

Thanks.

One of our advantages is that we are not ONLY in the pinball business. Our arcade business and replacement pinball board business are big enough to survive on their own merits.

That gives us an advantage as far as "buying time" is concerned to build the pinball business.

#9 3 years ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Mike -
Are you still doing those -35 Bally kits anymore?

We still have lots of parts for these kits but stopped doing them as there are many other options to replace a -35. I wouldn't dismiss doing another run of them sometime in the future if there was demand.

Homepin tries to make the boards that others don't. When we do make one that is also made by others we try to ensure it has some improvement or extra that others don't.

Like the MPU's shown in the first post. They come with a RAMTRON RAM installed and a PLCC removal tool included. Our boards also are designed to be as close in appearance to the originals but with thicker PCB tracks and IC sockets where they need to be such as IC20 on this board.

#28 3 years ago

These seems to be a lot of interest in the Hankin pinballs (which is very good IMO). Here are a couple of pics from Pinfest 2015 with David Hankin signing an owners Shark at the show and another with David, his wife and myself at Pinfest.

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#29 3 years ago

I have had massive troubles connecting to the internet this past week and uploading pictures has been an exercise in frustration. Many say it was because of the tensions in Hong Kong and (usually) when political things flare up the Chinese Govt tightens up all things internet.

Anyway, things seem a little better this morning so here are some pictures of us making flipper coils.

First a worker rivets the wire tags to the moulded formers. Then they are taken upstairs to our electronics assembly area where they are wound on our new 6 bank winding machine. We are only using 2 banks of it as we really don't need the full capabilities of this machine.

The coil wrappers should be delivered in a day or so and we will have a batch of fresh coils ready for the labels when they arrive.

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#30 3 years ago

A batch of 300 flipper plungers being machined - we send them outside for plating. These will be black nickel plated.

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#31 3 years ago

One of the final mechanisms for Thunderbirds being tweaked before we order a large quantity of parts to build it.

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#33 3 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

Black nickel plated plungers? I'm guessing there's no additional cost for you to do that...there's not any mechanical benefit to doing that, is there?

We have to plate them with something and black nickel (in China) is one of the few finishes we can use that complies with RoHS.

It is actually a very nice finish and feels, to the touch, very slippery, almost like the part has been oiled??

This picture doesn't really do the finish justice - it looks a lot better in person.

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#34 3 years ago

The Homepin logo stamped in a metal part.

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#36 3 years ago

Finishing another batch of replacement motor driver boards.

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#38 3 years ago
Quoted from Mitch:

Any chance of doing system 11 mpu boards they are hard to find and the aftermarket have sound issues.

The problem we would have making these is that we have no way of testing them. If that changes in the future we would certainly look at it.

#39 3 years ago

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#42 3 years ago

Sid having a great old time wiring the test jig for these boards.

Actually I won't write his comments over the past few days about this job here

...and the boards keep stacking up waiting for Sid to have the jig ready!!!

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#44 3 years ago
Quoted from cooked71:

what controller/driver boards will you be using for the pins? Is it a completely new Homepin system?

Yes, it will be our own Homepin embedded controller system. This was all but finished when our Chinese programmer passed away in his dormitory and basically (without repeating all the drama and details again) we started again from scratch!

We are getting close again and it will be better than ever this time around!

#46 3 years ago

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#47 3 years ago

Cutting plywood pinball cabinets in the Homepin factory.

You can see a few drops of water has spilled onto the work from the water cooling system used to cool the CNC head that runs at 30K RPM.

We will replace all the water hoses shortly, just waiting on the new ones from the CNC machine factory to be delivered.

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#49 3 years ago
Quoted from swinks:

what is the timber in the ply?

These test sheets are 18mm eucalyptus, 13 ply, AA grade and A0 (to meet RoHS requirements).

It does splinter a little but a light hand sand brings the parts up a treat.

We will also be experimenting with poplar but it hasn't been delivered yet (in A0 rating).

So far we are happy with the results using the eucalyptus.

#52 3 years ago
Quoted from cooked71:

Nice Aussie touch.

Yes, it's very interesting because Eucalyptus is grown here in China and you can also see it all over the place growing in the wild. The other "farm grown" product here is poplar.

#54 3 years ago

Intensive training this past couple of days for some of the Homepin staff. Sid has been teaching them the finer points of pinball cabinet assembly and stressing the importance of attaining the highest possible quality every step of the way.

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#56 3 years ago
Quoted from BrewinBombers:

This looks like a DMD backbox. Are you sticking with DMD for the first game (or more)?

We are using our own colour LED panel that is the same size (very close anyway) to a "standard DMD".

I dislike LCD in a pinball application.

That cabinet in the picture is not our final design - it's just one we use to play around with things so don't take it as the final design.

#59 3 years ago
Quoted from aeneas:

Can't you make (or buy) a testbench for them ?
How do you test your wpc mpu's ?
I think I read somewhere you have a Getaway - do you install each board in that machine and is that the only test ?

Posts #42 & #46 in this thread show pictures and a video of the test jig that we have built for these boards BUT it basically connects to our Getaway.

You cannot bring second hand ANYTHING into China - it is against the law. The Getaway is built into our own cabinet with parts brought in one by one.

#61 3 years ago

It seems like I keep on about coil making but while the boys have been busy in the wood shop finalising our pinball cabinets and CNC cutting the first samples - the girls upstairs in the electronic assembly areas have been busy winding and finishing our first full batch of 300 flipper coils.

A bit of a self explanatory pictorial process below, I'll make a few comments here about the pics. Depends on which order the pictures load to this site - the descriptions may be in reverse!!!!

