Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pinball theme picked.. Homewreckers

Doesn't that just have a great sound to it?  It's like "earthshaker", "whirlwind", classic Williams titles.

Have I made even a single cut of wood?  Of course not.  Do I have a pretty good idea of size?  Absolutely.  I'm picking standard williams widebody (TZ for example).  23" wide by 46" long.  My biggest concern is making sure I can buy playfield glass.

One other thing I'm doing away with, the shooter lane.  This has been around since before flippers and I think it's days are done at this point.  Back then, the point of this lane was to give a lane for the ball to return to the top of the playfield, where gravity took over.  Now that you have very few skillshots (and plunger controlled digitally), this lane seems outdated.  Know what else?  It sucks up a good 1-1/2" of precious playfield space.  That's nearly the equivalent of the difference between standard and widebody pins.  How do I intend on getting the ball onto the playfield?  Well at first I was going to have it pop out between the flippers.  Bally did this once with spectrum.  Then I thought (why don't I have a subway tunnel close to where the shooter lane would be, and have the ball pop up through the playfield right at the flipper lane.  Now granted, designers like Popadiuk have minimized shooter lane footprint in their pins (theater of magic, world cup soccer 94), but I'm looking for zero space.

Anyway, since I've gotten pretty far into the theme / layout in solidworks, I figured I'd share a very early rendering.  While I really wanted a 3d dollhouse in the middle of the playfield, I realized this was simply not feasible.  Not only would it be really hard to make the ball visible, but I can just foresee really bad ball jams.  I've decided to make two houses, and just make them front fascades (like fake western towns).  I have much work to do (ramps behind the garages, backyard items like lawnmowers, jungle gyms, pools, etc).

So here's the premise of this story.  Couple bored kids find a pile of bowling balls (a pyramid in fact, a little nod to tim arnold if you know the legend before PHOF).  They decide to start rolling these bowling balls in front of a cul-de-sac, causing damage to the homes.  There will be bush ramps in front, allowing you to send the bowling ball through each window.  Then the garage door opens up, allowing you access to ramps behind them.  Once you unlock both homes, the gate in between opens up, allowing you access to the backyards.  Finally, there will be a multi-ball mode where a little game of kick the can happens.  The balls all chase you around the playfield, and you have to hit the target (can) before you are caught.  I'm not sure how I'm going to implement this, but I really want this feature.

By the way, I have no idea how I'm going to do any of the electronics (timers, lights, score keeeping, etc).  Mechanics and switches, sounds, yes!  The way I see it, by the time I get this built I'm hoping either:
A. A user friendly pinball controller is invented
B. Build it and they will come out of the woodwork.  Hoping if I make a manually controlled demo, an electrical person will step up to the plate and team up with me


  1. Hi ,

    I would like to print a very small scale pinball machine on a 3 d printer. Do you happen to have a model ready to print?