(Topic ID: 67163)

*FINISHED* The Acrylic Pinball Project - I am "clearly" insane


By Mk1Mod0

6 years ago



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There are 1333 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 27.
23
#1 6 years ago

Yup - certifiable nuts. After many fits and false starts, this project is fully funded and off the ground. I have a master carpenter to help with the fine fitting and cuts and a high learning curve for everything else. The idea is to do a 100% acrylic case, back box and playfield. I have all the materials for everything but the back box. That will come later depending on how the rest of it goes. The "donor machine" is a Sonic Super Straight. I picked it up for a song as an easy project. It's 100% working (or rather it was before I disassembled it!) and a pretty fun game. The casing is made of particle board that got wet at some point and has disintegrated. I've already done box repair and large stencil painting so I thought I would challenge myself to do something different. Having been inspired by a shoddy case and a clear acrylic PC case kit I built for the wife some time back, I set off on solving all the details of a project of this magnitude. (IE - you can't staple braided ground wire and light sockets to acrylic.) I also did a quick search and found that the Pacific Pinball Museum has done 3 of these. So knowing it can be done, I got busy...

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#2 6 years ago

this should not be that hard people build aquariums that hold water with this stuff... you have no water to worry about....

#3 6 years ago

Laying out all of the pieces on a sheet of 3/4" acrylic. Going with all the same dimensions as the original wood casing to avoid modifications for coin door, flipper buttons, etc if the thickness were different. The various parts will be rough cut here to make it easier to move around. Then they'll be taken to work where we have an oversized table saw with a 14" industrial MTCG blade for the final sizing and corner beveling. Then they'll come back home where my carpenter has built me a jig for laying the pieces into a perfect 90 degrees for "welding" the corners. It all goes well that'll happen in about two weeks. First I have to add all the little bits and pieces to make the case the same. Graphics will be (hopefully) etched into the sides for a different look.

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#4 6 years ago

Took a lot longer than I thought. The cutting was very slow going and I had to give my poor 25 year old B&D sabre saw breaks so as not to overheat it. I sourced plastic cutting blades from TAPPlastics.com that didn't work worth a hoot. Did much better with a Porter-Cable down cut laminate blade. It made nice smooth cuts with no melt and refill. Just had to go slow so as not to make the saw jump out of the slot.

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#5 6 years ago

find someone with a laser cutter. it will help out nice. plus you could engrave the sides with art as if it was a stencil.

#6 6 years ago

Yeah our laser at work cuts this stuff nicely! The biggest problem you may have with a laser is the cabinet size. Our table size is only 32"x18".....not big enough for most of his prices I would assume.

#7 6 years ago

Early experiments in mounting play field pieces. 1) A few screws together and close to the edge with no cracking. 2) Cutting a switch slot. 3) Drilling insert holes with a spade bit. Success.

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#8 6 years ago

I believe pacific pinball museum built 3, 2 em's & 1 solid state

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#9 6 years ago

Another pic

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#10 6 years ago

Also found I could solder the lights up while already mounted to the play field piece without marring the plastic. That will help a lot. Tried using clear silicone to secure lights normally held down by staples. Worked very well but looked like ass. Will look into other options.

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#11 6 years ago
Quoted from magnoliarichj:

this should not be that hard people build aquariums that hold water with this stuff... you have no water to worry about....

True, but I am adding 75 pounds to an already heavy machine that will be supported by 8 bolts.

Quoted from CaptainNeo:

find someone with a laser cutter. it will help out nice. plus you could engrave the sides with art as if it was a stencil.

I wish! LOL

Quoted from loppydog:

Yeah our laser at work cuts this stuff nicely! The biggest problem you may have with a laser is the cabinet size. Our table size is only 32"x18".....not big enough for most of his prices I would assume.

True. Side pieces are 53"X20".

Quoted from moto_cat:

I believe pacific pinball museum built 3, 2 em's & 1 solid state

Yup. (Stated in my first post.) I'll never get to see them and I think they are way cool. I thought others might enjoy seeing one as well so here I go.

