(Topic ID: 209985)

The First Rule is.... Fight Club 20th anniversary homebrew build

By Mbecker

5 years ago

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  • Latest reply 12 days ago by Mbecker
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    There are 1,009 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 21.
    #1 5 years ago

    I've been wanting to build this for years and I've finally finished up enough house and pin projects to feel like there's time to get this going. Fight Club is my favorite movie -- probably the only movie I've watched more than 20 times other than UHF and Holy Grail and imo deserving of a pin. I am hoping to do it some justice.. so here goes:

    Fight Club Pinball

    My concept right now is to have something similar to POTC (Stern), Sopranos, or the Shadow -- A large finale insert with a lot of side quests/missions that need to be filled out prior to getting to finale. This will closely follow the movie and use both sound, art, and animation assets directly from the movie in conjunction with others. The minor & major side quests will be scenes (modes), collecting recruits (space monkeys), fights (3 or 4 per the movie --boss, stranger, destroy something beautiful, first fight, etc), Collecting support groups, setting up franchise fight clubs, collecting characters, doing maythem, and collecting rules. Total side quest of collecting jacks parts for a separate leaderboard. The finale will involve hitting some shots and then locking balls in a skyscraper that lowers into the playfield like the cabinet in X-files. Then you blow up several skyscrapers that sink into the playfield while the pixies play "where is my mind" and you do a fun run of some sort after the lights all drop out after the explosions.


    Multiballs: I am planning 4 - 5 multiballs. Mayhem (3 ball + add-a-ball), Meditation (2 ball?), group therapy (#?), finale (5 ball), +1 or 2 more.

    Scenes: condo blow up, Burning hand (hit shots within time to continue mode), realization, carl?, Just let go!, others?
    Franchises:Orbit Loops will collect franchise cities, probably need 5 or so to finish/light insert (I am planning dual gate controls (left/right) on orbits, so the first right orbit will be blocked by the left gate and drop into pops, then open on next right orbit and vice-versa for a left orbit. Only a full orbit sequence (right, left, full) will count as a franchise city. Charactors & support groups will be collected via some shots TBD, recruits collected via slim targets sprinkled around playfield (like POTC), Fights bill for sure include self, boss, stranger and will be done in the "basement" - my lower mini playfield which currently is planned to be located lower in cab and and have a camera on it that feeds back to a small LCD in playfield above flippers.

    Design: As of now (2/15/18), design is fairly fleshed out and tested. I will post a picture soon below once I catch up on progress to date. From left to right I have: left ball save kicker to subway/scoop, captive ball, 5-bank drop target, quick-fire scoop, left upper ramp (feeds back to orbit), left-right orbit (2 control gates), left ramp/wireform return with lift ramp (feeds ball lock), up/down scyscraper ball lock, 3-lane change @ pops, mode scoop, mini-orbit, right ramp with divertor (returns to right flipper & to ball lock), right-left orbit, and behind an upper flipper a saucer, right lane save gate (returns ball to shooter). Maythem ball lock is a 3-sided motorized billboard on the backboard that locks 3 balls via the lift ramp and a VUK. Billboard will change sides when balls lock, then dump them all at once.

    Sounds: Using a TON of sound pulls from the movie using Audacity -- so many awesome quotes. Will supplement as needed for voice calls and music, and may improvise off some existing music using Reason software.

    Art: Taking this in the same direction that David Fincher did -- I like the dark colors along with the pink soap.. There will be pink lighting (it's all RGB controlled lighting), with dark greens & blues and black. When you search fight club on google, it pretty much brings up what I am thinking.. I'd like to try and use existing assets and bring them together with a program like photoshop (or something cheaper preferably)

    Code: All MPF, with possibly some Python code thrown in. There will be a ton of code, which will be a learning experience as I go and will probably take at least a year (more likely 2+) of the project time.

    Hardware: FAST board sets. Nano, 1x 1616, 2x 0804, 2x 3208, fuse blocks, and servo daughter boar + filter board and power supplies.

    Mechs: Using a lot of existing stuff from used playfields, along with a few newer items mostly ordered from pinball life. I think I've counted up roughtly 30+ drivers w/out flasher circuits so there's some serious mechs on this. Hoping to use some servos as well where I can. Custom wireforms in most places, possibly 1 ramp here or there. Sinking skyscrapers, rotating 3-sided billboard and mayhem lock will all be custom.

    Lighting: FAST rgb LEDS for inserts & flashers and RGB x-mas lights for GI.

    Dev: Done on SkyPilot's Rotesserie with tool storage capacity add on

    I think that covers the basics.. I have some catch up posting to do until I get to current day progress, so here goes:

    #2 5 years ago

    Definitely gonna follow this one. One of my favorite movies.

