(Topic ID: 103698)

Some Billet Drop Targets I'm Working on

By NextoPin

7 years ago


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  • 242 posts
  • 62 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by tacoman
  • Topic is favorited by 38 Pinsiders

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There are 242 posts in this topic. You are on page 5 of 5.
#201 6 years ago

Still interested.

#202 6 years ago

Bring on the billets sir.

#203 6 years ago

still interested!

#204 6 years ago

I'm in.

#205 6 years ago

I'm interested

#207 6 years ago

I just changes the headers on my BK2K opto boards and was wondering if these were still a go. I'm still in!

#208 6 years ago
Quoted from NextoPin:

I'm hoping everyone hasn't given up on me yet. Both my machinist friend and I have been pretty busy over the past few months with our own things going on. I have some changes I want to make and test but we haven't been able to get together on it.
I will say that the last test set was very positive, much less wear, almost none but there is still a little room for improvement. Both of us will be pretty busy until the end of August.
I didn't end up going to Allentown because I didn't have anything to show. I had just started testing the current revision and while I have a few targets that I could let people see, they weren't in a machine and they weren't a recent revision.
I'm not giving up on this. I'm still testing targets for durability and finish. I got one more tweek I want to try and test before filling orders.
Hang in there.. won't be long now.

Maybe you should come to Pintastic and show off a few sample. I'd love to see this in person.

#209 6 years ago

wholly crap!

Thanks for all the support!

I won't be able to make Pintastic but I'll post some pics as soon as I pull them out of the machine and I'll explain some of the wear issues we had and what we are doing to prevent it.

The sucky part is I lost my original targets so I have to have another set to put in before I can take the previous ones out or I can't play

We are supposed to get together this weekend and I hope to go over a few things, It's possible I could have the new and hopefully final version to begin testing the end of next week.

#210 6 years ago

Good luck! Beautiful work! Watching with eager anticipation still

4 weeks later
#211 6 years ago

UPDATE 8-5-15 (This will be a long post )

Wow this has been going on for a while. Sorry for all the delay's, As I said this is a pet project but since I have recently become unemployed I have had more time to work on these.

My main concern with selling these has been durability. If this was a $3 plastic target and you have to replace it after 1000 plays then it's no big deal, but at the prices I will have to charge I want these things to be just about bullet proof.

I have been hesitant on posting too much detailed info on our designs but I've decided that you guys have supported this endeavor and you deserve a peek behind the curtain. Some of these pictures might be scary and put you off but I feel it's more important to be up front with everyone so they know what they are buying and how hard we have worked to get them to a place where I feel comfortable selling them.

<Open Curtain>

The original targets from the first post were bare aluminum and were an exact copy of a stock target. I was pretty sure they wouldn't hold up but the best way to find out was to put them in the machine and go from there.

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The first issue was wear inside the slots where the target rode on the metal peg. After a while, the target would start sticking as the steel of the pin in the target assembly began to chaff the softer aluminum.

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This required a total redesign of the lower 2/3 of the target. To remedy this, we opened up the slots and made some nylon bushings. These worked great, like butter and even seemed to work better than a standard target. They looked great in the machine and held up for a while but eventually they started to show signs of wear across the center of the target and at the edges. The top half of the target face was also getting scuffed by the plastic ledge as they dropped. This also happens to stock targets. To correct the scuffing we made the catches that hold the target larger so they would create a clearance for the face as it retracted.

photo 2 (3).JPG

We looked into anodizing but we couldn't find anyone to do small runs and I didn't want to get into trying to do it myself with all the chemicals. I decided to try powder coating them. Since I was really only interested in testing the wear on the target face I also powdercoated some of the original targets I made.

photo 2 (4).JPG

The powder coat looked pretty great and at first seemed to hold up extremely well especially across the face of the target but the edges were taking a beating. The damage on the edges was due to the corners being sharp, and at a 90 degree angle. When the ball would hit the sides it would push the corner of the target through the powder coat. During this testing I also noticed that none of the targets were hanging up, even the old ones without the bushings. The powder coat was acting as a bushing.

