(Topic ID: 318895)

Review – Precision Pinball Products CNC Flipper System

By DiabloRush

77 days ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 966 posts
  • 159 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 20 minutes ago by PoMC
  • Topic is favorited by 89 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    Topic Gallery

    View topic image gallery

    20221003_012710 (resized).jpg
    tron17 (resized).jpg
    tron16 (resized).jpg
    89CB4F4E-096C-4559-B4FE-9D892C57F6BC (resized).jpeg
    73308779-9518-40AF-AA10-F389676E3C3C (resized).jpeg
    E5EFD016-EE04-46A2-BE0A-DC41D090F0ED (resized).jpeg
    3A30D9EB-8D44-43B9-9A1B-0E9849EBB9C5 (resized).jpeg
    8CD097EF-FC76-4D61-A1F8-8AC938EFF25B (resized).jpeg
    IMG_2381 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_2380 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_2382 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_2383 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_2384 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_2385 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_2387 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_2388 (resized).jpeg

    There are 966 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 20.
    22
    #1 77 days ago

    Precision Pinball Products CNC Flipper System - A Review

    For all the advancements in our hobby the last few years – node-based systems, internet connectivity, and lavish LCD screens and assets – the core feature which connects us to the silverball has remained essentially unchanged in decades. Flipper systems are essentially the same as those engineered in the 80s. These systems have proven robust, but still represent a compromise from manufacturers that are inclined to minimize cost as a key element of production. Good enough, right? Afterall, is there anything in flipper systems you might improve upon? Might there be a different balance of cost/performance/adjustability that could appeal to pinball enthusiasts? The lack of innovation in our hobby for improving flippers is a bit surprising. Into this void, a new option has finally appeared. Founded by a seasoned Aerospace engineer and pinhead - John Simone - Precision Pinball Products provides a system of CNC machined parts to replace the plastic molded flippers and bushings that have been standard on our machines for decades.

    What improvements does PPPs new flipper system provide? There are several. Most importantly, this system is considerably more precise. As the name suggests, the PPP system provides parts with much tighter tolerances than traditional systems. This pays off in repeatability. I purchased a complete PPP system for my Godzilla Premium – a set of 3 flipper bats, shafts, and matching machined aluminum bushings. The headline from this effort is the noticeable improvement in repeatability. On installation, its immediately apparent how much tighter the tolerances are with the PPP system. Try this: grab a stock flipper at the base and see how much wiggle you can achieve. It’s immediately noticeable. Try this again with the PPP flippers and bushings. There’s no noticeable movement, none.

    I had no idea how much shot-to-shot variation was present in stock flipper systems. I was shocked at how much my timing improved with the PPP flippers and bushings. I’m far from a great pinball player. I’m not going to win a pinball tourney anytime soon. I have to spend many hours on a table to tune my timing and dial in my shots. After I installed the PPP system, nearly immediately I was repeating shots in multiples I had never achieved on the stock system.

    I hadn’t thought about it, but you get a bit of in-the-moment-timing when trying to loop shots. The loose tolerances in stock flippers works against this. The millisecond level of timing needed to repeat tight shots isn’t helped by sloppy flippers. Sure, the great players are good enough that this isn’t a huge issue. Not me. I have a bit of variance in timing myself. Apparently, the PPP system removes enough variation in the timing due to physical hardware, that the timing variance was now dominated by my own abilities.

    And wow, what a difference! I could loop the ramps on Godzilla almost endlessly now. The flipper feel is different, too. More “direct” if that makes any sense? And better. I found it very satisfying. The PPP system flipper bats are slightly heavier (by about 40%) and considerably stiffer than the plastic units and this meant less deflection of the system when catching balls, killing ball speed, traps, and other flipper skills. It also meant more available inertia for things like speed kills. In sum, this flipper system was a pretty significant improvement in feel, precision, and operability compared to the stock Stern setup. On precision and feel alone, this upgrade was completely worth the investment.

    There’s other advantages to this system as well. PPP offers interchangeable parts which provides customizations advantages (with slightly longer and shorter bats available). I chose the standard lengths, but I can see circumstances where custom lengths might be appealing (such as setting up games for kids, etc.) Another advantage is the ability to precisely adjust flipper position from above the table. The PPP design is quite clever. The flipper shaft has a conical section which is surface-treated to ensure stable and precise contact with the matching pocket in the flipper bat. A single hexhead screw secures the shaft and flipper bat together. PPP provides a tool to separate these components when needed. This really is an improvement over the pinch-bolt designs used for decades. The nature of a pinch bolt means a slight movement of the shaft in relation to the plunger rod on tightening. With the PPP system, you install the shaft one final time, and you’re done. All final adjustments can be done above the table, in very precise increments if desired. And of course, the aesthetics of this system are quite different. I found the CNC machined parts very attractive.

    Now, an upgrade to such an essential system as flippers raises some other concerns. Namely, installation, longevity, and long-term maintenance. Installation was straightforward. PPP provides a wonderful set of printed full-color instructions. I appreciate printed instructions, frankly. I can make notes, and keep them right at the machine without having to consult my phone or laptop. Easy to read with generous photographs, installation was simple. I’d repeat something PPP emphasizes in the instructions: tightening the pinch bolt is a bit delicate. This needs to be tight, and on Stern mechs, the EOS pawl will move as you tighten the bolt. If the EOS pawl rotates too-much, it will touch the bushing bolts and interfere with the full-range of plunger movement. You want to hold the EOS/spring pawl as illustrated in the instructions, don’t overlook that step!

