(Topic ID: 314766)

Where to measure slope on the playfield?

By KneeKickLou

3 months ago


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  • Latest reply 3 months ago by GoldenBear
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    There are 53 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 3 months ago

    So I recently moved my Johnny Mnemonic in my basement and now I’m having issues with my feed from the pops hitting the very bottom of the sling and going SDTM.

    I checked the level and it seems ok in front and in back.

    I only have the PinGuy app to check the slope. I’m wondering what slope do most of you have on your games and what part of the playfield do you check the slope cus I seem to get 2 different angles at the top and bottom of my playfield.

    #2 3 months ago

    Between the slingshots.

    -5
    #3 3 months ago

    The playfield IS (or certainly SHOULD be) a PERFECTLY FLAT piece of wood.

    Physics (and common sense) tells us that it makes ZERO difference where the level is measured.

    The exact angle of the wood to the earths gravity will be the same at the very top or the very bottom of the piece of wood - or anywhere in between.

    Anyone suggesting otherwise seriously needs to go back to school!

    In the example below, the angle is measured at 19 degrees REGARDLESS of where on the angled line you measure (as long as the line is straight, just like your playfield should be).
    pasted_imageangle (resized).png

    #4 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    The playfield IS (or certainly SHOULD be) a PERFECTLY FLAT piece of wood.
    Physics (and common sense) tells us that it makes ZERO difference where the level is measured.
    The exact angle of the wood to the earths gravity will be the same at the very top or the very bottom of the piece of wood - or anywhere in between.
    Anyone suggesting otherwise seriously needs to go back to school!
    In the example below, the angle is measured at 19 degrees REGARDLESS of where on the angled line you measure (as long as the line is straight, just like your playfield should be).
    [quoted image]

    Cool thanks

    #5 3 months ago

    What are the two different measurements?

    #6 3 months ago

    Your basement is probably seriously pitched like mine for drainage so moving any game, even a few feet, will require some top and bottom leveling. I set mine at 6.7-7.0 depending on the game at the slings and then do my best to get the same at the highest measurable point on the playfield. It takes a while to dial it in (especially when you have to crawl under the game and turtle shell it while adjusting the levelers) but I have a JM (6.9 degrees) and that ball should be a lazy drop to the right flipper.

    -5
    #7 3 months ago
    Quoted from Chisox:

    Your basement is probably seriously pitched like mine for drainage so moving any game, even a few feet, will require some top and bottom leveling. I set mine at 6.7-7.0 depending on the game at the slings and then do my best to get the same at the highest measurable point on the playfield. It takes a while to dial it in (especially when you have to crawl under the game and turtle shell it while adjusting the levelers) but I have a JM (6.9 degrees) and that ball should be a lazy drop to the right flipper.

    Regardless of what the floor is doing - once a machine is in a stable position the angle measurement at top or bottom of the playfield CANNOT vary - it is simply against the laws of physics for it to be different as long as your playfield is perfectly flat/straight.

    I am flabbergasted that some can't grasp this?

    #8 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Regardless of what the floor is doing - once a machine is in a stable position the angle measurement at top or bottom of the playfield CANNOT vary - it is simply against the laws of physics for it to be different as long as your playfield is perfectly flat/straight.
    I am flabbergasted that some can't grasp this?

    Does repeating it make you feel better?

    #9 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Regardless of what the floor is doing - once a machine is in a stable position the angle measurement at top or bottom of the playfield CANNOT vary - it is simply against the laws of physics for it to be different as long as your playfield is perfectly flat/straight.
    I am flabbergasted that some can't grasp this?

    But it’s made of wood, as is the cabinet, so there is some play involved? If the rear left leg is 1/4’ lower than the rest of the legs there will be some pitch towards the left leg?

    #10 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Regardless of what the floor is doing - once a machine is in a stable position the angle measurement at top or bottom of the playfield CANNOT vary - it is simply against the laws of physics for it to be different as long as your playfield is perfectly flat/straight.
    I am flabbergasted that some can't grasp this?

