(Topic ID: 147689)

Where's the Ramps??


By thedarkknight77

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 43 posts
  • 26 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by rubberducks
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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    #1 3 years ago

    I just don't get it, why are there so few ramps available for older games??? It seems like there is a massive amount of money to be made? You can pretty much get every part for older games, plastics, playfields, but no ramps?? What gives? I know the molds cost a decent amount of money, but why not do a kick starter or something? Please don't post of a link to Starship......I have seen their underwhelming selection.

    #2 3 years ago
    Quoted from thedarkknight77:

    I just don't get it, why are there so few ramps available for older games??? It seems like there is a massive amount of money to be made? You can pretty much get every part for older games, plastics, playfields, but no ramps?? What gives? I know the molds cost a decent amount of money, but why not do a kick starter or something? Please don't post of a link to Starship......I have seen their underwhelming selection.

    Some of it has to do with licensing. People catch grief if they make and sell the replacement parts without the license holders blessing.

    #3 3 years ago
    Quoted from thedarkknight77:

    plastics, playfields

    that's only true when CPR has them in stock.

    Ramps are not fun, even if you get a good positive mold, it's a lot of labor to pull the part, trim, drill holes in the correct locations, add ramp flaps. If a ramp is small enough (say a space station ramp), it's not so bad. You have a space shuttle ramp (which is very long), then it requires a larger vacuum forming machine with higher pressure. And then yea, the whole licensing blessing (is this ramp representative of the original).

    #4 3 years ago

    Has very little if nothing to do with licensing, and even if/when there are people can come to us and we are very open getting things to be made, so not sure of what examples in the ramp world is being referred to but I'm not aware of any. The cost to produce a ramp is very high especially that it only makes sense to make 150-250, and then the ramp supplier will sit on the bulk of that for years trying to sell it, and then they have either more money into it than they get out, or it takes a long time to go positive. And then the cost of the mold as you cannot make a negative from an existing ramp because of shrinkage, and then it's alot of work to resize, etc. Making a tool from scratch is a multi(usually many) thousand $ expense when you do not know how many you will sell. Then you have all the hardware, which usually needs to be made in 250-500 to be cost effective, and then fitting and testing all the items, etc - it is a real chore to make a quality ramp. This situation is what is happening with alot of pinball parts, so be greatful for what you get as there are alot of parts money losers out there. Also, it's not just the money to make them, it's the cost of the time as well which is ALOT, and not very many people have the initiative or desire to invest that much.

    17
    #5 3 years ago
    Quoted from PPS:

    This situation is what is happening with alot of pinball parts, so be greatful for what you get as there are alot of parts money losers out there.

    I'd even be willing to overlook the spelling error to buy this shirt.

    see_and_dee_(resized).jpg

    #6 3 years ago
    Quoted from PPS:

    Has very little if nothing to do with licensing, and even if/when there are people can come to us and we are very open getting things to be made, so not sure of what examples in the ramp world is being referred to but I'm not aware of any. The cost to produce a ramp is very high especially that it only makes sense to make 150-250, and then the ramp supplier will sit on the bulk of that for years trying to sell it, and then they have either more money into it than they get out, or it takes a long time to go positive. And then the cost of the mold as you cannot make a negative from an existing ramp because of shrinkage, and then it's alot of work to resize, etc. Making a tool from scratch is a multi(usually many) thousand $ expense when you do not know how many you will sell. Then you have all the hardware, which usually needs to be made in 250-500 to be cost effective, and then fitting and testing all the items, etc - it is a real chore to make a quality ramp. This situation is what is happening with alot of pinball parts, so be greatful for what you get as there are alot of parts money losers out there. Also, it's not just the money to make them, it's the cost of the time as well which is ALOT, and not very many people have the initiative or desire to invest that much.

    Thanks for the explanation Rick, it was the answer that I feared, which is why I think the manufacturers should consider a deposit model. Who knows, maybe it wouldn't work, but it just seems like it would make sense for some games.

    #7 3 years ago

    Why doesn't someone create a poll/ pre order thread where you have a list of games and you can see what the demand is and do a feasibility study? Surely this would help a manufacturer.

    #8 3 years ago

    tumblr_nrkcxep9Zw1rjvjt8o1_1280_(resized).jpg

    #9 3 years ago

    you might say it will help ramp up production

    #10 3 years ago

    Now I'm not aware of all the issues with the technology, and the durability would be a question as well as a possible need for post polishing the finish... But would 3D printing be an (albeit expensive) option for one off creation of ramps?

    #11 3 years ago

    The ramp problem is a shitty one. Take the Elvira ramps. People were buying those in case they might ever need them and they sold out.