Enameled copper wire = EXPENSIVE!!
I had to hunt a little to get 1N4007 diodes with longer than standard wire leads for coil use
Stripping the enamel from the heavy wires
Solder pot removes the enamel from the fine wires and the remainder from the heavy and tins the bare copper
Prepared coils ready to fit the diodes and solder it all up
Finally ready for the finishing touch - the label!
Proudly displaying the Homepin logo

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20
#62 3 years ago

It really is a welcome relief to FINALLY see some of the finished parts coming into the Homepin storeroom after YEARS of drawing,
having moulds and dies made, testing, modifying moulds and AT LAST - finished parts, ready to assemble into machines!!!

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#64 3 years ago

We visited a local speaker factory today and brought back some samples for testing. I'm confident they will be fine and we will be able to place an order for our first run with this factory shortly.

Several things impressed me not only about the quality but also the high end brands that they OEM manufacture for. I wasn't allowed to take pictures in the showroom but I snuck one when the boss wasn't looking.

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#70 3 years ago

The latest version power rectifier board was just delivered. I need to get it
assembled and tested but I think we have it all sorted out now and will be
ready for production after this final test.

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#72 3 years ago
Quoted from wiredoug:

im expecting bootlaces in those phoenix plugs please

Nah - they are pretty easy to grab and pull off due their chunky size. I like the 20A rating.

Also note the provided (separate) power for "user mods".

What isn't obvious is the PCB is also 2oz copper not 1oz as standard.

#74 3 years ago

Looks like all the parts fit which is always a good start!

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#77 3 years ago
Quoted from BrewinBombers:

This is awesome. Very curious how the software component will work with that.

There is no software relating to this power tap. It is simply a power take off point provided for user mods. How that is interfaced to the game is up to the end user.

#78 3 years ago
Quoted from wiredoug:

no you misunderstood ... i meant ferrules on the wires you put in them. http://en.tze.com.cn/PKD.htm

Sorry, now I'm with you LOL. Yes, all under control.

I never thought of them being called "bootlaces" but it kind of makes sense although a better (and more appropriate) name would be "Aglet" LOL

#80 3 years ago

I'm just about to head into the electronic markets, down the highway and my secretary sent me this picture - thanks a lot!!!

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#83 3 years ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

I assume this power take off point will be controlled by the machine's power on-off switch?

Yes. It's just an additional 12V 3A supply rail that is switched on and off with the machines supply.

#84 3 years ago

Here you go Doug - a closeup of your "bootlaces" especially for you LOL

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11
#88 3 years ago

Hi Kirk,

Thanks for the encouraging comments, I have passed them on to the crew and they are pleased.

You are 100% correct about the "goings on" here in China - in fact I might just start commenting on some of them as well so people can see it's not all beer and skittles here! It might enlighten some as to just what problems I have to contend with here on an almost daily basis.

Pricing - - - I don't want to give too much away at this stage but let's say that the Homepin pricing plan has only been adjusted slightly from our original targets. It seems that some others have different pricing ideas but ours remain solid with only a moderate price rise. If you look at our original "introductory" price of AU5432.10 in Australia (plus GST [tax] and delivery) we are not a very long way from this currently.

That was always a special introductory price for those who took a chance on Homepin and paid up front. The normal retail price is estimated to be ABOUT (and please don't take this as gospel at this stage) AU$6999.

This equates to ABOUT US$5250 in todays money. This will be for a machine that will have many more "bells & whistles" than some others on the market and will be built with Homepins already well regarded high quality.

Things are a long way from finalised yet however so please don't quote that price anywhere else without the clarifying statements.

#89 3 years ago

First small batch of pinball cabinets being assembled fresh from the CNC machine.

So far all of our diligent preparation is paying off as all the parts fit together perfectly.

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#91 3 years ago

My secretary thought it looked "funny" me working with 2 x PC's and 4 x screens while listening to my bluetooth headset....

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#100 3 years ago
Quoted from RyanStl:

Progress looks good and I love the make it happen yourself attitude, but why China? Is it purely labor costs are low, regulations are more relaxed, you really like the culture, or something else?

Thanks for your positive comments. It is impossible to buy a sheet of 18mm ply of such high quality in Australia for under AU$200 (about US$140) - the same goes for every other part. I won't say what It is costing me here but I can assure you it is substantially less than that!

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

There is no infrastructure in Australia for any metalwork, dies, moulds, plastic injection, metal stamping or anything else really.

To do what I am doing would be impossible in Australia. It just wouldn't happen.

It isn't the "cheap labour" - that is a furphy. Labour & conditions here in Shenzhen are very high and the rental I pay is MORE than I would pay in Australia for a comparable building. Also the working conditions are mandated by law here AND strongly policed, they are unbelievably in favour of the worker, despite what many ridiculous, so called, news reports would have you believe. They are crap, don't believe them.

As one example, I currently have one staff member away on maternity leave. Initially this was four months at full pay (inclusive of the average of overtime and weekend work for the previous 6 months). While she was away on this leave they changed the law and made it six months - retrospectively!!! No Government assistance for this, I pay the lot. I am paying her about US$1200 a month for six months. That wage is equivalent to around AU$5000 in Australia when you look at all the factors such as cost of living, price of food etc.

Regulations here, in some ways are FAR more stringent than Australia. We are constantly audited and inspected for fire regulations to ensure we are complying with fire extinguishers, fire resistant cabinets for flammable liquids and other regulations, using ONLY water based paints and other liquids. Labour audits to ensure there are no under age staff, inspections of their living quarters to make sure they are clean and everything works (water, power, gas etc) also electronic audits of the work hour and pay records via the fingerprint reader to ensure staff are not working excessive hours and to make sure they are paid for all overtime worked.