    A couple of observations about the install: I used a very light coat of grease on the flipper shafts as recommended. This is now a precision metal-on-metal system, and as such, a lubricant will help longevity. Don’t overdo it here. Generally, grease + pinball is a big no-no, at least outside of certain sealed gear-trains. A light amount on the shaft is all that’s needed due to the very close tolerances which serves to keep the lubricant contained. This system was so efficient on install, that I got a slight increase in flipper-release rebound. This was easily mitigated by using a stronger flipper return spring. I play tested my Godzilla for a few hours to see if flipper fade would be an issue with this system (heavier flipper bats + stronger return springs). I never saw fade, once. I very slightly increased the flipper coil settings (from 230 to 240) to compensate for the springs/increased mass. The coils remained only slightly warm to the touch after a few hours of intense play. It’s way-too-soon to speak to long-term reliability, but I can’t think of any reason this system would be any less reliable than stock bats and bushings. It’s possible that improving the mechanics of the system would result in less wear and tear as the shafts and bushings are no longer interacting in ways that might impart wear.

    In sum, this system is a great new offering for the pinball community. With the meteoric rise of pinball as a home-based hobby, we’ve seen 5-figure prices and thousands of dollars spent on mods by many. Given the improvements that the PPP system offers, the price of the precision flippers is shockingly low given the materials and manufacturing methods used . For about the price of a 3D printed mod for your machine, you can upgrade your flippers to an ultraprecise setup. This is truly a new and welcome innovation in our hobby. I’ve since ordered kits for the rest of the games in my collection. Highly recommended.

    ethics disclosure: I'm an independent hobbiest with no affliation with Precision Pinball Products. This review is entirely my own with no consideration or compensation from anyone. I bought this kit at full retail price from the PPP Pinside shop.

    IMG_2042 (resized).JPGIMG_2044 (resized).JPGIMG_2045 (resized).JPGIMG_2018 (resized).JPG

    -6
    #2 77 days ago

    And your association with PPP is what exactly?

    You say you bought these kits, where are they listed for sale?

    #3 77 days ago

    I'm an independent hobbiest with no affliation with Precision Pinball Products. This review is entirely my own with no consideration or compensation from anyone. I bought this kit at full retail price from the PPP Pinside shop, link below. FYI.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1341-precision-pinball-prod

    10
    #4 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    A couple of observations about the install: I used a very light coat of grease on the flipper shafts as recommended. This is now a precision metal-on-metal system, and as such, a lubricant will help longevity. Don’t overdo it here. Generally, grease + pinball is a big no-no, at least outside of certain sealed gear-trains. A light amount on the shaft is all that’s needed due to the very close tolerances which serves to keep the lubricant contained.

    Precision milled aluminum is nice, but metal-on-metal movement and the need for grease is a big red flag to me and potential point of failure. Metal-on-metal movement is pretty much going to be a no-go long-term since they will end up grinding together, especially with the frequency of movement with these particular parts. Plus all the fine dust that will eventually gum up the joint. There's a reason why the only place where grease is used is in a sealed gearbox.

    I would be interested to see what the mech looks like after at least 10,000 plays.

    10
    #5 77 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Precision milled aluminum is nice,

    I worry about what if the flipper bat breaks, or the flipper base plate comes loose and drops. Either scenario could be a metal flipper bat dragging on the playfield.

    Back when plastic flipper bats hat a metal base. Anything that went wrong and you get a big scar on the playfield.

    LTG : )

    #6 77 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I worry about what if the flipper bat breaks, or the flipper base plate comes loose and drops. Either scenario could be a metal flipper bat dragging on the playfield.

    Well; if you're OPing it... sure.
    But in these days of clear coat in combination with mainly home use; you should be fine.
    If you look at their weird design; you'll see the bat appears to be missing the most of the "lip" of the bat so probably less of a problem.
    Seems like these are ALOT pricer than PinballLife's original design.
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pbl-aluminum-flipper-bats-long-term-reviews/page/3#post-5976525

    58 >> 30

    #7 77 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I worry about what if the flipper bat breaks, or the flipper base plate comes loose and drops. Either scenario could be a metal flipper bat dragging on the playfield.
    Back when plastic flipper bats hat a metal base. Anything that went wrong and you get a big scar on the playfield.
    LTG : )

    Yeah, this probably wouldn't result in a graceful failure.

    Quoted from Zitt:

    Well; if you're OPing it... sure.
    But in these days of clear coat in combination with mainly home use; you should be fine.

    Personally, I'm not thrilled with the idea with a new non-standard mech that requires maintenance.

    I wouldn't mind so much if something catches on and becomes the "new standard". But very rarely does something go on to supersede the old established standard to become "the new standard". You just end up with a dozen different smaller ideas/products floating around that you have to keep track of (and keep parts stocked for).

    Do you have any idea what a pain it is to try to restore an Allied Leisure game these days now that all the commonly replaced NOS parts have dried up? Ugh. You're basically SOL unless you replace the mech with another standard, or wait around hoping someone starts manufacturing replacement parts.

    Quoted from Zitt:

    If you look at their weird design; you'll see the bat appears to be missing the most of the "lip" of the bat so probably less of a problem.
    Seems like these are ALOT pricer than PinballLife's original design.
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pbl-aluminum-flipper-bats-long-term-reviews/page/3#post-5976525
    58 >> 30

    Hasn't there been several attempts at aluminium flipper bats in the past 10 years? I can't say that I recall any of them sticking around long-term.

