(Topic ID: 266636)

Pinball Poker? Poker Time? Undecided poker themed homebrew...

By zacaj

1 year ago


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    There are 265 posts in this topic. You are on page 5 of 6.
    #201 8 months ago

    Ante Up?

    All In?

    The Gambler?

    Table Stakes?

    Party Poker?

    Poker Party?

    The Pinnacle?

    Cashing In/Out?

    Final Table?

    The Showdown?

    Poker Casino?

    #202 8 months ago

    Ran a test cut of one 4x5" areapasted_image (resized).png

    It turned out fine, no obvious issues. pasted_image (resized).png

    so I went and did the whole thing. I took one of my rough manual cuts, and stuck it down with a bunch of double sided tape. In retrospect I should have used thinner tape, as during the cut I could see the plastic flexing downward before the bit broke through, but it doesn't seem to have caused any issues with the cut.pasted_image (resized).png
    pasted_image (resized).png
    pasted_image (resized).png
    pasted_image (resized).png
    My first time running a real job on the CNC, probably took about 40 minutes. Plastic seems to have come out fine, and it at least fits on the playfield.
    pasted_image (resized).pngMost of the holes are off center, but not outside the margin of error (I made every hole bigger than needed). pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngThere's a few places that need some correction, so I need to figure out how to do that. Aligning the plastic perfectly was a big pain, I don't think I could reliably get it matched up again. But I want to avoid doing stuff 'by hand' for risk of cracking the plastic. Maybe I'll need to use the router manually? Or try to run the CNC with manual control. Before I bother with any of that though, I should probably secure this down again and do some more heat tests.

    #203 8 months ago

    I am assuming that you will be cnc'ing your future playfields and the plastic on the same machine. You should add in some registration holes. Maybe down under the apron and then near the top in a place where they wont be seen. Use the same diameter holes in the wood and in the plastic, say 1/4". Then use 1/4" pegs (router bits, dowels, drill bits, ect) to go through both sets of holes to help align everything.

    #204 8 months ago
    Quoted from tjw998:

    I am assuming that you will be cnc'ing your future playfields and the plastic on the same machine. You should add in some registration holes. Maybe down under the apron and then near the top in a place where they wont be seen. Use the same diameter holes in the wood and in the plastic, say 1/4". Then use 1/4" pegs (router bits, dowels, drill bits, ect) to go through both sets of holes to help align everything.

    Yep, good point. I should have added some on this one just to be future proof too. I'm still half hopeful I won't need to CNC a playfield but if I do it'll be done on this

    #205 8 months ago

    I went in multiple times to try to do the corrections to the layout, but something just wasn't making sense. The corrections weren't all in the same direction, but different parts of the playfield tended to all need correcting in the same direction, and half the time that direction was opposite of how i'd already corrected those points before. In addition, the way I lined up the plastic so that it lined up with holes the closest resulted in it not being parallel with the edges, which didn't make sense either. When I lined it up with the edges of the playfield, right to the corners (where I know it should all match up), none of the holes lined up at all. So I stopped working on that until I could figure out what was going on. I measured various parts of the plastic and the wood playfield, and checked them against my CAD drawings, and they were all accurate. Then I got a t-square out to check if maybe my playfield somehow wasn't square. Nope, playfield was square. But the plastic wasn't! It had a 3/8" skew to it along its entire length. There must have been something wrong with the setup of the CNC causing it to list to the right as it moved up the playfield, so I'll need to figure that out. Never noticed in my test cuts since all of them were smaller. So that plastic is a loss for any real work. But knowing that it's wrong, I don't have to worry about fixing it the right way. So I just got out a router and adjusted all the holes by hand to line up enough. I'll reassemble the playfield on this bad plastic for now to test out the material.

    #206 7 months ago

    Since I had the playfield torn down, I figured I might as well install the inserts too. I've got a big bag of random inserts I've collected over the years from different stores, so I started laying them out. pasted_image (resized).png To keep things simple, I used one size of arrow (1.5" triangle) and three circles. I think the circles can probably be done with a forstner bit, but the arrow will need to be done with a router. Taking some advice from Johnsonvillebrat, I designed a guide for my router pasted_image (resized).png
    and a guide for the shapepasted_image (resized).png
    It took about 10 tries to get the guide just right for a snug fit (a big pain, since each print took 3 hours!) but I eventually got it just rightpasted_image (resized).png
    and made my first cut in the playfield
    pasted_image (resized).png
    pasted_image (resized).png

    ....aaaand immediately ran into an issue.

    Can you spot the difference between these two arrows? pasted_image (resized).png

    One is wider at the tip! I sorted through my inserts and found out that half of them won't fit the guide I made, which also means I don't have enough of the correct inserts for the playfield. I was planning on making them all clear, uncolored, for RGB lights, but I don't have enough of those. So I went to order more.
    ...aaaaand no one stocks them! (unless I want to pay $5 each shipped from europe) What? A transparent arrow should be like, one of the most common ones needed. Pinball Life (who has a great selection of inserts for homebrew) has six colors... but no clear. And they don't have any plans for restocking. The best I can find is that PBR has some opaque white inserts available, but I'm not sure how that'll look since every modern game I know of with RGB lighting uses transparent.

    Luckily, I had one of those in my assortment, so I figured I'd stick it over an led and see how it compared.