Compliance checks to ensure that all the factory insurance policies are up to date that cover staff for injury, hospital, time off work and many other things. We have to attend at least two meetings per month on fire safety, environmental issues workplace safety and these meetings are followed up to make sure that we have implemented the recommendations suggested at these meetings.

I personally spend a minimum of three days a month dealing with this official bullshit, driving to various Government departments to lodge various paperwork and all sorts of other crap. Mostly a waste of my time that could be used to actually do work!

HERE:

It is the availability of all the services and parts needed at exceptionally good prices and of every quality from "world best" (that we insist on) right down to "complete crap" that the chain stores usually specify to maximise their profits. This is the ONLY reason I am here doing it. Believe me I would much rather be doing it in Australia but it simply would never have happened.

Back to that sheet of ply - the machine to cut it (CNC) would cost around AU$25K in Australia and I paid about AU$5K for it here. The same for practically all the machinery we use.

Hope that covers things a little.

#103 3 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.

11
#110 3 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.

#122 3 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.

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#130 3 years ago

A report that was done last week here:

#131 3 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.

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#133 3 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

#138 3 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 3 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.

#142 3 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."

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#143 3 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.......

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#147 3 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.

#150 3 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....

13
#153 3 years ago

It's been a busy week with a lot of things starting to come together all at the same time.

Flipper button parts arrived and are being cleaned up and assembled with the springs made a few months ago and circlips and PAL nuts sourced locally. One issue is the factory that made the mould for us has adjusted it for a slightly better fit BUT that has brought with it a jamming situation. About 50% of the buttons are marked where they have been cleaned up to make them fit so we will return those and they can chip them (run them through the shredder) and re-mould. There are so many small things like this that we have to keep on top of and every little issue like this brings another delay.

However the first batch of flipper assemblies are coming together, now that all the parts are here for them and we have wound the first 300 flipper coils.

Also the first small run of six fully finished cabinets is coming together nicely with a few of the smaller details coming to light and being carefully documented so that future runs will be correctly and completely assembled.

I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and for once it ISN'T the train coming towards me!!!

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#155 3 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

That's some good looking ply and a decent finish. Cabinet wise, this would put you in a similar position quality wise to DP. Better than JJP and miles ahead of the rest of the pack.

Thanks, we have gone to great extremes to get this quality as it also must comply with "CARB" (for the USA) and "A0" (for Europe). I'm very pleased with just how nice it is actually but, like I say, it took a very long time and a lot of hunting to track it down.

Our cabinets are also made 100% with this ply - no chipboard, MDF or Masonite anywhere to be seen!

#160 3 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

It is interesting (and rare) to see this kind of information posted by a pinball manufacturer. It's a just a small example of the many little things that can go wrong and delay production.

Thanks for your understanding. I can't recount the number of "small things" that continuously go wrong and need correcting in some way or another. It's an ongoing thing really. I like to point out some of them, even if they seem trivial or ridiculous as every single hick-up causes delays and extra costs (usually).

I guess most would never even realise the finer points of making a part that, on first glance, seems insignificant.

#162 3 years ago

Some have asked me why we have a small coin door on our prototypes. Well, we have been experimenting with various different setups and here are a couple of pictures of what we are currently favoring. A single coin slot on a small door and a note acceptor alongside (we will be including an electronic, programmable coin mech with EVERY pinball machine).

The note acceptor is obviously expensive and for HUO would not be required so we are looking at different ways of dealing with the option.

This setup is not final yet but it looks OK and leaves easy options down the track for different owners.

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#188 3 years ago

Thanks for all of the excellent comments and replies. We are likely to print something to the blanking panel - we will have to see exactly what - it must fit with the other parts of course. I take on board about two coin slots for the USA.

I can't find a pic of the coin mechs we intend to use right now but will post it when I find the pics. Our mechs are "learning" and you put it into learn mode and feed sample coins through. It can remember up to three different coins or tokens. We purchase these and strip and modify them for our purpose.

Here is a sample mounting plate for our linear power supply. It's likely to be powder coated. Certainly a long way from final but we are playing with different things to get it just right.

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#190 3 years ago
Quoted from PinBallMagician:

Is there going to be an option for audio out for headphones? Some current solutions use the slot for the bill acceptor to give you headphone jack plus audio control. Are you going to implement anything like that?

All I will say is that (at this stage) an audio output SOCKET will not be required

#194 3 years ago

I usually park my truck (a Nissan dual cab UTE as we would call it in Australia) in a parking lot at the front of my apartment. One morning I found that, overnight, some arsehole had crashed into the rear door and made a mess of it (picture below).

Naturally I couldn't find a note left by the arsehole as hard as I looked (severe sarcasm intended!)

Checking around I discovered that there was a security camera focused directly on the area where I was parked so I made enquiries and eventually found the camera was owned by the local police as they had previously had a few "issues" in the area recently and decided to install a camera. (I was later told they were trying to stamp out a growing problem with prostitutes in the area). Investigations revealed that yes, a policeman said he had reviewed the footage and yes, he knew the licence plate of the car that had caused the damage.

GREAT - I thought. Problem was the next step was for me to personally present at the police station and wait my turn to check the video - present all paperwork to prove it was my car and my drivers licence along with a letter from my landlord saying I was entitled to park where my car was when it was damaged.

Long story short, it just wasn't worth me wasting a day of my time along with that of one of my staff so I just had my regular mechanical workshop (who also do panel work) repair the door.

