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Main => Project Announcements => Topic started by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:32:46 am

Title: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:32:46 am
Well, Iíve been looking for an affordable used Skeeball machine for over 6 months and Iíve had no luck.  Itís time to build one.

This thread is going to be a little strange at first, since I actually started building and documenting this thing in early March.  I didnít want to be one of those people that announce a project and then drop off the face of the planet, so I figured Iíd get past the point of no return before I posted any of my progress to be viewed by fellow zany arcade enthusiasts.  Iím nervous about this thing getting to the point of being playable but not finished, because thatís what happened with my MAME cabinet that is essentially a 2x4 frame with a control panel screwed on the front.  It was (is!) going to be a beautiful birch cab, and then I loaded up Rolling Thunder.  That was 5 years ago.

Throughout this build, I hope to make a list of all of the things that Iíve found that worked well and all of the things that, well, didnít.  My design is based solely off of the information that Iíve picked up from helpful posters here (UncleT, RandyT, Ixliam, Jayhawk, and plenty of others), so I figured I would try to help out any future builders that are crazy enough to build one of these things.  Anyway, hereís the build log so far.  Iím going to post each build day by itselfÖ otherwise my first post would be ridiculously long.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:33:56 am
Day 0 (well, a few weeks of contemplating)

Iím going to start this project by creating the two parts that I feel will be the most difficult: the rings and the sloped area at the end of the ramp (from here on known as the hop-ramp).  If I can get these parts done and looking great, I think the rest of the machine will come together easily.  Yes, I am aware that I probably just jinxed myself.

Iím planning on using 4Ē white rubber wall base for the rings (ďBabyís BreathĒ is the Flexco off-white color description, which makes about as much sense to me as ďFrost Glacier FreezeĒ as a Gatorade flavor.  Seriously, how many Gatorade flavor names are actually just different ways of describing plain water?) and Iím planning on using a similar technique to the one Ixliam did to create the ramp, only I plan on using dowels and a router table to hopefully speed up the process.  It may work well, it may fail spectacularlyÖ time will tell.

Iíve emailed RandyT at GroovyGameGear inquiring about his JumpBall software and he was incredibly quick getting back to me.  Unfortunately right now the software doesnít work with the newer GP-Wiz boards (the kind I currently have), but he kept my hope alive by saying that he might modify the code to work with the newer boards.  I would love to have a LEDWiz+GP in this thing to control things like the ball release, ticket dispenser (maybe), and ring lighting (maybe).  Anyway, Randy was very helpful and has high quality merchandise over at his site.  If any of you havenít dealt with him, you should.  And no, he didnít pay me to say that.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:38:32 am
3/6/09
Purchased molding.  No turning back, although Iíve made some seriously fugly rings. I didnít even bother taking pics of the finished ring from my first attempt because it was so awful.  I had imagined that using a round metal base would perfectly stabilize the rings while also providing a perfect way to attach them to the board.  I was very wrong.  The rings ended up making just enough of a gap between the two layers of rubber so that the pieces never quite lined up right and had gaps spread throughout.

 This wall base has potential, but everything Iíve tried so far has looked like hammered dog poop.  Iíve found myself just staring at this rubber thinking ďDamn you, rubber wall base.Ē
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:39:55 am
3/10/09
I own a rivet gun.  I brought it home with high expectations, and so far Iíve made another badly warped, ugly, and essentially worthless 100 ring.  $25 well spent!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:42:08 am
Thursday 3/12/09
Sometimes, it's the most simple solutions that are overlooked (at least for me).  It's not the most aesthetically pleasing solution, but I've found that by simply coiling the rubber molding and then riveting it in place I am able to achieve a near perfect circle without experiencing any warping.  I've decided that I'm going to suck it up and have some overlap in my rings... doing it so there is no overlap seems to be more trouble than it is worth, and quite frankly I was not able to get even one ring to look right without an overlap.  I've got rings that I think look pretty good, and more importantly I think will play great.  The only drawback from this method is that Iím guessing the rings will get dirty a lot faster than standard rings, because the inner part of the ring that the balls will be rolling on isnít the smooth surface but the textured side that is supposed to be glued to the wall.

Iím also the proud new owner of a 4Ē hole saw.  Weíve got friends coming into town this weekend, so the project will be put on hold until sometime next week.  Onward and upward!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:44:02 am
Saturday 3/14/09
We played makeshift Skeeball tonight while drinking beers with our buddy Sean.  We were taking turns bouncing rubber dog toys into the rings, and it was surprisingly fun.  It actually motivated me even more to get this thing built.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:45:06 am
Monday 3/16/09
My 3Ē white birch balls just got here today, and Iím stoked.  These things are going to work great. 

The wood for the rest of the Skeeball machine was expensive.  $130 later and I *hope* Iíve got all the wood I need to get the frame of this thing built.  I honestly think I winced a bit when I ran my card at Home Depot.  Surprisingly, the Girlfriend-Outrage-Meter was only about a 4 when I told her how much I spentÖ I was expecting at LEAST a 6.5.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:45:59 am
Thursday 3/19/09
I have the middle holes for the score section drilled out, but I donít know if Iím just not reading the plans correctly or what but I canít nail down the exact location for the 100 holes.  Tomorrow is Friday, and I really want to make some headway this weekend.

Since I didnít get much done today, I figured Iíd write about what would like to get done at some point.  I would love to get RandyTís software running on this thing, but at some point I would also like to take this machine to another level.  Having a 2-player game on one ramp would be the first thing I would like to make.  Another option that I thought would be pretty killer is to wire each hole with RGB leds, and then use an LEDWiz to control the lighting effects.  In this manner, I could have a bonus mode in Skeeball, where every once in a while a random hole would light up and if you hit it the ring your score counts for double or something.  For those familiar with the dart game 301, I also thought it would be cool to make a skeeball version (310?) that would have players competing to see who could be first to get the exact score of 310Ö if you go over you lose whatever points you rolled.  Not sure how this would work with the ball release, but Iím just thinking out loud.  This is also all big talk from someone who was never a good coder, and hasnít done anything coding related in over 6 years.  Weíll see.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:46:58 am
Sunday 3/22/09
So I spent all day Sunday drawing, redrawing, and otherwise agonizing over the dimensions of the part of the frame that holds the scoring section.  I knew that the scoring area is attached at roughly a 45 degree angle, but each time I drew out the frame my angle never ended up anywhere close to that.  I was at the end of my rope and I figured I might as well try to get a hold of UncleT and ask for clarification on a few items. 

This guy is awesome.

Just a brief timeline for youÖ I sent him an email at nearly 11pm and he responded within 5 hours.  He was so quick that I didnít even have time to respond before I left for work.  On my lunch, I wrote a reply asking him about the areas that I was having difficulty with and by 6:30pm I had the answers in my mailbox, along with a zip file containing 11 pictures of the areas I asked him about.  Iíll say it again: This guy is awesome.

So anyway, here I am on Monday night messing with Sketchup and I think Iíve got the angles ready to rock.  Iím pretty awful using Sketchup, so I think Iím just going to use it to get the basic shapes of the frame and then just draw out everything on the MDF that Iíll be using. 
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:49:57 am
Thursday 3/26/09
I bought fake wood vinyl for the ramp and scoring section.  Some Skee fans may think itís a bad idea, but for my budget it was by far the best option.  To get the legit cork is upwards of $150, and I spent just over $30 and it will cover both the ramp AND scoring sections.  It is cleanable, padded underneath, and will be perfect as a cushion and sound-dampener.

On to the ramp.  I was expecting the creation of the hop-ramp to be surprisingly unpleasant, and I wasnít pleasantly surprised. 

Getting the initial curve wasnít too bad after tracing out UncleTís pictures and then plotting them on vinyl.  I have access to a vinyl plotter through work so this may not be feasible for many people, but it was really nice just sticking the exact angle to the wood and then cutting around it.  Finished it with a sanding and I ended up with a nice template to flush trim with.  Now the fun part.

Iíve logged 3 hours with my jigsaw / router table and Iím a little over halfway done.  I lied earlierÖ this part of the build is not fun at all.  I have a garage covered in a fine toxic dust and Iím the proud owner of a broken flush trim bit.  Iím not sure if I was pushing against the bearing too hard while guiding it along the table or if it is because I have relatively cheap Denali bits.  Either way, breaking a bit the first time it is used is not good.  Also, wearing the face mask and eye protection for that long was really smothering and I was dying by the end of it. 

The good side of all of this is that it was more time consuming than difficult.  Cutting out a rough cut with the jigsaw and then running it through the router table with a template attached was actually really simple.  If it wasnít for the nasty, dangerous dust that MDF creates this technique would be awesome.  One thing I would do differently (I will do it for the last 11 pieces) is that I was really lazy in lining up the dowel holes, and it actually has made a few pieces a TINY bit off.  A light sanding will make everything even, but if I hadnít tried to save time with the dowel holes these things would all be perfect.  Anyway, 15 down and 11 more to cut!

My girlfriend and I are going to a surprise party in Sacramento on Friday night, but Iím hoping to have the hop-ramp done on Saturday and maybe (?) make some headway on the actual frame of this beast on Sunday. 
Title: Re: That's How I Roll
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:51:24 am
Saturday 3/28/09
Iím finally done with the hop ramp.  Cutting these pieces was really repetitive.  I actually found myself kinda zoning out a few times, which is not good when youíre operating a machine that has sharp metal spinning at over 25,000rpm.  After every couple cuts I started just walking around the yard for a bit to get some air and clear my head.

In retrospect, I REALLY should have taken the extra time to make sure my pilot holes were dead-on.  The time I saved speeding through that step isnít worth the time Iím going to spend sanding this damn thing to get it evened out.  Either way, once Iíve smoothed it out and the vinyl flooring is placed over the ramp I think itís going to be perfect.

I didnít use wood glue to secure the pieces together, but I donít think it will be necessary as they seem to be very snug as they are.  Iím also not planning on gluing the vinyl down, just laying it over the surface and then clamping down the top and bottom to hold it in place.  Weíll see how that works on the sloped area.

One last thingÖ after further inspection I donít think my flush trim bit actually broke on Thursday.  The tiny little cap at the top of the bit that holds the bearing came off and I think it got sucked into the shop vac.  I already purchased another bit, but I just might brave the insides of my powdered-MDF-filled shop vac to see if I canít retrieve that little guy.

My buddy is coming over tomorrow to help out and Iím hoping to get the entire ramp at least cut out and who knows, maybe even halfway put together.

Thanks for reading my ramblings thus far.  From here on out, my posts will be current.  Also, if anyone has any suggestions on how to do things better/easier/whatever donít hesitate to chime in.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ivwshane on March 29, 2009, 04:27:27 am
Looking good! I think the extra game modes would be awesome!

I have a couple of questions though. Is there a reason why you didn't make a frame for the ramp and just lay 1/8 hardboard over it?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 01:45:32 pm
Hey ivwshane, thanks for taking interest in the project!  To be honest, I have zero experience in shaping wood like that and I thought the angle of the curve was too sharp to actually make by bending thin wood over a frame.  I could be totally wrong though, since like I said I really have no experience doing that.  I also considered taking the Bondo route but one of my friends who is in construction talked me out of it.  Not that he has anything against Bondo, he was just saying that I'd be sanding for hours trying to get the curve right. 

In the end, I'm very happy with what I ended up with but it WAS a huge pain in the butt.  Hopefully now with the scoring section and curve done, the rest of this build is going to seem easy... knock on wood.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Ralman on March 29, 2009, 03:28:12 pm
Looks great.

The ramp came out great!.  A lot of work for that, but it should be worth it. 

My guess is that it would hold up better than curved hardboard.  With the balls repeatedly hitting it I would worry the hardboard  would crack from the stress.  There will probably be less flex too from laminating all those pieces together.

And yeah, it looks like you just lost the screw and maybe a washer that was holding the bearing on the flush trim bit.

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 29, 2009, 04:00:56 pm
Thanks Ralman!  I actually found the washers (there was one larger one and one smaller one) along with the bearing, so I think if I can find that screw I'll have an extra working flush trim bit.  I'm 90% certain that I vacuumed that thing up thinking that it was a piece that broke off the bit, rather than just a part that unscrewed itself.  Scrounging through all that MDF dust makes me a bit nervous, though.

It's REALLY windy here today, so I think I'm gonna pass on cutting the frame today and spare my neighbors from having MDF particles flying all around the neighborhood.  I'm probably being overly cautious, but all of the cancer warnings on that stuff gives me the creeps.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: SavannahLion on March 30, 2009, 02:17:01 am
Thursday 3/12/09
Sometimes, it's the most simple solutions that are overlooked (at least for me).  It's not the most aesthetically pleasing solution, but I've found that by simply coiling the rubber molding and then riveting it in place I am able to achieve a near perfect circle without experiencing any warping.  I've decided that I'm going to suck it up and have some overlap in my rings... doing it so there is no overlap seems to be more trouble than it is worth, and quite frankly I was not able to get even one ring to look right without an overlap.  I've got rings that I think look pretty good, and more importantly I think will play great.  The only drawback from this method is that Iím guessing the rings will get dirty a lot faster than standard rings, because the inner part of the ring that the balls will be rolling on isnít the smooth surface but the textured side that is supposed to be glued to the wall.

I know you built those bands, but I was thinking about what you said and had a look at one of those smaller skeeball clones (actually, I have no idea if it's made by skeeball... moot point anyways). It's smaller than your standard long skeeball. I figure no more than eight or nine feet in length. Looking at how it was done, the circles are actually rolled end to end. Around the smaller scores, there's an outer band (with a score label) and it's either overlapped around the back forcing the ring to hold the shape. Another technique on the larger rings is a partial outer band that wraps over the joint.

The main ring is constructed of something similar to what you used. The outer bands look like they're comprised of a heavy gauge material. It looks to be of the material as thick gauge vinyl from the NOS CP overlays. Probably stiffer. The end to end joings look like some kind of staple and the outer bands are attached via rivets. Since each joint is staggered from any other layer, this appears to force the rings into um... true rings.

I know it doesn't apply to you since you got so far, but it's an observation I made of a skeeball-like machine in the wild and someone else might benefit from it.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ivwshane on March 30, 2009, 03:20:18 am
I don't know if this will help or not but here is a pic I found:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/valerierenee/286541694/sizes/o/
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Wade on March 30, 2009, 11:36:16 am
Looking pretty good.  If you want a free skeeball, there is one local to me in WV that doesn't work.  You could probably at least use a lot of the parts from it, like the metal side rails and coin mech area and stuff.

Wade
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on March 30, 2009, 01:23:25 pm
Looking good so far.  Great work on the hop-ramp.    :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 30, 2009, 04:25:03 pm
SavannahLion- Even though I already constructed the rings, I appreciate the input.  Hopefully this thread can serve as a source of information for anyone planning on building one of these things in the future.

Wade- Unfortunately I live in California, otherwise I would be ALL OVER that Skeeball machine.  I'm looking for the metal side rails, coin mechanism, and even a ball release solenoid if I could get hold of one.  I haven't seen anything like that for sale around here though.

ivwshane- Thanks for the photo... I went through Google images for over an hour grabbing Skeeball pics, so I might zip them all up at some point and post them here so other people can use them as references.

unclet- Thanks!  If it weren't for your measurements, I wouldn't even be attempting this build.  I thank you, but my girlfriend probably doesn't share the sentiment.. hahaha.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: urbecrisch on March 30, 2009, 11:37:35 pm
Can't wait to see the progress and end result.  Such a cool and unique idea.  I've been pricing some skeeball machines for my basement and I cannot justify spending the amount they go for.  When it's all said and done do you mind sharing the ballpark cost for it all?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 31, 2009, 11:47:43 pm
urbecrisch- I will absolutely share the total cost at the end of the project, and give a rough estimate as to how much I've spent so far.  In regards to justifying paying a lot for Skeeball, after this project is done I might write a tutorial on how to spend this much money on a project while not getting murdered by your significant other. 

Materials:
$130 for MDF, wood, etc
$30 for vinyl flooring
$30 for rubber molding
$50 for 3" birch balls
$40 for screws, bolts, washers, L-brackets, rivets, door stops, misc hardware

Tools:
$20 4" hole saw
$30 rivet gun

As many people have said in other threads, if you can get your hands on a used Skeeball machine that doesn't break your bank you should buy it and refurbish it.  This project is going to end up being more expensive than I anticipated, but I've got to say that it has also been really fun planning and working on so far.  I still haven't purchased anything for the legs, net or net frame, ball release solenoid, paint, or plexiglass.  I'm hoping to use some pushbuttons that I have lying around for the scoring triggers, but if those don't work I'll also have to shell out another ~$40 for Cherry wire switches.  Some of these purchases can wait, but the scoring, legs and net are pretty crucial to a fun game of Skeeball.

I got my cut lines drawn on to the MDF tonight, so I'm hoping to get the ramp frame cut out after work tomorrow.  If I do, pictures will follow.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 02, 2009, 12:11:06 am
I got the ramp sides cut today, sort of.  I cut 1 of the 4 exactly how it needs to be (my template), and I got the other 3 pieces cut roughly before it got to be too late to be making a ruckus in the neighborhood.  I don't want my neighbors to be eating dinner to the sounds of my circular saw and router, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to use my flush trim bit on the other 3 sides.  I wasn't sure exactly what size I wanted the rounded front edge to look like, so I just took my roll of duct tape and went for it.  I'm happy with the result.

I have a half-day at work tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get a lot done in terms of getting this thing looking like an actual Skeeball machine.

Quick question if anyone feels like helping me out: I am having trouble deciding on what to use for legs for this thing.  If you take a look at the Sketchup screenshot (I've only designed the side, so a 3-dimensional shot isn't available) you'll see the predicament I'm facing.  I'm building this in 2 sections: the ramp in one section and the scoring area in another, so I'm thinking I probably need to make each side have it's own set of 4 legs... otherwise I'll be the first person to die underneath a half-built Skeeball machine while trying to put it together.  This thing is going to be pretty heavy when all is said and done, so what are my options for legs?  I was hoping for some nice strong metal legs but I don't know where to find any, so I'm thinking my only affordable option is 2x6's or something.  Any ideas?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 07, 2009, 10:51:10 pm
After a really busy weekend with no time to work on Skeeball (other than flush-trimming the sides of both the ramp and scoring area), I finally got some structural work done on the ramp today.  I was actually hoping to get more done today, but after my really slow start this afternoon where absolutely nothing seemed to be coming together correctly, I'm really happy with how much I actually completed.  At one point while attaching the braces to the inner parts of the ramp, I attached and had to subsequently remove the wood 4 times.  After the rocky start, the Skeeball legs went on easy enough and I was able to get all of the supports screwed on and ready to go.

I decided to go with 4x4's for legs simply because I couldn't think of anything else that I knew would handle the weight of this thing once it is all together.  I may use the 1/4" thick mdf to cover the legs and paint them, or if that sucks I figure I can always chop them off and add replacements later on, but for now they'll do.

Tomorrow night, I'll hopefully get the hop-ramp attached, the legs for the other half attached, and the 1/4" mdf actually nailed down to the supports.  If I get that done early enough, I may even start putting together the scoring area.

As a side note, I was browsing craigslist today and felt like I got punched in the stomach when I saw TWO Skeeball machines being sold for $100 each in Santa Cruz, CA.  They are about 4 hours from my house, but I've already spent more on my build than it would have cost to buy both of them AND rent a UHaul to bring them home.  After the initial shock, it kinda motivated me to build this thing even more... at least that's what I'm telling myself haha.  If any of you are interested in Skeeball and live near there, you should pick them up!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on April 07, 2009, 11:10:41 pm
Ah, don't feel bad about the machines you came across. Heck, half the fun for me is in the building (that's why mine is taking 2 years and counting :) )

I'd hazard a guess that a lot of the scratch built machines here could have been had from an old cab and a little paint/resto work, but then, you couldn't say +you+ built it.

Certainly not meaning to dis any of the restos though :cheers: There's plenty of work that has to go into those (not the least of which is messing around with a bare-backed monitor, something I've yet to bring myself to do).
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 08, 2009, 01:01:23 am
Thanks drventure.. yeah I agree that the build is half the fun, plus building this machine from scratch is allowing me to make things exactly like I want them.  It was just a shock to see 2 complete machines for sale considerably cheaper than what I've spent so far on a machine that can't even stand up on its own yet.. haha.

By the way, I've been following your build for a while now and I can't wait to see how it turns out... very cool concept for a cab.  Great idea with the lights with letters in them.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mayhem on April 08, 2009, 08:58:02 pm
All though this build is not what i would own my self, it is just so dammed good. I Think like most things today to build it your self is more expansive but hell when you finished you feel more proud about what you have achived then just buying a pre built system.