    There are 4 adjustable legs homie .Bottom right can vary from upper left .Schools in session

    #11 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    The playfield IS (or certainly SHOULD be) a PERFECTLY FLAT piece of wood.
    Physics (and common sense) tells us that it makes ZERO difference where the level is measured.
    The exact angle of the wood to the earths gravity will be the same at the very top or the very bottom of the piece of wood - or anywhere in between.
    Anyone suggesting otherwise seriously needs to go back to school!
    In the example below, the angle is measured at 19 degrees REGARDLESS of where on the angled line you measure (as long as the line is straight, just like your playfield should be).
    [quoted image]

    If both the playfield and floor are perfectly flat then yes, I completely agree. But the basement floor and undoubtedly the playfield are not. Otherwise my leg levelers on all my games would be the same.

    #12 3 months ago

    100-pound playfield will sag (TZ, HH, STTNG) while lighter ones will warp from age. Some games are super sensitive to pitch while others not so much. Don't listen to the newbie. Measure pitch in several areas and adjust accordingly. Also, don't forget side to side level. Ultimately, you want the game to play good with no cheap drains. Sometimes that isn't 100% level or 6.5 degrees slope.

    -11
    #13 3 months ago

    Regardless of how the adjusters are set and regardless of how uneven the floor might be - - - the angle of the playfield CANNOT be different at any point on the playfield.

    I fully agree that there might be some tilt to the left/right/back/front BUT - if your playfield is FLAT and not warped then it is a physical impossibility for the measured angle to differ at different points of the playfield.

    This is simple physics and I fail to see how some can't grasp this?

    #14 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    if your playfield is FLAT and not warped then it is a physical impossibility for the measured angle to differ at different points of the playfield.

    Take a breath. No one is arguing this. They're talking about 1) Side to side differences at the top and bottom of playfield, and 2) playfields can warp. You keep repeating the same information, despite people introducing new information.

    If you ever find yourself saying "I keep repeating myself but no one is listening", stop repeating yourself.

    When someone says

    Quoted from KneeKickLou:

    I seem to get 2 different angles at the top and bottom of my playfield.

    telling them repeatedly they're wrong does nothing to help them. Everyone else has provided different and helpful information.

    #15 3 months ago

    I used to level my games with precision. Now I just use the level to make sure they are level side to side. Each game is different for me and I like to play the game to determine just the right pitch. Most of my games I prefer fast and steep-so I have the back legs jacked up all the way. Some of my games have difficulty with hitting ramp shots at steep angles-so I back those down a bit(ie. TFTC, Mando). Play around with the different levels and determine the best pitch for that particular game which will affect gameplay with different speeds. -Not every game is the same-nor should it be imo.

    10
    #16 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Regardless of how the adjusters are set and regardless of how uneven the floor might be - - - the angle of the playfield CANNOT be different at any point on the playfield.
    I fully agree that there might be some tilt to the left/right/back/front BUT - if your playfield is FLAT and not warped then it is a physical impossibility for the measured angle to differ at different points of the playfield.
    This is simple physics and I fail to see how some can't grasp this?

    Go measure your games bud. $100 says you will get different readings on various parts of playfield unless your game is brand new. And even then I doubt your measurements will be consistent

    #17 3 months ago

    Oft time digital tools are so precise that you do get different readings at different places because at that level of precision, no PF is truly flat. It may not be a meaningful difference. If you were using an analog inclinometer it would probably read just the same to your eye. That’s why I asked what the exact measurements were. If they are all within a couple tenths of a degree don’t worry. If there are 2 degrees off, something is amiss - your PF is badly warped or something else is going on.

    #18 3 months ago

    Pinball manufacturers must have quality control tolerances for playfield variations. In other words they routinely ship non-flat playfields. *perfectly flat* would be a ridiculous standard and probably impossible to achieve with a natural material.

    #19 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Regardless of what the floor is doing - once a machine is in a stable position the angle measurement at top or bottom of the playfield CANNOT vary - it is simply against the laws of physics for it to be different as long as your playfield is perfectly flat/straight.
    I am flabbergasted that some can't grasp this?

