Since we are all here and we all like the Stern's playing action, I can't be alone in craving the flipper action that comes from those nice long curved inlane guides that can shoot fast balls across the flippers in the blink of an eye. Or that real rare move where a ball will enter the left (or right) inlane, shoot across both flippers and exits out of the opposite inlane. You know what I'm talking about.
I used to work for a company that builds airplanes. I worked in the factory installing parts, driving rivets, painting, and inspecting airplanes. It is hard to believe that in the 21st Century that airplanes are hand built by humans. And when it comes to the human touch, people make mistakes. And screw things up on the assembly line. And these mistakes have to be fixed. The short story here is that no two airplanes are built just alike. And neither are pinball machines.
My little collection is all of these classic Sterns so I compare one to the other and make notes. And I see mistakes that were built in at the factory. One glaring mistake on my Big Game is that the right inlane ball guide was mis-located and sitting too far below the base curve of the flipper. So, when ever the ball was heading for the flipper it would be deflected and tossed out of reach of the flipper. The game was no fun to play. Stern did not care; The flaw was not enough to fix at the factory. The operator did not care. The game was taking in quarters. The player was either too drunk to care or put in a quarter or two and then walked away.
Now I come to my point in the post. My Seawitch and Catacomb play different than my Nine Ball. I'd like to compare notes with everybody else.
On Seawitch and Catacomb, many times a ball will roll up towards the top of the inlane and get sucked over into the outlane and drain because of that little rubber bumper. On Nine Ball it does not happen; The ball will travel upward but hit that rubber bumper and get pushed back toward the flipper.
I prefer the extra challenge Seawitch and Catacomb offer but before I start making mods to my Nine Ball I would like to see how other Nine Balls were built at the factory. Is my Nine Ball per blueprint or did someone screw it up on the assembly line?
This drawing should clear up why I am even writing about this in the first place. As you can clearly see, I am no artist; My apologies.
I have drawn the flippers, ball guides, and bumper posts for Catacomb and Nine Ball. If you look carefully at Catacomb, you will see that the ball guides are located inboard of the two bumper posts. This allows for that ball action where it rolls up the flipper and ball guide and gets sucked over into the outlane.
Now, look at Nine Ball. On my NB, the ball guides are located to the outside of the bump posts. On this pin, when the ball rolls up the ball guide, instead of the ball being at risk of getting sucked into the outlane, the bump post pushes it back towards the flipper. I prefer the ball action on my Catacomb and Seawitch.
I don't want to be making modifications for modifications sake. So, what I am wanting to know is this: Are the ball guides on my Nine Ball per blueprint? Are they located in the same position on your Nine Ball?
I guess the larger question would be: How are the ball guides located on your classic Stern? Are they inboard of those bump posts? Or are they outboard?
BTW: Ali and Big Game do not have these bump posts from the factory.