    ...which made me realize I have no RGB leds. In fact, I have no real plan at all for how to light all these inserts! Back when I was first planning out this electronics system years ago when RGB was still a bit new, I figured I'd just get some 4-legged RGB LEDspasted_image (resized).png, and then just stick them in a matrix. Except I don't have any boards designed to drive a matrix. And after wiring up the switch matrix, I really don't want to wire up another whole matrix with double the wires. It seems like today everyone is using NeoPixels and other individually addressable, chainable LEDs (well, besides stern, but), so I started looking into what'd be the cheapest, easiest, least messy way to get some of those installed. Luckily when I designed my MPU I added a spare connector for the 3 extra unused GPIO the RPi had, and I made sure that one of those was the DMA pin that's commonly used to drive these LEDs from a Pi, so I think I can drive them. If not I can get a FadeCandy or something. It seems like a lot of people are just buying FAST's individual LED boards, but they're $1.50 each, and need wiring to connect them all. So I ordered 5 meters of addressable LED strip (150 LEDs) off eBay for $15, and some mounting clips for $5. I'm hoping I can just string this through the playfield to reach all my lights, and use the spare LEDs in between as free wiring (just don't turn them on). Maybe that'll work, or not. I can always find a use for 5M of LEDs at worst though.

    In the mean time I've also ordered a bunch of opaque white inserts from PBR, since they're cheap and I needed some other parts anyway. Hopefully they light up well. Maybe the opaque inserts will give it a more retro feel? Of course, I don't know if the random opaque triangle insert I had lying around is from PBR or not, so cutting (and thus, reassembling) the playfield needs to go on hold for now until the order arrives so I know whether I need to design a new router guide

    #207 7 months ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    So I ordered 5 meters of addressable LED strip (150 LEDs) off eBay for $15, and some mounting clips for $5. I'm hoping I can just string this through the playfield to reach all my lights, and use the spare LEDs in between as free wiring (just don't turn them on). Maybe that'll work, or not.

    I know it will take longer, but I think it would be easier to deal with cutting your strip into individual LEDs and then just soldering stranded wire to them to daisy chain them together. It will be more flexible, and then you can number the LEDs sequentially instead of with gaps. That will make them easier to program. Also, not sure how much voltage drop you’ll get without doing this. But, if you cut them up, you will only need to wire through the LEDs you are using, so maybe voltage drop would be less of a concern. Again, not sure on that last point.

    #208 7 months ago

    they are pretty cheap to order individual ones as well, with 3 pads on each side for 5v, ground, and sig in and the same out to the next... yes soldering wires would be a bit of a pain but definitely an improvement overall over trying to deal with that chain of LEDs with no breaks and not super bendable.. plus you can design and print small mounts for each LED.

    Regarding the inserts-- it is unfortunate that all pinball life had was NOS. When I found this out I put an order in on remaining ones they had to make sure I had what I needed for my build... probably others did as well, and have some stockpile. Still had been planning on a few shapes that were already gone. You can probably get them from Mirco, but you'd have to order a bunch (group buy?) and timing is questionable there.. but he did say he could do a larger order of inserts a while back.

    I 3d printed all my inserts on my whitewood and am really happy with the results. I bet if you sent the models in to shapeways you could get really nice resin prints that would be somewhere between opaque and totally clear. Just throwing out some thoughts though..

    #209 7 months ago
    Quoted from Nokoro:

    and then you can number the LEDs sequentially instead of with gaps. That will make them easier to program.

    I really don't see how that would matter at all. Either way you're just setting the # for each light in your code, and then you're done.

    Quoted from Nokoro:

    Also, not sure how much voltage drop you’ll get without doing this. But, if you cut them up, you will only need to wire through the LEDs you are using, so maybe voltage drop would be less of a concern.

    Not sure either, but I'm half expecting to need a separate power supply for the LEDs anyway, and I know they sell power supplies that can handle the whole strip, while most of mine will be off, so I'm sure it will work out in some way.

    Quoted from Nokoro:

    and then just soldering stranded wire to them to daisy chain them together.

    Soldering 100+ connections directly on the playfield is *exactly* what I don't want to do. The less soldering on the playfield, the better. In retrospect I should have connectored even more things than I already did.

    Quoted from Mbecker:

    yes soldering wires would be a bit of a pain but definitely an improvement overall over trying to deal with that chain of LEDs with no breaks and not super bendable.

    I've gotten a few comments saying these aren't bendable, but the last time I had an LED strip it was so bendy I had problems keeping it from developing kinks and stuff. Maybe the new ones are different? I'll find out when it arrives today. There's no reason that I can't cut it in a few places and solder wires if needed (like to span large gaps, or if there's some turn that the strip absolutely can't make, but at least I won't be soldering it every time

    Quoted from Mbecker:

    I 3d printed all my inserts on my whitewood and am really happy with the results. I bet if you sent the models in to shapeways you could get really nice resin prints that would be somewhere between opaque and totally clear. Just throwing out some thoughts though..

    Interesting idea... I've got a reel of transparent plastic that I haven't tried out yet, curious to see how it does

    #210 7 months ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    I really don't see how that would matter at all. Either way you're just setting the # for each light in your code, and then you're done.

    Maybe. I haven’t thought too hard about it. But suppose you want to turn them all on and there are 50 of them. It is very easy to do a loop from 1 to 50 and set them all to one color. Now, let’s suppose they are not numbered sequentially but instead they go 1, 5, 13, 17, .... you can’t turn them all on with a simple For loop. Perhaps you could store the numbers in an array and do it that way.

    I also am thinking about standard programming with the FAST LED library, and you could be doing this in some other way entirely that makes it easier.

    #211 7 months ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    Soldering 100+ connections directly on the playfield is *exactly* what I don't want to do. The less soldering on the playfield, the better. In retrospect I should have connectored even more things than I already did.

    I was thinking you would solder them off the playfield using stranded wire and then just have a flexible daisy chain to mount onto the playfield. Admittedly, it would still take quite a bit of time. You could also do them in sections with connectors between the sections if you want to be able to easily remove sections without having to remove the whole.

