(Topic ID: 75438)

Space Shuttle crew members' club - prepare for liftoff!

By E_N_3

5 years ago

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#515 5 years ago

Hi, saw your post in my restoration thread. That does look like the wire, but I notice it doesn't include the bracket for the shuttle. For $35 that's a downer.

Have you considered making your own? I've made lots of scale railroad locomotive handrails out of similar (but thinner) wire and it's not too difficult. Costs almost nothing if you take your time and are handy with a pliers. I can try and get you the dimensions of the parts, unless someone else here already has them handy.

The bracket might be trickier since it was originally riveted to the shuttle. Other than that it's just a flat strip of metal bent in a "U" shape with holes at either end. Easy enough to make, though fastening that to the shuttle becomes the issue. There are several ways I can think of; not sure which would be best...

#532 5 years ago

In the midst of my own middling restoration, I had an idea for a cool mod I've not yet seen anywhere. Something to dress up the speaker panel. I roughed up a quick vector sketch for my potential production source... what do you think?


As I said it's rough but you get the general idea. The number is my machine's serial#. I'm kicking around a few other layout concepts in my head, so before I settle on anything and beging cleaning my art in earnest, I thought I'd solicit ideas and feedback...

#536 5 years ago

I understand symmetry, and usually prefer it too. In fact, this idea sprung from the later Williams System11 backboxes, with the symmetric speakers that each have the "W" logo.

However, I'm personally not a huge fan of "clip art redundancy". Maybe it's too much of seeing these around the 'hood:

UGH! Look at that schnozz... just because you can, doesn't mean you should! I wish they'd collide and redeem us all from the horror!

I absolutely love the shuttle logo Williams designed, though. The backglass already says "SPACE SHUTTLE" but does not have that logo on it, and the Williams one is pretty small. So I was OK using both.

Still, it's easy enough to mock up that I can probably make a one of each and post them here for a vote. I can probably even get each one made and see if it makes a difference once installed on the machine.

Quoted from toyotaboy:

Also do you intend to drill holes for a speaker grill through the NASA logo?

Absolutely not! I don't want to permanently ruin the cabinet. The material will be stainless steel, and the black areas will be cutouts, like a stencil. So the fabric will show through for contrast (and sound transmisison of course, hence the huge NASA logo where the speaker actually lives).

I am hoping to have it hook onto the channel that the bottom of the glass rests in... the glass is not as thick as the channel, so I think there is enough space. If a hook won't work, I'm sure I can devise something else.

Like I said, just an idea at this point... working out the kinks, and have plenty else to do besides.

I appreciate the feedback!

#543 5 years ago

OK, I didn't have any time to work on machine aspects, so more time at the computer. I cleaned up the art a little bit, added some stenciling lines (not sure they are big enough yet, but enough to get the concept), and played with a few layout variants.

I'll admit this much: though I'm still personally not a fan of mirrored clipart, that version does look much better to me than I thought it might. Probably because there's so much black in the space shuttle art compared to the Williams logo - thus there is a sense of balance. It could grow on me.

I do think this could work the way I envision, which is to have the top of the plate bent as a hook to rest in that channel. It will be tight - requiring a thin but stiff metal - but it will work.

Quoted from toyotaboy:

I've done waterjet parts before. I'm figuring once you get the vector done those should cost you between $25-$50 per part. Let me know if you need any help converting the art. I really do like this idea.

I'm fortunate to have a high-ranking connection back home, in a sheet metal fab shop with lasers, plasma, hydro, and free material (this size is normally scrap to them). My price for the random personal one-off project is time at his convenience, so... beggars can't be choosers If I'm lucky I might get a few samples when I visit over the holidays. That will determine if there's any "production feasibility" and what any reasonable cost might be.

Quoted from Spitfiren8:

Maybe change out the S/N to something else for mass production tho...

Noted, and I figured as much, but see above I would love to be able to provide these with basic customization options. But. BUT. BUT!!! It all depends on what I can get away with... it might be simplest in the end to just say "535 DEFENDER".

Quoted from MustangPaul:

could ya come up with something to cover that butt ugly piece of wood with the 3 bolts under the speaker panel. As you can imagine with that stainless you are gonna get a real bad reflection off the pf glass

Not sure on the ass part, lol... it's recessed which constrains detail visibility, and that's before you take the shadows into account. You do have a good point about the reflections... I hadn't thought of that. Fortunately my source works with all kinds of metal... I could probably get aluminum or possibly specify a brushed stock. I'll request samples of each and see what happens.

OK then, simple vote time! I'll post the samples individually. Thumbs-up your favorite! I'll go my own way regardless, BUT if I can get a few of these made for interested parties, I'll consider the public vote.

#544 5 years ago

This is my original concept: Classic Williams logo as seen on subsequent game speakers, with their wonderful Shuttle logo on the right

#545 5 years ago

Here's a version more in keeping with the standard Williams appearance of later years....

#546 5 years ago

...And finally, as requested, Dueling Shuttles.

#547 5 years ago

And using Toyotaboy's photo, here's a concept photo... silver color of my art mock isn't metallic of course, but you get the idea.

Dang. I like it!


#585 5 years ago

Wow, that clean cabinet looks AWESOME. And your homemade shuttle wire looks every bit as good as the original. Way to go! I might have to ask you for help once I get to put mine back together....!

#592 5 years ago
Quoted from KevInBuffalo:

Anyone have one installed that can share pics? Any tips for installation?

Quoted from vid1900:

It is missing the black outline on the "SPACE" and "SHUTTLE" text in the hotdog inserts.

I'd find a more accurate set to install.

I noted the same discrepancy, and passed on the set for that reason. But in my case the only inserts I really needed were the hotdogs, so it did not make sense to spend the money.

So you might have a conditional option: IF you need the rest of the set and that one is otherwise accurate (or no others are available...?) it might be worth considering IF you are handy enough with a paintbrush to fill in the black lines (they are outlined for you at least). Ultimately I touched up my inserts and did just that...


FWIW, I also noted the repro stickers for the drop targets are not 100% accurate to the originals: there is some detail missing in the dish arms, but most people probably would not notice that if the gold color and sheen is correct.

#599 5 years ago
Quoted from E_N_3:

my vote is for the double "W" Williams logo ...

