(Topic ID: 192121)

PBL Aluminum Flipper bats long term reviews?


By John_I

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 50 posts
  • 23 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 75 days ago by slochar
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 3 years ago

I finally got around to ordering some of the brush aluminum flipper bats from PBL. I know they've been out for three years now and I was wondering if anyone who has had them on a machine for years has any comments. Obviously they are tough and accurate as heck. My only concern is that they don't flex a little like the plastic ones do and that could be hard on the bushings and links. Has anyone noticed a difference in flipper parts breakage who has used these bats for a while?

I ordered a set for the IMVE that I just got. As usual before I even played my first ball on it, I opened it up to get rid of the Competition Bands from the flippers and install real rubber. First thing I noticed is that both bats were broken internally with less than 400 total plays! You could easily flex them and hear a clicking from the broken internal ribs rubbing together. The game plays ok, but wimpy limp bats effects accuracy.

That leads me to a second question. Has anyone used these on a Monster Bash yet? Back when I had an MB, I rebuilt the flippers and it improved the Phantom Flip accuracy a little bit. I was messing around with tweaking the flipper alignment and realized both bats were broken internally, so I replaced them with nice new stiff ones. Within a couple of games the Phantom flip was so accurate it was almost no fair! You could watch it make shot after shot as smooth as silk.

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=3145

#2 3 years ago

John,

I've had them on my STLE since new. I've had no issues but they just don't seem to have the "oomph" the plastic bats have.

#3 3 years ago

Interesting. I wonder if the flexing in a plastic bat adds some sort of elastic spring to the hit? Or maybe it is your imagination? I will have to watch for that. What type of rubber do you use? I'll be using red rubber from Pinball Life; not Titan or Silicon.

#4 3 years ago

Are they heavier? Maybe the weight slows them down.

#5 3 years ago

I had them in HS2 The Getaway for a couple of years. I think it's a combination of weight and less flex but they do feel slightly sluggish compared to plastic.

Didn't notice any extra wear on parts but if a flipper bushing broke I would be concerned about scratching the playfield.

I am going to try them on Tron next.

#6 3 years ago

I'm no long time expert like many of you here, but I like them. They hit hard. The ball moves fast. I use Superbands. I suppose this setup is less "rubbery" but I like them better than the plastic flippers and rubber bands they replaced.

#7 3 years ago
Quoted from PanaPinResto:

Are they heavier? Maybe the weight slows them down.

These bats weigh slightly more, but compared to the weight and momentum of the pinball it is negligible. The only difference the weight might make would be on the return spring. Even then most of the weight is concentrated down by the shaft and the bat gets skinnier out by the tip where it is moving fastest.

I might need to borrow Go Pro to do a ball speed test!

#8 3 years ago

I've been using these bats powder-coated on my Star_Trek Mirror Universe one-off.

#9 3 years ago

I have a set on my METPRO....aside from them being show stoppers I feel no after effects. The look is classy and slick.

1 week later
#10 3 years ago

I did some experimenting with one flipper metal and one plastic on IM. Holding both flippers up and dropping them showed over and over that the return spring drops them at exactly the same speed every time. The metal was no slower with a tiny spring pulling it so any weight difference is negligible in the bat speed as a suspected.

8 months later
#11 2 years ago

Anyone know if PBL plans to get these back in stock, or if there are any alternatives available?

As for a long-term review: I've been using the aluminum bats on my STTNG for several years now, and I really like them. The added weight doesn't seem to slow the ball down any -- I have no trouble making any of the shots on the game. It whips around the beta quadrant ramp just fine. Every advanced maneuver seems pretty much just as doable as on a plastic bat, but I'm no expert in that department (although i was a top-4 seed in the B-division finals at Pinburgh last year, so i don't totally suck).

I'd like to add aluminum bats to a Demo Man I just picked up, but I can't find them anywhere.

oh on a semi-related note: before i switched to aluminum, i went through about 3 or 4 sets of translucent flipper bats in a year. Every single one cracked badly after a few months of home use. They look cool, but they just don't hold up (at least not to the STTNG coils).

#12 2 years ago
Quoted from pezpunk:

Anyone know if PBL plans to get these back in stock, or if there are any alternatives available?
As for a long-term review: I've been using the aluminum bats on my STTNG for several years now, and I really like them. The added weight doesn't seem to slow the ball down any -- I have no trouble making any of the shots on the game. It whips around the beta quadrant ramp just fine. Every advanced maneuver seems pretty much just as doable as on a plastic bat, but I'm no expert in that department (although i was a top-4 seed in the B-division finals at Pinburgh last year, so i don't totally suck).
I'd like to add aluminum bats to a Demo Man I just picked up, but I can't find them anywhere.
oh on a semi-related note: before i switched to aluminum, i went through about 3 or 4 sets of translucent flipper bats in a year. Every single one cracked badly after a few months of home use. They look cool, but they just don't hold up (at least not to the STTNG coils).

I love these aluminum bats. I have 5 pins loaded with them. They hit hard and handle just fine for me, too. I went to buy more at Pinball Life and no dice. PBL says the machinist got tired of making them; I figure the machinist is holding out for more money. At only $10.00 each retail I can see where the machinist might have felt shortchanged. Anyway, according to who I talked to at PBL, there will not be anymore. I'm majorly bummed about it.

