(Topic ID: 34215)

Star Trek: Mirror Universe Pinball


By Zitt

6 years ago



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#1 6 years ago

A few months ago; I bit the bullet and got myself a Techshop.ws membership for the Austin/RoundRock location. While not cheap; I expect to make good use of the money spent.

For those that don’t know what Techshop is... in short it’s a “gym-membership” type of place which has over $500k in high tech machinery which the hobbyist can use once they’ve taken the required safety courses. Austin has a Waterjet, 2 shop bot CNC machines, mills, laser cutters, cnc sewing machines, tig/mig/welders, sand and powdercoating , etc.

My first course was Shopbot CNC ... Last month I completed Waterjet.
This means I’m now able to use either of these machines.

For the last couple of years; I’ve been wanting to do my own pinball table. Those that know me... will already know the subject matter in question.

About five weeks ago; I settled on a plan.

Goal:
Create a Star Trek: Mirror Universe pinball table.

The plan; Scan in a 1979 Bally Star Trek pinball table. Mirror it. And customize it for the mirror universe.

Before (my previous PF/machine restore):
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3304/3553670524_4e6b03109b.jpg

After: (<u>click the picture to get a larger higher rez on flickr</u>
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8080/8306623052_84d8b03afb_m.jpg

Yeap; that’s right... the shooter lane will be on the left side (evil grin) and will have a negative feel. What has been done:
Re-colored the playfield; fixed worn areas (in computer). Then flipped the playfield.

Areas changed:
1) “vectorized” nearly all aspects of the PF.
2) removed “reversed” text and replaced with Star Trek: series font.
3) USS becomes I.S.S. Enterprise.
4) Space Station K0 becomes Battle Station K0
5) Transporting people become their “mirrored universe” counterparts complete with sashes and skin.
6) “enter Hyperspace” becomes “Avert Subordinate Promotion” “by thwarting and assassination conspiracy”.
7) “jump to warp” becomes “Employ Agonizer on Crewman”
8 ) “where no man has gone before” becomes:
“Your Mission: Conquer all worlds and civilizations to expand the empire like no man before”
(may be too wordy)
9) “Ready Photon Phaser” becomes “ready photon torpedo”
10) Spelling “bally” becomes “Terra” (Terra meaning Earth. Short for “Terran Empire”; the mirror universe’s “federation”)
11) Removed same player shoots again language; opting for “shoot again” text over insert.
12) Drop Target Special becomes Terran Empire logo.
13) colorized planet with purple glow like the re-mastered series from cbs. Not sure I like it... may go back to original look.

You’ll note that I’ve removed all the switch lanes from the design. The plan is to design a set of hall effect pcbs which replicate functionality without slots in the PF.

I’m curious how Kevin O’Connor would have approached a project like this.

Anyway; interested in what you guys think.

Post edited by Zitt : I guess Inline images aren't allowed on this forum.

#2 6 years ago

I also did the inital CAD work on getting a CNC-ready Playfield.
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8224/8302202671_083029fd58_m.jpg

My next step is to see if I can source some inserts from Pinball Resource. I'll need to do this before I commit to keeping the same sized inserts as on the original.

I haven't done much work on the Plastics yet ... but I have a plan which I don't want to talk about until it becomes a done deal.

Merry Christmas to all!

#4 6 years ago

I've been working on the Plastics for the machine...

Remember to click the images to get larger/higher rez renderings

Here's what they basically looked like on a prototype machine ... I re-did the text here:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8068/8223651958_62ed9cc2f1_z.jpg

Why ProtoType? Well... YEllow/Silver uniforms do not fit the theme of the known Mirror Universe... That and I really enjoy the Busty Blonde.

So; now I needed to "mirror universe" it up.

However, I'm kinda torn between two designs. First; here's a screen cap of Scotty put on one of the pieces:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8205/8222575205_f89f42dfe1_z.jpg

Changes:
1) Busty Blonde has been Mirrorized.
2) Spock has a beard.
3) Uhura has been Mirrorized - complete with black stockings.
4) Those.... um... who-knows what has been removed and cartoonized-screen-caps of Kor and the Romulan Commander have replaced them. With the req factional logos in place.
5) Scotty Screen cap from Mirror Mirror.

