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Author Topic: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter  (Read 6120 times)

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Laythe

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Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« on: June 30, 2018, 11:54:57 pm »
So, Gingerballs made me realize I need to build a vpin.  Thanks, Malenko.

Mimic is slick and I'm happy with it - but as a stand-up machine, with the basic joystick and buttons, it doesn't do driving games well.

I'm on a budget.  I have a small house.

So I got to thinking.

A full size vpin needs a burly computer with a good 3D vidcard, and a huge monitor for a playfield in portrait, and a big footprint.
A driving cab, or sim pit, needs a burly computer with a good 3D vidcard and a huge monitor for a front window in landscape, and a big footprint.

If those were the same, it could save me a fair chunk of money and a lot of square feet of floorspace.   

We had a thread here a little while back bemoaning the death of innovation, and I object to that.

Mimic is every upright cab I need, horizontal or vertical, and does a great job at that.  Could one other thing cover the rest?

(I've got a wager with NotThatJennifer regarding what the overall reception here to the idea will be - we'll see who's right.)


So, I've got this idea.  I'm gathering parts toward building it.  Figure I'll show you all, and see what you think.  It doesn't have a name yet.  Lots of renders coming up.  No sawdust yet.

When you're playing the thing like a pinball machine, it looks like this.



It's mostly a vpin machine, except for a 2" tall deck with rails on the sides of it that you can walk on, off to the right.  Three monitors, 16:10 backglass, 4:3 sideways DMD, 16:9 42" TV playfield, nothing crazy.

Yet.

From the side, it looks like this.



Everything that isn't very vpin-like stows between the legs.  You don't end up with a full height pinball cabinet, but I think the shapes still suggest the right silhouette pretty well.  But that's just, like, my opinion, man, I know.



There's clearance behind it to still get to my crawlspace, that's the door behind the backbox.  But that sharply limits the max depth the thing can have front-to-back.



So, this is the basic idea of the thing, in it's stowed / vpin position.

But.

It's motorized.  There's a 8" throw linear actuator under that playfield, on a bell crank.  The axle is rotated 3' counterclockwise and inclined 3', and the monitor is mounted to that axle rotated 3' clockwise and inclined an additional 3', so in this mode, it's 6' inclined, but when the axle rotates 90 degrees on the actuator under it, and when the other motor pushes the seat back 50" and the midstage arm back 24"...  well, this happens.



(The sequencing of the motors and safeties is done by the host PC.  I plan to use an Ultimarc Ultimate IO to check positional limit switch inputs and drive relays to run the actuators.)

Once it's out in driving mode, the front-end I'll write will switch from giving the menu on the backglass, to giving the menu on the main screen, and it's a sim pit.  Heights and reaches to seat, screen and controls are pretty close to other racing games I've measured.  The seat will be adjustable fore-aft independent of everything else. 



There's plenty of room to get into it, unlike some racing cabs and my first stab at a sim-pit a few decades ago.

When you're behind the controls, should look something like:



There's gotta be some relays to flip the audio from the backbox speakers left-right, to the newly exposed speakers in the front and back cabinet boxes, to keep stereo positioning working right.  But the PC can fire that relay while it's doing the transform sequence in either direction, I figure.


Anyway, this is what I'm thinking.  This is to be the thing that does everything Mimic can't do well - Afterburner, Hard Drivin', Outrun, SF Rush, Daytona USA, Star Wars, some flight sims, and a selection of maybe twenty vpin tables. 

I have not gone deep into the weeds on how all the bearings and actuators and so on work in this post, because I figure there's no point going into all that if the initial reaction to the design as a whole turns out to be "Dear god what is that unholy thing".   ;D


Opinions?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 01:50:20 am by Laythe »

Nephasth

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2018, 12:16:16 am »
%Bartop

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2018, 12:21:34 am »
Ambitious. :cheers:

Heh, yeah.  True that.   :cheers:

yotsuya

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2018, 02:40:13 am »
If anyone can pull it off, itíll be you,my friend - but I think itíll be in Pinball Mode 90% of the time.

You just need to buy a dedicated Hard Driving!!! That was my favorite memory of ZapCon 2018!
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2018, 07:09:32 am »
That would be so cool! Looking forward to seeing this build!

Mike A

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2018, 08:01:09 am »
I don't think it will be worth all of the effort. First off, I have played a bunch of vpins. They just don't feel right. There are some really nice looking machines on this forum, maybe the play experience is better with them. The only ones I have played have been at the MGC.
I have no doubt that you can pull this off, but it doesn't look like you are saving any floor space by tucking the driving right underneath. There is still part of the frame on the floor when the seat is tucked underneath.
Go get a Hard Drivin' cab. You freakin' rule that game.

All that being said, if you do this, it has to make the classic transformers sound when it transforms back and forth.

Zapcon 2019. Be there. I didn't really get a chance to talk to you.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2018, 12:27:31 pm »
Thanks, yotsuya and barrymossel. 

(Yots:  I did actually find a local Race Drivin', but if I'd gotten it, I'd never have a vpin or Outrun.  I think I can get everything but the FFB and shifter lockout working well in emulation.)

I have no doubt that you can pull this off, but it doesn't look like you are saving any floor space by tucking the driving right underneath. There is still part of the frame on the floor when the seat is tucked underneath.

My thinking on the frame on the floor is that it still counts as floor to me - I can walk on it, so it's walkway.  Some drafts had the chair on carpet-capable wheels, to avoid that frame existing - but knowing me, that'd mean I'd stack other crap in the way of it deploying and then either not be able to deploy it or crash it. 

That frame is kind of the equivalent of diagonal yellow stripes painted on a robotic factory floor, to me.  "Hey dummy this is the exclusionary zone."

All that being said, if you do this, it has to make the classic transformers sound when it transforms back and forth.

Yes!  This is required.  Randomly, either that, or the sound of a pit crew with air ratchets, or the Six Million Dollar Man noise.  The front-end will do this.   ;D

Zapcon 2019. Be there. I didn't really get a chance to talk to you.

I don't think I'm likely on 2019, though to be fair I didn't think I was likely on 2018 either.  I wouldn't be surprised if I made it back someday though, if the BYOAC horde keeps going.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2018, 04:41:13 pm »
Having went through the process of building a vpin.  The puprose is to get it as close as possible to the real thing.  I will tell you this now, your playfield section will have to be waaayyyyy deeper than that, which will kill your rotating function.

Trust me when i tell you, every inch in the playfield section is utilized with parts, and it will be super heavy, not to mention the amount of wiring that will have to feed into the backbox from the playfield.

With a VPIN i've learned its all or you're building a piece of crap.  Half ass full size vpins are a waste of time actually.  Turning a TV putting a monitor on top and putting buttons on the side and front is not a vpin to me its a a big ass tate machine laying on its back.

So think long and hard about combining the two, you need easy access to the backglass and the table at all times as stated they are high maint and constantly evolving.  So IMHO i would go either or, or seperate the two.
   

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2018, 05:16:54 pm »
The hobby has moved on from vpins. 

yotsuya

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2018, 05:21:24 pm »
Having went through the process of building a vpin.  The puprose is to get it as close as possible to the real thing.  I will tell you this now, your playfield section will have to be waaayyyyy deeper than that, which will kill your rotating function.

Trust me when i tell you, every inch in the playfield section is utilized with parts, and it will be super heavy, not to mention the amount of wiring that will have to feed into the backbox from the playfield.

With a VPIN i've learned its all or you're building a piece of crap.  Half ass full size vpins are a waste of time actually.  Turning a TV putting a monitor on top and putting buttons on the side and front is not a vpin to me its a a big ass tate machine laying on its back.

So think long and hard about combining the two, you need easy access to the backglass and the table at all times as stated they are high maint and constantly evolving.  So IMHO i would go either or, or seperate the two.

I had a good talk about these with Rodney when he was here. You might want to pick his brain Laythe.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2018, 06:38:16 pm »
The hobby has moved on from vpins.
I'm pretty sure the world moved on from arcade games.   :dunno

If I were concerned by trends, I'd add some monitors for watching myself stream on Twitch.  But I'm not.


...  I will tell you this now, your playfield section will have to be waaayyyyy deeper than that, which will kill your rotating function.  Trust me when i tell you, every inch in the playfield section is utilized with parts, and it will be super heavy, not to mention the amount of wiring that will have to feed into the backbox from the playfield.

Thanks for the info!  I checked out your thread on The Grid.

I'm thinking the playfield box needs to contain the TV, the leaf-switch flipper buttons, left and right flipper solenoids housed behind the buttons, and a counterweight on the back side of the axle - since I'm looking at a 22lb force actuator, I'd want the CG pretty close to the axle.  Probably also some cooling fans, the TV could use the help in that orientation - though those may be able to reside on the lower back frame.

What parts am I missing that need to be in the playfield section?


As it may be relevant to what ISN'T up there:

The PC would be riding behind the shifter, under the flightstick, in that arm segment.  The encoder boards, power supplies, various relays for solenoid, motor and audio control, and the audio amplifier would reside in two stationary project boxes beneath the left side of the moving playfield, attached to the front and back frames.  That way I'm only pulling one moving USB line from the stationary encoder, instead of pulling the whole button wiring harness for all 12-odd buttons when the arm moves. 

The backbox contains two monitors - DMD is a portrait-turned 4:3 LCD sunk mostly down into the backbox neck...  two speakers, and probably a fan or two venting out slots in the top back.

My hope is that I can minimize constant service once it's Done.  I'll have to tweak leaf switches for sure, and replace microswitches when they die, but after I buttoned up Mimic I haven't had to keep messing with it... much.


Anyway, if there's playfield guts I'm not accounting for, this would be an excellent time to learn about them!   :D

rablack97

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2018, 08:48:03 pm »
The hobby has moved on from vpins.
I'm pretty sure the world moved on from arcade games.   :dunno

If I were concerned by trends, I'd add some monitors for watching myself stream on Twitch.  But I'm not.



A few things Laythe, you need to determine your toy limits based on how interactive you want your vpin to be, the more you have the more realistic it gets.

You have solenoids (up to 10), knockers, blowers, shakers, gear motors, these are powered by 5v, 12v 24v psu's. I also have a sub in my cab, a large fan for ventilation.

If you want to keep the backglass a proportionate, i would recommend doing a pin2dmd for your dmd, if your not going to worry too much about topper videos etc.

I also wouldn't recommend going lower than an I5 and gtx960 for your video card, gtx970 is good card that has been proved to work well with 4k tv's if that is the route you want to go for your playfield, 1050's and 1080 work well too if you can source these at a good price.

You also might look into BAM and an xboxone kinect if you want a headtracking 3d effect on your Future Pinball tables.

Think of your lighting as well, flashers, strobes, addressable led effects.

You will also need to consider which frontend you will use, the top ones in use today if Pinball X and Pinup Popper.  When i say high maintenance I also mean time spent in the software.  There is a lot too it and you will find yourself deeply engrossed in all of the cool stuff vpins can do these days.

My build logs sucks, cause i grow tired real easy and get lazy about posting.  I would follow Terry Reds build for a more in depth look at what all goes into a VPIN, his is pimped out to the max. Mine is too, but he did a way better job documenting his and i followed his as a guide.

I just want you to be clear on what all is possible, cause when you start building these things you dont end of just throwing a few buttons on it, and the more you find out about them the more complex your project will get.  Your wiring will have to be pretty solid, will all of these twists and turns, cause the wiring in a vpin is pretty in depth.

Let me know if you have anymore questions.

   

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2018, 09:34:11 pm »
The hobby has moved on from vpins.
I'm pretty sure the world moved on from arcade games.   :dunno

If I were concerned by trends, I'd add some monitors for watching myself stream on Twitch.  But I'm not.

***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Mike A

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2018, 10:21:20 pm »
You need a bunch of subwoofers aimed straight at your junk too.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2018, 10:38:14 pm »
Thanks, rablack97!  Food for thought.

I've got a plan for the front end; I'll be writing one from scratch for my cabinet.  (That said, I'm surprised to see how poorly behaved VPX is in that regard - wow, you really have to force-kill it to close the editor window after playing despite starting it with command line switches?  Sheesh.)

pin2dmd looks great, and I'm tempted, but I've already got a couple of LCD monitors this size in my spare parts to put the DMD on.  Tried it out, it feels good enough for me, and I like that it can also do sixteen segment displays.  Does turn out to matter which way I rotate these LCDs though - they've got a strong side and a weak side on viewing angle, but I can put the weak side toward the wall, problem solved.

I managed to score all three displays - backglass, playfield, and DMD - for free out of my and my friends parts heaps... and I still think this is gonna be a $1500 project. 

I'll look through Terry Red's Pinkadia build log again, thanks for the tip.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2018, 09:31:55 am »
So, Gingerballs made me realize I need to build a vpin.  Thanks, Malenko.

Honored to be mentioned!

You can use (my) Pin2DMD colorizations with an LCD now, freezy updated his DLL. I just started coloring TMNT, and I'm redrawing everything (just like SF2)
http://vpuniverse.com/forums/topic/3616-tmnt/


The concept looks really cool and if anyone can actually pull it off, its you.
No matter one's station in life, the Dance of Death unites us all.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2018, 03:40:04 am »
Minor update:  I've started making metal chips, if not sawdust yet.

I realized that my whole front cabinet box is going to be about 1 3/8" deep (interior space) - and being about 20" wide and 14" tall at that depth, that slot was going to be a pain to service any failed switches or whatnot in.  So, real coin door time just to give me an easy way back in.

1 3/8" behind the coin door doesn't say working coin mechs.  It's enough space to stash the pinball service button array, for a small touch of authenticity.  But I really like the feel of those re-purposed rectangular poker buttons as coin buttons, so I did the surgery necessary to mount them in place of the normal coin mechs and returns. 

I picked up a widebody Williams lockdown bar, 25" wide, so that's going to set one of my major dimensions.

Basically just wanted to say I've hit the "yeah I'm really doing this" stage.  Pictures to follow as it progresses.

Mike A

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2018, 06:26:46 am »
Looking forward to this one.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2018, 09:17:28 am »
I don't have a horse in this race - I do admire the effort on the drawings  (Sketchup?)
Good luck!
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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2018, 09:35:20 am »
The drawings look like they could be in an updated "Money for Nothing" video.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2018, 10:58:56 am »
I don't have a horse in this race - I do admire the effort on the drawings  (Sketchup?)
Good luck!

Thanks!

3DS Max R5.  One of my other hats is a game developer, and I own a personal copy.  It's not really a CAD package, precisely - but I can force it to act enough like one for my purposes. 

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2018, 03:30:23 pm »
I start projects like this in chaos.  I collect parts, I work on whatever catches my eye.

There's so much to do, and most of it doesn't depend on some specific order of operations that it doesn't really matter, as long as work gets done.

I do however want to be sure this is going to work before I get too far, so, I lean stuff up in a mock-up.



That isn't the real backglass monitor, it's just one I had around the house.  That is the real DMD monitor - I've got an identical pair of them so a replacement spare is on hand.  This TV ended up being spare, so I initially designed the whole cabinet around it.

25" wide Williams widebody lockdown bar, because I didn't want to fabricate one, and it's a big point of human interface with the vpin.

2" square 1/8" thick aluminum legs, because I am really concerned about the rigidity of the structure - a traditional pinball cab or vpin is a closed box, and I'm making something far less solid by effectively cutting away like 2.5 of the 4 solid sides.  I've got plans to sink them into the corners such that they kind of look like the traditional pinball leg L channels on the outside at the top when it's all done.)

4x 4" speakers and a 25-watt amp on the right.  Power control relay on the floor on the left.  Ipac Ultimate IO in the cardboard box. 

Having stacked most of the parts up, I wanted to see it run to know if this would satisfy me.



It's alive!  It worked, but the spare TV wasn't cutting it for a playfield.  Black level wasn't great, you could see it dithering, and the brightness or gamma would sometimes change of it's own volition despite turning everything off in the OSD menus.   So I found a deal on a 46" NEC commercial signage panel and ordered it.

It's nice.  Much better display, and I love that equal 3/4" wide bezel on all four sides.  Having the TV display slightly offset in pinball mode was irritating my OCD.



Additionally, the NEC has cooling fans and adjustable thermal profiles in it, being commercial signage - and it'll report it's internal temperature from three sensors in the onscreen display if you request it.  That could be very handy while running it in an orientation the engineers never intended.

The PC is going to be controlling the motorized rotation/transformation by way of relays and limit switches attached to the Ultimate IO.  The frontend is going to have to be bespoke - I want a menu on the backglass that lays pinball games out left-right, choice via flipper buttons, selection via start or launch or coin - and the far right option to be "Cockpit Games".   When you hit that, it'll slide the chair out, slide the dashboard out, rotate the playfield, move the game selection menu onto the playfield-now-windshield panel, and select from a list of driving/flying/space games via the flightstick or wheel or shifter paddles, with the far right option being "Pinball Games" to return to the first mode...

That's... not Hyperspin.   ;D 

So, I'm writing my own FE again.  I figure I'll use the DMD panel for status messages and make them look like a DMD - so, here's an early shot.



The frontend works as far as displaying the appropriate menus on the appropriate panels and starting some games, though it's still far from done.  It's far enough to confirm to me that it will work, though, and that's what the early stages of this look like for me - take each experimental part far enough along that I'm certain it's viable, before I get too deep.

Next up:  Coin door.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2018, 03:53:58 pm »
My front box is about 2 1/2" deep - it's only as deep front to back as a lockdown bar is.  Internal space is about 1 3/8", which is just enough to contain a 4" speaker, the backs of the buttons, and a pinball 4-button service bracket.  Thinking about how wide it is, and how tall, getting inside it to work on anything was increasingly unappealing. 

So, I'm going coin door this time, for the sake of having a big access hatch.  I picked up one of the "mame" coin doors from twisted quarter, because there's absolutely no way I have room for coin mechs or anything like that behind it anyway. 

What I got appears to be a real coin door with a lot of plastic blankers to neuter it.  Cool, works for me.  Here's how it arrived:



I wanted to be able to fit decased poker buttons into the coin slot area, because I love how those look and feel on Mimic.  They'll fit, but, doing so requires some careful carving.  There's not a lot left of the chute insert once you get there.



The poker buttons are taller and narrower than what was there, so I've got a gap on the right I'll need to fill - I'll probably use epoxy clay for that and paint it all black. 

I cut both chutes to look like the one on the right, test mounted the switches, and discovered - heh, one, I'd removed so much of the plastic chute housing that there wasn't much for the button nut to grab on, and two, the chutes are tapered, so the nut isn't square to the coin door, it's got a downward tilt. 

So, some work on the door was necessary to have something solid to mount to.  Here's the rough initial fabrication.



This unruly array of aluminum bars, fender washers and spacers picks up all the mounting screws in the upper coin door, and makes something solid for the button nuts to grab.  It's quite solid, though not pretty yet.

From the side, you can see the results of the chute housing angle better.  I cut pockets in the upper bar to tune the angle more precisely.  I'll paint all this stuff black before final assembly, at the very least.



The result, as viewed from the front, is something I'm very happy with the look and feel of. 



I've still got gaps on the right side to fill and blend, but, yessssss.  This is what I was going for, and that will do nicely.

Having gotten that assembled, I immediately wanted to see it lit up and working, so I started working on part of one of the wiring harnesses.



But, I ran out of time to work on it before getting it all lit up.  Next time. 

That's where it all sits for now.  It'll probably take quite a few months for me to finish this thing, but it will get done.  I waited until I was completely done with Mimic to post anything about it here so I wouldn't keep people waiting, but this time I'm posting about it as I go.