Yeah, that thought and your reasoning is what I originally had in mind. But I really like the Shuttle logo and a trace was simple enough so I figured why not? I get what you're saying about "NASA=shuttle so how many do you need"... but I thought the shuttle logo is only seen on the cabinet sides, so why not somewhere on the front as well? As for redundancy and overkill, just on the front you have the Williams logo in the backglass, on the apron, and on the coin door, oops. I previously explained my personal dislike of mirrored clipart so I tried to split the difference.

Nonetheless, there's a good argument for each concept and personally, my almost changes with the weather.

So I submitted the final tweaked art and should have finished samples of all three, hopefully within the month. The verdict will likely come out of the installed visuals.

(I might submit a request for a coin door insert, in place of where the Williams sticker would be. Could be a good place for the Shuttle Logo if I decide on the dual-Williams speaker panel).

#602 5 years ago

I HAVE THE POWER! *ahem* oops. But YEAH - 29 days after I did its acquisition self-test and then turned it off and began ripping it apart - including rebuilding the power boards and MPU lamp matrix - I finally held my breath, plugged it in and hit the switch...


I didn't let the magic smoke escape, and HOLY CARP those LED's are BRIGHT! As my wife said, "we could use this thing to guide the real Shuttle for landing" LOL. Of course in my excitement I didn't get a better pic, much less one with all the attract lights on. It's dazzling....

But reality sets in and I have a few things to work on, yet:

1) One pop bumper does not light. (Connections look good, I have continuity and diodes test consistent). Ugh - KISS method. I did check the bulb (actually an LED cap mod) socket, but I didn't swap it around... after doing that, it works.

2) Another does not fire. (Mechanically, switch is fine and connected well. I suspect a transistor. Oddly enough, the seller pointed this out and I got it working when I got it home, but now it's out again). EDIT: WELL this is an issue, the PO's had a bear of a time with it and left me some landmines to find: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/trolled-by-a-diode-please-help-sys9-space-shuttle#post-2026670

3) U|S|A lane switches seem flaky. (The physical switches are good; they register but you have to "hold" them, it seems. Again, I suspect a transistor). I still know there is a flaky matrix transistor out there, but these work better after cleaning them with a business card.

4) I rebuilt both flippers with a kit. The right one works great! The left one seems to "bounce" or "pulse" or "fire twice". EOS set the same as the right. If anything, I would have thought the right one would be problematic since the coil was stressed but nope, it's the left one...? Double-checked my solder connection where I added a cap... it was just a little wiggly. No more, and no more stuttering.

5) Left sling switches did not register their numbers on the diag test, BUT they do cause the kicker to fire as they should...? cleaned the contacts and now register scores.

6) After running attract mode for a while, the white pf bonus grid lights started getting wonky - instead of spelling "Space shuttle" they began getting kind of random...?

7) The 3-drop target bank does not reset. It had this problem before, so I inspected and thoroughly cleaned the unit, and it feels much smoother by hand. The coil does fire, but does not push the targets up. The coil seemed OK during the rebuild (sleeve was not binding but I replaced it anyway, coil not scorched, etc).

8] Bell does not work at all. And something about it just doesn't seem right to me, I can't understand how it would work as currently configured. Seems the striker's spring tension is a bit much against that tiny little coil, and it pushes the switch normally closed so how would it ever be triggered in the first place? Can anyone share a photo of theirs?Got a photo below that proved mine was a bit mangled. Aligned everything to match the photo and DING!

9) Still seem to hear a bit of high-pitched static in the backbox speaker, which changes depending on the # of pf lamps illuminated. I've cleaned and grounded everything "obvious" (board mounts, cap replacements, etc). Anything else I should look for?Apparently some noise here is typical, and after re-routing the speaker wires in the backbox, away from the GI and other power wires, it's actually really quiet... almost silent until EVERY lamp is on. I can live with that.

I do know I have a couple transistors to replace on the MPU board, yet - but Great Plains was on their end-of-month break so my order didn't ship until tonight. Still... does any of the above register to anyone, as far as typical things to check?

Can diodes be checked reliably in-circuit or do they need to be removed (I have replacements on order)...?

Post edited by goingincirclez: Follow-up when I has the solutionz

#606 5 years ago
Quoted from pindel:

In my experience drop targets don't always go up in test mode but work fine in game mode.

Hmm, that's interesting. I haven't played a game yet but I'll keep this in mind after I check SuperBee's suggestion.

Quoted from pindel:

----In my experience I had to sand the closed switch and sometimes bend it tighter to work.

Thank you for that photo! I wanted to know what a working one looks like before I took mine apart. Mine looks significantly less "squared" than that, the contacts are all bent to one side... but are closed like yours. Looks like a dissection is on tap...

Quoted from pindel:

--seems kinda normal but make sure all boards are screwed tight in back box

Yeah, everything is nice and clean and tight. And it's quieter than it was before, even silent when there aren't too many lights on... I just don't know if it should be absent entirely, especially since I switched to LEDs.

#607 5 years ago
Quoted from SUPERBEE:

check to make sure reset spring is not missing or completely worn out.

Well wouldn't you know it... there is no spring there! Thing is though, I'm not sure by looking at it, where it would go? Seemed to me that that way the coil is oriented, it would suck in the plunger and reset the targets that way by lifting them - no spring assistance necessary since the targets drop by gravity, and click into place once raised.

I guess I was wrong. Can you provide a pic or diagram?

#609 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

It's going to be loud, so don't get startled and hit your head on the playfield.


Thanks for the concern for my hearing and gloriously bald dome. In the end, Pindel's photo set me right, as my brackets and the striker were just way out of whack. I suspect a PO had juggernauted them to silence the bell permanently, and that small coil is nearly inaudible on its own.

#624 5 years ago
Quoted from E_N_3:

Will you be making them available for others to buy too?

I'd certainly like to, but it depends on what my sample source says. I could probably get a few. But since he runs stuff like this as the occasional odd job on "spare" materials and time, the company might take a different view if he tries to crank out several. I'm hoping to get a quote of what it would cost the company as a "legit" billable item.

#626 5 years ago

Yeah, I downloaded all the ones I could find and I really like some of the concepts. Would like to have the modernized photos with the original "Flight Manual" though... I PM'd the original creator but haven't heard back so I might have to go it alone.

#627 5 years ago

Question for anyone who converted the controlled (pf) lamps to LEDs:

I did this, and it seems most of them are staying on when they should not be. I do have a row issue I am sorting out (over here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/lamp-row-issue-sys9-space-shuttle) , BUT, independent of that...