    #8 77 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Personally, I'm not thrilled with the idea with a new non-standard mech that requires maintenance.

    The PPP system is fully compatible with current flipper mechs. The flipper bats can be used with current bushings or vice versa. Nothing about this system is "non standard". As for maintence, there's basically none. Certainly this sysem requires no more maintainence than current flipper mechs, which require regular service for coil stops and sleeves.

    Regarding wear and lubrication, this system has been properly designed. The shafts are s/steel and the bushings aluminum. There will be no galling on the shafts, and the load is very low on this system and well distributed over the length of the bushing. It's operating in the portion of the Stribeck curve where 10^8 or higher cycles should be easily expected for these materials. I wouldn't expect any wear or additional dust generation. There's already many metal/metal interactions in our machines, most giving rise to substantial wear (see: coil stops). This system isn't one of them. It was done right, and the performance shows it.

    Finally, the tiny amount of lubrication added might not even be necessary (the developer is testing his parts lubrication-free with success), and the tolerance is so tight on here (on the order of 0.001") that the lubricant is operating in the hydrodynamic regime and fully contained (which also contributes to the stellar Stribeck performance). It's unlikely it's going anywhere for the duration of the part use.

    18
    #9 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    It's operating in the portion of the Stribeck curve where 10^8 or higher cycles should be easily expected for these materials. I wouldn't expect any wear or additional dust generation. There's already many metal/metal interactions in our machines, most giving rise to substantial wear (see: coil stops). This system isn't one of them. It was done right, and the performance shows it.

    Yes, you certainly sound like someone who is independent and has no affiliation with these guys at all... :rolleyes:

    #10 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    The PPP system is fully compatible with current flipper mechs. The flipper bats can be used with current bushings or vice versa. Nothing about this system is "non standard". As for maintence, there's basically none. Certainly this sysem requires no more maintainence than current flipper mechs, which require regular service for coil stops and sleeves.

    Regarding wear and lubrication, this system has been properly designed. The shafts are s/steel and the bushings aluminum. There will be no galling on the shafts, and the load is very low on this system and well distributed over the length of the bushing. It's operating in the portion of the Stribeck curve where 10^8 or higher cycles should be easily expected for these materials. I wouldn't expect any wear or additional dust generation.

    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    Finally, the tiny amount of lubrication added might not even be necessary (the developer is testing his parts lubrication-free with success), and the tolerance is so tight on here (on the order of 0.001") that the lubricant is operating in the hydrodynamic regime and fully contained (which also contributes to the stellar Stribeck performance). It's unlikely it's going anywhere for the duration of the part use.

    Where exactly is all this information coming from?

    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    There's already many metal/metal interactions in our machines, most giving rise to substantial wear (see: coil stops)

    Coil stops and plungers make contact upon impact--that is quite different from rotational or linear motion between two or more parts, such as a flipper bat shaft and bushing.

    36
    #11 77 days ago

    I am independent and have no affliation with PPP. I'm also an engineer with 40 years of experience, including tribology, aging, and corrosion. The information in this review is coming from my body of experience in these areas. I've written several books on these and related topics. I stand by my independent review that this system is very well designed and offers considerable improvements to our hobby.

    #12 77 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Coil stops and plunger make contact upon impact--that is quite different from rotational or linear motion between two or more parts, such as a flipper bat shaft and bushing.

    Yes, it is. Rotational interaction under full-film lubrication conditions produces considerably (by many orders of magnitude) less wear than impact interactions such as coil stops. This is all basic tribology.

    The strain rates for plungers hitting coil stops are in the range of 10^4 to 10^5 (1/s) way higher than any wear on a rotating flipper bat by orders of magnitude. At these strain rates, you're creating stress approaching the elastic limits for steel (Young's modulus ~ 200 GPa). This is why coil stops eventually mushroom in a pinball.

    #13 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    Yes, it is. Rotational interaction under full-film lubrication conditions produces considerably (by many orders of magnitude) less wear than impact interactions such as coil stops. This is all basic tribology.

    The point was those are two completely different interactions that aren't worth comparing.

    #14 77 days ago

    i need some ten thousand dollar rare earth magnets for the coils on these right

    #15 77 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    The point was those are two completely different interactions that aren't worth comparing.

    My point being that the metal/metal interaction in the reviewed flipper bats won't produce particles from wear. Which was raised as a concern by you as a concern (see below). In my judgement, this is a non issue. There will not be significant wear or dust generation from this system.

    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Metal-on-metal movement is pretty much going to be a no-go long-term since they will end up grinding together, especially with the frequency of movement with these particular parts. Plus all the fine dust that will eventually gum up the joint.

    16
    #16 77 days ago

    Whether it's a sponsored post or not, the world needs more long form writing and critical thinking like this.

    Curious if anyone has anyone ever tried using carbon fiber for the flipper bats instead of plastic or aluminum? Might get the best of both worlds, a lightweight but strong flipper bat.

    #17 77 days ago
    Quoted from SonOfaDiddly:

    i need some ten thousand dollar rare earth magnets for the coils on these right

    No. The system works great on stock coils. It's more efficient and has less energy loss due to slop. In my case, I installed stiffer return springs and I raised my flipper power by 10 points (from 230 to 240) to compensate.

    #18 77 days ago

    that was an audiophile joke, my obviously unbiased and unpaid shill friend

    #19 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    My point being that the metal/metal interaction in the reviewed flipper bats won't produce particles from wear.