Total including paint was 520rmb (about AU$100). I estimate the same repair in Australia would cost about AU$500~800

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#196 3 years ago

Hmmmm - tasty fresh rubber for Christmas.......:

NOTE: these are pre-run samples - our standard production round rubber rings will be white (with black posts, shooter tips and flipper rubbers).

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#198 3 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Are these rubber or synthetic?
It would be nice if you were able to do something similar to Titan Competition Silicone, both in terms of durability and feel (not a fan at all of SuperBands), if synthetic is an option.

I will cutNpaste here from AA regarding my answer to this question over there about silicon:

Q: "Have you considered silicon rings instead of rubber?"

A: Yes and we have played with silicon. If you nick silicon, even the slightest of nicks, the ring will split in seconds - it isn't long enough lasting for a "manufacturer" to use I'm afraid.

For after market use - no problem because it won't reflect on the manufacturer of the machine if/when they split.

Not worth the risk for us with so many other "unknown factors" already to contend with - at this early stage we sure don't need any more than we already have believe me!!!

#199 3 years ago

White rubber samples turned up yesterday.

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#202 3 years ago
Quoted from Mitch:

I'd do the shooter tips and posts in white and flipper rubbers in red. Black makes the playfield so dirty so quickly.

We do want to experiment with colours but it won't be until our initial production is underway. There are just too many other things to deal with and get right first.

At this stage, as I said earlier, rings will be white, flipper rubbers, posts and shooter tips black.

15
#204 3 years ago

Please note that I am showing very early pictures of our progress in this thread. Parts shown ARE NOT finished and WILL vary in shape, size, dimensions, colour and probably every other aspect imaginable.

We are using these cute little flange bearings in our launch mechanism. The brass block will be plated when we finish making them - still tweaking a few dimensions.

It is a HUGE job preparing all of the drawings not only for our own in-house use but the service manual as well. This drawing is preliminary as there are several changes to the mechanism and then the drawing - seems to be like a dog chasing its tail sometimes!

Launch mechanism being tested in one of our VERY ratty test playfields - this piece of board has so many chunks chopped from it I think it's time to retire it!!!

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1 week later
#216 3 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Is that with or without tax? If it's with, they're about 15% cheaper than UK prices. Probably 8-10% cheaper than EU.

It would be including GST (tax) as retailers in Australia are not permitted to advertise goods for sale (to the public) that is not the FULL and TOTAL "pay & walk out" price.

#217 3 years ago
Quoted from desertT1:

Out of curiosity, what is the shot volume and clamping force of the injection molding machine used for the drop targets?

They are made "in-house" in our own vertical injection machine. I am not a mechanical engineer and don't profess to know the minute details that you have asked for.

The parts are made from a quality plastic and they pass the break test which is what interests me the most.

#220 3 years ago

We just finished a new test jig for another addition to the Homepin replacement board range the A-16807. It makes it a breeze to test these boards with the right test jig.

(sorry about the crappy video - I made it while I was on my own in the factory on Sunday - as all you bosses out there will know, it's usually only the boss who gets to work seven days!!!)

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#222 3 years ago

Assembling and packing flipper mechs into L & R pairs.

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#223 3 years ago

Finishing the first batch of Drop Target coils - cleaning the enamel from the wires ready for terminating.

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#224 3 years ago

Continuing on with the assembly of thousands of clear flipper buttons.

First all parts must be checked for any swarf and then for fit as a finished assembly.

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#225 3 years ago

Forgot to put this picture up yesterday of the boxes of assembled flipper mechs.

Our new waterfall painting room was delivered this morning - we need to add air filtering on the extraction side, build a 1.2M extension in front and add air in filtering as well as suitable air outlet ducting. We will also build a lightweight gantry system so that cabinets can easily be slid into and out of the painting room by one person.

Having this part built for us saves a lot of time and effort as the hard parts are mainly done.

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#226 3 years ago

Nickle plated plunger knobs freshly back from the platers.

....and, testing our new rubbers to make sure they perform as we expect.

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#228 3 years ago
Quoted from pinballwil:

Why packing everything in plastic, are the parts for resale?

It's amazing how much dust gets on things when they sit on a shelf even for a couple of weeks. We want to make sure everything is perfect when we start assembling machines very soon.

#231 3 years ago

I visited the small family business that does most of our metal stamping yesterday to see how things are coming along.

They are currently making a set of metal stamping dies for a playfield micro switch bracket and also a very complex set of dies for making the lockdown bar receiver mechanisms.

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#232 3 years ago

I visited the factory that assembles our surface mount parts on circuit boards yesterday. This is quite a specialised job and I don't want to gear up for it.

They were making COB's while I was there (Chip On Board). This process involves gluing the I.C. chip to the printed circuit board and then welding very fine gold wires to the PCB and the chip.

The chips are so tiny it is amazing. The videos show the wire welding machine in action and a guy testing the finished boards before the chips and wires are covered with a "glob" of black epoxy.

These boards are for electric toothbrushes.

In one room, at the end of the PCB assembly process a worker was using an automated testing machine that checked the boards for accuracy of placed parts and for any other things wrong.

The last video shows the assembly of some novelty clock radios.

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#237 3 years ago
Quoted from j_m_:

while I won't say that I'm a fan of the theme (thunderbirds were never a huge hit here in the states)

Thanks for your comments. Note that Thunderbirds is Homepins FIRST pinball machine NOT the only one we will be making. Thunderbirds is targeted at countries OTHER than the USA although I can say I have had serious interest from the US about it.

Perhaps one of our machines that we produce in the future will be more to your liking?

Once we have made all of the parts and got everything up and running we will be able to work on different future machines.

#253 3 years ago

The final parts to arrive before we close for Chinese New Year on Monday.

Most places we deal with are already closed so there won't be any updating of this thread for a couple of weeks.