(I've also been bouncing names around.  I vetoed "Cockpit & pinBalls".  Current lead candidate is perhaps "Shapeshifter".)

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2018, 12:49:35 pm »
(I've also been bouncing names around.  I vetoed "Cockpit & pinBalls".  Current lead candidate is perhaps "Shapeshifter".)

PinWheels
Bumper/Car
Tilt n' Roll!
Pinballs and Pinstripes
Paddles and Pedals

...too on the nose?
You can't truly know how something works until you've ruined it by taking it apart.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2018, 01:13:54 pm »
As long as you don't steal my 'FLiP' name we're cool  :cheers:

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2018, 02:12:10 pm »
As long as you don't steal my 'FLiP' name we're cool  :cheers:

Hehehe.  Arright, it's a deal.  I cede the *ip namespace, you've earned it. :lol

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2018, 02:22:14 pm »
Drain and Chicane
Pop Bumper Cars
Silver Ball Drifter
Flipper Pass

No matter one's station in life, the Dance of Death unites us all.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2018, 06:56:27 pm »
I would call this Velocity. Since this is a speed machine, speed of Pinball and obviously racing. Plus it would look cool on the side of a cab.
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2018, 07:04:30 pm »
You have to work balls into the name somehow.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2018, 07:29:20 pm »
Call it Speedball because everyone that plays a virtual pin wants to die afterwards.


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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2018, 09:06:51 pm »
Shapeshifter
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2018, 05:36:44 pm »
If there ever was a build that should have a Transformers theme, this would be it  :D

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2018, 08:41:17 pm »
You have to work balls into the name somehow.

Fine,

High Velocity Balls
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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2018, 06:58:07 am »
YES..I love this design. 

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2018, 07:33:20 am »
So before I critique--I love vpin and all things modular--so I'm not biased (as some) right out of the gate.  That said, I wonder about a few things.  With square tube legs, how are they going to be bolted to a front section that's only 1 3/8" thick held together to the backbox by a relatively thin shaft that the monitor is rotating on.  I somehow see this thing buckling right at that connection point.  There's also the playability of standing there and having some pinball dude shaking it (cause thats what they do) trying to get some english on the ball.  Again, it just doesn't seem strong enough since you have used the traditional strength of a pinball (the large deep box) into a very shallow rotating one.

From an aesthetic standpoint I think square tubes are a step backwards--if its going to be a "pinball" machine--which is what it will supposed to be 90%-95% of the time, why not use real legs? 

Anyways, I get the idea and the desire to have one machine be useful for multiple functions, but I'm just not sure this is the best scenario :dunno
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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #35 on: July 24, 2018, 11:18:01 pm »
So before I critique--I love vpin and all things modular--so I'm not biased (as some) right out of the gate.  That said, I wonder about a few things.  With square tube legs, how are they going to be bolted to a front section that's only 1 3/8" thick held together to the backbox by a relatively thin shaft that the monitor is rotating on.  I somehow see this thing buckling right at that connection point.  There's also the playability of standing there and having some pinball dude shaking it (cause thats what they do) trying to get some english on the ball.  Again, it just doesn't seem strong enough since you have used the traditional strength of a pinball (the large deep box) into a very shallow rotating one.

That's an excellent point.  +1 for solid critique!

In the shots I posted, you can't really see the internals of the thing.  The black bits on the ground aren't just badly drawn shadows, they're a flat H bar of 2" wide maybe .25" thick steel flat, which the four legs are tied into at the base - that means the box has effectively got a floor to it.

Here's some shots of the thing with the playfield and driving guts removed, so that you can see the frame of it.







There's going to be some framing connecting the "back" wall (as a driving cab, the "left" wall as a vpin) together.  As rendered, that'd be a 2" square steel weldment, since it also carries the lug the screen-tilting linear actuator attaches to.  I might juggle things to make room to make that out of plywood and wood, I'm not certain yet.

On the top center, the main axle being in flanges and thrust washers should mean that it is structural against tension and compression there as well.  I'm thinking maybe 1" diameter 0.25" wall steel tube there. 

With the bottom, the back and the top bridged, only the right/front wall is completely cut away.

So, I think the big flex question is going to be, if you were to punch the heck out of the launch ball button in the upper right corner of the front frame, how far can you flex it back?  That's the most unsupported corner.  I'm going to try to make that front box as rigid versus twisting as I possibly can - 3/4" plywood front and back as full shear webs - and yeah, there's going to be at least 4 bolts clamping each leg into the front frame because of that.

I might need to fillet the floor-laying H up into the legs a bit to stiffen that joint up.

Is it enough?  I'm not 100% sure.  Your concern is quite valid, for sure.  Props for being the first to raise it!


From an aesthetic standpoint I think square tubes are a step backwards--if its going to be a "pinball" machine--which is what it will supposed to be 90%-95% of the time, why not use real legs? 

The first answer probably covers the second question - now that you can see the whole skeleton, you can see why I wanted to be able to tie into the bottom of the legs as well, not just have them sitting on the floor.  I believe the 1/8" thick 2" square aluminum section is going to be more rigid than real pinball legs would be.

Seeing inside, whattya think?  Does that axle joint still look like probable doom to you?

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2018, 07:56:41 am »
Thats funny what you said about the black bits on the ground--I did think they were shadows!  So that helps for sure.  On the back left rather than simply making a 90 degree connection between your tubes--could you put in some angles in there to help prevent front to back racking?  Taking it even further--could the the whole back left be a solid piece versus tubing?  you'd get more rigidity I would think than a bar with a 2" connection point. 

The large and heavy backbox will likely want to sway (in pin position that is) I used a 26" tv and a 19" display inside a traditional pinhead for mine and its as heavy as a mofo..And the fact that the 19" extends down into the pinbody does limit the connection surface.  The pinball cabinet I used (south park) had very nice metal brackets that realy stiffen the works. Maybe something on the back left for yours as well?

https://www.google.com/search?q=southpark+pinball&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj12c-9mLrcAhXo7YMKHYKhAdYQ_AUICigB&biw=1600&bih=767#imgrc=joVUeSdYbfCRVM:

don't know if that helps but it sounds like you aren't just throwing sh$t at a wall to see what sticks! Keep on keeping on!
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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2018, 11:11:47 am »
Thats funny what you said about the black bits on the ground--I did think they were shadows!  So that helps for sure.  On the back left rather than simply making a 90 degree connection between your tubes--could you put in some angles in there to help prevent front to back racking?  Taking it even further--could the the whole back left be a solid piece versus tubing?  you'd get more rigidity I would think than a bar with a 2" connection point. 

The large and heavy backbox will likely want to sway (in pin position that is) I used a 26" tv and a 19" display inside a traditional pinhead for mine and its as heavy as a mofo..And the fact that the 19" extends down into the pinbody does limit the connection surface.  The pinball cabinet I used (south park) had very nice metal brackets that realy stiffen the works. Maybe something on the back left for yours as well?

https://www.google.com/search?q=southpark+pinball&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj12c-9mLrcAhXo7YMKHYKhAdYQ_AUICigB&biw=1600&bih=767#imgrc=joVUeSdYbfCRVM:

don't know if that helps but it sounds like you aren't just throwing sh$t at a wall to see what sticks! Keep on keeping on!

Oh, that helps, absolutely.

Webbing in as much of the back wall as I can would help stop the whole thing twisting up, yeah.  Good call.  (Won't be very visible when it's together and along side an interior wall, either.)

I hadn't given much thought to the backbox wanting to sway, I've been so obsessed with the flexibility of the front box.  Didn't even occur to me to worry about the backbox.  Thanks for the heads up!  I assume you mean swaying towards and away from the player?  I can address that, I just hadn't thought to - so that is very helpful.  Appreciated!

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2018, 02:02:38 pm »
Add a dancemat and it'll be the mutt's nuts.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2018, 01:49:58 am »
Shapeshifter

Yeah.  I think so too.  (Though I did enjoy the suggestions - thanks everyone.)



Meanwhile:  Progress.

The driving section of this cab could really use another coin door in front of the PC.  A friend of mine gave me a Coin Controls over-under coindoor from a Daytona USA, as thanks for some work I did for him.

I don't have the height to be going over-under, and the bottom door was a basket case anyway.



So, I cut it in half.  The top door alone was perfect for my needs.  This poses some interesting challenges, because the doorframe is one piece, and coin doors have a nice flange to hide the hole they mount in.

I cut to the outside of the half I wanted to preserve, and that left me with a fair thickness of metal on the bottom edge.



I clamped the frame up in my little benchtop mill, and made myself a new flange with half the thickness of the lower web.



This shows my angle of attack - I just continued cutting that step I'm making on down, until it was flush with the bottom flange.

Knocking off the remains of the bosses on either side that used to be the lower door frame, reveals my own flange:



It's not as wide, sure, but, any step over at all is enough to help hide the hole it mounts in.

I also did some fiddly inletting to sink a poker button into the coin chute.  Tight fit on these, there's barely enough plastic to make it work.



I made a blanker for the other side, because there's really no two player driving games that this thing is going to run.


To finish up the other coin door, I mixed up some black epoxy putty and filled the excess space to the right of the buttons there, as well.



Both coin doors could use a fresh coat of paint, but, I think they're otherwise ready to go.



I still haven't made any sawdust... but...



SOON

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2018, 04:25:51 pm »
Ladies and gentlemen, I promised sawdust.  I said those words on the internet, and that's serious business.

By the obligations of honor and my forum title, I am bound - nay, compelled - to deliver.



Behold.  Sawdust.


Ahem, sorry. 

So, anyway, I started fabricating the front box of the pinball half of this thing.



Here's the first bit.  I used a jigsaw, dremel and orbital sander to inlet the coin door hole, I messed up one of the corners (top left, here) - but not worse than the coin door flange covers, so, enh.  Good enough.  The door fits quite well side to side and top to bottom, so the oversize corner isn't much of a problem.

Setting some stuff roughly where it belongs, here's the first mockup;



Actually, I'm lying.  This isn't the first mockup.  The first time I set this stuff together I realized I'd made a math error, the front panel was too wide.  (cough)
Luckily, cutting it down to the correct width gave me a chance to also adjust the centering on the coin door by about 1/16", so it's very centered now.    This is actually the second mockup.

The yellow Sanwa button at the bottom will be recessed behind the plywood, and will be the Exit button for pinball games.



Looking at the thing from a lower angle, you can see how thin the whole front box ends up being.



Considering how much of it is 3/4" plywood, once that's glued and screwed together and the legs are bolted in with 8x 1/2" bolts, I don't think torsional flexibility is going to be a major problem.  This thing should be pretty stiff.  (Heh, heh.  Heh.  Heh.)

There's going to have to be some shallow relief cuts in the inside of the back wall to accommodate the switch housings on the buttons, about 1/8" deep.  You can very much see why the coin door access hatch is necessary for servicing parts, reaching down that slot to the bottom to swap an exit button would be hellish otherwise.

A thing I think is cool about this design is that the legs are outset by their wall thickness both forward and out.  If everything works out as I've planned, you'll see their 1/8" wall thickness like they were traditional L-shaped pinball legs bolted onto the outside of a traditional pinball cabinet. 

I've gotten started on the wiring harness for the front box.



Another interesting detail from this angle is that aluminum plate the exit button is mounted to.  I wanted it removable for servicing without repeatedly moving a screw in wood.  The screw and washer at the bottom never needs removed.  The plate is notched top and bottom, and fits snugly between that screw and the bottom carriage bolt of the coin door.  Remove the nut from the carriage bolt at the top of that plate / bottom of the coin door, and the plate tilts out from under the washer.  That'll mean it can be loaded from the top via the coin door opening when everything's permanently together.

Near the bottom is a 4-button bracket of pinball service buttons I'll be mounting in the box behind the coin door.

(This wiring harness still needs a fair bit of work and looming, it won't be quite this ugly when I'm done.  The door does swing completely open, the wire lengths on the coin buttons are good.) 

But, from the outside -



Kind of starting to look a little like the front of a pinball machine, maybe!  I'm chuffed.

Mike A

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2018, 04:33:49 pm »
Progress. Nice. :cheers:

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2018, 10:31:51 am »
Good luck on this one, Laythe. I enjoyed following the Mimic build and look forward to seeing how this one comes together.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2018, 11:57:46 pm »
Thanks, guys!

Update without pictures:  I'm redesigning this slightly, after realizing that I am at least slightly an idiot.

See, there's an arm in the middle of this thing that carries the steering wheel, flightstick, throttle, shifter, and PC... and I figured in my scribblings that it had to clear the lower corner of the playfield/main screen TV when it rotates by.  So I found the point that just clears the corner, and decided that's where it'd deploy to, and then made that a design reference line and derived the length of the chair track and the position of the pedals and so on, off of that.

Except that's wrong.   :D

It does have to come out that far to clear that corner... while the TV is rotating.

After the TV has rotated, I could suck that arm back in about 8" closer to the upright TV.  If it locked in place there, instead of at full extension, then I could move the pedals about 8" back under the pinball frame, and shorten the chair rail track that sticks out into the room by about 8", too.  That'd make everything look better.

So, I'm gonna do that.  I've got some scribbling and re-engineering to do.  I may render up another animation illustrating the revised transform sequence.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2018, 11:19:37 pm »
I spent some time in the shop this weekend. 

My external overall width on the main cabinet is going to be 25", which not coincidentally means I can use an unmodified widebody lockdown bar.  Since it's the main point of human contact, I figured that having that feel right is important, and I didn't really want to make one.  So I acquired this Williams part.



What I did not know, being a total rookie to pinball machine internals, is that the interface they present to the attachment mechanism is... Interesting.



The other factory parts that mate to this were out of budget, so I decided to adapt.  I took a 2x4 and started carving and inletting.



(In retrospect, I wish I'd been a bit more careful selecting a 2x4 from the piles of stuff in my shop - that knot is going to come back to bite me.) 

I slit in from the ends with a bandsaw so I could cut the pockets for the back tabs, nibbled the curf wider for the front tabs, and used a dremel burr to cut a slot for the front lip.  I was surprised to learn those tabs are all pretty much at 90' to the face - the maybe 6' slope-down that the top face of a lockdown bar has, is not compensated for there - the tabs aren't vertical.

After some sawdust and fiddling, the factory part was starting to talk to my lumber.  (If you know what I mean.  And I don't.)



That's sunk about halfway down; I'll be done when the beer foam gasket compresses against the wood on the back edge.

A lot more work will need done on this piece, but that's the beginnings of the top lid of my ludicrously short front box.  It'll be locked down with a pair of control panel overcenter clamps on the back wall that open through the opened coin door space... if everything goes according to plan.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2018, 11:57:06 pm »
I started wiring up the other end of all these cables to the I-PAC Ultimate I/O I'll be using as an encoder, lighting controller, servo motor relay controller and general purpose robotics interface.



In the process, I discovered a problem. 

This yellow Start button - man, look at the light leakage from the white LED behind it!



The degree to which it does not match the yellow Launch Ball button next to it is absolutely untenable.   :cry:  What is this.  I can't even. 

I tore the button apart and swaddled the LED with yellow translucent tape.



Much better.  Now they match:



Crisis averted.  Project salvaged.  I can now proceed.

Though my front box is preposterously shallow - there's a whole 1 1/8 inch in there before you hit the back wall - I thought it would be fun to retain some small bit of simulation.  Since I've got a working coin door, the pinball service buttons should totally be inside it, like this:



To make that work, I had to saw off part of the factory bracket, then fabricate my own adapting bracket that fits inside and gives me four screws into plywood down below.



I've also been working on my wiring runs, it's less messy than it used to be.  I still have a long way to go, though - some of you people on this forum make gratuitously nice wiring harnesses that put me to shame.  This is at least less bad than it was, and I'll be doing a bit more to route it.

I'm also kind of tempted to put some art behind the coin door.  Maybe a photograph of the inside of a real pin.  Or just a wall of solid jumbled quarters. 


Anyway, once I had pinball service buttons, I had to play with them, so I lashed up another mock-up.  It was a chance to hack on the custom front-end software, too... and maybe a chance to sit down in a chair for a while, too.

Here's the custom front-end running in Pinball mode. 



(The white masking tape line on the DMD monitor is the depth mark I plan to sink it to inside the backbox.)

Tables are selected with flipper buttons, they fade in and scale from the sides, the center one is fully opaque and much larger.  The next two games in either direction are visible.

Fake DMD display shows a fake DMD-ified logo, and scrolls DMD-styled instructions along if you don't get the hint.  I'm going to randomize among many Shapeshifter logos every time you go back to the menu, because I think it's charming if a machine named Shapeshifter doesn't stick to one visual theme there.

Pick a table with Launch or Start, and it loads up like so.



I have been tinkering a lot with the backglass configuration.  I am discovering that I am really picky - most vpins seem willing to aspect ratio squish the backglass art, and that drives me up a wall.  I had to add code to my front-end so that it overwrites the B2S resolution settings per table before launching, to allow me to micromanage how every single table on the list works individually.

I'm not using a real DMD because I want to be able to use that space differently in different tables.  Here's where I'm going with it so far:



On tables like Scared Stiff, it's pretty easy - the art fits on the big backglass monitor, the DMD fits on the DMD monitor, that's the straightforward case.  About half the tables turn out like that.

Cirqus Voltaire had the DMD down in the playfield.  I'd like to keep that look.  So for it, and for games that just had no DMD, I've carefully aligned the software position of the DMD panel to be centered, portrait, and below the backglass desktop, and I'm stretching the backglass across it.  It's not perfect, you'll have the bezel lines cutting it, but I like the effect better than blanking the DMD panel out - and especially better than squishing the art.

Whirlwind is an example of a game where the backglass did a good job with 15-segment plasma lights.  They look really nice.  With a lot of careful finicky tinkering I've gotten the segment display to line up nice in the DMD section, and that again keeps the art above at the right aspect ratio.  I lose the status lights below the segment display, but I think I can live with that.

That's about where I am right now. 


(I made the mockup fully playable.  That means I'm doomed, right?)

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #46 on: August 20, 2018, 04:40:01 am »
Great work so far.  :cheers:

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #47 on: August 21, 2018, 05:36:52 am »
I have become obsessed with Pinball this year. The real stuff is now near and dear to my heart. With that said, good luck and try not to sell the farm for mediocre pinball. I am excited about the racing setup, that should be pretty sweet!
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #48 on: August 21, 2018, 11:19:07 am »
Thanks, Mike!

Short update:

I knew that knot was gonna be trouble.



So I cut it back another 1/4" below flush so I can face the back of it - which is visible from behind when in racing mode - with 1/4" plywood.



Being profiled with that 6' taper angle, it now fits in place like so:



I have become obsessed with Pinball this year. The real stuff is now near and dear to my heart. With that said, good luck and try not to sell the farm for mediocre pinball. I am excited about the racing setup, that should be pretty sweet!

Ian - thanks!  I'd be worried about the overall viability of what I'm chasing, but when Gingerballs made it to Zapcon, I thought it was awesome.  My reaction to it was entirely "I have got to get me one of these", so I figure as long as what I build isn't worse, the result should work for me.  Thanks for speaking your mind, a build thread without commentary is a lonely place.  I'll be getting to the racing side of things soon - this for example will be the bank of view buttons for it:


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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #49 on: August 21, 2018, 04:46:59 pm »
Watching with interest at what's going on here. We need more builders like you mister.
You might think that you're scared, but you're not.  That isn't fear.  That's your sharpness.  That's your power.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #50 on: August 21, 2018, 11:47:06 pm »
Watching with interest at what's going on here. We need more builders like you mister.

