Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Restoration/upgrades/fixes/fabrication of pins and vids
FX
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 11:41 pm
Location: Montreal

Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Postby FX » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:05 pm

Hello everyone !

Im wondering if anyone here tried this... Building a whole new flipper ? Not restoring an old one. I tought of this because there are so much new technology available today that would made a great fit for a modern machine.

For example, new RGB leds could be a game changer for a new pin i think. With the Adafruit neopixel library one could easily program eye-popping effects. Unlike old pins, neopixels needs only 1 pin on the controller side to control a whole lot bunch of lights. i made one for a stained glass lamp my mother made. It does fire lighting effects, strobe effects, lights effects. Like the lamp could be multicolor when a special target is activated or something like that. When the multiplier points is on i would put something like fire-effects.

When i look at my Bally 6803 (Lady Luck) pin controllers i cannot unsee that it was much more complicated back then. Today a single Arduino microcontroller could easily replace a whole lots of parts and make it much more easier.


I also saw DMD-like display with neopixels... never seen a pin with a DMD any other color than RED.... why not blue ? Yellow ? We dont need to stick to RED like in the past.

Also, i would switch the old plumb-bob for a 3-axis accelerometer for the tilt. And why not bluetooth controlled flippers? All of this would not be too hard to make since all the libraries and technology is freely available online. it could also be plugged online with a camera setting so someone could still play their pin from far-away.

Im a big fan of light-effects. This would be my main goal if i ever try to make a new pin from scratch. Otherwise i like my playfield kinda old-style... i havent played many new pins but on new machines the playfield seems overly loaded with toys these days. I would rather use old-style target switch.

Do you know any artist who would like to design a brand new playfield ? I love Greg Freres work, but since he work fort Stern now i dont think he could work on another project like this one.

I am lauching a bottle in the sea... I would like to know your opinion on this subject. Also i would like to hear about your ideas and views about making a new pinball machine. How would you make it ? Which new technology would you use ? Which theme would you like for the art ? Im playing sometimes Pinball FX2 from Microsoft and i LOVE the Tesla-themed virtual pin.... Maybe i could make an Edison themed one to make it a little different ?

One thing i like about old pinball machines is the original themes and art. Todays it seems its all about big movie block busters and not much more. Nothing like Paragon, Fathom, Centaur, Pinbot or many many other original theme...


Anyway sorry for my poor english... im eager to hear from you all !

FX
My first Pinball: Lady Luck 1986
Get Lucky !

User avatar
Sparky
MAACA Dark Lord
Posts: 21859
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 5:33 pm
Location: Saint-Lazare, west of MTL

Re: Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Postby Sparky » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:39 am

Well, there are a lot of hurdles when it comes to designing a pinball from scratch, not counting time and money:

1- Electronics
Well, there are some advances when it comes to the electronics side. You can use a P-Roc and program it yourself, but you have to know what you are doing. So you practically have to be a software engineer or a programmer, or else you would just lose patience. Programming animation for a DMD or LCD is a lot of work as well...

2- Playfield design
Sure... seems easy, right? WRONG. If it was, there would not be any design flops. Not only to you have to design a great playfield up top, but it all has to fit together on the bottom. Not as easy as it seems. You have to use AutoCAD if you want to do a good job

3- Playfield build
Now you need a CNC to cut your playfield, or at least get it in a file so someone can cut it.

4- Art
Greg Freres doesn't work for peanuts and bragging rights. And neither does the guy that will silkscreen you art, and neither does the clearcoat guy. And that needs to be perfect as well, or else you end up with a mess. Ask Stern and Classic Playfields about playfield dimpling...

5- Mechanicals
You want to build you own? Sure... but can you? Why use expensive accelerometers??? A tilt bob costs nothing. Bluetooth-controlled flippers?? I have build Bluetooth and wifi systems for heavy machinery in the past for work and they never worked right. Magnetic fields from the coils would cause interference and to make it work right, everything needed to be shielded... so, more $$$.