I bet no ones put as much effort or soul into it as much as you ...

Think of it that way ..

Keep up the good work and well done. Love it.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 08, 2009, 10:27:55 pm
Thanks for the kind words mayhem!

I wanted to get more done tonight, but I got home later than usual so I only had about an hour of cutting time.  I was able to get the top part of the ramp cut exactly to size (yesterday I left it a bit long because I wasn't sure how far the hop ramp would go) and I got to see what the slope looks like attached to the ramp.  I threw a tennis ball down the ramp a bunch of times to test it out, and it plays great.  I also cut a little edge molding to put at the base of the ramp where it starts.  All in all, not much progress but it is nice to start seeing this thing take shape.  I should have around 4 hours to work on it tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get the ramp legs and hop ramp attached, and maybe the scoring area started.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on April 09, 2009, 07:12:28 am
Progress looks real good so far.   Good cuts and measurements.

Have you rolled some skeeballs on the white rolling ramp yet to see how it will take the abuse of balls being rolled/thrown on it?  You would not want the rolling surface to break or become dented up due to the balls slamming into it.    MIght be the perfect time to test this out for real before you decide to put it all together.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Ralman on April 09, 2009, 09:26:45 am
Looks great!  Nice and clean.

Are you going to be putting a ball return on? If so, with the legs on the outside of the ramp, will they be in the way?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 09, 2009, 10:51:32 am
Unclet- Thanks again for the detailed measurements... I really owe you.  This thing would be a LOT more difficult to build if I was having to fudge some of the numbers.  I haven't tried wooden balls on it yet, but the white 1/4" MDF seems really tough.  While working with it I've dropped misc tools on it and it didn't ding or scratch.  Once the padded vinyl flooring is placed on top, I don't think I'd be able to dent this thing if I tried.. haha.  I have a feeling that the wood edge I put on the corner is going to get destroyed though.

Ralman- Yeah it'll have a ball return, and that's one of the issues that I've run into by adding the extra 4 legs to the design.  So far I don't see any issues with the legs in the front since they are far enough forward to avoid the ball area completely.  With the legs in the back, I'm either going to attach the legs so they are low enough that balls can pass over them, or put them on the inside of the ramp and re-route the missed ball chute to go around it.  Once I get the hop ramp screwed in and ready to go, I'll be able to see which method will work best.

Thanks for the comments and questions, guys!  I'm hoping to get some real work done today, but we'll see!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ivwshane on April 09, 2009, 05:11:16 pm
Looks great!  Nice and clean.

Are you going to be putting a ball return on? If so, with the legs on the outside of the ramp, will they be in the way?

I don't think they will be, in fact I think it will help with the design and act as a ball stop.

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 09, 2009, 10:12:35 pm
Wow I just wrote a long post and it disappeared.  Let me type it again... haha.

So I attached the legs to the ramp, and then attached the outside left side to get an idea as to how the ball return on the right side would work.  The great news is that the legs will not be a problem for the ball return at all, but after looking at the ramp frame for a while I think I want to build the frame for the scoring section before I make any permanent decisions as to how the ball return will work.  After deciding to hold off on that, I figured I would just lay a plank in and see how deep I want the balls to rest in the side of the machine.  I'd be lying if I said that I didn't shoot a couple tennis balls off the ramp while it was together.

I'm actually proud of myself for how little I did today.  I have a tendency to just charge ahead with a build even when I am unsure of the measurements, and that usually makes things a lot harder down the road.  I ran into a snag today and instead of continuing on, I decided to call it a day and sit down to plan things out.  One thing I decided is that I'm going to glue all of the hop ramp pieces together instead of just using a dowel to attach them.  By doing so I can use the hop-ramp to actually provide stability to the back of the ramp, as well as make sure none of the pieces shift during gameplay.  I'm going to start building the scoring area tomorrow after work (well hopefully... I've been saying that for a few days now).  I'll only have a few hours of build time, so we'll see how much progress I make.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 09, 2009, 10:17:18 pm
Almost forgot!  Does anyone out there have any experience with electrical solenoids?  I believe this is the exact solenoid used to control the ball release on actual Skeeball machines: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/4X240 .  What I don't know is how in the hell it would work and how to provide power to it.  I literally have zero experience with stuff like this.  If anyone has any helpful information, I would be incredibly grateful.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 12, 2009, 01:25:38 am
This thing is actually starting to look like a Skeeball machine!  I had some setbacks today... broke off a drill bit in part of the scoring section and I also ran into a problem with the upper left brace for it... I ended up sorting it all out but it slowed me down towards the end of the day.  I also forgot to take a picture with my camera of the machine with the ramp attached, but I did take one with my phone so there's a low quality version.  Going to watch a movie with the girlfriend, but I'll post more about the build later. 

I'm hoping to get this thing playable on a very basic level on Monday.  I still need to glue the hop ramp pieces together, get the bottom part of the scoring area sorted out, and route the ball return.  Anyway, here's the pics of my progress today.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: solorbob on April 13, 2009, 12:56:55 pm
Looks good so far.  I've been wanting to build one of these too, so it is very motivational watching your build.  What are you going to use for the scoring system? 

I was thinking I could use a micro controller, but I have zero experience with them.  I'm also a bit new to the whole electronics side of things too. 

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Trebeck on April 13, 2009, 06:44:07 pm
I'm very impressed!  :cheers:
And very jealous you have space for that......
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 14, 2009, 01:13:51 am
Trebeck- Thanks!  It's coming together slowly but surely.  I've been wanting a Skeeball machine forever but never had the room, so when we moved out of our cramped apartment and into a house a few months ago I instantly started thinking of things to fill all the new space we had.. haha.

solorbob- I'm hoping to use the Jumpball Software that RandyT created.  Randy was kind enough to send me a copy earlier today, and I just skinned it to go with the blue theme that I'm hoping to use for the entire machine.  The display area is going to have a printout covered in plexiglass, with a monitor in the middle and speaker holes on either side.  Attached are a few pictures of the software running in "attract mode" since I don't have the energy tonight to wire up some buttons and actually try it out tonight.  I considered a micro controller as well and I still wouldn't rule one out completely, I just figured a PC would be so much easier to interface for a person like myself who knows little to nothing about... errr... micro controlling?  Haha.  At some point I think it would be fun to write my own software to add additional game modes and such, but for now Randy's software looks like it will be absolutely perfect for what I need it to do.

I didn't get any build progress done today other than doing some measurements for the ball return and researching nets for around the scoring area (and realizing that sports stores and home improvement stores give you blank stares when you ask for plain old fabric netting).  I found some black "pet screen" that is like standard screen for doors and windows except it is slightly thicker and the holes are a bit bigger.  I think it could potentially look really nice, although it might not.  The only other options I saw were plastic outdoor fence stuff, some of which actually looked somewhat promising but overall I don't think I want to put plastic on this thing.

So far as the ball return is concerned, I tested out placing some wood inside the chute and it makes the balls come down in a perfect line rather than a scattered clump.  I think either tomorrow or Wednesday I'm going to actually start assembling the ball return side of the machine.  I'm also still completely lost in regards to electrical solenoids, so if anyone could help me out I would appreciate it.  On a side note, I got a huge clamp today on clearance.  For some parts of this build (the scoring section in particular) I was actually having to string together 3 of my clamps to reach all of the way across.  This new clamp easily clamps over both sides of the Skeeball machine, so it should make the last few things I need to do to the scoring section a lot easier.

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mpm32 on April 14, 2009, 03:45:45 pm
You must be a lefty, no?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 14, 2009, 08:28:02 pm
mpm32- Haha nope... I am just laying everything out on the left hand side because I don't want to start attaching anything on the right side until I have the entire ball return laid out.  The ball return and coin/start buttons will all be on the right hand side.

I'm off to do a little bit of work on this beast.  Updates later.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on April 14, 2009, 09:56:54 pm
You could possibly skip the solenoid,  and use a motor setup.

 A motor with a circle disc which pulls the gate down, and keeps it down
for enough time for all the balls to drop to the bottom.

 The disc would have contacts on it, so as to act as a circuit to power the
motor.   When the motor reaches the end of the circuit, it stops.  When you
press the start button, it over-rides the circuit, giving the motor enough power
to jump on the circuit path and continue to the end.


 Solenoids are great... but the hardest part is that they need about 24 to 30 volts
to be powerful enough to do decent work.   Not so easy finding a cheap 30 volt
high amp power supply.  Gota be an electronic guru to know how to use
a transformer or something like that to change the output levels of a lower end
supply.


 Trebeck,  you might consider making a Fold-Up skeeball.  Most of the size is due to
the ramp.  Once you fold that up in 2 or 3 sections,  it would only take a fraction
of that space.   Ill post my design a little later...

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 15, 2009, 02:10:14 am
Xiaou2- I think I follow what you are saying.  I have no experience with that kind of thing whatsoever, but conceptually I think I get it.  Could you point me towards the type of motor that you are talking about?  I really wouldn't even know where to begin in terms of knowing what to buy to create something like that.

In regards to the build, I got a little bit done today.  I attached the bottom half of the score display area, and began dismantling the LCD screen that is going to get mounted within it.  I also attached the blocks to hold the scoring ring area, so the game is actually playable on a VERY basic level.  My buddy came over and we were rolling tennis balls up the ramp for a minute or two, but it wasn't too fun considering there were no rings to catch them and the tennis balls were way too bouncy.  I didn't take any pics, but I will later.

If anyone else has any ideas for the ball release mechanism, please feel free to chime in.  I'm open to any way possible of making this thing so the balls release with the push of a button.  Please help.. haha.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on April 15, 2009, 02:22:00 am

 Sorry man, but I dont really have the time to try to design such a mechanism.
I only know the concept, which could help to create it.

 If I recall correctly, the older Skeeball Machines used a Pull Lever to release
the balls.  You could do something like this... or even use a foot pedal release.
All mechanics, and no electronics.


 Here was the foldup concept...



Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: SavannahLion on April 15, 2009, 02:28:20 am
http://www.scary-terry.com/wipmtr/wipmtr.htm
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Octo on April 15, 2009, 08:56:25 am
^ That would have been my suggestion: A stepper motor with a cog attached to the shaft that can pivot a stopping lever hinged inside the ball return.... Have the motor rotate 180^ at the press of the START button to release a cascade of balls. Have a second button at the base of the ball slot that rotates the last 180^ to raise the trapdoor for collecting the balls.

Sorry, I would have done it in ACAD, but I'm eating my frosted flakes and don't much feel like it right now... :laugh2:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 15, 2009, 11:08:08 pm
Thanks for the great ideas, everyone.  I'm seriously looking into motors for the ball return now (I never would have thought of a windshield wiper motor... thanks SavannahLion!), although I'm not ruling out solenoids altogether.  I hit some snags last night that I'm still trying to fully understand tonight.  My scoring area has kinda looked "off" to me for a while now, meaning that my 50 and 100 rings look like they are too far apart when I compare them with pics of actual Skeeball machines.  Also, when my scoring area is placed in the frame of the Skeeball machine it seems too long and will actually interfere with the ball return unless I modify the frame to accomodate it.  It rests far too high when I placed it according to the measurements, and overall there is something just plain wrong with it.

I'm REALLLY hoping that the entire problem lies on me misreading unclet's measurements.  When looking at his sketch, I think I may have confused a dimension that lies within the 38" rectangle to be a dimension added on to the 38" rectangle.  If that's the case, then I just need to recut my score area to be 38" long instead of 42 3/8".  It looks like that will make it fit correctly in the frame and also fix the distance problem between rings.  Again, I'm really hoping that's what the problem is because otherwise I have no idea what I messed up.

Also, just wanted to publicly thank unclet for being so helpful throughout this build.  I've been emailing him with questions for a while now and he's always very helpful and fast to respond.  Thanks buddy!

No real progress made today, but I'm hoping to get some things sorted tomorrow.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 17, 2009, 01:42:35 am
Ok, a really quick update.  As you can see from the attached photo, my scoring area was too long and therefore made all of my dimensions for the ball return, scoring, etc out of whack.  After looking at the measurement pics again, I thought I knew what I did wrong but wasn't sure.  Unclet was kind enough to confirm the correct dimensions, so tonight I bought some more wood and cut the new scoring area.  After placing the new piece in the frame, it looks great and it appears that everything will line up perfectly.  Things are back on track... more later!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: wooowman93 on April 17, 2009, 06:47:37 pm
Aren't you scared of balls flying everywhere and then BOOM there goes your 60" TV
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 18, 2009, 08:08:47 pm
wooowman93- Haha I don't have a tv that big, plus I'm gonna build a net for this thing.

Like usual, I didn't get as much done today as I thought, but I began the layout for the marquee scoring area and drilled holes / inserted lights to shine down on the playfield.  I got the ramp material cut, finally attached the hop ramp permanently, and cut misc border trim for the machine.  The main thing that I got done was the goofy mouse-trap looking area underneath the scoring area.  Yes, those are pushbuttons there and yes I have tested them extensively and they actually work really well.  I was gonna get those tripwire switches, but I've got a ton of pushbuttons collecting dust so I figured I'd see if I could find a way to use them.  The ball return is still a mess and I'm still tinkering with pieces of wood trying to find the most simple way to get the scored balls and the missed balls to both end up in the same place.  Hopefully I'll get that done, attach the marquee and monitor, and bolt the rings on tomorrow.  We'll see if I get that all done, but if I do that means that except for a net this thing will be a functional yet still very ugly Skeeball machine.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on April 18, 2009, 09:05:46 pm
Looking good. 

Interesting use of pushbuttons to keep score.  I might try to retrofit my Skeeball with pushbuttons next time my existing switches no longer work.   Using a pushbutton instead of the metal arm switches will save me a lot of money on replacement parts and most likely will never have to be replaced.  Cool idea.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Octo on April 18, 2009, 10:31:15 pm
Looks great, but with your return/pushbutton system, won't a ball in the 100 holes also trigger the switch for the 50 hole? Will you just rig the 100 buttons to score as 50 so it adds up to 100? ???
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on April 18, 2009, 11:41:42 pm

 Actually, I have doubt that those pushbuttons will work well.   The outside button
bezel may cause the ball to deflect past the center of the button. (like a ramp)
 
 You Might be able to drill the holes so that the bezel is flush with the surface...
and or to sand the bezels down a bit.

 Also, you would want to remove the button springs too.  And even then.. Im not so
sure there will be enough pressure to push the button down with a fast moving
ball.

 Unclet, did you use pushbutton leafs?   Or use official Skeeball type switches?
(3" long trip-wire type.  Round wire - not a flat bar. Trip wire probably 1mm diameter)


 Purple - The fake wood didnt look too bad on the backboard.. but it does not look
good when combined with the ramp, because its grain is going in a different
direction.  Looks very bad that way.   Probably wont look that bad if you redo the
ramp to match the top section.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on April 19, 2009, 08:17:35 am
My skeeball machine uses the metal arm switches.  The skeeball rolls into the metal arm of the switch thus causing it to activate the switch.

In my Skeeball machine the "100" hole has a switch which registers 50 points and the "50, 40,30,20,10" holes have one switch each which register 10 points (see pic attached).    When a ball goes into the 100 hole then first registers 50 points then rolls down the center and trips the 50,40,30,20,10 hole switches as well on the way down to total another 50 points.   Just another example ..... if the ball goes into the 30 point hole then it rolls down the center and trips the 30,20,10 switches thus totalling 30 points.

I personally believe the wooden skeeballs a quite heavy enough to roll over a pushbutton top, especially in my system where the skeeball falls down the center of the machine and trips multiple switches rather fast.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 19, 2009, 03:05:27 pm
The pushbuttons actually work surprisingly well.  I thought that I may have to recess them a bit, but they work great as is.  The balls are definitely heavy enough to trigger the buttons as they pass over, and the size of the balls actually allows them to almost push the button down completely before it even hits the bezel.  I struggled for a while to figure out a way to get that upper left 100 hole to make it to the right hand side without passing the 50 hole, but in the end I figured I'd just make both 100 holes score 50 and then pass the actual 50 to make 100.  Actual Skeeball machines utilize this method of compound scoring, and if I don't like it I can always go back and change it later.

Xiaou2- Unfortunately the vinyl flooring doesn't come with the grain going the other direction, so to get the material for the entire ramp I would have had to buy waaay more than I needed.  I would have preferred to have the grain running along the ramp, but with my budget it wasn't really feasible.  I tried the scoring area with the grain going in the same direction, but I ended up using it the way I did because I felt it just looked better.

I'm sure that there are some things I am going to want to change once this thing is all painted and put together, so pretty much every element of this machine can be replaced.  Anyway, thanks for the input / interest in my build everyone!  I'm off to cut out the marquee area and mount the monitor.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 20, 2009, 12:23:12 am
Got the marquee scoring area cut and the lcd screen mounted in it.  I had to do some really out of the box routing to get the screen to fit... namely taking the bearing off of a 1/4" slot cutting bit to get a little bit of extra cut depth.  I'm rethinking having the speakers in the front and considering putting them facing down next to the light bulbs.  This would give me extra space for art up front, but I'm still unsure about what I want to do.  Didn't get anything else done, and I didn't take enough pictures.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on April 20, 2009, 06:43:26 am
I believe the speaker for my Skeeball machine is mounted right at the front of the machine where the front legs are located.   Also, to save space, why not just use one speaker instead of two?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 24, 2009, 03:14:29 am
Some build pics... kinda rushed today to make it playable.  Had some friends over to test it out, and surprisingly only a few tiny things need tweaking mechanically.  The buttons aren't wired yet, and the big 10 ring looks like crap because I haven't attached the bolts it is supposed to have on each side.  No net yet, which is why the 100s aren't labeled.  Also, the speaker grills were bigger than I thought they were, so I need to modify the marquee graphics accordingly.  More later.

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: jfunk on April 24, 2009, 08:15:21 am
AWESOME!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Fordman on April 24, 2009, 09:08:32 am
 :applaud: Fantastic!  :applaud:

Now build 10 more, dispense tickets, offer spider rings, tootsie rolls, 1" diameter rubber balls, plastic jewelry for prizes!  Also offer bad pizza and look out Chuck E Cheese! :laugh2:

All Kidding aside, that would be the most popular thing in my neighborhood!  :notworthy: :notworthy:

Great Build!

Fordman
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ivwshane on April 25, 2009, 03:48:07 am
Are you going to have a cage around it? So that a ball doesn't accidentally hit the lcd?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 25, 2009, 01:56:47 pm
ivwshane- The lcd screen has plexi in front of it, plus it'll have a net around the scoring area.  In a few weeks I'm going to make the final net frame by routing mdf to the exact dimensions I want, but for now I've just stuck some pvc together in order to make it playable and see what shapes work best.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Firebat138 on April 26, 2009, 09:25:42 am
Wow...THis is turning out great.... Congrats....Nice work
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 26, 2009, 08:03:29 pm
Firebat138- Thanks!

Skeeball is wired up, playable, and we just spent the last two nights drinking loads of beer with our friends and rolling wooden balls.  There are definitely some kinks to work out, but overall I couldnít be happier with the machine so far.

I was on the fence about my speaker placement, but after using RandyTís software Iím very happy that I went with two speakers.  The sound is awesome.

First, I added that black mesh drawer lining stuff and it is absolutely amazing in terms of dampening the sound of the balls hitting the wood.  The balls now travel through the machine very quietly.  The little dome ďwall protectorsĒ work great for the two lowest ringsÖ they knock the ball right into the hole every time.  Originally I had planned on flattening them out into a donut-shape and putting a rivet through them to attach them to the rings, but the adhesive that they come with is very strong and works fine by itself.  I first installed the bottom dome a bit low on the ring, and while it worked most of the time it would hold the ball inside the ring if it didnít hit it fast enough.  They both work great after just mounting them a bit higher. 

The ball return now works flawlessly, although I wish I could say the same thing about the scoring.  The balls trigger the buttons greatÖ actually too great considering about 2 of every 10 balls double scores.  I might be able to tweak this thing to death and finally get it registering correctly, but Iím thinking I may just bite the bullet and buy the switches with the metal arms.  They are pricey, but I want something that works 100% of the time and pushbuttons donít seem to be wanting to cooperate.

