DIY Pinball Game Machine

About This Project

This project will show you how to make a DIY Pinball game machine at your home!

Project Info

Introduction

And we’re back to make your weekend merrier with another one of the most popular arcade games – the Pinball machine! In this project, we’ll show you how you can make your own Pinball machine easily at your home. And it’s going to be nothing short of super duper fun! You’ll be needing the evive Starter Kit, some laser-cut parts, some colors and papers to decorate your machine, and loads of DIY-ing! So, gather your friends, put on your DIY-ing vest, and let’s go Pinball-ing!

We’ve used PictoBlox – our versatile graphical programming platform with advanced capabilities – to write the code. You can download it from HERE.

Components Required

Building Guide

Step 1: The Cutouts

Before we start making our all-time favorite Pinball Machine, we need to have some cardboard or MDF cutouts and some 3D printed parts. You can find the MDF design here and the STL files here.Dimensions

Let’s first understand the components that we need for the Pinball Machine.

  1. The Control Panel
  2. The Supports (x 2)
  3. The Score Walls (x 4)
  4. The Base 
  5. The Boundary Walls (x 2)
  6. The Front Wall
  7. The Small Wall
  8. The Launch Wall
  9. The Drain Wall

We have prepared the entire machine on MDF Sheets so that it can last forever for us to play.

Step 2: Getting the Playfield Ready

Decorating the Base Plate

Take the base cutout and decorate it. We are going with a space theme and thus took a printout of a beautiful space image and glued it to our base. Once glued, cut the extra paper out and give the base a nice finish. You can go with any theme you want.

Once the base is as beautiful as it should be, make holes that were already on the base plate.Add color paper to the base

Adding the Boundary Walls

Once you have the base ready, its time to make the walls of our Playfield. Take the boundary walls and place it the base plate, make sure that the holes on both the plates are aligned. Once aligned fix the two walls on the base plate using M3 nuts and bolts.Add the side walls

Now, the side boundaries are guarded it’s time to secure the front side. Take the front wall and attach it to the left boundary wall and the base using M3 nuts and bolts. Wonder why it is not attached to the right wall?Add front wall

Because that’s where we will have our Launchpad.

Now, what is Launchpad? Read the next step to know more. 😉

Getting the Launchpad Ready

As the name suggests, launchpad in our space theme will be used to launch the Rocket… wait not rocket, the ball of our Pinball machine.

Take the small wall(7) and fix it at 90 on the base plate using M3 nuts and bolts.Add extra wall

As soon as the game gets OVER, the balls directly roll down to the drain. This is where the end of the game is. The drain will directly open up in the launchpad. Thus, take the drain wall and attach it to the base such that it is both attached to the small wall and the left boundary.Add the Slant Wall

Now, take the launch wall and fix it next to the right boundary wall but at some distance. Make sure that there is a small space between the drain wall and launch wall. As it is the gate from where your ball will roll from the drain section to the launchpad.Add the limit wall

Adding the Score Walls

How are we going to count the scores, well the score walls are here to save the day! Take all the four score walls and attach it to the base plate at the top on the assigned positions using M3 nuts and blots.add score walls

They are just MDF plates, why are we calling them the Score wall?  Meet us where we start making our playfield smarter.

Completing the Boundary Walls

Now, our playfield is almost secured from all the sides except the back. Here, we can use MDF Sheet, but we won’t. We want the back wall to have a perfect curve. Thus, glue a thick foam sheet of your choice to the base plate using Hot Glue. add back wallNow, even if you launch the ball at a great speed, it won’t escape. It will hit the boundary wall and roll down in the field area.

Adding the Supports

To make the ball roll down the playfield easily, we need to add some inclinations to the playfield. Take the supports and attach them to the playfield using M3 nuts and bolts.add suports

Gluing the Incline Wall

You may notice that there is a small corner where the boundary and the drain walls meet. This place may surely corner your ball, thus we will add a small piece of acrylic sheet that will help the ball smotthly roll to the drain.

With this, your playfield is ready to roll(the ball).Add reflector wall

Step 3: Making the Playfield Smarter

Mounting the DC Motors and the Limit Switches

Now, playfield in the pinball is never empty, there are bumpers, flippers, kickers and so many other components.

But bumpers and flippers are the ones that need to rotate continuously. Even though not always 360 in case of flippers. Thus, we need to add DC Motors for the same.

We are going to add 2 flippers and 3 bumpers into our playfield. Thus attach the DC motors to the space given using M3 nuts of 20mm length and bolts.Add motors

The bumpers do not need any other component, then DC Motors. But, flippers do. We need to restrict the flipper movements so that it turns only so much that they redirect the ball to the playfield. So, for that, we will be gluing limit switches next to the DC motors of flippers. You may notice that comparatively a longer curve hole is given on the base plate for the flippers. Attach the limit switches at the ends of the holes on both the sides.

Once you press the control button, the DC motor starts rotating, the flipper touches the upper limit switch, DC Motors starts rotating in the opposite direction until the flipper touched the lower limit switch. The process will repeat every time you press the corresponding control switch.Add Limit switches

Adding the IR Sensors

The normal pinball is ready, but you need to make it smaller so that every target you hit counts. Thus, we are going to add IR Sensors.

We are going to use 5 IR sensor in total:

  • One at the launchpad
  • Three in Score walls
  • One at the drain wall

Attach the IR Sensor of the launchpad and the Score wall as given in the figure below:Add IR Sensor

Once the ball passes through the IR at the launchpad, the game starts.

The walls are called the score walls or targets as you can earn points if your ball passes through them. Every time the balls passes through any score wall, the IR sensor detects it and add the score assigned to that wall in your total score.

The center lane gives you a 1000 and the side ones give you 500. You can change the score assigned in the code.

IR at the drain wall indicates that the game is over. 🙁

Attaching the Control Buttons

We need something to control the flippers. Well, we are going to use control buttons for the same. Control buttons are nothing but the arcade gaming switches. Take the control panel and in the holes given attach the arcade switches. One for the left flipper and one for the right.Add the arcade switches Add arcade switch

Adding the RGB LED Strip

Pinball without lights are nightmares or even an arcade game without the lights are a fail. Thus lets glue the RGB LED strip at the boundaries of the playfield.

We will not just let them glow the way we want. We will make them glow the way we want. Thus, every time the game starts the playfield should turn green.

And it should turn red when the game is over. Also, it should change the color each time the ball passes through the score walls.

Adding the Plunger

We cannot just flick the ball from the launchpad to the playfield. The plunger will help you do that. We have 3D printed a plunger with a hole in it to pass rubber through it. And as the rubber is long enough attached it to the front wall and the right boundary wall using Hot glue.

Thus, the more you pull it, the ball will be launched in the playfield with that force.Add Plunger

Fixing the Control Panel to the Playfield

Once the plunger is fixed, fix the control panel onto the playfield using M3 nuts and bolts.Wire

Step 4: Adding details to the Playfield

Mounting the Side Lane Walls

We have 3D printed L-shaped side lane walls that will direct your ball to the flipper once your ball enters into the lane.Add the extra scores

Mounting the Bumpers

Bumpers are there to add difficulties in the game. Fix the 3D printed bumpers on to the shaft of the DC motors. They will rotate continuously pushing the ball away.Add 3D Bumpers

Adding Flippers

Flippers are real heroes that make you score. Attach the flippers to the shaft of the DC motor. They will redirect the ball into the playfield once the balls hit them and you have pressed the corresponding control button at the right time.Add Flippers

Adding Kickers on the Playfield

They are the once that are used to reflect the balls. Attach 3 standoffs on each side and wrap rubbers around it. Thus, as soon as the ball will hit them, they will propel the ball horizontally.Add kickers

Step 5: Making the Connection

Now, we cannot wait to play the game so let’s make the connection for the same. Well, there are lots of connections. Follow the steps given below and you are done.PinBall_Connection

  1. Connecting the IR Sensors
    1. Score 1 IR Sensor(signal pin) to Digital Pin 8 of evive
    2. Score 2 IR sensor(signal pin) to Digital Pin 9 of evive
    3. Score 3 IR sensor(signal pin) to Digital Pin 10 of evive
    4. Drain Wall IR sensor(signal pin) to Digital Pin 11 of evive
    5. Launchpad IR sensor(signal pin) to Digital Pin 12 of evive
    6. Now connect VCC and GND of all the  IR sensor to VCC and GND of evive
  2. Connecting the RGB Strip
    1. Connect the RGB LED strip to Digital Pin 13 of evive
  3. Connecting Flipper Motors
    1. Left Flipper Motor to M1 port of evive
    2. Right Flipper Motor to M2 port of evive
  4. Connecting the Flippers
    1. Connect the “NC” terminal of Left Side Flipper Switch to Digital Pin 2 of evive and 10K ohm resistor, and connect another end of 10k ohm resistor to GND of evive, also connect “COM” terminal of Left Side Flipper Switch to VCC of evive
    2. Similarly, connect the “NC” terminal of Right Side Flipper Switch to Digital Pin 3 of evive and 10k ohm resistor, and connect another end of 10K ohm resistor to GND of evive, also connect “COM” terminal of Right Side Flipper switch to VCC of evive
  5. Connecting the Bumper Motors
    1. Connect all the 3 Bumper motors in parallel and connect its one end to VVR(+)  pin and another end to “COM” terminal of Relay, then connect “NO” terminal of the relay to VVR(-) pin of evive
  6. Connecting the Limit Switches
    1. Connect “NC” of Left Side Limit Switch(Up) to VCC of evive and COM terminal to Digital Pin 4 of evive and to GND via 10K ohm resistor
    2. Connect “NC” of Left Side Limit Switch(Down) to VCC of evive and COM terminal to Digital Pin 5 of evive and to GND via 10K ohm resistor
    3. Connect “NC” of Right Side Limit Switch(Up) to VCC of evive and COM terminal to Digital Pin 6 of evive and to GND via 10K ohm resistor
    4. Connect “NC” of Right Side Limit Switch(Down) to VCC of evive and COM terminal to Digital Pin 7 of evive and to GND via 10K ohm resistor

Step 6: Coding the Rules

Upload the following PictoBlox script to evive and make your leaderboard ready.main block Initialisation Game Start block Flipper Control Block Game Over Block

Step 7: Conclusion

With this, your DIY Pinball machine is all set. Ready. Set. Play!

Circuit Diagram

DescriptionCircuit Diagram

Make the connections as shown in the given image:

Code

DescriptionDownload Code
PictoBlox codeDownload
The MDF designsDownload
STL filesDownload
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