At the Ann Arbor pinball museum, due to an agreement with the township, we can't be open to the public but a limited number of weekends a year. (See our web page for the next opening in May 2015, which will showcase 250 games http://www.vfwpinball.com ). So we're always trying to come up with ideas on how the museum can be of better service to the pinball community, and perhaps pay a few bills in the process.
One thing that we are really proud of is the repair shop at the museum. It's actually pretty awesome, more pinball parts than probably any other facility in the state of Michigan. We also have test fixtures and soldering/desoldering tools and electronic parts and so on and so on. This is all used to service our games. But what if we made this available to the public too?
Idea: Open the museum once a week, say Sundays from 1pm to 5pm, and let someone bring in their game. Use our facility, our tools, and if needed, our knowledge to fix your own game!
This accomplishes a couple things... first it allows people to repair their own stuff under the supervision of an experienced tech. So there's an educational aspect to the experience. And if they can't get it done (frustrated, "above their pay grade"), the tech can dive in and finish or do the entire job. Or just lend a helping hand with light help. Or just point to where the tools live (with essentially no help.) The amount of help utilized is completely variable, and up to the game owner's desires.
What does the museum get out of this? well, we will charge for this service, anywhere from $25/hour (for use of the facility/tools without any help), to $75/hour (if you just give up and want us to just get the repair done), or somewhere in between for light help. (The labor rate will be up to the tech present and the game owner, something they can work out between themselves.)
holding pinball repair classes. We've done this before at the museum, and people really seem to like it. But perhaps we could charge for the two hour class? would people pay to have a class? Say $25 to $50 per two hour class? would people think that is worth it? would anyone want that? (In the past the classes have been free, but that doesn't pay the electric bill.)
Anyway, what do people think of these two ideas?