Instructables
Picture of Digital Pinball Machine
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I'm a pinball fan from way back, but pinball machines are so expensive, and need a lot of maintenance. With the creation of software such as Visual Pinball, Future Pinball and Hyperpin, Digital pinball cabinets are a reality, and can be made quite cheaply. the advantage of digital pinball is that it's cheap to maintain, relatively cheap to build and you can have as many tables as have been created. A number of people have built cabinets, and the Hyperpin Forums are a great place to get all the information. Here's a step by step on how to configure the software, build the cabinet and wire it all together.

you will need:
- A computer. 1 Gig of Ram is OK, but 2 is ideal. you'll need a pretty decent graphics card with dual monitor capabilities and a pretty decent processor - a fast dual core is better than a not as fast quad core, as the software only uses 2 cores anyway. Most people say Windows XP is best.
- the software: Visual Pinball is the emulation software, and the front end that dresses it up and makes it playable on the cabinet is hyperpin.
- A monitor for your playfield - I wanted to keep costs down, so I went with a smaller option - a 24" Asus monitor. If you want to replicate the size of a real pinball machine, a 37" LCD TV is your best bet.
- A monitor for the backglass - I went with a 19".
- timber - I used 19mm MDF.
- A keyboard encoder. the i-pac is your best bet, available here in Australia, and here in the USA.
- arcade buttons and wire. I used 6 buttons, each coming with it's own microswitch. wiring kits save a lot of hassle crimping connectors on wires. they're available at the above links.

these are the key components, but there are plenty of smaller things I use along the way.
 
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mickelsa2 months ago

Hi! I would like to offer the digital pinball machine as a present to my dad. Would any of you know of someone that would buy the supplies and install it (paid obviously)?

Thanks. (my email is mickelsa@gmail.com)

tbarklay (author)  mickelsa2 months ago
Not sure. The trouble with outsourcing a project like this is that it works best when you know the software. While you can set it up to run with little maintainence, if you don't know the software you can't install new tables, update things that need updating, etc. honestly, it's not a difficult project and I recommend people giving it a go themselves.
These are the pinball machines of the future, because businesses can change the graphics when needed. Arcades are going to make a comeback one day.
A good example of an impressive concept :)

This was an awesome start to what has blossomed into a much more refined system of today. A great example of what can be done at home. Now 46" LEDs and 32" are standard backglass for widebody units. There are thousands of tables available, but make sure your pc is up to task for the newer tables. We utilize 6 core processors, liquid cooled, 8gb ram, solid state drives, etc. Look into Pinball X as front end as now hyperpin is getting obsolete to take advantage of 64bit as well as additional ram.

Thanks for the great instructable to get those started who wish to build their own! If anyone has any questions on how we build our Pinfinity Digital Pinball units feel free to let us know.

facebook.com/Pinfinity

PinfinityMurph.jpg20140530_094746.jpgMiniPinIndy.jpgMiniPinfinity.jpg
Video is private.....
tbarklay (author)  SimpleinSeattle3 years ago
fixed.
Video is gone - account terminated
nick.mod1 year ago
mr tbarklay...i was looking despertly, forum by forum to build a virtual pinball ...i visit the side by luck,and thank god,i read the information that you give at last i will be start to built a vp machine i hope to succeeded..thank you so much...Got bless you!!!!
kpomerleau1 year ago
Great job! Gonna do this myself also, should be a lot of fun.
jhubbard62 years ago
How about the folding legs that supports those long, white plastic tables. Those things can take alot of weight, and should be easy to convert to your table.
ginger200373 years ago
Okay, that is awesome
tinker2343 years ago
wow be better than my star galky pinable machine broken
Leezarts3 years ago
Perhaps building a receiving socket into each corner to receive square stock steel legs which you could store in the case from the rear when not being used?
koklay20143 years ago
I don't know if this goes without saying but do you need to adjust the side panels and front panel if used a 37' play field was used? Thanks and this is a GREAT IBLE!!!
tbarklay (author)  koklay20143 years ago
Thanks. Yeah, the best way to do it is get your playfeild monitor first, measure it all out (i'd remove the bezel if your going for a tv) and then build the cabinet accordingly.
You say you use six buttons but the building the cabinet diagrams it seems more like seven and could you tell what these buttons are assigned to?
tbarklay (author)  koklay20143 years ago
yeah, sorry it is seven.
Left and right flippers
start/enter
escape
plunger
credit
instructions
knexgunlot3 years ago
to think today's arcades would be more digital like this pinball machine
Leemister3 years ago
Can you email me alot more details? Like how much it costs and stuff. My email is, lee_fesler@yahoo.com. THANKS!!!
tbarklay (author)  Leemister3 years ago
the trouble is, it all depends on what you decide to use. what size and brand of monitors, what computer components, etc. I built mine for about $450, but that doesn't include the computer. I advise you to jump on e-bay, as well as arcade supplies stores and see what you can get. if you have any specific questions, let me know or check out the hyperpin forums. Here's a full list of what you will need:

