(Topic ID: 99585)

Is it time for pinball kits?


By cody_chunn

4 years ago



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  • 45 posts
  • 36 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Luckydogg420
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    #1 4 years ago

    I have seen this topic come up in the past, but wondering if conditions have changed.

    Is it realistic for a manufacturer to sell a pinball kit that comes with everything to put the game together packed in the cabinet and the buyer assembles everything?

    Would that make a new pin more affordable and still get the manufacturer a profit?

    With several start-ups popping up it seems like a more viable option than it used to be.

    #2 4 years ago

    I love this idea. It gives them more time to work on code while we build the games our self.

    17
    #3 4 years ago

    These would become a guarantee nightmare for the company. Someone would solder the wrong wire to the wrong led and then blame faulty coils or would fry the board somehow.

    #4 4 years ago
    Quoted from flashinstinct:

    Someone would solder the wrong wire to the wrong led and then blame faulty coils or would fry the board somehow.

    That's been true true now for how long?

    That was one of the proposed benefits of the P2K platform.

    #5 4 years ago
    Quoted from flashinstinct:

    These would become a guarantee nightmare for the company. Someone would solder the wrong wire to the wrong led and then blame faulty coils or would fry the board somehow.

    They sell airplane kits. I'm sure if companies can deal with liability for a flying machine, it can be handled for a pinball.

    #6 4 years ago

    I don't think the concept would catch on. They wouldn't be able to warranty it either. Can you imagine all the tech calls they'd be flooded with? In essence, you'd be all on your own.

    #7 4 years ago
    Quoted from flashinstinct:

    These would become a guarantee nightmare for the company. Someone would solder the wrong wire to the wrong led and then blame faulty coils or would fry the board somehow.

    This topic has come up each time and this is the normal response that I happen to agree with.

    Yes, they do sell airplane kits, but they need to be certified by the FAA before you fly them. They also sell kit cars, but they have to pass inspections before being driven. There is no independent company to inspect pinball machines Not to mention yeah..what a logistical nightmare for the company. I mean it's no big deal when I get some LEDs from cointaker and I have the occasional wrong one. I couldn't imagine if I fried a board, etc.

    That said, you can make your own pin...pick up a cabinet and a P-ROC and go to town!

    #8 4 years ago

    I'm sure that a kit like this would mostly go to experienced pinballers who already know the ins and outs of a machine. I can't imagine that to many inexperienced pilots would build their own airplane.

    I'm sure that warranty conditions would be different for a game that you build yourself compared to a factory built game. It might not even have any warranty. That dosent scare me. I've yet to own a pinball machine thats came with a warranty.

    #9 4 years ago

    Wasn't this originally in JPop's plans? I seem to remember some of his pre-orders had assembled and assemble yourself options. I know a lot has changed for him and I think this option disappeared.

    #10 4 years ago

    No. It is not time for pinball kits.

    #11 4 years ago

    Absolutely not.

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from radium:

    No. It is not time for pinball kits.

    Care to elaborate why not? I'd buy one and I'm sure others would too

    #13 4 years ago

    I wish this were a possibility for DIYers, but it just won't happen because the support needed for something like this would be insane, and someone would probably electrocute themselves. Honestly, I am still amazed companies like Ted Webber can even make guitar Tube Amplifier kits, even though they are much less complicated than a pin. Even though they assume no liability for any bodily harm, I've seen that circumvented in lawsuits time and time again. And working with +600v filter caps is not something for a first-time builder to be doing, yet on their forum page you see people that haven't ever picked up a soldering iron trying to build these. Scary stuff.

    #14 4 years ago

    ...sold exclusively at Ikea

    #15 4 years ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Care to elaborate why not? I'd buy one and I'm sure others would too

    For the same reason that John Hammond should never have put those dinosaurs on Isla Nublar.

    #16 4 years ago

    I like opening the box, putting the legs on, securing the backbox, putting the balls in and playing.

    #17 4 years ago

    I think it *could* work, but it would have to be sold to the right people. In order for it to work, there would have to be an option to buy a complete machine as well. Then, the DIY crowd would benefit from doing their own work. Heathkit was in business for a LONG time and the stuff they sold cost MORE than the assembled product. But you knew how to fix it when the time came.

    #18 4 years ago

    Complete kit: No. Conversion kit: Maybe.

    It would seem that something like Lost Vegas would be a viable option to fill such a small market. Select a game that is plentiful (and usually trashed and doesn't get much love) and design a kit to reused some if not most of the major parts that make up a game.

    One of the problems now is that even some of the least sought after titles are becoming too valuable to junk due to the value of their parts. So, finding a good candidate for such a project might be very difficult. Due to their much lower selling price, designing around a System 3 Gottlieb/Premier could provide a good selection to be able to do a full feature game. But most would probably want it built using Bally/Williams playfield components.