    I don’t know. I’m just guessing that you may be asking for trouble in using all of the LED strip. I could be wrong.

    #212 7 months ago
    Quoted from Nokoro:

    Maybe. I haven’t thought too hard about it. But suppose you want to turn them all on and there are 50 of them. It is very easy to do a loop from 1 to 50 and set them all to one color. Now, let’s suppose they are not numbered sequentially but instead they go 1, 5, 13, 17, .... you can’t turn them all on with a simple For loop. Perhaps you could store the numbers in an array and do it that way.

    In my code, I have a list of all my lights (left orbit, right orbit, left standup, etc), and each one is mapped to a light number. So if I wanted to turn them all on I'd loop through my light list and just say "turn left orbit on", etc. Code will take care of mapping that to whatever lamp number it happens to be internally. I've never worked with FAST but the way you're explaining that sounds weird to me.

    #213 7 months ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    In my code, I have a list of all my lights (left orbit, right orbit, left standup, etc), and each one is mapped to a light number. So if I wanted to turn them all on I'd loop through my light list and just say "turn left orbit on", etc. Code will take care of mapping that to whatever lamp number it happens to be internally. I've never worked with FAST but the way you're explaining that sounds weird to me.

    Ah ok. You’ll probably be all set then. Sorry about the confusion. Programming with the Arduino FAST LED library requires you to define the whole length of the chain and then each LED gets a number in sequence from 0 to the highest number in the chain. So, if you’re not using a bunch of LEDs in the middle, it can just require extra steps to do what you want.

    I think it will just come down to the flexibility of the strip. And if there are any issues with voltage drop. If there are, I have read that you can just “inject” voltage into the strip every couple of meters. But, I’ve never used enough to have to do that.

    #214 7 months ago

    Got the LED strip today. Was surprisingly easy to get working using adafruit's python library, worked the first time. Sadly I don't want to use the python library so I'll need to explore alternatives for integrating it with the rest of the code. I did some experiments with inserts. The circular ones lit up fine, but the larger ones like the arrows had a bit of coverage issues.
    It's hard to get good pictures of leds lit up, but

    Here's a clear triangle insertpasted_image (resized).png
    And here's an opaque one pasted_image (resized).png

    The clear one lit up a bit more evenly, but it didn't really look that good, you could clearly see the hot spot where the led was located. Surprisingly I think the opaque one looked better overall, and other colors seemed less washed out, which is nice since that's probably my only option...

    I then played around with led placement. Putting it more towards the center or ends didn't help much; the ends were still pretty dim. What did help was cutting a bigger hole. here's a single led, positioned similarly to the previous photo, but with almost all of the insert cut through the playfield instead of just one hole the size of the ledpasted_image (resized).png

    Probably good enough for me. I'll need to come up with a better way to cut those inner holes out, maybe another 3d printed router guide or something.

    I also played with two leds under the same insertpasted_image (resized).png

    This looks a bit better than just one, but not as good as I was expecting. The hot spots seem more pronounced. I'm not sure if I'll be able to position the strip to hold two leds inside the arrow or not (the clamps haven't arrived yet). This is where a lot of people seem to use multi-led boards, which might be worth it at least for the main shots? I'll have to look around

    #215 7 months ago

    Got the inserts from PBR, luckily they're the same size I was planning on, so I went ahead and cut all the arrows. pasted_image (resized).png
    Midway through I stumbled upon this technique, drilling three holes through first, then routing out the rest using the guide, which allows me to do all the routing in one pass (before it was three passes since I kept needing to stop and remove all the dust, etc). Then once it was cut and the insert test-fitted, I'd take the guide away and hand route between the three holes to leave a good open area in the center for the light.

    I was hoping that the circular inserts would match up with my forstner bits, but not all of them did. The smallest one (5/8?) are perfect, a nice snug fit, but the 3/4" are just loose enough that they'll fall out from gravity if there's any vibration. I'd like to get these all press-fit if possible so I don't have to worry about gluing them, so I'm going to try to make another router guide for the 3/4"

    1 week later
    #216 7 months ago

    Still working on a bunch of stuff so I don't actually have any top side pictures yet but..... light!pasted_image (resized).png

    The funny side effect of just trailing a light strip around the playfield is actually looks cool underneath too.

    I ended up using 126 LEDs worth of 30/m strip to reach all ~30 inserts on the playfield. Besides from a few places where I didn't plan for lights and had too many mechs in the way, it was pretty easy to mount the strip over the the holes. The budget pack of clips I found are a bit too big, so there's still a bit of back and forth play, but I don't think there'll be enough movement to cause any issues. pasted_image (resized).png

    I hooked the strip up to a dedicated 5v line+fuse coming from my ATX PSU, and it seems to be lighting fine with just that power coming in at one end (I was sorta expecting needing to provide more power somewhere along the length), even with all the lights on (which will never happen in practice). I had to make another little adapter board for my RPi-powered MPU to add in a 3V - 5V level shifter since the RPi only puts out 3V, but that seems to be fine for driving the whole strip, with an added 4ft of wire between the board and the beginning of the strip. Time will tell whether the electrical noise interferes with the lights once everything is playing, but hopefully they'll be okay (plus I plan to refresh them at 30Hz so any glitches should clear up quick).