One big decision Iíve made after a weekend of Skeeball is that I am scrapping the ball release altogether.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that for what I am wanting to do with this machine, a ball release is fairly worthless and actually a hindrance in some ways.  I donít plan on putting a coin slot in it and the software counts the balls played, so keeping the balls from the players until a game is started doesnít really serve a purpose.  Also, I eventually want to make different game modes, and I donít want to have a self-imposed limit of 9 balls.

After holding up the PVC net frame to the machine, Iím not even going to bother attaching it.  It is REALLY fugly, and I donít want to be drilling holes in this machine for a temporary solution.  This week, Iíll begin designing/cutting the actual frame and attaching the net.  In terms of other goals for this week, Iíve been putting off attaching the final bolts to the bottom ring (so it doesnít look all warped and goofy) so thatís going to be on my to-do list.  I also want to create the little sand pads that prevent the balls from bouncing out of the higher rings.  Cutting the top covers for both sides of the lane is definitely a priority as well.  The scoreboard needs a bit of tweaking for the printed graphic, and I need to create something to keep the whole thing closed (right now it only stays closed because it is a tight fit.)  If anyone has any ideas on what I should do about the rounded edge on the front of the Skeeball machine where the metal for the coin slot and ball area normally are, I'm all ears.  I don't plan on buying parts from an actual machine to put there, so I've gotta come up with something as a replacement and so far I'm drawing a blank.

We are planning on starting a weekly Skeeball league as soon as this is done and painted, and we've already got people wanting in.  Overall, I'm really happy with this thing but there is still plenty of work to be done!  More updates this week!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on April 27, 2009, 12:40:32 am

 Looking good man.

 A thought about the netting...

 Most netting looks horrendous.  I wonder if high pound  clear fishing line
wouldnt work as a much nicer looking solution.

 Maybe double up so that each line consist of two cords.  In the standard
criss-cross pattern.

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Deefish on April 27, 2009, 03:09:57 pm

Hey great looking machine!

You could use a piece of plexi to cover the scoring area to keep stray balls in bounds. You wouldnt see it like the netting and if it gets to scuffed up over time you can replace it. A bonus would be it might deflect the lighting downward in a cool way toward the drop holes.

Awesome project!

Cheers,
Deefish
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 27, 2009, 10:04:29 pm
Thanks for the suggestions about netting options, everyone.  I've got two types of netting already, but I'm still not sure what I'm going to end up doing.

It's way too windy here to get any cutting done, so I figured that I'd record a video of the Skeeball machine in action.  I've been tweaking with the ball counter to try to get it to quit counting balls twice, and now it actually misses balls occasionally.  I think the metal arm switches are the way to go.  Oh yeah, and just because I love Skeeball doesn't mean I'm good at it... haha.

If anyone has any suggestions about what to put on the front of the machine to cover the curved edges, I'm all ears.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcLVoyk8xrc&feature=channel_page[/youtube]
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 29, 2009, 09:28:36 pm
I just won 12 Cherry Skeeball metal arm switches for $23 including shipping.  Outside of ebay, the only places I've found with these switches were at least $4.50 a pop without tax or shipping.  Score.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: urbecrisch on April 29, 2009, 11:37:07 pm
Wow!  You suck at Skeeball!  :laugh2:

Great looking machine!  Very impressive!  What was the total cost of the build?  I couldn't find the total in the thread.

I saw a 13' working skeeball in my area with balls for $1200.  If I wasn't remodeling the basement I would probably snatch it up!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 30, 2009, 01:28:35 am
urbecrisch- Haha you'd think after test-playing this thing for as long as I have that I'd actually start getting good at it, but nope.

In terms of final cost, I really don't even know where I'm going to end up.  I think I'm somewhere around $500 now, which is way more than I thought I'd be at this point.  Surprisingly, very little of that amount was wasted... for the most part all of my purchases have been used and I haven't made too many mistakes (knock on wood).  I've also parted out one of my old arcades for the screen and computer hardware, so that stuff hasn't been factored in to the total cost.  I still need to build the net frame (I'm hoping I've got enough MDF scraps to make it work) and paint the entire machine, but other than that I think I'm done spending.  I've got enough plexi, netting, and wood to finish the rest of the things I have planned.  The only other purchases I foresee in the future are an LEDWiz+GP and some LED's to integrate some alternate gametypes for Skeeball, but those are down-the-road plans.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on April 30, 2009, 02:27:52 am
Curved Front:  The easiest way would probably to stick on 3 or so pieces of wood
in that area, glue them together and screw in place...  then sand them down to the
correct shape matching the contour of the rest of the machine.

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on April 30, 2009, 06:59:02 am
Very nice indeed !!    :applaud:  :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 02, 2009, 12:24:51 am
Xiaou2- That's not a bad idea.. I may try that.

unclet- Thanks!  Like I said earlier, I wouldn't have been able to build this thing without your measurements!  Not sure if you saw the post about the button switches, but I wouldn't recommend retrofitting your machine to use them.  They trigger fine, but they double score quite a bit.

Not much progress on the machine... spent yesterday doing some absolutely horrible routing on the covers for the sides, and spent today trying to salvage the work I did yesterday.  The end result still needs to be sanded down a bit, but it'll work.  I ended up having to route more wood out of the ball return area than I would have liked, simply because I slipped yesterday while cutting out the hole and took out way too much in one section.  In order to match the botched area, I had to botch the rest of it.

To get this thing ready to paint and play, I just need to cut the frame for the net, install the new switches, and install the last few bolts into the scoring area so it doesn't look all warped and goofy.  Slow and steady!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on May 02, 2009, 08:23:36 am
Yeah, I have been following the post and read about the buttons not working out that well after all.   Thanks for the heads up.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 06, 2009, 01:37:00 am
No picture updates tonight, but I think I've finally got the new switches in and working correctly.  I was having some issues with double counting switches, and it turned out two of the switches I was having issues with were faulty.  You would hear the actuator "click" but the trigger wouldn't fire, but if you pulled a little further it would trigger like crazy.  Just triggering it with my finger would cause 2 or 3 hits, when the correctly functioning switches would only fire once.  Anyway, after replacing those switches, things were almost perfect but very rarely the ball counter would double count.  It would only happen with the higher value scores, so I figured it had something to do with the speed in which the balls were coming down the chute.  I simply reduced the size of the hole that the balls exit the score area so that it was almost the exact size of the actual ball, so every ball slows down to the same speed by the time it exits.  That seemed to solve the problems... pictures later.

Question for unclet... have you had many issues with bad switches?  Did I just get a bad batch or is the failure rate on these triggers pretty high?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on May 06, 2009, 07:07:51 am
I attached a picture of the type of Cherry micro-switches my machine uses.

When I install new switches then I find I might have to bend the little wire arm a bit so the ball does not cause two clicks of the switch to occur.   I think it has something to do with the little metal arm bouncing back and trigger an extra click of the switch sometimes.  I just bend the little metal arm of the switch around until it triggers one click only.  This was a tip I got from the arcade guy who sold me the machine.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 06, 2009, 10:46:28 am
Yeah I bent all of my switches into little "J" shapes and they work great.  Initially, I sat there thinking "How in the hell am I going to get these switches installed so they trigger perfectly?" until I realized that I could just bend the metal arm wherever I wanted it.. haha.  I'm hoping I just had some bad luck with those two switches, because so far I haven't had any problems after I replaced them.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on May 06, 2009, 04:44:05 pm
I forgot to attach the picture in my last post .... I will attach it now.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on May 07, 2009, 03:26:11 am

 It could be that when the ball hits, it flexes the wood or brace enough to cause that
additional switch trigger, via Strong vibrations. (or bounce)

 It would probably be better to brace all your mini-ramps together with some
thin strips of metal.  Binding it to the top and or sides of the box.

 The little L-brackets you used probably wouldnt hold up to the stresses of those
heavy balls for very long without upper bracing anyways.

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Burke LaShell on May 07, 2009, 01:00:52 pm
I didn't see how you are doing the scoring.  Do you have a custom program doing the work?  If so, you might be able to add a little "debounce" code.  Switches tend to bounce a little and produce multiple "pressed" events.  Maybe you could use something like...

Code: [Select]
1 Setup a counter variable, initialise to zero.
 2 Setup a regular sampling event, perhaps using a timer. Use a period of about 1ms.

 3   On a sample event:
 4   if switch signal is high then
 5     Reset the counter varaible to zero
 6     Set internal switch state to released
 7   else
 8     Increment the counter variable to a maximum of 10
 9   end if
10   if counter=10 then
11     Set internal switch state to pressed
12   end if

Awesome work.  It makes me want to make my own.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 08, 2009, 03:04:26 am
Burke- Right now I'm using RandyT's Jumpball Software, but eventually I hope to write my own Skeeball software... we'll see.

Thanks for all of the great feedback about switches everyone, but I actually got the switches working perfectly over the last few days.

I keep putting off making the net frame (mainly because I'm not exactly sure how I want it to look yet, but also because we just spent all day Saturday vacuuming layer upon layer of MDF dust off of everything in the garage... it literally got EVERYWHERE and was absolute hell to clean up).  I've been officially banned from cutting MDF inside the garage, so all of my future work is going to have to be done in the driveway or backyard.. haha.  After this project I'm going to consider using other woods for future projects, because while MDF is easy to cut and work with it also made me very paranoid about breathing in my own garage.

Won't have much free time this weekend, but I'm hoping to get the nasty mess of computer guts actually organized and mounted within the machine instead of just crammed in.  I'm going to take the pot off the speakers and attach it outside of the cab, as well as hook the pc power up to a button outside and possibly even mount the power led on the back.  I literally bought these pushbuttons and ledholders 4 or 5 years ago for use with another project, and they've been sitting around waiting to be used since then.

Figured I'd also include some pics of the different types of netting that I've purchased so far, but I still haven't rejected some of the other ideas either (plexi, fishing line). The red netting is more string-like and may not be as durable, will look pretty good with the color scheme I'm going with, and it has 2 inch holes.  The brown-ish netting is from an Army supply store and is super durable, fairly ugly, and the holes are about 1/2" (and also looks like the kind of netting people might use to catch fish or kidnap human beings).

One of my buddies was kind enough to offer to stitch a border on the netting to fit whatever frame I decide on, and I may push my luck and ask her to sew up both types (or at least both types for 1 side) just to see what looks/functions best.  Anyway, thanks again for all of the input and comments everyone!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on May 08, 2009, 07:22:59 am
Why not use both nets at the same time?  Might look cool, but not  :dunno
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: jeffhlewis on May 09, 2009, 05:59:15 pm
I've been gone from BYOAC for a while, and came back and saw this.  AWESOME!  Love the voice and everything.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 15, 2009, 01:39:40 am
05/14/09 Part 1

jeffhlewis - Thanks!  Yeah RandyT did a great job with the software... everyone that has played it gets a kick out of the audio.

So lost some steam over the past few weeks (well, money really) but Iíve finally started working on this thing again.  Over this past week, I finally got around to cleaning up the wires inside the machine.  I also desoldered the potentiometer from the speaker board and stuck it on the back of the machine, and stuck a cool little volume dial on it (which I actually got for free since it was out of its package and the Radio Shack employee that helped me didnít feel like looking it up).  Unfortunately with this new dial, my Skeeball machine doesnít go to 11.  Oh well.

I also attached a power button and power led to the back.  I really had to keep myself from going led crazy, since at one point I was considering putting an hdd activity led and a speaker power led before I asked myself why in the hell I would possibly need those things.  I settled with the power led even though that wasnít really necessary either.

I attached the vinyl flooring to the back of the scoring area, so it no longer makes a *CRACK!* sound every time someone overshoots the rings and hits the back.  I also added the spring door protectors behind the 50 and 100 rings to make sure the balls canít get stuck behind them. Theyíre not exactly pretty, but they fit my budget and like everything else I can always replace them later.  Functionally, they work perfectly and once the net is put together I donít think theyíll be noticeable.  I also finally bolted the 10 ring completely, so it doesn't look all warped along the sides.  The rings still need to be glued to close any gaps around the edges, but other than that they are done.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 15, 2009, 01:44:12 am
05/14/09 Part 2

Tonight, I finally got around to starting the net frame.  Unclet was once again kind enough to provide measurements, but I'm only using them as a rough guide and not going by them exactly.  I donít have the wood to cut the final version yet, but I used scraps to create one side of a very rudimentary frame for the net.  I used different sizes of scrap to make this, and obviously the final version will all be the same thickness.  I really like the rough shape of it, and I think it will look killer once it is cut and has nice curved angles and routed edges.  I think Iím going to use the frame as an excuse to play around making different types of joints with my router, so hopefully it wonít be a disaster.  Gonna be camping this weekend, but Iím hoping to get a little bit of work done Friday night and Sunday afternoon.  More updates later!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on May 15, 2009, 10:55:52 pm

 I think you may want to reconsider the net frame made with MDF.   A heavy
skeeball hitting the frame on accident from a poor player would most likely result in
the frame cracking.  (if not from one hit.. then a few of them would probably do it)

 MDF just isnt very strong - especially when that thin.

 
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 18, 2009, 12:46:04 am
Xiaou2- I have been going back and forth about what to build the frame out of.  I actually purchased a heat gun and PVC a few weeks ago, but ended up returning them both and considering MDF instead.  You've made me reconsider my decision again, and tonight I actually went out and re-bought a heat gun, PVC, some PVC joints, and a bag of sand.

I'm going to attach some nails to the rough frame that I built and use it as a template to form the PVC around and see how well it works.  PVC is pretty cheap so even if I do a horrible job at first, I can just keep trying until I get something I like.  All of the resources that I've found suggest just filling the pipe with sand, heating it, and then bending to the desired shape.  When I was in Boy Scouts we used a similar technique to make snowshoes, but that was a REALLY long time ago.  We'll see how this goes.

For some reason it isn't giving me the option to upload photos or I'd show the supplies I just purchased for the frame.  Weird.  I'm hoping to start bending the frame tomorrow after work, so hopefully some updates soon.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ivwshane on May 18, 2009, 04:11:38 am
Why not purchase aluminum u-channel? It's easy to cut and bend and should be sturdier than mdf and looks nicer than pvc.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: unclet on May 18, 2009, 07:08:49 am
I agree, metal would make it look nice and shiny if metal is possible.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 18, 2009, 04:09:25 pm
Thanks for the input, guys.  I've never worked with u-channel aluminum, but I just assumed that I would need special tools to bend any metal into a frame shape.  Could you guys suggest some introductory reading about working with the stuff?  I think I may still try to use this PVC to make a frame, but if aluminum is easy enough to work with I might try a second version using it.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ivwshane on May 18, 2009, 08:11:13 pm
I don't have any resources myself, all of my experience has been trial and error.

Just cut V's (the width of the V is dependent on the angle you want to create) into the sides and bend.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 19, 2009, 02:12:24 am
I made the frame tonight out of PVC, and I gotta say it turned out great.  I haven't bolted it on to the machine, but after using clamps to temporarily attach it to the scoring the angles look absolutely perfect.  Once this frame gets painted and I get the net sewn up and put on it, I really think it is going to look great.  I used two cross-pipes for this version to provide more stability, but I may remove the one closest to the front and only keep the one on top.  I'm going to see how this one plays for a bit before I decide one way or another... another pipe is only a buck fifty so even if I decide to change it I'm not going to eat much in terms of wasted materials.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the option to attach pictures to my posts... is anyone else having this problem?  I'm not sure if I reached a picture limit or something, or if it is a problem on my end.  Regardless, here's a pic of the frame hosted on imageshack in the meantime.

(http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/8554/051809a.jpg)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DragonMa15 on May 19, 2009, 12:35:30 pm
This is really looking great.  But I would use conduit for the cage.  And use pipe insulation to pad it.  I think the wooden balls are really going to beat up the pvc.  And conduit is pretty easy to work with.  You should be able to find all the connectors for it just like you have in pvc.

-Gregg
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 20, 2009, 01:22:15 am
I bolted the frame on tonight, and attached the net with zip ties.  I took a bunch of pics, but uploading them through imageshack is a pain.  I'm posting a few just to give people an idea of what it looks like right now, and I'll post the rest when the image upload feature is working for me again. 

I rushed the net to make it playable, since our friend is graduating this weekend and we've got friends coming from out of town wanting to check out Skeeball.  Obviously, the final net won't be connected with zip ties but it works as a temporary fix.  Eventually I'm going to have cloth sewn along the edges and grommeted, so it should look pretty snazzy.  Most importantly, though, is that it works great and players can finally shoot for the 100 rings.  The PVC has a bit more bounce than I would have preferred, but it's not too bad.

(http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/4129/dsc07834.jpg)

(http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/7023/dsc07835.jpg)

(http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/228/dsc07838c.jpg)

(http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/8488/dsc07839o.jpg)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: coyote640 on August 23, 2009, 05:13:55 pm
Very Nice.... Alot of hard work....
Good luck on the completion, and thanks for the informative posts....
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Silas (son of Silas) on August 23, 2009, 05:20:06 pm
Very Nice.... Alot of hard work....
Good luck on the completion, and thanks for the informative posts....
+1

I have never played this type of game, but I have really enjoyed this thread.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on August 23, 2009, 05:43:15 pm
Nice work. I've missed the updates on this thread somehow, but that looks like a blast!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: n88n on August 24, 2009, 11:41:58 am
awesome work man.  My wife and I LOVE skeeball and I have thought or really joked about building one, but you pulled it off.  damn fine work!  I am totally jealous.
 :cheers: :cheers:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Beretta on August 24, 2009, 12:29:26 pm
wow great project, im also a fan of skeeball one of the few redemption games i actually like.

i wondered how hard it would be to make one and it looks every bit as hard as i thought, although you've done an amazing job.

btw are you gonna cover the alley? or leave it bare wood?

most the skeeball's i ever played on had some sort of covering.. kinda reminded me of leather or something.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 24, 2009, 10:57:11 pm
coyote640, n88n and Silas- Thanks for the kind words everyone!

Beretta- The "wood" ramp that you are seeing is actually fake vinyl flooring.  It gives the ramp some padding while covering up the thin MDF that I used.  I couldn't afford to cork type material that they use on actual Skeeball machines so I went with the fake wood look.  I like it right now, but I have intentionally installed it so that it can be replaced very easily if I choose to.

drventure- Although I haven't been active in your thread, I have been keeping up with your awesome project.  Your machine is looking absolutely killer. 

I haven't disappeared or ditched this project by any means... I've just postponed work until it starts to cool down around here.  It's common for it to be over 100 during the day, and the garage is 5-10 degrees hotter.  Even at night the garage stays in the 90's so it is a fairly miserable workplace.  On a positive note, the machine has been getting a lot of use and it is standing up amazingly well to the abuse that has been thrown at it.

I'm guessing in a month or so I will make some final changes to the inner workings: mainly add a foam layer underneath the scoring area to mute the sound of the balls landing on the wood below.  It's a bit loud as it is, and I plan to get this thing exactly how I want it before I throw some coats of paint on it.  The net still needs to be stitched up as well.

In the meantime my friends and I have been hashing out the rules for the upcoming (October-ish?) Skeeball League.  I'll make sure to update as soon as it cools down enough to get some work done on this thing!  Thanks again!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on December 02, 2009, 02:22:07 am
Finally some progress!  Been really busy the last 6 months... finally got engaged to an amazingly patient woman that supports this goofy habit.

No significant changes to the exterior of the Skeeball machine, but this beast is undergoing a COMPLETE overhaul in terms of software and scoring.

