Introduction: Pinball Machine Desk

Picture of Pinball Machine Desk

i turned a vintage charlie's angels pinball machine into the coolest desk ever. check out the video to see how! -tim


JimT86 (author)2016-06-19

Should have left the back on it, made it swivel, put in a monitor and played pinball.

timsway (author)JimT862016-06-19

great idea! :)

chipper35 (author)2015-07-14

Exceedingly large amount of coolness!!

timsway (author)chipper352015-07-14

thanks man!

katvanlew (author)2014-08-09

Nice job! Very clever!

ZaneEricB (author)2014-07-18

Holy Yes!...Question... How do you account for the angle of the glass? Could you extend the front legs?

timsway (author)ZaneEricB2014-07-19

The legs on the right side are cut shorter than the legs on the left to counter the slant of the machine. It was a little tricky getting the right length. I stacked blocks under the short side until the top was level and measured the difference. Thanks for watching!

lime3D (author)ZaneEricB2014-07-18

They are extended.

nintenbro64 (author)2014-07-18

This is a great idea, while your doing your studies u can just insert a coin and play

timsway (author)nintenbro642014-07-19

it would be awesome if it still worked, but since it had to be flat to be a desk... maybe next time i'll put a working digital vid game in there

Noble_Knight (author)2014-07-18

I bet very time you slam a drawer you get a tilt

timsway (author)Noble_Knight2014-07-19

or quarters fall out ;-) i found about $5 worth coins (not all quarters) in there as i dismantled it. most dated late 1970s and early 80s. thanks for watching! -tim

travderose (author)2014-07-19

This is incredible!

timsway (author)travderose2014-07-19


KDaver (author)2014-07-19

Being someone that does Pinball restoration..
I watched the video and yes. this machine was beyond monetary restoration value. playfield looked pretty flaked and also the back glass.
I commend you on your reuse of the machine. and I think you could actually add more to it.. such as adding a computer into the coin door or somewhere else.

would be great to see other machines turned into desks instead of being destroyed. I have seen way to many go into the trash bin because it was to costly to restore or get running.
Great job.

timsway (author)KDaver2014-07-19

send those machines going to the trash my way! ;-)

i have plans to do more salvage work with the guy i got the angel's machine from. it's a win-win i pay him for a machine he can't sell and give him back most of the useable parts! i have a trashed star trek playfield in my shop now, but i'm kind of selfishly keeping that one for myself...

the coin door area became a lockbox. i walled it all up and got the key working again for valuables.i like your idea, too, as long as it can be removed for upgrades so my work doesn't become obsolete too! lol

thanks for continuing the dialogue - i think it is kind of an important one. i'd hate for people to imitate what i do with things that still have value as-is.

be good,

KDaver (author)timsway2014-07-19

Would love to send you more.. but as of now I am out of the restoration of pinball machines for now..
Moved out of the US to Denmark and had to move all my machines to other homes.
Will keep you in mind if I find any more in the US when I visit.


timsway (author)KDaver2014-07-19

ha! thanks sal. denmark sounds fun!

Chuck Stephens (author)2014-07-19

What a great bit of recycling. Now I want an unfixable machine to do this with. My wife is gonna hate you! Thanks for sharing!

timsway (author)Chuck Stephens2014-07-19

that could be my new motto: " your wife is gonna hate you."


timsway (author)2014-07-19

(detail: the top of the computer stand is the part i cut out for legs. other parts of the original case are also used.)

Nexus of Crisis (author)2014-07-18

Very cool idea but shame on you. There are far to few of these wonderful machines around to be hacking them apart. The play field looked to be in pretty bad shape but there are surely parts that a few people need living in your desk now. Back glass is easily one of the hardest things to get now days, and its directly because so many people have it hanging on their walls as art... The art is the game. Back glass is part of the art. You wouldn't cut the head off of a statue and call it a bust.

Still... Pretty cool.

timsway (author)Nexus of Crisis2014-07-19

hi nexus,

i hear all of your concerns and have similar thoughts and feelings. all these things have been taken into account. as an "upcyclist" i intend to honor things from the past and make them useful again. my business mantra is "making worthless things priceless."

i bought this pinball machine from a pinball machine repair man who had it in his parts pile as it was beyond worthwhile repair. i salvaged and returned the computer "brain" and all useable parts and solenoids back to the repair man so he can use them to restore machines in better condition.

the backglass did, indeed, become backlit art and was part of the project (that was tricky as the paint was peeling off the glass, so i backlit it with cool LEDs to prevent further damage and sealed up the remaining art).

even the parts of the plywood case that i cut out were used in making a computer station. attached are pics of the backglass and full suite (an arcade game was also used and that video will be posted soon).

i appreciate your thoughtfulness and that is exactly why i do what i do - to save, not destroy. this machine was never going to live again as a pinball machine but now has a new life as a desk - much loved by its owner and used every day.

thanks for not only checking out my work but also for taking a sincere interest in the preservation of our resources and history.


icrack (author)2014-07-18


Amazing job, as always!

About This Instructable




Bio: i am an artist and musician. i make things of use out of things that no longer have use. i think the hip term is ... More »
Add instructable to: