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Author Topic: What about build your own skee ball?  (Read 10832 times)

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BigBri

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What about build your own skee ball?
« on: May 28, 2004, 04:07:58 pm »
Man, I'd love to have one of those in my basement!  It doesn't seem like it would be too difficult to build.  It's the electronic aspect and lcd display that would be tricky.  Or maybe not...look at pinmame.  Doesn't that emulate the lcd and audio?  I'm no wiz when it comes to electonics....

Darkstalker

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2004, 04:12:53 pm »
Yeesh...Yea, it COULD be done, but it would probably cost you more to build one than to buy one.  You'd have to build a ramp (Which would be no small feat itself), setup the point zones triggers, rig up either a pre-made "CPU" or program your own...Sounds like it would be more trouble to build one that it's worth.
Still in the collecting parts and ideas phase of cabinet building.

Richy

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2004, 04:13:58 pm »
Yeah, but what are you gonna exchange your tickets for.

ChadTower

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2004, 04:20:12 pm »
...for a SKEE SKEE SKEE

 :-X

missioncontrol

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2004, 04:35:39 pm »
yeah a skee ball would be awsome, but not an easy build...plus I'd look pretty bad being beat by my 5 year old like last weekend at chucky cheese....man he had some luck....

BigBri

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2004, 04:41:47 pm »
You really think it would be more expensive?  Don't the go for like $2000?  
A ticket dispenser would be cool.  My friends would have to 'earn' their beer.

Darkstalker

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2004, 05:34:35 pm »
Well, I actually did some research after opening my mouth, and it looks like the more high-tech ones go for around $4k-5k

Yea, so it might be cheaper to build your own but...well...good luck...;)
Still in the collecting parts and ideas phase of cabinet building.

Ken Layton

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2004, 06:02:21 pm »
What happens when it comes time to move it???

colopioneers

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2004, 06:57:55 pm »
Yeesh...Yea, it COULD be done, but it would probably cost you more to build one than to buy one.  You'd have to build a ramp (Which would be no small feat itself), setup the point zones triggers, rig up either a pre-made "CPU" or program your own...Sounds like it would be more trouble to build one that it's worth.

Funny this was mentioned....

My brother and I actually WERE going to try this.  We got measurements, drew up some sketches, etc.

That's when we began pricing wood, materials, labor, and looking at the actual scope of the project.

Needless to say, it never got off the ground...

Our project took about three steps before we abandoned it.  Here they are for anyone else who would like to try:

1.  We went to a local arcade here and measured a skee-ball unit.  (The owner is a friend of ours, so he let us climb on it...)  The dimensions are flat-out ridiculous.  Not all machines are the same, but the one we looked at was HUGE.  And when I say huge, I mean, stupid big.  The ramp, before getting to the scoring platform, is just over 8 feet in length.  Then you've got to measure the actual platform, which is just under 5 feet, including the pedestal for the scoring display.  Thickness is another issue.  3/4" MDF, similar to a lot of people's cabinets, just won't cut it here.  That platform was nearly 3 inches thick.  I don't know of any lumberyards that carry 8 feet by 4 feet by 3 inches in any kind of wood.

2.  Most skees, though not all of the newer ones, contain a significant amount of steel (or aluminum, depending on the year of the unit.)  According to our friend, he has to actually contract a machine shop to get him parts for the unit.  That's pretty difficult to do.  Of course, you wouldn't have to go the authentic route, but we really wanted to make it as close to original as possible.

3.  The unit needed to be engineered to disassemble and reassemble quickly.  Again, pretty tough to do, considering the part that couldn't be reduced in size is the ramp.

Anyway, we gave up.  I still have a dream to build my own skee, but with my first child on the way, my wife pretty much says forget about any other arcade projects.  I'll try to find our old plans and maybe post them if anyone else is interested in trying this.
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Xiaou2

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2004, 07:46:23 pm »

 heh - I once built a skeeball out of cardboard when i was a kid.  Used a tennis ball.   It even had a ball return  : )   Was great fun to play.

 Im sure there are ways to make an affordable skeeball that is less  bulky.  

 As for the ramp lenght - im sure you could also make that into two parts.  As for the seam... you could use a roll up covering material that covers the entire length of the ramp.   Of if you do not care about a seam... you could have each section overlap upwards.

  The only real tricky part is the electronics.   If you really wanted a quarter to activate a selenoid to release balls - and the score to be correct... and maybe even some tunes ans sound fx... then its gona take some electronics gurus to help figure it all out.


RandyT

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2004, 11:35:28 pm »
Thought about this one a little too seriously in the past myself.

The machines seem to come in both a 10' and 13' version and they are super expensive.

I really think one could be built without too many problems, but it would be a chore to source the right materials for the skee-ramp.  And as others have already mentioned, make it seamless (of course, there's always wood putty and/or bondo ;))

But a scoring setup would be pretty simple.  Make a giant number display out of the crappiest old PC and TV set you can find.  Wire up a KeyWiz to switches for each of the holes and whip up a simple QB program that keeps the score and counts the balls.  It would take less than an hour to program :)

Anyone want to post the dimensions they came up with?

RandyT

BigBri

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2004, 08:39:04 am »
Plus, I always see a set of skeeballs on ebay for cheap.  A keyboard encoder makes sense.  The balls would trigger the microswitch to give it a certain command.  Like you said, if someone could write a program.  I was thinking of using my old 366 mhz and monitor.  What material is the ramp cover?  Plastic?

jagnogg

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2004, 09:00:47 am »

I bought an old broken down skee ball machine (with no electronic components) on ebay for $75. I'm going to put a PC inside of it (old Pentium 1 machine) with the monitor in the score area. I'll use an I-Pac to register the point values of 10 through 100 and for the GUI controls / start button /coin mech. I'm going to write a custom program that includes the "normal" skee ball scoring system but I'll also create new games with different scoring systems.  For example, if you're familiar with darts, I want to make a two player cricket type game where the first person to get 3 of each point value wins. Another easy dart scoring game would be a countdown game like 301 or 501. I'm open to suggestions here. Maybe a target practice type game where you try to hit the hole that is suggested?

I'm also going to try and install an anti-cheating device. If I can find a switch that is activated by an infrared beam - an electric eye type thing, I'm going to install it so the beam goes across the path of the ball on the ramp. It should be hidden from view because it'll be under the rubber bumber rails that run along the sides of the ramp. Anyway, if the eye beam switch doesn't trip but a score registers then you know somebody just dropped the ball into the hole. This will result in a loud blaring siren and "CHEATER!!!!" across the screen. I'm planning ahead for when my son tries to cheat. Hey Dad! I got 1000 on skee ball!!!

I've already started the project. I'm planning on making a web site to show my progress. I'll try to get pictures up soon.


RandyT

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2004, 09:14:33 am »
What material is the ramp cover?  Plastic?

I think it depends on the version of the game you are looking at.  The new ones that use the plastic balls have a PVC-like surface.  The old one seem to be some sort of canvas or something.  Seems more "leathery".  Anyone got any other ideas as to what that material is?

RandyT

BigBri

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2004, 09:20:12 am »
jagnogg - that's awesome!  Can't wait to see your screenshots.  Could you post the dimensions as well?  Could you make a ticket dispencer work with an ipac?  100 tickets = 1 beer!  That would be awesome.

RandyT

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2004, 10:06:34 am »
I'm also going to try and install an anti-cheating device. If I can find a switch that is activated by an infrared beam - an electric eye type thing, I'm going to install it so the beam goes across the path of the ball on the ramp. It should be hidden from view because it'll be under the rubber bumber rails that run along the sides of the ramp. Anyway, if the eye beam switch doesn't trip but a score registers then you know somebody just dropped the ball into the hole. This will result in a loud blaring siren and "CHEATER!!!!" across the screen. I'm planning ahead for when my son tries to cheat. Hey Dad! I got 1000 on skee ball!!!

Heh.  Make sure you disconnect the keyboard from the pass-through.  If he figures out what key is connected to the "electric-eye", he won't even need to drop the balls in  :D

RandyT

Chris

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2004, 10:29:03 am »
jagnogg - that's awesome!  Can't wait to see your screenshots.  Could you post the dimensions as well?  Could you make a ticket dispencer work with an ipac?  100 tickets = 1 beer!  That would be awesome.
Happ's and Bob Roberts have ticket dispensers that could be triggered through an IPac LED pulse...

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jagnogg

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2004, 10:43:18 am »

RandyT - I have an older machine. I'm not sure what the material on the ramp is. The best compairison I can come up with is that it's like the bottom of a well worn dress shoe. Leathery, but very tough leather. I was given a packet of paperwork on the machine from the guy who sold it to me. Maybe it has some info in there. I doubt it though. From what I remember it was mostly schmatics for electronic components that my machine no longer had :(

Zell - I can take some measurements and post them with the pictures. The wooden part of the game is fairly simple really. The only tricky part to replicating one of these, I think, would be the curve at the end of the ramp. It looks like there would be some wood bending involved.


jagnogg

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2004, 10:45:11 am »
What happens when it comes time to move it???

Believe it or not, I was able to fit the entire machine into a Toyota Tacoma with a cap on the back when I picked it up. They are built modularly so they break down into many pieces easily. If you replicate one, you'd be able to move it up stairs and through doorways without too much trouble.

RandyT

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2004, 10:46:59 am »
jagnogg - that's awesome!  Can't wait to see your screenshots.  Could you post the dimensions as well?  Could you make a ticket dispencer work with an ipac?  100 tickets = 1 beer!  That would be awesome.

You really want to count tickets before handing out a beer?  :)

For the price of a ticket dispenser (and all those tickets) you could pick up a small thermal printer that runs off a standard printer port.  Reach a certain score, get a coupon for a beer...or whatever :)

RandyT

BigBri

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2004, 10:54:38 am »
Authenticity RandyT....
I was thinking about the curve too.  I know you would have to steam wood to bend it.  You know those desks that have those 'overhead' doors?  You just dado the curve and put small pieces of wood in the track and then just cover it up with the surface material.

RandyT

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2004, 11:01:45 am »
Authenticity RandyT....

Heh.  Authenticity went out the window when we started talking about Monitors as score displays, electric "anti-cheater" eyes and keyboard encoders  ;D

Quote
I was thinking about the curve too.  I know you would have to steam wood to bend it.  You know those desks that have those 'overhead' doors?  You just dado the curve and put small pieces of wood in the track and then just cover it up with the surface material.

Think ABS or similar materials.  Thin enough and it will bend.  If you want thicker, make a form and bend the material around it using heat to assist.

Much easier than bending wood.

RandyT

jagnogg

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2004, 11:49:26 am »
jagnogg - that's awesome!  Can't wait to see your screenshots.  Could you post the dimensions as well?  Could you make a ticket dispencer work with an ipac?  100 tickets = 1 beer!  That would be awesome.

Ok. I've slapped together a quick web site just to get some pictures up.

http://tinyurl.com/2kekr
« Last Edit: May 29, 2004, 11:50:32 am by jagnogg »

Bumblebounces

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2004, 01:40:31 pm »
I let my wife talk me into an air hockey table for our game room.  We already had a 7 foot pool table, dart board, and my full size MAME cab.  An air hockey seemed like a good idea at the time and we just happened to have a friend that was looking to get rid of theirs.  We got a great table in like new condition for dirt cheap but no one ever (okay, almost never) plays the air hockey.

A skee-ball would have been a much better idea and I think it would get a lot more play than our air hockey does.  My kid loves skee-ball (and so do I).

So the big question is, how do I convince my wife that a skee-ball resotoration would be better than any old air hockey table?   ???

I can see I have my summer project cut out for me (not restoring a skee-ball, convincing my wife it's a good idea).  Then, of course, I have to find a deal on a used, beat, but restorable skee-ball.  I won't be attempting a build from scratch like my MAME cab was.

Wish me luck.

Bumble

jagnogg

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2004, 01:53:32 pm »
What material is the ramp cover?  Plastic?

I think it depends on the version of the game you are looking at.  The new ones that use the plastic balls have a PVC-like surface.  The old one seem to be some sort of canvas or something.  Seems more "leathery".  Anyone got any other ideas as to what that material is?

RandyT

I found the paperwork that I was given when I bought the machine. Part # 300-32 is listed as "Cork Carpet for Runway". So I guess it is some kind of cork???

It looks like you would still be able to order this item, based on a question from the faq at skeeball.com:

I Own An Older Model skeeball Alley. Does skeeball Still Offer Parts Or Technical Assistance For These Older Machines?

Answer: Yes! Although the Classic skeeball Alley that is currently manufactured by skeeball has many upgrades, we still stock and sell new parts for your older machines. All of our Customer Service Representatives are trained to handle any type of technical assistance you may require.

cica

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2004, 01:57:28 pm »
Make a giant number display out of the crappiest old PC and TV set you can find.  