Thank you.  It's good to see you around!  I'll try to make this worth your while.  Please call me out on anything that looks hinky or like a bad idea as I go.

It's kind of funny, but I do have to admit that I'm going to do a better job of priming and surface prep before painting, knowing Ond is watching.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #51 on: August 22, 2018, 10:22:38 pm »
There is no doubt Laythe has some skill
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #52 on: August 22, 2018, 10:46:37 pm »
There is no doubt Laythe has some skill

Just watch him play Hard Driviní, the guy is a master!

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #53 on: August 22, 2018, 10:59:08 pm »
There is no doubt Laythe has some skill

Just watch him play Hard Driviní, the guy is a master!

Yeah, I wish we could find him a dedicated one somehow.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #54 on: August 22, 2018, 11:45:22 pm »
There is no doubt Laythe has some skill

Just watch him play Hard Driviní, the guy is a master!

Yeah, I wish we could find him a dedicated one somehow.

Hehehe, thanks.  This thing is designed to run a 90+% accurate Hard Drivin' - that was one of my specifications.  With the clutch, and the 4-position shifter.  I'm not sure I can get force feedback working, but I am sure I can get the steering wheel range right, and I've played on plenty of real dedicated cabinets with busted FF motors before.


Since I've been away from the shop, I've been tinkering on a tiny software detail.

In pinball mode, in the menu to select a table, the pinball DMD panel shows the name of this machine, and a scrolling line of instructions below that.

It occurred to me that given the theme, it'd be kinda neat if every time you boot the machine or come back into that menu the logo were different - just as an easter egg for anyone paying attention.

I've got it working now.  Here's some of the possibilities it can randomly be.



(I see now why Malenko does DMD colorizations - pixel art on this scale is kind of addictively fun.)

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #55 on: August 26, 2018, 07:12:58 am »
Progress update.

First, I skinned 1/4" plywood over that knothole in the lockdown bar assembly.



With a little filler in the corners, at least one of my poor life choices should be relatively well hidden.


Meanwhile...

Ian mentioned an interest in the non-pinball side of this cabinet, so I'll talk about some of that.

A couple years back I got a good deal on a Logitech G25 and shifter because it had no pedals.  Recently, I managed to find a set of G25 pedals alone for sale cheap because they were missing the main base.  Perfect! I was planning on discarding the base anyway.  The G25/G27 pedals are cool for being three individual modular units once you pitch the plastic base.



They normally sit flat to the floor, but the pedal proper can be flipped over on the lever and the whole assembly can be mounted inverted as though hanging under a dash, which I like better.

I propped up a seat at the design height and worked out the angle I wanted them to run at, which turned out to be a 15' forward angle off vertical.  Some research on kit car design, and mocking up tests, got me thinking that 4.5" on centers is about the right spacing.  In my design, the pedals have got to nest under a 8.5" tall moving seat assembly, so I sketched out a frame to hold them that would be 8.25" tall at highest point.  I also wanted to protect the outermost potentiometer a bit - you can see they're kind of swinging in the breeze off the outside of the pedal brackets.

Here's the parts to my frame, and the first round of inletting they needed.



There's four proud screwheads on the back of each bracket, so the back wall needed clearance for those.  I wanted to snug the side panels against the brackets to keep my whole pedal box as compact and out of the way as possible, so there's a lot of inletting on one side to sink the potentiometer and wires, and on both sides to take the nuts and bolts that protrude from the brackets.  Would have been a lot simpler another inch and a half wider, but it also would have been less compact.

Next I mounted some brackets to the back wall, which I had to modify a taper into.  Predrilled for the screws, and put glue on the side walls.



Fun to assemble.  The bracket screws went in first, which have a little wiggle room, and let me square everything up while the glue was still wet.  Then I predrilled the minor diameter holes in the back wall, centered in the bottoms of the major diameter holes I'd predrilled in the sidewalls.  It's more work, but I've really become a fan of pre-drilling things twice, one piece at the major and the other at the minor - it guarantees the screws always do the right thing and get great clamping force instead of stripping the wrong half of the hole or stubbornly bridging a gap.



You can see from the back why the bracket modification was necessary.  Additionally, the cable via I made for the leftmost pedal with the buried pot, to get the wiring through. 

Test assembly showed my initial round of inletting wasn't enough, though.  I had to extend a few relief cuts in various directions once the whole wood frame was assembled.



Here's the end result:



Turned out pretty clean!  The bottom turned out nice and square, it doesn't rock at all on a flat surface.  The side panels try to follow the shape of the brackets along the front, and the brackets tuck tight into the corners.  The setup feels rock solid; it's got the brackets on the back and wood glue along the joints clamped together by 3" screws going into the sides of the backboard.

I'll have to tear it apart at least one more time to prime and paint it, but the pedals can be disassembled from the solid wooden frame despite the two sides of inletting - they rock in on the diagonal.  (As I had to do a few dozen times getting all the clearancing cuts right, heh.)

Here's all the main controls that will be on the Not Vpin side:



I tested the setup for a while in Hard Drivin', and Afterburner.  I'm chuffed!

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #56 on: August 26, 2018, 12:48:00 pm »
Very intriguing, watching with great interest.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #57 on: August 26, 2018, 01:00:45 pm »
Very cool watching this come together! :applaud:
%Bartop

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #58 on: September 04, 2018, 04:53:00 am »
Bit more progress to share.

Shapeshifter won't be clamping down the lockdown bar like a real pinball machine does, because the full assembly is 1) about $80 and 2) won't fit.  So, instead, I'm using a pair of overcenter control panel latches, like so:



The hooks mount on the lockdown assembly, the clamps mount on the back wall of the absurdly shallow 1 1/8" box. 

For a sense of how tight things get in here, have a look down into the top when the coin door is closed:



The overcenter latches and the coin buttons occupy the same vertical height.  That red line in the circle is showing the actual clearance between the right latch and coin button.  Good times, eh?  They don't touch though.

Man this thing is thin.


Speaking of tight clearances, I want one of the driving-game-mode speakers to be on the backside of the front box.  The speakers I'm using have a mounting depth of 2" under the flange, and I'm putting them into a box with 1 1/8" of interior space.

No problem.



Here's the result of a lot of Dremel work.  Reasonably happy with it, though the burr did get away from me once, I've got a scar in the wood to bondo up later as a result of that accident. 

If the fit looks a little rough, well... that's only a 4" speaker, man, this is a tight close up, the pic is larger than life size. 
And... also, the fit is a little rough.

It was important that the speaker drop sub flush -



because the playfield / windshield monitor assembly is going to be swinging by just above this surface.

So, how does sinking the speaker in like that that possibly work with the total dimensions?  Well, there's also a clearance carved out in the backside of the front panel.



And you can see on the left, the back side of the coin door, showing again how much clearance I tend to have in this thing - that's how much the speaker magnet doesn't hit the coin door frame by.


All this work has the front box frame getting moderately close to assembly.  I think I'm going to shift gears next and work on the back box frame for a while.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2018, 03:07:00 am by Laythe »

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #59 on: September 04, 2018, 04:58:47 am »
Nice progress.

You should take a pic of the inside of a regular pin through the coin door opening. Then mount it in yours.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #60 on: September 04, 2018, 05:29:13 am »
Nice progress.

You should take a pic of the inside of a regular pin through the coin door opening. Then mount it in yours.

Thanks!

Heh, that'd be pretty cool.  I figure it's that, or a correctly scaled picture of a massive pile of quarters.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #61 on: September 24, 2018, 02:31:39 am »
Mostly, I've been working on software configuration, which isn't really conducive to gratifying photos.  Making a lot of progress on that side.

I found that the pinball service buttons sometimes don't work, because the emulated pinball machine doesn't think the coin door is open, and there's safety interlocks there.  That got me to thinking, hey, I could map a key to a microswitch there, that'd be cool! 

Except, the software isn't straightforward for that, of course.  For the same reasons of computer-side convenience that lead to the old hi-lo shifter situation, they implemented it as a toggle, not a continuous input.

But I got to thinking.  I can still work with that.

So I made this:



That's an aluminum bracket that mounts a lever-type microswitch just under the L flange on the coin door.  I bent the lever, like so:



Hard to see, but it's kind of a carat shape, ^ - high in the middle, low on the ends.

I lined everything up such that the door flange isn't normally depressing it, but when swinging past, it rides up the ramp and clicks the switch then releases it, in either direction.

(If you ever do fall out of parity, it's easy enough to just open the door and click the switch one extra time.)

Works like a charm, and it's pretty cool to open the coin door with a pinball game running and have it flash the high voltage shutoff message and enable the service buttons.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #62 on: September 30, 2018, 02:00:25 pm »
Day [number a lot] of [oh gods]:  Fabrication continues.

Here's my take on making the VR view button panel, for the sim-pit side.



I used a file to square up the corners and to fit the buttons to their forward-most flange.  Yeah, I could have used round holes, but then the buttons sit further forward with an extra plastic collar on them... and I think that it looks a lot better like this:



I spent a while swapping LEDs from my bench into these to get the best colors when lit.  It's strange, but to get a really good yellow out of this view button, it looked best with a white LED behind it - where I previously had to fix a white LED behind the yellow start button because that looked terrible.  Go figure.  I guess it depends on how tinted the plastic lens is.

These are wired as five individual channels, so for Hard Drivin', I can light just the Start and the red as the 'Abort' button - whereas something like Daytona or Super GT can get all of them.


I've also been working on the back cabinet, which... well, it is going to be complicated.  This will be an undertaking.  Ambitious, as Neph observed.

But, one bit at a time.

The back cabinet requires inletting another speaker below flush, for the right side of sim-pit audio.  I figured I'd show how I cut these inlets, because it might be useful to someone. 

I'm using a big cylindrical burr in a dremel, freehand. 

Trace a pattern line onto the wood, and then the first step is just to believe you can do it - that this will eventually work.  Use the front corner of the burr to dig in around the edges of your pattern line.



You see now why the faith is necessary.  This is awful.  This is going to end in disaster.  There's no way this can work.



Keep digging.  The trick is, plywood contains layers of contrasting wood with opposite grain directions.  Dig until you hit a transition.

You can see at the upper left that I've just touched the next layer.  This is the key to making flat-bottom freehand inletting in plywood - you have a built in depth gauge. 

In this case, I needed to dig one layer deeper, but as long as you stop when you've exposed your target layer, it doesn't take too long to arrive at something like this:



Not half bad, eh?  (You can tell I've gone one layer deeper than the prior photo, because now we're just touching horizontal grain again instead of vertical.)

Speaker drops into it like so -



and now I've got both inward-firing speakers ready for the monitor to swing over the top of their faces during transformation.



Another part of the backbox cabinet worth looking at is the bottom wall.  This will contain 3x 80mm fans blowing upward to force air into the box; the top of the back will have 3x 80mm fans blowing out as exhaust.  Given there's eventually going to be a stereo amplifier, relays, and two monitors in there, and not a lot of free square inches of air passage around all of it, I wanted to encourage the flow on both ends.

I decided to get fancy and embed the 80mm fans in the center of the board.  Fans have a kind of H profile, with flanges on the corners.  I split the board down the center, so it slides together around the fans and holds them captive. 

Some inletting was necessary because the inter-flange distance isn't QUITE 3/4" - so I thin one side of the boards like this:



Eventually, after priming and painting and whatnot, these two pieces will grab the fans like so:



The end is a big cable passthrough, because almost all of the wiring in this monster will be going through there.



I have to remind myself around this point, that Mimic had a similar feeling curve of progress - endless little jobs that don't individually seem to substantially matter much, just a pile of parts with no end in sight, until some step of assembly abruptly changes the whole thing from "basically a pile of parts that'll never be done" to "basically a finished machine that just needs a few final tweaks". 

It'll all work out. 

Eventually.   :)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 02:23:03 pm by Laythe »

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #63 on: September 30, 2018, 02:22:15 pm »
In an effort to spot upcoming problems... and mostly to keep my spirits up in the endless "pile of parts" stage...  I mocked up some of the backbox.



(Orientation:  The backbox cabinet is facedown in this picture.  The fanboard half-panel at the top of the picture is the bottom of the back cabinet, the cheek with all the structure showing is even in height with the playfield, and none of the conventional "backbox" parts above that height are shown yet at all.)

Since Menace warned me of the possibility of backbox sway/nod, there's a lot of structure in this throughout the neck region.  The front wall, currently laying on the floor, is 3/4" thick plywood.  The back wall, not shown, is also one big 3/4" thick plywood access panel that bolts down to this in ten places, and I think that should stiffen things up a lot as well.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 02:25:36 pm by Laythe »

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #64 on: September 30, 2018, 02:28:59 pm »
It can be tough to stay motivated until things start coming together.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #65 on: September 30, 2018, 03:42:27 pm »
Holy ---steaming pile of meadow muffin---, man!  Do you not own a router?  Some of the best money I ever spent in this hobby was buying my first router.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #66 on: September 30, 2018, 04:16:41 pm »
Holy ---steaming pile of meadow muffin---, man!  Do you not own a router?  Some of the best money I ever spent in this hobby was buying my first router.

I have a router, but I never use it except for cutting T-molding slots. 

It's just never my go-to.  For anything.  I tried buying a bearing-bit and using it once to do some template-duplication style work, and the wood exploded badly.  I shrugged and put it in the back of a disused cabinet.

People here say they are great and do marvelous stuff with them.  I don't get it.   :dunno

(Edit:  I also find it to work for trimming laminate.  So, correction, there's two things I can do with it.)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 04:38:12 pm by Laythe »

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #67 on: September 30, 2018, 05:29:35 pm »
Good progress here. All the best projects are ambitious, knowing what you're capable of, you've got this well in hand.  What I like about your projects is your approach to problem solving especially when there's a degree of complexity involved.  That VR view button panel, I can see the effort that went into it - the buttons sit perfectly and look great.

I can understand about the router; they can be daunting beasts on first use.  They need a fair bit practice to get comfortable with and be a "go to tool". With quality bits and the correct technique (and some respect for their power) they can be a real asset.  They are not the solution to every woodworking challenge though.  They are just handy.
You might think that you're scared, but you're not.  That isn't fear.  That's your sharpness.  That's your power.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #68 on: October 02, 2018, 02:28:11 am »
Thanks!

I probably do need to give my router another chance; I won't develop any skills with it by leaving it in my cabinet of disappointment. 

(It was discouraging - I was trying to transfer a complex pattern onto a 1x8, thinking that a 3/4" depth of cut through fir softwood should be easy, and about 80% through the job it just shattered the board straight down the grain.  Knocked it in half.  I'm not sure what I did wrong.  I should practice on some less complex stuff that I don't mind potentially destroying.)

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #69 on: October 02, 2018, 04:12:00 pm »
Unrelated to building a combination pincade/racing chair, please do yourself a favour and try to experience a racing game with a good VR helmet.
My racing rig is a Playseat SV and an old PS3 GT racing wheel.  Playing Project Cars 2 and Dirt:Rally in VR completely changed my appreciation of racing games.

It is so immersive that I simply can't play racing games like a flatlander anymore.
Driving the Infineon Raceway in PC2 was so similar to the real deal that I started having flashbacks to my time on the real track.

On the plus side, it would also remove the need for your screen to rotate down for play.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 04:51:53 pm by Zoomie »

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #70 on: October 03, 2018, 03:17:51 am »
Unrelated to building a combination pincade/racing chair, please do yourself a favour and try to experience a racing game with a good VR helmet.
My racing rig is a Playseat SV and an old PS3 GT racing wheel.  Playing Project Cars 2 and Dirt:Rally in VR completely changed my appreciation of racing games.

It is so immersive that I simply can't play racing games like a flatlander anymore.
Driving the Infineon Raceway in PC2 was so similar to the real deal that I started having flashbacks to my time on the real track.

On the plus side, it would also remove the need for your screen to rotate down for play.

Thanks for chiming in!

I run a VR lab as part of my day job.   :)   It's neat stuff, I totally agree.  I also agree that seated vehicle sims are probably the killer app for it as a gaming setup.

I thought about it for this machine, but it's a poor fit:

1) I want to be able to run arcade games like Hard Drivin' or Super GT, which are non-starters in VR.
2) I want to be able to run some games of nostalgic interest to me like Wing Commander 2 and Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries, which are also non-starters in VR.
3) I'm already using all 3 outputs of the video card - playfield, DMD, backglass.  There's no good way to drive a headset left over.

As to removing the need to rotate the playfield - alas, that ship sailed a while back.  The die is cast, forward to death or glory, I already bought the $160 high speed linear actuator, we're doing this.  Save yourself lad, it's too late for me.   :laugh:

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #71 on: October 05, 2018, 01:47:59 pm »
Definitely ambitious. 
I realized the other day that I have a laptop, two tablets, a desktop, a media center, and yet I still put together a brand-new machine for my arcade machine.
I may have a problem.  At least I'm not buying linear actuators yet.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #72 on: October 07, 2018, 04:49:35 am »
Making sawdust.



Lots of sawdust.  Parts like this:



Which might reasonably be mistaken for airplane parts.

None of this is likely to make much sense, but:

The subassemblies go together like so...



The number of parts is now starting to get smaller as things get attached to things, rather than bigger as I make more parts, and that's awesome.

Here's where I'm at, figuring out where everything goes inside the lower back frame.  (This is the area of the machine below the backbox.)  It's facedown while I work on it. 



The monitor you see the back of is the DMD monitor, sticking up into the region that will be the backbox, and that closest, airplane-rib-looking board is the backbox floor, and the cutaways and holes are for ventilation.  Three intake fans at the bottom, three exhaust fans at the top, I'd like as much air to move through the neck area as possible.

I have a lot of gluing, screwing, filling and sanding to do, but it's coming together. 


What entertains me right now is, nobody would look at any of this and think "pinball machine".  Or even "game cabinet". 

I can't prove that I'm not building a turbo encabulator, here.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #73 on: October 08, 2018, 09:37:18 am »
How are you making those detailed cuts if you are not a router guy?   :dunno  Impressive.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #74 on: October 08, 2018, 11:05:27 am »
How are you making those detailed cuts if you are not a router guy?   :dunno  Impressive.

Jigsaw, bandsaw, drill press, forstner bits, a dremel, and sanding down to the line on a knife grinder style belt sander are my usual go-to methods.  That's how I did the front box, the pedal frame, and all of Mimic.

For this back cabinet I'm currently working on, my dad convinced me to let him try running a sheet of plywood through a big waterjet machine with my pattern.  It works; ends up a little damp, but not terribly so, and there's some minor delamination around some edges that you have to reglue and clamp back together - but the cut quality is nice.  It's convenient, but I had designed this all to be parts I was confident I could fabricate with a jigsaw, bandsaw, drill press and sander.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #75 on: October 08, 2018, 12:23:07 pm »

For this back cabinet I'm currently working on, my dad convinced me to let him try running a sheet of plywood through a big waterjet machine with my pattern.  It works; ends up a little damp, but not terribly so, and there's some minor delamination around some edges that you have to reglue and clamp back together - but the cut quality is

Huh, didnít even know that existed.  Looks pretty cool actually. 

Funny how we all gravitate to one tool or another.  I have a hard time remembering to use something besides my router.  Youíve inspired me to breakout the band saw.  Jigsaw however I just canít seem to get the results I want. 