Approx. 600 games
CornerWear.JPG

This is where I was about to give up...

#212 6 years ago

In order to prevent to corner of the target from damaging the aluminum we decided to get rid of the corner and put a radius on the edges. I powder coated them and tested them.

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The edge wear was reduced considerably. The face of the target was showing no signs of wear, just a tiny bit on the edges, but still not good enough.

Approx. 550 games
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So back to the drawing board. We increased the radius more on the corners. We really feel that these will be able to hold up but have yet to test them. I know you guys (and gals?) really want to get your hands on these. What do you think? Should I go through one last test cycle before selling or get them out there and hope for the best?

Here's the latest version, in raw aluminum.
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This pic shows the mirror finish of the target face
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The latest batch along with a couple of the previous version.
photo 5 (1).JPG

#213 6 years ago
Quoted from NextoPin:

We looked into anodizing but we couldn't find anyone to do small runs and I didn't want to get into trying to do it myself with all the chemicals.

The only chemical you need for anodizing is Sulfuric Acid (just plain 'ol battery acid from the auto store).

Anodizing is a very "green" technology.

#214 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

The only chemical you need for anodizing is Sulfuric Acid (just plain 'ol battery acid from the auto store).
Anodizing is a very "green" technology.

It's not out of the question but if I try anodizing now I'll have to start testing all over again. I've had some anodized knives, flashlights etc over time and they eventually wear. Coating them with plastic makes them more like the stock target. If someone here does anodizing I'll send them a couple targets and I can test them.

I'm also going to edit my above posts and put how many games were on each set of targets.

#215 6 years ago

I am still on for a set of Sorcerer Drops. They look amazing!!!

#216 6 years ago

Yeah I'm in for a Dredd set!

#217 6 years ago

Clear Mylar over the target face would seem to be a good sacrificial wear item, similar to a decal. IMO better than engraving. The texture is bound to scuff the ball and translate to scratches elsewhere over time. with a print in black on clear or even other color on mylar would look nearly as good and might work better long term.

Great job testing and problem solving and thank too for sharing.

#218 6 years ago
Quoted from VacFink:

Clear Mylar over the target face would seem to be a good sacrificial wear item, similar to a decal. IMO better than engraving. The texture is bound to scuff the ball and translate to scratches elsewhere over time. with a print in black on clear or even other color on mylar would look nearly as good and might work better long term.
Great job testing and problem solving and thank too for sharing.

Each drop target will include a mylar protector that can be applied should the owner desire. The goal here was to make a target that can take a beating in a home use machine as is. Nobody in their right mind would pay more for a pretty target in a routed game (I would love to put some in one to see how they do).

The engraving will not scuff the ball as it will be into the powder coat and the powder coat, while hard, is not has hard as a case hardened steel pinball.

I'm more concerned about the ball damaging the engraving. This is still something that has yet to be tested as all the targets so far had the engraving done before the powder coat.

I plan to have the option to order the targets raw aluminum for those that want to finish themselves, Powder coated plain in colors and clear and powder coated with the engraving.

#219 6 years ago

Just sell them!

I am ready to buy! Not sure what game but I want them.

Do a beta run and then take more feedback. I am happy to put some in a route game and report back with photos.

#220 6 years ago

I'm going to be contacting some folks on the pre-sale list. Right now I have a limited quantity (6) to sell. I would like to split these up across a couple machines/owners so I'm starting with machines with 3 or fewer System11/WPC type targets. Once they are shipped and the owners are happy with them I will fill the remaining.

Modern Stern Targets are likely next as they are closest to the Williams type. Not sure after that.

I may have some issues making the System 7/9 targets as they use the target itself, or more specifically a copper clip, to close the target switch. This may be an issue with a metal target but I may be able to isolate the clip somehow. These will be a totally new target and require a redesign from the ground up.
droptargetsystem7back.jpg

The lollipop targets (Bally, Gottlieb, Early Stern etc.) are about the same situation and a totally new target type.

The sale of all the targets go right back into the project to pay for materials, design time and machine time to create the next batch of targets and creating the new target types. Eventually I would like to branch out into standup targets and spinners but that's a bit down the road.