    #19 4 years ago

    I would love love love this option, especially if the playfield and options were somewhat customizable.

    I built a MAME machine: Cabinet from http://www.mameroom.com/Home.asp kit, PC and control panel from book reference. Disclaimer: I was already experienced in building PC's and sorta okay handy.

    I really considered building a Cobra kit car from http://www.factoryfive.com/ using a 5.0 Mustang option and Severance money when laid off. Went so far as to start looking for wrecked Mustangs with good engines. Disclaimer, I know little about cars other than driving and got re-married instead.

    If the Cabinet and backbox were stock items, and you could pick from a series or plan your own playfield and game options, that would be spectacular. I'm not talking about being able to recreate Metallica or WOZ, but if you could construct a "new" machine from the 80's or possibly 90's, using an original theme, for maybe half the cost of a NIB?

    Sign me up.

    #20 4 years ago

    I think there is some good stuff on the horizon. There are many of us who can build a complete pinball cabinet. Companies like CPR often make playfield, plastics and back glasses as packages. So if you can build the cabinet and can get a playfield back glass and plastics, all you need beyond playfield hardware and maybe a coin door which can be found is the complete electronics package. These are coming. All LED and programmable. I have two EBD's. One I will restore completely and one that I will convert to a new electronic platform. I hope to begin work on it this Winter.

    #21 4 years ago

    Nope.

    Way too much tech knowledge needed for someone such as myself.

    #22 4 years ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Care to elaborate why not? I'd buy one and I'm sure others would too

    Way too much liability. Too many people doing shit wrong and shorting stuff out. Too much time spent writing instructions. Not enough people would buy a kit ( I actually would) to make it worthwhile.

    Can you imagine if Ford started selling built your own car kits??? I like the idea, but it's just not feasible.

    #23 4 years ago

    I can't imagine that it would be much cheaper. It would probably take just as much time for them to package all of the individual parts as it does to put them in the machine.

    #24 4 years ago

    you would have to re-engineer the concept of the internals. Things would need to be exclusively made from keyed plugs. Your factory labor costs would only be cheaper if you outsourced all the components. Wiring harnesses, etc. Which you could certainly do.

    #25 4 years ago

    You have to remember companies like stern have a LOT of capital equipment and automation that makes it a hell of a lot easier / faster to build a machine than a hobbyist would. I would love to know what Stern's actual overhead is for assembly.
    Just throwing figures out there (no idea if this is accurate). What do we figure he has, maybe 50 people on the line? Let's even go 100. He's building let's say 50 machines per day. 8 hours per worker, $8 minimum hourly wage, that's about $6.5k in labor for the day, divide that by the number of machines produced, you end up with $128 in labor per machine.

    Anyone want to volunteer to build an entire pinball machine all by themselves so they can save $128 on a $5400 retail priced machine? Didn't think so.

    #26 4 years ago
    Quoted from awarner:

    I think it *could* work, but it would have to be sold to the right people

    ... I suspect the headcount of "right" people would be very small compared to the headcount of people wanting the "attach the legs and play" experience. All the extra effort to develop things like assembly instructions, parallel factory paths, parallel advertising, etc. would never be recovered.

    -Rob
    -visit http://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC pinball resets

    #27 4 years ago

    I thought of this idea last week. Its a great idea and it would build new hobbist skill levels up in pinball at the same time.

    #28 4 years ago

    So, the thinking is like another "Heathkit" pinball like Fireball was?

    #29 4 years ago

    It would have to be more modular. A prebuilt wiring harness with connectors for everything. All components would have to be made with plugs. No soldering to screw up.

    I love the idea but doubt it will ever happen.

    #30 4 years ago

    Honda has a DIY car.....

    Ok. That was just an April Fools joke. But come on, I wanna build a pinball kit.

    #31 4 years ago

    What kind of sadistic asshole wants to build a pinball machine.

    Oh.. right....

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from radium:

    For the same reason that John Hammond should never have put those dinosaurs on Isla Nublar.

    True . . . . sad but true, and we all remember how well that idea worked out. Looked like fun at first then it didn't play worth a damn. I would hate to see that in a DIY pin kit.

    #33 4 years ago

    forget about the liability, the warranty, the tech calls.

    It absolutely would not make business sense for a manufacturer to produce a kit and attempt to sell it. Why would they want competition for the complete games they sell? In essence the cab is the least expensive part of the complete pinball equation, why would they stop at 90% of a machine when if they put the important parts (the proposed kit) in the wood box it requires?

    Also I think that many of us under estimate the cost of a populated playfield if you were to attempt to take the universal boards/cab route. A complete playfield would be damn near 3k, so for an extra 1k you have a complete game with all the boards and its own cab. Doesn't seem like much of a decision to make here, thus why it was never implemented in the first place, we all see how pin 2k did.