    Maybe, maybe not. But other mechanisms sure do. Pins can get completely covered in coil dust. This all metal mechanism would still have to deal with that. Like I said earlier, it would gum up any lubricant, and once the dust gets inside the mech, it will start grinding.

    While I can't say that I've studied ultra-precision metal-on-metal parts operation in a pinball machine, I would want to see at least 10,000 plays first to get an indication of what may happen.

    59
    #20 77 days ago

    Perhaps some other readers can help me understand the negativity here? I don't get it. I post my own thoughts, contribute my knowledge in an area relevant to our hobby, and I'm challenged and called a "shill"? Do people not understand that this type of behavior both inhibits innovation and makes others less likely to speak up and contribute, both as innovators and users? I put a lot of time into this review, and wanted to provide my objective evaluation of something new in our hobby, something that I felt offered a substantial improvement in an area long lacking in innovation. No, I wasn't paid. I (perhaps foolishly) thought I was contributing to our community.

    I feel this system is a genuine innovation. Not one comment on the superior performance. The proof was in the play. I literally started looping shots on my GZ I had never done before. I'm not alone. On the Twitch stream, below, Joel got similar results. He started backhanding ramps he could never have done before.

    I would love to see similar innovation in our hobby. When all you can do is level criticism, and mostly uninformed criticism that most engineers could tell you was a nonissue, you're only serving to inhibit advances. Sorry to rant. I've tried to remain factual and state the basis for reasoning behind my judgements.

    #21 77 days ago

    sorry man, was just joking around

    #22 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    I post my own thoughts, contribute my knowledge in an area relevant to our hobby, and I'm challenged and called a "shill"?

    To start, the high level of familiarity with the product that nobody has heard about before and offering details that were not on the product page were potentially suspicious.

    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    Do people not understand that this type of behavior both inhibits innovation and makes others less likely to speak up and contribute, both as innovators and users? I put a lot of time into this review, and wanted to provide my objective evaluation of something new in our hobby, something that I felt offered a substantial improvement in an area long lacking in innovation. No, I wasn't paid. I (perhaps foolishly) thought I was contributing to our community.

    This isn't about you personally--it's all about the product that you brought to our attention.

    What it basically boils down to is this:

    1) Does the product do what is claimed?
    2) Does it offer any benefits over current products?
    3) Does it compromise in any areas compared to current products?
    4) Does the product stand up to long-term use?

    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    The proof was in the play.

    Maybe, but I can't play it to judge for myself (without buying it, anyway). The best thing to do would be to bring it to shows/events/tournaments and let others have a crack at it too and see what they think.

    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    I literally started looping shots on my GZ I had never done before. I'm not alone. On the Twitch stream, below, Joel got similar results. He started backhanding ramps he could never have done before.

    I would argue that making shots like that which might be impossible on a game with traditional flipper parts on a game designed with traditional flipper parts might not be how the game designer intended it to play.

    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    When all you can do is level criticism, and mostly uninformed criticism that most engineers could tell you was a nonissue, you're only serving to inhibit advances.

    Essentially, you said they play nice. A lot of mods look nice or operate well for a few games when freshly installed.

    The point to most of my comments is that pinball machines are a rough environment for mechs. I would like to see some longer term testing, rather than just a handful of games. Put this mod through its paces. Really beat on it and see how it stands up to the abuse.

    While your review serves as an interesting introduction to this new product, it's incomplete.

    22
    #23 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    Perhaps some other readers can help me understand the negativity here? I don't get it.

    When a brand new account posts a review that reads like someone trying to justify why the product exists, how it was built, and even tries to justify why the business got started... it does not read like a consumer. It reads like someone pitching. Your post reads like a product intro and data sheet. All this especially when it's a product that is essentially brand new, and barely launched itself (It seems the owner PM'd a bunch of people and made 2-3 posts afterwards).. it's not even listed on his website, just his pinside shop. These are all red flags.

    As to the product itself... flippers are obviously a very delicate area of the game as they are the highest point of interaction between the player, and also one of the highest wear parts of the game. It is also an area many manufacturers have tried over and over to re-invent the wheel and real world usage has defeated many of these innovations leading to why we have a common design because it has proven itself over decades as the best middle ground to-date. This is why people are generally skeptical about flipper products.

    Personally I'm concerned about the mass of the flipper bats, the lateral forces on the shaft deforming the aluminum bushing, and the suggestion of using lubricant because of the fine metal to metal contact surfaces. Additionally the flipper position is held only by splines into aluminum... in the portion of the game that gets the highest rotational force in the entire game... secured only by friction from a screw subject to high vibration.

    This mech is also next to the largest metal dust generators in the game.. suggesting lubrication here is inviting problems.

    Changing the mass of the flippers has a significant direct impact on their movement and how it drives the ball. Like superbands before this.. things that maybe be 'better' to the point of interfering with the expected play experience (superbands giving too much bite for instance). They maybe interpreted as modifying the experience so much they basically become like cheats.. or make games too easy.

    I never had to study this level of material science in my engineering education - but there are enough concerns for me to be skeptical to the point of "I'd need to see it go through a huge number of cycles first...".