My issue with screencap is it kinda looks out of place with cartoonized Evil-Spock and Evil-Uhura... but "matches" the screencaps of the foes.

Option 2:
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8347/8223651192_601a38c494_z.jpg

Took a screen cap of Scotty from The Animated Series (TAS) and heavily modified him to make it a mirrored version.

I'm also thinking about putting Evil-Sulu on the other arrowed plastic. But depends on which direction I got in.

Should I loose the arrows on these plastics?
Which should I go with?

#5 6 years ago

This is a very cool project, like it a lot.

What about changing the current playfield color palette to darker tones and gradients to give it a more evil feel.

I also wonder what it might look like if the graphics were updated a bit for a newer look and feel.

The original artwork just screams 70's to me, I know, I know this pin was originally made in 1978, but there is no reason it can't be updated without losing the original flavor.

#6 6 years ago
Quoted from Zitt:

My issue with screencap is it kinda looks out of place with cartoonized Evil-Spock and Evil-Uhura... but "matches" the screencaps of the foes.

I agree it does look out of place, I would suggest trying to source all the images from the same place, if at all possible. Comic books and internet fan art is great place to start looking.
Especially try deviantart.com lots of great artist on that site.
Sample:
http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/294/4/2/star_trek_the_original_series_by_dusty_abell-d5ihg4k.jpg

#7 6 years ago

Zitt's

Here is just a quick and very rough idea of what I was talking about going with darker colors.
Your Original (left) Darker Colors (right)
mirror-original.jpg mirror-darker.jpg

#8 6 years ago

Very cool project. I really like the darker colors for the mirror universe.

If you pull this off, I could definitely see a market for do-it-yourself conversion kits for other collectors.

#9 6 years ago

Trust me - The plan for the plastics should rox the socks off you guys. I don't want to say anything until I have some examples ready. Lets just say the new plastics will be orginal and kick ass.

As far a the color scheme - I'll consider your idea. However; if you look at the concept of the TOS episode - you'll note that the mirror universe was very simular to our own universe. I think that darkening the colors violates the simular but different implementation.

Finally, as far as the DIY kits... I don't think that is a wize idea.
1) I don't "own" the orginal art . I can claim it as a dervative art; but if I sell; it becomes a copyright infringe issue.
2) Star Trek is a Licensed product - policed by Paramount/CBS I'm sure. So; to sell means I need a license. not something I'm interested in tangleing with.

Having said that; I would be interested in working with someone like CPR whom might already have the licenses to product such a kit.

#10 6 years ago

I would buy it in a heartbeat!!!!!

#11 6 years ago

Other than PBR; whom else should I contact for Early Bally SS inserts?
PBR doesn't list 0.6in inserts on their site; and they aren't answering emails until the 3rd.

Just looking for backup options.

2 weeks later
#12 6 years ago

Mid week last week; I activated my Techshop.ws membership and schedule myself for the Laser cutter SBU on Saturday. No; I didn't feel like I needed the SBU; but given my issues with my personal laser cutter - I still needed to make some progress.

After class; I scheduled a 2hr block on Laser cutter#2. I wanted to use the Laser cutter to create the Inserts I'll need for the new playfield. I went to Regal plastics earlier in the week and got some material:

Translucent White @ 0.25"
Translucent Yelllow @ 0.25"
Transparent Green @ 0.25"
Transparent Yellow @ 0.25"
Transparent Orange @ 0.25"
I already had Transparent Red @ 0.25" so didn't need it.

No; I didn't need all these colors to exactly match the existing Inserts; but I wanted to experiment to find the right mix for what I wanted on my pinball table.

I drew up some inserts in CorelDraw X4 ... and decided that I wanted to take three different tests:
1) Try Transparent Inserts without anything. Just "clear".
2) Transparent Inserts Frosted.
3) Transparent Inserts Clear with a "spiral galaxy".
4) Transparent Inserts Frosted with a "spiral galaxy".

