Wednesday, October 15, 2014

1.2 jigawatts

 So that's what I did today, added power.  First I had to make a bracket to mount the switch to (another thing the cabinet didn't come with).  Could have probably bought a bracket, but why spend $8 + shipping, and wait a week when I can get it done today?  So then  I bought a switch at radio shack, not realizing I grabbed a 12VDC toggle switch by mistake (do not wire a DC switch into AC).  Luckily, I forgot I still had a toggle switch mounted in the first cabinet I had, so I snagged that out.  It's a nice robust 20A switch too, don't make em like that anymore.  So then it was just a matter of soldering the linecord directly to a powerstrip, with the hot wire (white) going through the switch.  So now when you do the typical switch flip under the right side of the cabinet, the strip gets energized.  Right now I just havea 5v wall plug (with faston connectors) connected to the 4 measly GI bulbs on the playfield, but at least I got some sort of electrical hooked up now.  I figure I'm going to need 2 outlets at minimum on the final (one for a computer, one for the main power transformer).  In the interim, I may also keep the wall plug for temporary GI lighting, and I may temporarily wire up my mp3 trigger to some random switches just to have some sound going while I work on the layout.

Couple other small tidbits:
1. Backglass: Think I'm going to try acrylic. I can get a sheet for $20 from mcmaster, as apposed to real glass which would cost me $50 with beveled edges (cuts weight in half too). Then I'm going to do an array printout on 8.5x11 pages for the art (as a placeholder) before I invest money in real printing. I'm going to stick to the standard williams size that the F14 backbox had (19" high x 27" wide)/
2. Speaker panel: Going to make it the same size as the standard bezel, going to use aluminum channel to create the groove, then I need to get some brackets so it can hang onto the backbox. I'll need to re-cut the speaker holes, and an opening for the LCD monitor to show through
3. Playfield layout (Upper ramp): Since the upper playfield is going to be lower than I want, and I want the left waterslide ramp to be as high as possible so it can have maximum speed from gravity, I'm likely going to build a ramp for the far left exit so it kicks the ball as high on the playfield as possible.  This will also hopefully slow the ball down a little so it isn't slamming into that corner (though I can always add a rubber cushion stopper).  For the hidden under-the-backbox loop shot, I've decided this will be the first spot I play around with inserts.  I'd be far better off practicing on not so nice wood that I can start over with versus scrapping all the work I've done so far on the playfield.  One thing I want to try is adding switches that trigger the insert lighting to turn on as the ball rolls over it.  Sort of keep it simple, and let the ball control the lighting (I want a chase effect as it loops around so you get a cool moving background glow).  I'm picking up 30 one-inch clear inserts from pinball life on friday.  I think these aren't too terribly big.  If I really need something smaller, I can always order some 3/4" from pinball resource.
4. The ball lift to the upper playfield is going to be done with a neodynium magnet behind the back wall, which is attached to an arm, which is attached to a 2rpm geared 6vdc motor that swings it on a path (ball will appear to climb the wall).  I'll steal power from the GI line, and have it turn on by a switch (the ball activates it), then turns back off by a switch hidden in the back that is hit when it rotates so far.  I built an automatic page turner in college using this method and it worked nearly flawlessly.
5. My decals for the cabinet arrive tomorrow.  Not sure when I'll get time to apply them.  Between pinball life explosion on friday, a funeral on saturday, and expo either saturday night or sunday morning, it's not looking like I'm going to make much progress until next week.

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