#13 2 years ago

dang! that's terrible news! maybe someone else could pick up the torch? there's definitely a market, although I couldn't say how large.

#14 2 years ago

Things have changed! These are back in production and we should have them back in stock in a few weeks.
Terry.

#15 2 years ago
Quoted from pinballlife:

Things have changed! These are back in production and we should have them back in stock in a few weeks.
Terry.

Thanks man. Come back here and tell us when they are ready. I need 4 of them. I also need to trade back the 4 white plastics ones I just bought from you; Unused and brand spanking new.

EDIT: Is the old price returning as well? Or is a bump happening?

#16 2 years ago

I've had them on my T2 for a couple years now. They are a bit sluggish and absolutely zero dead pass. It's funny to see good new players try and watch the ball drain on them. You learn the hard way. I was thinking of going back to regular plastic flips. I have a tough time being accurate with them but I also kinda suck.

1 year later
#17 4 months ago

Did these ever go back in stock?
I haven't seen them when I've went and looked recently.

PinballNews.com did a story on some alternate bats:
https://www.pinballnews.com/site/2018/03/07/adpin-flippers-2/
but at 90euros for a pair; I just can't.

#18 4 months ago
Quoted from Zitt:

Did these ever go back in stock?
I haven't seen them when I've went and looked recently.
PinballNews.com did a story on some alternate bats:
https://www.pinballnews.com/site/2018/03/07/adpin-flippers-2/
but at 90euros for a pair; I just can't.

PBL was selling them for 9.95 and then they went away. And then they were brought back for $12.95. I should have loaded up. They are gone again. Something with the machinist making them wanted more money, I think.

I have them on all my pins. They hit hard and fast.

#19 4 months ago

YEAH. I like them because they can be powdercoated and laser etched.
I'd like to know if PBL intends to restock or let them say out of stock.
Maybe Terry will chime in at some point.

#20 4 months ago

No issues with mine hope they are offered again.

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#21 4 months ago

We can probably make more, but I'm not sure how many people will buy $15 flipper bats.
These are machines from solid aluminum.
Terry.

#22 4 months ago
Quoted from pinballlife:

We can probably make more, but I'm not sure how many people will buy $15 flipper bats.
These are machines from solid aluminum.
Terry.

Is there a minimum order quantity that must be considered?

#23 4 months ago

Can transparent aluminum be done. That would be superb.

#24 4 months ago

I'd do 15 per bat. But you know your market better than me.

#26 4 months ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

Is there a minimum order quantity that must be considered?

I think we need to make around 250 at a time to keep them even somewhat in line, price-wise.
As I recall, it took a couple years to go through that quantity last time we ran them.
Terry.

#27 4 months ago

I know I’d be in, the look goes well with many titles. Maybe not enough exposure that they were available?

#28 4 months ago

At $15 they are no more expensive than the plastic metallic pdi flippers. I had forgotten these existed.

#29 4 months ago
Quoted from volkdrive:

I know I’d be in, the look goes well with many titles. Maybe not enough exposure that they were available?

You might be right about the exposure but as in all things there are always some negative Nancy’s offering up negative vibes saying the are sluggish or don’t hit hard enough. It is also BS. Get your flippers and flipper switches adjusted correctly and they kick like mules.

#30 4 months ago
Quoted from pinballlife:

We can probably make more, but I'm not sure how many people will buy $15 flipper bats.
These are machines from solid aluminum.
Terry.

People are spending $7500 on games, probably wouldn’t bat an eye at $15, put a CE or LE stamp on them and they’ll prepay at $25

#31 4 months ago

Pretty sure the Transparent Aluminum comment was more directed as a joke in reference to infamous scene from "Star Trek: IV - the Voyage Home":

#32 4 months ago
Quoted from Zitt:

Pretty sure the Transparent Aluminum comment was more directed as a joke in reference to infamous scene from "Star Trek: IV - the Voyage Home":

It's a real thing developed in the early 80's, but it's not really aluminum - rather, an aluminum compound. The best use for it now is bullet proof glass since it can be about 1/2 the thickness of standard BPG. However, it is incredibly expensive.

#33 4 months ago
Quoted from pinballlife:

I think we need to make around 250 at a time to keep them even somewhat in line, price-wise.
As I recall, it took a couple years to go through that quantity last time we ran them.
Terry.

I would be in for 4 of them. In the great scheme of things that is not very many.

What I like about them is, while they work very well, I could paint them any color I wanted. And if I got tired of a color I could always paint them another color.

#34 4 months ago

Having never seen these but liking the look in the pic up there I can say I’d be in for 10, even if it was only to stockpile them for later use.

#35 4 months ago
Quoted from Deezer5150:

Having never seen these but liking the look in the pic up there I can say I’d be in for 10, even if it was only to stockpile them for later use.

Here you go.