I figured; since I was creating my own table... might as well add some enhancements for some added details. Hence the spiral galaxy might look good.
I also figured that I don't really like "clear" inserts; some frosting would hide the bulb filament and/or the electronics/LEDs under the inserts.

Here's a Corel rendering of my work:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8396591885/sizes/l/in/photostream/

For the frosted; I hit the acrylic with a 220 grit orbital sander... the followed up with the sandblaster. The spiral galaxy would be etched into the acrylic with the laser cutter.

The Translucent White and Yellow look really good. Here they are compared against existing inserts and being back lit by a White #555 LED:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8397646746/sizes/l/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8396591885/sizes/l/in/photostream/

InsertsCAD3r4.png STMDSC_0373.jpg STMDSC_0371.jpg

#13 6 years ago

Now for the Red 0.61 insert test:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8397650170/sizes/l/in/photostream/
Top is the clear insert, bottom is the frosted insert.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8397650696/sizes/l/in/photostream/
Top is the clear/spiral insert, bottom is the frosted/spiral insert.

Let's try the a bigger insert... how about the shoot again insert.
Before (stock/old insert):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8396563565/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Clear/Spiral:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00//8397648516/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Frosted/Spiral:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00//8397649638/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Based on the current tests; I gotta say I'm diggin the Frosted/Spiral inserts. I wouldn't do the spiral galaxy for every insert... but as an emblieshment to specials like the green; red; amber inserts. I think they do a good job of defusing the led light while adding a little something extra.

I ran out time on my 2hr block in the laser cutter today. I didn't get to the transparent yellow, orange, and green. But I have a block allocated to me for sunday afternoon. As a result; I'll withhold final judgement as to the inserts until I have the other tested.

That's all for now; see you guys tomorrow.

STMDSC_0381.jpg

#14 6 years ago

Neat project. I like the color change for the playfield. I really like the effect of your frosted spiral inserts. Have you considered reversing the bonus countdown order where one thousand would be at the top and ten on the bottom?

#15 6 years ago

That club with the tools, WOW! great concept. Great project, GL

#16 6 years ago

"Not on my ship mister"

#17 6 years ago

I think Planetary pinball sells inserts and you might talk to Classic Playfield Reprodictions, CPR.

#18 6 years ago

Your custom inserts look fantastic!

#19 6 years ago

I can’t claim originality here... as I remember the XENON machine at a past TPF which had NIXIE tubes instead of the standard VFD displays. I always thought they were cool.

Now that I’m designing Star Trek: The Mirror Universe; I’m thinking that I want to put NIXIE displays in the machine instead of stock Bally displays.

I’ve been doing some design work; and have come up with the following schematics which use the IN-12A tubes from Russia. They are nearly the same digit height as a stock display and and are relatively inexpensive compared to other tubes.

The Schematics are posted here for review... I’ve never designed a display before... so will probably need to do some design tweaks once I get the Tubes in.
http://www.Pinball-Mods.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Bally7Nixie.pdf

I went 7digits instead of 6... so they can be used in other machines. I’ll either de-pop NIXIE_A7 or figure out how to make my Bally FW run a 7digit display.

Anyone see anything obvious?

1 week later
#20 6 years ago

I did finish the inserts a couple of weekend ago; but had a puzzle to put together - more on that momentarily.

Here's the Clear Yellow and Green inserts. I didn't bother to photo each version; since I pretty much decided I like the frosted Spiral Galaxy versions.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8443976094/sizes/l/in/photostream

I didn't need to clear yellow; but I cut them anyway... because I need the smaller peices you'll see next. I think I'm going to use the clear yellow inserts to represent the 3X bonuses.

Observent people noticed there some details peices on the CAD drawing I showed earlier. These detail peices are for the Nacelle graphics in the original playfield. I was always... dissappointed these warp nacelles didn't light up on the original PF. So; I wanted to see if I could change that on The Mirror Universe.

Anyone like Puzzles? If so... have I got some fun for you:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8442883881/sizes/l/in/photostream/
All kinds of colors of the rainbow. And no... I not real fond of puzzles.