    2 weeks later
    #217 6 months ago

    I'd been getting tired of using the projector for everything, and with the lights taking away half of its use, I figured it was a good time to get to work on the other part of that: the cards themselves. I'd realized early on that having all the cards just printed on the playfield, unchangeable, would have a possibility for people finding certain cards to go for every time which would make the game less fun, and having the projector able to deal a random set of cards onto the playfield solidified that worry. And then I found some cheap LCD displays on ali express while searching for the main screen I installed before pasted_image (resized).png
    Turns out they were slightly narrower than the spacing on the drop targets:pasted_image (resized).png
    Thanks to the provided example code it wasn't very hard to get one to display a card using a raspberry pipasted_image (resized).png
    But could you drive more than one easily? I made a little board that had a shift register on it to control the CS line of the display, so that I could theoretically wire up to 8 displays to itpasted_image (resized).png
    pasted_image (resized).png
    pasted_image (resized).png
    So far so good! Now, could I fit those displays in front of the targets? I did some measurements of the 3 bank in the middle and printed a bracket
    pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
    And they fit! barely.pasted_image (resized).png
    I programmed a simple tcp server to control them, and hooked the 3 displays into the gameezgif-6-135b35652cf6.gif
    Alright, proof of concept complete. Time to go way too far with this.

    I'll need to custom make a bracket for every bank in the game, since they're all different manufacturers+sizes
    pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
    And since I'm already getting into this, why not throw some other single displays around the playfield?
    pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
    Now, can I actually drive them all? No. I lose signal around the fourth board. A lot of learning about signal integrity and I've got another version of my board with some termination resistors and a buffer chip to redrive the signal between each boardpasted_image (resized).png
    And with that, I can barely get all my displays to workezgif-6-41294cba7114.gif

    So I cross my fingers and cut a lot of big holes in my playfield. The amount of missing wood at this point is starting to concern me a bit, but it seems to hold up okay when the side rails are attached. pasted_image (resized).png
    Wiring them up is also fun. So many ribbon cables! Almost looks like a Spooky game...pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
    And once I finally got the whole playfield reassembed...ezgif-6-4edc602f050f.gif
    Success!

    #218 6 months ago

    Super cool man!

    Gameplay wise, what are you thinking? Player gets two cards, then shoots for the next cards to attempt to get the best hand?

    #219 6 months ago

    Holy crap zacaj that is completely ridiculously cool!! And plain ridiculous too lol, haven’t seen anything quite like this.. those tft displays are rad! Great work

    #220 6 months ago

    This is wild. You’re a madman.

    #221 6 months ago

    Really cool concept. Looks great from the topside.

    #222 6 months ago
    Quoted from djreddog:

    Ante Up?
    All In?
    The Gambler?
    Table Stakes?
    Party Poker?
    Poker Party?
    The Pinnacle?
    Cashing In/Out?
    Final Table?
    The Showdown?
    Poker Casino?

    The gambler you can make it western themed (maverick-style)
    I also like Cashed In. You can have a money green themed and throw in some dollar bills, signs, etc.

    #223 6 months ago

    wow looks really cool

    #224 6 months ago

    That is insane. I mean this as a compliment.

    #225 6 months ago

    Whooooah, fabulous!

    #226 6 months ago

    Finally got the lights all working, and coded a simple attract mode animation for them. Originally I was trying to use an existing server I found for controlling ws2812 leds, but it kept crashing and wasn't very suited for pinball animations, so I coded a simple server myself which just handles a light being on, flashing, or pulsing, with settings for frequency and phase. I think I will need to tweak my colors a bit though. Not sure if it's because of the specific leds I got, or the way the opaque white inserts are coloring it, but everything feels a bit 'pastel'...

    ezgif-2-1d08d4f7b5a2.gif

    The downside to doing all your leds as one giant strip, I guess, is that if you want to change them later it's more complicated. And of course, once I got everything together here, I realized I'd forgotten to install a light for the lower playfield diverter. So I guess at some point I'll need to cut a bit from my left over led strip, attach that there, then cut my existing strip somewhere, and run the data line over to the new led and back again.

    I'm also thinking about maybe having a sort of 'wizard mode' accessible after you get all the main hands (at least straight, flush, full house, since technically those cover all the 'lower' hands too. maybe four of a kind, but it's hard to guarantee there's ever a deal with 4 of the same card), so it'd be nice to have a few more inserts in the barren center area between the screen+slings for that. Just when I thought I had all the lights/etc figured out!

    #227 6 months ago

    Those displays are sooooo cool!

    #228 6 months ago

    Amazing! Absolutely amazing!

    #229 6 months ago

    While I had the playfield apart, I also made a few layout tweaks
    pasted_image (resized).png
    This is the guide for the upper left flipper. Old guide on the bottom. It had a split in it for a standup, but it turns out the flipper can't hit that angle. No matter how I aligned the eject plunger, I couldn't get a clean feed past that gap. So I made a new, one piece guide and installed it. Now the ball comes down nice and smooth to the flipper. Almost too fast, to be honest. I need to play with that mech a bit, see if I can get it to give a slower kick.pasted_image (resized).png

    pasted_image (resized).png
    A bit hard to see here, but I added slots for adjusting the height of the left outlane posts. Eventually I'd like these to be slots in the wood too, with machine screw posts, so they can be precision adjusted, but right now the area underneath is too messy to safely install that.

    pasted_image (resized).png
    The center post on the right side got a horizontal cut, since it can't really be moved vertically due to the feed from the shooter lane. Also replaced the upper end of the shooter/outlane divider rail with two mini posts. I'm not sure how that will affect the play in that area, but hopefully it does something. Previously it didn't seem like there was much to 'do' over there. You'd just watch the ball balance on the center post and fall one way or another, and any ball hitting the wood rail would just die and go down the outlane. So I'll see how this goes.

    #230 6 months ago

    Its great how you are throwing so many custom parts in the machine.

    1 week later
    #231 6 months ago

    I'd been considering something similar, and then I saw these on the Sonic Spinball homebrew and got a link to the strips, so I added some light strips along the sides for GI. Actual GI bulbs had never really been in the plan, since they'd need to squeeze into some tight spots. Plus there aren't that many spots to put them, which confused me a bit at first. When you look at the playfield though, other than the slingshots and around the ramp, there's pretty much no spaces where a GI bulb could even go. When designing I like to make the most of the space, but maybe it's a bit too far?

    I got some plain warm white LED strips, and some V channel guides for them:
    pasted_image (resized).png
    Then I 3D printed some supports for them that stick into the triangular hole in the back of the channelspasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
    I mounted them onto the side rails, instead of to the cabinet like Sonic + Pinstadiums do, so there's no need to remove them when lifting the playfield. They sit about a millimeter below the glass
    pasted_image (resized).png
    pasted_image (resized).png
    The illumination doesn't cover the whole playfield quite as nicely as I'd like, but if I wanted anything else I think I'd need to custom design some channels to aim them at like a 30 degree angle instead of the 45 or 0 angles commercially available.
    If I'd planned these from the beginning, I might have made some custom metal channels, with some stronger metal mounting posts, so that I could actually set the playfield upside down on them for servicing (and maybe some spare attachments at the front to make it even). I like the idea of the playfield having complete protection when removed from the cab. I've got the support rails on the bottom covering that side, so I can easily pull the playfield out, set it down on a table or on end, and not worry about the mechs, but currently if I want to set it upside down I need to use the wooden back wall and manually install some more wood posts to the hangers in the front, which isn't too convenient.
    pasted_image (resized).png
    I'm not sure if that'd be worth the effort though, and I'm not sure how satisfied I am with this technique. For a whitewood like this that I've been winging the design on a bit, they're really nice. No need to make concessions for them in your plans or worry about wiring, etc, but they also have an annoying glare on the playfield. It's especially noticeable here since I have a perfectly flat acrylic sheet on the playfield, while a clearcoat would probably be a bit more subdued. The glare isn't in the main play areas, so it's not a deal breaker (they're better than no lighting!), but I'll have to think more about other options or tweaks to this in the future

    While the coverage isn't completely even, these new lights do illuminate the back wall (or lack thereof!) though, so I'll need to think about that more at some point. Technically you could airball right over the back wall and into the cab currently, but I've never seen that happen. It also illuminates that there's a ton of dust on my playfield :/ Sadly that's what happens when your game sits for months with no glass on it, and I don't think that'll be changing any time soon. I may need to station a shop vac nearby for convenience though.... There's still a lot of ball hangups, etc currently so I couldn't really have the glass on for too long anyway. Actually I don't even have a sheet of glass for it since I stole it for another game to replace some non-tempered stuff; and I don't have a lockdown bar for it either. At some point I'm going to need to put a focus on getting some glass, getting a bar, installing an action button, and then dealing with all the stuff that keeps me taking the glass off: I'll need to make some plastics (easy, but may need to swap some posts to mount them), add some more stuff to prevent airballs from getting stuck places, make an apron of some kind, etc.

    #232 6 months ago

    Are you bringing this to Pinfest?

    #233 6 months ago

    Loving the lighting! If you want to reduce glare, could try 3D printing long strips in clear about 2mm thick that would sit in front of the led strips to disperse the light

    #234 6 months ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    Loving the lighting! If you want to reduce glare, could try 3D printing long strips in clear about 2mm thick that would sit in front of the led strips to disperse the light

    It's already got some semi transparent white guards that came with the shields ("milky white"). Do you think 3d printed would do any better? I do happen to have a reel of transparent filament now...

    Quoted from djreddog:

    Are you bringing this to Pinfest?

    Not sure. Definitely want to bring it to pintastic when it happens since they always have a bunch of them, if I can get it done enough in time.

    #235 6 months ago

    Ah ok. Not sure, but I have windows for a bldg on mine and with between 2 and 5mm of clear material I get a great light disbursement so there’s not a hot spot - may have to play with infill.

    #236 6 months ago

    Sometimes to get an idea as you fall asleep saturday night.... and then spend your sunday making it workpasted_image (resized).png

    My upper magnet has never worked how I wanted. My goal was basically just to be able to shoot the left orbit and feed the upper right flipper. Magnet couldn't grab the ball. So I added the up post. That wasn't 100% reliable at even catching the ball, and when it did, the magnet still couldn't grab it somehow. So I cut the hole all the way through the playfield to give the magnet more power. Didn't help at all. When I made the new plastic playfield, I didn't even bother cutting a hole for the up-post. My thought was, instead of shooting the left orbit to feed the magnet, I should be able to shoot the spinner, and use the spinner to activate the magnet, since the ball would basically be in perfect position over the magnet when the spinner switch closed. But that, of course, didn't work at all. Magnets suck! I ripped out the magnet. Maybe I should just forget this entire idea about feeding the upper flipper. I basically only ever used it for one of my four multiballs which had a jackpot only hittable from the upper right flipper; it seems like a waste to put a whole mech in just for that. But the multiball was based entirely around that upper flipper shot (it's basically a lawlor throwback themed multiball), so I'd have to rewrite that whole multiball somehow. Plus then I'd have no need for the target under the upper left flipper which I've gone to a lot of pains to implement. There'd barely be any reason to have the upper flipper at that point; all it'd be useful for is trying to feed back to the upper playfield area if you drained out of it to the right.

