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Author Topic: Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**  (Read 20649 times)

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CharlesDeMar

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Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**
« on: March 28, 2013, 06:51:30 pm »
Here is "close" to the finished product.  See below for process shots.




Original Post:
Ever since I saw a video on the internet of a Visual Pinball machine, I have always wanted to build one.  I had a few spare parts and a beefed up HTPC that I wasn't using, so I decided to take the plunge. 

I made a bartop arcade a couple years ago and posted it on these forums when I was done.  But I always wished I would have posted it during the process of making it instead of after.  There are so many members here with great ideas, I could have used the insight and maybe avoided some of the issues I ran into.  I am hoping that this thread documents what the heck I am doing (for future reference) as well as pull some of the knowledge from the more seasoned builders on this forum.  In fact, I should have posted something during the initial planning and building stages... baby steps.  I may not always use your suggestions, but I am always open to constructive criticism. 

Here is a list of the gear I am using:
24" Dell S2440L Monitor (playfield) - chosen for it's viewing angles                     $169
19" HP 4:3 Monitor (backglass)  - ebay purchase                                                 $32
3.0Ghz computer w/ 16GB of Ram & 128GB SSD - already owned                        $0
EVGA GeForce GTX 650Ti 2GB Graphics Card - already owned                              $0
Ultimarc iPac 2                                                                                                       $40
Buttons                                                                                                                 $30
2.1 Computer Audio System                                                                                  $40
Pinball Cabinet legs                                                                                               $60
Sheet of 3/4" MDF                                                                                                  $35
Fans and fan guards                                                                                              $30
Various Hardware and Misc                                                                                    $75

Grand Total                                                                                                            $511

I know I am probably missing something, but this is a pretty good start for a parts list.  To be honest, I thought it would be much cheaper, but I have a tendency to want all the upgrades.  For instance, I have a perfectly working 20" LED that I planned on using for the playfield.  The viewing angles weren't to my liking so I plunked down a buck seventy for a new monitor.  This is an expensive hobby and I knew that.  So, whatcha gonna do, right?

I started with a cardboard mockup based off of Blitz' plans on VPforums.  I tweaked them a bit to fit my monitor.







The plan was to have the cabinet sit on a table (decent height).  Maybe on some rubber feet or something?  I quickly realized that I am not always going to have a dining room table to set it on.  I decided that actual pinball legs was the only way to go.  I had to heighten the cabinet a bit to make sure the flippers were the correct height from the ground, but I think things turned out well.





Next I tackled the backbox.  I wanted it to be just a little larger than the 19" monitor.  Even though this is a complete abomination of a pinball machine, I wanted it to be as close to the same dimensions of a real pinball machine as possible (shrunk of course).  I think the 4:3 aspect ratio keeps the similar size of an original backglass.  It's a tight fit (that's what she said), especially with the speakers I am planning on jamming in there.




Here is the 24" monitor in place (test fit)


Fan holes (in hindsight, I may have gone crazy with the cooling)



Button Holes



Garage with my Arcade machine in back


Added the legs




Holes on the top are for 2 of the speakers



Subwoofer goes here (as well as another fan, power button, and audio controls)


Let me know what you guys think.  I still don't have any idea how I am going to paint this thing.  I am a big fan of the Black Knight pinball machine and contemplated painting it like that.  But, I am not 100%.  I could use some inspiration.  As you can see by my bartop, I had the same problem there.  It still sits with black sides and CP (I kind of like it though).  I would like to do a little more on this project without it getting too busy (ugly).  The goal is to have my wife let it into the house  ;D

Thanks!  Let me know if you have questions/comments.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 11:42:16 am by CharlesDeMar »

PL1

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 04:22:11 am »
The first thing I noticed is that the flipper buttons look like they are set really low and close to the front.   :o

How are the ergonomics when you are standing at the machine?

Looks like it might be awkward, but it's hard to tell.

Since you are a big Black Knight fan, I assume you'll be wiring the second flipper to both Upper Flipper and MagnaSave.

How do you plan to do nudging with this setup?