I laser cut some plywood in about the size of the nacelle image on the PF. and put together the puzzle of Yellow, Red, Orange to replicate the nacelle. Once I had the 20some odd peices in the correct order I "tooth pick" clamped the pieces tightly together:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8442884497/sizes/l/in/photostream/

and then used some acrylic solvent to glue the pieces using capillary action. I made sure these peices were tight together to ensure a tight bond was formed. I haven't really tried to "Break" these parts; but I've dropped them a couple of times and they haven't shattered.

I made two with the Yellow/Orange/Red/Yellow combo - the identical combo as the PF graphic. Since I had the peices; I went ahead and created a combo which more closely resembles the Enterprise... W/ Red as the main color; orange/yellow/white.

Once I had the pieces welded together with the solvent; I need to make them level. However, I notices that even tho I cut these parts from the same file; their with minor gaps between some of the pieces where they didn't meet. I didn't want to see unfiltered light come from between the acrylic. I pondered; thought about Epoxy w/ some kind of dye... but remembered that I created some crafts with the wife many years ago. It was some plastics stainglass in a bottle. I had pearl white; but couldn't find the Red or Yellow. I tried Michaels... and all they had was some sh1tty martha stewart glass "paint" for $4 a bottle. "Meh" I thought. So I waited until Monday when Hobby Lobby would be open. A lunch trip turned up the exact thing I remembered:
[url=http://www.plaidonline.com/gallery-glass-window-color-ruby-red-2-oz/84/16015/product.htm]Ruby Red Gallery Glass[/url] and the [url=http://www.plaidonline.com/gallery-glass-window-color-sunny-yellow-2-oz/84/16004/product.htm]Sunny Yellow[/url]. These two oz bottles were like $2.75 a bottle. Using the bottle applicator; I filled the cracks with the appropriate color. I didn't get the Orange- because I wan't sure Pumpkin Orange would match the acrlyic orange. Since red and yellow always border orange; I could use one of the two. I used pearl white for the center "star" on the red insert.

Once I had the cracks filled; I proceeded to attempt to use the orbital sander to help level these inserts; at which one of the yellow inserts went flying into the neather regions of my garage. a quick search didn't turn it up. At that point I went to manually sanding these parts flat.

The result?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8442886631/sizes/l/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8442887373/sizes/l/in/photostream/

And the money shot:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8443976710/sizes/l/in/photostream/

I like the red a lot better than the yellow.

STMDSC_0388.jpg

#21 6 years ago

Incredible job my friend!

#22 6 years ago

I never even seen such an awesome project..

#23 6 years ago

Outstanding idea and work.

LTG : )

#24 6 years ago

Thanks guys!

I just put the finishing touches on the silk screen for the Base board for the Nixie display.

Here’s a image of the boards as they stand today.
Base Board:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8435073222/sizes/o/in/photostream/

Display Board:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8435074684/sizes/o/in/photostream/

New features added:
1) The “Right angle” Display board has surface mount LEDs under the tubes; the idea here is that when the display is “active” meaning PlayerX is up... the switched LAMP driver on the side of the display turns on these LEDs causing them to backlight the display ... to help identify which player is active. A Brightness POT on the baseboard controls the brightness.
Opto-Isolated the “lamp” input from +5V logic.

2) I added decode logic to support 7digit display ROM hacks:
http://www.pinball4you.ch/okaegi/pro_d7.html
where by D5 =1= D6 causes the 7th digit to become active. U3 & U4 provide this functionality.
Feature is jumper selectable to for native 7digit or Rom-Hack 7digit mode via JP1.

3) Clearly labeled Test Points with voltages. Added 80V test point.

4) Additional decoupling caps near U1,U2,U3 and well as a bulk cap for 5V.

5) Nixie tube display board is at a “right angle” to the base board (like original); but is back set far enough so “front” of IN-12A displays are near same position as the VFD display.

6) HV areas “inside” dotted lines. Generous ground planes to help with thermals.

7) Same PCB sizes as original.