...the S-H-U-T-T-L-E targets, and the U|S|A lanes, are lit almost constantly which makes them hard to use. You can catch just a hint of flicker or change in brightness when the indicators are triggered, but that's obviously not how the game is meant to be seen or played.

Is this the typical "ghosting / strobing" symptom as seen with basic LEDs, that would be solved by something like the LEDOCD board or premium bulbs? Or do I have another problem / have others installed normal LEDs in without much issue?

I'll probably upload a video later so you can see what I'm getting at, but if anyone has comments meanwhile, I'd appreciate it....

#637 5 years ago

Yeah, it's not the flashers; I kept incadescents in there since they use the larger #89 sockets and I didn't order LEDs to fit.

Anyway, for testing and troubleshooting (since I do know I have a row issue), I reverted back to incas on the almost all the controlled sockets. Behavior is back to mostly normal. I only say "mostly", because they aren't "on all the time" anymore... but now it seems like they don't always light up when they should during gameplay, either. For example, hitting the targets doesn't always turn the light on, and the USA lanes stay dark. Can't say the X-value multiplier ever changes from "5" either but other ones will occasionally turn on in addition (not instead of)?

But attract mode looks great except the garbled spellout on the white bonus grid.

And the static in the backbox speaker is back again, bad. Clearly the increased current draw of incas has something to do with that, but I wish I knew what the true problem there was. I don't think I could have the boards grounded any better than they are.

Ugh, I thought I was done with this machine, but why do I have a sinking feeling this is going to be a complicated issue...

#639 5 years ago

Yeah, I know I have one transistor to replace, but I worry how to figure what else there would be. I probably need to change the ICs while at it. But where would it end...

#641 5 years ago

Just when I was about to get aggravated... curse your sensible philosophy

Part of this is my lack of self-confidence. It's like, I fixed everything else on this machine but can't help beating myself up that this is probably broken because of that, even if it (might) be unrelated. OTOH, I pro-actively did the lamp COLUMN mod to reduce heat, and as far as I can tell, my problems aren't column related.

But on closer inspection... it looks like I have a total of 3 row issues. Row 8 is stuck full-blast on, as described. Rows 4 and 2 also seem to be... sensitive? Also on, but not as bright. They do seem to switch off from time to time.

Have parts on order. Crossing fingers meanwhile.

3 weeks later
#663 5 years ago

While I wait for my MPU issues to be identified, I did receive some token good news in the form of test samples of my mod concepts.

So, after I submitted the files for the speaker panel art, I had another idea to mod the insert panel on the coin door. Normally there is a Williams logo sticker there, but it was missing on mine... so I had a thought and designed a new part using some of the art I already traced.

Now, unfortunately, it turns out a portion of the art for this new idea, got lost in the file conversion during the CNC process. But it's an easy fix that's been identified, and will be addressed along with some other planned enhancements.

SO here's the sample:


It's an etching on a stainless panel that perfectly fits the insert blank. The upper arc over the shuttle logo is what got lost, but will be added in. A darker outline around the etching is planned as well.

This really looks so much better in person than I can manage to capture with a potato! The etching manages to capture light and reflect differently....



AND the coolest part is, in order to fit this panel to the coin door, I had to snap off the key chain loop I designed in. That's right: these are made as key fobs (after all, it turns out to be a perfect size), but if you choose, you can snap (well, I used a Dremel to cut... a snap-scoring line is planned) the loop off and stick it to your coin door!

So what do you think?

It will still be a little while before I have the fixed versions, let alone my full-size speaker panel. Target date is Christmas. Shoot, with any luck my MPU will be fixed and installed then too, hopefully. But for now I'm pretty pleased...


#665 5 years ago

Ah, well it's an honor to "meet" (much less entertain compliments from) the very NASA geek who designed those logos! Color me jealous as I've always wanted to be a design / art pro, but rather find my way in fits and starts. Those logos really are nice. I have the same SSPC pin, which I plan to apply to the shooter lane.

I couldn't decide which patch to get at the time, so both it was. Then I was too afraid to use them so for all this time they've awaited the "right stuff"... now here we are. Actually I technically still haven't used the patches... I scanned them and made vinyl stickers instead

I'm glad you like the panel insert. Can't take credit for the original art of course, but at least the concept executed reasonably well.

1 week later
#717 4 years ago
Quoted from SUPERBEE:

Im considering putting brite caps on my Space Shuttle. Red, white and blue. I think it would really make it pop as opposed to the standard white ones that it has that are quite opaque and dont really allow the light to shine through well. Any opinions

I did this to mine. Sorry about the lousy photos... I've since sent the MPU for repair and can't take better at the moment. But you get the idea...


I couldn't be more pleased. The dot-ring light specks befit the looks of a "space station apparatus" and the cover blends well with them too.

3 weeks later
#732 4 years ago

Well it took a while... but was well worth the wait. After some assistance from Ed Cheung my restoration is pretty much finished and the game has been a FREAKIN' BLAST! Tons of play over the holidays by me, the wife and kids, and visiting family and friends.... 95% trouble-free aside from typical teething care and feeding, but man, this game is FUN.

And a beast! Here's proof of how fickle the pinball gods can be: I configured a new "default high scores" table to be lower than the factory's, but still present a reasonable challenge for us (pinball neophtyes all) to work to. In fact, the #4 score I set was one we'd only beaten a handful of times to that point.

Well, first time out... I shattered the #1 score I set. Like, wow, OK, maybe that Pinball 101 video was worth the 3 bucks. Then my next 5 games, I never even scratched the #4 score. Ha!

Thankfully I'm more consistent and have further bested #1 since. But man, pinball can really keep you humble, and in a hurry.

Oh yeah... as revealed in my resto thread, my speaker panels were finally finished for Christmas...

This is the version that members suggested I make, with two shuttle logos. Not bad... but my least favorite of the three. Still, that panel really looks amazing in place of that plain black void, no? This shot shows the pin in its living room home. Some photos and memorabilia from our trip, some old Shuttle toys I mounted (one as a "topper", and a custom Guest Pilots Scoring Log on the wall edge tie it together with a finger painting my youngest did when she was 4.

