A Meccano Pinball Machine

Meccano Pinball

This pinball table is almost entirely out of Meccano Construction Set parts. [Brian Leach]’s Meccano Pinball Machine features a digit counter, a kick out hole, flippers, and a timer.

The digit counter is likely the most complex part of the build. By sending it an electrical signal, either the ones, tens, or hundreds digit can be incremented. The electrical signal engages an electromagnet, which connects a motor to the wheel to increment the score. A mechanism ensures the next digit is incremented when a digit rolls over from 9 to 0, and allows the counter to be zeroed.

Rolling the ball over the set of rollover switches increments the score. A mechanism is used to ensure that the switch will trigger with a small weight. Arcing was an issue, which was reduced by adding a snubber to suppress the transient.

The pinball machine was demoed at the South East London Meccano Club, and is a great demonstration of what can be built with the construction kit. After the break, check out a video of the pinball machine.

13 thoughts on “A Meccano Pinball Machine

      1. The USA version erector set usually had stamped girder pieces that could be overlapped and nest together to be self aligning. I used to have several sets that were made over a range of years – all lumped together. The newest was when they first introduced some plastic parts but just a few of the flat plates, wasn’t yet any of the molded shaped parts.

        One of the motors I had was a blue plastic box with three shafts poking out each side. Each shaft turned at a different speed and the thing was horribly loud.

        1. Things I today think are “horribly loud” were often “satisfyingly noisy” from my younger self’s point of view… funny how that can change :) (A lot of HAD people have probably retained that joy for noise, going by the amount of comments on noisy projects)

          I also had a box of Meccano as a kid (and it was called Meccano here. Denmark, just north of Germany) I remember having fun with it, but never really getting into it. There were no plastic parts that i remember – i would guesstimate this to be around 1980-85)

          It is always fun to see toys that you used as a kid, especially when they are still popular and you can talk about it without weird looks about your nostalgia :)

  1. That’s fantastic. I was really impressed at the end of the video where it showed the individually scored tabs getting hit one by one then resetting. Superb Meccano skills!

  2. I guess the creator gets sucked into playing and dont need to sleep for a couple of days… or maybe he is using “a mechanism” (sorry :) to quickly switch between the bed and the machine.

  3. Looks like it’s designed like most pinball machines to direct the ball either right between the flippers or bounce it into the left or right drain. It’s such a cheat when the ball bounces around for a little bit then shoots straight down the middle where neither flipper can touch it.

    1. That’s why you’re supposed to bump the machine without tilting it in order to jostle the ball into the path of one of the flippers. Sounds like someone’s crap at pinball.

    2. Yes, it does seem to drain quite often at the moment, but Brian is hoping that when he adds in some bumpers it will change the dynamics of the game. There’s still a lot he needs to do, such as adding a coin slot and playfield graphics. We will be doing some more in-depth videos of the machine later in the year on our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/LondonMeccanoClub

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