I do like your comment about playfields being overloaded with toys... it is true... but there is a reason for that. It's marketing and commerciability. No one today wants a new pin stripped down. Gottlieb tried in the late 80's and early 90's by building simpler pins with more rules, and it killed them. People want eye candy. It sells.

So yeah, it is not impossible to build your own pin (I am even doing it myself right now...), but it is not a small undertaking.
Now playing in Sparky's Power Station: Jungle Lord, Sorcerer, Flash, Grand Lizard, Time Fantasy, Freefall, Big Game, BSD (soon), Genesis, Bumper, Marathon, Queen of Hearts, Lady Luck (Recel), Slapshot retheme pin, Zombie Walk retheme pin, Wizard of Wor, Sprint 2, Major Havok mame, Mametendo redtent, Pintendo virtual pinball, and lots of others in restoration.

cap
MAACA Mage
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:19 pm
Location: Laval

Re: Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Postby cap » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:16 am

I would start with the multimorphic SDK, they promised to make it publicly available.
Sure it's virtual pinball, but you could also design your swappable hardware module for the top part.
No one ever did that for them even though that's the whole premise, so that tells you what you are up against.
Rocky & Bullwinkle, Stargate, F14 Tomcat (in restoration)

dr.nybble
MAACA Mage
Posts: 303
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:13 pm
Location: Ottawa, ON

Re: Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Postby dr.nybble » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:55 pm

I don't have any ambitions to build my own machine but certainly people are doing it.

Check out these links:

http://pinballmakers.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

Started as home brew and now will be built by Spooky:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic ... production

Very cool looking custom machine:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic ... ll-machine

General discussion:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic ... -whitewood
White Water ~ Black Rose ~ Monopoly ~ DE Star Wars ~ Top Score ~ Heat Wave ~ Gay '90s ~ Dungeons & Dragons ~ Spitfire


User avatar
Lowrent
MAACA Barbarian
Posts: 818
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:06 pm
Location: Saint-Lambert

Re: Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Postby Lowrent » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:40 am

It's a project I have in the back of my head since a couple of years.
I started collecting bits and pieces, I also have a notebook with a LOT of never-seen ideas.
Ideas that would not possible in a "commercial" machine.
Every time I play a game, I analyze the features, I wonder how I could make it better.

I want to do something simple, a game where you can see and easily identify all the places where the ball can or can't go, as in the old days.
The artwork has to be one of the highlights of the show too.
Good flow is important, I hate holes where the ball gets stopped and you have to wait.
Less toys also means less mechanical potential problems.

I programmed games in the past, I already know how to deal with that.
I do pixel art since my youth, I studied graphic design.
I already have 3 professional artists friends who could do the artwork for me.

Technically, I don't see this as impossible.
But i'm not a fool. It's gonna take time and money, lots and lots of both.

FX
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 11:41 pm
Location: Montreal

Re: Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Postby FX » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:39 pm

Sparky wrote:Well, there are a lot of hurdles when it comes to designing a pinball from scratch, not counting time and money:

1- Electronics
Well, there are some advances when it comes to the electronics side. You can use a P-Roc and program it yourself, but you have to know what you are doing. So you practically have to be a software engineer or a programmer, or else you would just lose patience. Programming animation for a DMD or LCD is a lot of work as well...

2- Playfield design
Sure... seems easy, right? WRONG. If it was, there would not be any design flops. Not only to you have to design a great playfield up top, but it all has to fit together on the bottom. Not as easy as it seems. You have to use AutoCAD if you want to do a good job

3- Playfield build
Now you need a CNC to cut your playfield, or at least get it in a file so someone can cut it.

4- Art
Greg Freres doesn't work for peanuts and bragging rights. And neither does the guy that will silkscreen you art, and neither does the clearcoat guy. And that needs to be perfect as well, or else you end up with a mess. Ask Stern and Classic Playfields about playfield dimpling...