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#256 3 years ago

Despite my comments in the last post we did actually manage to get a few more things done before officially closing for the New Year break. The factory is now closed for two weeks with almost all staff going back to their home towns.

We fitted the bearings to the auto plunger pivot blocks (using some bearing lock), finished off some more plunger shafts, folded some more brackets (various) and assembled additional flipper plunger assemblies.

The last staff here put up the traditional Chinese "good luck" signs around our doors. I'm told it says something like "Best wishes for a very prosperous businesses year" - but it could say anything and I wouldn't know LOL

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2 weeks later
#257 3 years ago

The Homepin factory is officially back to work today. Many others around us are back as well but certainly not all. A few of our key suppliers that we called today didn't answer so it looks like they won't be back until next week. This is a difficult time of year because it writes off a couple of months with the lead up to and then the tailing away of Chinese New Year.

Homepin still has three staff away and they are not due back until next week.

At least we were able to set off some fireworks (fireworks are banned in Australia - they can only be set off by licenced people under strictly controlled conditions).

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#260 3 years ago

It's a pinball rubbery kind of day here as the rubber factory just dropped off thousands of our fresh rubbers.

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2 weeks later
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#264 3 years ago

Yes, we have been super busy this past couple of weeks. The things I post here and on Facebook are only a very small percentage of what we are doing on a daily basis.

Below is a short video showing a simple machine we cobbled together to colour mark white wire as you cannot buy 'wire with a trace colour' in China so we have to make our own. Yes, I know there are other ways and yes, I know it's slow, but we just put a roll of white wire on and leave the machine to choof away at its own pace.

We are also doing the assembly of all the parts that make up our plunger assemblies. The knobs came back from the platers finally (after Chinese New Year).

A new batch of replacement pinball boards are being tested ready for packing.

A heap of wiring harness assemblies being made for our Hankin tables (another container shipped out on Tuesday for Melbourne).

I hope you can make sense of which picture is which below.

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#270 3 years ago
Quoted from PinPatch:

Appreciate the insight to manufacturing from scratch.
Just a comment, not trying to be offensive -
In regards to the container packing as someone who has unloaded containers, I would appreciate having pallets underneath to make it a lot easier to pull the boxes out.
If you are worried about quarantine with timber pallets, I'm sure you could get plastic ones.

No offence taken - plastic pallets cost 80RMB each (about $12 USD) x 20 = an extra $240 - my customers won't pay for that.

I'm happy to include them when the customer wants to pay for it.

#271 3 years ago
Quoted from ledge:

no issue, if they are heat treated.

heat treated wooden ones are not acceptable for Australia, you need chemically treated pallets WITH a certificate of compliance and a stamp on each pallet. This costs far more than 80RMB.

#273 3 years ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Tell me about it. We had a whole container rejected once going into Austraila.... what a pain in the ass.

Yes, I had a container held by AQIS once many years ago and had to pay for extra trucking and fumigation (as well as an extra 4 days on the wharf) - all up it cost me nearly an extra $3000. You can be certain I learned a valuable lesson from that.

Our pinball packing boxes have a mini pallet built in and are made from 100% cardboard.

2 weeks later
15
#276 3 years ago

I know it seems pretty stupid to be making what many will consider an 'off the shelf' item but here in China you simply cannot buy the exact screws that I want to see holding all the parts to the underside of our playfields. We have been using standard philips head screws for all of our testing but today the custom made "Homepin" screws were delivered from the screw factory.

There are two lengths of hex/philips screws and one smaller philips only type.

The video shows the small factory that is very close to us making numerous screws and, on the day I visited last, they were actually making our smaller ones.

They start with a piece of wire that the head shape is stamped into then the blanks go into another machine that stamps the thread. After the screw shape is made they are sent off to the foundry for hardening and then the platers for gold plating.

The pictures show various stages of manufacture then the finished products being delivered to us today.

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16
#278 3 years ago

I ordered two new springs today from the spring factory.

They have just taken delivery of a couple of brand new CNC controlled machines and were putting them through their paces.

I never tire watching these amazing machines.

#285 3 years ago
Quoted from jlm33:

Naive question (you may been answered before): are you planning to sell some parts to other game manufacturers? Hobbyist working on homebrew games? Directly or via retailers?

Once our production is running smoothly we will be in a position to offer parts and assemblies to others. It could be a year away before we are able to do that.

#288 3 years ago

Some sample switch actuating wires were delivered for our final approval this morning from the spring factory. These are made using stainless steel spring wire and the samples fitted our bracket and worked the switch perfectly.

On the subject of the switch, we purchased these from a nearby switch factory and the pics below show the two most critical specifications we required. First is the operating force. This needs to be a lot lower than a standard micro switch so the ball won't hang on the wire if it's rolling slowly and the second is the operating life.

Naturally we checked and evaluated a lot of the other specifications to make sure that these were the best we can buy for the job but these two criteria were the most important for our application in pinball machines.

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#291 3 years ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Why don't they go back to conventional leaf switches and Gottlieb rollover wireforms? With a leaf switch you can adjust the tension of the switch.

We looked at that but it's a lot more work to assemble them.

#294 3 years ago
Quoted from DDDwingmaster:

I really like all the detaills you show about the pinball parts. Keep them comming!
Why are metal detector sensor not used more for ball detection? They are cheap and does not any need holes in the playfield. Why are mechanical switches still a thing in modern pinballs that create hanging balls, have wear or bent wires?

Metal sensors, well the cheaper ones anyway, can't detect through 1/2" of plywood reliably.

#295 3 years ago
Quoted from kvan99:

Mike, thanks for the peek behind the scenes, I love them. I was just wondering when can you start showing us snippets of the game?

