(Topic ID: 212424)

Pincraft - A Homebrew Pinball Story (Kings of Steel Conversion by Myth Pinball)

By MythMaker

4 years ago

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  • 298 posts
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  • Latest reply 4 months ago by MythMaker
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There are 298 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 6.
#1 4 years ago

Hey everyone... My name is Brian and my son is Connor (age: 9)

We have been in the pinball hobby for many years, most of you will recognize me from the pinball tournament scene. I ran the P3 tournaments and NPL tournaments for many years. Since having a family I haven't had the time to run tournaments anymore, but I have still be active in the pinball scene. You can usually find me at the Railroad Street Bar and Grill in a pinball league or hanging out down at the Pinball Gallery in Malvern.

Brian and Connor

Now onto the project! My son got very interested in the top of a home made pinball machine after watching the adventures of Ben Heck with AMH and after visiting the Pinball Gallery and seeing Total Nuclear Annihilation. After telling him the story and showing him the prototype videos he was very interested in making a pinball machine of his very own. So I started thinking of options.

Luckily we had a Kings of Steel sitting around which was not in very good shape. Destined to be sold or parted out, instead we would use it as a great base for a new machine.

To make the first project easier, we have decided to keep most of the basic layout and mechs but we wanted to make some tweaks to make the game play faster and be more fun.

But First we needed a theme! My son had gotten into Minecraft and loved the building aspect of the game. So we decided to make a new pinball machine based loosely on the themes of Minecraft and came up with the name Pincraft which is to have all original content.

Pincraft - The Start

Now that we had a theme we needed to figure out some basic rules and how the game would flow. So I printed out a playfield map and we jotted down some ideas and ready to get to work!

We will try to keep this thread updated, but I can't promise any regular updates... so just follow us and stay tuned.

#2 4 years ago

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This game was the inspiration for our beginning... So thanks very much TNA for costing me tons of money and I am not even buying one (at least not yet)!

#3 4 years ago

We first wanted to prototype the changes to the layout while we still have a flipping game.

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Here is the overall layout of KOS, We know we wanted to make it a faster playing game. So one of the first ideas was to remove the right target and make a loop that goes all the way around the playfield to the upper left flipper.

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Prototyping with Cardboard and painters tape worked surprisingly well. Here is our new loop lane on the right.

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Of course we have to test the change... which Connor enjoyed quite a bit.

Next idea came from a game we were working on at the moment, what if we added a spinner to the lane as well. This worked great, and I love spinners so how can you go wrong!

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#4 4 years ago

Next we wanted to test auto opening and closing gates... as in the newer WPC style. This would allow the ball to loop all the way around if we wanted to or stop it to go to the top hole.

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We also wanted to test a drop target in front of the left gate. This would allow the ball to be shot towards the upper left flipper and then drop to make hitting the blue targets easier. Here we just used a red block taped to the playfield for testing.

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Then we added a new "jackpot" lane for the upper left flipper. This worked well. Ultimately I believe we are going to use a newton ball assembly here with a captive ball to hit the target.

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#5 4 years ago

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Play testing the game was lots of fun!

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Last for now we marked up the playfield with some ideas for the feature lamps... Helps to give a visual of the rules.

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#6 4 years ago

Now that we had an idea of the rules and the layout on our flipping game, its time to say good bye to Kings of Steel and hello to Pincraft.

The first step was to strip the game of all the boards... These won't be needed as we will be going to the P3-ROC system.

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Connor wondering why I am taking his picture.

Time to remove the boards and even the light board.

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Game is looking quite bare at the moment.

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All the Kings of Steel parts are wrapped up and labeled ready to be sold. (PM me if you need anything)

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#7 4 years ago

After all that work it is time to take a break. Connor playing our hybrid SW:E1 / RFM....

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Doing quite well I must say.. he got to Attack Mars all by himself even betting my best score on the game (for the moment anyways)..

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#8 4 years ago

nice work and will be following, enjoy the journey

and I will add it to the homebrew index thread as well

#9 4 years ago

OK - Now back to work... (and a word of warning to Bally owners)

We had no plans to strip the cabinet at this time.. However we found the paint / sticker to peel off just by slightly peeling it.

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So a word of warning PROTECT YOUR EDGES!!!! At all cost... If there is any peeling edges seal them IMMEDIATELY!

Connor had lots of fun peeling the pieces off.

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Amazed at how easy it was:

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Took about 5 minutes for this paint to peel off and strip the cabinet bare

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And here is our pile of stickers left over...

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Well that was quite easy! Ready for any artwork in the future.

