(Topic ID: 86121)

What I want that will never happen: DIY pin kits for existing games.


By Frax

5 years ago



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  • 39 posts
  • 24 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by swinks
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    #1 5 years ago

    I'm not talking about BHZA/RAZA or whatever the crap it's called.. I'm talking about something that would go like this:

    Factory builds the cabinet, decals the cabinet. Installs the coin door and side rails. Factory makes the wire harness with the correct lengths, zipties it, bundles it up. No connectors installed. All parts for the game are packed into the cabinet body. End user must install all other cabinet hardware, pin the harness, install the circuit boards, install the playfield components on the playfield, solder the connections, basically all the tedious manual work that it takes to assemble a game that can be done without a big professional workspace, or things like say a spray booth, etc. This is something that I could reasonably do in my condo piecemeal that wouldn't require me to have a garage or barn.

    I just think it would be fun to build a WPC or Sys 11 game from all new parts at home...could run the wiring the way I want it, and at the end of the day be able to say "I put this together".

    #2 5 years ago

    So you're basically saying to have them take all the profit out of the manufacturing of a pinball machine, you are right - that will never happen.

    -7
    #3 5 years ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    So you're basically saying to have them take all the profit out of the manufacturing of a pinball machine, you are right - that will never happen.

    Reading comprehension fail. I in no way suggested a price, or even suggested a price break to compensate for the much smaller amount of manpower it would require for them to package a game in this manner. Go jump in a lake...not in the mood for stupid posts like this right now...

    #4 5 years ago

    nice idea I think, unassembled could cost a lot less for a game and shipping both. some games would likely be too complex and tedious building for some, other kits could be pre-wired using mated connectors for a no soldering completion. same idea with wiring harness already attached to the pf would simplify home assembly quite a bit, less chance for confusion about what goes-connects where. I wouldnt know why not to lite-ply and plexi to save some shipping weight, whether HUO or on site, if its got all the same features it'd just be easier to move around.

    #5 5 years ago

    Through the years some companies have popped up making just repro cabinets.

    I wonder if any of them still doing it might be contacted to take their work farther like your thinking ?

    LTG : )™

    #6 5 years ago

    agree there too Frax, I'd imagine SOME price break for unassembled, packaging to ship is man hours too. wouldnt think it so much a price break theyed lose profits or have to lay people off, if the idea became popular then production numbers and packaging staff would more likely go up. doubt it'd really harm sales of completed units, theres still going to be a lot of people wanting them sold RTF (ready to fly) like many RC model aircraft.

    #7 5 years ago

    Yah a kit for the Matrix would sell like crazy? Sorry to open up a can of worms but, its true. Yes I do realize its been explained over and over that its not going to happen but, one can still day dream about it.

    #8 5 years ago
    Quoted from zizzlemeplease:

    nice idea I think, unassembled could cost a lot less for a game and shipping both.

    What, didn't you read the post?..we are not allowed to discuss any money/cost

    #9 5 years ago
    Quoted from zizzlemeplease:

    unassembled could cost a lot less for a game and shipping both

    Shipping wouldn't be any cheaper unless they could find a way to flat-pack it. And I am not a carpenter. I don't want to be doing cabinetry in my living room....or anywhere for that matter. At some point, all this stuff is of such a size and weight that it wouldn't even matter if it's flatpack, it's still going to cost 250-400 bucks to ship it... I'd rather pay the factory for their services of assembly and decaling the cabinet. That's the only part I can't manage myself as an end-user, due to space, lack of experience, and the tools to deal with carpentry. Plus, the inside of the cabinet makes a good shipping container. ;P

    I don't think it should be as expensive as a full price game, to be sure, but it's not like I would say it should be a 50% discount or anything ludicrous like that either. I still want them to stay in business.

    #10 5 years ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    What, didn't you read the post?..we are not allowed to discuss any money/cost

    You're the one that brought up cost/money....and the ridiculous assumption that somehow assembly hours spent by the factory = net profits, which makes no sense at all.

    Unless something has changed, wasn't part of the plan with BHZA/RAZA to offer a flatpack-type deal for the one person that might be interested? I am pretty sure they were not even offered a discount for that, but the option was (is?) there for someone who wants to tackle that kind of project. I just have absolutely no interest in that pin whatsoever. I'm saying that I'd take the same option, even at pretty close to full cost, for an ESTABLISHED title, or at least a title I'd be interested in. Nowhere in my inital post did I say anything about how I was going to "take all the profit out of the manufacturing of a pinball machine".