Here's a version with both the Williams corporate and Shuttle logos. In the concept phase, this was my personal favorite. Shown here with the lights on, you can see the brushed stainless catches the pf lighting in a neat reflection. BUT it doesn't reflect itself into the glass - a modern DMD does worse IMO

And offering a classic look, as the machine might have appeared had Williams released it a few years later, is this version with two Williams logos flanking the center panel. I didn't think I would originally, but I like this one the best.

#745 4 years ago

I would love to be able to offer these... could be a way to help fund / fuel my own addiction after all

Thing is, the turnaround time is unpredictable - they are run as an "odd side job / fit in" order on in a very busy production fab shop. I don't want to make promises that I can't meet through no fault of my own. Especially since the cost of these - since I already got my "one-off family discount" - would likely be around $75 or so (material, machine set up and run time, etc). I was originally told I'd have them by "Thanksgiving, no problem".... then had to wait until after Christmas. You know how it goes (see: the minefield of the MMR thread, etc.)

Could run a batch and sell them first come first serve - but I would need to remove my machine's serial# from a general-public offering. Personalization could be an added-cost option provided we can keep the orders and scheduling straight... but that runs into the timing / promise / fulfillment issue.

Ideally I could even offer panels for other machines if there was enough interest and clearance from the shop.

I might post a new thread only about these, to gauge overall interest, then see what can be done.

#755 4 years ago

Good points all. The shuttle logo is the one from the side panels, so either way there is a Williams license concern. NASA used to be overly generous to unconcerned, so that's hopefully less.

I would hope for other games, designs could be more original (except the W logos).

But either way, I'm not going to approach the licensing bridge, until I figure out the requirements and capabilities of my shop source. There can be communication issues there, so... yeah, I'm trying to spare everyone else the frustration. But I appreciate the interest!

#757 4 years ago

So has anyone else ever noticed what I am (for not knowing of a more "official" term) going to call "Troll Mode" on this game?

Here's the setup: my game had been working fine for dozens and dozens of rounds all through the holiday break. Over new years' my family drove the long distance to visit. Most of them were amused and intrigued by the pin, but my brother became an absolute hype determined to crack the top scores. He played for longer stretches at a time than any of us. Which was fine of course. But eventually he got the rage and was just restarting games, not even waiting for the Match to run... which seemed fine, ha ha...

...except at some point he noticed the Heat Shield quit working (popping up), the U|S|A rollovers were inconsistent, etc. Weird, and hopefully not a "pinball problem". At some point he was forced to quit and we turned the machine off, I did a quick inspection and didn't see anything amiss. Next power up the game was fine and everything worked fine for many subsequent plays.

Well, during my own marathon session a couple days later I got a bit impatient, began starting games before letting the Match run and after... several instances of that, lo and behold - the Heat Shield quit again. Hmm. This time I did not turn the machine off: after a few games of no shield I took a breather, let the matches run, let the kids take a couple turns... and after a few rounds, the game fixed itself. And it hasn't trolled since !

So... is this a deliberate bit of code, meant to frustrate game hogs to make them let someone else have a turn? Or a way to amp the challenge a bit? Or... is mine "broke" in an interesting fashion?

Either way, I like subversive machines with a bit of defensive snark, so I think it's pretty cool.

2 months later
#786 4 years ago


So, after what seems like forever (dang, it's mid-March already!) I finally have a quote I can work from, to offer the panels I designed somewhat publicly. Seriously though... to those who PM'd and/or patiently waited, I apologize it's been this long. I guess if nothing else it kinda puts the MMr and BL dev threads in perspective, since all I wanted was a piece of metal, ha ha.

Anyway, to refresh and for newbies, the proposal is to offer my custom speaker panel as seen below:

w00t those scores are old... I've since racked that top score on one ball, ha ha

The panel was designed by me in Frankfort, Kentucky, and was laid out for CNC laser-cut Stainless Steel by my dad, produced in a 100+ year family-owned sheet metal fabrication shop on Chicago's southwest side.

Without belaboring the specifics, accounting my for my billed cost for the material stock, machine time, labor, etc, the most cost-effective breakdown is to order these in quantities of 6 as that's the optimal use of a suitable sheet stock. Even then, by the time I factor in shipping and packing, etc... from Chicago to me, and then me to you, at $100 per panel I'd probably just be barely above breaking even. So I'm thinking the sweet spot is $120. Even then I'm not sure I'm valuing my time enough... certainly not getting rich! But if it helps contribute some funds to my burgeoning pin addiction, that can't hurt. Who knows, I might have to adjust pricing on another run. And yes the licensing is still a concern, but at this point I'm wanting to gauge the demand before I pursue that rabbit, and what it might do to costs.

Regardless, even at that $120 price, I need a minimum of FOUR FIRM ORDERS to justify my outlay for a quantity sheet. If I only get 4 (or 5) orders, I will run the extra slot(s) to obtain stock on hand, so those could be available for later sale.

Quoted shop turnaround from paid order to finished product is two weeks... it's a busy place! Then add shipping from them to me, and me to you, and you should expect around a month from the time I place the shop order, to the time it arrives for installation on your Shuttle. Obviously I would ship them to you ASAP!

As for personalization, my dad said he can probably work in machine serial numbers ("535-____ Defender"), and/or your choice of the dual-Williams or dual-Shuttle design "for free", at the moment. For this initial proposed run, I'm willing to try that and see how it goes. Hopefully there are no foul-ups. However you should know that modifying the art may add some time to the production.

So now that I have a price ($120), anticipated turnaround time (~1 month give or take), the minimum order threshold and batch cutoff (4 to run, 6 per batch), and a disclaimer (I've never done this before, so bear with me and understand that while mistakes and the unforseen may yet happen, I am trying to be above board)....

....are there any serious takers, er I mean buyers???

If not, I may consider offering my other two prototypes (see earlier in this thread) for sale. But I only have two, and there was more interest than that, so I'm not sure how to proceed there.

Please feel free to comment or PM with questions, concerns, etc.

Thank you!

-Tony L.

#790 4 years ago

OK, that's three... thank you! Just one shy for now... I'll give it a few days and see where we're at, then PM all interested parties and go from there. If you know anyone who might be interested, let them know!

I also thought about posting on the main forum or market place, but absent a license I don't want to seem like I'm cashing in hand over fist. Like I said, I want to keep things small, gauge demand vis-a-vis price, etc.