    11
    #24 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    Precision Pinball Products CNC Flipper System - A Review
    For all the advancements in our hobby the last few years – node-based systems, internet connectivity, and lavish LCD screens and assets – the core feature which connects us to the silverball has remained essentially unchanged in decades. Flipper systems are essentially the same as those engineered in the 80s. These systems have proven robust, but still represent a compromise from manufacturers that are inclined to minimize cost as a key element of production. Good enough, right? Afterall, is there anything in flipper systems you might improve upon? Might there be a different balance of cost/performance/adjustability that could appeal to pinball enthusiasts? The lack of innovation in our hobby for improving flippers is a bit surprising. Into this void, a new option has finally appeared. Founded by a seasoned Aerospace engineer and pinhead - John Simone - Precision Pinball Products provides a system of CNC machined parts to replace the plastic molded flippers and bushings that have been standard on our machines for decades.
    What improvements does PPPs new flipper system provide? There are several. Most importantly, this system is considerably more precise. As the name suggests, the PPP system provides parts with much tighter tolerances than traditional systems. This pays off in repeatability. I purchased a complete PPP system for my Godzilla Premium – a set of 3 flipper bats, shafts, and matching machined aluminum bushings. The headline from this effort is the noticeable improvement in repeatability. On installation, its immediately apparent how much tighter the tolerances are with the PPP system. Try this: grab a stock flipper at the base and see how much wiggle you can achieve. It’s immediately noticeable. Try this again with the PPP flippers and bushings. There’s no noticeable movement, none.
    I had no idea how much shot-to-shot variation was present in stock flipper systems. I was shocked at how much my timing improved with the PPP flippers and bushings. I’m far from a great pinball player. I’m not going to win a pinball tourney anytime soon. I have to spend many hours on a table to tune my timing and dial in my shots. After I installed the PPP system, nearly immediately I was repeating shots in multiples I had never achieved on the stock system.
    I hadn’t thought about it, but you get a bit of in-the-moment-timing when trying to loop shots. The loose tolerances in stock flippers works against this. The millisecond level of timing needed to repeat tight shots isn’t helped by sloppy flippers. Sure, the great players are good enough that this isn’t a huge issue. Not me. I have a bit of variance in timing myself. Apparently, the PPP system removes enough variation in the timing due to physical hardware, that the timing variance was now dominated by my own abilities.
    And wow, what a difference! I could loop the ramps on Godzilla almost endlessly now. The flipper feel is different, too. More “direct” if that makes any sense? And better. I found it very satisfying. The PPP system flipper bats are slightly heavier (by about 40%) and considerably stiffer than the plastic units and this meant less deflection of the system when catching balls, killing ball speed, traps, and other flipper skills. It also meant more available inertia for things like speed kills. In sum, this flipper system was a pretty significant improvement in feel, precision, and operability compared to the stock Stern setup. On precision and feel alone, this upgrade was completely worth the investment.
    There’s other advantages to this system as well. PPP offers interchangeable parts which provides customizations advantages (with slightly longer and shorter bats available). I chose the standard lengths, but I can see circumstances where custom lengths might be appealing (such as setting up games for kids, etc.) Another advantage is the ability to precisely adjust flipper position from above the table. The PPP design is quite clever. The flipper shaft has a conical section which is surface-treated to ensure stable and precise contact with the matching pocket in the flipper bat. A single hexhead screw secures the shaft and flipper bat together. PPP provides a tool to separate these components when needed. This really is an improvement over the pinch-bolt designs used for decades. The nature of a pinch bolt means a slight movement of the shaft in relation to the plunger rod on tightening. With the PPP system, you install the shaft one final time, and you’re done. All final adjustments can be done above the table, in very precise increments if desired. And of course, the aesthetics of this system are quite different. I found the CNC machined parts very attractive.
    Now, an upgrade to such an essential system as flippers raises some other concerns. Namely, installation, longevity, and long-term maintenance. Installation was straightforward. PPP provides a wonderful set of printed full-color instructions. I appreciate printed instructions, frankly. I can make notes, and keep them right at the machine without having to consult my phone or laptop. Easy to read with generous photographs, installation was simple. I’d repeat something PPP emphasizes in the instructions: tightening the pinch bolt is a bit delicate. This needs to be tight, and on Stern mechs, the EOS pawl will move as you tighten the bolt. If the EOS pawl rotates too-much, it will touch the bushing bolts and interfere with the full-range of plunger movement. You want to hold the EOS/spring pawl as illustrated in the instructions, don’t overlook that step!
    A couple of observations about the install: I used a very light coat of grease on the flipper shafts as recommended. This is now a precision metal-on-metal system, and as such, a lubricant will help longevity. Don’t overdo it here. Generally, grease + pinball is a big no-no, at least outside of certain sealed gear-trains. A light amount on the shaft is all that’s needed due to the very close tolerances which serves to keep the lubricant contained. This system was so efficient on install, that I got a slight increase in flipper-release rebound. This was easily mitigated by using a stronger flipper return spring. I play tested my Godzilla for a few hours to see if flipper fade would be an issue with this system (heavier flipper bats + stronger return springs). I never saw fade, once. I very slightly increased the flipper coil settings (from 230 to 240) to compensate for the springs/increased mass. The coils remained only slightly warm to the touch after a few hours of intense play. It’s way-too-soon to speak to long-term reliability, but I can’t think of any reason this system would be any less reliable than stock bats and bushings. It’s possible that improving the mechanics of the system would result in less wear and tear as the shafts and bushings are no longer interacting in ways that might impart wear.
    In sum, this system is a great new offering for the pinball community. With the meteoric rise of pinball as a home-based hobby, we’ve seen 5-figure prices and thousands of dollars spent on mods by many. Given the improvements that the PPP system offers, the price of the precision flippers is shockingly low given the materials and manufacturing methods used . For about the price of a 3D printed mod for your machine, you can upgrade your flippers to an ultraprecise setup. This is truly a new and welcome innovation in our hobby. I’ve since ordered kits for the rest of the games in my collection. Highly recommended.
    ethics disclosure: I'm an independent hobbiest with no affliation with Precision Pinball Products. This review is entirely my own with no consideration or compensation from anyone. I bought this kit at full retail price from the PPP Pinside shop.
    [quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

    New pinsider or not is not relevant IMO. I was just talking about these to a well known respected pinsider who was unaware of this product.