    #12 3 years ago

    I've been looking for BSD ramps for months.... agreed most others parts can be obtained but ramps normally not available.

    #13 3 years ago

    The best bet would be for someone who already machines metal at work to make the molds.

    Get a 3D laser scan done from original, clean up the resulting files, CNC machine both halves of the mold.

    -

    Expensive if you contract a company to do it, but doable if someone does it as their side job.

    #14 3 years ago
    Quoted from PPS:

    And then the cost of the mold as you cannot make a negative from an existing ramp because of shrinkage, and then it's alot of work to resize, etc.

    Rick, did you get all those giant steel ramp molds that Gene used to have from Williams?

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from setzkor:

    But would 3D printing be an (albeit expensive) option for one off creation of ramps?

    It can be done, but the only printer that can make clear ramps is an objet, and the material is meant for pretty mockups, not strength (and objets are still expensive)

    http://www.stratasys.com/materials/polyjet/transparent

    #16 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Rick, did you get all those giant steel ramp molds that Gene used to have?

    Yeah, Rick...I'd be curious to know what molds you have as well.

    36
    #17 3 years ago

    I've been making ramps since summer of 2014...semi leisurely although the Genesis ramps nearly made me give it up! . Mostly what I've made were ones I wanted to do, others had requested or some of the ones that no one else would make. My favorite is to make new ramps for System 11 games....mostly to upgrade to clear or colors to replace the black ABS ramps and to improve the designs if possible. Up until now I have stayed away from ramps with artwork simply out of respect for the licensing, but expect at some point I will consider working with the license holders if it is mutually beneficial. Rick made very good points about the complexity of producing ramps....it is complicated and frankly a lot of work...but I like doing it.

    Below is a photo of some WWFRR ramps I'm finishing up tonight to ship tomorrow. I made several improvements to this design to strengthen the places prone to breakage.

    I can't make them all...certainly not fast enough...but trying to help!

    IMG_1021_(resized).JPG

    #18 3 years ago
    Quoted from Freeplay40:

    I've been making ramps since summer of 2014...semi leisurely although the Genesis ramps nearly made me give it up! . Mostly what I've made were ones I wanted to do, others had requested or some of the ones that no one else would make. My favorite is to make new ramps for System 11 games....mostly to upgrade to clear or colors to replace the black ABS ramps and to improve the designs if possible. Up until now I have stayed away from ramps with artwork simply out of respect for the licensing, but expect at some point I will consider working with the license holders if it is mutually beneficial. Rick made very good points about the complexity of producing ramps....it is complicated and frankly a lot of work...but I like doing it.
    Below is a photo of some WWFRR ramps I'm finishing up tonight to ship tomorrow. I made several improvements to this design to strengthen the places prone to breakage.
    I can't make them all...certainly not fast enough...but trying to help!

    IMG_1021_(resized).JPG

    Hopefully you pass on your unique skills when you decide to retire from Ramps. It'd be a shame to loose such quality work.

    #19 3 years ago
    Quoted from lordloss:

    Hopefully you pass on your unique skills when you decide to retire from Ramps. It'd be a shame to loose such quality work.

    I've only done my stuff here on Pinside and honestly, it has been this group that has been so supportive that keeps me really interested. Not planning on giving it up anytime soon.

    #20 3 years ago
    Quoted from Freeplay40:

    I've only done my stuff here on Pinside and honestly, it has been this group that has been so supportive that keeps me really interested. Not planning on giving it up anytime soon.

    So thankful for all you do! Iwould love to learn howto do ramps. How much for a 1 week camp?

    #21 3 years ago

    If someone made a lower hurricane or party zone ramp, they would all sell out, because of course broken ones and having spares. I thank all of the businesses that make the parts that we do have.
    I thank pps for supplying hurricane cabinet decals.
    There is money to made for some of the ramp reproduction.

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from 2manypins:

    There is money to made for some of the ramp reproduction.

    Not likely unless you can sell thousands of them. The cost of an appropriately sized injection mold in the US is $30k and $6k in China. Even vacuum forming gets expensive due to labor. 3D printing or SLAing one-offs is not there yet when compared to an ABS or PC molded part especially if you want them clear.

    Quoted from 2manypins:

    If someone made a lower Hurricane or Party Zone ramp, they would all sell out

    If you can guarantee 1000 ramps will sell in 12 months for $50 each, this would be the only way that it would be feasible. I don't see it happening.

    I've been designing molded plastic parts(injection, blow, inj/blow, roto, insert, extrusion, etc) for consumer and automotive for 20+ years. Unless someone is willing to work for next to nothing and has a mold builder and a molder that is also willing to work for next to nothing or doesn't mind losing a little money, I don't see a scenario that this will work.