    #3 5 years ago

    I'm going to date each of these posts (as they were in the past, I started this project 2 months ago) just for records keeping.

    I began this adventure nov 11/2013. I knew I wanted to build a game, but had 0 pinballs and my only experience was playing a Bally BlackBelt with my siblings in my parents basement growing up. Granted I did graduate in EE in 2012 so I have some electronics & computer background, but pinball knowledge was pretty zilch at this point. I purchased a $300 Non-working Firepower with the intention of taking it apart and using the cab and parts to build my own pin. As you can imagine, that quickly spiraled first into a long restore/refurb project (which involved acquiring more new pins to play while I work on FP), that devolved into more pin collecting/selling/shopping that seemed to go on for years.

    I'm sure many of you know how that goes..

    At any rate I just wrapped up a full restore of a proto junkyard and called that enough, on to my long delayed homebrew. In the mean time, I've spent several years acquiring parts and more importantly knowledge/experiance to hopefully pull this build off. Onwards!

    #4 5 years ago


    After seeing Aaron from FAST pinball @ the NW show, I was pretty sold on the FAST system and thought I was close to starting a build so I went ahead and purchased a board set to get started. Unfortunately the boards sat for a long time in a box while I shopped out other pins and moved into my wife & I's first house (queue 10,000 house projects).

    #5 5 years ago

    Fast Fwd 11ish/2017: Ordered filter board & power supplies from FAST. Options were really FAST or Proc for me. I had a Proc a while back and was going to follow the Pinball Amigos and tear into a super cheap WC94 I had acquired but I didn't have the heart to follow thru with that plan and sold it to my brother instead and decided to continue with FAST.

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    #6 5 years ago


    Prototyping Play-field wood cut @ lumber yard and brought home. I think it's 9 ply maple if I remember correctly.

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    #7 5 years ago


    Starting wiring on power supplies. Screwed them all to 1 board which should fit in the back of a cabinet when the time comes. Ideally some boards will migrate to the play field or head and wiring will ultimately be redone once, probably twice as I go along.

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    #8 5 years ago


    Took my stripped dev JY playfield and mapped out a lower third onto my blank plywood.


    Lower 3rd holes cut out with jigsaw and drills. Messy for sure but it will do. The jigsaw leaves something to be desired for cut accuracy and the drills bust up the plywood on the bottom side of the drill-thru. *note top and bottom of playfield pics*

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    #9 5 years ago

    Some awesome tools for wiring -- a combo strip/cut tool that you can get online or thru rob Anthony if you see him at a show.. and my favorite -- the crimper tool. I was using it incorrectly for a while until I finally looked up a youtube video. Used correctly this thing makes awesome crimps for wire/pin connections.

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    #10 5 years ago


    Started delving into MPF. The guys that work on this have put so much time into it, and what truly kicks ass is that they've also done a really great job on documentation and continue to work on it to make it better and to support it. The tutorial takes you from nothing to a flipping playfield in hopefully a couple hours (assuming you're all wired up and boards are working & communicating correctly).

    MPF makes it really easy to get started - and having a flipping lower 3rd is somewhat key to development so you can flesh out shots. It probably will frustrate true coders, but for the rest it will make homebrew pinball that much more accessible, which I think is their goal.

    For anyone following thinking about doing homebrew, I will also recommend (on top of MPf's recommendations) downloading sublime for the YAML coding. It makes formatting really nice and smooth.

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    #11 5 years ago


    Treats arrive. Pinball packages are like christmas

    Order from pololu -- pinned wires for LED's, headers for LED's, more FAST boards, and flippers/flipper mechs. Going with an opto set-up for flipper buttons. I accidentally ordered version 1 from PL (pinball life) -- version 2 is much cheaper.

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    #12 5 years ago


    Wirings all wrapped up on power supplies. Have a lighted, fused switch to power it all up. Got side rails on and backboard. Just cut some random sizes that were close.. not final dim's.

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    #13 5 years ago


    Another package -- ordered a cheap Dell Laptop for development which I am typing on now from Ebay. All good except the package arrived like this:
    IMG_5446 (resized).JPGIMG_5446 (resized).JPG

    Yikes! Took lots of pics but it ended up working fine.

    #14 5 years ago


    Added a clear plexi sheild for the boards to protect them. Ends up that I have not used it much -- the boards mount below my rotesserie and I am constantly dropping parts from above so ultimately the protection I need is above the boards, not in front. Once I actually destroy a board by dropping something on it I'll probably do something about that... knock on wood.

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    #15 5 years ago


    Flippahs! Installed but not running yet.

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    #16 5 years ago

    This thing is donating some parts.. picked this up local for cheap for the purpose. Kinda cool looking playfield, I've never played it.