There are so many different bodies that we are back and forwards to for licencing stuff it just isn't worth my time to figure out what I can show and what I can't. Keep in mind Stern shows their new machine a month before it goes on sale - I suspect for similar reasons.

Getting all of the legal stuff out of the way is a whole new minefield that many can't even begin to understand. It has also caused us to go back to the drawing board a few times further holding up proceedings.

Remember, making pinball is hard! LOL

#298 3 years ago
Quoted from BrewinBombers:

Mike: As it stands right now do you think you'll ship a finished pinball in 2017 or do you think it's more likely to be 2018? I'm not trying to pin you down to a shipping date or anything like that; I'm just kinda curious how close you think you are. Your progress and updates are fascinating.

We are pulling out all the stops to be shipping initial machines by the second half of this year. Once we have all the ducks lined up, production will flow from there without too many holdups that we can foresee mainly because we won't be relying on others for most of our parts.

The initial four containers will be going to Australia so I can't say for sure if any will make it to other countries this year or not.

#300 3 years ago
Quoted from BrewinBombers:

That's very cool! I don't really care where they're going; I was more curious about overall progress as making your own screws seems pretty far away from a complete machine since you can't import any parts. More pinball in the world is a good thing. Thanks for sharing with us here; I hope you make your second half goal.

We have numerous prototypes assembled with "ordinary" screws - that's when it became obvious to me that we would have to make our own that were more suitable for the job.

#302 3 years ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Mike -
What about the Chinese market - are they into pinball?

Not at all but we are working on a few things that should attract their attention towards pinball.

Gary Stern was at the recent arcade machine show in Guangzhou and had two machines on display at his agents booth, a Ghostbusters and LOTR. I am unsure how much interest they had as I wasn't at the show but I do know they wanted 50K RMB for them (about AU$10K).

#305 3 years ago
Quoted from blue95:

Do any arcades have those Chinese made bingo machines? I saw some in Cambodia a few years back.

No because they are too close to gambling machines. The arcades here are full of ticket redemption machines just like they are everywhere else.

12
#314 3 years ago
Quoted from daley:

Interesting. Heighway Pinball uses inductive sensors exclusively and has no switches sticking through the playfield. It seems to be working pretty well.

Like Forceflow said: Atarai used them as well but phased them out. Time will tell how well the Heighway ones work - reliability VS time and cost.

It's also about "making pinball" I have said right from the start that I am not trying to re-invent the wheel, just to make pinball. I'm taking what I believe to be the most straightforward route to having finished reliable machines. If we do introduce things that are different that will be done slowly and in a controlled situation so we can keep an eye on progress without causing too much disruption.

#316 3 years ago

Anyone trying to contact us at Homepin and having emails bounce please bear with us. Our service provider has been having major problems over the past few weeks and this has now culminated in their email service virtually shutting down yesterday.

Hopefully this will all be resolved in a day or so. In the meantime, urgent messages can be sent via Facebook or PM on this site although PM's do not always get to the correct person for an answer that you might be seeking.

https://twitter.com/WebcitySupport?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

15
#318 3 years ago

We get closer and closer every day. The PCBs for the top of our Pop Bumpers were delivered today. Now we can finish the assembly of the first batch of the PB's.

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#321 3 years ago

Emails seem to be back online this morning and the tweets from our service provider confirm this.

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#327 3 years ago

Continuing putting final assemblies together. These are the playfield switches.

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17
#328 3 years ago

Our sample topper cover arrived today. A few checks on the hole sizes and positions and we are right to go with them. On Thunderbirds, ONLY pre-order buyers will receive a topper included in their purchase as was our original agreement. Toppers will not be for sale for TAG.

Naturally we will use these covers for toppers on future machines.

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#330 3 years ago

Our new spray painting booth is almost finished.

We added a couple of very high velocity extraction fans to improve airflow and upped the flow rate on the water curtain a little by up sizing the water feed pipes.

Just need to add a filter curtain at the doorway and we should be good to go.

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#333 3 years ago

I've mentioned this before but things are hotting up (pun intended) here in Shenzhen more recently.

There has been a few small factory fires in the area recently and the local fire department is on the warpath. They called a meeting yesterday and each factory in the area had to send a representative to a meeting to discuss fire safety and what is expected by the fire department.

About three or four hours after yesterdays meeting, yes, you guessed it, there was another fire but this time in someones dormitory. It looks a lot like someone was smoking in bed to me?

Anyway you can imagine how worked up the fire department is now, they are sending inspectors around everywhere to make sure all are complying with every single letter of the law as it relates to fire safety.

We are pretty right as we do more than is expected anyway but it's still a pain having to deal with them.

Two pictures are from the news this morning and the other two are from the meeting that we attended yesterday.

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#334 3 years ago

We are moving forward with the assembly of many smaller items.

These are the playfield switch assemblies.

I've shown parts of them before but we are now making an initial run of 2000.

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#336 3 years ago

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#338 3 years ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

are you still assembling circuit boards in house Mike?

Yes indeed but I'm being a little secretive about most of those just for the moment.

We have been busy tweaking video and audio files for licencing approval as well as fine tuning the software. Also some staff have been drawing up parts diagrams (as shown) and others are preparing things like packing box dimensions etc. as well as working out exactly what spare parts will be shipped with the initial shipments of finished machines.

Some blank PCBs that we will start assembling when the current public holiday is over here in China, shown here:

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#344 3 years ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

are you working with ITV Studios on this?

Absolutely. Homepin Thunderbirds pinball is 100% licenced with the Thunderbirds owners, ITV London.

This was proven beyond doubt when the "SkitB/Predator" thing blew up and Pavlov Pinball (UK) phoned and received email confirmation from ITV that indeed, Homepin DOES have a licence to produce Thunderbirds pinball. Full Pavlov story here:

http://pavlovpinball.com/thunderbirds-pinball-may-2015-update/

The Homepin marketing manager is scheduled for a face to face meeting with ITV studios next month (June 2017) to finalise a few small details and also to sign the amendment to our licening contract for an extension due to several circumstances that have pushed back the release date of Thunderbirds.

ITV are happy with Homepin and our progress and have been excellent partners to work with on this project. I can only hope all our other current and future licence partners are as good.

#345 3 years ago

We are again experiencing email issues caused by our web host (Webcity).

I believe we are able to SEND emails but we are not receiving them.

Please bear with us if you are trying to contact anyone here at Homepin on our XX@homepin.com email addresses.

#347 3 years ago

Thanks for the link Doug:

**********************

Hosting service's access to .au registry suspended

24 Mar 2017 at 15:17, John Leyden

Australian web service firm Enetica has provoked consternation among customers frustrated about a prolonged outage now entering its second day.

Enetica's web hosting and domain/DNS service have been down with limited intermittent availability at best since Thursday.

The latest updates from Webcity, Enetica's parent firm, suggest techies have isolated the problem down to hardware failure. "We are currently implementing replacement equipment and in the process of deploying it," an update to Webcity's official support account on Twitter said on Friday. Support staff had earlier suggested a network outage was behind the problem in between apologising to customers and trying to dispel rumours of a security breach or DDoS attack.

"To our customers, Webcity is a functioning entity. The outage being experienced isn't a security breach & your data hasn't been compromised," support staff said.

Complaints from customers on social media and in a thread on Reddit are piling the pressure on Enetica.

"Our website & emails are completely down due to an issue with our domain provider ‪@WebcitySupport‬/‪#enetica‬," said one aggrieved user.

El Reg learned of the ongoing problems from an Australian reader.

"[There's] still no 'actual' information as to whether this is a massive DDoS attack, hardware failure, config issue etc but the initial report of the problem on website's twitter feed was 17:00 on 22nd March," our tipster told us.

Enetica hosts more than 23,000 websites, according to figures from Builtwith.com. Most of its customers are SMEs.

#348 3 years ago

Our animators were playing around this afternoon........

#350 3 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Video unavailable?

Works for me and I'm in China where Youtube is blocked? (I'm using a VPN of course).

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#362 3 years ago

I have been asked recently, in several messages, about our cabinets. Some have asked if we are having them built by outside contractors. I will be clear here and say that Homepin is building our Hankin table and pinball cabinets 100% 'in-house'.

For pinball, we purchase the plywood sheets directly from the plywood factory manufactured to 'A0' standards and we ensure that the sheets are supplied with a test certificate (CARB is the equivalent rating for the USA). After cutting the cabinet parts we send some smaller sample pieces from the batch away for testing at an independent testing centre to make certain that the product we are using meets regulatory requirements for some of the countries we intend to ship finished goods to.

The sheets are then selected carefully so as to work around any minor blemishes or damage in delivery and the various parts required cut to shape on our CNC and table saw, depending on the part. These parts are then hand routed, spindle routed and drilled to take the glass rails, flipper and start buttons and many other holes for various parts.

The separate parts are then checked and matched together to make up a cabinet set - no matter how carefully you cut pieces, there is always some minor difference. Cabinet sets are then assembled together. We "glue and screw" all joints and then clamp the cabinet overnight to ensure the glue sets and the cabinet is square. (you can see I have ringed the three screws we put in the corner joints and then fill in one of the pics below).

After the cabinet carcass glue is dry, we add some of the reinforcing structure such as the 'triangles' in the corners of the cabinet that will support the corner leg plate and a few other wood parts.

Then the partly assembled cabinets are undercoated with a water based wood sealer/primer and left again overnight. The next day they are lightly hand sanded and any imperfections repaired with wood filler and hand finished as required.

They then go into our new spray booth and get a coat of black paint on the areas that require it. Not every panel is painted simply because the cost of the water based paint we use is unbelievably high. It is several times more expensive than an equivalent I can buy at Bunnings in Australia and we are buying it in bulk, directly from the paint manufacturer in Dongguan! Again, we make sure every batch of paint supplied comes with the correct "green" certificate to ensure it is lead and heavy metal free.

After painting, the surfaces that will have decals applied are lightly sanded again and any imperfections corrected before applying the decals (we apply them wet).

One thing we are more aware of than any other manufacturer is that Homepin is "Made in China". We are all well aware of the negative connotations sometimes attached to those words by a few. There is no way that I will allow it to be used negatively against anything we manufacture. China is perfectly capable of manufacturing very high quality goods.

It all comes down to the supervision and instruction on exactly what is expected. You cannot ever get that by simply buying a product from a Chinese factory - it rarely happens. Homepin operates on an entirely different level from many other Chinese factories. We are not driven solely by price as many are. For Homepin, quality comes first and price is a secondary consideration. If we are unable to make a quality product at a price that will sell then we just don't make it! I have canned a few projects because we would have had to make them 'down to a price' and I won't do that.

More on machine assembly at another time.

PS: Before the "negative nellies" jump in and comment, I am well aware that a couple of the inside pictures below of one of our factory test cabinets shows no earth braid installed. We most certainly ARE fitting earth braid - it just wasn't fitted to this test cabinet when these pictures were taken.

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#364 3 years ago
Quoted from PopBumperPete:

ohhhh. i see a cabinet fitted with decals and a backbox with the EL panel fitted
how many test cabinet have you built Mike?