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    You're the one that brought up cost/money....and the ridiculous assumption that somehow assembly hours spent by the factory = net profits, which makes no sense at all.
    Unless something has changed, wasn't part of the plan with BHZA/RAZA to offer a flatpack-type deal for the one person that might be interested? I am pretty sure they were not even offered a discount for that, but the option was (is?) there for someone who wants to tackle that kind of project. I just have absolutely no interest in that pin whatsoever. I'm saying that I'd take the same option, even at pretty close to full cost, for an ESTABLISHED title, or at least a title I'd be interested in. Nowhere in my inital post did I say anything about how I was going to "take all the profit out of the manufacturing of a pinball machine".

    Well, I don't consider my post "stupid", since I work for a major manufacturer of digital products for the radio industry, so I must not know what I am talking about. Have a great day.

    #12 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    I'm not talking about BHZA/RAZA or whatever the crap it's called.. I'm talking about something that would go like this:

    To be honest you lost me here. I suggest not calling that stuff crap and following up on what Ben Heck is actually doing. It is awesome, very awesome and a great platform for development!

    Also, why wouldn't the factory just take the few extra minutes and pin the connectors since already there and making the harnesses? Seems like this process is really personalized to your comfort level of DYI type work. Idk man, you got a lot of good skills already, I'd say grab a system 11 beat up with a lot of available parts and go for it, or a lower cost WPC would be awesome too. I think you could finish it all. Make a botoh i tnhe garage for sanding and panting, it'd be a fun project

    #13 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    This is something that I could reasonably do in my condo piecemeal that wouldn't require me to have a garage or barn.
    I just think it would be fun to build a WPC or Sys 11 game from all new parts at home...could run the wiring the way I want it, and at the end of the day be able to say "I put this together".

    If you live in a condo and pin restoration isn't practical, another approach is to rent some space. Don't know how expensive it is to find a smallish workplace space in Dallas, but it's more viable than waiting for a company to produce what you suggest (market it too small/specialized…).

    #14 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    I'm not talking about BHZA/RAZA or whatever the crap it's called.. I'm talking about something that would go like this:
    Factory builds the cabinet, decals the cabinet. Installs the coin door and side rails. Factory makes the wire harness with the correct lengths, zipties it, bundles it up. No connectors installed. All parts for the game are packed into the cabinet body. End user must install all other cabinet hardware, pin the harness, install the circuit boards, install the playfield components on the playfield, solder the connections, basically all the tedious manual work that it takes to assemble a game that can be done without a big professional workspace, or things like say a spray booth, etc. This is something that I could reasonably do in my condo piecemeal that wouldn't require me to have a garage or barn.
    I just think it would be fun to build a WPC or Sys 11 game from all new parts at home...could run the wiring the way I want it, and at the end of the day be able to say "I put this together".

    Too many variables and risks for it to be considered. Would the pinball company still warranty the game if you did a half assed job putting it together and fried out your CPU board or accidentally damaged the playfield with a screw or dropped a tool on it? As someone that's done a few playfield swaps I think there are just too many situations where you could screw something up along the way if you aren't really careful.

    #15 5 years ago

    How much labor cost you think is really going into assembling a pinball with minimum wage workers using high speed tools and part bins laid out in work cells? Most of that cost is overhead, engineering, tooling, testing (how do you ship an unbuilt pinball without testing, that'd be like shipping a car without testing). I think any pinball company would find sending a partially built pinball a nightmare from a quality and safety standpoint (legally speaking).

    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    Well, I don't consider my post "stupid", since I work for a major manufacturer of digital products for the radio industry, so I must not know what I am talking about. Have a great day.

    What does that have to do with anything? And your comment about "tak[ing] all the profit out of the manufacturing of a pinball machine" made no sense. I assume when you say 'manufacturing' you mean 'assembling.' And that still does not make sense. For example, a company selling a kit would not need the assembly line and hourly workers. They would sell a full set of components and subassemblies, and they could reduce the cost of the gme by this extra expense (or a fractio of it) to keep the same profit margin or increase it.

    The real problem is the increased cost of tech support when things weren't put together correctly. At leas the factory has trained workers and pre-testing. Lots of stuff to go wrong in a pin!

