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Author Topic: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)  (Read 143990 times)

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thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #200 on: May 28, 2011, 12:41:24 am »
Nephaste- I'd welcome you to the world of Skeeball, but considering I haven't rolled a game on my own machine in months I don't want to jinx you.. haha.  That sounds like an awesome deal you got though!

Ond- I consider that a huge compliment coming from you... honestly your build serves as a big inspiration for me (and no doubt others) in terms of the incredible craftsmanship.  I'm also very thankful that you detailed your painting methods the other day, and I plan on using your instructions as a reference for the paint job on this thing.

DNA Dan- Nah, no coin mech or tickets on this machine, although if I were to ever build another I would probably go for that REALLY old school Skeeball look (the brownish one that was before the LED scoring and has rounded legs) and include both coin mech and tickets.  Everyone that I tell about this machine always asks if it shoots out tickets, but I really can't justify the addition to myself (plus, I don't want to have to provide prizes in case someone actually wants to redeem the damn things).

I know I've been pretty vague and lacking details/pics in my latest updates, but I have been working on this machine almost every single night and making LOTS of progress.  I'm hoping to start the first coat of primer this weekend, so I'll get some pics up here when that happens.  A lot of my recent work has been fixing my previous laziness and doing things the right way instead of the fast way.  Thanks for the interest (and patience!) with this project!

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

extendedplayarcade

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #201 on: May 28, 2011, 08:26:10 am »
simply awesome

I wish i had the room and the talent.  Great job.  Next a mini bowling alley??

mgb

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #202 on: May 28, 2011, 12:19:48 pm »
First off, I gotta say again that this is one of the coolest most daring projects I have seen.
Great job  :applaud:

If you haven't solved the score switch issue yet, how about these optical switches.
http://www.baytekgames.com/scripts/view.asp?pid=3325
They are from Baytek. These particular ones are for Basket Fever alley bowlers. They're a very simple board layout that would be very easy to modify. Theyre about $23 a piece
the balls used in Basket Fever are the same size as a standard skeeball.

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #203 on: June 02, 2011, 12:11:43 am »
So this Memorial Day weekend was pretty damn crappy.  It started out normal enough, and I was able to get some bondo on the ramp to fill in the screw holes and make the hop ramp even smoother.  Then on Sunday morning my dog came down with "hemorrhagic gastroenteritis" (which is a scientific way to say that he started pooping large amounts of blood) and we had to take him to the emergency vet.  They still aren't sure what caused it, but after a couple of nerve-wracking days at the vet and a few more being pampered at home he is on the mend.  Needless to say, Skeeball hasn't been high on my priority list for the last few days.  He has been acting more like himself since Tuesday but he hadn't pooped since he got back from the vet.  Well today he had his first solid, normal poop.  After much more celebration than I ever thought I would have over dog poop, I figured I would hit the garage and sand out some stress that has built up over this past week.

I got the ramp completely sanded and smooth, and it is finally done and ready for primer.  The scoring area just needs to have the gutter area reinforced with some screws, and I'm still waiting on OSH to get those knobs delivered so I can finish mounting the net.  The last thing that I need to figure out before this thing is ready for paint is how I am going to mount the dimmer switch.  I plan on having a slider on the back to control the brightness of the lights that shine down on the scoring area, and literally once I have it mounted I am completely done and ready for paint.

As bad as this weekend was, it could have been a lot worse and I'm thankful for that.  Tomorrow, the gutter gets completed and I'll hopefully figure out how I am going to do the dimmer.  The finish line is in sight!

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

javeryh

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #204 on: June 02, 2011, 09:20:48 am »
This project is outstanding.  I hope your dog is OK.   :cheers:

Firebat138

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #205 on: June 02, 2011, 01:31:47 pm »
One....  I feel for the dog buddy...  Nothing worse than one of my pets sick and frankly sometimes we can do nothing....

