Intro: Pinball Playfield Rotisserie
Pinball playfield rotisseries are a means of holding a pinball playfield (the plywood piece that has all the bumpers, targets, flippers, etc. on it). As the name implies, it rotates to allow you to easily work on both sides of the playfield. I made this one for Halifax Makerspace's pinball project. We are making a custom pinball game for Hal-con, a local comic/sci-fi convention.
I didn't come to this design by myself; I was inspired by many other pinball makers who have made similar designs. Mine is designed to sit on a table or workbench, and uses common plumbing parts and lumber. The total cost is well under $30.
Step 1: The Frame
- Two 2x4s
- Some scrap 2/4 pine board (or 3/4 plywood)
- 2 1/2 inch screws
- Wood glue
My measurements were for a playfield up to 25 inches wide. You might have to resize things if you're working on an extra wide playfield. First, cut 4 pieces of 2x4 at a 20 degree angle, so so ends are parallel. Length should be 19 1/2 inches. Cut a tip off at 90 degrees to the top, about an inch in. Cut some pine board to cover the top and bottom and glue and screw it. Cut two 7 inch 2x4 lengths for the bottom. Center them with enough space for a 2x4 in between. Glue them and screw them.
Step 2: The Pivots
- 1/2 inch floor flange
- 1/2 nipple
- 3/4 to 1/2 inch reducer
- 3/4 threaded pipe
- 3/8 pipe
- 18-25 inches of galvanized slotted steel angle
Each side of the rotisserie needs a pivot. Drill and tap a hole in the 3/4 inch pipe for a 5/16 bolt, which will lock the rotisserie in place. Screw the flange onto each end of the frame. Add the nipple, reducer and 3/4 inch galvanized steel pipe. I ended up cutting my 3/4 and 3/8 inch pipe shorter with an angle grinder and filing the cut ends to remove burrs. You only need enough room to insert a bolt with a knob and be able to turn it. Attach the 3/8 inch pipe to the steel angle. I welded mine (exceptionally poorly!), but you could maybe use JB Weld if you don't have a welder. If you do decide to weld, note that galvanized steel produces some very nasty fumes when heated. I did only these two small welds in a well-ventilated garage. The angle/pipe combo will just sit in the 3/4 pipe.
Step 3: Knobs
- 2-3 inch piece of hardwood, approx 3/4 x 3/4 inch
- 5/16 inch bold
Drill a hole slightly smaller than the head of the bold in the center of the hardwood. Use a small chisel to enlarge it to just fit the bold. Sand the corners off for comfort. Epoxy the bolt in the hole and allow to set for a day. The advertised cure time for an epoxy is not the time it takes to fully cure, only to mostly cure.
Step 4: Finishing Up
Cut a length of 2x4 to run from one end to the other for whatever size playfield you're working on. Screw the 2x4 to the 7 inch 2x4 pieces. You can always unscrew them and adjust the long 2x4 for different size playfields or to break it down for transport or storage. Give the whole thing a quick sand (nobody likes splinters) and a coat of paint, if you like.
Clamp the playfield to the steel angle with C-clamps. Rotate it as needed, and use the knobs to lock it in place. We later drilled out holes on one end to receive the flipper buttons while we worked on the playfield.