#10 4 years ago

I had to take a few days off for business.. Next update involves stripping the playfield and preparing for new hardware... stay tuned

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from swinks:

nice work and will be following, enjoy the journey
and I will add it to the homebrew index thread as well

Thanks for the add to the list... it is appreciated!

1 week later
#12 4 years ago

Next step in this pinball journey was to prepare the playfield for new mechs and wiring. Since we are going to be going with RGB lamps, all the old playfield lamps and wiring had to go! So lets destroy this playing kings of steel game! There is no going back at this point....

First we removed all the lamp boards from the game

Connor removing the lamps

Looking pretty bare already, but the other lamp board had to go as well..

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Now we had both lamp boards removed....

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#13 4 years ago

Time to get rid of all this pesky wiring... No need to be neat about it, although we will be reusing a lot of the wiring later.

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All the wiring has to go.

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Connor helping to clip the wiring at all the attachment points...

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At this point the entire wiring harness has been removed from the game.

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#14 4 years ago

Now we need to get of all the pesky light sockets...

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These things are a complete pain to remove! Since you have to basically dig under the staples with a screw driver to raise them enough to get under them with a pliers to remove them.

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Hours of work later all the light sockets are removed. Cleaning the inserts and playfield of saw dust now!

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And there you have it... one completely cleared playfield ready for new wiring and mechs!

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Next update we will start adding the new mechs to the playfield in preparation for wiring.

#15 4 years ago

Now its time for some fun! We are going to start installing some of the new mechs!

First thing we wanted to do was add computer controlled gates to the game. This will allow the ball to loop around the game and make the upper hole area a more special shot.

Here is a WPC style computer controlled gate...

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First problem we ran into is the existing mounting holes will not work, seems this isn't as simple as we thought!

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So we had to remove the t-nuts and drill new mounting holes, including the new hole for the spring...

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Besides chipping the bottom layer of plywood slightly, it is a good fit.

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Next we add the control coil to the bottom of the playfield, this is what allows the computer to raise the gate

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Connor testing out the new gate mech! Works great.

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#16 4 years ago

Next we decided to add a drop target in front of the left gate. This will allow you to bounce a ball of the target and return it to the upper left flipper.

Here is the WPC style drop target mech with control arm (from PinballLife)

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I measured a drop target hole from Space Shuttle and made a template out of a piece of balsa wood.

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Testing out placement, need to make sure the top side and bottom side is clear. Then traced around the opening with a paint pen.

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Installing the mech in the hole went great...

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Here is the new drop target!

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Installed from the bottom side

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#17 4 years ago

Testing the new drop target mech is tons of fun!

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Connor does a good job of making sure everything is lined up great.

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Ball returns perfectly to the upper left flipper.

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Next we will work on the new scoreboard display and prep on the cabinet while waiting for more parts for the playfield.

#18 4 years ago

Playing around with the right area of the game we are trying to figure out what we are doing over here.. We bought a stern shooter lane ramp to use over the right loop around, so trying to play around with placement...

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Also we have this extra scoop assembly setting around, thinking about using this on the right side.

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Ultimately we decided to mount the scoop in a strange placement where you cannot shoot it directly, it will be mounted to the right between the posts. A diverter will allow you to shoot the scoop by looping around from the left.

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#19 4 years ago

Now we took a break from the playfield to work on the cabinet and get it prepped.

We bought a Lepai LP-168HA 2.1 2x40W Mini Amplifier + 1x68W Sub Output available from Parts Express at:

I believe this is the same AMP that is used on TNA. I have used it in the past on my Pin2k cabinet conversion.

First we need to build a mounting plate from some scrap wood

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Now we work on placing the amp

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And here it is in the cab

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All secured down, we are going to use the service outlet for power so we don't tap the 12v line any more.

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#20 4 years ago

Time to work on our new score display. Picked up some plywood from the local hardware store.

Connor sanding the first cut of the plywood...

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Testing the first fit into the cabinet...

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Seems to fit pretty good, now we need to map out the speaker and display cut-outs.

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Time to drill the holes for the jigsaw

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Holes in each corner so the jigsaw can get started...

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Everything all cutout... I ended up using a dremel for the round holes as they were a bit tight for the jigsaw.

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Filling some of the splitting of the plywood layers after cutting

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And the first coat of paint!

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#21 4 years ago

Getting the hinge right on the backboard was a really pain... We wanted to be able to hinge the display down to make servicing easier at least while the game was in development.

I ended up re-purposing the light board hinge. I needed to add extra wood pieces to the head to be able to attach this hinge.

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We then used standard gate latches to keep the backbox upright. Warning if you choose to use these, they will need to be taped if you transport the game as they love to come loose if moved.