Ballpark figure:  I was showing this link to a friend of mine and he was wondering how much one would have invested in the materials to build a skeeball machine... Perhaps not as awesome as yours, but similar?  keep it up...
Click below to see my Metal Gear/Splinter Cell Machine... http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=108360.0

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #206 on: June 05, 2011, 11:44:23 pm »
Thanks for the kind words about my dog guys... he's doing great and after he's done with his meds I think he'll be 100% back to normal.

Got a lot done over the weekend, but didn't get to priming.  Found some spots that needed a quick touch up with bondo before I do the final sanding of this thing, so I patched those along with installing the light dimmer and gutting the scoreboard area so I can blast paint in there.  Tomorrow I sand the machine completely and Tuesday the first coat of primer goes on the entire machine (although the panels on the ramp sides have already gotten 1 coat of primer and they will receive 1 more coat before paint).  The weather forecast looks rainy early in the week but supposedly gets hot towards the end, which I'm stoked about.

Quick question... has anyone here painted a piano hinge with any success, and if so how did you do it?  I think the hinge holding the scoreboard would look better matching the frame, but I'm afraid that spraypainting it will gum it up and end up looking like poop.  Any help would be appreciated!

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

DNA Dan

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #207 on: June 06, 2011, 01:12:26 am »
I spray painted both my piano hinges flat black, then shot some satin lacquer over them. (Using spray paint in a can.) The finish is nice and smooth with no hindrance to the function of it at all. You'd have to shoot a ton of paint on there before it gets gummed up and chips off. Give it a shot, just don't overdo the paint.

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #208 on: June 07, 2011, 01:09:37 am »
Sanded and primed the machine tonight... gonna let the primer dry until Wednesday most likely since it's pretty cold and humid out.  I've primed the tops of the ramp sides and endcaps twice, and the rest of the machine once.  If Wednesday looks like it's not going to rain, I'll start spraying the first coat of paint (only doing two coats of paint... my finances and patience are running thin).  Tomorrow I paint the bolts, light fixtures, and piano hinge (thanks for the info DNA Dan!).  Pictures at this point wouldn't really serve a purpose... the machine looks like it has for a while now, it's just white and in pieces.  I'll start again with the pics as soon as I get some paint going.

I am thinking of doing something different with the buttons that control the menus and start the game.  I'm not super happy with the previous layout using standard Happ pushbuttons, and I really only need three buttons (up, down, and select).  Here's an old pic from a long time ago of the area that I am talking about.



Anyone have ideas on how to make the controls super amazing?  The colors of the machine will be black, granite, and solar yellow.

Firebat- Sorry I forgot to respond to your question about cost... I'm guessing ~$700 if you know what you're buying... I've probably spent considerably more than that over the last 2+ years but I've also been doing this through trial and error.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 01:31:53 am by thatpurplestuff »

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

mgb

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #209 on: June 07, 2011, 07:49:12 am »

BadMouth

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #210 on: June 07, 2011, 09:55:58 am »
You could use triangles for up and down, with a rectangular 8-liner button in the middle with an insert that says select.
You can print the insert on regular paper and make it look however you want. 
I did this with my driving cab and it added some much needed style to the plain buttons.

and they are illuminated. ;D

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #211 on: June 07, 2011, 11:22:27 am »
BadMouth- I had actually considered triangles, but for some reason I was thinking that I was going to make all three buttons triangles.  I love your idea of using triangles in conjunction with another style button and I think I'm going to go for it.  In that pic, are those buttons the low profile ones that Happ sells here -> http://www.happcontrols.com/pushbuttons/710004tx.htm ?  If not, would you mind telling me where you snagged them?  Also, if they are the low profile buttons are they a pain to install or is it just a matter of drilling a hole? Thanks!

mgb- I actually thought long and hard on those since they are pretty snazzy looking, but I had a hard time finding people that still sold those buttons plus I was a bit worried that it might be confusing to use.  Thanks for the idea though!

