(Topic ID: 257428)

The Legend of Zelda [P3-Roc / Mission Pinball]

By Leeezard

66 days ago

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  • 32 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 days ago by Leeezard
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    #1 66 days ago

    Hey all! This project has been quietly worked on since around early October, with conceptualizing going further back. I wanted to wait on posting about it until there had been some decent progress made.

    Building a pinball machine has always been at the back of my mind ever since picking up my first machine (William's Fun-Fest) nearly a decade ago. Since then I've built plenty of video games, including two Fix-it-Felix's and a couple of original designs, however pinball has always remained elusive. There's a small journal of sorts where I scribbled down different playfield and component concepts over the years, but nothing was ever concrete. Recently though, while working on a dungeon crawling mobile game, an idea came to me; how about pinball with puzzle like elements? Something that still has flow, but tests your noggin as much as your reflexes. The concept continued to evolve until settling on something similar to a rouge-like; where every time you start up a game, the machine's program randomly(within set parameters) rearranges the order in which the puzzle components on the playfield need to be solved in order to unlock certain modes or features.

    As for the theme, it came down to a coin toss between Zelda and Dungeon & Dragons. Both have been big influences on me growing up and I want to pay homage to them in someway. I believe Zelda may have won out since my roommates D&D game came to an abrupt close right around the time Breath of the Wild released, putting a thumb on the scales some. That said, I'm sourcing much of the style of this game from the original NES games; The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: Adventure of Link.

    Anyway, enough chat'n. Let's play with power tools!

    To get started, there's an old operator who lives near me that has a couple of parted out machines. Many of them are EM and early SS machines, which is the era I wanted to target for this game. A few dollars later and I came home with a William's Big Deal body and Alien Poker head:
    A Pile of Pinball!

    After a day or so I set out to patch, sand down, and prime the head.
    I forgot to take photos of the sanding/filling.

    Then a trip down to the hardware store to pick up some paint.
    Particularly Thematic Pigments!

    Over the course of a week the head received roughly four coats of hunter green to give it a base color.
    Not a very creative color, but it won't be alone.

    Meanwhile as paint layers dried, I hopped onto the computer and began designing the head stencils:
    Laid out the cabinet in Inkscape.
    The Master Sword is a slight anachronism for this time period.
    However I didn't want to be firmly locked into the NES games.
    I should have realized at this point that adding the Z would double the number of stencils

    #2 66 days ago


    This could be great

    #3 66 days ago

    love it. I was going to do the same thing. Wrote an extensive ruleset on it. I was going to use the entire zelda catalogue (disregarding the phillips games and gameboy versions). But was going to have each game have it's own modes and story and sounds, visuals from each game as you travel from game to game. Each game would have an hyrule section of play. Store or shop area. and a dungeon you had to navigate and collect an item. Once you defeated whatever boss was selected for that version, then you could travel to a different "cartridge". each with it's own feel and sound.

    #4 66 days ago

    Once finalized, it took about a week or two for the head stencils to arrive. For those curious, I used an online company called Stencil Stop to produce the mylar stencils. They came out really nice and the price as reasonable as well. They also have a quantity discount that kicks in and can take nearly half the cost of your order off.
    This was a pretty exciting moment!
    First hit of brown boot.
    Nice and sharp, with a bit of over spray.

    A metallic gold was chosen for the second layer. In hindsight I should have put down a white or yellow first to help make the gold pop in dim lighting as you'll see in some future photos. However when the light hits it just right, it's perfect.
    Right side
    Left side
    Supporting insets can be tricky

    October was coming to a close and the head was done!

    #5 66 days ago

    looks awesome. I don't know if the playing cards really fit the theme, but still looks great.

    #6 66 days ago

    Very nice! Im nearly done with a Link to the Past Zelda homebrew! Looking forward to seeing your take.

    #7 66 days ago

    Following. Looking forward to see another Zelda homebrew!

    #8 66 days ago

    Into November and it was time to tackle the body. This Big Deal has been sitting gutted and on top of a Lethal Enforcers cabinet for a good seven or so years, at least as long a I've know my old op buddy. It was in rough shape and was a pain to get shored up, but I'm happy to give it a new life.
    The front was the worst.
    New leg plates.
    Bondo, Bondo, Bondo

    With the cabinet lathered in dried bondo, wood filler, and wood glue, my roommate and I began sanding it down. It was some really nice weather at the time. 'Wish our falls lasted longer than a few weeks where we live.
    Bye Bye, Big Deal

    The sanding unveiled some bad planking on the sides and little holes caused by termites. We took some wood glue mixed with a tiny amount of water and "painted" the sides to help strengthen the wood. For the termite holes, we tipped the glue bottle over and "injected" the holes.
    Termites suck
    It took about 3 or so coats to harden the wood

    Eventually it was time to prime the cabinet. There was some additional filling and sanding to help level out the wood and fix the planking. We were able to smooth out most of the body, but there are still some points where you can see some creases.
    Left Side
    Right Side
    Back in the paint booth

    Donning a barbershop cape, the neck was painted first.
    Just a little off the top

    Then came more of the Hunter Green:
    First coat
    Roughly 3 coats at this point

    #9 66 days ago

    The cold weather was starting to set in and it was beginning to effect the paint, causing it to dry unevenly and leaving patchy areas. The paint booth at the workshop isn't the best insulated and it's on the other side of the warehouse from the heater, so that doesn't help. However with determination the base color of the body was finished.
    Morning, sunshine!

    There was a lull at this moment with the project physically. A few electronics had arrived, but I really needed to finish the rest of the stencils.
    Starting on the AC wiring.

    I initially wanted to go with something similar to this for the sides of the body, but having learned from the head stencils I opted for a body stencil that could be easily reversed.
    Zeld_7 (resized).png
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    The front panel:
    Zeld_9 (resized).png

    I decided on a vista, with mount doom in the background and the triforce displayed prominently in front:

    While up in Chicago to pick up some Skeeballs for work, the stencils arrived. Once we got home I rushed into apply them.
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    Rushed is a good word, seeing as I forgot to mask off the alignment cross for the first layer.

    The sides followed soon after:
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    #11 66 days ago

    Very creative. Love it!

    #12 66 days ago

    Following. Nice work so far

    #13 66 days ago

    With a new set of shinny chrome legs, the machine stands for the first time!
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    The coin door was disassembled and polished up by my roommate. Excellent work, Morgan!
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    Components began to arrive a little bit later, including the P3-Roc along with a SW-16 and PD-16 to get started. A Raspberry Pi 3 B+ was selected to run the game, mainly because I had one laying around. My hearts not set on it and I may switch over to a Pi 4 or anther single board computer at a later date. I intend for this game to have four alphanumeric displays with 8 positions for each player and a 6 position numeric display for credits/current ball. No crazy animations on an LCD screen, so this game doesn't need a super big/fast brain.
    20191202_011234 (resized).jpg

    I also designed an fabricated these 15 pin D-sub breakout boards to connect the front of the cabinet to the head. Totally unnecessary, the SW-16 board could be mounted in the front, but I wanted to learn and get familiar with Ki-CAD.
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    Fast forward to last night and Morgan and I were at the local maker space with a sheet of blondewood.
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    I used the playfield out of my Fun-Fest to help design the template for Zelda, seeing as both their cabinets are from the same time period. Fun-Fest really needs some loving and she'll get her day soon.
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    'And here we are at the moment!
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    #14 66 days ago

    Legend of Zelda would be my all time most wanted theme for a pin.

    #15 66 days ago

    Very excited to follow this! Incredible work so far!

    #16 66 days ago

    Love the theme you pick definitely following. Lookin good so far.

    #17 66 days ago

    Looks good, great job

    #18 66 days ago

    Very nice! Check out JP Salas' VPX Legend of Zelda table, for some inspiration.

    #19 65 days ago

    Thank you everyone!

    Yesterday was a fairly busy day, but towards the evening I was able to get some more progress made on Zelda.

    A speaker hole is needed so we can hear those lovely 8-bit tunes and since laziness is the mother of invention, I had the maker space's 20,000 dollar CNC cut a square piece of wood with a hole in it. Unfortunately the easy route isn't without it's bumps as the vacuum hold down lost grip towards the end of the cut, resulting in the hole being misaligned. Ah well if it were to happen to any part, I'd much prefer it be the speaker hole.

