Introduction: Wooden Pinball Machine DIY

About: I am 13 years old and love big woodworking projects. Youtube Channel:

I built a fully functional pinball machine from scratch. This project took about 50 hours and was a lot of fun. Most of the materials were free but a few I had to buy. Depending on how many scrap materials you have you could spend anywhere from 10 bucks to 100. I spent about 13 dollars.

For only being 13 years old and still in school, it was hard to find time to make it so it took me 4 months. It was well worth my time though.


Lots of plywood


Rubber bands

Fancy woods(optional)

1/2 inch ball bearing

Band saw

Table saw

Orbital sander





Lots of handheld tools

Step 1: Design on Software

Plan out all of your dimensions and design onto CAD software. This should be accurate to what you are going to build, the more details the better. I used this for everything I did.

Step 2: Find Wood(A Lot)

I just went around and found a bunch of scrap pieces that I could salvage. Plywood is what you will be needing first.

Step 3: Draw Out Your Design

Once you find all of your wood, look at your 3d design and draw out all of the pieces to size. This is the easiest way to make sure you're not missing anything.

Step 4: Cut and Sand

Cut out all of your pieces. Then sand them smooth making each surface and edge is soft.

Step 5: Place Everything Together and Fine Tune

After sanding, place the pieces together like a puzzle without gluing or screwing. Fine tune by sanding edges. Remake any pieces if needed.

Step 6: Glew/Screw

Assemble the pieces. You might need a friend to help you hold the pieces together as you assemble. Don't worry about fixing the small stuff, that will be later. You can choose between your choice of materials. I chose a mixture of wood glue and small screws.

Step 7: Admire

You should start to see your work come together, the next part of the build is more mechanical and tricky. Soo get ready!

Step 8: Flippers and Plunger

Start to mark out where you want the flippers to be. First, you should make the plunger. I just made a ramp going to the top of the playfield. A hole in the front wall with a spring on a dowel will do just fine.

Step 9: Flipper Prototype and Installment

This is the design I went for, a push of a button to move a flipper on the bottom side that is connected to the top side. A set of rubber bands is put into place to pull the button/flipper back into place. I then made handles on the lathe for the buttons on the outside. They turned out beautifully.

Step 10: Ball Return

Drill a hole into the TOP and FRONT SIDE of the machine. Then flip it over and place a ramp and walls to guide the ball into an outside ramp leading to the ball catcher. A small container that will hold the balls.

Step 11: Playfeild

Let your imagination take you wild. Place fun gadgets and gizmos all over the playing field. Under the second layer, I have rounded angles to send the ball flying in a different direction than which it came in. Spinners work perfectly.

Step 12: Paint and Stain

First, fill in all the cracks with wood putty. Then apply 2-3 coats of paint. If you want to get flashy apply mineral oil, cutting board oil, and stain. These things will make it POP!

Step 13: Enjoy!!

Spend Hours Loving Every Second of What You Built!

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