#12 6 years ago
Quoted from magnoliarichj:

this should not be that hard people build aquariums that hold water with this stuff... you have no water to worry about....

I couldn't disagree with you more. I built an aquarium out of acrylic and it was easy, you basically glue the pieces together and then caulk. Building a pin is reverse engineering, making the acrylic fit to all the pieces. Exactly the opposite of an aquarium.

#13 6 years ago

Should be a fun project

#14 6 years ago
Quoted from pinball_erie:

I couldn't disagree with you more. I built an aquarium out of acrylic and it was easy, you basically glue the pieces together and then caulk. Building a pin is reverse engineering, making the acrylic fit to all the pieces. Exactly the opposite of an aquarium.

Having done this aquarium stuff with glass and acrylic this should be way easier.

Why he is cutting and doing every thing small himself I don't under stand other than cost because you can order acrylic pre made to whatever specs you want. Just copy the original pin and send off the specs. Assemble when your parts arrive

#15 6 years ago

1) To me, the making is the fun part. Even if I could afford to get everything cut/assembled/etc I wouldn't. Just having it is not the point.
2) I was having a couple of local plastics fab shops working me up an estimate just for fun when I found out what the materials cost was. Eek. Besides, having never made a pin case before I doubt they would get it right the first time.
3) This is the next step. Having done successful pinball cabinet repair/rebuilding and machinery repair, I am moving on to duplicating an existing machine. After this is a re-theme or a custom one off.
4) It's fun!

#16 6 years ago

This is how I'm doing the plastics and the playfield as well. This was done using a clear waterslide decal and the results aren't too impressive when held up to the light. I thought about doubling it for better results. I'm going to opt for stenciling and painting with black paint. The plastics will be image reversed and painted on the bottom side. The play field will be painted on top and then either clear coated or mylared.

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#17 6 years ago

Stencils cut with the Silhouette Cameo.

#18 6 years ago

When I used to cut and drill acrylic for test fixtures, I found that dull drills cut better than sharp ones. I do not recall about drill speed if fast or slow was better. One trick I was taught was that I could "clear up" the edges with a torch. Took some practice but as long as the edge was straight, torching the edge and especially the corners made the plates smoother and since the sharp edge was gone, it was less likely to chip.

Another trick that I know works with hole saws with many materials, is to lock the saw to the arbor, let the pins hold it and then run them backwards.

Don't know if any of this helps, I do know how much it sucks to work with this stuff and have it crack at the worst time.

#19 6 years ago

Awesome thread.

#20 6 years ago

Taking any and all advice and thanks for the tips. I know the sabre saw cut better the longer I used it so it makes sense that the same would apply for drill bits. I did get some bits made for drilling plastic but I'll reserve judgement after my experience with the sabre saw "plastic cutting blade." I have attempted "flame polishing" on some of my practice pieces. I do NOT have the touch! Will take a lot more practice to get that down... I am experimenting with regular bits, plastic bits, spade bits, hole saws and flush-cut router bits. We'll see who wins. I have had my first crack incident. Fortunately it went where nothing was affected. Could have been disastrous. Still worried about all that weight on 8 bolts.

#21 6 years ago

I remember the first time I worked with acrylic. With my CO2 laser I cut out a nice full sized template with long skinny vertical cut-outs. The thing looked great when I was finished. Came back the next day and it looked like someone smashed it with a hammer. It was shattered into a million pieces. This stuff cracks REALLY easy.

I seem to have much better luck cutting Lexan, but I am sure that is way more money though.

#22 6 years ago

Added to favorites! Clearly awesome is more like it.

#23 6 years ago

Take a look at pinball life for clear pinball rubbers, and clear superband flipper rubber.

#24 6 years ago

I would use a router. That's what has been most successful for me, although I've had some nasty cracks that ruin a piece

#25 6 years ago

Okay, screw the paint. In another test, I wanted to see how sandblasting the plastic would look for doing the side art work. I must say, it is quite awesome. The picture does it no justice. But when side lit by color leds, I believe it will be pretty cool. Will do this for the plastics as well and possibly the playfield.