    I was wanting to know more about it and I’m glad you posted about it.

    I do believe I’m going to order this and give it a try on my IJ that is about to get restored.

    Thanks for the input, I wouldn’t worry about the skeptics. Keep the observations coming, we need more of it.

    11
    #25 77 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    To start, the high level of familiarity with the product that nobody has heard about before and offering details that were not on the product page were potentially suspicious.

    I did reach out to John as part of my installation. Specifically, I wanted to ask him about the flipper rebound I was getting and if he had any suggestions to mitigate this. We discussed possible solutions, and that's how I arrived at the stronger return springs. I even made a slow-motion video that I shared with John showing the issue. It was in this discussion that I learned of his testing and further details about his system. And of course, I placed a second order with him for the rest of my games. He's a great guy, give him a call. He's happy to answer questions or provide further details.

    And yes, I'm new here on Pinside. Not to pinball. I've been in the hobby since the late 70s, and have owned/restored games since the early 90s. I was very active on rgp. My personal situation changed pretty drastically in the 2010s, and I had to give up pinball ownership for a few years. I've recently gotten back in the hobby, including finally having a space to keep a small collection of tables.

    #26 77 days ago

    Told myself after reading the original post, I bet person X and X will be quick repliers and nay-sayers.

    OP probably shouldn't have mentioned a "Light amount of lubricant", because I knew someone would latch on to that instantly.

    Interesting product and several of us were discussing over here at pinball night on Sat.

    14
    #27 77 days ago

    great idea. not so great audience.

    #28 77 days ago

    I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, an improved design that gives more predictable and consistent performance sounds like a no-brainer. On the other hand, does it remove something from the chaos and chanciness of pinball? Sort of like improved golf technology making some courses too easy.

    #29 77 days ago

    I have not tried these (yet) but I was thinking a really beefed up supply to the coils and these precision parts could make a huge difference to control and repeatability. Basically get rid of mechanical slop and get rid of electrical slop.

    Whether that slop matters will be clear in the experience of it (which I haven't had, but I appreciate the review here). Even assuming it does matter, I'm wondering how much it takes away from the randomness and chaos that is an intrinsic part of the game design and experience.

    Edit - (saw previous post right after I hit "post"...what he said

    #30 77 days ago

    Holy shit. Anyone got a cliff notes version of the original post?

    These were discussed in the JP Club thread and, from other members testimonies, proven to be quite a hit.

    #31 77 days ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    When a brand new account posts a review that reads like someone trying to justify why the product exists, how it was built, and even tries to justify why the business got started... it does not read like a consumer. It reads like someone pitching. Your post reads like a product intro and data sheet. All this especially when it's a product that is essentially brand new, and barely launched itself (It seems the owner PM'd a bunch of people and made 2-3 posts afterwards).. it's not even listed on his website, just his pinside shop. These are all red flags. ".

    I thought the same as I was reading your review OP. With that said I do appreciate your effort.

    #32 77 days ago

    I ordered the product up, will be awhile before I get to try it out though.

    #33 77 days ago

    Reviewer writes and acts like a concerned party I think that is quite clear. It is however an interesting product that I had seen before this post but the current pricing is outside the range of my desire to buy a better mousetrap. Maybe someday my needs will change and an application will arise…

    #34 77 days ago

    I ordered a set as I loved pbls flipper bats.
    I have concerns with the design of these. The kneruled feature specifically... But we'll see.

    25
    #35 77 days ago

    with all the skepticism about the OP's role and intentions, i have to point out... a majority of us have collections that exceed $50K in value, if not 6-figures. Anyone can just buy a set for $68, and try them out themselves. if for any reason at all you aren't satisfied, or they don't perform the way you expected, you can either remove them and be out less than $100 on a legit trial run, or probably even sell them for a discount to someone who wants them and would accept used for less. And the best part is you can then debate the OP's review with factual, experienced-based knowledge, instead of speculating why you think it sounds like a failure.

    #36 77 days ago
    Quoted from Zitt:

    I ordered a set as I loved pbls flipper bats.
    I have concerns with the design of these. The kneruled feature specifically... But we'll see.

    As someone who works with steel & aluminum it's generally avoided using them together as you can have galvanic corrosion issues.

    #37 77 days ago

    To me this product is really a great design and something that I definitely intend to try out sooner than later. Years ago I bought the original aluminum flippers that were offered by Pinball Life and they were really great. The wimpy plastic flippers we use twist and bend with a minimum of force and most of the time have breaks internally when inspected. The original Pinball Life ones worked great in fast games like AC/DC and Metallica and they definitely made my shots more accurate. Definitely. When I sold those games, I stupidly left the metal flippers in them thinking I could always buy more, but that was not the case.

