Size so I can make some Bally chimes?

By jetmechinnc

1 year ago


  • 9 posts
  • 3 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by klr650
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#1 1 year ago

I don't think the chimes in my Bally Space Time pinball are original, I have two long bars and one short, so I'd like to make new ones since I can't seem to find anyone who sells them. Does anyone know what size, length, width, thickness the bars should be for all three, plus should they be make of aluminum or steel? At least I know I can still buy the chime box rebuild kit from Pinball Resource.

Thank you,


#2 1 year ago

I have an old Stern with 4 chimes. They were all slightly out of tune (too sharp) so I made four new chime bars that are tuned to exactly the right notes: C5 F5 A5 and C6. I don't know what notes are used in your Bally but what I CAN do is provide some basic tips for cutting bar stock into chimes. Typical bar stock is 1.5" wide x 1/8" thick. I don't know if metal composition will matter all that much. Here are some basic rules:. The thicker the bar the higher the pitch (believe it or not). The longer the bar, the lower the pitch. Drilling holes in the bar will lower the pitch. Filing the ends of the bar will increase pitch. Belt sanding one side of the bar will lower the pitch. To get the absolute best resonance the two holes must be drilled at exactly 22.4% of the total bar length from each end of the bar (but some chime boxes won't allow this).

Here is a link to a useful bar length calculator.

I will keep an eye on this thread and "chime in" when I can.

#3 1 year ago

Great information, I'll keep you posted how it all goes. I should get the remaining parts for my pinball today so I'll be assembling it on my days off next week. I'll find a place to pick up some bar stock and start shaping it as you described .

#4 1 year ago

Unless you are musically gifted and can recognize notes (I cannot) there are some apps that you can use for tuning your chimes. If you have an Android Phone, there is a great app called "Note Recognizer." This app displays the frequency of sound in Hz, The musical note (e.g. C5) but it also shows an Analogue-style needle that indicates how close you are to the note in question.
To test your chimes: Support your chime at the "Node" (see picture) The nodes are those points measured 22.4% of the total length of the chime from each end of the chime. Supporting or holding at this point will ensure that the chime will "ring" long enough for the app to recognize the note. While positioning the chime really close to microphone, strike the edge of chime with a plastic bic pen or something that won't mark or dent the chime. Hopefully the chime will resonate long enough for app to "hear". One trick I learned is to lay the chime over two Q-tips (Q-tips aligned with nodes). Looks like a really lame cub car but works for at least one good strike.

Vibration mode of a xylophone bar (resized).jpg

device-2016-02-25-111900 (resized).png

#5 1 year ago

Ok, my best guess from watching YouTube is that the notes for the Bally Space Time Chimes (from low to high) are: C#5 E5, G5. Was really hard to tell from watching videos...In some videos the notes sound like C5, D#5, F#5. Anybody else know what the notes are?

#6 1 year ago

Once you have a chance, could you measure the length of all three chimes (in millimeters) and (if possible) take a photo? That would help immensely. Thanks!

#7 1 year ago

Talking with pinball resource, the 3 lengths should be:
5 7/8" or 149.2256 millimeters for the small chime
6 3/8" or 161.9256 millimeters for the medium chime
6 7/8" or 174..6257 millimeters for the long chime

I hope to find a place this week that sells the bar stock and cut it down either there or at my work with the shear. Pinball resource said make it out of aluminum, I'll see what I can find, stainless, steel, aluminum, etc.

#8 1 year ago

You will get a slightly different sound with Aluminum vs Steel. But the aluminum you can buy at home depot and Lowe's and cut to length with a hack saw. On 3 foot length gives you plenty of chances to make three in the tone you like.

I found a round wood bead, glued to a piece of wood dowel makes a good striker.

Gottlieb and Williams used aluminum.

#9 1 year ago

Ok, I just did the math and (assuming 1.5" x 1/8" Aluminum Stock) I only can only confirm that the middle chime length (161.9mm) will give you a true note (D#5). The short and long chimes are going to be a bit "off key" but maybe that's OK (that might just be the original Bally sound!)

If you are looking for true notes:

F#5 / Small Chime: 148.4mm
D#5 / Med. Chime: 161.9mm (as per PBR)
C5 / Large Chime: 176.5mm

Also, if you run into trouble (took off too much material) you can shorten all three bars to the following lengths and essentially get the same music (but maybe more exciting):

G5 / Small Chime: 144.2mm
E5 / Med. Chime: 157.3mm
C#5 / Large Chime: 171.5mm

Keep in mind that once you drill the mounting holes, the pitch will certainly drop (slightly). But if you file or sand the ends of the bar (after the holes are drilled) you can get it "pitch perfect".
Anyway, sounds like you have a solution in hand. Good luck with your project!

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