- a computer or computer components: motherboard, min. 1 gig Ram (preferably 2), NVIDIA graphics card with at least 512mb ram, minimum 40gig Hard drive, reasonably speedy dual core processor, at least 400m power supply.
- a widescreen monitor for the playfield - mine is 24"
- a standard screen for the backglass - mine is 19"
- an ipac2 keyboard encoder
- arcade buttons and microswitches - I use 6 - left flipper, right flipper, start, escape, plunger, credit and instructions
- wire - you can by it in packs with switch connecters already attached.
- computer speakers
- 120mm computer fans - I used 3.
- timber - I use 19mm mdf
- brackets to attach you backglass monitor
-pcb mounts to mount your keyboard encoder
- screws
- power drill
- 25 and 28mm spade bits
- circular saw
- sander
-paint
THANKS VERY MUCH!!! I was going to build this for my Dad. He is a Pinball freak and he will go crazy when he sees it. THANKS AGAIN!!!!!
tbarklay (author)  Leemister3 years ago
If you have any questions, let me know.
I will with no hesitation!
nickhallen3 years ago
Are the back glass images included in the fullscreen table files or do you find those separately? Great build I've found the forums and begun collecting parts.
tbarklay (author)  nickhallen3 years ago
no, you get them separately. the go to ...hyperpin/media/visual pinball/backglass images. theres a good list of full screen tables with links to tables and media downloads here: http://www.hyperspin-fe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4614

and you can download media packs straight from visual pinball here (but they count as part of your daily download limit, so get as many from the hyperpin threads first): http://www.vpforums.org/index.php?automodule=downloads&cmd=viewcat&cat_id=35
pliuo3 years ago
How much does this about cost?
tbarklay (author)  pliuo3 years ago
it depends on a lot of things. size of monitors, weather you get them new or second hand, what computer components you get, etc. here's my breakdown:
computer: I used a 3 year old computer I had just replaced so it didn't really cost my anything. I think a keen ebayer could pick up all the components for under $450.
playfield monitor: $215
backglass monitor: $49 (second hand)
keyboard encoder: $55 (they're cheaper in the US)
buttons and wire: $45
mercury switches: $16
timber: $35
fans: $12
everything else (paint, hardware, surge protector, etc): $40

total (without computer): $457
zack2473 years ago
how did you find a widescreen monitor so... wide??
i mean, thats a pretty wide screen for a widescreen monitor...

But nonetheless i too love pinball, and im probably going to try something like this on a smaller scale.
tbarklay (author)  zack2473 years ago
pretty sure it's a standard 24". may be it just looks wide in the photos.
no, its a widescreen monitor, general monitors are more square.
tbarklay (author)  zack2473 years ago
That's what I meant - a standard 24" widescreen :)
ok. i misunderstood. my apologies.
apothus3 years ago
i understand most pinball machines just use a simple weighted pendulum that swings inside a conductive ring, similar in function to the "dont touch the wire" skill testers Surely that would be easier to setup than a mercury switch?
tbarklay (author)  apothus3 years ago
Not necceserily. The advantage with a merc. Switch is they're cheap, you can wire them straight into the keyboard encoder and the ones I bought mount straight onto the inside of the cabinet - no fuss. My only concern is finding the balance between to sensitive and not sensitive enough. I'll let you know how it goes when I get them.
Possibly, i just have a thing for big heavy mechanical things. Id love to rebuild and older electro mechanical.

this is the tilt system inside our road show machine we have at home. the connections should be the same as the mercury switch.
http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/pinball-machine-pendulum.gif
tbarklay (author)  apothus3 years ago
I guess for me space is a big issue as well. there's not much of it inside the cabinet, and mercury switches are small. If the suck, then yeah, I'll go for a tilt-bob, but at this stage the mercury switches seem the best option for my cabinet.
Mercury switches? pendulums? Shouldn't you be using an accelerometer?
tbarklay (author)  dirtmover3 years ago
mercury switches are by far the cheapest option. I put them in yesterday and they work a treat!
coryalex3 years ago
You've inspired me! Even though I'm an arcade game collector and pinball enthusiast, emulated pinball has totally slipped under my radar. I must build one of these for my gameroom! Thanks for publishing this!
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