So I got a comment from a guy in Jersey.. Seems he's also trying to build a homebuilt pinball, but he's electrical (I'm mechanical). His blog is over here:
Like most people, he's also tired of Stern's regurgitated pinball layouts (which is honestly sad considering the talent there, steve ritchie, gomez, borg). You just know that Gary Stern has different thoughts on the pinball business than the designers (I.E. he has to make a profit, pay the bills, push the next pinball out the door before code is done). If GOOD pinball is so hard to do in volumes of a couple thousand (or less), then how is it that Jersey Jack is building the most innovative thing pinball has seen in 20 years, and at the price point of a limited edition Stern? Could it be that Stern just has too much overhead?
Anyway, makes me wonder if we could team up.. Or at the very least, if someone like him could provide a CPU/display for someone like me that has everything covered but the logic. Yes, I can buy a P-roc, and good luck trying to program it, much less write a ruleset. The predator guys in michigan might have figured it out, but anything code-related has my brains turned to mush in about 5 minutes.
I know I haven't exactly kept this blog updated (I also have a dead MAME blog)
But I've also been restoring two pinballs (I also run a pinball club, and I need pins to host)
I also have a messy basement, which is just recently getting to the point where I could have guests down there without feeling embarrassed by the mess.
I'm always thinking about how I want to do mechanisms, even if I haven't drawn a thing. I've actually got the flipper mechanisms modeled up 90% now, and I think it's going to work well. Basically I will have a spring loaded side button that turns a spindle, and that spindle will connect to one, two, however many flippers I want on that side. Potentially (since I have a mechanical actuated motion now), I could have another button act as a master actuator. Say I want to pop something on the playfield, like spose I want to pop a ball up a wire-ramp. Pop a secondary button, and send that ball up the ramp. What's that you say? How can a simple mechanical button press send a ball flying up? Think mechanical advantage! Imagine a see-saw, but the center isn't centered. Put the fulcrum offset, and hit the short end, what happens? The longer side has a much greater arm with greater motion, from a short throw. Now you have some serious thrust!
Any mechanical pins I do will be wood, in fact I've considered doing some sort of inlay design for artwork. I want it to be raw, and feel quality, like an amish built the thing (and I do have amish connections if I ever wanted to produce some), but still have that modern feel.
One thing I want to do for sure once it becomes electrical is use Lexan for the playfield. Might sound crazy, but Lexan is extremely durable, and very stiff (same material clear basketball backglass is made of). It keeps the artwork protected (playfield scratched? buff it out, the artwork is nowhere nearby). Speaking of durable, how many old playfields do you see where paint is flaking from the wood planking? That's the wood absorbing moisture, Lexan can't absorb! Also I've yet to see Lexan strip (unless you REALLY try). How many times do you see playfields with stripped holes?
As other projects finish up, or I find spare time (lunch breaks, sitting at home in front of the computer), I will eventually get some of these mechs finalized and hopefully post some photos of solidworks renderings, maybe even some movies of the mechanisms moving.
Also, here's the logo I came up with if I ever formed a company:
PFA stands for Pinball For All. I want everyone in the world to have the opportunity to play such a wonderful game, and at $8k a piece there are a LOT of people that will never get to play one. Yes, there is the used market, but with people hoarding them in their private collections, even used ones are often going for $1k-$12k depending on rarity.