    So I needed some other way to feed the upper flipper. Before, on the left orbit, approach, I'd tried to figure out how to work a diverter in there, but there just wasn't room any way I could find. While watching the magnet fail to catch the ball via the spinner shot I thought, it'd be cool if I could like, have a raise-up captive ball. I've always liked how captive balls feed flippers but you don't see them in too many games. But there was no room in front of the spinner to try to make something like that due to the screen+lights. And I couldn't really put it behind the spinner since I had a giant hole there from the magnet and you wouldn't be able to see the captive ball well to aim for it. But I figured you don't really need a captive ball at all. Really you just need a wall for the ball to hit to fall back to the upper flipper. A single drop target that could raise up would be cool, but I think the rebound would be too fast. I really just want to deaden the ball and let it gravity feed for the shot to be makable.

    Thus: ezgif-7-0d4e1836215f.gif
    In the up position, the ball goes underneath just like normal. When it's down it sorta catches the ball and lets it fall back down again. It isn't always a perfect feed but you can always get a flip at itezgif-7-2af28edd418f.gif

    #237 6 months ago

    Wow this is a great idea!

    #238 6 months ago

    Great idea and execution! Little concerned about how that will hold up to being hit with balls but otherwise very cool, always some new inventions on this build I love it!

    #239 6 months ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    Great idea and execution! Little concerned about how that will hold up to being hit with balls but otherwise very cool, always some new inventions on this build I love it!

    Yeah, that's my concern too. My hope is that having it go around the spinner bracket will give it some support, but the back side still needs to hold itself together. I've been pleasantly surprised with the durability of my plastic parts though, so I'll just leave it for now and see. I can always add some more bracing above it (although I'd rather not make it any bigger and more noticeable if possible, I don't really like having stuff like this above the playfield), or at worst I guess I could replace the main part with a small strip of metal and just use the 3d print for the brackets on the ends

    #240 6 months ago

    In between these playfield changes I've been making a bunch of tweaks to the code. I added another multiball, rounding out the main hands (straight, flush, and full house). Added a mystery award which is really fun but hard to explain via text. Lots of tweaks and bug fixes. But mainly I've been working on sound!

    The game now has more than 100 sound effects and callouts (and still many to go). At first I was agonizing over trying to find some good sounds that fit everything well, etc, but I've realized that you don't need a 10/10 sound effect to add quality to the game. Even a 5/10 sound effect is way better than no sound effect, as long as you've got them everywhere. Sadly I've also realized that making 5/10 sound effects is way harder than I'd have guessed. I've spent a bunch of time with a mic, a few poker chips, and a deck of cards, making random sounds by hitting them against each other, etc, trying to get some good, real, 'poker' sounds to put in.

    On the software side, I did some research into how other games handle sounds. Playing one sound is simple enough, but it seemed like if I just played every sound that came in (and every call out, etc) things would get messy. You never want two callouts at once, and I figured you may not want multiple sounds at once either, so there needs to be some system in place for that. Sadly, it turns out that getting Java to play a sound, and then kill that sound mid way, adjust volume on the fly, or even just get the length of the sound are all more complicated than you'd expect. I ended up writing a custom mixer to combine a music channel, a voice channel, and a few sound effects channels together on the fly, which gave me the level of control I wanted. Currently I've got a simple system set up where, if a sound is playing on a channel, nothing will interrupt it (after like 50ms). If you try to play a sound but there's already another one going, that new sound is ignored. If two sounds come in at once (which happens a lot since I might have the base game make one sound effect, but then the mode you're in at the time makes another), I just choose the longer one. Originally that was a hack until I could code some proper 'priority' system in to let me manually order the sounds but so far it's worked surprisingly well so I haven't had the need to go further. I've also implemented some ducking, so the music and effects will get quieter when there's voice playing, and the music will get quieter when there's effects playing. Took a bit of play to get that to sound natural, but once it did it worked well.

    #241 6 months ago

    Your custom coding work on this is incredible! Can’t imagine adding that to the mix with everything else it takes to build a pin.

    1 week later
    #242 5 months ago

    When I started working on this machine, I had a pretty simple power system. 3V for my boards, 5V for the RPi. Both coming from an ATX PSU. 25V for solenoids from an old gottlieb transformer. Power switch turned everything off, as normal, and I added an extra switch inside to cut the high voltage if necessary. A few early mishaps with coils locking on while the playfield was down made me realize the high votlage switch inside wasn't that easy to access, so I added a secondary power switch on the bottom for the high voltage. Very useful, I recommend that for any homebrew... Then I added 12V for the screen. And then 12V for the audio amp. Then another 3V line for the mini displays. And another 5V line for the LEDs. And another 5V line for the second RPi to power the mini displays. And another 12V line for the light strips. Each of these had its own fuse, etc, all coming from the ATX PSU. Luckily I designed a power splitter for the ATX-24 connector that could support all that, which has somehow managed to be future proof enough to keep me going and keep everything vaguely organized. Then I had to move each Pi to its own separate supply, due to noise issues coming into the amp.

