I want to try my hands at making a mini homebrew project and am starting this thread to post future updates and get advice.
So, first, what is a "mini" homebrew project? Simply put, the idea is to create a tabletop pinball machine with simple rules, scoring and electronics. Someday, when I retire, I want to try a full homebrew project, but I've only recently gotten into electronics, and my mechanical and carpentry skills (as well as ownership of tools) is severely lacking. However, all this year, I've been teaching myself basic circuitry and Arduino programming. I've made several projects including a game where you duel against an opponent using ultrasonic sensors and led lights, a lighted coffee mug holder that you can adjust the color of and that senses your mug and changes its lighting effects when the mug is on it, a 5x5 LED light cube with programmed modes, etc. I need to find a new project, and I thought that I have learned enough to try putting together a simple pinball machine. As I said, it will be tabletop, but have real flippers, functioning targets, hopefully ramps or wireforms, etc. I will program some simplified code and rules with Arduinos. This will take a while, but I think it will be a really good learning experience, especially as I get more used to assembling and creating things mechanically.
As soon as I make progress, I'll post some updates. But, first, I need advice, and I hope to ask a lot of it here.
Here's my first question: I am hoping to run a set of mini-flippers off of a 12v power supply. Based on some preliminary searching, I think this will work. Keep in mind that I don't need a lot of force as I will only be shooting the balls a short distance, and I plan to use ball bearings somewhere between the size of a standard pinball and a marble. Keeping things at 12v will help me ensure safety, and also enable me to use one power supply for all components, including the arduinos and LEDs. Do you agree that 12v should be sufficient? If so, do you know a source for mini flipper assemblies? Pinballlife.com only seems to have larger assemblies, and it is hard for me to decipher Marco Specialties' website in this regard. My hope is to first get the flippers and hook them up to ensure I have enough force. I'll then take this project to the next steps.
Many thanks in advance for your help!
(Oh, one more thing. I do have a theme in mind, but I think I will wait for a later date to reveal it. )
Index of updates:
Testing the flipper mechs with different voltages: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice#post-5984596
Code to control flippers: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice#post-5986341
Testing assembled flippers: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice#post-5996978 and https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice#post-6009773
VUK prototype: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/2#post-6063446 and https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/2#post-6065153 and https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/3#post-6080913
Middle orbit with servo motors: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/3#post-6120934 and https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/4#post-6196940
Left ramp: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/4#post-6135572 and https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/4#post-6136862
General layout and test gameplay: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/4#post-6196754 and https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-mini-homebrew-updates-and-advice/page/5#post-6219627