(Topic ID: 115622)

Scarybeard Pinball

By scarybeard

4 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 20 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by scarybeard
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders


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    layout 4.jpg

    #1 4 years ago

    hey all,

    Tiny bit of background on me. I'm a concept artist in the video Game industry, and I LOVE pinball, and have been toying with the desire to make my own pinball games in my free time. Not only because I am a huge fan of old school pinball artwork, and want to try my hand at it, but also because I am fascinated with game design in general, and pinball has a lot of interesting challenges to explore.

    I'm working on a home made pinball game. Mostly as hobby, but if I get to the point where people want to buy my hobby, that would be cool too. Anyway, I live in a 2 BR apartment so space is at a premium, and I'm using .75" balls instead of full sized pinball's. This keeps the machine smaller, and saves me space and money in general.

    The problem is, because I'm working at a smaller scale, it makes buying parts a tricky business.... Most pinball parts like flippers and bumpers are made to accommodate 1.06" balls that weigh more than the ones I'm using. I may move up to the 1" balls eventually, just so that I can open myself up to a whole world of aftermarket parts to purchase, but for right now I've been enjoying designing every part myself and building them from scratch. I'm even looking into wrapping my own solenoids.

    Bellow are some shots of my prototype pin at the moment. There are no real game functions in play right now. I don't really intend on this being a finished game ever actually. Its just a testing ground for pretty much everything I want to put into a real game eventually like switches, pop bumpers, LED's, etc... The flippers work as a manual mechanism. And I have 2 magnetically trapped balls to hit for multiball. I want to eventually install some switches in the lanes to score, (or for now, just blink lights) and I'd like to replace the curved lanes with ramps. I have been teaching myself electronics through youtube and websites (which has been daunting) because I really want to get lights and solenoids working on this thing. I included a pic of my first successful soldering job, 2 LED's on the same wire, haha! I felt like a genius.

    Anyway, I'll be posting progress on here as I work on it, and will most likely be asking a thousand questions of folks who know a lot more about this stuff that I do. Which brings me to my first round of questions!

    Q: I'm wanting to install some electric flippers, but Not full sized ones. My reason for not wanting full sized, is the balls aren't full sized, so they might feel awkwardly large, and I also don't want to use a full 24V (I think that's what real flippers use). I'm trying to keep to lower voltages as I don't know what I'm doing really with electronics, and I'll be a lot more comfortable dealing with a 9V or 12V power source. Plus my play field is only like 20" long, so the ball really doesn't need to get hit that hard. So I am wondering if anyone can suggest a good medium sized flipper from an existing machine I could look into buying in after market? Something bigger than the upper playfield of Shrek. I think those will be too small and weak? (anyone know off hand what the voltage is on those?)

    That said, as a follow up question, If I use a lower voltage on a full sized flipper coil will I just get weaker power out of it? Because that might be acceptable...

    You can see I'm basically a monkey in the dark with a box of tools. So any guidance is appreciated, and all mocking will be deservedly embraced.


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    #2 4 years ago
    Quoted from scarybeard:

    all mocking will be deservedly embraced.

    if you wanted to be mocked, you need to leave this part out.

    #3 4 years ago

    clever aren't I?

    #4 4 years ago

    Looks cool, I look forward to a video. What did you use to cut the wood, router or bandsaw or...?

    #5 4 years ago
    Quoted from scarybeard:

    So I am wondering if anyone can suggest a good medium sized flipper from an existing machine I could look into buying in after market?

    Safecracker flippers just became available, might fit the bill:


    #6 4 years ago

    3D Printers are the cat meow for something like this... I'm sure you could use it to design a flipper (if safecacker doesn't work)... then resin cast the final bats.

    #7 4 years ago

    Swampfire: Video delivered! (short one, just to show how the flippers work) And I was using a drill to line my cuts with holes, then going back with a hand saw to cut the shapes... It was super slow work. But I got a Jigsaw for xmas so I used that for the top orbit piece and the lower cover over the flippers.

    Aurich: Thanks! I'll probably be picking those up. I had a chance to see 'Safecracker' at the Arcade Expo in Banning yesterday and it looks to be the right size for what I'm doing. Arcade expo was nuts. Hundreds of machines on freeplay. It was awesome. picked up a bunch of rubber parts too.

    Zitt: I have experience in mold making and resin casting but my 3D CAD skills are shotty. Luckly I have a engineer friend who told me she would like to help last weekend so I'm hopping we can design some stuff then have it sent out to be printed!