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    #17 5 years ago


    Time to figure out some sling action. Sling parts are from a WCS94. Inlane guides from JY - just for prototyping.

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    #18 5 years ago


    Added tool storage to the rotesserie. Super helpful, and highly recommended. I'll also give a shout out to Skypilot for his awesome plans for this! It's a solid design!

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    #19 5 years ago

    You can see here -- It is locked in and I've built it to roughly a 6.5 degree tilt -- so it works well for play testing as the dev goes along.

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    #20 5 years ago


    Getting in some pin time amid x-mas madness.. slings installed.

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    #21 5 years ago

    Getting some more boards and bars wired in as well. 1 48v bar, 1 dedicated ground bar. FAST boards have switches broken out in 8-switch banks with common grounds to the 8 switches (ultimately ran thru the rj45 jacks between all the boards that distributes 12v among them). However, having the common ground is nice for grounding all the drivers on the boards and ultimately to all the metal parts on the final pin.

    I am running 48v, 12v, and 5v. 48 goes to the coils, 12 to the boards and servos, and 5 to the LED's.

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    #22 5 years ago


    Got a bit of wiring done. Just a few for now but it soon turns into a rats nest.
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    Started mapping out on paper some drivers and switches. Going to be important later to have this on paper so I can convert to digital to clearly show wiring.
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    #23 5 years ago

    Wiring up to this point:

    IMG_5638 (resized).JPGIMG_5638 (resized).JPG

    Flipper optos wiring and working:

    IMG_5640 (resized).JPGIMG_5640 (resized).JPG


    First flips! (youtube vid to be uploaded)

    #24 5 years ago


    Autofire wired in.

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    #25 5 years ago


    At the art store checking out prototyping options. Ended up with foamcore, cardboard, and several pre-made cardboard pieces (planning on sculpting or 3d printing the house from the movie)

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    #26 5 years ago


    Trough time.. lot's of wires on this one to go from trough optos to the FAST boards via WMS trough opto boards. I am waiting on FAST opto boards that eliminate the extra board and a lot of connections.
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    Also bought a router for all the rest of the PF cuts and inserts. No experience with these.. should be fun.

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    #27 5 years ago


    GI lights arrive:
    IMG_5730 (resized).JPGIMG_5730 (resized).JPG
    These are pretty cool -- good diffused for through-PF.. they are not RGB like the FAST LED's but GRB or something I believe -- But it doesn't matter.. you can chain them in a serial chain (up to 256) off the FAST nano board no problem. You define what kind of LED's they are in MPF.

    Finished up trough wiring for now:

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    #28 5 years ago

    Looking at shooter rod options I'm not a huge Pink person but it fits fight club really well.. and I kind of like the idea that this might be one of the first modern pins to really incorporate it (other than possibly TNA).

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    #29 5 years ago

    Can we get the cabinet in a cornflower blue?

    I'm super pumped for this! I was just saying that a flight club pin should be released next year to celebrate 20 years of the movie.

    #30 5 years ago

    20 years next year?? shit.. I gotta get cracking harder on this Yeah - the cabinet will come in cornflower blue for sure as an option LOL.

    #31 5 years ago

    I can hear the Tyler durden laugh now as the ball drains down an outlane .

    #32 5 years ago

    Design stage. I have an idea of a few pieces, but the layout is ever-changing I find as I start to lay out parts and realize it's all different on the whitewood vs in my head. Dammit how does that happen?!

    Here's some parts I collected thrown out just to see what it looked like:
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    OK, time to get serious:
    IMG_5819 (resized).JPGIMG_5819 (resized).JPG

    I was pretty confident to this point but when you have to start drilling holes in the playfield it really makes you start to think and rethink things. Obviously it's just a proto so there's going to be lots of mistakes and extra holes, but still.. hate drilling UN-neccesary holes I have to fill later on.

    Hmm.. appolo13 wireform could go here:
    IMG_5823 (resized).JPGIMG_5823 (resized).JPG

    or here:
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    no scrap that altogether..
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    #33 5 years ago
    Quoted from mrm_4:

    I can hear the Tyler durden laugh now as the ball drains down an outlane .

    That's a given -- it will be one of many random sfx triggered on drain, but also plan on using several of the laughs when he's getting the shit beat out of him by Lou for a pop up single drop target that blocks shots like GB Scolari Brothers. One for Marla, one for Tyler - to represent how they get in the Narrator's mind. I might kill them later on in Dev but I will try them out to see how it goes..

    #34 5 years ago

    Looking incredible already! Keep up the great work!

    #35 5 years ago

    House here?
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    Or Here?
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    Arrrgh .. already the design is changing a lot from what was in my head. 2x upper flippers or just 1x?

