Pinball Stomp: Part 2

This is the 2nd and final part of this project. If you haven’t seen part 1 yet, jump back and check it out.

Now that we have the controller box made and ready to go, we just have to build some simple stomp sensors. As I said before, I doubt this will hold anyones attention longer than a night or two. With that in mind, I wanted to make this as cheaply and simply as possible.

To make these, you need the following:

  • Foam board or thick cardboard
  • aluminum tape
  • wire
  • duct tape

That’s it… no really, that’s it. Check out the video after the break to see how it all went, and what the kids thought of it.

As you can see in the video, I’ve cut foam board pieces and made a makeshift hinge with duct tape. I placed a small bit of sponge at the tip to hold the two pieces apart, however you could use an additional piece of the foam board for the same effect. In order to make it function, I needed to contacts to meet when someone stomped on it. The easiest way I could think of was to just use aluminum tape on both sides of the stomp pad.

When someone stomps on the pad, it flexes allowing the two sections of aluminum tape to meet in the middle, closing the circuit. It is extremely simple and effective. I also made some smaller, easier to press buttons to add quarters, begin the game, and pull the plunger.

After a quick test to verify that everything worked, the only thing left to do was to have the kids try it out.

Their verdict: The got really excited when I kicked on the sound and turned on the projector. Pinball is noisy and flashy and has that effect. They stomped on the pads happily for about 5 minutes. “Can we turn on the Xbox now Dad?”

My wife thought it was pretty cool though and I could easily see this being fun as a casual amusement at a small gathering.

Thoughts after completion: I’m glad I did it so quick and cheap. I probably would have been frustrated rather than amused when the kids wanted to move on, had I spent days constructing industrial strength stomp pads or coding something fancy. Also, if I were to make these again, I would route the wires differently on the pads. I didn’t consider their placement well and the kids kept stepping on them. Were I to do it again, the wires would exit the pad at the part away from their feet instead of coming toward their feet.

3 thoughts on “Pinball Stomp: Part 2

  1. at least you tried. I wonder if you would have had more luck giving them buttons from an actual cabinet and an acceleromiter for the nudge/tilt feature. I’m sure you could pry one out of an airbag sensor =P

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