    I have never had a playfield that is completely flat. On brand new ones and old. There is always some differences in different spots. The weight of the components plays a big role. I think others have said this above but it bears repeating. I wish manufacturers never moved away from the good old wood rails which held the playfields along each entire side and wouldn't allow as much warping.

    #20 3 months ago

    Thanks all appreciate the tips, I did order a digital level with angle finder that should be a little more accurate than my phone. I think I will need to raise the back up a little more and take some more time to dial it in.

    And I guess to answer questions before the bottom seemed to be steeper than the top but again this is just with an app on my phone so probably not the most accurate.

    I can't tell you how frustrating it is though to get spinner millions lit drop the ball into the pops get a 2 or 3X bonus started just for the ball to roll out bounce off a sling post and go SDTM lol

    #21 3 months ago

    Playfields will have differing angles of measurements for several reasons stated previously.

    I’ve compared the phone app you are talking about with a digital inclinometer and the app is inconsistent. The inclinometer is only as accurate as it’s calibrated for. I calibrate my inclinometer with a small torpedo level against a leveled flat surface of a wall.

    Keep in mind that when taking measurements on the playfield, if the inclinometer is not parallel with the top, bottom or sides, you won’t get an accurate reading. If it’s a steep angled playfield the inclinometer will tend to slide or move from where you placed it so you have to have a way to have the inclinometer not move.

    After all that measuring, you still might have to tweak the level of the PF to make the ball travel or not travel like you want. You may have to set the machine up to lean to one side to avoid STDM drains. That is one aspect of where “dialing” a machine comes in.

    Setting a machines level is just the beginning or a starting point for ball travel. A lot of it may require tweaking after a level and pitch baseline has been established.

    You can do it, it’s not hard once you understand the above and don’t get stuck on the idea that a PF has to or only can be set to a measuring device.

    #23 3 months ago

    It’s 32 year-old plywood, not a solidworks mockup.

    My Whirlwind near the top: 1EFD79B4-5439-4BD9-ADE3-34F07AA2DD70 (resized).jpeg

    Near the middle: AA4F0CE7-22CE-45BA-B587-B20E447CD5FF (resized).jpeg

    Between the slings: 4C37245F-250E-4B27-BBF3-D2E87E6DC96D (resized).jpeg

    #24 3 months ago
    Quoted from jackd104:

    Pinball manufacturers must have quality control tolerances for playfield variations. In other words they routinely ship non-flat playfields. *perfectly flat* would be a ridiculous standard and probably impossible to achieve with a natural material.

    You obviously don't have a Thunderbird's pinball. Perfectly flat, every one of them

    #25 3 months ago
    Quoted from pabrimmer:

    It’s 32 year-old plywood, not a solidworks mockup.
    My Whirlwind near the top: [quoted image]
    Near the middle: [quoted image]
    Between the slings: [quoted image]

    I'd love to read pins4u 's condescending explanation for this

    #26 3 months ago

    jdoz2 it reminds me of when I made the mistake of mentioning in r/woodworking that I was using splines and glue to force some boards to be parallel for a tabletop. They were at most 3/8” off over their 8’ lengths. I got lambasted for not milling them “perfectly flat.” When I mentioned it to the old guy who runs my local hardwood supply, he said, “Tell them you’re building a table, not a space shuttle.” XD

    -10
    #27 3 months ago

    Thank God there are no engineers here saying this rubbish!

    We would have buildings and bridges falling down all over the place before they were even finished.

    How would you construct a building if you measured a beam at one end as level, in the middle at 3 degrees and the end as something different again? It simply doesn't happen.

    Far from being condescending, I am attempting to be constructive, but some just want to pick without engaging their brain or actually researching the issue.

    Many here seem to have seriously warped playfields, why not start a thread about how warped all these new playfields are and they just can't be leveled?

    #28 3 months ago

    The thing is, engineers understand the realities of using real life materials in real life situations, and the safely allowable tolerances involved. Meanwhile, you’re giving me Physics 101 vibes.