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    #36 5 years ago

    The SFX alone have me sold! The penguin saying "slide" for a ball save would be sweet

    #37 5 years ago

    haha -- yeah it will be the sfx for the mediation ball lock off the right ramp divertor. Lock 2, than they "slide" thru a cave (3d printed?) with marla on the DMD saying it (clip from movie, converted to dots)

    #38 5 years ago

    This is the gate mech from my donor PF -- it opens to drop the ball from right oulane back into shooter lane. I am robbing it Although in final game I think a servo could better serve the purpose if it's activated fast enough.

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    #39 5 years ago


    Geometry. I don't understand how people figure out shots from looking at a playfield.. I need a ruler and angle thing-ee. (what the hell are these called, it's not a protractor..?)

    There's a sweet spot on the flippers, and putting shots outside that makes them difficult. The tip of the flipper shots are quite difficult -- mine to to the captive ball on the left and to a saucer on the right behind the upper right flipper. The saucer in particular is not easy.. I am still considering what the shot will do but I like having some harder shots for stuff like extra ball.

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    #40 5 years ago


    Hot glue time! This stuff is sweet for cardboard and foamcore prototyping! I can't believe how strong it holds after it sets. If you can manage not to burn your fingers with it +5 bonus points! However, I've since learned it's annoying to subsequently remove to install mechs. But well worth the effort to get something laid out to shoot against (yes, you can shoot against cardboard and Styrofoam without destroying them!)

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    #41 5 years ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    Geometry. I don't understand how people figure out shots from looking at a playfield...
    There's a sweet spot on the flippers, and putting shots outside that makes them difficult. The tip of the flipper shots are quite difficult -- ....

    I appreciate you being the first pinball maker to actually admit this

    #42 5 years ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    Another package -- ordered a cheap Dell Laptop for development which I am typing on now from Ebay. All good except the package arrived like this:

    Yikes! Took lots of pics but it ended up working fine.

    Special handling, indeed.

    #43 5 years ago


    Ok -- ramp time, let's go! Technically these are wireforms, but given that I'm working with cardboard for now.. I'll call them ramps.

    Upper left (from upper fliper shot) first design:

    IMG_5885 (resized).JPGIMG_5885 (resized).JPG

    Left ramp (loops around sinking skyscraper lock shot):
    IMG_5886 (resized).JPGIMG_5886 (resized).JPG

    Right ramp (With shadow divertor, controlled by software to lock balls for guided meditation multiball):
    IMG_5892 (resized).JPGIMG_5892 (resized).JPG

    #44 5 years ago
    Quoted from gutz:

    Special handling, indeed.

    I don't think I've ever had anything arrive like this until I started ordering stuff for this project. Insane that it was a computer. I've heard stories from a friend that used to drive UPS though.. shit happens.

    #45 5 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    I appreciate you being the first pinball maker to actually admit this

    LOL -- just noting from my experiments. It's actually truely amazing how many angles you get off the flippers and how little length it takes to get a different shot, esp when you are near the upper part of the flipper or near the tip. But if you want to make ramps consistently, it seems the flipper tip is not a good place to put a shot at.

    #46 5 years ago


    Parts!! PL and Bay Area Amusements order in. More flipper mechs, a long shaft flipper, AFM scoop, up/down single drop, and some other stuff.

    I want to mess with the long shaft flipper (from No fear) for an upper playfield idea above the pop bumpers in back, playing on clear plexi with the house up above as a shot from the flipper. I will probably trash the idea in the end but design is all about experimenting.

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    #47 5 years ago

    Moved the upper flipper ramp to a thru-the-backboard design. Idea at this point (2/1/18) is to have the mayhem lock divert off of this to lock back in front of the backboard where the billboard is now mounted (previously on the playfield).

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    #48 5 years ago


    Let's wire some stuff! Upper flipper getting wired up for testing.

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    doing some testing of upper ramp shot:
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    #49 5 years ago

    I've got like 10 LED's I think wired up, and all they do is a silly attract mode thing but it's super satisfying to fire it up once in a while and watch, then flip thru a 3 ball "game". My family came over about this time to shoot it and while the adults were intrugued and did a few flips, my 6 year old nephew was killing it - nailing back to back ramp shots and playing over and over to "get good so I can beat you when it's finished". LOL That was a great moment.. I hope I can finish it so he can beat me.

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    #50 5 years ago


    An awesome pinsider and fellow-slacker sent me up some 3d printed wire form ramp brackets. I am protyping in brass because it is easier to bend than stainless and hopefully I will be able to braze/solder wire on for a more "final" version. I don't have a welder or have capacity in my garage for one at the moment.. but the final version will hopefully be stainless.

    So my second mail issue with this project -- the brackets arrive like so, with them spilling out into mailbox:
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    WTF mailmen/women?!! Lost like half the brackets, so bummed. But moving fwd:

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