Scott

CharlesDeMar

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 10:41:32 am »
The first thing I noticed is that the flipper buttons look like they are set really low and close to the front.   :o

How are the ergonomics when you are standing at the machine?

Looks like it might be awkward, but it's hard to tell.

Since you are a big Black Knight fan, I assume you'll be wiring the second flipper to both Upper Flipper and MagnaSave.

How do you plan to do nudging with this setup?


Scott

Thanks for the comments. 

You are right, the buttons do look low.  I think it may be a bit of an optical illusion since the cab is not normal pinball size.  I read somewhere on the forums to stand at the machine like normal and create a semi circle with your flipper fingers.  That's exactly what I did.  Seems pretty comfortable to me, so I'm going to leave it for now. Maybe I have abnormally long fingers  ;D

Ergonomics seem good.  I'm not hunched over or anything.  It's pretty hard to tell without playing the actual tables on there for an extended period of time.  I'm worried that if I hook everything up and play, I'll never paint the damn thing.

Yes, 2nd set of buttons will be for magnasave.  I have no immediate plans for nudging.  I have an iPac, so I am thinking that I could add mercury switches at some point.  However, I read somewhere that the mercury switches are pretty painful to setup.  Does anyone know if the mercury switches are the norm for VP cabs?  Is there a better alternative out there?

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 11:15:45 am »
One thing about airflow in the bottom cabinet i would recommend an air intake on the bottom with a screen or cloth cover. I built a full scale version for a friend ( just the cabinet) and the monitor got hot in a short period of time. Looks good so far keep at it.
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Jumpman64

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 06:57:43 pm »
Neato.  At first I thought it was going to be a bartop vpin, hehe.  Look forward to seeing it progress.

CharlesDeMar

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 10:14:16 am »
Finally done painting.  Starting to add the hardware.







I still don't have a concrete idea for a theme.  Not sure if I mentioned this, but I am a big fan of Black Knight.  The original Black Knight cabinet was stenciled.  However, I was considering getting some vinyl decals that would match the original machine.  Obviously, they would need to be scaled down.  In fact, I would need to find the actual images somewhere as well.  Does anyone know how that works?  Are there recreation files out there for free (so I don't have to re-create the wheel)?  Also, are the vinyl decals easily removable in case I don't like it?  Any recommendations on which printer service I should use?

Hope you guys like the updates.  Painting has been extremely time-consuming.  Hopefully, I'll be able to start making faster progress (and updates).  Stay tuned...


mameshane

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Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 10:21:18 am »
Looking good. If I made a virtual pin I would make a mini one like this also. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2013, 05:31:48 am »
Not the best resolution, but the IPDB has a few images and pg. 2 of this PDF has a square view that might help if you need to adjust perspective on a higher resolution photo.


Scott

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2013, 09:37:23 am »
^^ Thanks for the info ^^

 :cheers:

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2013, 09:10:54 pm »
Im defineitly watching this as i starting building the pc and software part of my mini pin....I hope you dont mind me askin some questions in the future........very nice work

nickels

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 10:54:03 am »
This is on my list for my next project, love the work so far. My only advice is to learn to use Google Sketch-up. Not that it is needed now, but you could have designed it and got the perfect measurements before buying a single piece of wood. It was a great help to my project. Also, what black paint did you use? I plan on putting a glossy car-like black finish on mine, like an enamel.

As for the artwork, I just was looking over a thread where they posted the company that makes the overlay artwork (vinyl?). If I can find it I'll edit this post with the link.
D'oh!

CharlesDeMar

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2013, 10:38:49 am »
Thanks guys. I wanted to learn Google Sketch-Up, but I threw in the towel after an hour. My sketch-up looked nothing like anything resembling a pinball machine. For my next project, though...

I just used a high gloss paint from Menards. Couple coats of primer, then a couple coats of paint (light sanding between). I wanted to get it sprayed, but I decided just to roll it on with a foam roller. Turned out pretty good.

I just got a quote for vinyl decals. Reasonably priced, but I need to provide artwork. Any suggestions on image editing software I should use? 

Thanks again for everyone's comments.