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Here is the new display board in the game... Still needs speaker grills but otherwise pretty much complete

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Connor showing off the new display, also note the upgraded speakers in the game from flipper fidelity. The sub mounting is temporary, will most likely need an upgraded mount.

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And here it is in its hinged down version...

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LCD Display is from Pinball Life

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I was a bit concerned with how fragile the LCD display seemed, so I added a piece of plexi-glass in front of the display, it actually gives it a nice gloss finish as well...

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#22 4 years ago

great work, and you and your son would be loving doing this together...

#23 4 years ago

Looks like a nice project, with a lot of fun for the both of you.

#24 4 years ago

Great project .. looking forward to being invited over for the launch party! Go Connor!

#25 4 years ago

This is cool! Looking good

#26 4 years ago

Awesome, looking forward to watching this project come along!

#27 4 years ago

Following- awesome work so far!!

#28 4 years ago

Very cool father and son project! Enjoy it!

#29 4 years ago

Thanks for all the kind messages, it is greatly appreciated! This will be a very long project involving lots of work and I am dedicated to showing all of it to either inspire others or at least for others to appreciate how much effort is required.

#30 4 years ago

Next step is to wire up the amplifier to get the sound system going!

Here is the back of the amp with the four speaker wires and wires to the sub woofer.

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Decided with adding more power supplies in, even if temporarily.. I would add a power strip into the game to make it easy to work on.

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Here is the new connector for the speakers. I attempted to buy a matching connector to the flipper fidelity set, but instead it was wrong. So just re-wired it anyways. This connector is important to make removing the head easier in the future.

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Here is the backbox speakers and display all wired up!

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After wiring everything up we realized most of the wiring loom in the cabinet will not be used... So lets remove it!

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Connor removing some wires, always fun! (putting them back not as much)

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Here is the cabinet all cleaned up with just our speaker wiring in place.

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And now it is time to start P-Roc-in! Here is the first PROC board installed in the game. A SW-16 for the cabinet switches.

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#31 4 years ago

After testing out the sound system, it turned out our bass speaker mount was not working at all as planned... The speaker was rattling and is going to need a better mount.

So lets make one..

First grabbed a spare piece of plywood and marked out the ends of the circle.

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Now it is time for makeshift tools. Since I didn't have a compass I used a nail with a wire wrapped around it and a pencil. Worked great!

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here is the circle all cut out...

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Now I need to add holes to countersink the bolts used to hold the speaker firm.

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And here is our new mount in the cabinet...

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Worked great! Now I can consider the speaker system done and working well.

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#32 4 years ago

Time for a break from pinball! We stopped by the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, NJ. The kids had a blast. What a wonderful collection of pinball machines all in very decent shape and the admission was reasonable.

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Connor loved playing the old woodrails. He loves the older pinball machines.

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And Gwen getting inspired from Bowen's videos of Attack From Mars... Enjoyed her game greatly.

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A great evening!

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#33 4 years ago

Well now that the cabinet is ready for the most part, its time to focus back on the playfield.

We decided to attempt to replace the ball area with a new scoop.

A few reasons:
- We wanted the game to be able to have multiball
- The Bally solution of the era was complex and the parts were hard to find
- The PROC and Skeleton Game will have this scoop code already written in.

Thanks pinball life again for the parts (no, I am not getting a discount.. not yet anyways)

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Connor removing all the old components in the scoop area.

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Thats all we did for now in the scoop... more is coming on this adventure soon!

#34 4 years ago

We are also trying to add a new diverter to the game. We purchased a LOTR diverter but now are trying to figure out where to place it.

Where does this go?

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After looking at it over and over again, it was almost impossible to test this... So lets make a version of the diverter out of wood (so we don't have the rod sticking out in the way!)

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Then lets tape it all to the playfield and give it a test!

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Connor's favorite part for sure! Worked great and added lots of variance to the game since the ball won't directly return to the flippers (hint: it goes right to the slings)

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Thats it for now! More updates coming soon...

#35 4 years ago

Keep it up- nice work!

#36 4 years ago

Now it is time to mount some boards!

We are going to use the P3-Roc system and decided to use the PD-16 controller boards and mount them in the head. The SW-16 and LED drivers will be mounted to the playfield to make wiring easier.

The P3-Roc board mounted...

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Two PD-16's sitting next door...

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And the head with all the boards mounted...

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#37 4 years ago

Next thing to add to the game was the diverter gate... This is a brand new mech that wasn't in the original game and was an idea I had after looking at the playfield layout.

Trying to find a good spot for the gate:

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Well I guess that was the spot...

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Connor screwing on the controlling mech, which is essentially a flipper mech with just a hold coil.

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Almost done...

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Shiny new mech (missing lots of parts yet, but thats ok!)

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Now it is time to figure out this shooter ramp and diverter puzzle...

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Only solution I could come up with is to fab a new side rail to hold the shooter ramp and allow the ball to roll smoothly...

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Also trying out a gate we found, this will be the skill shot of the game.

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#38 4 years ago

Now it is time to cut out the new scoop area. Nothing like putting a giant hole in your only playfield, kinda nerve wracking..

Step 1 was to make a template out of wood and line it up on the playfield...

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Then using a dremel cut out the whole and round the edges a bit...

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And there she is, a brand new scoop...

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And the underside view...

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This is a used scoop from RFM, it isn't super pretty but it will get the job done.

#39 4 years ago

Next area to tackle was the Newton ball assembly... luckily we already had an existing hole to use.

We found these rails from an on Time Warp part bin, and they looked just the right size.

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Now I made a template for the hole needed for the target and drilled it out. The F's next to the holes indicate that they need to be filled in at some point.

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Here is a re-used target (the right target) in place and working great!

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#40 4 years ago

During the break it was time to clean up the drop target assembly..

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A little Brasso and everything shined up nicely...

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Old KOS targets waiting a new home

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#41 4 years ago

Now it was time to work on the new ball trough area. This had me the most nervous of any of the hardware projects that we were working on.

Cutting out a huge hole in the only playfield we have and making sure everything is aligned right was no easy task.

Again I made a template out of wood to use to mark the playfield. Even after I made a few adjustments before starting the drilling.

Here is the start of the cutting the hole out.

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And then the saw stopped working.. couldn't figure out why for a few seconds...

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OPPS! Flipper mech was in the way. Luckily these can be easily rotated, so just removed it for now.

No more going back to kings of steel at this point!

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And here is the final cut out hole. I decided it bring it in a bit to accommodate the apron bracket.

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Amazingly the apron still fit on after installing the trough! This was a perfect fit... I honestly couldn't believe it.

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And here is the scoop sticking up...

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We did have one minor problem in that the old hole was a bit too long and the ball could technically get hung there. Simply solution was to just put some wire clamps at the end of the trough, no more ball hang!

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#42 4 years ago

Working on the side rail was a bit of a challenge.

After cutting it out we were test fitting it and it looks like it will work well.

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Still need to add some add some angle brackets to be able to mount it yet.

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But the fit looks pretty good.

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Next update we will continue to work on the side rail and ramps and finish getting the main playfield components in place including the second computer controlled gate and some new switches we will need to be able to activate features.

#43 4 years ago

Looking great! I appreciate all the detail you're putting into the post. Honestly, my build is going slowly in part because I'm terrified of screwing things up, so seeing what you guys are doing to minimize that risk (and also fixing the inevitable things that will still go wrong) is a real inspiration for me to get off my butt and make progress. Keep up the awesome work! I hope someday I'll have a kid that wants to spend as much time with me underneath the hood of a good pin as much as Connor does with you.

1 week later
#44 4 years ago

Next mission was to tackle this side rail... We needed to add angle brackets to secure it to the cabinet and the game. The shooter lane ramp then fits under this and goes over the side rail on its journey to the top roll overs.

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First step was to add some new holes to the bracket. This bracket is made of strap steel. This hole in particular was to attach to the side rail.

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Then we needed to create some corner brackets. This was done using the cutting wheel on a dremmel.

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Connor filing the end product nice and smooth...

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A slot had to be drilled out of the existing rail as an attachment point to the new rail.

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The rail in place with the shooter lane ramp (the protective plastic will be removed later...

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Here the rail is attached to the side rail. A hole was drilled to embed the nut into the rail so it doesn't stick out.

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And here are the other brackets in place. We used washers as spacers as they were a bit too tall. Easier to do this then cut more new holes into the rail.

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And a side view of the rail attachment point.

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Believe it or not though, this transition does cause some issues. The ball does hit the metal and bounce to the post and back out. We are going to need to put a piece of mylar or a ramp flap over this transition to make it more smooth in the future. Since the ball can travel both directions it is important this transition works both ways.

#45 4 years ago

Time to make some wiring looms... I ordered a bunch of connectors based on my other thread here:


First connectors I tackled were some of the serial cables.

I bought this cable online since it has two cables plus a ground cable. It is also shielded to help with electrical interference.

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Adding the connectors is kinda of a pain. I have a molex crimper but it takes lots of time.