My fiance and I have been wanting to get the Skeeball league up and running, but I REALLY wanted to have my own software on this thing before that happened.  3 weeks ago I set out to create my very own Skeeball software using Flash, and I just finished the first complete version of it a few days ago.  I had never really done any serious Flash coding (if you can consider Skeeball software "serious") so a LOT of my time was spent just learning through trial and error.  A lot of if/else's later, I've got my first working prototype that includes all of the game modes that I set out to create on this first version.  Aside from the new game modes, I also coded in a "debounce" delay that is controlled by a variable, so I can stop the triggers from accidently double-scoring (which was a huge pain to manually tweak before).  Anyway, I'll show a screenshot and brief description of each game mode below:

Menu:
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137468;image)

Regular: This is fairly obvious since it is just the basic Skeeball rules.  The player rolls 9 balls and tries to get the highest score by getting them into the rings.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137470;image)

Old School: This is to simulate the older machines before they came up with the 100 rings on each side.  Exactly the same game as regular, except 100 rings are disabled... if the player hits one it only counts for 10 points.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137472;image)

Cliffhanger: For those familiar with The Price is Right, you might recognize the visual similarities between this and the game from that show.  When you hit the 10 ring he climbs to the 10 (and does a pretty sweet yodel), when you hit the 20 he climbs to the 20, and so on.  The objective is to get to the top of the mountain (100) in the least number of rolls.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137474;image)

310: A game based on the dart game "301".  The player starts out with 310 points and needs to get their score to exactly 0 by subtracting points as they hit rings.  If they score more points than they have left, the points don't get subtracted and it still counts as a roll.  The objective is to get to 0 in the least number of rolls.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137476;image)

Three Skee: Aside from the crappy name, this game plays like the dart game "Shanghai".  The player is given 3 shots at every ring, and they need to hit that specific ring or they don't get any points.  The objective is to get the highest score after rolling 3 balls at every ring.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137478;image)

Cricket: The last of the dart-based games, this game mode is based on the game "Cricket".  Clever name, I know.  Essentially, the player needs to hit every ring number 3 times to close it out, and the goal is to close out every number in the least number of rolls.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137480;image)

Flash:  This game is inspired by the Neo Geo arcade game "League Bowling" and will hopefully be a blast to play.  It plays like regular Skeeball except there is a score multiplier meter along the side that moves up and down between 1x, 3x, and 5x.  When the player scores a ball in a ring, they get whatever multiplier that is currently highlighted.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137482;image)

Bowling:  I have a feeling this is going to be the most fun to play.  This is meant to play similar to actual bowling except that for every 10 points that you get, it counts as 1 pin.  For example, the 50 ring counts as 5 pins, the 100 rings count for 10 pins (a strike), etc.  The big difference is that on the first roll of every frame, you get a multiplier based on how many neon pins (1-5) are lit up at the bottom.  This is to make it so the player has a better chance of picking up a spare, since if we went on just the ring #'s the only way to get a spare would be to either get two 50's in a row or finish your second roll with a 100.  The scoring and scoreboard operate exactly like real bowling, which really surprised me in how difficult it was to get everything working for this game.  This was by far the hardest game to get working and took about a week just by itself.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137484;image)

Combo: When enabled, this mode actually effects Regular, 310, Three Skee, and Old School.  Basically, players get a multiplier by hitting the same ring twice in a row.  For instance, if a player hits 30 twice in a row they get 60 for the second roll roll, 3 times they get 90, and the 4th time they get 120.  The multiplier maxes out at 4 to stop people from being able to aim for the lowest ring the entire game and still ending up with a decent score.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137486;image)

So now that I've got the software working 100% (at least on the computer) I need to modify my machine to be able to use it.  I had originally configured this thing so that 100's are actually just 50's triggered twice, so I need to lay everything out so that each ring is completely independent of the others.  I was very sloppy in my rush to get things playable, so my trigger setup left a lot to be desired and the overall layout left room for errors in the scoring.  I'm also going to take this opportunity to cut back on the majority of noise this thing creates by removing the wooden back underneath the scoring panel and replacing it with some memory foam stuff we have lying around.  This should cut down on noise significantly, as most of the noise right now is the "crack" that you hear when the wooden ball drops through the hole and hits the wood backboard.

Finally, I would like to again thank RandyT for letting me use his software before I had written my own.  Without knowing his Jumpball software existed, I may not have even built this thing.  I will eventually post a link to my software for any potential / future / would-be Skeeball builders out there, but I really want to make sure everything works first.  I'm hoping to get everything up and running by Thursday, and tomorrow I'll post more pics of my complete rewire of the scoring area.  Thanks for reading!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Queeg on December 02, 2009, 02:41:33 am
Congrats on the engagement!  :cheers:

I am thoroughly impressed with your flash work. I have some experience in video and animation in flash and even after working with it for a while it can still be a challenge.

How is the machine interfacing with the pc? Are you using a keyboard encoder that translates the switch hits into something that flash can detect?

 
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on December 02, 2009, 10:37:08 am
Queeg- Thanks!  I had done a bit with Flash a few years ago, but nothing more than basic animation for a website menu... it was definitely a headache to get everything working with actionscript.  I'm using a Keywiz keyboard encoder from GroovyGameGear to interface the pc and the Skeeball machine.  While writing the software, I made the rings just use the letters a, s, d, f, g, h, j, and k to make it easy for me to test.  I was going to just reconfigure the software to use the keys that the Keywiz is set for, but then I realized that it's a snap to just run the setup for the Keywiz and change the switches in the actual encoder.

I actually already have the scoring area rewired and ready to rock, and I just need to add two more buttons near the player to navigate the menu and one switch to serve as the "gutter" detection.  I'll update with more this evening!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: n88n on December 02, 2009, 11:22:29 am
you just took this whole game to another level!!!!

Kudos for taking the time to learn AS and write your own games, very cool.  I absolutely love skee ball and i have been following this build and I love what you have done.  So super cool.

 :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on December 03, 2009, 05:07:37 pm
Hello,

First, I'd like to say thanks to you (and all those you've in-turn thanked) and UncleT for your efforts in a DIY skeeball. It looks like you have a fantastic project.

I've been trying to wrap my head around what it will take to build one, and I'm at a bit of a disadvantage because I've never done any woodworking or metalwork and I will be relying on friends who have for help in those departments. I'm trying to figure out what materials to buy (and how much) and laying out parts on the sheets in a way to maximize each board (minimize waste).

I was originally going to go "stock" with a printed marquee and 6.5" tall 7-segment LED's I found, with a micro-controller for scoring and other functions, but after seeing your flash software and the other game ideas (cricket, 301, etc) I think you've just convinced me your way is *much* better. :)

I was wondering:
1) how is the vinyl holding up? What brand/style is it?
2) how you clamped the vinyl down in the lane so it can be easily replaced, especially at the top end of the lane by the gutter.
3) where did you buy the netting, and have you decided on a final frame structure (conduit, u-channel, etc)?
4) if you figured out anything for the rubber rails/guards for the sides of the lane/alley?
5) what kind of molding you bought (brand/style/model) for the rings?
6) what did you use for the top "plastic" (I can't tell from the pictures) for the sides of the lane?
7) Where did you get your marquee printed?
8) would you consider sharing your MDF layouts for the cuts? I think you mentioned CAD or Sketch-up earlier? Do you have any overall plans you are willing to release at this point?
9) If you would consider listing the various pieces of wood you purchased, ie, 1-4x4x8, 1-4x8 1/4" sheet MDF, 2-4x8 1/2" sheet MDF, 3 door stops, 4 chair bump thingies, etc. ?
10) What did you decide for joining the lane and scoring sections, and are they easily separated/rejoined (like to move the machine)?
11) Have you thought about any kind of "caps" for the ends of the sides of the lane (like what would cover the parts shown in photo 042609_D.JPG)?

Thanks for everything you've shared with us all already. We appreciate it very much!

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on December 03, 2009, 06:17:59 pm
Hadn't seen much action on this thread in a while. Now I know why  :applaud:

Awesome idea with the flash and alternate games. That really does bring a whole new dimension to what I thought was going to be a one trick pony game.

Very nice!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on December 04, 2009, 01:55:23 am
Thank you for the kind words n88n and samej71.  Drventure, your build continues to inspire me to eventually finish my cab using a sweet theme... awesome stuff.

Had a big scare last night when I put the finished software on the machine... the visuals looked great but the sound was playing way too fast.  The yodeler sounded more like a chipmunk than a human being and the bowling pins sounds were just awful.  I was running Windows 98 on the computer, but after a few hours of tinkering with Flash settings and sound drivers and nothing working, I figured I would throw an install of XP on and hope that this slow computer can handle it.  Got XP on tonight, and the game ran slow as molasses.  The sounds were normal but since the score "rolls" upwards and makes noise while it does it, it was actually taking about 5 seconds to count from 0 to 100 when it should only be a second or two.  After a few hours of tinkering with settings, I finally thought to reduce the screen resolution to 800x600... and everything works like a charm.

Attached are a few pictures of the back of the scoring area, as well as the keyboard encoder with the quick connects ready to rock and the new buttons on the machine to navigate the menu.  I plan on using different, smaller buttons for the final layout but since I'm going to replace that piece of wood anyway I figured I would use what I have for now.  Green moves the menu forward, red goes backward and the blue buttons move up and down.  Nothing is connected right now, but hooking up everything should be a breeze tomorrow.

I do still have one big problem though... I have yet to figure out how I am going to detect gutterballs with this layout.  The layout that I had previously used worked great to count gutterballs because the only way a ball would count as "played" is after it triggered a switch on the ball return.  That way, the ball would hit some points at the top and roll all the way down before it hit the "played" trigger.  If you missed all the points and hit the trigger, that was a gutter.  Now, the balls get counted the instant that they score, which works great for everything except gutterballs.  I have to figure out a way to guide the gutterballs so that they avoid just dropping back into the ball return, while at the same time putting the switch in a place that only gutterballs can hit.  I'm probably not making much sense right now but it's late and I've been staring at this thing for too long.  Thanks for the interest everyone, and I promise I'll take the time to answer specific questions soon.

Here are some pics of some of the things I was talking about, and I couldn't help throwing in a picture of bowling loaded up on the Skeeball machine even though the switches aren't hooked up.  I rolled a great game using the keyboard though.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137597;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137599;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137601;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137603;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137605;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137607;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137609;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=137611;image)

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DaOld Man on December 04, 2009, 09:06:06 am
Hello thatpurplestuff!
Long time thread watcher, first time commenter here..
I have to say that this is a freakin great build!
I played several skeeball machines when my kids were in that "it's cool to hang out with Dad" stage.
(They dont stay in that stage forever, trust me).
Anyway, if I had the room, I would build one of these babies, using your build as a guide.
Great job!
 :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Chicken McNobody on December 04, 2009, 11:47:49 am
My want to play. . .
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Pinball Wizard on December 04, 2009, 04:05:27 pm
The best part of this Skeeball machine is that the bezel isn't correctly seated so that the CD-drive can be hooked up and hold another extra spare. With all jokes aside I envy this. I love diversity of games and don't mind skeeball. Great build of such a game. Tempting me to build one so bad.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on December 04, 2009, 04:44:02 pm
I do still have one big problem though... I have yet to figure out how I am going to detect gutterballs with this layout.  The layout that I had previously used worked great to count gutterballs because the only way a ball would count as "played" is after it triggered a switch on the ball return.  That way, the ball would hit some points at the top and roll all the way down before it hit the "played" trigger.  If you missed all the points and hit the trigger, that was a gutter.  Now, the balls get counted the instant that they score, which works great for everything except gutterballs.  I have to figure out a way to guide the gutterballs so that they avoid just dropping back into the ball return, while at the same time putting the switch in a place that only gutterballs can hit.  I'm probably not making much sense right now but it's late and I've been staring at this thing for too long.  

What if you ignore the gutter trigger (the one in the ball return) if the last trigger was a scoring ball? That is, if the last trigger was a new game/turn or a gutter ball, then the gutter switch would count as a ball.

Have a variable named "ignore_gutter" and set it to "true" (or "1", depending on type) on any scoring trigger. When the gutter/ball return triggers, check the status of "ignore_gutter". If it is true, do not adjust the count and then reset the variable to false or 0. If it is false, then add 1 to the ball count.

Thanks for the interest everyone, and I promise I'll take the time to answer specific questions soon.

Cool. Looking forward to it! :)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on December 04, 2009, 10:58:02 pm
samej71 - Awesome!  That is such a simple (yet perfect) solution but for some reason it never even crossed my mind.  I think I mentioned it before, but I tend to overcomplicate things every once in a while.  I was in the mindset that whatever solution I was going to use would be a strictly hardware one... never thought about letting the software sort out the gutters for me.  This will work great since I can simply use the existing gutter switch to do everything and I won't have to alter a single thing on the machine.  Thank you very much for the idea!  I tried to answer all of your questions below:

1) The vinyl is doing absolutely amazing.  This thing has had a LOT of use since I first installed the vinyl and it looks brand new.  It has had plenty of random beers and drinks spilled on it and plenty of balls dropped on it and it cleans up instantly with a rag and some water.  The padding that it has built in to it helps to reduce noise too.  The fake wood may not be the prettiest looking lane but in terms of a durable and functional material I think it's perfect.
2) I clamped the vinyl down using L shaped wood molding.  This holds the vinyl perfectly in place but structurally isn't doing to well.  After getting nailed by errant Skeeballs repeatedly the wood has cracked on both the top and bottom of the ramp.  Easy and cheap to replace, but I definitely need to come up with a more permanent solution for this.
3) The netting is actually from the local Army surplus store... it works great but it's not the prettiest to look at (and originally had a creepy stiffness and film to it that made it feel like it was just used to dredge a swamp or something).  I am going to use the PVC frame for the final net, but I'm still not 100% sure how I am going to have the net connect to the frame (if that makes sense).
4) No clue, and it's a question that drives me insane when I'm at Home Depot / Lowe's / OSH.  I can't seem to find anything that is long enough for the ramp other than foam insulation strips and stuff like that, but I want a rubber / rubber-like bumper.  I'm thinking that I'll have to special order something but I haven't really done any research yet.  If you come up with anything PLEASE let me know.
5) The rings were just made out of the 4" rubber bathroom molding.  Can't remember the name, but it was the only type they had at Home Depot.  I remember the color was ďBabyís breathĒ only because that seems like a ridiculous name for a color.  This is another item that I couldn't be happier with.  I had originally thought that this solution would simply be "good enough", but I couldn't tell you how many people see this thing and the first thing they ask me is where I bought the actual Skeeball rings.  They get a bit dirty on the inner part that the ball rolls on but they work absolutely perfectly.
6) The material that lines the top of the sides is actually just 1/8" MDF.  I've been meaning to replace it because I goofed on the hole for the balls, but I'm going to wait until I figure out how to finish off the ends of the lanes (the "caps") before I cut anything else.
7) I moonlighted for a year or so at a sign shop, so I had access to a large format printer and vinyl plotter.  That's where I cut the numbers for the rings as well.
8 ) Yeah I'll hunt down the original SketchUp plans that I made and post them, but they aren't anything pretty.  I basically just used Sketchup to outline the sides of the machine to the correct measurements, I didn't do a super nice 3d model or anything.
9) It's been a while since I did the heavy lifting portion of the build, but off the top of my head I think I bought 3 4'x8' sheets of 3/4" MDF, 1 4'x8' sheet of 1/8" MDF, about 10  ĺĒx3Ē planks, and a bunch of random pieces of hardware that I will try to document better in the near future.
10) I made them in two very separate pieces, and literally the only thing holding them together is gravity.  This thing is VERY f'ing heavy so actually just lining the two parts up works great... this thing doesn't move unless you really want to move it.
11) No clue.  I thought about cutting aluminum or something, but I've never done anything like that before and I wouldn't know where to start.  I have also seriously considered just purchasing used "caps" but I wouldn't know where to start to find them.  Again, if you can come up with anything please let me know.

DaOld Man Ė I appreciate the kind words!  Thank you.

Pinball Wizard- Haha no kidding about the drives.  While installing XP, I actually had to try 3 freakin dvd drives that I had lying around before I found one that would actually ejectÖ guess itís well past time to start tossing some stuff out of my extra pc parts box.  The whole screen area is actually on a hinge though so I can move it up and down to get to the guts.

Anyway, I'm going to code the gutter detection tonight so I probably won't end up finishing the wiring until tomorrow.  Again, thanks for reading!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on December 05, 2009, 02:01:26 am
Just finished adding the gutterball detection into the software and it appears to be working perfectly.  Just wanted to say thanks again to samej71 for the great idea.  After the Christmas lights go up tomorrow I am doing nothing but working on getting Skeeball all hooked up and drinking some beers (for testing purposes, of course).
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Pinball Wizard on December 05, 2009, 03:37:26 pm
You don't need to explain the connection with drinking beer and testing games. We all understand that.

 Do you have any intentions of releasing the software when your done so when I finally win the lottery, quit my job, and focus on these type of things I can build my own?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Demon-Seed on December 05, 2009, 08:31:33 pm
 my god this is amazing!   Some day when I can afford to move I want to do an all new games room and I want this game! How much did it cost to make?

Is there any plans?

thanks
Jim
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: MameMaster! on December 07, 2009, 03:05:16 pm
WOW! I have to say I was a skeptic--- but you're current build is looking absolutely fantastic!  :cheers:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nipsmg on December 09, 2009, 02:31:21 pm
Wow.   :o

That about sums it up.  AMAZING job.

We need video of this in action as soon as is humanly possible.  At which point I'll be forced to build one, and my wife will hate you. :)

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on December 24, 2009, 12:26:36 am
Thanks again for the very kind words everyone!  I've been super busy between work and Christmas prep, but I have been slowly chugging along with the project.  I think I am getting ever closer to a final decision for the net which involves using a rope as a border for the net and then using velcro ties to attach it around the frame.  I don't love the idea but it's all I've got so far.  I swear pics and vids are coming.

One other fairly cool thing that I will need the expertise of those far wiser than me for: I found some sweet flashing siren lights for the Skeeball machine that are USB powered.  They seem like they would be absolutely perfect for the machine and I think they SHOULD be able to be hooked up with an LEDWiz.  I say SHOULD because I really have no idea what I am doing, but from the little research I have done it seems that standard USB voltage is around 5 volts and I think (but could be wrong) that an LEDwiz is capable of that for one output.  If not, I could separate the lights and therefore distribute the power needed to two outputs.  If anyone knows how I might proceed into doing something like this I would be incredibly appreciative.  Attached are pictures of me dissecting one of them to show the guts (and a super classy beverage for scale).

Hope everyone has a great Christmas and / or Holiday Season!

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=138860;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=138862;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=138864;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=138866;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=138868;image)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: anyeyeover on December 24, 2009, 02:46:38 am
You are on the verge of greatness.  Truely epic.  I think I'm going to start the slow clap...

PM me if you want to put a solenoid in for a ball release.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on December 24, 2009, 10:04:09 am
Love those flashers! I'd be careful about hooking them directly to the LEDWiz. What you could do is use the LEDWiz output to control an opto isolator or something. Gotta be careful with relays as they're inductive loads and could damage the board.

Or, if they're usb, can the be controlled directly via USB? or do they just use USB for power?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on December 24, 2009, 10:26:26 am
drventure- Thanks for the input!  If you have the time, could you expand on that "opto isolator" idea a bit?  I think I understand the basic concept that you're talking about, but I have no idea how I would go about making something like that.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on December 24, 2009, 10:44:18 am
Sure. I've got some circuit designs around somewhere. I'll post what I have in  abit.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: saurian333 on December 24, 2009, 11:56:07 pm
Woot-off lights!  Best idea ever!  :laugh2:

Your machine looks incredible, dude.  If I'm ever in the area, I'm brining beers over.  :cheers:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on December 25, 2009, 12:36:53 am
Here's the circuit I mentioned. I found the optoisolator at Fry's but I believe radio shack carries a similar package.

The "USB SWITCH" is the LED Wiz. Essentially, your using the isolator to "isolate" whatever voltage/current is needed to drive an arbitrary device, from the LEDWiz side (which has a fairly limited current at 5vdc).

In this particular case, i'm using it to isolate AC 90v at about 1200hz (what's required to drive ELWire) from the LEDWiz, which definitely wouldn't like that kind of voltage  :)

Just a reminder though. I'm no EE. If this blows your LEDWiz, you didn't get it from me.

It might be good to run whatever circuit you end up with past the guys at ggg and get their input also.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Shortbus on December 28, 2009, 08:03:53 am
Wow....just Wow...Excellent Thread, excellent work. I had thought of doing this in the past, but I have never thought more about it till now. Thank you for sharing all this good info, awesome job!

 :cheers:     :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: bigpete405 on December 28, 2009, 01:15:13 pm
So  :censored: awesome  :cheers: I need one of those asap. You might have spawned a new  :notworthy: obsession
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Burke LaShell on January 06, 2010, 12:31:47 pm
I think a Solid State Relay is the same thing as the optoisolator.  You can pick them up pretty cheap on eBay.
http://cgi.ebay.com/New-in-Box-Solid-State-Relay-SSR-24-480V-AC-25A_W0QQitemZ250558892739QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3a56794ac3 (http://cgi.ebay.com/New-in-Box-Solid-State-Relay-SSR-24-480V-AC-25A_W0QQitemZ250558892739QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3a56794ac3)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: padstack on January 07, 2010, 11:21:26 pm
Sorry if this was covered already.  I skimmed, but didn't see it.  What about buying short lengths of PVC for the rings?  That way, it's guaranteed to be a true circle and not worrying about the cove molding bending or not being perfect.