But if this is successful, I'd love to try coming up with designs for the other Sys9 and early Sys11 games... might be trickier though. Does anyone know which titles used the same speaker panel design? I know Comet, High Speed, and Pinbot off the top of my head.

#792 4 years ago

I certainly don't mind shipping to Canada, I've sent numerous other things there! Thing is, though, they were usually small and comparatively inexpensive. I know shipping to Canada is fairly reasonable until you put the apparently satanic word "Insured" on the box - then it's like some sort of cross-border nexus warp toll comes into effect. I'll try and quote it out, but given the costs in play I definitely want to insure/track all of these, for everyone's sanity. If you have any recommendations I'd be happy to oblige. Maybe UPS or FedEx is the route here (I'm used to USPS parcels and such...)?

#795 4 years ago

OK, I have 6 stated reservations, so that's a full sheet claimed. If anyone else is interested, please chime in soon, toward building the next minimum group of 4. I have decided to only do a second group. Afterward I should probably investigate licensing and/or fab shops closer to me. But for now, I want to roll while there's a bit of momentum on our side. So if you want in, do it now!

I'll be PM'ing the first group in the next day or so, to confirm panel versions, personalization options, and of course name/addy and payment particulars.

As for payment: I've read enough threads around here to know that prepays are frowned upon, and, given how long it took me just to get a quote, oops I'm not keen on holding onto anyone's money. But it's a decent chunk-o-change on my end to place the order and I don't want to end up stuck there either. So I will probably ask for a non-refundable deposit credit toward your purchase, with a larger balance due upon my receipt from the fab shop. At least that seems fair, but if anyone has problems, or a better suggestion, I'm willing to entertain them.

Beatmaster, I forgot to dig my spares out to weigh and mock-pack for shipping estimation tonight, I will do that next. It seems two of these might be headed to California as well so, dang... shipping my MPU cross-country USPS insured was $20... so based on weight/dimensional similarity, I'm guessing it'll be in that neighborhood or more.

Vid, FWIW I've always been partial to USPS. NEVER a problem with them (unlike the private couriers), plus Sat delivery! Plus fond memories of my time working at the campus post office in college... somehow that was always more fun than it should have been, ha ha

#800 4 years ago

That's an... interesting way of touching up a pf. Actually, "touching up" might be too kind. Barfing up? Farking up? Wow. Just barely less offensive than bare wood, might have kept it sealed or something at least.

Lefteris, gotcha, you're first in line...!

#802 4 years ago

Hi tbmi,

You're the second down for another run.

(It occurs to me that with a total of eight inquiries I now meet the minimum for two runs... but I'll have to work on the deposit/order math a bit. Let me finish drawing up the six paid orders here over the next day or so, and see where it stands... meantime if anyone else jumps off the fence that can only help, hint hint...

#806 4 years ago

I'll second what Paul did as far as bulb types, also generally matching the insert colors. On mine I kept the bonus grid white, made the spinner lane Red White and Blue, and put color changers in the stop-and-score. Comet Pinball put together a great starter kit that did my entire machine for $100. I also got Pinball Life LED Brite Caps (again in Red White and Blue) for the pop bumpers - they look incredible and blend well with the scaffolding art.

I recently saw a YT video where someone put purple LEDs under the white outlane spots. Looks white until they light up: that purple sure grabs your attention!

#808 4 years ago

That looks awesome Paul. Did you replace the saucers? Mine are opaque white; not sure how well light would pas through, but then they're probably the same plastic as the inserts...? Which lamps did you connect them to?

#822 4 years ago

Just to update the Speaker Panel group 1, I completed the mods and sent them for conversion this morning. Hopefully there's no surprises lurking. Here's a preview of one without a full serial number... I'll PM the individuals their own, shortly...

EDIT: well turns out you can't put pics in PMs, so emails it'll be, to those who specified other options...!


#832 4 years ago

Wow... an illuminated panel would be awesome, I never even thought of that. Now I'm kind of glad my original mounting concept didn't work out, because it probably would not have allowed that so easily!

Quoted from MustangPaul:

How wide is the NASA cutout?

From left edge of the "N" to the right tip of the "A", it's not quite 10.75" wide. From the top edge of "NASA" to the bottom edge of "535____Defender", it's about 3.75".

I have a 3rd inquiry toward a 2nd run. I'm considering the cost feasibility of running those (and sitting on the balance of a sheet for stock) if no others sign up. I talked to my dad today and he'll get back to me at some point... until the final approval to start cutting is given, which is probably still a couple weeks away, there's time. If I don't have a 2nd commitment lined by then it will be some time later before I give it a go.

#838 4 years ago
Quoted from tbmi:

I'm just wondering if you would get more response if you started a separate thread about the speaker panel since it's kind of buried in this thread.

It's a valid thought, and I considered that but for now it's kind of a "chicken / egg" thing: I need to see how much firm committed interest there is at X price before I engage licensors (whom I have heard are not always easy to deal with). Nor do I want to possibly "open the floodgates" before I fully know how the process of orders and fulfillment and possible snags would work. There's too many examples here of that blowing up in people's faces, however unintentionally.

So I'm trying to keep things small among friends as it were for now, to see how it goes. If well, and worth pursuing further (and I really do hope it is!) then I'll pursue a license (which would allow me to do other machines too, maybe) and open to all in a wider space, with happy customers to back me up. That seems to me like the right way to go.

Yes, this is still semi-public, so obviously I'm outing myself even saying this much here, but by being above board hopefully a noble intent is clear.

1 month later
#865 4 years ago

Ah, fantastic! I'm glad to see these making it safely and being installed! I kept worrying that I crossed up orders by mistake or the packing would be insufficient... I'm glad you guys like them as much as I did.

Oh, and my dad deserves part of the credit for converting all the art to a CNC-digestible format

Cheddar, I didn't even know you had that coming up, now I'm even more glad I busted hump getting them all sorted and shipped as quickly as possible. Please do share a pic of it set up at Pin-a-Go-Go! I'd love to hear of any response to it as well.

#878 4 years ago

Hi Paul, I'm sorry to hear about that, but I'm relieved you got it sorted out! FWIW I had a couple extras made in this run and I did test the alcohol method before writing that. I didn't have any problems... now I'm kind of curious what if anything might have been different on yours. I probably used 91% alcohol if that's what was handy; I know some rubbing kinds are only 70%, I wonder if that makes a difference. I'm sorry for the hassle, but glad it came out OK. I'll keep this in mind going forward, so thanks for letting me know. How does it look polished, and what kind did you use?