Watching with interest. Those are some intricate parts youíve got there.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #76 on: October 09, 2018, 08:07:47 pm »
OK this is bananas.  Love the creativity - can't wait to see where this goes.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #77 on: October 10, 2018, 12:04:43 am »
This might be my next project now. I thought I would do a dedicated driving machine , but the pinball hmmmm. It is looking great !
!!

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #78 on: October 14, 2018, 04:24:52 pm »
OK this is bananas.  Love the creativity - can't wait to see where this goes.
This might be my next project now. I thought I would do a dedicated driving machine , but the pinball hmmmm. It is looking great !
!!

Thanks! 


Small progress update. 

Here's the roof of the backbox, and the fan panel that forms the top of the back wall.



I'm trying to be careful in this build to be sure I can get at everything for service later if needed. 

These two piece fan panels slide together to encircle the fans.  To replace a 80mm fan when one inevitably dies, you've got to slide one half of the fanboard away from the other.  So, those are all attached with button head screws and washers, into T-nut inserts in wooden brackets.  The brackets stick out the bottom with one additional T-nut slot, because the back hatch attaches there. 

So, changing a fan will mean pulling the hatch off, then pulling the lower board's screws and sliding it down into the space the hatch occupied, then the fans can come out.


Another thing I have to be careful about is the order of assembly of the front box. 



I put the sides on the front panel, that was safe - but at this point I have to start my filling and sanding and priming and sanding and painting and sanding and painting, because there will be absolutely no way to do a decent job of painting the inside a 21" x 18" x 1.125" box otherwise.  The interior walls will need to be done before I can mount this front assembly onto the back wall and enclose it.

But, I have to have the spuds that go into the tops of the legs ready as well, and I want to blend and fill them into the exterior paint to make that look like one piece...  and I want to install the legs after the paint job, so there has to be enough clearance for them to slide into the top spuds counting paint...   :dizzy:

I also had to remember to locate and drill the leg attachment screw holes before mounting the side walls, it would have been harder to do after.  This thing is full of new and interesting Z-before-X-before-Y sequencing traps. 

Legs are going to be held on with six 3/8"-16 button head screws into PEM nuts, each.  Probably a lot of overkill.  Going to be tricky to get the nuts started halfway down a 34" long 2" square blind tube, but I think (hope) that I can do it. 


Meanwhile, on the backbox, this here is quite possibly the weirdest piece I've ever had to make.



That doesn't look like a part.  That looks like the sprue or scrap left over after you've cut your part.  Looking at it, I would never conclude that the person who made it had any idea what the heck they were doing.

It makes more sense in context, though.  This is the lower half of the fan intake board for the bottom of the backbox.

Here is a dry assembly for fitting of how the lower rear cabinet works.



I've got the PC-controlled power relay at the bottom right corner there, and a cord via passthrough for quite a lot of wires above it.  I'm still tuning the inletting, so pardon the right edge sitting high - it's still sitting on top of the power relay rather than the plywood floor.

The upper half of this fan board is again removable for servicing the fans.  It has to be somewhat strong, because it's the lower flange the back hatch rests on before screwing in 10x as the rigid spine to the whole back cabinet.

The legs will mount on either side in the L-shaped spaces between floor and wall, with three 3/8"-16 button head screws toward the centerline, and three offset going through the floor panel.  The three screws up through the floor will have to be countersunk for the heads, because the playfield monitor needs to skim by just on the other side of this "floor".  The legs go all the way up against where the cheeks flare out at the top, and the rectangle hole on the left wall will have the amplifier mounted through it, just above the height of the leg, and passing over the speaker.

(I did most of the packaging layout in CAD before cutting wood, so I know where most of the internals go, with some extra leftover "for stuff I forgot" spaces.)


Next up might be some metalwork on legs.  They do neat things with 1/8" stagger offsets so they look like L angle mounted onto the outside even though they're full square tube... if this all works according to plan.

« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 05:00:48 pm by Laythe »

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #79 on: October 15, 2018, 01:28:23 pm »
I'm enjoying watching this come together.  When you design in CAD or sketch up or similar you can explore complex solutions to design challenges before ever cutting any wood.  Heh, fabricating those parts you designed in 5 minutes is another matter!  I wouldnít approach a project any other way though.
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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #80 on: October 16, 2018, 04:55:29 am »
I'm enjoying watching this come together.  When you design in CAD or sketch up or similar you can explore complex solutions to design challenges before ever cutting any wood.  Heh, fabricating those parts you designed in 5 minutes is another matter!  I wouldnít approach a project any other way though.

Thanks, Ond.  I'm having a great time watching RoToron, so I'm glad to return the favor. 

This evening was metalwork.  TOTALLY METAL.  work.   \m/   


People have asked me in this thread what my go-to tools are, if not a router.  My all time #1 answer is my horizontal/vertical bandsaw.  If I can possibly use it to make a part, I probably will.



Here, I'm about to shorten one of the 2x2 square 1/8" wall aluminum legs to 34" to be one of the rears.

It's a metal cutting bandsaw, which means small teeth and a slow feed rate.  It doesn't make a big fuss or commotion, it doesn't shriek like a wood saw - it just quietly cuts.  You can have a conversation at a regular volume while cutting things.  I use it on wood without changing the speed or the blade; you just have to take your time.  It doesn't require quite the eternal vigilance a wood cutting saw does, either - if you were to touch the running blade, you'd pull your hand back with a relatively minor injury.  It's downright friendly.



The cut quality is decent.  As the scrap end shows, this is mostly flat and square, though not perfectly square.

I have a fix for squaring it up, though.  This is an appropriately sized job for my little benchtop mill.



All I had to do was make sure the leg was bottomed out in the machining vise when I grabbed it.  I've dialled this vise and mill into being pretty true, so, just putting it in the vise sets the leg reasonably level with the bed and parallel with the ways.

Then, it's just making incremental passes until full contact on one end, flip it around, and make passes until you are at the exact desired length.



With this hasty setup, this tiny mill seemed happiest taking about .005" off per pass. 

Good thing I'm not in a hurry.

I don't want the legs to have directly visible fasteners on them when this is done, so I'm going to be using pem nuts to bolt them into the wooden structure.  The 3/8" pem nuts I got want a half inch drilled hole to install.  They press in, and displace metal around the serrated portion of the crown.  Here's an example of one in a 1/8" aluminum sheet that I was practicing with.



You're supposed to install them with a press in a very specific way, but, I'm going to be putting them into a deep blind space that I can't possibly get my arbor press into.  In a pinch, you can as an off-label method draw them tight using the screw threads.  It's utterly wrong, but it works great.  (Don't do this if you're in aerospace.)

Here's the result, and one of my back-cabinet side panels test mounted onto the first completed leg, to check all the hardware works right.  They'll all have washers in the end.



Six 3/8"-16 screws per leg should be enough, right?   :)

Here's the view down the top, to see how the hardware stacks inside.  It also shows how flat and nice the end milled finish turns out after just a touch of sanding.




So, that's my plan for the legs!  Now I just... gotta make three more of them.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #81 on: October 16, 2018, 05:42:28 am »
Nice. I have always wanted a bench top mill. It would be the gateway into metalworking.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #82 on: October 16, 2018, 09:59:26 am »
Mmm... Threaded inserts... :drool
%Bartop

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #83 on: October 17, 2018, 03:07:46 am »
Now I just gotta make two more of them.  (And resolve a handful of correctable fitment issues.)

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #84 on: October 22, 2018, 11:07:48 am »
Lots of progress on the back cabinet.

My backbox isn't hinged.  I wanted a neck there to visually separate it from the playfield and the main cabinet.  However, an LCD panel runs through that joint, so the best trick I could come up with is a reduction of thickness of the front plywood there.



Here's the front of the neck being skinned. 

The backbox sits above that neck.  Here's the floor, with the LCD monitor passthrough and ventilation holes.



The speakers will mount in the lower corners.  Yeah, the mounts taper to almost nothing in a few spots, but they won't be under much load at all.  There's just not much clearance in here.



As viewed from the back.  All this structure is now glued and screwed together.  In places, screwed a lot.  The legs are still removable for painting.  I'll be filling over all the small screwheads here, only the big leg bolts will show in the end.



Here's the floor being installed.  The front panel of the floor is a removable piece for installing or swapping the intake fans.  The power relay goes through the fixed back panel of the floor. 



Here's a close up of the power area.  I found a 3x2 power strip that fits along a wall under the 3/4" hatch clearance, so that mounts on the wall just above the power relay. 

At this point I couldn't resist screwing the rear hatch on, because the backbox roof can attach to it, just to get a sense of the scale of the thing when it's done.



It is big.  Looks about right to me when standing at the lockdown bar, though.  I can dig it. 

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #85 on: October 29, 2018, 01:23:18 am »
Builder's log, build date 102.

With the fabrication of the front pair of legs, the construction of all legs are now complete. 
I had to bolt them up to test the fit.



The spacing of the inner leg-attaching button screws is set so that, once this box is sealed up, the upper two can be reached through the open coin door, and the bottom one can be accessed through gaps in the partial floor (which is still to be built).  However, after playing with it a bit, I think these six inside the front cabinet would be easier removed via a ratchet and socket, so I'm going to flip these over to normal hex head bolts.  (The other 18 leg attachments will stay button head.)

Moving to the back cabinet...

 I've been confirming and fine tuning the layout of parts.  This is roughly the current idea for the back lower cabinet:



The DMD panel looks off center, but that's an illusion caused by the unused speaker area formerly below the display, but now beside it.  The display glass is centered in the neck, and that's also the defining reason for the neck's total width.

The amplifier power brick is above the amp, tucked off on the left.  The amp is up on a shelf, which means you can't see the driving-mode speaker directly behind it.  Below that is the Ultimark IPAC Ultimate-IO that will be the main computer interface brains of the thing, which I'm giving fairly prime real estate here to ease future diagnostics and servicing at the header pins.