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from MikeS:

    Too many variables and risks for it to be considered. Would the pinball company still warranty the game if you did a half assed job putting it together and fried out your CPU board or accidentally damaged the playfield with a screw or dropped a tool on it? As someone that's done a few playfield swaps I think there are just too many situations where you could screw something up along the way if you aren't really careful.

    Someone will put it together wrong and electrocute themselves. And then there's a lawsuit.

    #18 5 years ago

    Why not buy a game in need of a new cabinet? Then buy a new one from the virtuapin guys and they will finish it as far as you want all they way to installing new decals. Then clean and transfer parts over, replacing things as needed. And you have a new game

    #19 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    I'm not talking about BHZA/RAZA or whatever the crap it's called.. I'm talking about something that would go like this:
    Factory builds the cabinet, decals the cabinet. Installs the coin door and side rails. Factory makes the wire harness with the correct lengths, zipties it, bundles it up. No connectors installed. All parts for the game are packed into the cabinet body. End user must install all other cabinet hardware, pin the harness, install the circuit boards, install the playfield components on the playfield, solder the connections, basically all the tedious manual work that it takes to assemble a game that can be done without a big professional workspace, or things like say a spray booth, etc. This is something that I could reasonably do in my condo piecemeal that wouldn't require me to have a garage or barn.
    I just think it would be fun to build a WPC or Sys 11 game from all new parts at home...could run the wiring the way I want it, and at the end of the day be able to say "I put this together".

    I can't see this happening. Here's why.

    -A smart company does not want to run the risk of a layperson putting things together incorrectly and then potentially representing their brand in a negative light. It doesn't seem smart for a company to allow this to happen with a complex product intended to be professionally manufactured.

    -A smart company wants to avoid any legal liability problems. You build it incorrectly by accident and somehow a siderail is electrified, or maybe the machine catches fire and burns down your house. Any UL/CSA (etc) certifications a game might have rolling out of the factory fully assembled would probably be nullified if it was built by John Q. Public. It's not like a Kit Car you can build and then take on the road - you have to get those cars approved and inspected according to local regulations. If you built a pinball machine and miswired it, there is no agency to protect you from killing yourself before you use it. No warranty either if they're smart.

    -They would not want to provide any support for it at all if they were smart. Since they probably realize the first two things I mention, this issue is moot since they'd probably never do this in the first place. The cost associated with supporting a product like this would likely make it unprofitable. Think about the information (manuals, very thorough step by step assembly instructions + packaging for each specific step, exact list of tools required, maybe a DVD, email and telephone support, yadda yadda yadda) that would be required for your average person to assemble something like a pinball machine in their house. Wow what a pain. Problem is, without a kit support team, almost nobody would ever get the game put together properly.

    You said it would take less manpower, I think it would take about the same (minus a few low salary line workers) in terms of manufacturing PLUS a team dedicated to kits specifically. I imagine the people who support the kits would be paid a lot more than the line workers because they would legitimately need some pretty big juicy brains.

    -Finally, those who could actually handle something of this nature from start to finish AND wanted to do it... that's probably about 200-300 people on the whole planet.

    You called someone else stupid for suggesting it wouldn't be profitable. And I think he's right on the money if we're talking about Stern or JJP. Maybe this idea is...

    #20 5 years ago
    Quoted from jrivelli:

    To be honest you lost me here. I suggest not calling that stuff crap and following up on what Ben Heck is actually doing.

    Huh?

    "Whatever the crap IT'S CALLED".....emphasis on CALLED.... I didn't say it was crap. I did say I'm not interested in the theme. I'm a Ben Heck convert, actually. I think he has done a fantastic job with AMH. How could I even judge him on BHZA/RAZA when nothing about it's been shown...that's ridiculous.

    What is it with you guys today? I feel like I'm reading RGP. I don't have a garage, man....and I'm not interested in restoration. I want new parts, not 30 year old junk. I've got enough of that in my house already. I want a nice new cabinet, nice new PF, and want to do the wiring and assembly myself. I didn't think that was a crime, but apparently it's about the equivalent of capital murder around here..

    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    How much labor cost you think is really going into assembling a pinball with minimum wage workers using High Speed tools and part bins laid out in work cells?

    This is probably a fair point. If PPS was going to run a game like AFM or CV and I could save 150 bucks and sign a release waiver on the warranty barring that the electronics were at least tested at some point after completion, with the understanding that the product only has a very limited warranty on defects for parts/mechanisms...I'd totally go for it. That's why I don't think it would ever happen..it's too niche.