Beatmaster, did you get the tracking info when I made the USPS label? I'll check it myself if it helps, but I've had this happen in the past with cross-border stuff. Can never figure out when/why/how some things are tracked step by step and others seemingly jump-warp to the end.

#883 4 years ago
Quoted from Cheddar:

the velcro wasn't sticky enough and it kept falling forward

Well fooey, and hmm... I haven't heard of that happening yet; when I installed mine originally one was kinda loose but I didn't have the channel clean enough... I wiped it again and stuck the Dual-Lock back on and bam, it hasn't budged since.

If you're having problems with the Dual-Lock, there is another adhesive I've used. It's a double-sided foam tape also made by 3M, for applying automotive trim. I can't remember the trade name (threw the packaging out many years ago) but it comes in a roll of 1/4" wide tape, it's a thin black foam with red backing film and it STICKS like stink. Works fantastic for all applications I've tried. I didn't opt to use this material since it's more "permanent" than the Dual-Locks, although you can peel the foam tape off bare metal with no residue in my experience.

If you want to try that, I will see if I have some left and send you a piece?

#885 4 years ago

Well, that makes sense... I haven't yet mastered the art of nudging, but my wife - who tilts the generous nudge mech as often as not, LOL - hasn't knocked it loose either

If you do find out the spacing required for a light installation, please let me know... I might be able to work that into future designs, so as not to require bolts. Not sure.

Did you manage to gt pics of it with the panel at the show? Just wondering how/if it stood out...

1 month later
#901 4 years ago

Paul, the graphics and inserts are still hotdog shaped when unlit... but some used 3 round inserts on either side, presumably because Williams ran out of the original hotdogs during production and couldn't get more.

Even when unlit, you can spot the circular inserts in a photo, owing to a hue shift in the graphics...


It seems to be about 50/50 on machines I've seen in pics, but that's hardly conclusive. I greatly prefer the all-natural dogs myself.

I wonder where this running change aligns with the different backbox sizes that were used? Could be up to 4 different production variants out there!

#903 4 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

In your picture aren't the 2 yellow rubber "bells" on upside down?

Looks that way in the pic, but it's not my game, just the first one I found on skynet image search.

10 months later
#1116 3 years ago
Quoted from DrScoops:

Is the lamp list in the manual complete enough to use as my shopping list? What about the back box? Has anyone done LEDOCD in there space shuttle? It was an awesome addition to my PotC.

I don't know about the specifics of the lamp list, but as far as quantity and type goes, it should be pretty accurate. A few things to keep in mind:

- You can do Space Shuttle with about 150 bulbs. Almost 100 of them will be white / GI.

- Color match your inserts. This is where building a checklist (x Orange, x Green, x red, etc) will come into play.

- If you want to customize the game by changing the color of white inserts, you can: a lot of folks like to change the colors of the drop target lane, which can look pretty sweet.

- Remember the flashers are a different bulb (67 or 89, I can't recall which). But if you use LEDs for those you have to cut the resistors in that circuit. Personally, incandescent flashers are cheap enough and illuminated infrequently, I continue to use them there. Simple, no mods to reverse.

- Don't color-ize the GI at first. This is a very subjective matter and what looks good to one person looks horrible to the next. Remember that backglasses, plastics, and even the playfield were painted with the intent to be illuminated by (warm incandescent) white. You can't go wrong by sticking with what was intended. But maybe get a few spare color bulbs and try highlighting an area or two. Look around the thread, see what you like, see what your dad likes...

- Also remember that you can get three different color tones of white: cool, warm, and natural. Cool works best for space themes and blueish areas, warm works best for earth and red/yellow areas, and natural can be good for really intricate details. Mixing them can really add some subtle depth and highlights without turning into clown puke.

- LEDs vary in brightness. I used comet frosted 1smd 5050 bulbs throughout my Shuttle and like the look, but it's right on the edge of "too bright" IMHO.

- As for LED OCD: it can help if your converted game has ghosting and/or sequence timing issues. Not all games do. My Shuttle did not but I tried the LED OCD anyway just to get that "slow fade" back... and don't like it since it adversely affects the attract "spellout" sequence and no amount of tweaking I've done has been able to restore the specific flashing the base game does. I intend to put my LED OCD in another game that actually has a few ghosting issues.

Hope that helps...!

3 months later
#1201 3 years ago

Got my promo flyer in the mail yesterday, securely packed to be flat and crisp. Thank you Harvs!

5 months later
#1335 2 years ago

They are behind the backglass, on what is sometimes referred to as the backbox "insert board".

1 month later
#1391 2 years ago

Does anyone know the differences between Space Shuttle's Sound Roms? Specifically Rev3 vs Rev4?

2 weeks later
#1408 2 years ago

OK, this is the post a lot of you folks might have been waiting for: I'm trying to prepare another run of the stainless "NASA" Speaker Panels I had done in 2015, which have been mentioned several times here since. And I've had a few PMs over the years.

Sadly I do NOT have a firm availability date yet. I did get a local shop to make a similar PinBot panel I developed a month ago... but they've since been swamped and I've yet to get a firm re-commitment on quantity pricing and turnaround. I'm hoping to get that this week. At the very least I've been promised that info.... if it falls through then, well... crap.

This run of Panels will NOT be customized. They will all have the "Double W" pattern, with "535 DEFENDER" beneath the NASA logo (In 2015 I offered several options but it was a bit much to keep track of, and then one got lost in shipment which didn't help).

The good news is, assuming the last estimate I was given a month ago still holds, I can offer these a little cheaper than 2015, at $130 shipped within the Lower48. (In 2015 they were $140).

So I'm seeking an official tally of folks interested at that price. I am not taking deposits and have nothing to ship at this time! If you would buy at $130, send me a PM. If enough interest is there it may help me secure a commitment to the shop order. Maybe drive the price lower too, who knows... to that end if you are interested in the PinBot panel (see club thread there), let me know.


#1414 2 years ago

Just an update on the Speaker Panel 2nd run: Thanks to all that have PM'd me... I hope to respond individually when time and information allow, but I think there's enough interest to pursue this...