I have lost count actually as many of the earlier ones have been broken down as we improved things. Probably over 20 at this stage?

We have seven test machines that are about to hit the streets - well, very shortly anyway for field testing. One of those might actually stay in the factory so maybe only 6 will go out. I have numerous expat bars, most within an hours drive from the factory, screaming at me to be test sites. These machines are 95% finished as they will be when we start production. Some minor PCB changes and a few other tweaks. We are very VERY close now.

Waiting on some final art and approvals right at the moment. We will also very likely change some of the audio a bit for the production machines but again, that will take more approvals and so more time.

#368 3 years ago
Quoted from HighProtein:

Is there a playing whitewood created at this point and
now parts production is just what is left being developed?

We play our test games daily but I have said right from the outset that I will not be publicly releasing anything until we are ready to ship.

Too many things change and practically on a daily basis.

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#371 3 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

What joint are you using?

None of us here in the factory smoke

#374 3 years ago
Quoted from solarvalue:

Any Pinside members live near Shenzhen?

I do...oh, you mean any OTHERS - LOL

#377 3 years ago

A busy week here this week. We loaded and shipped out another 20' container of Hankin arcade tables - this one headed for Perth Australia.

We load the containers at our factory door and employ a local forklift owner to come and load for us as it isn't worthwhile owning a forklift ourselves. Sometimes the guy comes and other times (like yesterday) he sends his wife. She is much more careful than he is so we always prefer her doing the job.

After loading the shipping seal is affixed and remains intact until the container is delivered to Homepins customer so that nobody can tamper with the contents.

Final picture shows the truck driver handing the authorization sheet to the factory gate guards that proves Homepin has allowed this container of goods to leave our secure compound.

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#379 3 years ago
Quoted from PinPatch:

Hi Mike,
After all the time you have spent in China, do you still think it was better than starting to manufacture in Australia? I know labour costs are way cheaper in China, but there seems to be a lot of headaches in China that wouldn't occur in Australia.
Not having a dig just curious on your opinion.

There certainly are a lot of headaches doing things here - even living here! The simple fact is though, most things to do with manufacturing are just so inexpensive here it would not have been remotely possible to do it in Australia.

I would never have considered doing this for one minute in Australia - just not possible.

Now if the Australian Govt wakes up to itself and starts offering incentives, like cheap rent, subsidised employees and tax breaks (like I get by being based in Hong Kong SAR) then I would consider moving the lot to Australia and just making the parts here. Then I would be assembling in Australia, much like American manufacturers do at the moment in the USA using a LOT of imported parts, mainly from China.

#382 3 years ago
Quoted from stoptap:

As a guesstimate how far would you say you are from shipping games ?

We plan to exhibit TAG at the upcoming Pinfest, Newcastle Australia in September this year and I would hope to have machines in customers hands before that.

#384 3 years ago
Quoted from stoptap:

Any plans to sell in the UK?

Part of our licence agreement stipulates that we have to provide one machine to ITV (London) so we plan to send a small shipment there to make it worthwhile. We are also in talks with an agent in the UK and the Homepin marketing manager is visiting London for a meeting with ITV and our possible agent in the next couple of months.

The chances are very high that Homepin machines will be available in the UK.

#385 3 years ago

We have started painting the cabinets for our first pinball machine - Thunderbirds. It has been a LONG road but we are finally near the end of it!

#387 3 years ago
Quoted from PinSinner:

Hi Mike, Can you explain the waterfall inside the spray booth? I've never seen that before.

There are two huge extraction fans drawing air from the open door where I am standing taking this video UNDER the waterfall and up through air filters. The waterfall traps the over spray and it falls into the trough in the bottom and is filtered by the action of the water pump drawing the pool through a second set of filters.

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#394 3 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

The ply also looks like a much, much more expensive grade on the Homepin cabinet. The wood itself in the new Stern stuff isn't very dense - hence the lightness - and the layers don't seem to be sandwiched together very tightly.

Our ply is 11 laminates and is exceptionally high grade and expensive - BUT - I believe worth the small extra expense per machine.

#396 3 years ago
Quoted from swinks:

Are you planning in going bigger with a spray booth?

We built this booth to the size we need for painting pinball cabinets. I can't think of any reason why we would want a larger one?

#401 3 years ago

We don't have the space for anything larger at this factory. Should we move we will consider making a second paint booth but at this stage I don't think we need it.

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#403 3 years ago

It has to be remembered that Homepin is a new startup. We certainly do not have unlimited funds to get the job done. I would like nothing more than a factory twice the size, more engineers, bigger storeroom, air conditioned offices etc etc etc etc

There is only so much money I have to spend on every single item so, in the case of the spray booth as well as many other things, we built it to fit in the space we have available and to do the job we need to do right now.

Should we start selling 100 machines a week we will likely have the cash to then move to a bigger factory, hire 50 extra staff, build a bigger paint booth, air condition my office and all of the other things that would be 'nice' but currently simply not possible.

I can assure everyone that any budget that I had for this project has blown out 10 times over.

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#421 3 years ago
Quoted from HighProtein:

How many ramps / flippers?

About 8000 in stock.

#428 3 years ago

Second topper cover sample from the vacuum forming factory - looks very good 'in person'.

They made a few tweaks to our mould and they are ready to produce now.

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#429 3 years ago

Checking the new serial number stickers fit OK. Looks good so far.

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#431 3 years ago
Quoted from solarvalue:

Already up to 10009!

The printer made a few extra 'random' sheets when he was setting up so I'm using those for testing.

#436 3 years ago

Another batch of legs arriving from the powder coaters.