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from Mhulsebu:

    Wasn't this originally in JPop's plans? I seem to remember some of his pre-orders had assembled and assemble yourself options. I know a lot has changed for him and I think this option disappeared.

    DIY is/was more money but someone from Zidware came and helped you with the assembly.

    #35 4 years ago

    My house burned down because blah blah blah...

    #36 4 years ago

    As a nerd, I'd love to BUILD a kit.
    As a business owner, I'd never want to offer one.

    #37 4 years ago
    Quoted from HHaase:

    As a nerd, I'd love to BUILD a kit.
    As a business owner, I'd never want to offer one.

    I think that just about sums it up.

    #38 4 years ago

    Really all were talking about here is a wiring harness and cabinet. Maybe a couple special game specific parts and that's it.

    Let's take f-14 tomcat as an example.
    Soon you will be able to buy a CPR playfield. I've heard their in the works.

    You can already buy a rottendog MPU board and rom chips to run it. Marco has the pop bumper mech, flippers, pinscore display, power supply. Ect. Ect. Ect. They have damn near every piece for the game. But no wire harness.

    Why couldn't they sell complete machine kits. Just a premade list with all the parts, have proper amounts of screws ect. Just offer a deal to the customer on a bulk order and sell everything together.

    Why can't this happen? I guess I could do all the legwork. Buy a f-14 manual, and use that to count all the pieces and buy everything in one order. Build a new cabinet (already have done that) and assemble all the pieces.

    But If I could buy a wire harness; and find a premade parts list it would be a whole lot easier.

    #39 4 years ago

    Heithkit Fireball Pinball.JPG

    They sold a ton of these things, and nobody burned their house down.

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    They sold a ton of these things, and nobody burned their house down.

    I agree. I believe that the boards can be made bullet proof enough to be safe. My intention with Spaceballs is that anyone can build one using the guide I'm putting together as I do mine. That includes the controller board. The board has some nice things like fault detection with the solenoid drivers and a pretty beastly switch matrix that can survive a hit from solenoid voltage. You would have to actually try very hard to burn up any part of this controller board, at least that's my intent.

    #41 4 years ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Why couldn't they sell complete machine kits. Just a premade list with all the parts, have proper amounts of screws ect. Just offer a deal to the customer on a bulk order and sell everything together.

    Why can't this happen? I guess I could do all the legwork. Buy a f-14 manual, and use that to count all the pieces and buy everything in one order. Build a new cabinet (already have done that) and assemble all the pieces.

    Hmmm...

    So maybe the model is to outsource pretty much everything. Picture a small pinball company that consists of just a couple of designers who essentially generate intellectual property - CNC and art files for the playfield, stencil files for the cabinet (I'm thinking the old three-color paint vs print/stick but either could work), software for an open platform, art files for the backglass, a bill of materials (with recommended sources) and a detailed how-to document. They negotiate outsourcing custom parts (like the playfield or ramps or wire harness) to someone (like CPR or TwistedPins or some wire vendor I don' t know) to have some stock for the end customers buy.

    When this company sells their product, the customer gets the build instructions, the BOM and vendor source list, and access to support forums (or maybe the support forum just exists as threads here). The whole factory process (essentially collect stuff, rearrange/assemble, and ship) doesn't exist under this company's roof - it becomes the buyer's effort.

    Heck, you can almost envision someone who really enjoys the kit build doing it repeatedly to resell games when completed. How could one ensure this serial assembler buys the "kit" (i.e., the intellectual property) for each copy or that Average Joe doesn't pass a copy of what he bought from the company to his buddy to make another copy without paying?

    -Rob
    -visit http://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC pinball resets

    #42 4 years ago
    Quoted from rkahr:

    When this company sells their product, the customer gets the build instructions, the BOM and vendor source list, and access to support forums (or maybe the support forum just exists as threads here). The whole factory process (essentially collect stuff, rearrange/assemble, and ship) doesn't exist under this company's roof - it becomes the buyer's effort.

    This is exactly what I am after with Spaceballs, without the selling bits.

    I'm just going to give the entire design away, and anyone that wants to build it can. That's not saying that I won't ever sell them, just that the complete design and software will be given away for free for anyone that has the ambition to do it. I imagine that's only around a half dozen people.

    #43 4 years ago

    Stern's next VE DIY? Rerun of whatever, you assemble, price still goes up?

    #44 4 years ago

    I've restored 3 pins so a DIY kit would be right up my alley but there would have to be significant cost savings over buying a fully assembled one for it to be viable.

    #45 4 years ago

    Ideally it would have to provide a wire harness. That's probably the most time consuming part of the whole build.

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