CharlesDeMar

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 11:39:32 am »
Here is another quick update for you.  Pretty much done at this point.  The only thing I have left is to put glass on the top and add a lockdown bar (still haven't figured that out yet).  I have loaded around 60-70 games on there and it is pretty awesome!  I am using the Hyperpin front-end and playing games through Visual Pinball (still haven't tried Future Pinball).  Still no concrete idea for a theme (I think I am afraid to commit to something).  I am sure that something will come to me... sometime.  Thanks again for everyone's comments!

Mounting the backglass monitor:



Mounting everything inside the cabinet:




Loading up some tables:


Semi-finished product:



Playing some games (this thing will never get finished now):

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2013, 12:54:09 pm »
That looks really great I'm sure the little kids and the big kid will have hours of fun on it!
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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2013, 11:03:01 am »
Hi,
Your cabinet looks fantastic  :applaud: - exactly the size I would like for my (currently nowhere) project.

Any chance you could publish the blueprints / dimensions of your cab?

I have compared it to the original Blitz plans you mention as being tweaked for the height but there seems to be some other differences in terms of which panels sit inside or outside of the cabinet sides.


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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2013, 02:12:29 pm »
Looks great - nice job.

Again with the day late dollar shot advice, but this looks like a really good idea for virtual pinball cabs.
Using a real plunger and a mouse wheel:


Good luck finishing your project now that it is playable!

Knowing the full price just moved this down on my project list :)
D'oh!

CharlesDeMar

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2013, 09:41:37 am »
^^ Thanks, guys!^^

Any chance you could publish the blueprints / dimensions of your cab?
Most of the dimensions were scribbled on scrap pieces of paper (Google Sketch-up and I didn't get along very well), so they are probably in the trash somewhere.  But, here are some rough dimensions:
Bottom cabinet - 30" long, 15" wide, 12" high in the front, 15" high in the back
Backbox - 18" wide, 15" high, 6" deep on the bottom, 8" deep on the top


Again with the day late dollar shot advice, but this looks like a really good idea for virtual pinball cabs.
Using a real plunger and a mouse wheel:

Good luck finishing your project now that it is playable!
That's pretty cool.  There is a bunch of stuff I would like to add (nudge sensors, plunger, feedback solenoids, etc).  In fact, Noah at VirtuaPin just released a plunger meant specifically for Visual Pinball.  It has nudge sensors built right in.  A bit pricey, but what about this hobby isn't "a bit pricey"  ;D

I am going to need all the luck I can get to finish this sucker.  I need to put the glass on the front and figure out a lockdown bar.  Ever since this thing became playable, production has stopped.  Must... keep... chugging... along...

Thanks again for everyone's feedback.

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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2013, 12:52:44 pm »
I've been drooling over the Star Wars Unleashed VP, but you know what- I like yours alot too. It feels very "doable" as a space saver/entertainment machine. Hmmmm.... I might have to rethink plans.
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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2013, 11:18:29 pm »
Noah at VirtuaPin just released a plunger meant specifically for Visual Pinball.  It has nudge sensors built right in.
The good news is that Noah's new VirtuaPin controller is supposed to be self-calibrating every time you reboot. -- announcement thread here.

The Nanotech units could be rather tricky to calibrate properly and are sensitive to mount position and heat IIRC.

In the next few weeks, reviews should start popping up on VPForums.org.

Ever since this thing became playable, production has stopped.  Must... keep... chugging... along...

Happens to all of us.

Just follow in the footsteps of the great philosopher who kept repeating the mantra,
"I think I can. . . . I think I can. . . .  I think I can. . . . "   


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Re: Mini Visual Pinball Machine **Update 5/5/2013**
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2013, 08:34:06 am »

Any chance you could publish the blueprints / dimensions of your cab?
Most of the dimensions were scribbled on scrap pieces of paper (Google Sketch-up and I didn't get along very well), so they are probably in the trash somewhere.  But, here are some rough dimensions:
Bottom cabinet - 30" long, 15" wide, 12" high in the front, 15" high in the back
Backbox - 18" wide, 15" high, 6" deep on the bottom, 8" deep on the top


Many thanks for the rough dimensions - they are good enough for me to start work!