This topic contains 16 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Jodannar 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #88302
     freneticamnesic 
    Moderator
    vipModeratorMember

    I swear I had a post here about this last year or so but cannot find it. Maybe I never did start it…

    For a while I’ve had this idea to build a pinball machine from “scratch,” run it from PINMAME and make as much as I can by hand. It sounded easy when I started, at least and I’m sure it sounds easy as I’ve described it but it’s much more difficult than I anticipated. I still can’t justify the _cost_ in the BOM of a pin, even as I’ve spent as much as I have already, on even the most expensive components at essentially retail, I don’t expect to end up at even half of the $5k you can expect to pay on the low end for a brand new pin. I know there’s R&D costs in there but as consumers you can’t look past something as simple as markup. It’s frustrating to see pins I would love to own at such astronomical prices… so that’s lead me to undertake this project. Will I finish? Well I don’t really finish anything so take a guess. I’m sure going to try though.

    The idea: Build a pinball machine that will run on a PC running pinmame. Use real hardware that is powered through multiple LEDWIZ and arduinos. Do it as clean as possible, making as many parts by hand as possible to keep costs down. Oh, and sure why not make it modular? If I’m using a PC and pinmame there’s no limit to the tables I can run here. Maybe use a monitor as the backglass like we do in visual pinball cabinets? All the LEDWIZ and hardware is mounted to the playfield, just unplug the USB cables and swap in my next playfield. It’s the Pin2k we always dreamed of :)

    Obviously I’m going to run into issues, I’m not an electrical engineer, I’m betting this all working on the durability of a few LEDWIZ boards. Hopefully some people here know the limits and have solutions when I run into problems.

    So where am I? Visually, not far, not much to show. I have a playfield, a decent condition Attack From Mars I bought from a friend for what I consider a good price.  My original intention was to buy used hardware, solenoids flippers slingshots bumpers etc but after months of searching I never found anything worth what was being asked. So I went with new components and ultimately I think I’ll be happier. New solenoids, flipper assemblies, pop bumper solenoids and assemblies, etc. That’s the expensive part and was the most daunting hurdle. Probably easier to just buy a populated playfield but can’t really find anything newer than 1989 on ebay or craigslist.

    So with those I have a place to start, and here I can document my journey, possible (likely) failures, successes, etc. I still want to make as much as possible – I had wanted to make the ramps but learned I would likely need original ramps to make a mold from for vacuum forming, and eventually came across a decent set of ramps for a good price so that negated the need to make those. I still need to do the wire ramps, and might actually make those unless I find a good deal as well. For now I’ll focus on what I know I can make. I can make plastics, I can use off the shelf components for a lot of screws and bolts – basically anything game specific that doesn’t come in direct contact with the ball is a candidate for building from scratch.

    That brings me to what I’m currently working on: the ball guides. I know the measurements of the playfield, and I have a technical drawing (from the manual) that I’ve assumed is “accurate” – it’s easy enough to test so I’m not worried about it. From there I scaled everything in Illustrator to the right size and started measuring 2d drawings of the ball guides. These are the metal walls all around a pinball machine that direct the ball to specific game elements, kickers bumpers flippers etc. And because they’re game specific, they’re very hard to find. I can’t imagine anyone parting with their ball guides, and it doesn’t appear to be a re-popped part, because who is breaking them?? So it’s something that basically needs to be made. Which sucks because I have no metal working experience.

    With the actual length of the ball guide, and detailed photographs of teardowns of AFM ( http://robertwinter.com/pinball/restorations/afm/teardown/index.html ) I can create, near as makes no difference, an exact replica. I’ve started out with a handful of different ball guides, created the 2d drawing of these, and then cut them out on a plotter in card stock that is quick enough I can make changes on the fly if needed and know that the parts will fit.

    Hoping to have all the ball guides designed and testfit by this weekend, then I can sort out getting them laser cut out of mild steel and get them on the playfield.