5- Mechanicals
You want to build you own? Sure... but can you? Why use expensive accelerometers??? A tilt bob costs nothing. Bluetooth-controlled flippers?? I have build Bluetooth and wifi systems for heavy machinery in the past for work and they never worked right. Magnetic fields from the coils would cause interference and to make it work right, everything needed to be shielded... so, more $$$.

I do like your comment about playfields being overloaded with toys... it is true... but there is a reason for that. It's marketing and commerciability. No one today wants a new pin stripped down. Gottlieb tried in the late 80's and early 90's by building simpler pins with more rules, and it killed them. People want eye candy. It sells.

So yeah, it is not impossible to build your own pin (I am even doing it myself right now...), but it is not a small undertaking.


Hello sparky !!

Thanks for your answer.

I think i underestimated the workload needed to build a new pin. But i still do think some great new effects could be made with new RGB LED technology.

1.Electronics.... the core of the system.. i know its hard but not impossible. Modern microprocessor are not that hard in itself to program... What would be hard would be to build a new kind of pinball OS from scratch... Still doable... i seen Ben Heck from the Ben Heck show make a basic pinball with a PI32 microcontroller.

2.Playfield design.... probably the hardest part for me to grasp. Somehow its not that hard to build a design that suck... making it great is really the hard part

3.CNC build of course yes ! Great idea. I once wanted to build myself one from a kit (shapeoko)... Its a 2000$ or so kit that would be perfect for this job.

4. I went over the top with my comment on Greg Freres... Youre right, good artist arent free and not that easy to come by

5.Mechanicals.... Well accelerometers are not that expensive these days... but it would not be much better than an old plumb bob i guess... wifi and such,.. youre right too much interferance with coils probably...


Welll here it goes... some reality call crushed my dream LOL ! Anyway its fun to think about... And i think i could handle all the electronics myself if i had a lot of spare time which is not the case... i really love electronics... i made a raspberry-pi based arcade-box cabinet... of course it is much much easier than designing a pin but making some cool light effects made me think... wow... what could be done with this technology for modern pinball ?

Have you ever seen a neopixel strand ? I made one for my mother stained glass lamp. Maybe i could send a video if youre interested. Anyway those neopixels are really great to make some mind-blowing rainbow and chaser effects. Every leds on the strand is easily programmable with each neopixel individually adressable
with 3X8 bits for each color.

never seen something like this on modern pinball... but i havent seen em all.. so i dont really know for sure...

anyway just wanted to talk a little... would be so great to make a new pinballl... but so hard... i think the best option for me is to
focus on restoring pinballs... This is something i can do. But i have still a lot to learn about... I would like to have a little side business
some days to repair and restore pinballs.


Have a nice day

FX
My first Pinball: Lady Luck 1986
Get Lucky !

User avatar
monkeybug
MAACA Death Knight
Posts: 3680
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:40 pm
Location: Stouffville

Re: Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Postby monkeybug » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:57 pm

FX wrote:
Have you ever seen a neopixel strand ? I made one for my mother stained glass lamp. Maybe i could send a video if youre interested. Anyway those neopixels are really great to make some mind-blowing rainbow and chaser effects. Every leds on the strand is easily programmable with each neopixel individually adressable
with 3X8 bits for each color.

never seen something like this on modern pinball... but i havent seen em all.. so i dont really know for sure...



It is being done.

Here is a simple example:



I have been working with the NeoPixels for a custom game I am working on.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic ... all-batman

Here is also another example from a custom Canadian game (Nightmare before Xmas)



Making a pinball is much harder than people thing but it has its rewards.

flashinstinct
MAACA Mage
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:49 pm
Location: Orleans / Ottawa

Re: Building a brand new pinball from scrath

Postby flashinstinct » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:41 pm

Id like to see someone take advantage od RFID technology
Wanted: Blackwater 100
In the shuffle: Transformers LE, TWD Pro, Lord of the Rings



Return to “Projects”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests