Introduction: Mechanical Table Pinball (IMPROVED Instructable)
Step 1: Planning and Drawing the Table Layout on a Paper (app. 30x60 Cm)
I planed and drew the table in Illustrator. The picture shows an early version of the table, (I know this drawing is differend. I don't have the file for the final table, so this picture will have to do) The scaling is based on the size of the steel balls I used. (from Geomag 12mm).
Once you have the table layout finalised, cut out the different pieces to make some templates.
Traw the templates on 18 mm plywood (so the table boundaries are higher than the ball. This is important, so the ball doesn't fly of the table to easy and if you want to make it to layered like I did!
Step 2: Draw the Side Pieces According to Your Liking - Make Sure the Table Tilts App. 5-7 Degrees
Once you know the table layout, you have to make a suiting "box" for the whole thing. Side pieces, endings, rear piece... Make sure, you design the sides, so the give the table a tilting of 5-7° (that's standard for pinball games and ensures, that the mechanical plungers and flippers are strong enough to ensure good playabillity).
I have to admit, that I don't plan the entire thing up front, I measure an plan, as things get more clear during the process. That goes for the hole for the plunger handle and so on... Also, you will notice, how the different parts of the table layout are made out of smaller segments. That makes it easier to apply adjustments to the layout if it turns out, the ball runs in some annoying ways...
Cut out the base table and the side pieces from 12 mm plywood and assemble the box and table. (NOTE since i only have the finished project, I can't show you the box without the layout mounted on it all ready - so you will have to imagine, that they aren't there yet...)
Cut out all the bumpers, flippers and other elements from your 1:1 layout drawing to make your cutting templates
Step 3: Cut Out the Layout Elements Form 18 Mm Plywood With at Jigsaw
It's fun time. I use a electric jigsaw to cut out all the pieces from 18 mm plywood. This takes some time and I am not sure, if at jigsaw is the best tool, but I don't have better...
After cut out, you can check the fitting with your printout.
Step 4: Making Elastic Bumpers
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. You should burn the elastics with a lighter in the end, so the don't split and are easier to fit into the holes.
Step 5: 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.
Step 6: The Flippers
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. The same applies for the flipper mechanics underneath the table. To get a better idea on, how the flippers work, check out the video. The long mechano beams are used to transmit the lever movement to the upper secondary flippers. Remember to use washers between the flippers and the table and underneath as well to ensure easy going mechanics. If you don't have "Mechano" beams, you could make them from a paddle paint or similar (remember washers)
Step 7: The Plunger
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 stick with a 6 mm hole. I is attached with glue. The plunger has a small piece of neoprene stuck to it for padding. If you don't have a fitting spring, you can make one out of piano wire. Bend 1 mm wire around a 7mm stick til you get a spring. Pull it apart to give it "spring power". Then harden the steel by heating the spring with a lighter and shock cool it quickly in cold water.
Step 8: Ramp
If you want ramps on your table, you can either make it from 18 mm plywood or from welding beams. I used both...
The first picture also shows the multi ball release. I made it by folding some thick plastic. I catches your ball if you are lucky. You are then allowed to plunge a new ball into the game. If you hit the ball catcher from below, it will release the balls it has caught and you have multi ball release!!