    Waiting for posts and rubbers to arrive – those are easy and cheap to find thankfully! I had intended to document this on my youtube channel but I don’t document things well and don’t do well in front of a camera :)

    And yea, my hard drive is gone, I know a lot of people have been asking about WPT updates – I have nothing. I have no more motivation to work on VP recreations since the hard drive died. There’s more to it than that but that’s a big cause of my absence. I also have been playing a lot of Pokemon Go lately (since last August pretty much every day) and it’s done wonders for my health. I sit at a desk at work all day, it’s hard to get excited to sit at my desk at home and work on VP. I do have tables I still want to do (Jolly Park), I’m not retired, the motivation will likely return but it’s fun to just play what everyone else has been making in the meantime. I have a lot of catching up to do! You guys are killing it. That being said, if anyone has improvements to any of my tables, you don’t need my permission to release them. They’d be extremely welcome to see!

     


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    #88323
     LTA 
    Participant

    If you are serious about this fren, do yourself a favor and don’t recreate the wheel. You can build your own pinball and power it by p3roc (www.multimorphic.com).

    A version of pinmame is available that will control the lamps/solenoids with whatever rom you like. The guys recreating Kingpin are using this version of pinmame and the kingpin rom to control their game. You’ll need a computer, the p3roc board, pdled boards for the LEDS (84 leds per board controlled), a pd-16 (for coils/flashers), 48v power supply, lcd display/controller, then all the parts of your real machine you are making (cabinet, mechs, flippers, rails, door, etc, etc). If I recall currently you can control any WPC/ williams game, capcom, stern (up to sam) and bally (not gottlieb, or others).

    oops, just noticed you want to make an AFM, yep that will work just fine. By the way, costs. It will cost probably $1k for all of the electronics/leds/display, etc but it will make your project possible. No arduinos, ledwiz, etc required. Oh of course you’ll need a small PC/laptop/computer to run windows/pinmame.


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    #88329
     randr 
    Keymaster
    ModeratorMember

    Looks like a great project fren keep the project going and please keep posting updates I’d sure like to see this as it’s being done.

    If you need anything let me know!

    We need a POP front end signature!!! Or no?

    #88331
     bord 
    Participant
    Member

    Love it. This is the kind of project that you learn so much from even if it never gets finished. Looking forward to your progress.

    #88364
     freneticamnesic 
    Moderator
    vipModeratorMember

    If you are serious about this fren, do yourself a favor and don’t recreate the wheel. You can build your own pinball and power it by p3roc (www.multimorphic.com).

    A version of pinmame is available that will control the lamps/solenoids with whatever rom you like. The guys recreating Kingpin are using this version of pinmame and the kingpin rom to control their game. You’ll need a computer, the p3roc board, pdled boards for the LEDS (84 leds per board controlled), a pd-16 (for coils/flashers), 48v power supply, lcd display/controller, then all the parts of your real machine you are making (cabinet, mechs, flippers, rails, door, etc, etc). If I recall currently you can control any WPC/ williams game, capcom, stern (up to sam) and bally (not gottlieb, or others).

    oops, just noticed you want to make an AFM, yep that will work just fine. By the way, costs. It will cost probably $1k for all of the electronics/leds/display, etc but it will make your project possible. No arduinos, ledwiz, etc required. Oh of course you’ll need a small PC/laptop/computer to run windows/pinmame.

    Thanks for the info! I didn’t consider p-roc – this is foreign to me. So $370 for the p-roc, $85 for the PD-16, $70 for the PD-LED (Don’t suspect I would need more than 1 with the number of lights in this game honestly…)

    Any chance of running the display through one of those chinese matrix displays we’re using for PIN2DMD?

    You’ve done something like this before? I’d love to learn more about P-ROC, it would take care of practically all the concerns I had about for this project.  I had no idea it could run stock games. I’ve played a p-roc powered CCC so I know what it’s capable of.

    #88366
     BorgDog 
    Participant
    MemberContributorvip

    I’m guessing LTA will chime back in, but he was referring to the P3-Roc for $175.  There are some capability differences between the two, I believe P-roc will interface with legacy equipment and dmds, while P3-roc is for full custom and also supports lcd displays.  For what you are doing I would say the full custom would be better, and you would also need some SW-16 boards ($45 each for 16 switches) for switch input.


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    #88372
     cyberpez 
    Participant

    Hello fellow Pokemon Go player.  Glad to see you stopping by.  Super bummer about the hard drive, but looks like you found a fun new project to keep you busy.  I’ve always wondered about doing the same thing, I’m looking forward to following along…  Good Luck!!!!

    #88398
     bjschneider93 
    Participant

    Very ambitious project but I look forward to following it as I’ve thought of a similar build myself

    #88399
     ozg 
    Participant
    Member

    There is already a complete one made in Texas. It’s half real pinball and half mame! BTW, the new Iron Maiden table is kinda cool.

    Fren, difficult is just a word, LOL.

     

    https://www.multimorphic.com/

    #88457
     LTA 
    Participant

    Fren,

    You would use the p-roc (not the p3roc) and a DMD output.

    So, consider this: p-roc($375), cheap/sparePC (dual core should be fine, nothing fancy), amplifier and speakers (since you can’t use the existing amp). there is a computer shutdown controller so it shuts down the computer slowly to prevent damage to the software too which you might want.

    1. Buy a cheap small PC and a proc board and a amplifier + speakers.
      2. Install Windows.
      3. Install proc software and special pinmamep. You’ll need the afm rom of course in that folder. (I can pm you if you go this route)
      4. Install proc board instead of the power board ( about 6 cables).
      5. Install AMP and  speakers.
      6. Connect all wires which needed.
      7. Boot the system and test the Function.

    Here is an overview of the CCC install. it uses the same parts (although Eric used a colorLCD in the CCC video, which you won’t have since you will be using the existing DMD or a new 5v Stern DMD if you don’t have a dmd).

     


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    #88485
     freneticamnesic 
    Moderator
    vipModeratorMember

    Fascinating. It sounds perfect. I will have several parts that aren’t going to be standard williams components but that likely won’t be much issue. And likely still need arduino, for things like the motor on the 3 bank target and diverter, since those will be significantly easier to reproduce than to find replacement components (unless someone has a lead on these parts) Thanks for the solution LTA!

    Anyways, I’m pretty far from that stage yet, once I get the playfield mostly populated I’ll dive into the p-roc stuff.

    More ball guide prototyping. I’m absolutely cheesed with how accurate the mechanical drawing is that Chicago Gaming Co created. I need to work on my Z scaling but x and y looks spot on so far.

    I asked randr to measure the apron ball guide critical dimensions for me today and he sent great photos. He’s going to be sick of me asking questions by the end of this. (That picture with the nice spendy mitutoyo caliper is an example of the measurements he’s sent me)

    I think once I get these ball guides nailed and all the posts in place I’ll have a good vision and a path to the finish line.

     


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    #88489
     freneticamnesic 
    Moderator
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    Site won’t let me upload randr’s photo. Oh well trust me he sent good info


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    #88562
     randr 
    Keymaster
    ModeratorMember

    Happy to help in any way I can. Any updates? News? Will proc ever work without a pc!?

    We need a POP front end signature!!! Or no?


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    #88821
     freneticamnesic 
    Moderator
    vipModeratorMember

    I have almost all the ball guides drawn now. I still need to draw the big loop one which I’ll do tomorrow – then I’ll be bugging randr all week for Z measurements so I get everything dialed in accurately. I’ll prototype them one last time on the vinyl cutter out of cardboard then reach out to a local guy with a laser cutter and see how much this is going to cost. Next update should be some decent prototype photos if everything goes right


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    #89782
     freneticamnesic 
    Moderator
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    Finished x/y on the ball guides. I’m comfortable in my scale and need to finish up important z measurements on a few parts then I can quote there laser work.


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    #89791
     randr 
    Keymaster
    ModeratorMember

    Will be interesting to see what it cost to make the guides. Very nice work :good:

    We need a POP front end signature!!! Or no?

    #89982
     Jodannar 
    Participant

    Great to see the progress on this.

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