    Back at the workshop a combination of the square, it's hole, a tape measure, and some good o' eye ball'n it, was used to find the rough center of the cabinet. Then a router with a flush trim bit and another more specialized CNC, called an ARM, was used to manually cut the final hole in the cabinet. Before mounting everything all together I cut out a patch of metal mesh from an old screen door to act as a speaker grill. It's a bit flimsy though, so I might revisit it later with a better material.
    Yeah, that looks about centered.
    A lonely incandescent bulb looks up fondly.
    Danesi's sub chamber ain't got nothing on this!

    Once that was done I finished up the wiring in the front of the cabinet.
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    Back at home this old laptop was finishing up it's re-installation of Window's 10 after a hard drive wipe. It needed a purpose besides legendary gaming dust collector, so how about a mobile pinball dev kit? With Python, Mission Pinball, and the P3 drivers installed, everything should be in place to start programming!
    A proper B E A S T has scars.

    #20 59 days ago

    Made some bits of progress on Zelda since last Saturday. Not much, but with the holidays right around the corner it's to be expected.

    Sunday was the first smoke test, with the expensive boards unplugged of course. Everything went well, the coin door lights illuminated and the amp kicked on. To further test the audio I plugged in my phone and Zelda quickly became a jukebox for the remainder of the evening.
    It's alive! (mostly)

    The following day I stole an idea from thearrrrrcade and applied grid paper to the playfield. If you haven't checked out his

    Metroid homebrewyou really should, it's awesome!
    Anyone got any glass cleaner? I think my lens is smudged...

    When Monday rolled around, I headed down to visit my old operator buddy once again with the intent to pick up a junk playfield to part out for Zelda. Found this William's Strato-Flight in a pile, it's got some decent goodies; at least enough to get started. If anyone needs the plastics or EM parts underneath feel free to send a PM.
    Apron not pictured

    No visit goes without the temptation of coming home with another machine. This time a Flash rode home with me:

    A few days later and the 48 Volt power supply has arrived. For some reason the mounting hardware isn't included and is instead sold separately, 'guess I just fab something to hold it in place.
    chunky boi

    The rest of the week has been quiet on the Zelda front until this evening. Since Tuesday I've been waiting to move into a new more public workshop space at a local arts center and held off really diving into any programming or playfield work until the move was done. Finally, by chance, I ran into the facility director while running some errands. She gave me the keys and now Zelda and the gang have a new home!
    Just the first load, more to join them!

    #21 59 days ago

    Your cabinet art choice is just flipping awesome. Thanks for sharing... Eastmost penninsula is the secret!

    2 weeks later
    #22 45 days ago
    Quoted from EasternBloc:

    Your cabinet art choice is just flipping awesome. Thanks for sharing... Eastmost penninsula is the secret!

    Thank you! Secret power is said to be in the arrow!

    I hope everyone has had a safe and wonderful holidays! Sorry for not updating the thread in awhile, it's been a flurry of work on my end and I've just been posting small updates on twitter. That said, there has been some good progress on Zelda these last two weeks!

    While getting the rest of the games moved into the new studio/workshop, Morgan sanded down the Strato-Flight apron and shooter gauge, then gave them a thin coat of primer to help protect the metal. I haven't sat down and designed the art for the apron yet, but it'll be similar in style to other early solid state aprons to match with the era of Zelda's cabinet.
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    Soon after building workbenches for the studio, a real itch hit me to start putting ideas down for the layout of the playfield. Unfortunately there's no paper at the studio just yet, so I grabbed a piece of scrap wood and doodled on that instead!
    I guess it still counts as paper.

    I love the lower 1/3rd of Vector, particularly the left side where not only is there a reversed in/outlane but also a post that allows you to nudge the ball into a kicker that saves it from draining. I love it so much that I decided to rip it off! Hey, don't look at me funny, everyone else has be ripping the Italian bottom for years!

    So by the next day it was time to bust out the foam core and actually begin building this thing:
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    Note to self: Cut little slots in the foam core to help it bend, kinda like T-molding on video games.