    However, there's a problem with that. I have three separate processes across my two Pis that currently need to be manually started, as I haven't made them automatic yet, and they sometimes need some massaging. My Pi also has a weird issue where about 1/4 times you power it on the OpenGL drivers just... won't work. I can't find any solution for it, so my only real option is to just repeatedly reboot the Pi and restart the processes until they work. Plus I have another weird issue that I've never been able to track down where the Pi won't boot if the cabinet switch matrix returns are connected. Can't figure out what could be causing that, and I'm hoping that a new MPU board revision will magically fix it. But in the meantime it means that, when I turn the machine on, I need to first reach in and unplug a connector, wait 5 seconds, then plug it back in. Then I walk over to my computer, SSH in, start all my code. If the driver is dead, I need to reboot, then pull the connector again. Sometimes this can end up being a 5-10 minute ordeal. My solution? Just don't turn the game off! So instead I reach in and unplug the LED power supply, light strip power supply, and mini display power supply. Then I grope around and find the power button on my screen and turn it off, and then I reach under and kill the high voltage. Game now appears 'off', but the Pis are still running. Easier, but it still leaves me in a situation where sometimes I avoid playtesting my own game because it's too much of a pain to turn on! So that had to stop. I realized that, in the end, all the systems I want to turn off are coming through the ATX supply, and my Pis are on their own supplies, so really I just need to turn the ATX off. If I'd planned this from the beginning I probably would just install a third power switch, but I don't feel like taking everything apart again to do that. So instead, I replaced my internal HV switch (which I never use anymore) with two extra 'service' outlets, and plugged the Pis directly into them. So now the Pis are just 'always on' as long as the game is plugged in, which is fine with me. Meanwhile I have a primary power switch which kills everything in the game except the Pis, and an extra switch to turn the HV off if needed. Much better

    1 month later
    #243 4 months ago

    Small updates...

    Added a bunch of high scores to the attract mode. Besides stuff like a regular leader board, "best spinner rip", "most hands won", etc I also added a 'lowest scores' board for fun, since technically players can do so bad at poker that they end up in the negative. Could be an interesting thing to compete on!

    Had another playtester over for a few hours of gameplay. I noticed they weren't really reading some of the mini screens much. Part of that, I think is just because they're generally really weird. It's hard to get used to looking all over the playfield to see what the writing says. But there's a second issue, which is that some screens were just hard to read. Part of this is due to the viewing angle I think. Displays towards the back of the playfield are both farther away and at a more extreme angle, so they lose contrast. Both of those make them harder to read. But the other thing I realized is that my larger rectangular displays were much dimmer than the smaller square displays I was using for the cards themselves. Each of these displays has a BL pin on them, which is supposedly for the backlight, but I was never able to find much documentation about it, so currently I have it disconnected, and the backlight does seem to work. I wondered if maybe the larger displays needed some extra power on that pin or something, so after failing to find any solid info, I gave up and just started sending random signals in to see what happens. It seems like the BL pin is an active low 'disable' pin to turn it off. Not really useful to me. But while trying to find documentation on it, I also saw some places talking about 3.3V vs 5V. Apparently the actual controller chip on these display boards can run off either voltage, and some manufacturers include level shifting chips so either voltage can be used to communicate. But again, I had no documentation for my boards, which I'd sourced from a random shop on ali express from china in bulk. So I figured, only one way to know for sure!, and just hooked one of the displays up to 5V to see if it smoked or not. Luckily it worked fine, AND got brighter! So I had to rewire all my displays get 5V for power instead of 3V :/

    Playtesting also revealed a lot of switch issues. My modified small rollover buttons keep getting stuck in a few places, leading to the game going crazy or balls getting stuck, or sometimes just missing switch hits. I'm hopeful that when I get my CNC fixed and cut a new one, I can align these better, but I'm getting really tired of dealing with issues regarding this. Need to come up with a more permanent solution. I've ordered some proximity sensors to play with, and I also have some other ideas regarding the rollover design to play with.

    Around the third hour of playtesting, my new thicker acrylic playfield cover started buckling slightly I'm not sure what causes the heat to do this at this point. I left it for like 8 hours plus with the game on, and had no issues, but now after a few hours I'm having issues? My only other thought at this point is that maybe it's the heat of the flipper coils themselves causing the issue. I've noticed that, especially after long games requiring lots of cradling, the lower flipper coils get quite hot and you can smell them sometimes even, despite the EOS being adjusted properly. I think this is due to the capacitor I've added to the power supply to give them more power. I've ordered some high wattage resistors to attempt to wire in series with the hold winding in a way that they'll reduce the strength of the hold circuit (which is already plenty strong) without affecting the power winding. If that doesn't work, then I may have to mount some tiny fans like people are doing on newer games in order to cool them off.

    On the subject of heat, I've also gotten some 120mm computer fans to try to get some airflow moving through the whole cabinet. Even if running the electronics minus the flippers isn't enough to affect the playfield, it still does get quite hot in there and I don't like it. I've also realized that my RPi is mounted upside down on my MPU board, which probably isn't helping things. RPi 4s apparently already run hot, and I had installed some aftermarket heat sinks on mine, but a passive heat sink on the CPU doesn't matter that much if it's upside down. So I've designed a new version of the MPU board which will mount above the RPi to fix that. It should also give me enough space to give the RPi a small dedicated cooling fan if needed.

    Pintastic New England has announced their next show will be this November, so bringing the game there is my new goal for the machine. I think it's achievable, in some form, but that means it needs to be able to survive a full day of the public playing it without me being around. At a minimum, I need to fix all these ball hangups. That'll mean fixing some switches, tweaking a few areas of the game slightly, and installing plastics and an apron in case of air balls. I also need to get the action button installed on my lockdown bar to get that presentable. If I can get the game bulletproofed, it'd also be really cool to get some cabinet art, but that might be beyond my capabilities right now. Time will tell...