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Here is one finished serial jumper cable

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And here are the jumper cables installed in the game. (minus some cable management yet)

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We also started working on the solenoid harness. We are going to have four connectors going to the game. To make sure the correct ones are plugged into the correct plug, we are color coding them.

2018-04-14 17.07.20 (resized).jpg

And here are the finished connectors:

2018-04-14 17.10.18 (resized).jpg

#46 4 years ago
Quoted from MythMaker:

Believe it or not though, this transition does cause some issues. The ball does hit the metal and bounce to the post and back out. We are going to need to put a piece of mylar or a ramp flap over this transition to make it more smooth in the future. Since the ball can travel both directions it is important this transition works both ways.

Maybe reverse the overlap of the pieces and put in a one-way gate? That might take away from the flow you were looking for, but it would certainly solve the problem. The other options would be to weld the two pieces together or have a machine shop laser cut the entire piece for you.

#47 4 years ago
Quoted from etlandfill:

Looking great! I appreciate all the detail you're putting into the post. Honestly, my build is going slowly in part because I'm terrified of screwing things up, so seeing what you guys are doing to minimize that risk (and also fixing the inevitable things that will still go wrong) is a real inspiration for me to get off my butt and make progress. Keep up the awesome work! I hope someday I'll have a kid that wants to spend as much time with me underneath the hood of a good pin as much as Connor does with you.

Thank you for the kind words. Each step of this process I am nervous I am going to screw up and it will come out bad. Then once you get into it and work on it you get into the mindset of solving the problem and just moving forward. Once you are done you usually can't figure out why you were so nervous in the first place.

If you find something feels too big to tackle that day, just do some low hanging fruit instead. At least then you are making some progress and it will help calm the nerves. For example we worked on the wiring harness a bit because I wasn't worried about screwing that up. But I was nervous about working on the backglass... so we tackled that the next day.

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from Pahuffman:

Maybe reverse the overlap of the pieces and put in a one-way gate? That might take away from the flow you were looking for, but it would certainly solve the problem. The other options would be to weld the two pieces together or have a machine shop laser cut the entire piece for you.

I was very worried about it in testing, but then we just put some green painters tape and that eliminated 95% of the problem. I believe a simple working of some mylar in the area will help the transition. I am thinking that or a combination of that and thin ramp metal will resolve the problem.

The game originally had it the other direction because there was a one way gate there. Unfortunately the new metal is much thicker, so making it the other direction would actually make the problem worse for the ball coming the other direction.

Best solution really would be one rail going all the way around. I am in the mindset of lets see how far this project gets before I worry about perfecting anything...

#49 4 years ago

Now it is time to create a backglass for the game! I didn't want the game sitting around in the gameroom while we are doing work looking so crappy. So decided we should make a proper temporary backglass for the game.

The idea was that it would be transparent so we could see through it to the PD-16 boards and the diagnosis lights making it easier to work on the game while in development. Later on if we wanted we could create a more proper design.

First thing we did was mock up the design in Photoshop. We started with the font and treatment for it. We wanted an 80s vibe to the game so we picked the font and logo below.

2018-04-15 11.44.23 (resized).jpg

Then we added in some awesome fade lines under the text..

2018-04-15 11.44.26 (resized).jpg

And then finally an "infinity" grid at the bottom for that full on 80s vibe.

2018-04-15 11.44.30 (resized).jpg

Then to make it easier to trace, we changed the color to a shade of green and inverse the graphic (remember, printing on the back side of the plastic)

2018-04-15 11.49.08 (resized).jpg

Then I used a software called postrazer to split the graphic into standard 8x11 sheets of paper for printing

2018-04-15 11.50.05 (resized).jpg

Then the paper sheets need to be trimmed to size and laid out

2018-04-15 12.11.11 (resized).jpg

And finally taped together.

2018-04-15 12.17.33 (resized).jpg

#50 4 years ago

Then the plexiglass gets traced on using paint markers. This part was tons of fun.

2018-04-15 12.57.46 (resized).jpg

Here you see the outlines coming along

2018-04-15 12.57.45 (resized).jpg

And finally filled in a bit...

2018-04-15 13.59.14 (resized).jpg

After that was done there was lots of parts that were "thin" .. meaning they were missing a bit of paint. So the trick was lifting up the plexi to see the areas and filling them in.

2018-04-15 14.15.15 (resized).jpg

Here is the completed backglass...

2018-04-15 14.43.01 (resized).jpg

And installed in the game...

2018-04-15 15.08.12 (resized).jpg

2018-04-15 15.08.24 (resized).jpg

Looks really good, but was missing something...

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