    Here's some more progress over the weekend. Made my first attempt at soldering LEDs for the playfield, and I'll link a video to my flippers in action!


    Post edited by scarybeard: spelling

    1 week later
    #8 4 years ago

    Cut a wood ramp out. Then soaked in warm water for an hour and trained it into shape. Screwed it into some proxy wood so that only the curve will bend downward. Once you get past the bend it will all be downgrade when it's on the playfield.

    #9 4 years ago

    I love the captive ball using the magnet - very unique.

    #10 4 years ago


    So I did a little sketch-over on what I have done right now, to try and get more features that I want to try and build onto my test table. I already laid out my ramp, and started building it, but I would also like to build some pop bumpers, targets, and hopefully drop targets. I'd also like to make a 'kick out' feature, so I threw a little hole in the top of the play field to try and hit. Not sure how many of these features will come together properly, but this is the plan right now.

    layout 4.jpg
    2 weeks later
    #11 4 years ago

    Over my birthday weekend I got some gift certificates to home depot and decided to try and throw together a flipper-less pinball game. I took two days off work and had a bunch of other stuff going on, but in 4 days or so I had designed, built and play-tested a game! Its pretty fun. I have the point values pretty well balanced so there's room for skill in trying to get combos of 3 specific slots, and a lot of luck in which way the ball decides to go.

    I'm working on artwork now, and I'll wire it up with LED's after that.

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    #12 4 years ago

    I'd say dont be intimidated by the idea of using 20-24v to actuate things, you get snappier response and it'll use 1/2 the amount of current than same being fed 12v. some of the larger solenoids you can find at Amazon (10mm throw) may do things you want, some are confusing about push vs pull, makes shopping kinda "fun" but they arent too spendy. pop bumpers from scratch might be a real headache, maybe lots easier to shorten the height of full size units 1/4" so they'll hit the smaller 3/4" ball. cruder but easier than that is gear-motor driven spin bumpers, nowhere near as nice, they'll take up a lot less space for the small playfield area. action-hit determined by rpm and torque delivered with voltage and gear ratio. direct drive ones in most toy machines get about stopped with the first hit, and slap the ball ridiculously fast when. something 6 or 10 probably a lot more consistent-powerful, changing spin direction easy as swapping 2 wires, or could be manipulated with a target switch(es?).

    #13 4 years ago

    zizzlemeplease - Thanks! That's a lot of good info. I was thinking about spinning bumpers too... Might be a good first step at least.

    I started sketching out play-field artwork. I Was trying to come up with a good theme, and ended up just free sketching and seeing where it went. Still need to figure out what will go on the upper play-field pieces, but I'm pretty happy with it so far.

    #14 4 years ago

    I think projects like this are awesome. I have drawn fantasy and sci-Fi stuff as a hobby since I was a kid and I love seeing original art. Can't wait to see what your final art package looks like.

    #15 4 years ago


    Here's some progress on the art I did over the weekend. Sense I only had yellow post rubbers I decided to go pretty wild with the color palette. Still need to do line work and some more work on the hair. But I'm pretty excited with where its going.

    #16 4 years ago

    That's looking sweet man. What are you painting with? Acrylics?

    #17 4 years ago

    Yup used a Gesso on the surface of the wood and now acrylic on top. Ill eventually cover it with a clear coat like 'bar top'. I bought an empty paint pen with a brush tip to do my line work. I want to use a burnt umber brown I think for the like work, or maybe a sienna. so I'll be able to fill the pen with whatever color i want and use it like a paint pen. I've never used one before so I'm excited to try it out.

    #18 4 years ago

    That's cool, scarybeard!

    1 week later
    #19 4 years ago

    This is really inspiring. Nice work, like JPOP but sped up 5000%!

    1 week later
    #20 4 years ago

    Thanks guys! Ive been slow on updating because work has been busy and I'm getting some product ready for a convention next month. But I plan on bringing this pin game and a 2nd one to the convention so I should get a bunch more updates in the near future.

    Here's the progress so far. I went through 2 different brands of gold paint pen and both of them stopped working about 5 mins into doing line work, so i got frustrated and desided to use a brush and free-hand the letters. Which I regret now, because I dont think they are very clean. all well. live and learn. and this was a learning project. At this point all I have left is to seal the artwork with a protective clear coat, and put the pegs back in.

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