On the right side, from top down, there's a chunk of DIN rail housing several relays and a breakout box.  Then, a 3x2 power strip, a 12v power supply (to run fans, linear actuators and solenoids) and the USB-controlled power relay, which is also the main power in.

The unused area in the center is a wind tunnel to get airflow from the bottom-mounted intakes, behind the DMD panel in the neck, and up into the upper backbox. 

The entire PC will live elsewhere (just in front of the rear legs) and there's also going to be a few other large project boxes elsewhere to house other guts - so this is by design only a portion of the internals. 

This weekend was, however, mostly about bodywork.  So much bodywork.

The bondo goes on.



The bondo comes off.



I am not good enough at this to nail it in one.  So, at this point I can see everything I've failed to fill sufficiently, and coat two goes on. 

While I'm a big fan of the strength of the cured bondo, my technique with it leaves much to be desired, and it's a much bigger hassle to work with.  By the third pass, I flipped over to using jointing compound instead. 

More filler goes on.



This picture of filler going on the bottom also nicely illustrates that shelf that the amp rides in, and how the speaker sits beneath it.



This stage of power sanding had me looking like possessed King Theoden by the end of it, white beard and all. 

But, I'm now mostly done with the bodywork on the back cabinet.  I think.  At least, until I put a layer of primer on it and see all the sins that still remain, at which point it's probably back to more filler again, because I don't want to disappoint Ond more than I absolutely must.

Behold, three layers of fill:



From here, there's only a fistful more things before priming, I think - I have some fine adjustment to do to clean up the leg mounting holes, I have to fabricate the partial roof and floor panels for the front cabinet, and I think then I get to proceed to priming and painting the interior.

I gotta admit it's kind of funny that Malenko has built an entire vpin in the time I've been working on this... and I'm maybe 1/3 done.   :lol

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #86 on: October 29, 2018, 08:47:21 am »
I gotta admit it's kind of funny that Malenko has built an entire vpin in the time I've been working on this... and I'm maybe 1/3 done.   :lol

Apples to Oranges man. I took the existing guts, setup/config/etc and put them into a prefab kit. I wasn't making my own legs with threaded inserts and everything else :)
And, it wasn't my first vpin. You're making something that's never been made before!
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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #87 on: October 30, 2018, 02:29:05 am »
Simply amazing, makes me wish I had your skill-set and tools as my current vpin build is child's play in comparison.

Can't wait to see the end result.

 :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:
 :cheers:



Multi-Cade x2 (full size and bar top)

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #88 on: October 31, 2018, 06:19:24 pm »
You won't disappoint my friend  :).  Plywood is always a bit trickier to surface finish than MDF.  There's nothing wrong with filling over with jointing compound.  Your work is excellent.
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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #89 on: October 31, 2018, 09:17:01 pm »
You're making me want to build one  :)  - good thing I don't have the room..
Nice work & joinery.
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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #90 on: November 06, 2018, 05:08:07 am »
Quick update...

The front corners of the front cabinet are tricky, with how I want the legs to work.  Aligned the corner blocks, glued and screwed them on, and gave it quite a bit of fill.



I want to blend all this such that it looks like one piece when painted, so I made myself a sanding longboard out of a two foot bar of aluminum I had around.



Got all that fill sanded back down to something resembling flat.  The longboard helps... though the aluminum turned out to rub dark grey onto the wood, oops.

Installed the legs, and here's the current layout.  It looks as though I'm building the shortest pinball machine ever. 



The upper backbox doesn't have it's sides yet, as I'm deciding whether or not to groove them so as to hold a bezel type overlay in front of the screens and speakers.

So now I'm finally at the point where I can prime and paint the inside of the front cabinet, I think - since painting it once finally assembled will be impossible.



From the back here, you can see the profile of those side blocks, and how the top of the leg tube interface works with them.

I set this all up to prime... and then decided to sleep on it, just in case I realize some other urgent step I really should do first, heh.

SOON.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 05:20:55 am by Laythe »

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #91 on: November 13, 2018, 02:48:08 am »
Well, this has been a heck of a journey.

I went ahead and primed the interior of the front cabinet panels.  Priming is easy and fun, nothing much to say about it - I've primed a lot of things before and I'm comfortable doing it with a roller brush and a foam brush. 



I knew I wanted the interior of the front box painted because you'll see it when you open the coin door.  I kind of regret not painting the interior parts of Mimic, so I figured I'd go ahead and paint up the inside of the back cabinet too, though it'll only show when the access hatch is off for service.



It'll help block light leaks on the buried DMD monitor.  There's no good way to get a paintbrush up into the side cheeks, though, so I'm just going to do the main atrium / wind tunnel down the center.



I dry sanded the light grey primer with a couple passes of 250 and 400 grit, then rolled on a coat of gloss black latex paint, and it looked bad.  That's okay, though the first coat on primer always looks bad, that's to be expected.  I knocked the high spots off with another pass of sandpaper, rolled on the second coat, and that's about what most of the bookshelves I've made get - full coverage, but it could perhaps be called utilitarian.

My base layer sanding didn't do as much as I thought.  But hey, I thought, I've watched Ond's video, I just need to do the process.  Sand more. 

So I sanded down to accidental burn through into primer, and rolled on more black paint, and sanded through it, and rolled on more, and the results were just wretched.

I mean, awful.

Awful, like, this is what I had after about 10 hours of work.



That is like five coats of paint.  I'd gone through maybe ten complete sheets of sandpaper by this time, full of pilled up impacted paint bits.  If anything, it looked worse than the brute force two-coats-and-done I've used in the past.

My spirits at this point were pretty low.

I found myself remembering:

You won't disappoint my friend  :).

... yeah.

I kept going.

By hour 18, with rigorous care dry sanding and the most careful sanding block discipline, I had something that reflected light like this:



(That's the white specular reflections of the shop lights in the high gloss valleys, and I'm maybe halfway down to meeting them with the flat matte finish left from the hours, and hours, of dry block sanding I've done.)

So at that rate, what, it should take 30 hours to hit the bottoms if I don't screw up and knock a hole to primer somewhere first?  Hrgh.

I started getting experimental.  Why not, this is a lot of doom and ruin anyway.  I thought about Ond's video, and watching him dip his sandpaper in water to clear the dust.  I grabbed the water bottle I use to dampen my soldering sponge, and hosed a dab of water right onto the middle of the panel with a shrug.  Plopped the sanding block into the pool and instantaneous magic happened.

Where I was fighting stiction and pill-rolling and a nightmare of slow progress interrupted by dusting the paper and the work surface every fourth stroke... a fine slurry of silky paint sludge began to flow.  The feel of the sanding block changed entirely - I could read the remaining contours in the surface from the way the pad moved, and everything started to WORK.  Wet sanding this stuff is like a 10x speed multiplier.  It is -amazing-.  It is -magic-. 

About 18 hours to get to that picture above.  Add water.  And then it's about 15 minutes to get to this.



Well hello there. 

The rate of improvement of the surface is astounding.  I think some of the slurried dust of water and latex paint is reattaching in the bottoms of the valleys or something, because the surface improves faster under wet sanding than just knocking the tops of the peaks off seems to explain. 

Another fifteen minutes, and,



I think I've learned how to do this, maybe!

I kept at it with the wet sanding, learning the feel of it.  Once I got it somewhere I liked, I broke out the Novus #3 and #2 polishes, and I got this:



Not bad, for foam-rolled latex paint, hey?


Thanks, Ond.  I wouldn't have believed I could do it.  Now, I think I can.  Water is the epiphany.  Water is the answer.  I still have much technique at this to develop, but I feel I can see the way now.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 03:08:55 am by Laythe »

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #92 on: November 13, 2018, 09:38:40 am »
looks fantastic, keep up the good work!
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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #93 on: November 13, 2018, 09:43:34 am »
If you are sanding for hours and hours w/o progress - you are using too fine a grit.. 
Getting a polished finish is all about a finer grit taking out the scratches of the previous grit..

Wet sanding is great - but don't kill yourself for hours using 400G when you can cut the high spots down with 180/220 (wet) first...  then step through 320/400/600 to get the final results.
Keep up the good work  :)
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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #94 on: November 13, 2018, 09:56:45 am »
Thanks for sharing those steps.  Always good to see what worked AND what didnít.  Project is looking good.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #95 on: November 13, 2018, 12:59:48 pm »
You've done some hard yards mate!  This is why your work is excellent, you persevere through challenges.  Mimic was awesome for the same reason. Wet sanding allows the grit to cut efficiently for sure.   :cheers:
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Re: Mimic's Sister - Shapeshifter
« Reply #96 on: Today at 06:21:18 am »
Thanks, Malenko, Ond, Arroyo and bperkins01.  That you all think I'm on the right track is encouraging.

(bperkins01:  My problem was that if I used any coarser grit dry, I was blowing through the color coat into the primer in places long before getting through the orange peel everywhere else - the only way I could get the control to avoid having one deep pill-rolling corner of the paper breaking through, was killing myself for hours starting at 400g and cleaning the paper every four or five strokes.  Doing it dry is just the the wrong way to go.)


I've got the inside of the aft cabinet painted now, and I am verifying and tuning the fits with the thickness of paint.

Here's what the bottom will look like - three intake fans, the power relay, and a big cable passthrough. 



Pardon the upper fan screws and the button head upper panel screws not being installed - the paint is still tacky so I don't want to go clamping things together yet, this was just a quick check. 

The screws through the fan guards also bite into the boards between the flanges of the fans, which is neat.  To replace a fan, you pull the guard screws, the button head screws, remove half the floor, and slide the fan out. 

The view from the inside of the cabinet looking out through the fans was also kind of cool.



(Cable routing will of course eventually happen here, to keep the fan wires tight to what currently looks like the floor.)


I am looking forward to filling this thing up with the electronics and routing cables, but there's still a lot more cabinetry work to be done before that.

  
 

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