    #29 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Thank God there are no engineers here saying this rubbish!
    We would have buildings and bridges falling down all over the place before they were even finished.
    How would you construct a building if you measured a beam at one end as level, in the middle at 3 degrees and the end as something different again? It simply doesn't happen...

    You might want to google Millennium Tower in San Francisco...

    #30 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Far from being condescending, I am attempting to be constructive, but some just want to pick without engaging their brain or actually researching the issue

    You keep telling us bumblebees can't fly. And repeating to us all the reasons why they can't fly. Their bodies are too big. Their wings are too small. And they can't flap fast enough!

    Meanwhile, we keep pointing to all the flying bumblebees.

    #31 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Thank God there are no engineers here saying this rubbish!
    We would have buildings and bridges falling down all over the place before they were even finished.
    How would you construct a building if you measured a beam at one end as level, in the middle at 3 degrees and the end as something different again? It simply doesn't happen.
    Far from being condescending, I am attempting to be constructive, but some just want to pick without engaging their brain or actually researching the issue.
    Many here seem to have seriously warped playfields, why not start a thread about how warped all these new playfields are and they just can't be leveled?

    Possibly the first ever bidgument? That’s something I can get behind as I have a degree in engineering and build bridges. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as cargument though.

    Just for future arguments, there isn’t much on a bridge that is level. Bridge beams have camber in them to account for the dead load and the majority of the concrete has a wash to it so water doesn’t pool.

    I’m more shocked that you have never leveled a game and found 2 slightly different degrees of pitch to the playfield.

    #32 3 months ago
    Quoted from pabrimmer:

    It’s 32 year-old plywood, not a solidworks mockup.
    My Whirlwind near the top: [quoted image]
    Near the middle: [quoted image]
    Between the slings: [quoted image]

    Measuring in all 3 locations and taking the average is the only way.

    thats what I do.

    #33 3 months ago

    .

    Quoted from pins4u:... I am attempting to be constructive,...

    That may be true, but as usual you're coming off as a fucking asshole.

    #34 3 months ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    Measuring in all 3 locations and taking the average is the only way.
    thats what I do.

    It's my first game, and I assumed it was pretty normal to get different measures from different spots (which replies in this thread seem to bear out). I ended up laying a long straightedge down the middle of the length of the pf and setting the angle off that instead of directly off a position on the playfield.

    I bet I would get about the same result if I used your averages method

    #35 3 months ago
    Quoted from pabrimmer:

    It's my first game, and I assumed it was pretty normal to get different measures from different spots (which replies in this thread seem to bear out). I ended up laying a long straightedge down the middle of the length of the pf and setting the angle off that instead of directly off a position on the playfield.
    I bet I would get about the same result if I used your averages method

    There can also be a twist in the playfield horizontally.

    Playfields are just a piece of plywood with paint on them.

    Get everything levelled out as best as you can, then play it a bit and make a few more adjustments if its favoring one side or the other, too fast or too slow etc.

    #36 3 months ago

    Plus, you don't need to overthink it.
    My SW & Halloween are around 8 degrees. I only know this because I was cleaning them and decided to check...I just randomly set them where they felt good.

    #37 3 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Plus, you don't need to overthink it.
    My SW & Halloween are around 8 degrees. I only know this because I was cleaning them and decided to check...I just randomly set them where they felt good.

    I have the right side of my IJ up about a tenth of a degree to keep balls from stopping behind the lower pop bumper.

    It plays perfectly and doesnt favor one side or the other.

    I agree, theres no perfection, its all about dialing it in and how the game plays.

    #38 3 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Plus, you don't need to overthink it.
    My SW & Halloween are around 8 degrees. I only know this because I was cleaning them and decided to check...I just randomly set them where they felt good.

    Star Wars at 8? I had to look at your collection and saw it was a pro. A premium would be unplayable at that pitch because of the fork ramp.

    #39 3 months ago
    Quoted from Mad_Dog_Coin_Op:

    A premium would be unplayable at that pitch because of the fork ramp.