    Quoted from vid1900:

    Get a 3D laser scan done from original

    These ramps are simple enough to create 3D models in Creo or SolidWorks, scanning is more trouble than it's worth. You spend more time cleaning up the model and imperfections in the part than you do building a new 3D file. I'm guessing I could create any pinball ramp in Creo(Pro/E) in just a few hours.

    #23 3 years ago
    Quoted from helicopter:

    I'm guessing I could create any pinball ramp in Creo(Pro/E) in just a few hours.

    You will soon have many friends!

    #24 3 years ago
    Quoted from helicopter:

    I'm guessing I could create any pinball ramp in Creo(Pro/E) in just a few hours.

    you should team up with freeplay and see what can be done. He is able to make some amazing ramps from vac mold!

    #25 3 years ago

    I bought one of Freeplays ramps. They are very high quality vacuum forms and I consider myself pretty critical of all plastic parts. He clearly is doing it because he enjoys it which is good for us because with the amount of hours he is putting into it, he is working for peanuts.

    I'd be willing to help Freeplay if he needs help with the 3D files to create the forming side of the thermoform. I also have some pretty good CNC shops here and in China to create the forms but these shops won't work for free unfortunately.

    #26 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    The best bet would be for someone who already machines metal at work to make the molds.
    Get a 3D laser scan done from original, clean up the resulting files, CNC machine both halves of the mold.
    -
    Expensive if you contract a company to do it, but doable if someone does it as their side job.

    We have a laser scanner and 6 NC machines. I never like making my hobby a job, though. That's ruined a few hobbies for me.

    #27 3 years ago

    I think scanning or recreating ramps in 3d is pointless when it's much easier to make a positive mold using something like bondo, unless of course you're doing it for archival purposes (you can't digitally store a phyiscal mold).

    Scanning isn't a bad option, especially since small portable ones have come down in price. Yes I know the models come in rough (it's made up of a bunch of tiny triangle surfaces), but it's much easier to model over a representative dummy than modeling out of thin air and taking tons of measurements off of a real part.

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    I think scanning or recreating ramps in 3d is pointless when it's much easier to make a positive mold using something like bondo,

    The problem is that a cast mold is smaller than the original, and Bondo is not going to make it through 100s of cycles.

    #29 3 years ago

    I remember being at Pinball Expo many years ago, and James Loflin was talking about ramp production. James of course owned Pinball Inc, who bought out Gene's parts that he bought from WMS years and years ago.

    James took requests to determine what to produce, and apparently, one person went to the trouble to create a bunch of e-mail accounts to request the Rocky & Bullwinkle WABAC ramp be made. And once James made a run of them, he sold very few.

    While pinball is a hobby for many, it's also a business for some. People invest their resources (money, time, etc) into areas where they can turn a profit. If making the molds for a ramp costs 20 grand, and ramps are $200 apiece, you have to sell 100 to break even. Realistically, these numbers are flawed. The development cost including the mold, production etc is probably closer to 40 grand, and most ramps sell for closer to $100 on average.

    Like any product, you sell a bunch when initially released, and the rest trickle out over time. If it takes many years to break even or turn a small profit, it might not be worth the while of the business.

    #30 3 years ago

    I'd certainly be in for 2 full sets, or 2 of any individual ramps that anyone made for Hurricane!

    #31 3 years ago

    I know a lot of Who Dunnits could use a replacement elevator ramp, but who knows if we'll ever see one of those reproduced. It's too bad, as it's a cool game IMO.

    #32 3 years ago
    Quoted from Rum-Z:

    I know a lot of Who Dunnits could use a replacement elevator ramp, but who knows if we'll ever see one of those reproduced. It's too bad, as it's a cool game IMO.

    I have a friend here in Seattle that I have discussed that ramp with. The biggest problem with getting this ramp reproduced is that the original was an Injection molded product. If those molds could be located, I expect someone would be willing to do them. If they cannot be located, chances are slim at best...However...We have looked closely at this ramp and at some point in the very near future, we are going to attempt a vacuum form reproduction. So...keep your finger crossed!

    Also... very soon I am going to do the Hurricane center ramp. I have a donor ramp on the way to me now.

    #33 3 years ago
    Quoted from Freeplay40:

    Also... very soon I am going to do the Hurricane center ramp. I have a donor ramp on the way to me now.

    Please let me know when those are ready, you know I want one! The bottom "J" ramp would be even easier to make, as long as you had a big enough forming table, you'd just need a donor, and unfortunately mine has too many chunks missing to be a good candidate. Feel free to PM me if there's anything I can do to help with the project.

    #34 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    The problem is that a cast mold is smaller than the original

    is that due to the shrinkage as it cures? And how much smaller, .010" per inch? Could that be fixed by spraying coats of automotive clear?

    Quoted from vid1900:

    Bondo is not going to make it through 100s of cycles.

    I'm assuming eventually Bondo breaks down from repeated heat? I know RTV silicone prototype molds break down after about 25 parts. Wonder if you could get one positive mold, and then use that part to do a mill trace into a harder durable material like dense wood or aluminum?

    #35 3 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    Wonder if you could get one positive mold, and then use that part to do a mill trace into a harder durable material like dense wood or aluminum?

    They make big blocks of MDF for milling prototypes.

    It's uniform density makes for smooth faces.

    #36 3 years ago

    Production tools are milled from aluminum then Teflon coated.

    Sample tools are milled from Renshape. If you really need a smooth finish in renshape you can wet it. the steam will keep the grain of the Renshape from coming through.

    #37 3 years ago

    Its great to have so many people so well versed in ramp making . The OPs question was simple though, Wheres the ramps? When James was captain of the ship on this ramps were being produced constantly. This is no longer the case. The question is why? Who is spearheading this now? What do they need from the community? How do we "ramp-up" production ! (sorry ,could not resist )

    #38 3 years ago

    What portion of the cost is the clean up and finishing for a vacuum formed ramp?

    Would the price be dramatically different if a ramp was sold as just a drawn sheet of plastic straight off of the vacuum forming machine that needed to be cut out, edges cleaned up, and holes drilled?

    #39 3 years ago
    Quoted from Freeplay40:

    I've been making ramps since summer of 2014...semi leisurely although the Genesis ramps nearly made me give it up! . Mostly what I've made were ones I wanted to do, others had requested or some of the ones that no one else would make. My favorite is to make new ramps for System 11 games....mostly to upgrade to clear or colors to replace the black ABS ramps and to improve the designs if possible. Up until now I have stayed away from ramps with artwork simply out of respect for the licensing, but expect at some point I will consider working with the license holders if it is mutually beneficial. Rick made very good points about the complexity of producing ramps....it is complicated and frankly a lot of work...but I like doing it.
    Below is a photo of some WWFRR ramps I'm finishing up tonight to ship tomorrow. I made several improvements to this design to strengthen the places prone to breakage.
    I can't make them all...certainly not fast enough...but trying to help!

    IMG_1021_(resized).JPG

    Freeplay ramps are top notch!

    #40 3 years ago
    Quoted from Freeplay40:

    I have a friend here in Seattle that I have discussed that ramp with. The biggest problem with getting this ramp reproduced is that the original was an Injection molded product. If those molds could be located, I expect someone would be willing to do them. If they cannot be located, chances are slim at best...However...We have looked closely at this ramp and at some point in the very near future, we are going to attempt a vacuum form reproduction. So...keep your finger crossed!
    Also... very soon I am going to do the Hurricane center ramp. I have a donor ramp on the way to me now.

    Seriously, you should start a GoFundMe or Kickstarter, I'm sure many people like myself would chip in a little just to help you make these things.

    #41 3 years ago

    Give 3D printers another 5 years of development and a lot of playfield plastics could become vastly easier to produce and obtain ... I'd say the future is quite bright for vintage machines in this regard, just no real cost effective solutions now.

    #42 3 years ago
    Quoted from rubberducks:

    Give 3D printers another 5 years of development and a lot of playfield plastics could become vastly easier to produce and obtain ... I'd say the future is quite bright for vintage machines in this regard, just no real cost effective solutions now.

    This resin came out this past summer, which is tough (but only semi-transparent and blue tinted).. Though if you had a good model, this would not be a bad alternative if you have very badly cracked ramps:
    http://formlabs.com/products/materials/tough/

    Of course the limitation of formlabs is that the printers have a very small build area, so most ramps wouldn't fit.

    #43 3 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    This resin came out this past summer, which is tough (but only semi-transparent and blue tinted).. Though if you had a good model, this would not be a bad alternative if you have very badly cracked ramps:
    http://formlabs.com/products/materials/tough/
    Of course the limitation of formlabs is that the printers have a very small build area, so most ramps wouldn't fit.

    Yeah, I know there are some options now, but not many outside of seriously expensive industrial kit, and most are fudges. Even 2 years from now I expect prices and features of hobby / semi-pro 3D printers won't look anything like they do now. Give it 5 and I think a lot of people will be very happy ... both replacing old stuff and prototyping new stuff should become immensely easier and cheaper.

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