...IF the damn contractor would quit giving me the runaround! Now I'm told "next week for sure the guy who handles this will be able to get back to you". Which is what they told me LAST week... Ugh. This is getting ridiculous. The worst part is as bad as this is, they were the ONLY ONE of no less than SIX options I pursued back in late January, who was even willing to work with me in a feasible way. So it's a case of beggars cannot be choosers. Not like I can say "well eff you guys" and take my business elsewhere. Must be a great time to be a machine shop!

Anyway, I appreciate the interest and most importantly: PATIENCE!

#1420 2 years ago
Quoted from E_N_3:

everyone who plays the game always comments on it. Many players who are familiar with the game are a bit confused when they notice it, as it looks so good that it looks stock, and they are unsure if it is stock, or they are just re,entering something wrong. To me, the fact that most think it is factory is a huge compliment for any mod...as a ,of that looks like it should have been there since it was rolled off the factory floor is the best sort of mod/addition in my opinion

Comments like that make my day. Just wanted you to know.

Still working on the run prospects. If I don't get anywhere with this locally, I might have to pull my connection strings at the original Chicago-based shop that did the original run.

2 weeks later
#1473 2 years ago

Just an update on the speaker panels:

Sorry for the false start a few weeks ago - I had every reason to be reasonably confident things were close locally, but... I have no idea what's going on. Tired of no traction there.

So the old adage "stick with what you know" is again proven, as I've reached out to the original Chicago-based shop to have them do the work again. Thing is, I *know* they are backed up with work, but the final product is worth it even if it's kind of a low-priority favor for them to work me in. My dad is the machine setup and layout design foreman which kinda helps... but is training a new Chinese immigrant to boot. He said this project could be a good exercise for the new guy, and should have the same files to help... but time will tell.

Regardless I have not and won't be asking for any money until I know the job is approved, quoted, and scheduled pending acceptance.

Thanks for the patience and interest!

5 months later
#1581 2 years ago
Quoted from AMBoggs:

Any updates on the panels?

Actually, they are in queue for production.... and enough in quantity to probably take care of everyone who has been asking.

Any Nine Inch Nails fans here? You know the running joke of "soon"? Yeah, it feels like that. But I am confident I'll have them eventually.

I got a sample run a couple months back but they somehow screwed up the file AND used stock that was WAAAAAY too thick so I requested the necessary corrections.

And I might have had the batch a couple weeks ago but the job run just before mine broke the machine! So... ugh... while that was fixed my panels (understandably) got bumped back down the priority queue. So I've given up asking when, but trust they will get done. I've just learned to quit promising. At least I already knew not to take money beforehand.

Trust me, I'd love to help fund a TNA or something with these, so I'm just as anxious to finally have these to sell as you are to buy them!

1 month later
#1619 2 years ago

Just a quick update, and a long overdue one at that:

I received word from my dad a couple days ago that the planets were aligned such that unclaimed material AND machine time were both suddenly available to cut the panels. Yeah yeah yeah, I've heard flavors of that too many times... but today, he sent me a surprise shipping notification. Based on the weight, I'm guesstihoping I might have about a dozen NASA panels in a week or so. Fingers crossed!

If anyone is still interested after all this time.... don't start PMing me just yet... I don't want to make promises... but maybe cross your fingers too...!

#1633 2 years ago

Holy carp Charlie Brown, it's a Thanksgiving miracle...!

20171124_142858 (resized).jpg

11 shuttles and 4 PinBots...

BEFORE THE FRENZY BEGINS... I wasn't expecting this to show up right now so I'm a little unprepared at the moment. Sometime in the next few days I hope to QC the panels, then try to reconcile all the old PMs and such and see how many folks were interested versus how many I have on hand. I honestly do not recall, plus I understand folks' interests have probably changed during all this time. I also need to get packing materials and such. I'd like to revise the packaging to something a little smaller if at all possible... I kinda went overboard in the 2015 run.

Bottom line is I will do my best to honor "past dibs" and offer any remainder as first-come-first-serve. It might not be until next week before I'm ready to accept orders / payment.

Things are complicated slightly in that it appears one NASA panel has some excess material that would need to be machined - whoever has machine shop access can probably claim that one for a discount. Also, during the 2015 run, one of them got lost in shipping so I need to hold back for such contingencies. I might also dig and offer a couple of my prototypes from that run as well, just to clear things out.

But I finally have some in hand! And since they don't do me any good sitting here I'm looking forward to getting these out to the rest of you soon...!

#1642 2 years ago
Quoted from jradams76:

I notice that the green multiball light and the heat shield light stop lighting up. Is there a bad connection as the game heats up? Any ideas on what I could check?

Both of those two lights are in the Lamp Matrix, Column One. The others in that column are all in the backbox: Shoot again, Tilt, Match, Ball in Play, Game Over, High Score. If none of those are working either (easy to miss!), you've got a matrix column issue. Those tend to involve the MPU board and yes, can sometimes manifest and/or worsen as the game warms up.

If it's only the two you mention, then it's a more confusing coincidence...

#1643 2 years ago

OK, I did first-pass QC (basically removing the film, which forces me to lay eyes and hands and notice anything egregious), and think I've accounted for all the dibs... and there should be just enough on hand plus maybe a spare or two.

I think these are probably going to end up around $175 shipped. I used USPS Priority Insured last time, and will probably keep it that way.

I hope to start PM'ing my dibs list by the end of the week. I'll let the club know when that happens, in case I missed someone. I've got too many live irons this week, and still need to figure out my packing/shipping situation, so they're not quite ready to ship... but close. Definitely want them out and received in time for the holidays...!

#1648 2 years ago

A loose wire could indeed cause that, possibly. Try reseating the red and yellow wiring connectors on the MPU board - upper left area, where all the big toasty resistors are.

More likely you have a blown component on the MPU board. It will be in the top left area of the board. I think columns are the strobes? If so, the part(s) for Lamp Column 1 are transistors Q23 and Q15, and the 7408 chip at U54. Look for anything visually blown in that area, although usually with these particular ones it's not as visually obvious as when, say, a coil transistor blows. It's also possible the resistors and such associated to those parts might be faulty as well.

If all seems well visually, and reseating things doesn't provide a lucky fix, then you're going to need the schematic and a DMM to make much sense of troubleshooting any further.

#1649 2 years ago


If you did not receive one and think you should have, please PM me with the "thread dib" and/or earlier PM. Right now all are claimed; if folks back out those would of course become available.