I wouldn't even bother with a pc or a monitor.  There are small programmable chips known as basic stamps made by Parallax.  http://www.parallax.com  These chips have enough inputs and outputs to drive a display and keep score.  If you know how to program in BASIC, I'm sure they'd work for you.

-Tom

BigBri

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2004, 02:54:57 pm »
That would be cool, Cica.  On the other hand, i already have an existing computer and monitor...
Here's another q - Can you bend cork?

paigeoliver

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2004, 10:11:22 pm »
Used Skee Balls are SOMETIMES pricey, but they really  aren't that bad, they are only a fraction of the cost of actually building one. I have seen them go in the several hundred dollar range at auctions.

You see the thing about Skee Ball machines is this.

Everyplace that WOULD operate them, ALREADY has them.

The off place that for some reason wants them, but doesn't have them, is going to want a whole wall of them, not just one unit.

Route operators rarely use ticket games, since that requires a manned redemption center.

So basically, your only competition when buying these is other home owners, and the (rare), location owner who is smart enough to see the value in a spare machine.
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usedelectronics

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2004, 02:38:12 am »
Ok. I've slapped together a quick web site just to get some pictures up.

http://tinyurl.com/2kekr

ooohhh Please, please, please....
Could you take measurements of the machine and post them to your site...
I'd be eternally grateful! :)

BigBri

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2004, 09:08:04 am »
Went to the arcade yesterday.  It does seem like some type of leathery material.(ramp)  I was thinking maybe you can use a thin sheet of rubber.  That would  absord the balls.  Any other ideas?

RandyT

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2004, 09:17:37 am »
Here's another q - Can you bend cork?

Did a quick bit of research on the cork carpet.  It seems the stuff was way more popular about 50 or more years ago.  Used for flooring and similar to linoleum (not the PVC rolled flooring, but actual linoleum....you know, the stuff they made you carve patterns in for art class so you could "rubber stamp" pictures)

The material is finely ground cork that is heated.  The natural resin comes out of the cork and acts as a binder, which creates a tough, leather-like, homogeneous mass.  And from what I can gather, is rolled out to about 6mm thick.

It doesn't seem to be very easy to find, nor inexpensive.  So I've been looking for alternative materials.

RandyT
« Last Edit: May 30, 2004, 09:19:04 am by RandyT »

Wade

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Re:What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2004, 11:19:24 am »
You guys are crazy!  I have seen a pair of these relatively modern ones with big LED displays for $275 each I think.  It might have been $300.  I would probably buy one now but at the time I had just bought my house.

They might be thousands new, but I really don't think they typically cost that much.  I've even seen them on ebay (you know how high most things on ebay are) and they were only $750 or so.

Totally not worth building!  Unless of course, you have time and money to burn.  I'd rather burn a few hundred and save myself the hundreds of hours reinventing the wheel.  Not to mention, by the time you finished building one, you'd probably have spent a lot more than if you'd just bought one.  Seems like every project I get into costs me a lot more than I planned.

Wade

unclet

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Re: What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2004, 09:18:16 am »
I have a Skeeball machine which I bought and fixed up for a total of $600.   Sometimes the local arcade auctions have these machines for even cheaper.

Check out my SkeeBall machine at my website.....

http://unclet.arcadecontrols.com

GGKoul

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Re: What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2004, 06:09:22 am »
ebay shoppin! everyone loves it!

ok heres the low down for aussie users
forget it. no in in australia sells it on e-bay and don't even think about buyin it in american e-bay.

oh my god! $1000 bucks? (double for australia) $2000 (plus postage, money exchange) $2100+ shite! i guess i'll have to forget it? oh well i can always make it my next project! now to convince my parents......
Why are all the good, cheap lowboys in brisbane?

unclet

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Re: What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2004, 12:36:00 pm »
Took some measurements from my machine to get you started .....


Ixliam

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Re: What about build your own skee ball?
« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2004, 12:42:40 pm »
Any way we can lock this thread and move it to the other Skee-Ball one ?

On the ebay auction above, notice it is for a replacement this fellow designed to retrofit the old machines. What I would like to see/build/retrofit is have the old classic look, but newer circuitry on the inside. If you wanted to interface a PC, a very cheap one could handle things (provided you ran a small version of linux/dos with a custom program). You could use the electronic circuit I posted earlier as a counter, then interface to the PC using keyboard hack/ipac and have it control the ball release, sound effects. That is, if you want to go that route. I'm all for keeping it simple, though a 286-386 could handle something as simple as this.

Brad

  
 

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