Pinball Cardboard Arcade

Introduction: Pinball Cardboard Arcade

This cardboard arcade style pinball machine features a complex machine ball dispenser. This complex machine comprised of 4 simple machines is activated by a turn dial, resulting in the ball to begin game play! The game board is completely a completely functional pinball game. Link for video:


  • Cardboard
  • Hot Glue
  • Twine or Cord
  • Box Cutter or Scissors

Step 1: Step 1: Design

The first step is the most important, as you will decide what direction you will the project in. I spent roughly 3 days designing and writing what I wanted this machine to look like. Make sure to be descriptive in all drawings and notes, as this will help you create a more accurate model.

Step 2: Step 2: Cut Beginning Pieces

To begin, cut the very beginning pieces which will comprise your basic ones. Use your cardboard and measure out the pieces needed, then cut. Try to keep pieces as precise and accurate as possible to create an aesthetically appealing and well functioning machine.

Step 3: Step 3: Create Basic Pieces

In this step, you must combine you beginning pieces together to create the basic ones using hot glue. An example of this is combining both layers of the gear together to achieve your desired thickness. All basic pieces of the game board and machine itself should be together at this point.

Step 4: Step 4: Create the Game Board

Take your top panel and add all of the game obstacles onto the board with hot glue. Consider where the obstacles are in relation to each other and how they will interact. We want the game to be challenging, but not impossible.

Step 5: Step 5: Install Levers and Side Panels

Create holes in your side panels for the levers to fit. Then, attach the side panels to the top with hot glue. The machine should be able to fully stand on its own at this point. Be sure to line the levers along the game board so the marble cannot slip through the bottom of the lever. Also, be sure to create enough of a lip around the game board, this is to ensure that the ball does not fall off the board.

Step 6: Step 6: Assemble the Ball Dispenser

The ball dispenser is comprised of five simple machines; a wheel and axle, two pulley systems, and a gear. The wheel and axle starts with the dial as the wheel, and the axle attaches to the first pulley system. The two pulley systems are stacked together, with the last pulley having a gear under it. Then, the inclined plane dispenses the ball. Ramps connect leading all balls to the input of the system (another incline plane) from the holes. The marbles are housed in the notches of the gear, allowing them to sit in a holding cell before they are dispensed.

Step 7: Step 7: Attach the Bottom and Front Panels

The bottom panel which holds the gear system is attached to the side panels. After I attach this with hot glue, I do the same for the front panel, again making sure to create a lip at the top.

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