I am holding back ONE panel for insurance. And I might let the two alt-design prototypes go. So if there is additional interest, that's up to 3 more spots that might free up in a few weeks.

Thanks again to all for the interest and patience!

2 weeks later
#1666 1 year ago

Due to an apparent flakeout, I have one panel boxed and ready to ship. If you are interested PM me for details.

#1673 1 year ago

Mine also had the TM stickers. I want to say it had them next to the back box astronaut as well. Can't remember for certain, but they were there somewhere. Struck me as pointless since they were illegible, I might have even removed them while cleaning the cab. I'll try to check once I'm back home in a few days.

3 months later
#1771 1 year ago

So back when I joined Pinside over 3 years ago because I just acquired a project Space Shuttle as my first pin, and then discovered the hidden scaffolding artwork under the pop bumpers, I asked why clear skirts didn't exist.


Well... they do now! And boy, IMHO is this an absolute no-brainer upgrade for the game. I wouldn't even call it a "mod" since the art was there from the factory... but with clear skirts, the nest and the scaffolding above really does seem to float in space:

SSPopFloat5 (resized).jpg

SSPopFloat3 (resized).jpg

SSPopFloat1 (resized).jpg

SSPopFloat2 (resized).jpg

Funny thing, they even have a magnifying effect which changes due to the tapered thickness... can give some weird effects if you stare too hard as the skirt moves, ha ha... but you don't notice that during normal play.

They're at Marco:


#1775 1 year ago

The problem I saw with doing both a clear body and skirt, is it would reveal the unpainted wood areas around the bores, as well as the screws and wiring. Those are still hidden by a solid skirt even if the body is clear and vice versa.

You could paint the bare wood, and maybe the screws and such would look cool too in this instance... I suppose you might not even see them ordinarily. But I wasn't fully sold on the concept.

Plus here, the narrower-appearing body does link the base pf scaffolding art to the plastic structure above, so it still looks OK to me.

But next Marco order I'll probably get a few clear bodies. I'm getting better at pop rebuilds now... I did 10 in only 3 hours this time

9 months later
#1977 10 months ago

To some degree a bit of "matrix hum" in games from this era is normal. Even one that's essentially "silent", if you stand next to it and listen you'll be able to pick it up, noticing as the lights change. Kind of like how you can "hear" a CRT from the next room.

Of course not all "hums" are the same. You could have blend of matrix hum and other interference, or just one and not the other.

When I first redid my own Space Shuttle, the hum was pretty bad - and I had already rebuilt the power supply. Eventually I tidied up the lamps a bit, tightened all of the interboard wiring and connectors, replaced missing board screws, etc. Somewhere along the way, the hum dissipated greatly and is pretty much not there at all for practical purposes.

One quirk on games of this era is the sound/speech mixing pot (looks like a volume knob) on the sound board. By now it might have a bit of oxidation that is polluting the signal; turn it back and forth a few times to clean it and set it back to where it was originally. Might not help your particular situation, but it shouldn't hurt to try. I'd also double check ALL your board connections and screws. There was still a lot that wasn't fully understood when these games and boards were designed, so it sometimes doesn't take much to cause minor problems.

You could also try removing a bunch of bulbs to see if that changes the hum. If it does, your power supply is likely weak and recapping that would be a huge help.

It could possibly be the sound board itself, too: when I was rebuilding the board for my Firepower (which is similar) I was doing all kinds of troubleshooting / experimental poking and probing, and was amused to discover that touching the amp chips would cause the hum to change. Now I'm only mentioning this as something "within the realm of possibility"... but I would save it for the last desperate thing to investigate as it gets much more advanced with more possibilities for disaster, than the other suggestions.

1 week later
#1983 10 months ago

Geez, if that's what people are considering "beyond hope" these days then holy crap, I should be a god, and others immortal above be ;P

A few years back that pf would have been considered a true rare gem find in that condition. It SHOULD still be. The only truly worn part is the "USA ADVANCES X VALUE", which was always the first part to go. The bonus matrix insert rings are worn, but even then only just the black circles. A little unusual wear above the right outlane. And some typical incidental specks. But all are easily fixable; I dealt with worse than that on my first pin (a Space Shuttle) a few years back, and have tackled way worse since. And I'm not even that good probably.

I'm sure you could sell that to someone more interested in an original PF. That said, though, finding another hardtop candidate might take some work, and could be its own hassle. And clearing is a pain, so the hardtop takes care of that too...

8 months later
#2240 45 days ago

The coin door would be the easiest thing to find as it's not game-specific, so you can get one from almost anywhere. Even so, they're not "common". So let that define the odds here.

There was probably a good chance of scoring a blown-out SS years ago when CPR did the repros. They still turn up now and then, but the availability of Hardtops has made them hotter commodities. But even in that case, you'd still need to get the mechs.

Honestly, a donor cab can be useful for other projects and homebrew stuff, but as the starting foundation to piece a matching game together, it's almost counterintuitive. It takes up tons of space for being literally useless meanwhile. All the other required parts are smaller. I'd try to find those first and THEN get the cab last. You could always repaint any other cab if need be (and most donor cabs usually need some kind of rework anyway).

But if you're in for the long haul, the price is right, and you have the space... well better to have and not need than the other way, as they say. Maybe you'll find a ratted out SS in need of a better cab; would be nice to have that around. You never know!

1 week later
#2255 36 days ago
Quoted from KSUWildcatFan:

one of the bumpers (the right pop, next to the "A" lane) doesn't always respond terribly well if the ball lazily hits the skirt from the top. It seems to me that the skirt is too tight against the spoon or something. I've fiddled with it a bit and it's USUALLY a bit better, but not always. It drives me nuts when it doesn't pop like it's supposed to. I don't think it's a switch gap issue...

That's a pretty common issue with pop bumpers. Switch gap is only part of it. More importantly, you need to make sure the skirt pylon is absolutely dead center in the spoon. After that, it needs to be low enough in the spoon - almost touching - so that any pressure anywhere on the skirt, will move the pylon into the edges of the spoon (to press the switch, etc...).

It's one of those things that's kinda aggravating at times because it's pretty straightforward, but might take lots of fiddling. Be advised, you might have to adjust the switch stack (loosen the screws and move it slightly) to get the right adjustments. Make sure the pop bumper mech moves smoothly and doesn't bind or catch anything either.

For more info, look up "Vid's Guide to pop bumpers" here on Pinside.

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