    A couple more days pass with lots of tweaking, adjusting, CADing, and laser cutting, 'till we reach today. Here's the latest revision of Zelda's lower 1/3rd:
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    Lots to cover:
    The large circle in the middle will be a window into a lower playfield called the Dungeon; more on that later. 'And don't worry about the size of the window, that's to be adjusted as work on the game progresses. For now I wanted to draw the maximum size that the window could be, in order to give a visual reference when designing other things in the middle 1/3rd.

    The square inserts represent items you can collect on the main playfield, these will aid you in the Dungeon.
    They are from left to right:
    Power Bracelet
    Magic Sword
    Bow & Arrow

    More details on the effects these items have will come once they're more fleshed out.

    Below the items is a heart container left of center and it is split into four pieces. Completing challenging modes or shots will award a piece of heart. Examples of these would be performing a 5x combo or super skill shot. Lighting all four pieces of the heart container will award an additional hit point in the Dungeon, more on that later.

    To the right of the heart container is the fairy. When lit, it simply indicates that you have an extra ball.

    Under both is the old man and special insert. I have a neat idea for the art here, where the old man has his hands over a mystical orb that is the special insert. We're a bit ways off from worrying about art, so use your imagination for now.

    Going to the sides, the reversed outlanes build a multiplier called the boomerang bonus. The left and right sides are stacked separately, so if you want to build the right hand multiplier you'll need to send the ball down the right outlane. Collecting the multiplier occurs in the Dungeon by shooting a horseshoe. Entering the horseshoe on the right awards a value with the right side multiplier, and vise versa when entering on the left. Lighting 5x on both sides will grant you the boomerang item, which unlocks an effect when shooting the horseshoe in the Dungeon.

    Risking your ball by sending it down the inlane and nudging it into the saucers tucked under the outlanes will spot a letter in the word BOMB on the left, and KEYS on the right. Spelling either word will award you with that item by lighting their corresponding Acquired inserts.

    That's it so far. My next goal is to improve the shape of the foam core on the outlanes. It became a bit bumpy when bending it and this messes with the ball travel at slower speeds, making it hard to guarantee that the ball is served to the flipper. I'll also begin turning my attention to the middle 1/3rd of the playfield.

    #23 45 days ago

    Love Zelda! Following

    #24 44 days ago

    Just found this thread. Can’t wait for updates

    #25 38 days ago

    Another week passed and Zelda progresses a bit further!

    Fortunately my boss happened to have a bag of mounting ears for the 48v power supply:
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    Now it was time to actually wire up some coils. Sadly this is where the fortune ended; I wasn't able to scrounge up enough long lengths of properly color-coded wire to get very far. I have the needed colors on order, but it looks like Zelda won't be flipping until next week.
    20200109_124705 (resized).jpg

    There was enough Orange/Red to get the right flipper's power side all hooked up though. So we can have a tantalizing preview:

    Meanwhile I've been researching how to tackle the displays. Looking around for alphanumeric modules, it seems they've become quite hard to find in sizes larger than 0.56". A company called KingBright sells 0.80" modules, which is close to the size of the digits on the numeric displays used by early Bally and Williams games, however I didn't like how low in stock they seemed. They have plenty for single machine, yet I didn't want to use a product that might be soon rendered obsolete.

    I begin considering if laser cutting an alphanumeric display at this scale was feasible. Initial measuring showed that it wasn't, so I increased the digit size to 0.7" x 1.0". At this size the laser could cut out the segments of the digits, however the overall piece proved to be too delicate. Removing the bar segments, I tried going with just individual exposed LEDs. This looked cool, the LED cost was waaay to high though.
    Zelda dots (resized).png
    Zelda dots 2 (resized).png

    This is a more "optimized" version of the alpha-dots that requires fewer LEDs. It's still too many and by this point the design was drifting further and further away for the original intent. I decided to rein myself in and with the interest of keep things rolling I conceded on the alphanumeric displays for this project. Numeric displays are more period accurate anyway.
    Zelda numeric (resized).png

    With that said, I still wanted to try to laser cut the displays and since there's fewer segments to cram into each digit, they can fit comfortably in the 0.7" x 1.0" size.