    The whole point of the thread was just to throw an idea out there and see if anyone else had some crazy ideas they'd like to see happen that won't for whatever reason. NOT to get into a discussion of *why* it wouldn't happen. I'm not interested in that...so I'm done with this. Grats to the thread killers, ya'll win, I forfeit. I've got better things to do today than to explain grammar and argue why it won't work. I'm interested in getting unique ideas out there, not to sit here and listen to the "corporates" that want to say "this can't be done". It can. I doubt it will ever be. That's all.

    Peace out.

    #21 5 years ago

    I think what everyone has said on this thread is that they're too dumb to do wiring.

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    I think what everyone has said on this thread is that they're too dumb to do wiring.

    Close. *Some* people are too dumb to do wiring correctly. That represents a real liability to the seller.

    #23 5 years ago

    So what you are saying is that you want something like whatever the crap it's called you just don't want whatever the crap it's called. Hasn't this been done already with the three MM pins that were built from scratch (yeah, yeah I know the first one had a donor machine). I am pretty sure you can find nearly all of the parts for one of the more established W/B titles. So, why don't you just go that route? Sure you would have to build the wiring harness and that would be a pita, but the schematics are out there; so, not an impossible task.

    I dig your idea and I understand that it would save a lot of the hassle for someone to sell this as a kit, but rounding up all of the parts yourself does not seem like it should be an idea killer to me. Especially given the grand scope of a project like this.

    #24 5 years ago

    Heathkit is back in biz, so maybe they will do another pinball machine kit like they did in the 70s "Fireball" and "Aspen".

    #25 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    I think what everyone has said on this thread is that they're too dumb to do wiring.

    No. They're saying that liability issues for a pinball kit (and subsequent support, imo) are too great to make it viable. Sorry to see that your reading comprehension is impaired. Assembly under controlled conditions by trained workers, and pre-testing before shipping, makes more sense for a pin company. But I do agree that a kit would be a very fun project!

    Also, Ben Heck has not been involved at all with RAZA for quite some time now--the name change is a hint there. It's a JPOP project.

    Quoted from Frax:

    The whole point of the thread was just to throw an idea out there and see if anyone else had some crazy ideas they'd like to see happen that won't for whatever reason.

    No, that is not the stated point of your original post. Sorry to see your lack of reading comprehension extends to your own words...

    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from StevenP:

    No, that is not the stated point of your original post. Sorry to see your lack of reading comprehension extends to your own words...

    It's becoming ironically funny now, isn't it?

    I never realized there were guidelines about how to post to this thread!

    #27 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    Huh?
    "Whatever the crap IT'S CALLED".....emphasis on CALLED.... I didn't say it was crap. I did say I'm not interested in the theme. I'm a Ben Heck convert, actually. I think he has done a fantastic job with AMH. How could I even judge him on BHZA/RAZA when nothing about it's been shown...that's ridiculous.
    What is it with you guys today? I feel like I'm reading RGP. I don't have a garage, man....and I'm not interested in restoration. I want new parts, not 30 year old junk. I've got enough of that in my house already. I want a nice new cabinet, nice new PF, and want to do the wiring and assembly myself. I didn't think that was a crime, but apparently it's about the equivalent of capital murder around here..

    Whats with us? Huh? You are coming across super strong in all your wording. Emphasis on called? How can i tell that by reading it? It doesn't show that. You also keep poking at people about reading comprehension. Chill dude lol

    Anyways, I don't see any money to be made on this personally. It's like they do it to such a certain level that it'd be worth it for factor to just finish it up and sell for way more $$$. Now, if someone put together a "kit"
    that was simply all parts needed then I could see that and you assemble it entirely. Just think of alll that support they'd have to do, yuck

    #28 5 years ago

    Patience and Tolerence= most difficult things we must practice.

    #29 5 years ago
    Quoted from StevenP:

    What does that have to do with anything? And your comment about "tak[ing] all the profit out of the manufacturing of a pinball machine" made no sense. I assume when you say 'manufacturing' you mean 'assembling.' And that still does not make sense. For example, a company selling a kit would not need the assembly line and hourly workers. They would sell a full set of components and subassemblies, and they could reduce the cost of the gme by this extra expense (or a fractio of it) to keep the same profit margin or increase it.
    The real problem is the increased cost of tech support when things weren't put together correctly. At leas the factory has trained workers and pre-testing. Lots of stuff to go wrong in a pin!