The Schematics are posted here for review... I’ve never designed a display before... so will probably need to do some design tweaks once I get the Tubes in.
http://www.Pinball-Mods.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Bally7Nixie.pdf
At this time; the design remains my copy-protected property! Once I've proven the design; I'll consider open-sourcing the design for others to build.

I went 7digits instead of 6... so they can be used in other machines. I’ll either de-pop NIXIE_A7 or figure out how to make my Bally FW run a 7digit display.

1 week later
#25 6 years ago

Tonight I finished the CNC work on the Playfield as I have a 1pm reservation on the Techshop.ws CNC machines for Saturday. Earlier this week I got some Russian Birch in 4x8 sheet to create the PF on. The veneers/cores look to be dense and high quality which should yield a good looking PF.

The CNC simulation yielded this rendering (click for full size image):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8474540991/sizes/o/in/photostream/

The simulator says 44minutes of machine time – but I’m guessing it’s gonna be longer than that.

With luck by 6pm; I’ll be back at home with a fresh playfield.

There are two things missing from this PF at the moment – One is the ball lane and the other is the beveled edges of the kickout hole.
I’m not sure yet how to generate these with the tools I have on hand. I need to learn Cut3d and figure out how to incorporate it into the design. I’m hopeful I can add it later after the PF is already CNCed or do some of the work by hand.

8474540991_99a4478df8_m.jpg

#26 6 years ago

Keep it up Zitt so far so good looking better than CQ.

#27 6 years ago

Lets know how you end up cutting the shooter groove.
Keep up the good work.

#28 6 years ago

Lets know how you end up cutting the shooter groove.

A ball nose bit is the tool normally used.

ball_nose_router_bit.png

#29 6 years ago

<Sigh>
This weekend was suppose to be the weekend for real progress; sadly – it didn’t happened.
On Friday; I went to techshop to check on file readiness and water jet a unique piece for the Playfield.

Turned out all the work I’d done (6hrs or more) in the Trial version of Cut2D wasn’t usable in the production version Techshop had. Those a-holes think it’s cute to prevent files created in the trial version from working in the production version unless you spent 500 on the full version. OFcourse the Trial version only outputs from their trial library so I couldn’t export tool paths. I recovered; but I spent a lot of late night hours rebuilding the CNC files. I understand a company wanting to protect their IP – but this is just well – going too far.

Now onto the unique piece I was to water jet. I built the file in CorelDraw. Let’s just say CorelDraw is absolute crap when it comes to outputting DXF files. When I bring it into FlowPath to generate the waterjet files... the parts have in-exact curves and broken lines. I have to repair it in FlowPath which takes about an hour. When I take it to the waterjet; the part some how grew by 1.2x ... not that I caught it at the time. So; 40 in aluminum and 40 dollars in machine time is down the drain. I’ve recreated the design in a real cad program and we’ll see about cutting it in a few days when I get more material.

After about 4 weeks; my 12A Nixie tubes arrived from Russia. First thing I noticed is that the numbers are upside down to what I thought the proper orientation was. To make matters worse the Library that I dled for the Nixie tubes was incorrect and the pin numbering was off. This renders one of the two circuit boards for the nixie displays invalid. I’ve fixed the pinout in the library and have re-laid out the display board. Plan on submitting it to BatchPCB tonight. I think the PCBs are running behind because of Chinese holidays... so not sure if I’ll actually get the PCBs in time for TPF’13. I gambled by committing the PCB before I had the tubes... and lost that bet.

I did get my ColorDMD for the STNG installed last Thursday... so at least that went well.

Hoping your weekend was better,
John

#30 6 years ago

Sorry to hear that your weekend did not go as planned.
The whole cad file thing really sucks.

What program did you end up using to correct the errors?

#31 6 years ago
Quoted from Zitt:

Let’s just say CorelDraw is absolute crap when it comes to outputting DXF files. When I bring it into FlowPath to generate the waterjet files... the parts have in-exact curves and broken lines.

