66% or better

DIY Digital pinball console plays hundreds of games

pinball_console

Pinball machines, while likely considered pretty retro technology by most, are still a fun and engaging way to waste a little time. The problem with pinball machines is that they take up a lot of space, making the hobby of collecting them pretty prohibitive unless you have tons of spare room in your house.

[tbarklay] loves pinball machines but doesn’t have to room for an elaborate collection. Rather than purchase one machine, he opted to build his own pinball table that can be used to play any number of games. He repurposed an old PC to power his table, connecting it to a 24″ LCD panel for the main display board. A custom cabinet was built to contain the large LCD panel as well as the computer. A 19″ LCD screen was mounted on top of the cabinet to serve as the backglass display. A set of arcade buttons were also added to the console to provide realistic paddle control.

While we don’t have a video of his particular table in action, check out this video we found of  a pinball machine that uses the same setup.

Comments

  1. mikey says:

    Ekaj: i hear ya. kudos to the designer, but nothing will ever replace the old mechanical pinball machines. want digital pachinko? plinko? pinball?

  2. IJ Dee-Vo says:

    3p1c

  3. Paul says:

    oh jeri isn’t gonna like this ;)

  4. Robert Ely says:

    @Paul

    Oh, i don’t think shes going to mind. LCDs are never going to take place of the real thing.

    I would love to see some weighted solenoids added to the case for some haptic feed back, but i guess your limited by the software

  5. pod says:

    @paul
    heh I was going to say that myself :D

  6. zing says:

    @Paul

    Considering she developed a LED driver to make LEDs look like lamps and a tilt-sensor replacement, she probably doesn’t have a huge problem.

    She’d probably be all for it, if you could add haptics.

  7. t&p says:

    I still don’t understand how pinball machines are “retro technology.” Or how they are not placed in places like those go with friends bar and play pool places. They have those shitty midway CRT touchscreen games in every place I have been at. People play those all the time. I would think pinball would be better.

  8. Ruud says:
  9. ryanmercer says:

    That’s pretty cool

  10. Emil says:

    Funny how this pops up here the same day I found a very interesting build-log of a virtual pinball machine. The builder has also added some haptic feedback and other mechanics.
    The page is in swedish, but there are many good pictures that cover the build very well.
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.sweclockers.com/galleri/6710-virtual-pinball-hemmabygge

  11. Busketeer says:
  12. HGee says:

    The HyperPin forums have a tonne of these setups.

  13. Hirudinea says:

    Hey whatever you say you have to admit its the most space saving way to have dozens of pinball machines in your house.

  14. Aaron says:

    not to rain on the proverbial parade but another Pin enthusiast has two versions of this. One is called mini pin and the other is medium pin, there is an article in gameroom mag about it and I think if you search for medium pin you can see his latest build. The creator of the pin cabinet is Rob Craig. check the october 2008 mag for the write up, below is a link to the article
    http://www.popbumper.com/tots.html

  15. Kyle says:

    I’ve played with classic pinball machines since I was a kid, and there is no way I would be cool with this. If I had never been exposed to the “real thing”, I might be able to tolerate it, but because of my experience, there is just no way. Real thing >>>>>> bland substitute. The same goes for splenda. Sweet my ass!

  16. apothus says:

    Cool setup. Haptic feedback would be great, at least on the flippers. It shouldnt be that hard to add, you could simply wire a solenoid into the buttons for that classic thud feel and sound.

    We have a “road-show” pinball machine at home and i wouldnt call it retro. Granted new ones are not coming out as often and there is more silicone in the backboard than most californian women. The opperation is still relatively advanced, especially when you consider the extensive diagnostics these machines have.

  17. jasonpctech says:

    Easiest way to add haptic is a diy bass shaker and a small 15watt T-amp visit parts express. all the flipper presses and bumpers have sound and will provide a great haptic response I have tried it here using a old Aura Interactor. Done all diy with a recycled powered speaker should run less than $20 or just buy new parts.

  18. cotmm68030 says:

    Here’s a similar project done that included the feedback by using solenoids:

    http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=98252.0

    Lots of build pictures.

  19. jabbyjim says:

    Does anyone know the emulation program used for these pinball games? I know that HyperPin is being used for the front end, but what about the meat-and-potatoes emulation?

  20. jabbyjim says:

    oops.. found the answer to my own question
    Visual Pinball

  21. Noah Fentz says:

    This type of machine is now currently available, fully built and ready to go!

    http://virtuapin.net

    :)

  22. Aaron says:

    Future Pinball by Blindmankind pinball is an amazing emulator/dev kit for the home brew crowd.

    http://www.blindmankind.tecnopinball.org/

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