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#36 4 months ago

Robocop's flippers are so strong you posted it twice

(Seriously, I don't think ANYTHING attached to an early DE solid state flipper would have any problem being anything but super strong)

Not a fan of changing the profile on the classic sterns though to the thinner one, but hey, it's your game, do what you like to it.

$15 seems cheap for these if it's a block of solid Aluminum - I guess the machinist making them might be cutting the blocks in some way to minimize waste? Or it the shaft separately installed like on the normal flippers?

I'd think no flex vs. plastic would always whack the ball with authority - possibly at the expense of the plastic flipper bushings, but they're actually pretty strong too.

Someone should come up with a flipper plate that uses the double flipper bushings like Gottlieb used, but with the thinner shaft like all the other flippers are - that would rock (those double flipper bushing flippers NEVER twist/flex, due to the design, they just can't..... and the bushings last FOREVER).

#37 4 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

Robocop's flippers are so strong you posted it twice

pinside and pictures do not always work smoothly.

Quoted from slochar:

$15 seems cheap for these if it's a block of solid Aluminum - I guess the machinist making them might be cutting the blocks in some way to minimize waste? Or it the shaft separately installed like on the normal flippers?

Considering what everything is costing this day and age, $15.00 is a screaming deal. However, I need 4 for my Big Game; That's $60.00 worth of flippers. But the plastic Stern flippers are priced at $7.00-$10.00 each which takes some sting out of the extra costs.

I'm not sure how the machinist makes his cuts, but these flippers are hog outs from a block of solid aluminum i.e they are hollow on the bottom side to reduce weight. A steel shaft is pressed in from the bottom and has a tight fit. The machinist knows his stuff; They are of quality manufacture.

They are a little heavier than the plastic flippers but the flipper coils have no problem with making powerful hits. For anybody installing these flippers I highly recommend a fresh shop job on your flippers. If you install these and leave in crappy worn out coil sleeve and a mushroomed coil plunger you probably will not like the results. And then you will come on the board and trash them as being lousy performers.

Quoted from slochar:

Not a fan of changing the profile on the classic sterns though to the thinner one, but hey, it's your game, do what you like to it.

I understand. It is not factory but it is easily reversible.

#38 4 months ago

I have an uninstalled set of these, and wondered if I really spent $30 on bats. Looked it up: these used to be $9.95. Looks like it's not just the machine prices that have inflated!

#39 4 months ago
Quoted from HighVoltage:

Looks like it's not just the machine prices that have inflated!

Please read the comments above.
The short answer is that the machinist making them needs incentive to continue making them. IE other work is more profitable.
Put your bats on sale here and I'm sure they'll sell very soon.

#40 4 months ago

I have a brand new pair that I would like to sell $30.00 with free shipping to anywhere in the continental USA

#41 4 months ago
Quoted from Squeakman:

At $15 they are no more expensive than the plastic metallic pdi flippers.

PDI isn't a sane reference point for anything. Every single thing they touch is overpriced, and always has been.

#42 4 months ago

I'd be in for 4 of the bats.

#43 4 months ago
Quoted from TecumsehPlissken:

I have a brand new pair that I would like to sell

Sold

#44 4 months ago

So if they sold that fast at 30, PBL should have no problem selling them at 15

#45 4 months ago
Quoted from Zitt:

Please read the comments above.
The short answer is that the machinist making them needs incentive to continue making them. IE other work is more profitable.
Put your bats on sale here and I'm sure they'll sell very soon.

Please comprehend my comment.
I didn't pose any question looking for an answer.
I didn't say I was looking to sell either.

Thanks for reinforcing my point that the price has gone up.

2 months later
#46 78 days ago

I sure wish they would start making these aluminum flippers again!!

I'd be even more happy if the manufacturers would start making decent plastic flippers again. PBL and Marcos both seem to be selling the same crappy flippers now. If you look into the bottom of them they have less cross members and are thinner in general. All it takes is a little twist to know how mushy these things will play, not to mention the cross members now break easier making them even more wimpy. Wimpy translates directly to lack of power AND accuracy.

The white one in the picture is what they used to look like. The new wimpy ones look like the yellow one. They should all be made like the segmented flippers in the picture. Thick, lots of cross members and the cross members go all the way to the bottom.
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#47 78 days ago

Wow, that's really bad.

#48 78 days ago

I really like mine. I could use 10 more. Wow. A $150.00 worth of flippers.

And Wow again. I have four new of the Williams style. I never thought to check for flex. They flex. I would like to see what that flex looks like with s slo-mo camera.

Yes. I could use 10 more of the metal bats.

#49 75 days ago

I should note that a friend informed me that he bought two bats from Marcos recently and he got the better ones. From my recent experience I have made two orders from PBR in the last few months. In one order of two yellow "W"illiams bats for Police Force one of them was the wimpy one and the other was the slightly sturdier one. They were in the same bag! A second order a few weeks later, I got two of the wimpy yellow ones.

Not sure what Pinball Life is stocking these days. I mostly have been ordering Gottlieb EM parts, so even my Williams parts orders have been part of PBR orders...

#50 75 days ago

I wonder if the 'give' in the wimpier flippers might help with games where the ball hops over the flipper since the flipper will give instead of providing a very rigid surface for the ball to hop over.

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