Often you have to check the box that says "Save Curves As Lines"

#32 6 years ago

Sorry to hear that your weekend did not go as planned.The whole cad file thing really sucks.
What program did you end up using to correct the errors?

I tried using FlowJet's cad software.
However, earlier this week; I re-did the files in QCad so they should be natural DXFs now.

Last night was a good night. I figured out the toolchain to take the ball lane and kickout hole from Sketchup into the CAD software.

I used Sketchup 8 to create the files (easiest 3D software I can barely use). Once I had the file in Sketchup; I exported the model to a 3D model in DAE format. Then I used Meshlab 1.3.0 to convert the .dae into an .stl which could be read by Cut3D. Here’s the models as the look in MeshLab:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8493491483/in/photostream

Once I had the tool paths figured out; I imported the .v3d file into Cut2D and aligned it in the file. The simulation shows me this:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8494591124/sizes/l/in/photostream/

I couldn’t figure out why the Ball lane path is “etching” the non-lane wood. I tried a couple of things but they didn’t seem to make it better – only worse. So; I plan on leaving the 1/4” ball mill a little higher when it’s cut to try and avoid the etches.

Collets are on order via Fleabay since Monday... And I ordered the 1/4” ball mill before I went to bed.
New NIXIE tube board is on order as of today.

Now I just play the waiting game until the collets and mill are in. I'm also hoping to have something to report by next weekend on the Plastics front.

PF_CNC_sim2.jpg

#33 6 years ago

This is great stuff, can't wait for the next update.

#34 6 years ago

Great stuff, like watching this more than the big guys making new pins. Very cool, keep it up.

#35 6 years ago

Looking forward to seeing this come off the cnc. I am cutting a playfield currently for someone. Easiest way I found to do the shooter lane is in vcarve pro using the fluting option with a ball nose bit.

#36 6 years ago

Looking forward to seeing this come off the cnc. I am cutting a playfield currently for someone. Easiest way I found to do the shooter lane is in vcarve pro using the fluting option with a ball nose bit.

Wow - thanks for the advice. I'll have to look into that feature in the future.

---

A while back; I put the breaks on further work on the Plastics. The reason I stated was that I was working on a plan to knock your socks off. Tonight is the moment I reveal the plan and work that has been done.

When I realized my art skils were not up to the task... I decided to consult a professional. I approched Gordon_Purcell (a well known Star Trek graphic novel artist) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Purcell
with the project; and he agreed to do the work on commission. It wasn’t cheap; but I decide to do it because I was spending so much effort to make this a one-of-a-kind original; that it would just stupid (in my mind) to leave the plastics art to an armature artist like me.

The schedule we settled on was for him to deliver me Pen and Ink drawings electronically by this past weekend to enable me some time to create the plastics prior to TPF'2013. Monday he delivered the drawings.

Oh; and BTW: <strong>I'm retaining all rights to the art for now... as I have worked out final rights with the artist. No one is allowed to reproduce these for any reason.<\strong>

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8511257991/in/photostream

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8512672233/in/photostream

Now that I had the ink files; It was time to do some photoshop work on it ... I decided I wanted to color the drawings rather than hire another professional; thereby spending more bank.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8514255335/sizes/l/in/photostream/

TBH; I'm very pleased with the results.
Gordon did an EXCELLENT job giving me the baseline for the art don't you think?

I may do some more work on Sulu as he looks off with the teeth.

Comments / Suggestions?

Now I need to send him the plans/Ideas for the BackGlass. First; I have to scan the existing backglass and measure the critical parameters. So; now is your chance to provide ideas for said backglass; I want to get him something by Friday.

On other fronts, the Nixie tube boards and digikey parts came in today... I’m only missing the backlight leds ... once I have them; I’ll be ready to start assembly.

8514255335_0c129e6c09_m.jpg

#37 6 years ago

Insanely great work!

#38 6 years ago

Wow, looking good.
Keep us posted with your progress.

#39 6 years ago

fantastic. What a huge project undertaking this is. Can't wait to see the results.

Since it's going to be Mirror Universe. You going to have Mirror effects on the playfield as well? could add some nice touches.