    No assembly line? who's putting the sub assemblies toghether?

    #30 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    I think what everyone has said on this thread is that they're too dumb to do wiring.

    SteveP3 did a great job summarizing why your idea doesn't seem viable. I noticed you didn't respond to his thoughtful response.

    The best way to satisfy this itch is to restore a pin (even if you decide to contract out the cabinet work). Doubtful a company is going to help you scratch it...

    #31 5 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    The whole point of the thread was just to throw an idea out there and see if anyone else had some crazy ideas they'd like to see happen that won't for whatever reason. NOT to get into a discussion of *why* it wouldn't happen

    I don't think any of us meant to buzzkill you, I get what your point is. Build it yourself, learn how your machine goes together, perhaps even mod it along the way. Heck, I think even Chevy does something like this where you can build your own engine in the corvette that you've pre-bought, but there's also very skilled technicians watching and guiding to make sure you don't screw it up. It's a great plan in most people's heads, but I just can't see any official company or LLC doing anything like this (at least not without a lot of cost either paying someone to walk you through it, or writing very clear step-by-step work instructions which is also time+money).

    Sounds like this is Jpop's plan (if you so desire), but I'm certain he has a stack of legal documents that pretty much waive any lawsuits redirected back at him.

    #32 5 years ago

    Isn't that really the concept behind P3? Except they are making everything plug and play, so you could assemble it but can avoid the horror stories mentioned above related to a bad wiring job. It is kind of a win / win.

    I had grown kind of luke warm to their concept until listening to Gerry's talk at TPF recently and it has renewed my interest. Especially if they are taking another nine months to refine the thing, it might be pretty impressive. Plus you have the added bonus of being able to do your own programming or making adjustments to existing program. Talk about the ultimate Heathkit.

    1 year later
    #33 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Heathkit is back in biz, so maybe they will do another pinball machine kit like they did in the 70s "Fireball" and "Aspen".

    Bump, because it finally came true. Heathkit has their first "new" kit available on their site.

    Unfortunately, I think they missed the mark by a few lightyears.

    https://shop.heathkit.com/shop/product/explorer-jr-trf-am-radio-receiver-kit-black-case-gr-150-bk-16

    An AM radio for $150?!

    Even Snap Circuits has a $45 kit that has an AM radio, voice recorder, motion detector, etc.. in it.

    amazon.com link »

    #34 3 years ago
    Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

    An AM radio for $150?!

    If it had some tubes in it, I could see it.

    But no tubes and who wants a table radio that you can only listen to through headphones?

    #35 3 years ago

    I believe homepin were going to offer this for their thunderbirds pin

    #36 3 years ago
    Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

    Bump, because it finally came true. Heathkit has their first "new" kit available on their site.
    Unfortunately, I think they missed the mark by a few lightyears.
    https://shop.heathkit.com/shop/product/explorer-jr-trf-am-radio-receiver-kit-black-case-gr-150-bk-16
    An AM radio for $150?!
    Even Snap Circuits has a $45 kit that has an AM radio, voice recorder, motion detector, etc.. in it.
    amazon.com link »

    i remember when heathkit made all sorts of things. Right in my hometown...

    #37 3 years ago
    Quoted from Insane:

    i remember when heathkit made all sorts of things. Right in my hometown...

    Most of the file cabinets in the basement file storage at our office came from the Heath/Zenith going out of business auction. We also bought a laser printer and some other office equipment there.

    Wish the new company was still located here. Guess we should be happy they still exist at all. But $150 headphone only AM radio seems unlikely to have a huge appeal..................

    #38 3 years ago

    We designed this special kit, one of our Heathkit JrTM series of kits, for easy no-solder assembly by anyone. It can be your introduction to electronics, radios, and the joy of building something useful.

    Yes, you still build all the electronics. We simply use stainless hardware instead of solder, so the greatest possible number of people can build it. More advanced models are on their way. Start here and grow with us.

    This is probably where most of the cost went... to that and cabinet work. I wish them luck; I'm looking forward to future kits... hopefully.

    #39 3 years ago
    Quoted from pinmanguy:

    I believe homepin were going to offer this for their thunderbirds pin

    pretty sure that was the original drive for homepin but pretty the kit option has been scrapped.

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