    3 weeks later
    #244 3 months ago

    Got some 30 ohm resistors and mounted them in series with the hold winding of the flipper coils. I calculated that resistance by first calculating the amp draw of the hold circuit at 25V, then calculating the resistance to get the same amp draw at 40V (since that's what my flippers run at due to the cap on the supply). So theoretically my flippers should now flip with their same power, but once held be much weaker (producing less heat), but not any weaker than the same coils would be on a 25V supply (where presumably they don't get hot, though I have no machine handy to test on). Testing showed that the flippers did stay cool much longer, although they do heat up slowly. Instead of being too hot to comfortably touch within 30 seconds though, they were still just warm after 3 minutes, so I figured it must be working. Sadly, after some more play testing.... the plastic still bubbled up So I guess I need to get more aggressive about this. Next I'll be taking some 120mm computer fans and installing them at both ends of the cabinet, to hopefully blow all the hot air out the back. I'm still not really sure where this heat is coming from, or why it doesn't happen when I actually put a heat source under the playfield but, fingers crossed

    2 months later
    #245 35 days ago

    For a long time now I've had my start button doubling as an action button (I disabled restarting a game, and then made the start button trigger the action button code snippet once the ball has been plunged), which has been a bit annoying, and hopefully is part of the reason why playtesters keep forgetting I have an action button (doh!). I've also been stealing a lockdown bar from my Whirlwind whenever I do playtesting because... I don't have a lockdown bar for this game!

    What I did have though is a really rusty spare lockdown bar sitting around. So I sandblasted it, then following McSquid's advice from his Sonic homebrew, drilled a hole in the bar, painted it black, and successfully mounted a flipper button in it using a 3d printed bracket. pasted_image (resized).png

    Then I had to get a switch in there!pasted_image (resized).png

    No problem, just drill two holes in the receiver to mount it, and then squeeze a switch in (with less than 1mm of spare room), snake some wires down, and wire it up. Working good so far, we'll see how it holds up during play

    #246 35 days ago

    Nice! I'd be tempted to drill another hole in the receiver to run the wires thru close to the switch, just to tuck them out of harms way..

    #247 35 days ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    Nice! I'd be tempted to drill another hole in the receiver to run the wires thru close to the switch, just to tuck them out of harms way..

    I was originally planning on that, but it has all the sliding parts for the actual locking mech under there so I worried they'd get caught if I couldn't route them super well

    #248 35 days ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    I was originally planning on that, but it has all the sliding parts for the actual locking mech under there so I worried they'd get caught if I couldn't route them super well

    Ah yeah that’s true, hadn’t fully considered that

    #249 35 days ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    Ah yeah that’s true, hadn’t fully considered that

    I hadn't either until I drilled a pilot hole centered under the button and hit them! All the slidy parts are at the very front of the receiver, and I was expecting the button to be much deeper into the game, like modern games with their custom lockdown bars have. But due to the design of the williams bar, I had to put the hole closer to the front to avoid some of the bracing

    #250 34 days ago

    Having no luck with the flipper resistors, I went to the nuclear option regarding the heat buildup under the playfield, and installed 6 computer fans over all the holes on the cabinet to provide some airflow. Of course, it somehow had zero effect. So, as a last ditch effort, I ordered some PET-G to make a new playfield covering, thinking maybe the acrylic was the issue. To further correct some of the issues with my previous acrylic plastic, I took some rubbings on a large piece of paper and got it scanned at staples.pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
    I'd done similar before with a piece of paper that I'd punched holes in to mark the positions of screws, etc, but some of those were missed or didn't come through well, and I'd also added the holes for all the screens since then, so I needed an update. Based on that, I made an updated CAD file:pasted_image (resized).png

    Sourcing the PET-G at a reasonable price was a bit of a pain, so I didn't want to waste it. Luckily, I found that I could make serviceable test cuts with my CNC router on plain paper, so I did a few iterations with that to fine tune things. The cuts weren't perfect (rough edges, occasional tears) but it was accurate enough to be usefulpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
    Once I was satisfied with all the positioning, I cut the full playfield in PET-G pasted_image (resized).png
    After reassembling everything again, I did a test game..... and the PET-G buckled just like the acrylic.

    So I needed a new approach. Long term the clearest solution here is just to glue everything down, but I don't have any art ready yet and I'm not sure if I could apply and later remove the glue cleanly without damaging the wood. I'd been hoping to eventually cut a new playfield wood with the CNC, but as I continue to have problems with the depth of cut with the PET-G I don't have much confidence in getting that working quickly, so I'm still stuck with my original hand-cut plywood right now.

    So I decided to go the other way right now, and instead of attaching everything down even better with glue to prevent the buckling, I decided to just attach as little of it as possible, and make a plastic more like the standard playfield protectors sold for other pins. The new protector would only be held down at three positions (the three posts closest to the center of the playfield), which should keep it from moving, while allowing the plastic to expand/contract as needed to keep from buckling. pasted_image (resized).png

    Originally I'd rejected this idea when starting to experiment with the plastic covering, as I didn't want the ball to 'sink in' to the empty areas over the screens. But that was also with a thinner material. I'm now using 0.06" plastic, which is much more rigid, and doesn't seem to bend much as it supports a ball over the 9" screen even without being attached down at both sides, so I think it should still play fine.

    Now... more test cuts! pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png
    Unlike with the full plastic where I only needed to worry about the holes for the screws, here I need to match up to every contour of the ball guides, etc. Which of course I mostly bent by hand/eye and don't have any accurate digital files for. And of course I didn't think to etch them onto the plastic when I got it scanned either. Not a big deal though. I can give even 0.2-0.3" of space around the edges of things safely without affecting the ball (although it looks a bit weird), so I don't need to be super accurate here. And thus, I cut another sheet of PET-G. And also order 2 more spares since I'm now out of stock and I hate to wait for things to ship. pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png

    Some things weren't quite as accurate as I thought, but in the end there weren't any major issues. Only two places touched the edges of the plastic, and since it's PET-G it's easy to trim by hand pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png

    So now I start reassembling the whole playfield AGAIN to make sure that this still all plays fine. I'm fairly confident this should work though.

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