#221 6 years ago
Quoted from NextoPin:

specifically a copper clip, to close the target switch

I seem to recall that Aluminum and Copper aren't good friends, you could end up with a corrosive reaction.

#222 6 years ago
Quoted from NextoPin:

may have some issues making the System 7/9 targets as they use the target itself, or more specifically a copper clip, to close the target switch. This may be an issue with a metal target but I may be able to isolate the clip somehow. These will be a totally new target and require a redesign from the ground up.

Those are flat tension springs...

The switches are at the bottom of the drop target, and push the stack down via a little nylon piece attached to one of the blades on the switch stack. Someone correct me here if I'm wrong...

#223 6 years ago
Quoted from VacFink:

I seem to recall that Aluminum and Copper aren't good friends, you could end up with a corrosive reaction.

That's what I meant by isolating the clip somehow. If it's just for tension maybe we can come up with another way. The point I was making is that these targets are constructed a bit differently than the more modern ones and it will be some time before we attempt to tackle them.

6 months later
#224 5 years ago

Wow, 203 days since my last post. So long that Pinside warned me before posting. This will be long, so buckle up.

Just like this thread the project is not dead. It is in fact very much still alive, so let me update you on the progress. I know this is a little "Inside Baseball" but I've tried to be as straight forward and honest about this project so I'm sharing all the details.

I have not really been on Pinside very much in the past 6-8 months. There have been a couple issues that have caused this long delay. The main one was losing my job in July and not having the extra income to move forward and the other was issues with applying art to the face of the target.

First, the money situation.
I owed my machinist a balance on the targets he had already designed and produced for me. While I'm sure he would have done what he could to help me, I wasn't about to ask. We had been continuing to talk about idea's etc but I had run out of materials and the next step (Stern targets) was going to be alot of design time and prototyping and I just couldn't afford to move forward at the time so everything was put on hold.

Last month I cashed in my 401k to pay off my debt and get my monthly payments down to a reasonable level. I still have not found a job and really haven't put a lot of effort into finding one. I'm sick of the rat race and working for corporations that care more about the monthly report than they do about the people. I've been fixing computers and pinball machines and using the skills I have to make money over the past 6 months. It's not much, but we are getting by and by paying off all these bills we should be in good shape. Fortunately I have a great wife who understands that I can't sit at a desk all day clicking on shit and need to do something where I utilize my skills and interests to support myself and the family.

Some of my savings went into paying off the machinist and paying in advance for the next batch of design and tooling for the Stern targets and production of the Williams style targets. The William's flat and rollover targets are finalized and will be manufactured in the coming weeks. I am going to get the Stern prototypes made first so I can get them into testing and the William's will follow.

Issue #2, Artwork
My first prototypes (from the first pictures) were engraved while the target was being machined. This created some potential issues with with contaminates from the polishing getting stuck in the engraving and the durability of the powder coat over the engraved area. I decided to try the engraving after the powdercoating. Once the target was powdercoated we had issues with engraving through it. The engraver has to be very precise to go through the powdercoat but not too far into the aluminum. Because I powdercoat the whole target this caused variants in the thickness of the front and the back and made it very difficult and time consuming to get a good result and it became cost prohibitive.

So I started looking into laser engraving. I had some samples done and while the results were great the cost per target was too much. I want to revisit this in the future but until I own a laser engraver this method is off the table. I also had some concerns with the edges of the powdercoat on the engraving deforming. I have not done any impact testing as the engraving shop did not put the sample high enough on the target for the ball to impact it.

This was a previous prototype that I used to test the engraving and not the current design

On my way to pay the machinist I had an idea that I think will work, won't cost much and should be just as durable as a blank target.

I didn't want to sell just a blank target because I didn't see what it offered over a stock plastic target if you were just going to apply a sticker to the front of it. If there is interest in the blank targets powder coated in a choice of color let me know as I will be able to fill those orders as I work through the artwork issue.

I know you all have heard this before but I hope to be taking and shipping orders by the end of the month. If you sent me an email requesting to be put on the waiting list I will reach out to you and make sure you are still interested and take your order. If you don't hear from me it's because your targets are something I don't make yet. Send me a PM with your email address or any questions and I will get back to you. Including 'Drop Target' in the subject will help.