    Oh man I bet. Whenever I play the Prem I still try to banghand that shot for some reason

    #40 3 months ago
    Quoted from pins4u:

    Regardless of how the adjusters are set and regardless of how uneven the floor might be - - - the angle of the playfield CANNOT be different at any point on the playfield.

    You're flat out wrong. Before you tell me I'm wrong, put a digital level on any playfield and measure between the flippers, then as high as you can put the level. Guaranteed pitch increases as you go up the playfield. Even on a brand new game. The playfield is made of wood, has lots of heavy hardware attached and only four attachment points. One or more degrees of difference is normal and expected.

    What you're probably missing is the fact the the variation is often less than one degree on new games. One degree out of 360 degrees isn't much for most applications, but it is for pinball. You admantedley declaring that there can be no variation suggests to me that you've never put a digital level on a playfield.

    Pitch should be measured between the flippers. Manufacturers place their bubble levels parallel to the flippers. That's the clue that tells you where to measure. I use and recommend the Craftsman digital torpedo level and have compared mine to others of the same model. All were dead on accurate. The pinguy app is also accurate and free if you have an Apple device to load it on.

    #41 3 months ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    Measuring in all 3 locations and taking the average is the only way.

    Setting pitch that way will make your game steeper than it should be. Pitch increases as you go up the playfield and should only be measured between the flippers. Averaging is the same as setting the pitch in the middle of the playfield. Manufacturers always put their bubble level parallel to the flippers. That's where you should measure.

    #42 3 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    That may be true, but as usual you're coming off as a fucking asshole.

    It hilarious. He often tries to help people here and has some knowledge of pinball, but he's condescending to everyone he tries to help. Makes no sense. Probably related to the soup nazi.

    I like to help people here too, but I'll be the first to tell you I don't know everything and admit when I've made a mistake. Pins4u hasn't figured out that last part yet.

    #43 3 months ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Setting pitch that way will make your game steeper than it should be. Pitch increases as you go up the playfield and should only be measured between the flippers. Averaging is the same as setting the pitch in the middle of the playfield. Manufacturers always put their bubble level parallel to the flippers. That's where you should measure.

    I tend to agree with this, but its my starting point.

    Dialing in from there works best for me.

    #44 3 months ago

    I put 6 pinballs on the top glass by the speakers and let them roll down to the lockdown bar, timing them precisely. After a standard deviation calculation to ensure no outliers, I calculate the existing angle of level based on the mean roll time duration (and known distance, weight of pinballs, physics, etc.) and then adjust accordingly applying a known bias of the glass vs. playfield.

    EDIT: If using anti-glare glass, make sure the appropriate constant of friction for the specific brand is applied.

    #45 3 months ago
    Quoted from altan:

    I put 6 pinballs on the top glass by the speakers and let them roll down to the lockdown bar, timing them precisely. After a standard deviation calculation to ensure no outliers, I calculate the existing angle of level based on the mean roll time duration (and known distance, weight of pinballs, physics, etc.) and then adjust accordingly applying a known bias of the glass vs. playfield.

    But what if it’s an anti glare glass?

    #46 3 months ago
    Quoted from Monk:

    But what if it’s an anti glare glass?

    Simple! Apply the appropriate constant of friction for the specific brand.

    #47 3 months ago

    Half my pins I haven't even measured the pitch!

    #48 3 months ago

    Wait, are you saying the playfield should be pitched...?

    No wonder my scores are so high. I always wondered what a "drain" was...

    #49 3 months ago
    Quoted from Bud:

    if the inclinometer is not parallel with the top, bottom or sides, you won’t get an accurate reading

    What’s the best way to ensure this? I’m thinking more for side to side level than pitch. On some machines there’s a mech or artwork that I believe is parallel and I use those as a guide but not always.

    #50 3 months ago
    Quoted from NoSkills:

    What’s the best way to ensure this? I’m thinking more for side to side level than pitch. On some machines there’s a mech or artwork that I believe is parallel and I use those as a guide but not always.

    A paint stirrer resting on the flipper posts. It's amazing how if the level is even slightly off it can make a measurable difference.

    Not level (resized).jpgTMNT Level (resized).jpg

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