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#26 6 years ago

Sooooo, I'm thinking that leds will work for the lighting in an old EM? You have no need to fool a transistor into staying latched so wouldn't they just work? Or would I still need a resistor to keep from blowing them out?

#27 6 years ago

interesting thread, can't wait to see more update.

#29 6 years ago

Rad, keep work'n on it, dig the progress!

#30 6 years ago

Huge day yesterday. Final cut all the lower cab parts including 45s, bottom piece slots and the top slots for whatever you call the plastic doohickie that holds the glass in place. (Glass guides?) Anyways, lots of fun was had, a few curse words were exchanged and all evidence was properly disposed of before the boss returned late in the day. It's about to get real up in here.

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#33 6 years ago

Bravo!

I love nutty stuff like this being done just for the sake of it being done.

Can't wait to see the finished result.

#34 6 years ago

man this is going to be great, can't wait to see the progress.

#35 6 years ago

My carpenter buddy came up with this here jig to hold two pieces of the body at a good 90 with the joint down for gravity. I can get the sections aligned and clamped into place before completing the bonding process. Now all I have to do is practice a whole bunch 'til I'm good at it...

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#36 6 years ago

Practice... practice... practice...

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#37 6 years ago

Now this is cool! Keep it coming! Marcos new super bands come in clear!

#38 6 years ago

Well, the topper's almost ready! LOL Just add some LED lighting and it'll be sweet. Actually this is my first attempt to do a corner melding. Many, many more practices to come. Also, my portable, home made sand blasting box seems to work just fine.

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#40 6 years ago

Are u using acrylic solvent to bond the corners

#41 6 years ago

Holy Smokes! Good luck.

#42 6 years ago

I WANT ONE !! To whom and where do I send in my deposit too?

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, Mi.
269-979-3836

#43 6 years ago
Quoted from Zitt:

Are u using acrylic solvent to bond the corners

Using this stuff. Pretty awesome so far.

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#44 6 years ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

I WANT ONE !! To whom and where do I send in my deposit too?

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, Mi.
269-979-3836

Umm, lemme see if I can finish the proto first, then we'll talk. LOL

#45 6 years ago
Quoted from Mk1Mod0:

Umm, lemme see if I can finish the proto first, then we'll talk. LOL

Sounds good to me, seriously !! Please keep me posted.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, Mi.
269-979-3836

#46 6 years ago

Looking good

#47 6 years ago
Quoted from Mk1Mod0:

Using this stuff. Pretty awesome so far.

One suggestion before gluing, sand all your joining surfaces smooth. It looks like your edges are a little rough either from a CNC or table saw, your clue will not bond 100% if they are not smooth. I've made a lot of acrylic displays, shelves and misc. pieces and block sanding your edges is a must.

#48 6 years ago

If you have trouble with the areas around the glue joint turning white, or "clouding", use Weld-on 4 instead of 3. It's made to avoid that.

Quoted from loppydog:

I remember the first time I worked with acrylic. With my CO2 laser I cut out a nice full sized template with long skinny vertical cut-outs. The thing looked great when I was finished. Came back the next day and it looked like someone smashed it with a hammer. It was shattered into a million pieces. This stuff cracks REALLY easy.
I seem to have much better luck cutting Lexan, but I am sure that is way more money though.

Same thing happens if you flame polish edges with a torch. The heat creates stresses in the acrylic which can be released by the solvent cement, or even changes in ambient temperature. The only way around this is to anneal the parts, which is a long process of heating the whole part to an even temperature, and gradually cooling. See here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylic_glass

Neat project. Best of luck.

#49 6 years ago

This is beyond cool. I'll bet after you get it done you'll find keeping it clean is the hardest part lol. That was always the problem with me see through computer case.

#50 6 years ago

subscribed for the awesomeness!

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