Picture of Mechanical Table Pinball (IMPROVED instructable)

This little video shows, the entire project and the steps written below. Se the steps for further detail. The entire pinball machine was done in app. 100 hours and cost less than 100$.

1. Plan and draw the table layout on a paper (app. 30x60 cm)
2. Draw the side pieces according to your liking - make sure the table tilts app. 5-7°
3. Cut out the base table and the side pieces from 12 mm plywood
4. Cut out all the bumpers, flippers and other elements from your 1:1 layout drawing to make your cutting templates
5. Cut out the layout elements form 18 mm plywood with at jigsaw
6. If you like some elements to be "bumpy", your have to drill 6 mm holes in them from the side to attach rubber band. The bands are fixed from the top with screws.
7. Fix all the table elements with screws (it is advisable to cut large elements into smaller segments - in case you have to make minor adjustments for better playability)
8. The flippers are fixed to some brass tubes (5 mm) with small screws. You have to drill some 2 mm holes in advance to prevent the plywood from breaking.
9. The same applies for the flipper mechanics underneath the table
10. Remember to use washers between the flippers and the table and underneath as well to ensure easy going mechanics
11. The mechanics works as shown in the video. If you don't have "Mechano" beams, you could make them from a paddle paint or similar (remember washers)
12. the plunger is made from a spring and a 6 mm beech stick. I made the handle and the plunger from a piece of 12mm beech stik with a 6 mm hole. I is attached with glue. The plunger has a small piece of neoprene stuck to it for padding
13. If you want ramps on your table, you can either make it from 18 mm plywood or from welding beams.
jicaffini10 days ago

hi, I LOVE IT! and I want to make one for my kid.

question: if I go PRO will I be able to download the cutting plans?


sdudley2 years ago
So I made my pinball machine.  I didn't get as fancy as you did with the ramp and second level but I did go ahead and make some graphics and painted it.  It's not completely finished yet as I still have plans to add electronics to it (lights and sound).  Not sure if I will attempt to make it keep score however.  Attached are a few pictures.  Thanks for the inspiration, I looked around for more ideas but yours was the best I found for ideas on how I wanted to build mine.
inspiredwood (author)  sdudley2 years ago
WOW! That's awesome!!! I love it! So great to see you made your own interpretation and just went with the inspiration. That's instructable style in a nutshell. This looks like so much fun! I'd love to have a go at it. I love the graphics. Thanks for posting.
sdudley2 years ago
Checked out several other homemade toy pinball machines here on Instructables and this is DEFINITELY the coolest! A must make project for me! Thanks for sharing.
inspiredwood (author)  sdudley2 years ago
Thanks a lot!
caarntedd2 years ago
Fantastic work. Thanks for sharing. Rated and added to favourites.
inspiredwood (author)  caarntedd2 years ago
artworker2 years ago
This is awesome! I liked that you used "A Scroll saw" instead of the current trend "A CNC machine". If you paint it, please put the final pic.
Wow, GREAT job! I remember about 40 years ago, we would make these. But not quite like this! I believe ours was out of cardboard!
shadowwynd2 years ago
I like to use the Future Pinball software (windows, free) when designing a table. It lets you simulate gameplay - you can tell how hard it is to hit certain targets, or if it is too easy to lose a ball in a section of the table, or a zone where the ball gets trapped, etc.).

This lets me adjust positioning of table elements (bumpers, ramps, and so forth) before I start cutting wood. You can then print out a blueprint of your layout and use it as a cutting / assemble guide.

I like the look of the purely mechanical table in this Instructable.  Certainly less work than wiring everything up and programming a microcontroller.
inspiredwood (author)  shadowwynd2 years ago
Interesting! Thanks for the link. Well, a fully wired table is a totally different "product" - I make my pinball machines for the kids for tiny budgets. This one is so small, I can even put it away, when they loos interest after a while... Also I don't know much about electronics and controllers (though I'd like to), so for now I keep it as simple as possible... However, at good planning tool like the one you are linking to might come in handy. I'll have to try it out some time - thanks.
megamoonman3 years ago
I'd also like to change the multiball and add it to the top layer, I just need to figure out how to make a receiver that would dump and reset when it gets three balls into it (but not until). I'd also change the gutter so it gravity feeds back to the plunger automatically so all you need to do is draw back the plunger all the way and have one ball from the gutter stack fall in, ready to shoot, the goal being never having manually load the plunger.

I love how it takes no power, I'd definitely keep it that way.
inspiredwood (author)  megamoonman3 years ago
Cool! I thought about that possibility too fore a while. (and then lost confidence in my self...) You could simply make a hole in the acrylic plate, that would be say 12,5 mm. You would have to role the ball pretty accurately across the hole, to make it fall down in the receiver. That could be fitted to hold e.g. the balls. The third ball would then seal the hole (maybe stick a little bit up to make an interesting temprary obstacle on the top level). For the release you should check out this guys work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWTNizo7ggw He makes the most incredible marble machines - maybe you can find something, that would work for you. Good luck – he, and let me know when you are done !
Thanks for the tips! Good idea about getting ideas from marble machines, I think I found my multiball lock mechanism:


inspiredwood (author)  megamoonman3 years ago
Good luck!
megamoonman3 years ago
I'm very interested in making one of these - I'm wondering how you cut the slope of the ramps? Did you carve them by hand?
inspiredwood (author)  megamoonman3 years ago
For the slope, I first cut out the shape of the piece and then used a little handsaw to cut down a cap, where the slopes limits would be. Then I roughly carved out the ramp with a chisel. I also used a rough rasp and some very sharp industrial sanding paper (that was more adjustable in shape). The sanding paper turned out to be the best tool. I discovered, that the ramp need to be really thin where it meets the table – otherwise the ball will jump of the table when it hits the ramp. –  hope this helps :-)
inspiredwood (author)  inspiredwood3 years ago
I forgot. You only have to carve on layer of 18 mm plywood. The second layer is just boundary, that is cut out like everything else. You can also make slopes out of 2mm welding wire. I used this principle a lot on my other pinball: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGZJuSDJsCU&feature=plcp (though not for tamps, but for sensors. As you can see, often the sensors are wide apart from each other and then narrow in. This way, the ball is slowly lifted up from the table without jumping of...
justinhabit3 years ago
That's downright purdy. The wood look really sets it apart from the flashy, cluttered pinball machine stereotype.
inspiredwood (author)  justinhabit3 years ago
Thanks! You know what, I am so happy, that I kept it this way. I painted my first pinball – the theme needed it and it turned out o.k. too – but I like this one more...

mikeasaurus3 years ago
Amazing work, thanks for sharing!
inspiredwood (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Being relatively new to instructables I am wondering how the rating works. When I posted the first version of this instructable, I got 358 hits but no rating at all..?

B.t.w. I check out your channel. Pretty carzy stuf you make – I like!
Sometimes people view projects without rating, best to keep an eye on the views more than the star ratings.

Glad you like my stuff, I got plenty more in the works!
inspiredwood (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Cool! How on earth do you get all the time to do projects AND make instructables to? I notices you have done 98 already... incredible!