    A prototype was cut to test the appearance. It's comprised of three layers, one to hold the LEDs in place, a second as a mask made of 0.25" black acrylic that keeps the light for each segment from spilling into it's neighbors, and finally a third transparent red acrylic layer with the segments etched into it. This piece is flipped around so the etch side is facing the LEDs in order to help diffuse their light.
    20200109_212702 (resized).jpg
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    There's a bit of a hot spot in the lit segments in these photos, but it looks really good in person! I'm excited this worked out as it opens up a lot of freedom in deciding what color and font the final displays will be.

    1 week later
    #26 31 days ago

    Good evening! 'Hope everyone's had a good week so far.

    A box of wire arrived yesterday with the proper color codes to get the first bank of coils hooked up. For those curious, I ordered the wire from here: https://4rcustomswire.com/
    20200116_125658 (resized).jpg

    Let's give it a play!

    Hmm, not much to shoot for yet.

    There will be a gate positioned under the slingshots to keep the ball from traveling up into the in/outline area. Here's a gate from Strato-Flight as an example:
    20200116_153404 (resized).jpg

    Along with the wire, the display boards have come in. I've never had a board house with this speedy of a turn around, so that was a pleasant surprise! Time ran out at the studio before I could finish stuffing one, so hopefully we'll see one working by next Thursday.
    20200116_114709 (resized).jpg
    20200116_151209 (resized).jpg

    1 week later
    #27 24 days ago

    Happy Thursday evening everyone!

    My apologies, not many photos this update. Work kept me fairly busy this week and my studio time was mostly taken up by a renegade Fish Tales with an annoying coil issue. The order with the driver ICs for the displays was also delayed until tomorrow.

    However I was able to cut and install the back orbit for Zelda!

    Pew! Pew!
    20200123_152134 (resized).jpg

    Time to test it!

    My poor flipper skills aside, it looks like the right side of the orbit needs to be moved to the left some. It seems to prefer serving the ball to the top of the slingshot instead of the right flipper like it should. The dungeon entrance, as well as space for the components to the lower left and right of the orbit, have been omitted in this cut for now.

    See y'all next week!

    #28 24 days ago

    Awesome! Following thanks for the wire link- been ordering mine from amazon, gonna have to compare pricing but for switches especially all the different color striping options would be super nice!

    #29 24 days ago

    Cool project! Awesome work so far! Following.

    1 week later
    #30 17 days ago
    Quoted from Tlamb:

    Cool project! Awesome work so far! Following.

    Quoted from Mbecker:

    Awesome! Following thanks for the wire link- been ordering mine from amazon, gonna have to compare pricing but for switches especially all the different color striping options would be super nice!

    Thank y'all!

    Earlier this week I was able to get the first of the 7 segment displays fired up and displaying a MAX7219 test pattern that was found in the Arduino library manager. It's supposed to read "PLEX" for multi-plexing, but it definitely looks like PLEH!
    20200125_141036 (resized).jpg
    I took a crack at writing my own test code that mimics the display test found on early SS Bally machines; and while successful I'm certainly a bit rusty with the Arduino IDE. Next up, I want to be able to send a score value to the Arduino though the serial port and have it displayed. Another pack of LEDs is on the way, so I'll be able to test sending info to multiple displays too!

    Yesterday evening I drove down to meet up with my old operator friend again and to pickup a single player EM from him. A lot of people have stopped by the repair shop asking if I could work on their EM pinballs. I've declined since I don't have much experience with that era of games, and if I'm going mess around with an EM it would be better to fry a coil in my own game first and not someone else's.

    This was also an excellent time to grab some parts for Zelda! One of his storage units off to the side is stuffed with loose pinball parts, both used and new old stock. That 4 bank in-line drop target did catch my eye, but there was one particular part I was searching for.
    20200129_185528 (resized).jpg

    Bingo! Tucked away in a plastic bin was this lone Gottlieb vari-target. It needs a new reset spring, but is otherwise in decent shape!
    20200129_190146 (resized).jpg
    On the right side of Zelda, opposite of the drops, I have a neat idea for a hurry up that utilizes this forgotten mechanism.

    The EM pickup also went well. I decided on getting this Gottlieb Buccaneer; it's a single player with a straight forward rule set, good for learning EM theory of operation on. There's no major issues from what I can tell, other than the playfield coils aren't receiving power - except for the ball serve? Huh. Of course the manual and schematics are missing, so I'll have to wait for those to arrive before digging into it.
    20200129_213734 (resized).jpg

    This morning my roommate Morgan joined the fun and picked up this Rockola Regis 120! All the internals are there and it's in fair cosmetic shape despite sitting in a barn at some point in it's life. Not too shabby for one's first pickup, good job Morgan!
    20200130_113702 (resized).jpg

    Back to Zelda, I spent the rest of the day wiring up the first switch board in the game. I didn't have as many switches in stock as previously thought, so there are a few wires dangling at the moment. In good news, there were enough switches to get the shooter lane, outhole, and the KEY kicker completed.
    20200130_164149 (resized).jpg
    Speaking of the KEY's kicker, the holes and mechs for it and the BOMB kicker have been installed. I wanted to get the slings put together this week as well, but ran into a clearance issue with the under-playfield window. In a traditional slingshot setup the coil mounts sit too far inward and will block off most of what is going be the visible area for the under-playfield's flippers. Cirqus Voltaire offers a solution with slingshot brackets that have the coils horizontally mounted. $50 per bracket is a bit pricey though. 'Wonder how hard/costly it would be to fabricate something similar on my own

    Either way, see y'all next week!

    #31 16 days ago

    Those varitargets — I just bought one off eBay to try in my homebrew. Crazy you can’t buy a new mech now. It’s a fun one..

    1 week later
    #32 3 days ago
    Quoted from Mbecker:

    Those varitargets — I just bought one off eBay to try in my homebrew. Crazy you can’t buy a new mech now. It’s a fun one..

    Yeah, it's a pretty neat little component will lots of potential still. I'm working a replacement board for mine, would you like one for your's as well? The lowest batch from the board house is 5 PCBs, so I can send one of the extras your way.

    Sorry for the small update on Zelda. Earlier in the week, the director of Lowe Mill offered an opportunity for us to move out of our current single sized studio at the back of the building and into a double sized studio right at the front door! This will give us enough space to work comfortably and to also have a little arcade!

    As soon as the ink dried on the new lease, Morgan and I have been in a flurry getting as many games fixed between now and the move date in March. A Comet was Hardtop'd, we acquired a dead F-14 Tomcat and got it flying again, Buccaneer is just about shipshape, and the playfield from Flash is cleaned and ready to be loaded up onto the rotisserie. We did our first in home repair last Saturday too. One of the pinball league organizers had a Farfalla with some shorted transistors on the coil driver board, 'nothing too crazy. That certainly is a funky game though; those outlane flippers are going right into the ideas book.

    Quietly I've been worried that we won't have enough pins to fill the new location at first, but all in all we're extremely excited about the expansion!

    Some time was made to work on Zelda this week as well, beginning with installing the vari-target:
    20200208_182129 (resized).jpg

    'And the shooter lane received some attention. New laser cut guides and wooden boundaries:
    20200207_165129 (resized).jpg

    I'm not happy with how the current guide serves the ball into the left side of the orbit. The ball "thunks" too much when hitting the orbit guide and looses a lot of momentum because of it. Most of the problem seems to stem from clatter in the shooter lane due to the lack of a shooter groove; which is something I've been mulling over on how to actually cut properly. Maybe a palm router with a ball nose bit, riding on a laser cut ramp that gradually lowers it into the wood? That might work.

    20200208_182800 (resized).jpg
    Here's a look a the playfield at the moment. The orbit entrance on the right side definitely needs to be reworked with the vari-target in place. That big rubber on the left side under the drops is a bit plain, it'll most likely get replaced with some stand up targets. The slots of the in and out lane switches were also cut this evening, but I forgot to snag a photo of them before leaving.

    That's about it for now, see y'all again soon!

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    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    From: $ 19.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    PinBoss Mods
    $ 7,899.00
    Pinball Machine
    Classic Game Rooms
    From: $ 47.00
    $ 15.00
    Cabinet - Decals
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    From: $ 175.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Pinball Photos
    $ 9.99
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 7,395.00
    Pinball Machine
    Great American Pinball
    $ 399.99
    Cabinet - Toppers
    Top-Notch Target Shields
    $ 18.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    ModFather Pinball Mods

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