    A while back Pinball Life commissioned some new metal bats and I ordered some. Unfortunately the design was TERRIBLE. The bats were loose on the shafts and they were not hollowed out so they weighed way too much. Pinball Life refunded everyone who ordered and they are done. I ended up pinning my flippers to secure the shaft, so I could use them and test them out. The extra weight didn't affect the shooting of the ball at all, but it did affect the speed at which the return spring brought the flipper bat back down and caused a slight bounce at the bottom. The original metal flippers from PBL were much lighter and DID NOT DO THIS. They played just like regular flipper bats as far as return speed.

    So now we come to this new product. First thing I noticed is they are nicely machined to remove any excess metal and keep the weight down. They are completely hollowed out on the bottom side and if you look they are even trimmed off on the bottom to give extra clearance on the playfield and avoid any chance of dragging. I would be buying the bushings at the same time, because the normal nylon bushings also bend a lot. So this new design passed all of my sniff tests when I first saw it and I even sent some questions to the designer which he promptly returned.

    For what it is worth, I am also an engineer whose job it is to review new designs and design changes. I definitely have no connection with this company, but I do plan on purchasing these flippers for one or two of my Sterns. After testing them for a few months, I suspect that I will be purchasing them for all my newer games. As mentioned above, these games cost thousands of dollars and the part that controls the ball is a $5 piece of crappy plastic. To make the dreaded cargument, that is like having some old bias ply 78 series tires on a new Corvette.

    #38 77 days ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    As someone who works with steel & aluminum it's generally avoided using them together as you can have galvanic corrosion issues.

    You need an electrolyte and limited surface area for this to be a concern. Stainless steel fasteners are bone-stock-standard for use with CNC aluminum parts. They’re everywhere and have been used in this application for decades. There are thousands of examples of use of stainless steel shafts in CNC aluminum parts. Everywhere. For decades. I have RC helicopters with dozens of stainless/aluminum parts in close contact and high precision use. This is a non-issue.

    #39 77 days ago

    I would first point out I have no actual experience with these flippers, so my opinion could be different if I did.

    1) The normal flippers are designed 'cheap' but they are also well designed. It's actually very tough to beat the nylon bearing / smooth shaft for low friction and long life. For a mechanism that rotates at less than 1 RPM, a slightly sloppy nylon bearing might be the best possible. Large bearing surface, low friction.

    2) Low clearances are great for precision things that move fast...but I'm unconvinced a pinball flipper is begging for a tight fitted flipper shaft. See above.

    3) Steel on aluminum is unforgivable. Should be on Oilite bronze - cheap, long lasting, and carries its own lube. I've never seen an aluminum bearing provide good long term results unless it's swimming in clean oil.

    4) I think a properly spec'd sealed ball bearing would work well, too - but on most pins there is not room for that.

    I appreciate the OP taking time to post this and my opinion could be changed if real-world conditions prove the product to be good. But at the moment this seems like a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.

    #40 77 days ago
    Quoted from GregCon:

    2) Low clearances are great for precision things that move fast...but I'm unconvinced a pinball flipper is begging for a tight fitted flipper shaft. See above.

    There is certainly lots of lost energy when the shaft has too much play in the bushing. The play is significantly in the plane of force and movement of the ball. It's the main reason we replace nylon bushings (minus full on breaking). So taking out this slop will certainly give more precise movement and more energy.. but the energy gain is offset by the higher rotating mass.

    The need to beef up the return springs is a direct reflection on the impact of the higher mass of the flipper bat and to some extent probably the friction of the tight bushing fit.

    Replacing the bushing, but not the flipper bat is probably where I'd have the most interest... but I'm still concerned about the beating the bushing would take.

    #41 77 days ago
    Quoted from DiabloRush:

    You need an electrolyte and limited surface area for this to be a concern. Stainless steel fasteners are bone-stock-standard for use with CNC aluminum parts. They’re everywhere and have been used in this application for decades. There are thousands of examples of use of stainless steel shafts in CNC aluminum parts. Everywhere. For decades. I have RC helicopters with dozens of stainless/aluminum parts in close contact and high precision use. This is a non-issue.

    Of course but since we dont know the grades involved its speculation based on known properties of average materials and if they have been treated or not.

    I have seen plenty of corrosion issues in the trades between stainless and aluminum so not entirely idle speculation.

    Good luck with your sale.

    #42 77 days ago

    Im an engineer too! Just kidding I'm just an elevator mechanic. For what it's worth I like this design as well. Also I like the old saying in the trade- mechanics fix engineer's mistakes. Time will tell if it applies here.

    #43 77 days ago

    Nice idea for aftermarket.

    Stern and JJP will never use them. They will stick to their $1.53 plastic bats.

    #44 77 days ago

    As I understand it; you need a liquid/high humidity for corrosion to be an issue.
    I wouldn't be expecting my pinball machine to be a source of issues.

    I really just want to see what is "justifying" the price tag.

    #45 77 days ago

    "There is certainly lots of lost energy when the shaft has too much play in the bushing. "

    I'm using the terms 'loose' and 'tight' within the confines of what we see in pinball flippers...a few thousandths of an inch either way. But regardless, no energy is lost in a loose fit - only a little motion. Also, my comments are made assuming the nylon bushings are in good shape, not worn out.

    That's the problem with tight fits - energy can be lost due to higher friction. Steel running on aluminum needs to be lubricated to minimize friction. A sloppy nylon needs no lube and will be very tough to beat when it comes to low friction. It can be beat....it's just not easy or cheap.

    The tight fit does offer the advantage of more precise movement and more repeatable operation. For sure. But I'm not convinced, yet, that it matters much in a pinball flipper. There's far more variation in what your finger does.

    #46 76 days ago
    Quoted from GregCon:

    I'm using the terms 'loose' and 'tight' within the confines of what we see in pinball flippers...a few thousandths of an inch either way. But regardless, no energy is lost in a loose fit - only a little motion. Also, my comments are made assuming the nylon bushings are in good shape, not worn out.

    Even with brand new nylon bushings there is a good 1/16 or so of wobble in the pivot of the flipper bat. That wobble robs energy applied to accelerating the ball as the bat moves in other directions than parallel to the playfield. It also plays with the bounce in the flipper. The slop also means the ball has the opportunity to move more on the flipper contact point as its being accelerated. This is where the inconsistency comes from. Then add in the flipper flex, etc.

    I mean there is certainly areas to target here… I am just not sure thats where i want aftermarket changing game play that much.

    15
    #47 75 days ago

    I purchased this complete system for my JP. Roughly $160 including shipping for the 3 flipper kit, and 3 bushings. I left the coil strength at 220, which seems to be fine. I have only a few plays on it, about 20, but so far the predictability and timing of the shots have improved. There is less ball bounce and the traps and catches have also improved. It will be interesting to see what kind of dust the tiny amount of lube attracts. Also to see how the flipper bats hold up on the cone shaped shaft.

    The nice thing about the system is that you can switch the bushings back to nylon and use the new shafts and bats. Likewise you could use the new bushings and the lighter original bats.
    Last but not least is the adjustability of the flipper bat from above the machine. It is nice to be able to tweak them without lifting the playfield each time. Only time will tell if the set screw will be tough enough to last without vibrating loose.

    For me, it’s worth a try. If it’s an epic failure than I wasted what amounts to dinner at a nicer restaurant.

    7EA18011-29E4-4BEA-8B73-E6DAD4A768A7 (resized).jpegFBA526D6-E2AD-43A2-83A5-5BB33BBA41EB (resized).jpeg
    #48 75 days ago
    Quoted from Plunger069:

    I purchased this complete system for my JP. Roughly $160 including shipping for the 3 flipper kit, and 3 bushings. I left the coil strength at 220, which seems to be fine. I have only a few plays on it, about 20, but so far the predictability and timing of the shots have improved. There is less ball bounce and the traps and catches have also improved. It will be interesting to see what kind of dust the tiny amount of lube attracts. Also to see how the flipper bats hold up on the cone shaped shaft.
    The nice thing about the system is that you can switch the bushings back to nylon and use the new shafts and bats. Likewise you could use the new bushings and the lighter original bats.
    Last but not least is the adjustability of the flipper bat from above the machine. It is nice to be able to tweak them without lifting the playfield each time. Only time will tell if the set screw will be tough enough to last without vibrating loose.
    For me, it’s worth a try. If it’s an epic failure than I wasted what amounts to dinner at a nicer restaurant.
    [quoted image][quoted image]

    They definitely look slick and will be great to get some feedback on them. Thanks for sharing.

    #49 75 days ago

    Upgrading the rest of my games. ~10 hours with this system on my GZ, no issues at all. Great performance, no evidence of slipping, flipper deformation, or anything else. To my eye, these are extremely well engineered. Shaft is one-piece stainless steel. The conical section is part of the one-piece machined shaft, no welding, its machined from the same billet, then centerless ground. Tolerance is unreal. Every shaft measured the same on my precision micrometer (accurate to 0.001"). John says the tolerance is exactly that, 1 mil. Note measurement, below. This is precisely 0.250 inches, to 3 places. This is not a cheap part to make, BTW. Very well done.

    The flipper/shaft connection is well done. It engages the flipper bat very solidly. So solidly, you have to use a special tool to get them to disengage. It's stayed anvil-solid and tight in my 10 hours or so of play.
    IMG_2054 (resized).JPGIMG_2056 (resized).JPG

    #50 75 days ago

    An update on a couple of items. I'm busy installing this on the rest of my games. Finished JP this afternoon. Significantly, I did NOT need to install stiffer springs to damp the flipper-release bounce on this game. It appears the orientiation of the flipper mech with respect to gravity is an important variable here. If the plunger falls "downhill" on release (like GZ), it increases the amount of rebound due to the added mass coming back into the rubber stop. The PPP system benefits from a stiffer spring here. When the plunger goes uphill (or sideways) on release, the opposite occurs. In this case, I didn't require a stiff spring. The stock return springs were sufficient to keep rebound under control. Hence, the need for stiffer return springs will vary game-to-game. So far, my GZ needed them, while my JP did not.

    I note on GZ, that the flipper plungers nearly perfectly point upward into the coils (with respect to gravity), a nearly worst-case from a rebound perspective. On JP, they activate to the side, much more favorable from an energy standpoint on release.

    Another note. With the stock return springs retained, I found I had to reduce the coil strength slightly to get similar performance. I lowered my JP mechs from roughly 230 to 220 or so. This appears to arise from the added efficiency of the PPP system. You don't need as much coil punch to get the same end result, when other variables are the same (such as spring strength). FYI.
    IMG_2057 (resized).JPG

    There are 966 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 20.

    Reply

    Wanna join the discussion? Please sign in to reply to this topic.

    Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

    Donate to Pinside

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, subscribe to Pinside+!