Currently 4 targets will be available.
Normal flat William's type (system 11 era and various other games),
William's Rollover type (Sys 11 era and others)
Stern target with the flat back (World Poker tour and some older Sterns have them)
Stern Rollovers (ACDC and Metallica have these).

Once I have more to show I will update with some pictures and pricing. Thank you for your interest and patience, won't be long now, really, I mean it this time!

-Mike

#225 5 years ago

Great to know this is still moving forward! Looking forward to additional updates.

#226 5 years ago

I'm still interested. Please keep us posted and thanks for sticking with it.

#227 5 years ago

I'm in for as many as it takes to replace all the drops in my 35-40 pins.

#228 5 years ago
Quoted from pinlawyer:

I'm in for as many as it takes to replace all the drops in my 35-40 pins.

If those were Gottlieb EMs you could probably buy the OP a house

1 week later
#229 5 years ago
Quoted from pinlawyer:

I'm in for as many as it takes to replace all the drops in my 35-40 pins.

That's very kind to say, I'm hoping someone with a World Poker Tour want's some, that game has like 21 targets!!

Quoted from shimoda:

If those were Gottlieb EMs you could probably buy the OP a house

I thought about doing these, but EM owners aren't very fond of modding so I didn't think there would be anyone who would want them. I have an ACD and I'm not even sure I would put them in there. Also, these are metal and I'm not sure how it will work with the way the switches are on these older assemblies, it may cause a short.

Here's a little sneak peek. Stern sneak peek coming soon.

Here's a video I took of the Williams targets in the CNC workcenter

And a pic of some of the targets with the front side done.

IMG_5934_(resized).JPG

#230 5 years ago

Looking great! Cant wait!

#231 5 years ago

So are the system 9 Williams targets not going to happen now? I need three for my Sorcerer restore. At one time I had talked to you and you were going to make them.

#232 5 years ago
Quoted from Squeakman:

So are the system 9 Williams targets not going to happen now? I need three for my Sorcerer restore. At one time I had talked to you and you were going to make them.

Eventually yes, but not sure when. I was sent a spare sys 9 target bank and targets so I have what I need to test them but with 3 target types already it's keeping me busy.

I'm sorry I can't make all the targets yet but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. Once I start selling then I will have money to get more designed.

Here's some pics of the stern targets straight from the CNC. These are unpolished. Currently in testing. More pics to come soon.

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#233 5 years ago
Quoted from NextoPin:

And a pic of some of the targets with the front side done.

That is drool-worthy! I can't wait!

2 weeks later
#234 5 years ago

I just bought a laser engraver!

If anyone is interested in one, they give you a $100 off code which gives both parties $100 off which would really help.

I got the basic/no filter for $2400

Coupon link is here. http://glowforge.com/referred/?kid=q8kibl

More Drop Target details, pic and order link (hopefully) coming soon.

3 weeks later
#235 5 years ago

I bet there are about 200 tron LE owners that would fit their le's ... I for one am

#236 5 years ago

i have several machines id like to add these to, definitely need three with crosses engraved for my Metallica

3 weeks later
#237 5 years ago

METALLICA! take my money!!!!!

2 months later
#238 5 years ago

Tapping fingers......

1 month later
#239 5 years ago

Holy hell! Let's go!

4 months later
#240 4 years ago

Sorry for the lack of communication on this project. I recently took all my games and life's savings and opened a pinball shop. I thought I would be able to get to these sooner but everything was a lot harder than I expected (Pinball is hard). The plan is to move all my equipment over to the shop in the coming weeks and get back on this project. I hope to have some updates soon.

Thanks for the patience and support, it's not over yet.

#241 4 years ago

Holy hell, I have sold two games I would have purchased these for!
I will be keeping AFM, so get on that one

3 weeks later
#242 4 years ago

I just stumbled on this. I would definitely be interested in replacements for my Black Knight if/when they
become available. Only need 12!

There are 242 posts in this topic. You are on page 5 of 5.

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