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

Firebat138

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #212 on: June 07, 2011, 11:28:11 am »
Sounds good...  please have it ready for pickup...  I will paypal the $700 upon receipt.  :-)

Firebat- Sorry I forgot to respond to your question about cost... I'm guessing ~$700 if you know what you're buying... I've probably spent considerably more than that over the last 2+ years but I've also been doing this through trial and error.
[/quote]
Click below to see my Metal Gear/Splinter Cell Machine... http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=108360.0

BadMouth

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #213 on: June 07, 2011, 11:44:04 am »
If not, would you mind telling me where you snagged them?  Also, if they are the low profile buttons are they a pain to install or is it just a matter of drilling a hole?

Fleabay via Hong Kong: http://cgi.ebay.com/Arcade-Video-Game-Triangle-Push-Button-Switch-Lamp-LED-/270758016678?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f0a6f76a6

I've never used the triangles.  From diagrams on there, it looks like if you drilled the standard size hole, they would sit level with the 8-liners, but the bezel would be elevated up off your rail.  Looks like you'd have drill a larger hole part way down to get them to sit flush(low profile).  (the 8-liners aren't low profile)
The triangles look like they're made the same way as the 8-liners, so you could probably put labels in them also.

They make big round lighted buttons too that might look good in the middle, but I don't know if they're low profile.

mgb

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #214 on: June 07, 2011, 08:28:06 pm »
mgb- I actually thought long and hard on those since they are pretty snazzy looking, but I had a hard time finding people that still sold those buttons plus I was a bit worried that it might be confusing to use.  Thanks for the idea though!

Yeah Badmouth's idea is much better.

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #215 on: June 08, 2011, 01:31:43 am »
Got quite a bit painted today... still need to paint the net frame and the scoring area but I've put a coat of paint on everything else including all of the bolts.  I'm actually happy with the way everything looks after the first coat, so I'm probably only going to put a second coat on the side covers.

Bought some buttons too... yellow rectangles and red circle.




For those of you that take pleasure in the misfortune of others, apparently I clicked the wrong shipping method with Happ and I didn't find out that I was paying $26 in shipping for my buttons until I just checked my email.  I am literally paying more in shipping than I am on the actual buttons.  Needless to say, the wife is super happy about it!

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

Dazz

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #216 on: June 08, 2011, 05:33:49 am »
Doh!  That sucks...  I personally NEVER order directly from Happ anymore.  I've found that they really ream you on shipping and stocking fees and crap like that...  You should check out arcadeemulator.net.  This site is run by BYOAC member divemaster127.  He carry's both the Happ and Ultimarc product lines and seems to always have tons of parts in stock.  If you don't see it on his site you can send him a PM and he can usually get it.



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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #217 on: June 08, 2011, 10:51:24 am »
You should check out arcadeemulator.net.  This site is run by BYOAC member divemaster127.  He carry's both the Happ and Ultimarc product lines and seems to always have tons of parts in stock.

+1 Just ordered a Happ part from him this morning.  Under $6 shipping.
(and the part was cheaper than what I've been able to find scratched up used ones for)

$26 shipping for a few buttons ?!?!?! Can you cancel?
I would have waited for the $3 ones from Hong Kong, lol.

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #218 on: June 08, 2011, 11:41:07 am »
Thanks for the info guys!  I will absolutely check him out the next time I order something.  I would have paid about half as much if I had gone through him instead of Happ.  Live and learn!

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #219 on: June 10, 2011, 01:19:15 am »
So I still need to put another coat of yellow on the tops, but I couldn't resist putting everything together for the ramp to see what it looks like.  I chose a matte granite color for the outer sides, a glossy back for the inner sides, and a solar yellow for the top.  I goofed at one point and crushed one of the leds for the ramp, but luckily it's on the end of the string so it's not really noticeable.  I'll most likely end up fixing it just because I will end up fixating on it.  Otherwise I couldn't be happier with the way this thing is looking... the buttons look much better than I expected and I'm really itching to play this thing!

I'm going to Lake Tahoe for the weekend so I won't be able to start the scoring area until Sunday, but almost everything is done for that section so it should literally just be a matter of putting the parts together and attaching the solar yellow t-molding.  The end is in sight!















Oh yeah, I haven't painted the legs yet because I 'm not sure how I want to do them.  They are going to be black, but I haven't decided if I am going to just bondo and paint them or if I should put nicer wood over the top of them.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 01:40:34 am by thatpurplestuff »

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

Ond

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #220 on: June 10, 2011, 02:55:59 am »
Great work, a nice pro looking finish and the choice of colors really do give it vibrant arcade atmosphere!  I want to see a video of this thing in action when it's all done yeah?  ;D

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #221 on: June 10, 2011, 10:55:53 am »
Very nice work! You're almost there! I can't imagine how many times playing this has kept you up at night!

Looking at the side profile, I would suggest you go with a "V" or triangular type leg. It just seems like it would match the profile better than a straight leg. I am thinking perhaps straight where the end is, but angled out maybe 60 degrees toward the middle. This would probably give a more "retro" feel to it, but I don't know what look you're after. It could be something as simple as a false overlay that is painted the same grey as the sides, or even yellow to complement the top, making the leg look a lot heftier than it really is. Whatever you decide, I am sure it will be great!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 10:57:41 am by DNA Dan »

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #222 on: June 10, 2011, 10:58:35 am »
Very nice work! You're almost there! I can't imagine how many times playing this has kept you up at night!

Looking at the side profile, I would suggest you go with a "V" or triangular type leg. It just seems like it would match the profile better than a straight leg. I am thinking perhaps straight where the end is, but angled out maybe 60 degrees toward the middle. This would probably give a more "retro" feel to it, but I don't know what look you're after. It could be something as simple as a false overlay that is painted the same grey as the sides, or even yellow to complement the top, making the leg look a lot heftier than it really is. Whatever you decide, I am sure it will be great!

I think DNA Dan has the right idea here with the "V" leg.
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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #223 on: June 10, 2011, 11:10:21 am »
Wow, this is looking reallly nice.
You got some skillz


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thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #224 on: June 10, 2011, 11:22:43 am »
Thanks DNA Dan, I love the idea of the triangular legs!  It will absolutely fit my more retro theme (still playing with the idea of some retro racing-like stripes along the sides) and will be a lot more fun to make than just bondo'ing the chipped up wood and throwing paint on it.  Thanks for the kind words everyone! (Ond, I'll definitely shoot some video once this thing is up and running!)
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 11:28:51 am by thatpurplestuff »

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #225 on: June 11, 2011, 12:54:12 am »
This thing looks great.  The colors look awsome.  I still want plans if you release them.  If you're feeling nice you could just give me the original.   :lol

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #226 on: June 12, 2011, 04:15:18 am »
Wow. That looks amazing, great choice of colors. I just noticed the underside has some ground effects lighting going on too. Can't wait to see you finish this, what a nice job!!

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #227 on: June 19, 2011, 04:28:18 pm »
Wow! this thing is so awesome, I only wish I can find the time and skills to build one like this one day, skee ball Rocks!

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #228 on: June 20, 2011, 01:16:49 pm »
The button layout looks perfect

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #229 on: June 22, 2011, 03:58:21 pm »
Looks Great, Im new to this forum but when do you think your Software will be available? The onlything stopping me from making my own is not having the software, do you think you could spare a copy of your software or a copy of Jumpball software?

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #230 on: June 22, 2011, 07:08:55 pm »
The little dome “wall protectors” work great for the two lowest rings… they knock the ball right into the hole every time.


The stock bumpers on the two I just picked up are beat to hell. They look like they may even damage the balls. Been thinking about ideas for replacements, and I'm glad I just re-read through this thread, those (although bigger) look great!

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #231 on: June 29, 2011, 12:22:37 am »
I've got the net bolts installed so the net can be attached on and removed easily now.  I still haven't figured out how I want to finish off the netting edges (right now they are just cut with scissors and left dangling), but once I figure that out I will clean up the net and make it sit tighter against the net frame.  Also, OSH has completely dropped the ball and I never got my knobs that I special ordered.  I kept getting the runaround for over a month, so I had them place another order in hopes that they actually come through this time.  Here's a pic of the correct knob... I'm using crappier knobs for 3 of the bolts until OSH comes through for me.



The machine from the front... I haven't finalized the new marquee background for the scoreboard so it is black right now.







One thing that I didn't plan but is frickin awesome is that with these black shiny skeeballs, the ramp lights create a near halo on the balls as they are rolled.  It looks really nice in person... once the guts are in place and the machine is playable I'm hoping to catch it on video.







And here's a quick screengrab from the latest game I'm adding... High Skees!  Basically the game will randomly pick holes for the player to hit, and it will display which hole to hit on both the screen as well as illuminate the hole.  I actually traced out that treasure chest for jimmy2x2x's Treasure Chest cocktail cab... I'd been sitting on my pirate themed game for a while so I figured might as well bite the bullet and add it! It's still a work in progress, so the final game will look fairly different.



Hoping to get the computer parts put back in this week, and hoping to make the leg covers this weekend.  Can't wait to play some of the new game modes and see how they work!

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

dfmaverick

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #232 on: June 29, 2011, 01:03:15 am »
Lookin' sweet.

Would love to have the room to play skeeball.

Nephasth

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #233 on: June 29, 2011, 07:22:15 am »
Are you still using the stock LED controller that came with your strips for your ramp lighting? If so, where do you have it located on the machine?

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #234 on: June 29, 2011, 11:21:27 am »
Nephaste- Using the stock LED controller... once I get everything working and finished I plan on using a solid state relay to control the ramp lighting via the Skeeball software.  Right now it is just mounted towards the back of the ramp with the IR receiver slightly poking out from the side.  Glad to help with the bumper idea... the majority of this build has been trial and error but those bumpers have worked great from the get-go!

Balak95- Still no ETA on my software... I am still adding and tweaking things and I won't really be able to start testing it until the machine is fully up and running.  I may end up releasing a trimmed down version with just basic Skeeball functionality sooner rather than later, though.  As long as you purchase a GPWiz from Randy at GroovyGameControls, I'm sure he'd be willing to send you a copy of his Jumpball software.  It's not really my place to distribute the software that he created.  I can say that it works great and I used it for a long time on this machine before I wrote my own.

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

Entropy42

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #235 on: July 08, 2011, 05:57:16 pm »
Just wanted to say that this is an amazing project.  I'm actively looking for an old skee ball machine in MI right now to try and do some of the things you've done with yours (not that into, or confident about, the woodworking aspect of this project).  Really looking forward to seeing the software you've made whenever you get it done.  The display screens in your screenshots look great, far beyond my artistic talents :-)

thatpurplestuff

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #236 on: July 12, 2011, 11:45:25 am »
 :censored:

A small snag... after installing all of the computer parts and hooking the speakers back up, I discovered that the dimmer switch causes horrible buzzing in the speakers.  When the lights are at full brightness the buzz is minimal, but as the lights dim the noise gets louder and louder to where it is absolutely unbearable.  My fix for this so far has been to simply remove the dimmer plug from the equation and plug the lights in directly.  This is a bummer since I liked the idea of controlling the brightness of the playfield, plus now I have this huge dimmer installed on the back that doesn't do anything.  The speaker power supply and the dimmer were plugged in directly next to each other, so I may try creating some distance to see if that helps.  Any advice would be awesome!

I had a spare pc that I was planning on building a cocktail cab with at some point, but decided to use it for Skeeball this past weekend.  The old machine was a bit laggy sometimes, so I figured while I'm doing this I might as well do it right.  Installed all of the new pc components, which took a while because things were already tight and certain parts were sized differently than the original parts.  The machine is running the software great now although still not playable (need to clean up some stuff beneath the scoring area) and things are looking good.  We've got friends coming from out of town this weekend, so I've given myself a hard deadline of Thursday to get the machine 100% functional.  I'll snap some pics tonight of the newly laid out pc guts and hopefully beneath the scoring area if I get that completed tonight.

OSH still hasn't come through with my knobs, but my amazing wife was nice enough to go out of her way to two different store locations while she was out of town this weekend.  She was able to get the rest of the knobs that I needed, so clamping the net on to the machine is officially sweet looking.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2011, 11:48:24 am by thatpurplestuff »

So once again, we find that evil of the past seeps into the present like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire.

Entropy42

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #237 on: July 12, 2011, 01:18:46 pm »
The buzzing could be interference caused by the switching in the dimmer.  Most modern dimmers use a rapid pulse to simulate dimmer light.  i.e. they turn the power on and off 100-1000 times a second.  This can cause that buzzing sound, as the lights or something else in the circuit will vibrate at that frequency.  Usually you will only hear the buzzing across the bottom of the tuning range.  My ceiling fan lights are light this, and are annoying unless they are 50% brightness or higher.  If moving the wires away doesn't work, you could switching to a resistive dimmer, which won't give you any power savings, but will eliminate the rapid switching and should eliminate the noise.  Depending on how much power is "dimmed" you will need to make sure the cooling of the resistive dimmer is sufficient, since it is basically turning all the non-light power into heat.

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #238 on: October 20, 2011, 08:54:37 pm »
Alright,  I have this page bookmarked and find myself checking it for an update so often that I think I have lost like three hours of my life since your last post
                         :badmood:    
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 08:56:42 pm by Swillie »

Jammin0

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Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
« Reply #239 on: October 21, 2011, 03:40:30 pm »
:censored:

A small snag... after installing all of the computer parts and hooking the speakers back up, I discovered that the dimmer switch causes horrible buzzing in the speakers.  When the lights are at full brightness the buzz is minimal, but as the lights dim the noise gets louder and louder to where it is absolutely unbearable.  My fix for this so far has been to simply remove the dimmer plug from the equation and plug the lights in directly.  This is a bummer since I liked the idea of controlling the brightness of the playfield, plus now I have this huge dimmer installed on the back that doesn't do anything.  The speaker power supply and the dimmer were plugged in directly next to each other, so I may try creating some distance to see if that helps.  Any advice would be awesome!

I had a spare pc that I was planning on building a cocktail cab with at some point, but decided to use it for Skeeball this past weekend.  The old machine was a bit laggy sometimes, so I figured while I'm doing this I might as well do it right.  Installed all of the new pc components, which took a while because things were already tight and certain parts were sized differently than the original parts.  The machine is running the software great now although still not playable (need to clean up some stuff beneath the scoring area) and things are looking good.  We've got friends coming from out of town this weekend, so I've given myself a hard deadline of Thursday to get the machine 100% functional.  I'll snap some pics tonight of the newly laid out pc guts and hopefully beneath the scoring area if I get that completed tonight.

OSH still hasn't come through with my knobs, but my amazing wife was nice enough to go out of her way to two different store locations while she was out of town this weekend.  She was able to get the rest of the knobs that I needed, so clamping the net on to the machine is officially sweet looking.
Just thinking out loud, I'm too lazy to go back and read through your entire post even though your build looks awesome.  Are you talking about dimming on your ramp LED's?  What about an inline potentiometer, you shouldn't have to turn down the current too much to get a lot of dimming.  Open the potentiometer back up to 0 resistance and you should have full brightness.  The other option is a PWM circuit to pulse the LED's, I've seen simple ones for $10 or so on ebay.  I assume these lights are running off of the 110V AC?  Both these options would require you to hack into the LED lights a tiny bit.