#40 6 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

Since it's going to be Mirror Universe. You going to have Mirror effects on the playfield as well? could add some nice touches.

Kindof obvious now, wouldn't it be?

#41 6 years ago

mirror image and actual reflective mirror mirroring arn't really the same thing, so not obvious unless you say your doing it.

3 weeks later
#42 6 years ago

The Mirror project was put on hold for the last three weeks... First due to the SxSw Intel LANfest I was hosting... and then Texas Pinball Festival this past weekend. Now that I had the Pins back in the Garage'cade; I've refocused my effort on the Nixie Pinball Display.

I hand assembled the base and display boards and soldered them together.

I didn't want to commit the untested display to my Bally Star Trek... so I needed to figure out how to facilitate debug.

First problem was how to supply 190VDC to the HV section. Some googling found me some 555 timer circuits which would run off of a 9V.
Had most of the parts except a 250V 4.7uf cap and a pot. A trip to Frys solved that problem.
A bread board and an ATX power supply and I had a 190V psu. The ATX supply provides +5v to the display and +12V to the 190V psu's input.

Here’s a picture of the prototype 555 190V Nixie supply:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8582243194/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Initial debug turned up a dumb assembly mistake..– I swapped U1 & U2 despite the clear labels on the silkscreen.

I hardwired the display inputs to only lite digit 1 and display an 8 (1000b). 8 because it's the digit which uses the most current given the largest area. This will allow me to verify the anode current before committing to a final anode resistor. To "latch" the 8 digit; I used my RatShack Logic pulser to toggle the LE pin.

I was able to empirically calculate the Anode resistor using the built-in test point and pot. 21.4k... now I just need to find some 22k 603 resistors to make it work. 21.4k gives me 2.5mA of anode current which is typical for the NH-12A tubes I’m using.

Here’s the top view of the display boards:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/858242778/sizes/l/in/photostream/

And the money shot for the backlite display:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52968060@N00/8582241420/sizes/l/in/photostream/

I decided early on that I wanted the backlite to be purple rather than some other color because I thought it’d contrast nicely against the orange digits.
You can see the testpoint and Anode pot right below the Nixie tube. Obviously; these will be de-poped for “production” boards.

With the resistor calculated; I need to focus on creating a Display tester so I can run the display thru all the digits and functions.

STMDSC_0414.jpg

#43 6 years ago

Very cool

#44 6 years ago

I am in awe.

#45 6 years ago

This is going to be a very cool machine. Im excited to see the finished product

#46 6 years ago

woahhh, this is gonna be great, moar please!

#47 6 years ago

Really really impressed!

#48 6 years ago

Someone mentioned using an Arduino to drive the pinball display as a tester.
Initially I dismissed it because I had an “activewire” microcontroller board here which was collecting dust.

Turns out the activewire board only has drivers for WinXP... none for Win7.
While at Frys today; I saw they had some Arduino usb devices for fairly cheap. I ended up getting a Nano which had 14DIO pins – barely enough to drive the display.

A few hours later; I had a working Pinball Display tester:

I’ll publish the code later; but thought you’d guys want to see the display functional asap.
Tests all the digits and the BLANK functionality which is between the 9 and the 0.

Next step is to desolder the current display PCB and build a fully populated display based on the latest PCBs. Once I have a fully populated display; I can test all the digits and the 7digit emulation capability.

#50 6 years ago

Today; I verified the Nixie Pinball Display as completely functional.
I populated all the nixies on a FabB Display board; installed all the backlit LEDs and ran the full test against it.
All the digits work; and the emulation works as expected. Setting A5 = A6 = 1 emulates the 7th digit.
I haven’t checked for the 7th digit in non-emulation mode; but expect it to be low hanging fruit.

I did find that the 300k resistors along with the 110V “bias” voltage via Zener were necessary. Without the bias; some digits would see ghosting in non-active digits. By driving the anodes and Kathodes to 110V when not in use; the digits won’t flicker.

Here’s a video of all the digits working:

Next step is to finalize FabB of the base and display boards while the changes are still fresh in my mind.

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