Very cool project!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: saurian333 on January 07, 2010, 11:47:26 pm
Sorry if this was covered already.  I skimmed, but didn't see it.  What about buying short lengths of PVC for the rings?  That way, it's guaranteed to be a true circle and not worrying about the cove molding bending or not being perfect.

Very cool project!

But, the larger rings...can you just pop down to Home Depot and get 2' wide PVC pipe?  Even if you can, can you buy just a 6" (or whatever) length, or do you have to get 6' at a time?  Might not be very cost-efficient.  Also, the outside one with the U-shape would still be the molding, unless you could cut and bend the PVC well enough.

Besides, I think it looks good as it is.  PVC is sturdier, though, and might be an option for someone else building one if they have access to it.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on January 07, 2010, 11:58:48 pm
2" wide might be a tad small. You'd likely need the 4" pipe, and yep, that stuff is all over the plumbing section of lowes.

I bought  a3 foot section to make a steam bender out of, but returned it when I went a different way with my frame idea.

But I'd agree that pvc would make those catch tubes really easy. assuming that's the right size. And 3" only costs like, maybe 5$ if that.

BTW, this is a great project. If I had space.... And time.... and a tad more money....<sigh>
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: saurian333 on January 08, 2010, 12:54:04 am
2" wide might be a tad small. You'd likely need the 4" pipe, and yep, that stuff is all over the plumbing section of lowes.

No no, that was 2 feet (which was just a number I threw out there, not sure how accurate it is).  I was referring to the larger rings on a skeeball ramp.  Can you get something that huge in a typical hardware store?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on January 08, 2010, 08:44:55 am
Doh! :dizzy:

Guess I shouldn't respond to posts so late. My eyes get fuzzy.

Sorry about that. Nope, never seen 2' pvc at lowes or home depot, or anywhere else for that matter!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on February 01, 2010, 02:21:15 am
Happy belated new years :)

Been awhile since my last post. Not sure what the status of your build is, so I thought I'd weigh-in on the LedWiz and the Woot lights.

You can use ULN2803 to drive 500ma devices safely with a 25ma signal and an external power source. The ULN2803 can be purchased for $.35 to $2.00 or so. Along with the price, s/h will vary by store, of course.

Here are a couple articles doing something similar:
http://www.parallax.com/dl/docs/cols/nv/vol1/col/nv6.pdf (http://www.parallax.com/dl/docs/cols/nv/vol1/col/nv6.pdf)

This is a slightly different take, using an NPN transistor and a couple of other components (ie, diode, resistors, led) instead of the ULN2803. Maybe $5 in parts. In this example, it is used to control a relay which is, in turn, controlling a 120v outlet.
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/tutorial_info.php?tutorials_id=119 (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/tutorial_info.php?tutorials_id=119)

I've toyed with a similar idea for higher-draw lights both on top of the scoreboard, but possibly embedded along the rails to selectively light the rings and alley, possibly with UV (blacklight) LEDs for some "moonlight skeeball" action.  :)

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on February 01, 2010, 02:25:52 am
One more thing.... :)

I've tried to think of what could be used to protect the sides of the alley...plastic chair rails, etc.

While I don't really like it, this is the best thing I've been able to come up with so far that can be easily bought from a number of places: the protectors that power cords (and any other cords) are put into across walkways to keep them from getting damaged as well as keeping people from tripping on them and causing other havoc. Anyhow, the flat bottoms of these could be glued or somehow otherwise attached to the sides of the alley.
For example:
  http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xr5/R-100669768/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xr5/R-100669768/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053)
They're bulkier/bigger than I'd like and not cheap, either. I've also wondered if the bathroom floor moulding (from the rings) might work on the sides, but I'm not sure how we'll they'd attach to the sides or if they'd be too tall to even work. For that matter, I'm not sure if the cord protectors will be too tall or not.

On an unrelated topic.. If you get some time, would you post the flash file you've been working on? I'd love to play with it, even though I have nothing built to use it on. :)

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: saurian333 on February 02, 2010, 09:41:54 pm
I would guess that the floor molding would work OK.  It's designed to be stuck to a flat surface, and if it's too tall, it should cut fairly easily with a sharp blade.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on February 03, 2010, 02:09:12 am
First, thank you very much everyone for the kind words and informative posts.  Sorry for the lack of updates and replies... work has been incredibly busy and I've been taking a lot of it home with me, leaving little time for much else.  Also, our finances have put a temporary hold on the Skeeball build, but I should be back at it in a few weeks.

drventure & samej71- thank you very much for the info about the lights.  I haven't begun integrating them yet but your input has been very helpful.

In terms of the rings discussion, PVC is a bad idea.  Ixliam (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,29727.0.html (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,29727.0.html)) used it for his rings and promptly bought actual Skeeball rings on eBay after his rings were chipping and cracking.  For anyone considering building their own Skeeball machine, I would STRONGLY advise against using any material that doesn't have a significant amount of "give" to it for the rings, otherwise you're looking at the wooden balls getting chewed up with dings and dents.  After seeing the abuse that the scoring area takes through average use, I'd be willing to bet that all I would have left of the actual Skeeballs is wood shavings if these rings weren't made of this rubber molding.  If I recall correctly from another thread, actual Skeeball rings are custom made by GoodYear and are essentially white wall tires without the tire portion, making them perfect for absorbing impact while retaining the integrity of the rings.  I've gotta say that if I were to build another one of these, I would use the rubber bathroom molding again in a heartbeat.  It may not be as perfect as the real thing, but it functions nearly the same and I'm not lying when I say that one of the first things people ask when they see the game up and running is "Where did you get the rings for Skeeball?!"

That being said, I have given a lot of thought to using PVC pipe below the scoring area to direct the balls to the return chute at some point.  Not high on my list of things to do but it's something I may want to return to before I consider the machine "finished".

samej71- In regards to that rubber cord cover, I actually have some of that stuff in use around the house so I held it up to the Skeeball machine.  You're right about it being a bit bigger than it needs to be, but it doesn't look half bad and it would definitely take the punishment.  It's a bit pricey as well but one 15ft strip would be enough for both sides.

Also, I have received several requests for my Skeeball software.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I really want to clean up some things before I distribute it (plus there are a few gameplay bugs I have noticed in playing it for the last few months.)  Rest assured that I will releasing this software, but again I want it to meet my minimum standard of quality before I make it available for public consumption.  Now that I know that there is a demand, I will make a point to speed up my work.

Thank you again for all of the interest in this project.

I've been bad about updating, but as things at work slow down (and the garage warms up a bit) I will hit the ground running with this project.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: loggergolf on February 16, 2010, 11:01:55 am
In working on this myself, I have considered using vinyl like done on this one, but also have been looking for (affordable) cork surfacing. Anyone knoledgeable about this stuff and could tell me what to look for? There is all kinds of underlayment and rolls and everything else....just need to be pointed in a direction about what would work for this purpose and what would not. Thanks...
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 21, 2010, 09:24:11 pm
Kerfing... it sounds way more fun than it is.

I need some advice.  I am going to try to cap the rounded edges with wood rather than the traditional metal coin door / service caps.  The method that seemed the easiest to get this curve was kerfing, so I set out to try it.  I have already snapped one attempted corner (it was 1/4" mdf and more rigid than the 1/4" plywood that I have now).  The plywood is definitely closer to being able to fit the tight curve, but I'm afraid I'm going to snap it if I really try to push it.  Does anyone have any advice as to how I can get the plywood to make the turn a little tighter?  The only solution I have seen so far has been to get the wood wet and then form it to the curve.  I am willing to try this but I was hoping to get some feedback from people that have experience with this kind of thing.  My concerns are that the water on the plywood might transfer to the MDF and mess it up, or that the plywood will get all warped and funky if I do it wrong.

What's the best way to do this?  Any kind souls care to weigh in?  Please?  Haha

Also, I've made some significant progress towards the net and the bumpers, but I'll post those updates once I get the corners figured out.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144175;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144177;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144179;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144181;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144183;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144185;image)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on March 22, 2010, 12:41:30 pm
Hello again.

I've thought about your question and had some suggestions (most of which I've assume you've already pondered). A wood-working fiend of mine helped come up with a couple.

1) Painting the MDF with a waterproof paint so it'd be pretty much shielded some from the moisture of the wet wood.

2) treating the plywood (steam/water) and creating a temporary water-tolerant jig to get the curve close to the cap's shape, and let it dry on the jig. After it has dried, it can be attached to the real side units without requiring so much dry bending force and without risking MDF swelling.

3) Using a material meant for bending, such as Wacky Wood, Wiggle Wood, or Bendy Wood. Not sure what the cost is or where it can be purchased. I'm guessing this isn't within the budget.

4) Use left-over MDF and do essentially what you did for the ball hop ramp. Cut several pieces of MDF approximately the size of the top of the cap, making sure you have 1/4" more on the top and front (so it will match up with the 1/4" ply or MDF you use to cover the rest of the side unit). Cut the outer edge to have the same approximate curve as the cap and trim the inner edge to lose some weight. String a few side-by-side until you have the whole end filled. You'll have to do something similar to the sides themselves so they're 1/4" bigger. Not sure if you'd want to cut a notch in them and put one of these new curved pieces there, or if you'd want to use wood filler or something to build it up so it matches. Either way, once assembled then it can be sanded so it looks like one solid piece. Since you will have over-sized the curve by 1/4" in the earlier steps, it will be come out flush with the 1/4" covers on the top and front of the side unit, once they are installed. I have some sketches I can scan in and attach if you'd like me to.

I'm thinking options 2 and 4 are your best bets.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mpm32 on March 22, 2010, 02:28:49 pm
I think you just need cut your kerfs deeper.  It's hard to tell but I don't think they're deep enough.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on March 22, 2010, 02:50:15 pm
Quote
I think you just need cut your kerfs deeper.  It's hard to tell but I don't think they're deep enough.

Even better :)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 23, 2010, 12:23:14 am
Thank you for the input guys!  First, I tried to cut my kerfs a bit deeper by hand.  The only thing less fun than kerfing with a table saw is kerfing an extra few millimeters with a handsaw.  I read a tip last night about steaming wood with a wet rag and an iron, so I figured I would give it a shot.  Apparently I kerfed too much extra, because my first attempt didn't snap but it made an obvious crack along the curve (incidentally it cracked right next to a knot in the plywood so I'm going to blame the wood.. yeah it was definitely the wood).

The one thing I learned through the first mistake was that steaming the wood makes it bend a LOT more if you take the time to really get both sides saturated, so much so that I figured I would try it on my second piece of kerfed wood without deepening the kerfs at all.  After a lot of steaming, I clamped the piece on the Skeeball machine and it actually worked!  The curve looks great, so I'm going to keep it clamped there for a few days just to be safe.  Tomorrow, I will cut off another 5" section of the kerfed wood to use on the other side.  Here are a couple of pics!

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144292;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144294;image)

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Epyx on March 23, 2010, 12:37:23 am
Looks great!  :cheers:

What did you use for steaming?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 23, 2010, 12:54:36 am
Thanks Epyx!  I literally used a household iron and a wet washrag... very easy.  I just put the wet rag on the wood, moved the iron around on full steam for a minute or so, flipped the wood and repeated, then put the plywood on the machine and clamped like crazy.  I was very surprised with how easy it was.

By the way, your Aliens cab is one of the projects that I make a point to check out any time it is updated... looking VERY slick.  Nice work!

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144298;image)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Epyx on March 23, 2010, 05:18:20 pm
Quote
Thanks Epyx!  I literally used a household iron and a wet washrag... very easy.  I just put the wet rag on the wood, moved the iron around on full steam for a minute or so, flipped the wood and repeated, then put the plywood on the machine and clamped like crazy.  I was very surprised with how easy it was.

By the way, your Aliens cab is one of the projects that I make a point to check out any time it is updated... looking VERY slick.  Nice work!

Thanks and appreciate the info...good to know and will likely come in very handy soon!  I had tried the kerfing as well with poor results  :cheers:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 28, 2010, 08:18:52 pm
I found some time today to retry my kerfing for the end caps.  The plywood that I used this time didn't have NEARLY as much flex in it even though it was the exact same 1/4" thickness.  I only kerfed the areas that needed to bend, as opposed to my first effort where I just kerfed the whole thing.  I was hoping to end up with two new caps, but a bit of splitting occurred on the one on the right hand side.  I might be able to sand it and fix it, but I won't know until it dries and sets.  Either way, I still have the first cap so I can use that one if needed.

Hoping to get these caps permanently attached and the net finished this week, as well as figure out a way to secure the bumpers to the sides.  Also, I've got to find an alternative to the L-shaped wood that I used to hold the vinyl down... after catching a few errant skeeballs both the top and bottom pieces have cracked and broken.  I'm hoping to find something that can take a beating but still looks good.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144689;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144691;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144693;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144695;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144697;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144699;image)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on April 13, 2010, 01:41:44 pm
Hey there thatpurplestuff,

Just checking in again. How is the netting coming along? Is the Flash piece/software at a place where you'd be comfortable releasing it to the public [ or at least a select few :) ] to look at/play with?

For the cork/vinyl hold-down, I originally thought about the material that is used at uneven thresholds to hold down carpeting or vinyl flooring, or on the edges of some stairs.

For the side bumpers (maybe even the hold-down too) what about plastic landscape molding, like what is used as a barrier between lawns and mulch/rock?

Since the Cherry rotary microswitches seem to be very expensive ($12 or more for each) and finding similar products from other vendors is nearly impossible due to a lack of any kind of naming convention, I've decided I'm going to go with optical switches. I can get a IR transmitter/receiver pair for around $1.50, a good $10 cheaper per switch, plus no mechanical switch to wear out. I've been working with a friend and I think we have a decent design for making sure they function optimally (minimizing any kind of cross-talk, making sure it reliably detects balls, etc.)

I've tried a couple times to contact Randy of GroovyGameGear over the past few months to ask some questions about the LedWiz's inputs to make sure the IR components I get have the right output specifications to properly trigger the inputs. I also wanted to make sure my plans for mass-powering RGB LEDs based off the signals from the LedWiz PWM outputs are appropriate. For whatever reason, he hasn't seemed to reply to my emails. I found that odd since he normally seems to be pretty responsive given the forum posts  I've read about him. I just now tried a forum PM to him, maybe he'll get this attempt. Worst case scenario, I might look at other solutions for an input/output interface, such as something from Ultimarc or something arduino-based.

Anyhooo... Back on track.. I'm interesting in hearing about any additional progress you may have made. :)

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on April 16, 2010, 04:37:02 pm
Saw this in another thread about something else and thought it might work to protect/cover the wood you're using to hold down the vinyl.

Comes in a variety of colors and sizes, this is one that might color coordinate with the vinyl you have:

http://www.corner-guard.com/textured_vinyl/90_degree_angle/1.125_inch/standard_colors/11924_-_sawdust/view_all_products.html (http://www.corner-guard.com/textured_vinyl/90_degree_angle/1.125_inch/standard_colors/11924_-_sawdust/view_all_products.html)

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on April 16, 2010, 04:59:36 pm
About this

Quote
I've tried a couple times to contact Randy of GroovyGameGear over the past few months to ask some questions about the LedWiz's inputs to make sure the IR components I get have the right output specifications to properly trigger the inputs. I also wanted to make sure my plans for mass-powering RGB LEDs based off the signals from the LedWiz PWM outputs are appropriate. For whatever reason, he hasn't seemed to reply to my emails. I found that odd since he normally seems to be pretty responsive given the forum posts  I've read about him. I just now tried a forum PM to him, maybe he'll get this attempt. Worst case scenario, I might look at other solutions for an input/output interface, such as something from Ultimarc or something arduino-based.

What I've found, is that you can control pretty much anything via an LEDWiz if you use the right optoisolator/triac or solid state relay. The chips and circuits involved are pretty simple (see my thread), and they'll allow you to control virtually any simple component via the ledwiz outputs, because all you end up driving via the LED wiz is the ir emitter of the isolator, which is basically just a plain ol' LED.

I'm controlling multiple ELWire segments, and even an old analog ammeter (to show CPU Utilization) via an LEDWiz.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: gottlieb61 on June 27, 2010, 12:11:07 pm
I'm working on a mini skee-ball type game using a pinball plunger to shoot smaller wooden balls, and I stumbled on this thread. I'd like to use a 15 monitor for the entire top screen. Your software would work perfect and I have no coding skill what-so-ever. Any chance you'd be willing to share your program? Would be much appreciated. THANKS
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: More Cowbell on June 29, 2010, 11:42:19 am
Amazing thread and amazing job on a build that most would never consider undertaking. I have a skee ball machine that could really use a breath of new life to it and your software would be just the remedy. Hoping you have it to a point where you are comfortable releasing it as it looks fantastic!  :cheers:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on September 20, 2010, 12:47:27 am
I am still alive and I haven't forgotten about Skeeball.  I'm getting married in 3 weeks, and with all the planning/prep and other real world stuff I haven't had much if any free time over the last few months.  I appreciate all of the kind words that I have received here and via email about the software.  Unfortunately the software isn't at a point where it's ready to be released, but I have made significant progress with the source code in terms of getting it to where I want it to be (adding ability to play with up to 4 players right now for certain game modes although I'm not done with that yet).  The other main change that needs to be done before it is released is to make the game access an external settings file to make it easier to change options for each game.  I am also really excited about the way the software is looking... for the first version I threw the visuals together pretty quickly and used a fairly generic look for the majority of the game modes.  At a quick glance there really wasn't anything distinguishing one from the other other than different color backgrounds.  I decided to incorporate a theme for each game type, and so far I'm really happy with the results.  Here's a quick shot of an old screen grab along with the new design.  The multiplier changes every second in-game, so you have to time your roll to get the best multiplier.

Old "Flash" game mode
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=153844;image)

New "Flash Point" game mode
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=153842;image)

The concept for this theme is a bit darker than the rest of the game modes... the others are more lighthearted.  Thanks again for reading and for those that have inquired about obtaining the software, rest assured I haven't forgotten about it!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: broberg on September 20, 2010, 10:54:03 am
I say hardcore making your own bendable board!

I bought pre-made MDF for my coffee-table build, 10mm MDF with grooves just like the ones you did on your boards!

http://www.minhembio.com/Broberg/123926/ (http://www.minhembio.com/Broberg/123926/)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: danny_galaga on September 21, 2010, 03:03:50 am

Man you guys that can do woodwork AND software just make me sick  ;D

Looking very good there!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Rick on September 21, 2010, 10:24:30 am
I bought pre-made MDF for my coffee-table build, 10mm MDF with grooves just like the ones you did on your boards!

You just answered a question I had - can one kerf cut MDF and have it not split apart.

http://www.minhembio.com/Broberg/123926/ (http://www.minhembio.com/Broberg/123926/)

Amazing, simply amazing work.  Everybody should hit this link.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Shortbus on September 26, 2010, 10:47:20 am
"I'm getting married in 3 weeks,"

say good bye to the skee ball.....Kidding, I enjoy this thread and the quality work, Congrats on the marriage.......hurry back
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nestechs on October 22, 2010, 08:09:21 pm
This thread has been very helpful!  I just recently got a Skeeball Too unit. It's in great shape but it did not have the screen, logic board and power supply.  I was thinking of ordering the parts from skeeball, but when I saw they wanted just about thousand dollars for them I figured I'd look elsewhere to try something.  That's how I found this and I think this would be an awesome setup.  I ordered stuff from groovy game gear and it just showed up today.  But I was wondering, with your software that you did, are you using the keywiz or the wiz+gp?  I ordered the led-wiz+gp and now I'm thinking I may have needed the keywiz.  I'm still waiting to hear from RandyT if I can get a copy of his software because I'd love to try it out and eventually try to do something like what you are doing.  But it's been a few years since I have tried coding anything. 

Your project looks awesome and I can't wait to see your software when you finish.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Swillie on November 19, 2010, 02:11:35 am
Hello. I have been watching this thread with interest. Congratulations on the recent wedding. My wife has tolerated my mild arcade game hobby and now thanks to your project I hope to pay her back. I have made a couple multi arcade cabinets and fixed up a couple old pinballs, but my wife loves only one arcade game and that is skeeball.  Once I saw this thread I knew I had to make her a skeeball and finally get her interested in my gameroom. I actually am hoping to take the easy way out and fix up a junker skeeball if I can just find one for cheap enough. I have a pc, 15" lcd and have ordered the Keywiz from RandyT. Who knows how long it will take to find a skeeball cabinet. I was ready to spring for a complete working game but to be honest your software looks so awesome I have decided to just find a physically intact cabinet and run it with the pc instead. A skeeball that can play multiple games would be off the chart!! Of course that is under the assumption that you will at some point share your program with us idiots who dont know how to make our own.  I once knew how to program basic back during the commodore 64 days but that was a long time ago.  I will keep an eye on your project as I begin mine, and hope I might be able to send a donation your way if and when you decide to share the software you have created.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Creeper on November 19, 2010, 05:32:26 pm
Some great stuff in this thread, lots of cool techniques for wood shaping.  :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Firebat138 on January 25, 2011, 03:48:46 pm
I love coming back to this thread every once in a while, and everytime I seem to wanna read the entire thread again.  :-)

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mgb on January 29, 2011, 12:31:19 pm
This is really a freakin' cool build.
Very original. Really nice work.
I love the use of the monitor for the score board.

I probably missed it somewhere in the post, but will it be easy enough to get to your switches for adjustments as needed.
I work on skeeballs for a guy and I find the switches do get out of wack sometimes.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 23, 2011, 01:51:02 am
I swear I'm not dead!  In fact, here's a video of my Skeeball software to show that I haven't been completely worthless the last couple months.

MOV09021 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoFa--rgonY#)

1) Yes, I am aware that my laptop has a blue line in the screen.  I had a stuck pixel for years, but a few months ago it turned into a solid line.  Awesome!
2) The software is officially (I think) named Free Skee.
3) All of the sound in the game is just kinda thrown in... planning on a complete overhaul once the graphics and gameplay are done.
4) Bowling and Old School modes still need aesthetic work... I loaded up Bowling just to show the gameplay but visually it still sucks, and the Big Lebowski sound in the intro needs to go.

I trimmed a lot of the dead wood out of the software... I had a few games added that simply weren't very fun in their present form (mainly because they are games that had to be modified or simply aren't that fun with only one player), so I figured I would cut them out until I decide how/if I want to integrate multiplayer into the machine.  Honestly, it had too many game modes on the main menu and it seemed that half of them were never played.  Also, I removed the "Combo" on/off option, since it was wreaking havoc with hi-scores.  We would have people over playing different game modes and it was confusing to have them track whether or not the multiplier was on.  Instead, the game modes themselves dictate whether or not multipliers are enabled.  The basic "Free Skee" game is exactly like regular Skeeball except it tallies multipliers if you get the same ring 2, 3, or 4 times in a row.  In order to see which ring you hit last, I have tickets that pop out from the side of the screen that keep track of your rolls.  The other games have multipliers as well, with Flash Point's being indicated by the lights at the bottom and Bowling's being indicated by the number of neon pins lit on the bottom.  Old School will have the traditional Skeeball scoring with no multiplier.

Performance-wise I had to remove some very sweet glow / glare effects that I had on the LED scoreboard... it simply made things crawl even though it made it look very cool.  I also had a pretty sweet rolling scoreboard for ThreeTen, but again it made the game move like molasses.  Build-wise I put the kabosh on the Woot lights for the machine... they are a bit cheap looking and not really the look I want anyway.

Now for the important part.  Before I finalize the sides and throw paint on the machine, I have one last thing I want to add.  I just purchased an LED-Wiz 32-port USB lighting controller and 10 RGB-Drive pushbutton lights to run along the sides of the machine.  I am redoing the top of the sides of the ramp, and there are going to be 5 lights on each side that will hopefully be able to both interact with certain game modes as well as just race around changing colors and attracting people to play. 

Randy from GroovyGameGear.com provides an ActiveX control in order to use the LED-Wiz with your own software, but I read somewhere that Actionscript doesn't allow you to access ActiveX controls.  I really haven't done much research on this yet (literally searched for 10 minutes earlier tonight), but one option that I saw floated was to use Actionscript to communicate with JAVA and then JAVA to communicate with ActiveX.  This sounds like a huge pain that I will undertake if I have to, but if anyone knows how to better integrate ActiveX with my Actionscript-based software I would be incredibly grateful.

To mgb, yeah I am able to pop under the hood fairly easily and things do need a readjustment every once in a while.  Thanks again for all of the kind words and interest!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: jfunk on March 23, 2011, 08:54:10 am
That's awesome.  If I had the time and wordworking talent...  You need to write up some detailed plans and sell them or something  :)  Along with your software  :)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: yuanyelss on March 25, 2011, 09:36:14 pm
My guess is that it will hinder better than cardboard and bent. As the ball hit it, I would worry about hardboard again to crack down on the pressure. There may not be too flexible laminated all together...
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on March 25, 2011, 10:01:28 pm
Oh, just had a thought. You need to steam punk that baby out!

You could use these for your flasher lights with the LED modules (brass door knob trim and old glass telephone insulators, I'm sooooo gonna make a few of these!)

(http://pics.livejournal.com/douglas442/pic/0001pfwd/s320x240)

 ;)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: AlienInferno on March 25, 2011, 10:27:42 pm
I have been following this thread for awhile and will use this as my first post in this thread.

AWESOME!

That is all!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 11, 2011, 01:12:04 am
This picture was taken today.   :dunno

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164616;image)

I've recently made the decision to shi...err poop or get off the pot with my project(s).  I've had a "playable" arcade that was barely functional for over 5 years (you can actually see the wooden aircraft carrier control panel on the lower left of the picture), another barely built plug-and-play control panel with tv-out for 3 years, and a halfway built Skeeball machine for over a year now.  I decided that I needed to jumpstart things so I am scrapping everything but Skeeball and only saving the parts... literally throwing the other projects in the garbage since I have different plans for an arcade now anyway.  It was actually kind of cathartic to leave the half baked projects behind and focus my energy exclusively on this project.

Having said that, while the above picture looks like I am going backwards in terms of progress with Skeeball it is actually a sign that this thing is finally getting put together for painting.  I have custom-made rubber bumpers, a new lane material, a smoother and improved hop ramp, yellow t-molding and endcaps in the mail, an awesome net and frame, and a secret new feature that won't be given justice by words alone so I am going to wait to get pictures of it installed.

I squashed the idea of the RGB lights along the top of side panels, but I am now trying to think of a way to mount the RGB pushbutton lights to illuminate individual holes for different game modes... any ideas would be appreciated.  This is a feature that I'm most likely going to wait to pursue until after the rest of the machine is done, but I'm still intrigued by the idea.

drventure- That is a pretty sweet looking light!

Thanks for the kind words everyone.  I know this update was a bit scattered and vague, but I plan on some big updates soon.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DNA Dan on April 11, 2011, 10:53:25 am
Keep at it man. This is one of those "epic" builds that I can't wait to see finished.  :notworthy:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nimbus on April 11, 2011, 11:35:17 pm
This project really is awesome. It stands alone because there aren't a lot of parts laying around or plans for these machines like there are with arcade machines. I am really excited to see how it turns out. I hope that you keep making progress!!!

I agree with the 'too many projects' issue too. When I got into arcades and rebuilding them, I got what I wanted and didn't buy anything else. I learned this from other hobbies. I tended to buy ANYTHING that was a good deal whether I needed it or not. In the end it all just took time and funds away from projects I should have finished long ago.

Best of luck to you with this. I also hope that you someday provide plans for this. I would love to build one but don't know where to start...
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 12, 2011, 01:06:39 am
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164660;image)

My ramp is now Made in China.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164664;image)

I absolutely love the way this fake wood looks on the ramp, but I am a bit concerned with the noise... this material is significantly harder than the vinyl flooring that I was using previously, and because of that the balls are louder as they land on it.  The nice thing about both materials that I have used on the ramp so far is that they are cheap and easily replaceable, so I think I'll wait until the machine is fully put back together before I decide whether or not to search for another ramp cover.

DNA Dan- That's very kind of you to say.. thank you!

Nimbus- It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one that gets sidetracked with a bunch of projects and has trouble focusing on one.  I will absolutely provide plans once this is done, along with a complete materials list.  I am going to wait until I am done because like you said, there aren't a lot of parts lying around for Skeeball and I have done a lot of trial and error (some days it feels like mostly error haha) in my purchases.

Tomorrow I cut the bumpers and prep them to be mounted!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: AlienInferno on April 12, 2011, 02:55:07 am
That first post I thought you were going to say you were scapping skeeball.  I got scared.  I also take on way to many projects at once.  I can count 3 that have been going on for several years.  If I could just put all my time/effort/money into one at a time they would actually get finished.  Can't wait until you finish this and post the plans.  My wife loves skeeball and would hound me until I finish it.  That would be a good thing.  LOL!  Like the way it's looking so far.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: crashwg on April 12, 2011, 05:31:51 pm
I absolutely love this build.  I sure hope your software will be available so others (who can't code) are able to follow in your footsteps.

That being said...  On the Bowling game when the score changes from 2 digits to 3, the "display" shifts to compensate.  I think it would look better if the location of the numbers were constant.

I just watched the video again and noticed that the same happens on Cliffhanger.  I'm not sure how I feel about the "issue" on that version though due to the small space the numbers are in.  I think I'm still leaning towards having a set location for the digits would look better though.  Maybe if the font wasn't modeled after a segmented display?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: justinjstark on April 13, 2011, 11:41:29 pm
I absolutely love the way this fake wood looks on the ramp, but I am a bit concerned with the noise... this material is significantly harder than the vinyl flooring that I was using previously, and because of that the balls are louder as they land on it.  The nice thing about both materials that I have used on the ramp so far is that they are cheap and easily replaceable, so I think I'll wait until the machine is fully put back together before I decide whether or not to search for another ramp cover.

Would it help to lay down a thin sheet of padding under the "fake wood"?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 14, 2011, 12:57:38 am
crashwg- Good eye!  The 0 placeholders are going to be included on every led number in the game, I just haven't gotten around to copying the code to the other game modes yet.  The only game modes that I would officially consider done are "Free Skee" and "Flash Point"... others are pretty close like "310" and "Cliffhanger" (0 placeholders missing and a few small things)... and games like "Bowling" and "Old School" are really rough and going to get a complete makeover.

justinjstark- That's a possibility, but would be a bit of a pain since I would need to adhere the padding to the ramp and then worry about the fake wood on top of it... I think I'm going to wait until everything is put back together and playable before I decide if I want to make any changes... the way I have things laid out, the ramp cover will always be replaceable.

I've been getting the bumpers ready for the last couple days... basically I bought 8' or so of this rubber flooring off of a roll and then cut thin strips off of it.  It's real rubber (or at least labelled as such) and seemed perfect to wrap around a piece of wood to create a bumper.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164778;image)

I bought two 2"x2" pieces of wood, cut 1/2" off one side and then rounded the corners.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164780;image)

I began gluing the rubber on to the wood last night, and to make it easier on myself I am only gluing one side at a time.  Since each piece needs 2 sides glued and it takes 24 hours to set, the bumpers should be ready to mount by Saturday.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164782;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164784;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164786;image)

Bumpers, T-molding cuts, and a slight modification to the ball return on the ramp should be done this weekend, meaning that I can put the outer side panels back on and finally get the endcaps seated and attached correctly.  Slow and steady!

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mgb on April 14, 2011, 07:38:52 am
The progress is really looking good
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DNA Dan on April 14, 2011, 11:47:56 am
I think the ramp looks fantastic. I assume it's mostly the sound you are concerned about?

In regard of the noise, I would check out second skin audio. They make a product called Damplifier Pro which you could roll on the backside of the ramp. It's similar to dynamat, however this is probably the best product on the market for car audio enthusiasts. This product does wonders for taking out vibrational frequency in panels. Search for their stuff on youtube and you'll find some before and after videos of people using this on their cars. It makes a tin can sound like 12" of thick material! I plan on doing our traveler with this stuff once my arcade cab is completed.

Another thing to remember is typically skeeball units were lined up next to each other, so you'd hear a lot less noise from the roll as a result. Also the sounds in the arcade usually drowned out any noise.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 15, 2011, 01:11:27 am
Quick update:  Finished one bumper (still need cut off excess rubber and clean up some of the glue) and clamped it on to the machine to see what it looks like.  Loving it so far!  Also got my vinyl corner guards in the mail, so I placed them on and again I'm really loving how everything is looking.  T-molding came as well so this weekend will be busy!

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164808;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164810;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164812;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164814;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164816;image)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: yotsuya on April 15, 2011, 12:59:27 pm
Looks great. How do you plan to do the ball return?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 18, 2011, 12:44:25 am
DNA Dan- That's a good idea about the sound dampening material.  I'm definitely going to look into it!

yotsuya- I'll be redoing the ball return as soon as the ramp is done... I'm still figuring some stuff out but I'll post pics when I do it.

So I didn't get a lot done this weekend... caught something nasty and I've been congested and coughing like crazy.  Most of the stuff I wanted to do involved a table saw or a router, and I figured it may not be such a great idea to operate either when there's a chance I'll uncontrollably cough while using them.

I did finish creating the bumpers, but I still need to trim the excess white glue from the edges and trim the ends before I mount them.  I clamped them to the machine to see how they look (awesome!) and I figured I would put my most recent purchase on as well to see how it looked (even more awesome!).

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164929;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164931;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164933;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164935;image)

My original plan was to buy white rope lights for the ramp, but I decided to go all out and purchased a 16' RGB LED strip, so I can illuminate the ramp any color that I want and change it in realtime.  I'm very happy with the results, and these pics really don't do it justice.  When the LEDs are mounted they will be about 1/4" higher than they are in the pics, which makes a surprisingly big difference in terms of their brightness.  When they are at the correct height the light appears brighter and more evenly distributed.

Second thing I did today was partially figure out how to integrate the lighting for the holes.  I plan on having the rings light up for different game modes (lighting the last ring you hit for certain games with the color changing depending on how many times you have hit the same ring in a row, lighting bonus rings for others, etc).  Adding this into the software will actually be really easy so I'm pretty excited about it.  I'm still not exactly sure how I want to actually mount the RGB LED's under the holes, but from preliminary placements I love them.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164937;image)
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164939;image)
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164941;image)
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=164943;image)

One issue that I'm now seeing is that this flooring that I used for the ramp isn't adhering to the frame that well.  There are certain spots (primarily on the hop ramp) that pop up a bit every few days.  I can push them back down and they stick for a while, but I want a permanent solution.  Does anyone have any ideas for adhesives that I can use on top of the sticky stuff that they included with the flooring?

Thanks for reading.  Hoping to make some big progress this week!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: AlienInferno on April 18, 2011, 01:53:22 am
That lighting will look fantastic in a semi-dark room.  You could even make them flash when a ball is counted (scorewise, etc.)  Maybe even an attract type mode of sorts.  Hmmm...a voice out of nowhere (circus announcer/fair game booth person).  "Ladies and Gentlemen come on down and try your hands at skeeball.  Win a prize with every roll!" While the lights flash in sync with his voice.  IDK.  Has potential anyway I would think.

Edit:  I was talking about the ramp lights for the most part.  Attract mode could be all of them though.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ricand on April 18, 2011, 02:32:41 am
Does anyone have any ideas for adhesives that I can use on top of the sticky stuff that they included with the flooring?

I've had good luck with 3Ms Super 77 adhesive spray.   It does a good job of sticking odd things together.  I'm not sure how good it is at adhering adhesives though.  You might want to take the old adhesive off first with some acetone or something.

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DNA Dan on April 18, 2011, 12:05:12 pm
I have been using DAP Weldwood contact cement for my laminate and it's pretty strong stuff. http://www.dap.com/product_details.aspx?product_id=35 (http://www.dap.com/product_details.aspx?product_id=35) Can be found at lowes or homedepot. It applies very easily, just spread it on single coat, let dry then stick it. Roll with J-roller.

I don't know how well the water based version performs, but if you go original, be sure you have ventilation  :dizzy:

I think your lighting looks awesome. I want to roll one !
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on April 20, 2011, 02:21:40 pm
LOVE the RGB lighting! This is turning out to be one sweet ass skeeball!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 21, 2011, 01:43:55 am
Just spent HOURS installing / hooking up all these LEDs.  It sucked but I honestly couldn't be happier with the results!

Here is a video running one of the sample LED patterns that are included with the LEDwiz software (the little light spillage beneath each ring is going to disappear once I finish mounting them and then place the vinyl over the top).  I have already gotten the lights to work for a few game modes in the software, and they work great for indicating which hole the player should aim at.

MOV09118 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xos9CGhbMHE#)

I am incredibly thankful that RandyT gives the option to control the LEDwiz using the clipboard, since the OCX would have been a bear to integrate with ActionScript2.

Quick question for anyone that is electronics savvy... I would love to hook the RGB LED strips that I am using on the ramp section to this LEDwiz as well.  I've got the open slots, but my question is whether or not it's simply a matter of plugging the LED strip wires into the LEDwiz?  Right now it's just got a standard 12vdc 3000ma power supply that goes to their controller that I can interact with using a little remote.  It says that I can cut these LEDs every 3rd light, so in theory I could distribute the load into two parts for the LEDwiz.  How would I go about calculating the draw that each half would require and make sure I don't either A) blow the LED strips, or B) blow my LEDwiz?  Thanks in advance for any help.

Hopefully the weather will clear up tomorrow so I can get some cutting done!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on April 21, 2011, 07:15:33 am
Sounds like you're using these RGB LED strips (http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=285&zenid=1d9b3f50f7de2589ab4a4b21a6a4b769).
Their specs say:
 •Maximum 12V @ 60mA draw per strip segment
Which would be 20mA per color per segment (group of 3).
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: matsadona on April 21, 2011, 07:52:53 am
Buy some solid state relays and you can hook up a lot more in the future :)
Convenient control voltage ranges and not that expensive if you browse around different suppliers.

By the way, this project is really cool and if I ever get the time I will do one myself.
Please continue sharing your ideas, progress and experiences made.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 21, 2011, 11:14:57 am
Ahh thanks you guys are awesome.  Looks like I am going to hold off on any type of ramp light control with the LEDwiz for a while and instead use the default controller unit that the LED strips came with.  I'm already at 420mA on the LEDwiz with the ring lights and since I am using USB power I am capped at 500mA.  Even if I was using the PC power I believe that am capped at 500mA per output, which still wouldn't work for how many LEDs I need functioning on each side of the ramp.  At some point I may go back and try to tinker with controlling the ramp lights with the help of solid state relays (something I have ZERO experience in), but for now I'm just happy that I was able to achieve my main goal of lighting the rings.

Thanks for the input guys!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on April 21, 2011, 11:27:59 am
Well you could cut your strips into groups of 25 segments giving you 500mA draw per color per shorter strip and connect to PC power thus being able to control your strips via your LEDWiz. :)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: drventure on April 21, 2011, 12:38:49 pm
Go with the SSR's. They're pretty easy to work with. I should have used them to control my ELWire but I didn't know about them till I'd already built a circuit with a triac. Doh!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 22, 2011, 12:25:30 am
Nephasth- I think I'm going to go the solid state relay route, but I'm still keeping that idea in the back of my head as an option.

drventure- Do you know what type of SSR I would need for this purpose?  I am interested in going forward with the ramp lighting but I literally have no idea where to even start regarding the implementation of a SSR.  By the way I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with those glass insulators on your build!

Xiaou2- Those are some cool ramp ideas... you should go for it!  I'm loving the fact that the ring lights are working now... I had a bunch of game modes that I was toying with that were simply too complicated without lit rings to direct the player.

Got some important work done today but not as much as I would have liked.  When I was putting this machine together for the first time, I failed to plan for the fact that I would need to run USB and power cables from the bottom scoring area to the top.  In my rush to get Skeeball playable the first time around, I bored two holes in the back in order to run the usb and power cables from the bottom to the scoreboard.  Today I dismantled the whole scoring area and routed a channel for the cables to go where they will be hidden beneath the vinyl the covers the backboard.  Lots of areas that will need bondo before this thing gets painted!

I didn't put everything back together since I am going to route the slots for the t-molding tomorrow after work.  I've gotta say, even though I know that in the grand scheme of things I'm making progress, it's pretty disheartening to see the machine in so many pieces.  Looking forward to getting this thing looking like a Skeeball machine again!

I also bit the bullet tonight and bought "new old stock" OFFICIAL black wooden Skeeballs... they are from the 90's but never been used and from the pics I've seen they look really nice.  The Skeeball company doesn't make anything but their cheap plastic balls anymore (I even contacted them directly to confirm the bad news), so to get official wooden composite balls is pretty awesome.  I could have opted for reproduction brown composite balls which would have been cheaper, but the black Skeeballs will look nicer with the color scheme I'm choosing plus I like the novelty factor of having never-used Skeeballs from the 90's.  I paid out the nose for them but considering how much I have dumped into this machine there's no point in skimping out in the home stretch.

Too tired to post pics but I'll do a picture dump soon.  Cutting the slots for the t-molding and generally cleaning up inner guts of the scoreboard area tomorrow, and possibly finishing the ramp section if I have time.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: AlienInferno on April 22, 2011, 10:46:28 pm
Looks good man.  Those lights look great. 

Which LED strip did you go with?  Perhaps a link?  I'd like to check it out.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 03, 2011, 12:53:34 am
AlienInferno- Sorry for taking so long to reply... in regards to the LED lighting I bought a "Waterproof SMD 5050 LED flexible strip" from ebay.  Here's the link in case it is helpful: http://cgi.ebay.com/5m-5050-RGB-LED-Strip-12V-Remote-Controller-Power-/130493885818?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e620aad7a (http://cgi.ebay.com/5m-5050-RGB-LED-Strip-12V-Remote-Controller-Power-/130493885818?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e620aad7a)

Xiaou2- Just from seeing it put together outside of the actual machine I don't think it will be unclear as to what hole is lit up, but I'll see how everything looks under the lights before I decide one way or the other about marking the holes differently.

I've been making slow and steady progress, mainly on behind the scenes stuff like the ball return that I am redoing because the first time around I threw everything together to get it playable.  After getting the black Skeeballs in the mail and my unhappiness with the noise that the newer ramp cover made, I decided to scrap the whole "wood" theme for the ramp and go for something lighter that would compliment the dark Skeeballs and better accentuate the ramp and scoreboard lighting.

Only things left to do before I bondo and paint is to cut new top panels for the sides and mount the endcaps on to the sides of the ramp.  Sorry for the boring update this one is really more for me to keep the momentum I've got going.  Picture updates when I get a chance!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 09, 2011, 01:14:32 am
I re-did the endcaps for the ramp... the thought of Bondo'ing all of the little kerfs on the old caps seemed like a bit of a pain in the butt, plus I was really pushing the strength of the wood to make that curve work.  I went with a much more simple solution that I didn't think of until a week or so ago.  I had originally taken a 1/4" piece of wood, kerfed it, then forced the wood to the curve after steaming it.  This time, I took two pieces of 1/8" wood, steamed them, and glued them together while clamped to the curve.  This way worked awesome because it holds the correct shape even when not clamped on to the ramp, while the previous method nearly straightened out completely without being clamped down.  Very happy with the result.  Oh, also installed the ends for the bumpers.  Here are some pics (please ignore the ridiculous amount of holes that I made to mount the side panels).

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=165706;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=165708;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=165710;image)


I also found a great material for the backboard of the ball return.  It's the "anti-fatigue" padded flooring and it does a killer job of absorbing the impact of the Skeeballs.  Still need to attach it correctly, but I'm going to do that after I throw a coat of black paint on the inside of the scoring area.  Also, routed a channel on the backboard for the wires to go from the scoreboard housing to the lower part of the machine.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=165712;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=165714;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=165716;image)

Still need to re-cut the tops of the side panels and bolt them on, but after that I think this thing is ready to Bondo the hell out of and then paint!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on May 13, 2011, 12:08:03 am
Heya,

  I cant tell from the pictures what the material is like, but it looks like foam with a thin layer of plastic bonded the outside of it.

 If thats so, I would put a section of that vinyl strip that you used for the scoring loops on top of the foam where the balls drop on to it.

 The foam will still absorb the noise and impact, yet the surface wont be destroyed.  A thin surface wont hold up to the abuses of heavy rolling balls dropping on to it repeatedly.  Probably only a few weeks before it shreds without surface protection.



Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mgb on May 13, 2011, 08:12:06 am
Man, this project is looking great.
much cooler than most skeeballs out there.

It probably says it and I missed it, but how are you handling the score sensors, are you using manual switches like old skeeballs or are you using optical?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 19, 2011, 12:39:31 am
fsfSaA fsdfSDAGFH GgdfgDFGDFGSDF dgfdhgsdfsdfSS  :dizzy:

Woah excuse me... I just used Bondo for the first time and holy crap that stuff is potent!  I'm filling the holes along the sides of the ramp and the back of the machine... I'll probably take a couple of days to do it because I made a BUNCH of unnecessary holes while making this thing and I've been a bit strapped for time recently.  Again no pictures, but after I've filled all these holes I should be just about ready to sand and prime.

Xiaou2- I've actually got black rubber left over from the ramp that I am going to put under the holes, mainly to mask the light grey from being seen from above but it should also serve to stop wear on the anti-fatigue mat.

mgb- Manual switches with the little wires on them.  Very pleased with the results so far, but I have no experience with the opticals so I have no basis for comparison.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on May 19, 2011, 02:21:33 am
Optical switches wouldnt work too well in this application.  Most optical switches are very short distances apart... and a skeeball is too wide for that.   The only way around that, would be a spring loaded switch activator.  But, that would only add more complexity and costs.  The physical switches are much better for this.

 Make sure you have adequate ventilation when using that stuff.  Use some box fans to help.. but much better, would be a respirator w/ the proper filter cartridges.  These chemicals can really wreck your health... and truthfully, theres nothing more important than your health and longevity.

 I got my mask from Harbor Freight.. and use it when I cut MDF.  Not sure if the filter carts Ive got would work with fumes though..
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 24, 2011, 01:36:13 am
Xiaou2- I actually went out and purchased a respirator since I plan on doing more Bondo'ing and sanding, and I've gotta say it is pretty cool.  When I'm wearing that mask, anything I'm working on becomes at least 50% more awesome.

Aside from a few spots near the ball return that need some Bondo touchup before the final sanding, the ramp is DONE!  I redid the tops of the sides of the ramp, and made the ball opening considerably smaller (the old cover left all 9 balls uncovered whereas the new cover leaves only 5 uncovered).
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=166498;image)

These pics show the ramp mostly put together (the bumpers are just resting on the ramp so they will be tighter to the sides and the lights have been taken out before painting).
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=166500;image)

I started doing some of the smaller paint jobs, namely the speaker grills (not shown) and the net clamps below.  The net clamps are just pipe clamps that come with rubber insulation... I'm stoked with how they look with the yellow paint.  I need to be able to pop the net off fairly easily since switches need occasional adjustment, so these clamps held on by knobs should work perfectly.  The store only had 3 of the knobs that I needed, so I've got an order placed for 3 more.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=166502;image)

Now I just need to remount the scoreboard and install the locking mechanism, and then it's just a matter of waiting for the knobs from OSH to mount the net.  After the net mounting is finalized this beast is ready to be sanded and painted!  It feels great to be on the homestretch and be able to work on the small details.  More detailed updates later!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on May 26, 2011, 11:32:30 pm
This is looking pretty awesome! Since I saw this thread I have been wanting a skee ball machine, and I just snagged one off ebay for $101 and the guy said he had another that he would throw in for an extra $50. Pretty excited about it, I think I might convert them to play multiple games like what you have going on with this build. Can't wait to see this thing in action! Bring on more pics!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Ond on May 27, 2011, 01:27:18 am
When I'm wearing that mask, anything I'm working on becomes at least 50% more awesome.

 :lol sure you're getting enough oxygen?  hey, I've gotta say that new surface you've gone with looks the business! Apart from being fun to play this is (already) very nice to look at. 

 :cheers:

Ond
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DNA Dan on May 27, 2011, 04:31:44 pm
Do you have plans to put in a coin mech for token and/or ticket dispensing?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: extendedplayarcade 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??
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mgb 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 (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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: javeryh on June 02, 2011, 09:20:48 am
This project is outstanding.  I hope your dog is OK.   :cheers:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Firebat138 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...
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DNA Dan 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=90051.0;attach=144175;image)

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 ~$700 if you know what you're buying... I've probably spent considerably more than that over the last 2+ years but I've also been doing this through trial and error.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mgb on June 07, 2011, 07:49:12 am
For the buttons, what about one of these 3 in 1 buttons?
http://www.ablackhorse.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=253572&idcategory=5541 (http://www.ablackhorse.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=253572&idcategory=5541)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: BadMouth on June 07, 2011, 09:55:58 am
You could use triangles for up and down, with a rectangular 8-liner button in the middle with an insert that says select.
You can print the insert on regular paper and make it look however you want. 
I did this with my driving cab and it added some much needed style to the plain buttons.
(http://i.ebayimg.com/06/!Bs-wzwQBWk~$(KGrHqIOKjwEvoNJi1bJBL6DyPd(I!~~_3.JPG)
and they are illuminated. ;D
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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 (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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Firebat138 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]
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: BadMouth 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  (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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mgb 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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.

(http://www.happcontrols.com/images/50/5400041x.jpg)
(http://www.happcontrols.com/images/50/5400045x.jpg)

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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Dazz 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: BadMouth 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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!

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=167592;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=167594;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=167596;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=167598;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=167600;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=167602;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=167604;image)

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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Ond 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
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DNA Dan 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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: yotsuya 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: gbeef on June 10, 2011, 11:10:21 am
Wow, this is looking reallly nice.
You got some skillz
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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!)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: AlienInferno 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
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Swillie 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!!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Shortbus 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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: mgb on June 20, 2011, 01:16:49 pm
The button layout looks perfect
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Balak95 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?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on June 22, 2011, 07:08:55 pm
The little dome ďwall protectorsĒ work great for the two lowest ringsÖ they knock the ball right into the hole every time.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=91011.0;attach=122844)

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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=168771;image)

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

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=168757;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=168765;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=168767;image)

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.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=168759;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=168761;image)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=168763;image)

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.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=168769;image)

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!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: dfmaverick on June 29, 2011, 01:03:15 am
Lookin' sweet.

Would love to have the room to play skeeball.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth 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?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 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 :-)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Swillie 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:    
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Jammin0 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.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on November 03, 2011, 06:22:47 pm
Hey guys.  Once again sorry for the long delays between updates... it's been too hot to work in the garage so everything has been on hold.  On top of that, the motherboard on my POS HP laptop officially fried and I've lost a decent amount of work on the software.

Quick rant: I've had nothing but problems with that HP ZD8000 laptop... overheated all of the time and sounded like a jet engine, developed lines in the screen, keyboard keys started falling off, and had a battery life of less than 1.5 hours (assuming the battery was functioning... went through two batteries that died before I was forced to have the thing plugged into the wall 24/7 without a battery in it).  It was basically a really loud and hot desktop computer with a jacked up monitor.  I would never even consider another HP laptop after buying that incredibly expensive lemon. </rant>  :soapbox:

I have a backup that I made of the laptop, but I still "lost" almost 2 months worth of changes and game modes.  I also lost my Sketchup files for an upcoming arcade build that was looking pretty freakin awesome.  I say "lost" because I'm going to look into an external HD enclosure for this laptop drive and see if I can pull my data off of it... I'm hoping that the only thing to go was the motherboard and that the hard drive isn't damaged. 

Anyway, going to build the triangular leg coverings in the next couple of weeks but work on the software is obviously on hold until I can afford to get another laptop.  Thanks for reading this rant / Skeeball update and I hope to have some more updates coming soon.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on November 04, 2011, 11:47:41 am
Id bet you didnt lose your data, just that the motherboard toasted itself.  Usually if its a HD issue, you will get the Click of Death, (clicking sounds from the drive head crashing).   And if its only partially bad, the pc will still at least show a bootup screen before it tries to load the OS from the HD.

 Its always best to backup your data to other devices or media.  It surprises me that so many people assume that any media is rock solid.  I used to work at a pc place, and brand new HDs from all the major mfgs were coming back bad often.  I had to RMA them on a regular basis.

 I agree with you about HP.  At one time they had some very quality stuff out there.  But now, all their stuff is complete garbage, and wont last long.  Ive seen so many dead and problematic HP equipment, that Im surprised that anyone buys HP anymore.

 Rather than get another Laptop, you might consider de-casing a typical cheapo pc, and making an enclosure for it under your machine, and putting an old CRT or other LCD panel in the backbox.  Typically, its far easier to repair a pc equipment than custom Laptop hardware.  Also, if your LCD goes bad, its really hard to replace on a laptop...but very easy to replace a stand alone LCD panel.

 Laptops are also very bad when it comes to overheating and dust problems, due to the tight shell, and poor airflow... which would be compounded with you stuffing it in another enclosure, especially on a mild.. let alone Hot day.

 Of course, even with a more robust De-Cased PC, an enclosure should be very well ventilated with fan forced air running across the HD & CPU.

 Finally, overall, its much easier to find an old pc around than an old laptop, so should anything go bad with the hardware, its a lower cost fix.  However, if anything happens with a laptop, you also lose your display... so thats double the cost.  Laptops, even used, are more pricy.  And then theres problems with components that fail over time, like batteries. (some which are dangerous should they overheat.. or are exposed to too much vibration, can actually explode / catch fire)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: jlfreund on November 27, 2011, 04:41:43 am
What software are you using to handle the key events and draw the menu and display?  Can you describe how that one was built -- is it just a standard windows app?  Did you do the graphics yourself?  Is there any mechanical device such as a door to release the balls when you start the game?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on December 02, 2011, 01:43:08 pm
Huge fan of your software. Love the different game types! Saw this on ebay today, and thought it would be cool if you could make a double elimination tournament game mode that took the players through the brackets as the tournament went on.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ds015882 on December 03, 2011, 08:58:53 am
Do you have a PayPal account Because I would totally make a donation to try out your software
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: ds015882 on March 01, 2012, 09:41:54 am
Anyone want to go on a search party for thepurplestuff?

Been like a little kid staring at my window wanting for my father to come home to see this thing finished
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: HaRuMaN on March 01, 2012, 09:47:13 am
Last Active:   February 14, 2012, 12:50:55 AM

Try sending him an email, or a PM, or both.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PIZZ on March 01, 2012, 01:42:48 pm
Awesome project! amazing work. I always thought of building a hoops machine.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 25, 2012, 05:55:00 pm
Hey there!

First of all, props to Entropy42 for his work on his Skeeball.  He's been making headway on his own software and it looks very promising!  Reading his thread actually motivated me to make a brief update to let you guys know that a) I'm not dead and b) even though I've been lame about updates I've actually been making progress.  Since my computer crash, I rewrote the code that I lost and actually made leaps and bounds in regards to new features... it now features 13 different game modes.  Still a bit away from calling it complete, but I am definitely getting there.  Here are a few of the new game modes... there are more that are almost complete but they aren't quite polished yet.

Skricket: This game mode is now 2 player and based off of the dart game Cricket.  Be the first to hit a hole 3 times and then you get points for every time you hit it.  Your opponent can close the hole by hitting it 3 times and then neither person can score any points on that hole.  Game ends when 10 minute timer runs out, all holes are closed or it is impossible for one person to win.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=259648;image)

Skee Spree: Multiplayer Skeeball concerned me a bit because of the amount of time it could potentially take per game... some of the longer games like Skricket or Bowling sometimes took forever because people would get distracted in beer, conversation, or beer conversation.  This game mode starts by selecting the number of players (1-4) and then you start rolling... each person only gets 20 seconds to roll or they get a 0 and it goes to the next player.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=259650;image)

Wack-A-Hole: Random hole is chosen every 5 seconds and you can only get points by hitting that hole.  2 minute time limit and you only have 9 balls, so there is a balance to be found between waiting for the right hole to light up and just trying to get any points that you can.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=259652;image)

Infection:  Yeah, Milton Bradley's gonna sue somebody.  In this game, the objective is to control rings 10-50 by marking them with your color.  Holes are marked by rolling balls into them, and players take turns throwing 3 balls at a time while attempting to make the entire body their color (either green or red).  The game ends when one player controls all holes at once (or whoever is in the lead when the 5 minute timer runs out)
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=103207.0;attach=259654;image)

What is really awesome is how the individual hole LED's interact with the software... while all of the new games can be played using the monitor, you really don't even need to see anything but the score for the most part because the actual Skeeball machine lights up to indicate what is happening in the game.  I'll definitely take some video once I get the rings put back on the machine (while I'm programming the LED's I've been attaching the rings to my laptop for testing).

Thanks for reading and I'm going to try to be a lot better about updates!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: teeuwen on August 25, 2012, 06:56:01 pm
thats really neat,

i like the artwork and the idea for different game modes!  :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on August 26, 2012, 11:04:02 am
Wow! That looks great! :applaud:

An idea for another game... A fun game on my dart machine is a game called Splat. It's up to a 4 player game. Each player starts at zero, and the winner is the first to reach 333 points (some other number could be used for Skeeball). When one player throws a score equalling an opponent's score, that opponent's score is "splatted". If the opponent's score is less than 100, their score is reduced to 0. If the opponent's score is over 100, their score is halved. A player can splat an opponent on their first, second, or third dart; and because of this it is possible to splat one, two, or even three opponents in one turn. To win, 333 has to be thrown exactly, if the player goes over, they bust for the round, just like 01. Splat would be pretty neat adapted to Skeeball.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on August 30, 2012, 11:16:05 pm
The artwork for your games is so awesome.  I plan to pretty mine up one day, but there is no way it will look that good.  Cool to see the updates, its always fun to see more ideas for game modes.  I found that people enjoyed the Cricket game mode at the party I had, so I'm going to try and make more 2 player games.

Thanks for all the inspiration and ideas for my machine.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: SailorTex on October 01, 2012, 09:14:56 pm
This build is THE reason I joined this forum!  I am inspired to build one and am at a huge advantage having seen it done SO WELL.   :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: bmbas1210 on October 01, 2012, 11:28:12 pm
This is fantastic. I love skeeball. I love the lighting effects. This is like no other skeeball machine I have ever seen. The attention to detail is fantastic. The things that can be done when woodworking is done at another level. Its just another example of the fantastic combination of skill I see on every project here. Just jaw dropping. I will be keeping tabs on this one.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on January 06, 2013, 01:11:45 pm
You'd asked in the past about the framing for my machine, and I just wanted to let you know I've found something that works really well.  I wrote it up in my project thread (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,116309.msg1325158.html#new (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,116309.msg1325158.html#new))

I also wanted to ask you how you did the wiring for your LED light strips.  I've been looking into this, but it looks like its going to be about 3 A for each side of the lane.  I want to control the lane lights with an LEDWiz, but it will only drive 500 ma per channel.  The LED strips I'm finding on Ebay (60 leds/meter, RGB) are also 12V instead of 5V.  I'd love to know how you control them.  Some sort of relay? 
Also, do you find a single LED to be sufficient lighting for the rings, assuming you don't have all the ambient lights off?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on January 06, 2013, 03:34:13 pm
You'd asked in the past about the framing for my machine, and I just wanted to let you know I've found something that works really well.  I wrote it up in my project thread (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,116309.msg1325158.html#new (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,116309.msg1325158.html#new))

I also wanted to ask you how you did the wiring for your LED light strips.  I've been looking into this, but it looks like its going to be about 3 A for each side of the lane.  I want to control the lane lights with an LEDWiz, but it will only drive 500 ma per channel.  The LED strips I'm finding on Ebay (60 leds/meter, RGB) are also 12V instead of 5V.  I'd love to know how you control them.  Some sort of relay? 
Also, do you find a single LED to be sufficient lighting for the rings, assuming you don't have all the ambient lights off?

Hey man!  Great looking frame as far as I can see... unfortunately all images from this site are only loading ~25% before they stop so I can't see a whole lot.  I'll try loading up Chrome or IE to see if it's just an issue with Firefox or something.

For the ramp lights I'm not sure if I will be very helpful since I just use the remote that came with it to control to color of the ramp and I have it as one long strand that loops under the ramp at the front (and illuminates the ground as well).  I thought about controlling it via the LED-Wiz+software but I liked the idea of being able to change it to whatever I feel like while I play... at some point I may make a section of the menu dedicated to the ramp color but for now I'm sticking with the remote and bypassing the LED-wiz altogether.

I'm using RandyT's RGB-Drive Pushbutton Lighting modules for the holes and they work great... obviously they do look better when the lights are off but they are still plenty bright when all of the overhead lights are on in the garage.  I have the LED's pointing towards the back of each ring instead of straight up so basically the area of the ring that is most visible is also the area that has the most LED light being shined on it.  I know the LED-Wiz supports OCX controls but since I am using Flash I found just using the clipboard to be the easiest solution... then I just send commands to the clipboard and access premade files for each ring (like "ring40_rainbow.lwa" or "ring20_fade_iceblue.lwa").  You can also do commands that change all or just some of the rings at once so I really haven't hit any limitations from using the clipboard.

Not sure if that was at all helpful, but it's awesome to see your machine come together!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DaOld Man on January 06, 2013, 05:25:42 pm
I also wanted to ask you how you did the wiring for your LED light strips.  I've been looking into this, but it looks like its going to be about 3 A for each side of the lane.  I want to control the lane lights with an LEDWiz, but it will only drive 500 ma per channel.  The LED strips I'm finding on Ebay (60 leds/meter, RGB) are also 12V instead of 5V.  I'd love to know how you control them.  Some sort of relay?

You could control the leds with power transistors, probably have to be PNP since the ledwiz outputs the ground when the output is on. One power transistor per side should work, and it doesnt matter if the led strip is 5 or 12 volts. LED wiz turns on the transistor, transistor turns on the leds.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DaOld Man on January 06, 2013, 05:27:09 pm
And, sorry thatpurplestuff, I should have said this first.

I think your skeeball is excellent. Really like the software too.

 :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on January 07, 2013, 10:11:05 am
For the ramp lights I'm not sure if I will be very helpful since I just use the remote that came with it to control to color of the ramp and I have it as one long strand that loops under the ramp at the front (and illuminates the ground as well).  I thought about controlling it via the LED-Wiz+software but I liked the idea of being able to change it to whatever I feel like while I play... at some point I may make a section of the menu dedicated to the ramp color but for now I'm sticking with the remote and bypassing the LED-wiz altogether.

I'm using RandyT's RGB-Drive Pushbutton Lighting modules for the holes and they work great... obviously they do look better when the lights are off but they are still plenty bright when all of the overhead lights are on in the garage.  I have the LED's pointing towards the back of each ring instead of straight up so basically the area of the ring that is most visible is also the area that has the most LED light being shined on it.  I know the LED-Wiz supports OCX controls but since I am using Flash I found just using the clipboard to be the easiest solution... then I just send commands to the clipboard and access premade files for each ring (like "ring40_rainbow.lwa" or "ring20_fade_iceblue.lwa").  You can also do commands that change all or just some of the rings at once so I really haven't hit any limitations from using the clipboard.

Not sure if that was at all helpful, but it's awesome to see your machine come together!
Thanks, that's what I was wondering about.  I thought your ramp lights were computer controlled.  I may just ignore them for now.  If I do eventually get ramp lights and computer control them, I'll let you know how I do it.
Sadly, I bought a LEDWiz+GP, which only has 16 outputs, and I'll need at least 21 to light up all the holes alone, even without the ramp. 
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Noshbomb on January 08, 2013, 02:45:34 am
What an awesome project!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on January 08, 2013, 01:57:53 pm
I also wanted to ask you how you did the wiring for your LED light strips.  I've been looking into this, but it looks like its going to be about 3 A for each side of the lane.  I want to control the lane lights with an LEDWiz, but it will only drive 500 ma per channel.  The LED strips I'm finding on Ebay (60 leds/meter, RGB) are also 12V instead of 5V.  I'd love to know how you control them.  Some sort of relay?

You could control the leds with power transistors, probably have to be PNP since the ledwiz outputs the ground when the output is on. One power transistor per side should work, and it doesnt matter if the led strip is 5 or 12 volts. LED wiz turns on the transistor, transistor turns on the leds.
I missed this post earlier.  Thanks for the idea.

Regarding this build, I noticed a while back you said you weren't sure how to do the edges of your netting.  What I did for mine was just trim the nylon relatively close to the edge, and then burn every single cut point with a small butane torch.  The nylon melts up nicely and won't fray.  To attach it to the framing, I actually wove the framing through the holes in the net on the top half of the framing, but you can't do that to all sides and still have tight netting, so I just spiraled some white yarn around the bottom edge to attach the netting.  Honestly, with how much work it was to weave the net through the framing, I would just recommend using a matched color yarn/rope on all sides.  You can barely tell the difference between the 2 methods once its done (you can look at my pics to see the difference yourself) and one method is just way more work.

Would you consider making your software an open source project on Github or something?  I've gotten mine functional, but its never going to look as nice as yours, and I would honestly rather spend my time helping make yours better than making mine passable.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on January 09, 2013, 05:17:53 pm
I also wanted to ask you how you did the wiring for your LED light strips.  I've been looking into this, but it looks like its going to be about 3 A for each side of the lane.  I want to control the lane lights with an LEDWiz, but it will only drive 500 ma per channel.  The LED strips I'm finding on Ebay (60 leds/meter, RGB) are also 12V instead of 5V.  I'd love to know how you control them.  Some sort of relay? 

I picked up some IRF9540 MOSFET transistors that I plan to use to control 100 RGB LEDs. You can do the same thing for controlling RGB strips (unless you get individually addressable LED strips, which is a totally different design). These particular MOSFETs handle up to 23 amps so they are plenty beefy. They also are fast enough to handle the PMW phasing required to allow RGB leds to reproduce all the various colors. They were relatively inexpensive: I picked up 10 for $7. Your controller (arduino, gpwiz, whatever) sends a signal to the MOSFET, which then lets the high-amp current flow, driving the LEDs. You'll need three, one for each of the channels (R, G, and B).

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on January 09, 2013, 05:28:26 pm
That sounds like it would work well.  I was looking into some MOSFETs, but they required a control voltage of 9+ V.  Are they controllable with only a 5 V signal (which is what the LEDWiz puts out)?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on January 09, 2013, 05:28:58 pm
Would you consider making your software an open source project on Github or something?  I've gotten mine functional, but its never going to look as nice as yours, and I would honestly rather spend my time helping make yours better than making mine passable.

I sincerely hope he does--and I hope he'll do it even if he doesn't think it's ready to be released (just mention it's still in development). Projects like this are never really "finished", are they? :) Seems like there is always one more tweak to do or something to clean up.

ThatPurpleStuff, please consider posting to github or bitbucket soon. We don't care if it is still buggy or unfinished--those that do care can wait to download when the 'final' release is available. The rest of us can deal with any hiccups and can download updates as they are released :) 

... Pretty please?

:)

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on January 09, 2013, 05:42:05 pm
That sounds like it would work well.  I was looking into some MOSFETs, but they required a control voltage of 9+ V.  Are they controllable with only a 5 V signal (which is what the LEDWiz puts out)?

Looking back, I posted the wrong part number. That doesn't have a Vgs(th) that will work with the LEDWIZ. I'll try to look later tonight or tomorrow and give you an updated part number.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on January 10, 2013, 11:19:59 am
That sounds like it would work well.  I was looking into some MOSFETs, but they required a control voltage of 9+ V.  Are they controllable with only a 5 V signal (which is what the LEDWiz puts out)?

Looking back, I posted the wrong part number. That doesn't have a Vgs(th) that will work with the LEDWIZ. I'll try to look later tonight or tomorrow and give you an updated part number.

The original part I posted should work but would require a complementary NPN transistor in a configuration akin to this: http://www.bristolwatch.com/ele/img/tr9a.gif (http://www.bristolwatch.com/ele/img/tr9a.gif)

To use a direct part, check out the STP16NF06 N-channel MOSFET. Here is the data sheet:
http://www.st.com/internet/com/TECHNICAL_RESOURCES/TECHNICAL_LITERATURE/DATASHEET/CD00002848.pdf (http://www.st.com/internet/com/TECHNICAL_RESOURCES/TECHNICAL_LITERATURE/DATASHEET/CD00002848.pdf)

It has a Vgs(th) [the threshold voltage for turning on and off] of 2.5V, which is perfect for something that uses a 5V signal.

You'll want to make sure it will handle the voltage and current you'll be drawing with your LEDs before ordering anything, though. If you are really only needing 3A then it should be fine (it is rated for 16A). Make sure your power supply can handle that kind of load. If you have an old unused junk computer laying around (or know someone that does), you can use the power supply with some minor wiring harness modifications to provide the necessary power if you didn't want to spend $20 for a new dedicated power supply.

AdaFruit sells the STP16NF06 for $1.25 each and recommends them for use with Arduino (5v PMW driving signal) to drive large loads.  https://www.adafruit.com/products/355 (https://www.adafruit.com/products/355)  They even provide an example for using them to drive RGB LED strips. This is the middle of the tutorial, but it shows a breadboard with an Arduino wired up for the mosfets: http://learn.adafruit.com/rgb-led-strips/usage (http://learn.adafruit.com/rgb-led-strips/usage)
You would be doing something similar with the LEDWIZ, but please check specifications since I'm not sure off-hand what the LEDWIZ specs are or how wiring might be different with the LEDWIZ.

Using Octopart, looks like other places sell them starting at $.35 each, but I don't know what minimum quantities or shipping would cost.
http://octopart.com/partsearch#search/requestData&q=STP16NF06L (http://octopart.com/partsearch#search/requestData&q=STP16NF06L)

AdaFruit is good about helping with and teaching about what they sell, so if you don't mind paying a teeny bit more I definitely recommend them. They also provide a nice Fritzring library of their parts for people to use--another plus in my book for AdaFruit. (Fritzring is a free
virtual breadboard program, it does other things too, but I am currently using it to help lay things out and route wires. I believe AdaFruit used it to make the breadboard PNG used in the tutorial link I provided above.)

I think the STP16NF06 will work for you, but I am not an electronics guru and I encourage you to ask around/double-check before making any purchases for use with the LEDWIZ. Maybe RandyT can provide confirmation/feedback?

Good luck!

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on January 22, 2013, 01:08:46 pm
Newbie here. The good news is that this thread has big-time inspired me. The better news is that I have written Flash games in the past. I have begun to take the ideas presented in this thread and make my own Flash based "brain" for a skeeball game that I will be building very soon.

I will write the various games in Flash with the ability to tweak and add more in the future. All the logic, ball counting, and scoring is done within Flash. The skeeball game itself will have minimal parts: scoring switches at each opening, a few extra buttons to control the menu system (up, down, and select buttons), an IPAC controller, a spare PC running the Flash program, and the monitor in the marque to display everything going on and to tie it all together.

I am new to a lot of this so it is all theory right now. I already have my Flash program set up to listen for key strokes. When a ball goes into a hole, the counter switch is activated, the IPAC sends this to the PC as a keystroke, and Flash does it thing based on the game. Is it really this easy? Different switches send different keystrokes to Flash. I can use buttons to control the menus, and the counter switches under the rings will count the balls thrown/tally the score.

My Flash program is currently in development. I WILL release it when it is fully working. This is a major project for me, but I plan on seeing it through. Unfortunately I will be stealing some game ideas from the OP with my own rule tweaks and original graphics. I also have ideas for other games using my interface.

In the future it would be nice to learn how to have Flash tell an Arduino to light up LEDS at specific times to make for some really intricate game possibilities. However, that goes well beyond the scope of my knowledge and I'll have my hands full just getting this working without interactive LED lighting.

Hopefully, I'll be back with good news within a few weeks. Time to get back to relearning Flash! This thread is amazingly helpful. Big thanks to all who have participated in it.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on January 22, 2013, 01:42:38 pm
I think the STP16NF06 will work for you, but I am not an electronics guru and I encourage you to ask around/double-check before making any purchases for use with the LEDWIZ. Maybe RandyT can provide confirmation/feedback?

Good luck!

--James
Thank you very much for all the information.  :applaud:  It looks like exactly what we'd need to control these strips with the LEDWiz.

And yes, Nickels, it is as simple to control and detect balls as you've said.  I use an up/down and forward/back set of buttons on my Skeeball machine, and find it works really well for navigation.  I know this build only uses 3 buttons, but I would highly recommend the 4th.
One other thing that can be tricky is detecting a gutter ball.  The software solution is relatively simple though, as you just count up any ball that triggers the gutter switch that didn't trigger one of the top switches.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on January 22, 2013, 02:10:36 pm
Welcome aboard, Nickels.

In the future it would be nice to learn how to have Flash tell an Arduino to light up LEDS at specific times to make for some really intricate game possibilities. However, that goes well beyond the scope of my knowledge and I'll have my hands full just getting this working without interactive LED lighting.

Not sure how well the code for a Minimus AVR will work with an Arduino, but you may want to ask Degenatrons about how to flash external LEDs.

He already has a similar function built into his AVR Encoder (https://sites.google.com/site/degenatrons/controller-interfaces/usb-keyboard-encoder/resources) to show what Group and Mode it is in (See Group F on the keymaps -- external LED) and the KADE has an LED Sequence (Demonstration) firmware driving 12 external LEDs.

He might be a little busy with the KADE rollout for the next month or so, but drop him an e-mail (your PMs will enable after you post several times more) or post questions about the AVR Encoder LED code in this thread (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,120362.0.html) or this thread (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,128745.msg1316035.html#msg1316035) once KADE officially releases.

Per the KADE team, source code for KADE will not be released until up to 90 days after the KADE release date, but once the source code is released, it will be open-source.   :cheers:


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on January 22, 2013, 05:14:19 pm
DaOld Man- Thanks buddy!

samej71- While I do still intend on releasing the finished software at some point, I don't think I will ever be releasing the source as this software has literally taken weeks of my life to develop and I'm not comfortable with the idea of someone potentially being able to slightly tweak it and monetize it.  Not at all implying that anyone here would do so, but once the source is on the net I'd pretty much have zero control over what is done with it.

Entropy42- I originally had 4 buttons, but I never found myself using the "back" button.  I've kept the menu depth to 1 layer so the only time I would want to have a "back" option would be to cancel out of a game, which I have instead made a shortcut by holding both the up and down buttons at the same time to exit a game.  The up and down buttons also serve as High Score and Info buttons for each game which works out pretty cool... I was really going as minimal as possible when creating the interface but obviously it's a matter of personal preference.

nickels- Yeah honestly once you nail down the basic framework of scoring detection, ball counting, bounce delays, and gutter checks Skeeball is a pretty simple game when you boil it down... even the variations aren't really all that complicated.  Easily the most time consuming part thus far has been tweaking the aesthetics of the games.  The actual scoring code requires very little tweaking once it is done and quite a few of my game modes are just modified versions of another mode.  Don't worry about stealing ideas for game modes, if I had wanted to keep them secret I wouldn't have posted them here haha.  In regards to complicated lighting effects, I haven't hit any scenarios in which using the clipboard has limited the functionality... one game mode simulates a carnival "Test Your Strength" meter and the ring lights change accordingly, and since the LEDwiz software supports loading files with premade LED actions as well as pulse, sawtooth, dimming and checks the clipboard 10+ times a second it ends up being very versatile.  Anyway, looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

PL1- Been watching Degenatrons KADE thread with an interest... looks pretty freakin awesome!



No updates on the build right now... been focused on new house stuff as well as designing an upcoming arcade cabinet build.  Will finish up cutting the leg covers when I start the arcade build so other than some minor tweaks and finishing the HORSE game mode, I am hoping to call this thing done by summer!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on January 22, 2013, 09:59:10 pm
Trust me, you all will be sick of helping me out in no time. My main concerns after much research falls on the ramp shape and ring construction. I have read many threads across many sites, and it seems there has yet to be a consensus on the best/cheapest way to recreate the scoring rings. The ramp, cutting all that wood with a jigsaw and sanding it all into one smooth shape seems impossible for me. I may just stack some wood slats and fill the shape with bondo or wood filler.

My future skeeball machine will not be an attempt to replicate anything out there. I am shrinking the size to fit the room. The main rolling area will be under 8' so I can use one sheet of MDF or plywood. That will attach to the scoring section which will be about 3 feet for a total of 11 feet in length. I call it big kid sized. I am planing on using 1.75" wood balls for mine.

As for the Flash file, I have already begun but the relearning curve is getting me on some of the syntax and logic. It has been a few years since using the program regularly. Once I get one game working I am hoping the rest will fall into place. I can tell the amount of time going into programming this will equal or eclipse building the skeeball table. The way to make it public without giving away the code is to load all the variables via a text file. This way, anyone can change all the keys to suit their needs, but the main code will be locked inside the swf file. One example of an alternative skeeball game would be The Shootout - ala Ice Hockey. The goalie only has one opening per ball, such as the 40 hole. Any other hole is a save, hit the 40 hole for a goal. Two players can go head to head (3 shots per player, then it goes till someone wins) or as a one player game the computer will have a random score that the player needs to beat. The rules are still up in the air but you get the gist. I was also thinking about a poker game where the harder holes are better cards. Each player has 5 shots to make a hand and the best hand wins. Again, the rules and gameplay are still in my head taking shape. 

Finally, I understand this is a monster project that is beyond my skills. I like a challenge and hope to learn lots of new skills along the way. Sorry for the long winded posts. I will try to keep it shorter in the future!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on January 28, 2013, 10:17:34 am
I found a material that may work very well for the ring construction: Linoleum floor sheets.
They had a sample roll at my local Home Depot which was 9" tall by 12' long. They sold it to me for $7. I can cut this to the height and length needed for each ring. If I roll it inside-out the spongy material facing outwards is white. This seems like a really decent material for the job, solid yet spongy, thin but not brittle. I may do a double loop to make the rings extra durable. I have enough material to make a bunch of extra rings and replace them as needed. I am riveting the ends together and these easily make perfectly round shapes without much hassle.

As for my flash game, the basic one player version of Skee ball is almost finished. The game keeps score, ignores double hits, keeps track of how many balls were thrown, and is really just the foundation for all of the future games. I should be done with the graphics this week and have a working sample ready to go.

Time to finalize the skee ball machine design, buy some wood, and start on this beast of a project!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on February 04, 2013, 10:03:08 am
I think that I found the material the OP used on his rings:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_63426-33674-F40CT4P018_0__?productId=3106277 (http://www.lowes.com/pd_63426-33674-F40CT4P018_0__?productId=3106277)

I purchased this tiny sample sheet and it is perfect. On the ends I attached a curved metal bracket with rivets to make a circle. That technique was more hassle than it is worth. Take two I just overlapped the edges and use two rivets. This material easily makes a perfect circle this way and it is very sturdy. Looks exactly like a real skeeball ring.

EDIT: here is a 50' roll - wayyyyy too much material IMO:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_234342-33674-FC540CT4P018_0__?productId=3083219&Ntt=baby%27s+breath+wall+base&Ns=p_product_price (http://www.lowes.com/pd_234342-33674-FC540CT4P018_0__?productId=3083219&Ntt=baby%27s+breath+wall+base&Ns=p_product_price)|0

I calculated that you need for about 20' or so depending on your table size. I'll just buy six 4' segments for under $15. 
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on February 04, 2013, 12:30:52 pm
I think that I found the material the OP used on his rings:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_63426-33674-F40CT4P018_0__?productId=3106277 (http://www.lowes.com/pd_63426-33674-F40CT4P018_0__?productId=3106277)

I purchased this tiny sample sheet and it is perfect. On the ends I attached a curved metal bracket with rivets to make a circle. That technique was more hassle than it is worth. Take two I just overlapped the edges and use two rivets. This material easily makes a perfect circle this way and it is very sturdy. Looks exactly like a real skeeball ring.

Yup, that was the brand/color but in the local store they had it available by the roll instead of small strips.  It was ~20'-30' in a box and allowed me to make the larger rings without having to use multiple pieces.  I tried metal bracks as well and I found nothing that worked better than just doubling the molding over itself and attaching with rivets.  The final rings are very sturdy and I have had zero issues with their durability... if I had to list one complaint it would be that they eventually get scuffed on the inside and since it isn't a glossy surface the dirt doesn't really come off easily.  Otherwise they are perfect though.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Xiaou2 on February 04, 2013, 05:06:24 pm
There might be a clear sealant that could help.

 However, you could at least use something like F21 or Armor all.  It would also help to keep the balls cleaner.

 
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on February 07, 2013, 10:40:16 am
Here is my first Flash skeeball controller ready and working. It is Version 1.0 - I am still going to tweak the graphics a bit more. Ignore the debugging screen that pops up ant the very beginning. I'll remove that completely when I am done working on it.

http://www.johnkalnin.com/skee/skeeball.html (http://www.johnkalnin.com/skee/skeeball.html)

The controls are as follows. Use the number keys on the top of your keyboard (I can customize both the key pressed and the value of the points in the code):
Keys
1,2 - 100 points (I wasn't sure if I can wire two switches to the Ipac so I made two 100 key listeners)
3 - 50 points
4 - 40 points
5 - 30 points
6 - 20 points
7 - 10 points
8 - 0 points (gutter ball switch. optional)
When the game ends after the 9th ball the "s" key resets the game.

You cannot double press the keys to accidentally mess up your score - as I hear some switches send double hits occasionally. Once a key is press the Flash listener is removed for a few seconds, so any other inputs are temporarily ignored. This delay is adjustable in the code. To see how long the delay lasts just hold down one of the number keys and watch the time it takes for the score to change. At the end of the game it is only listening for the "s" key, it will ignore all scoring keys until the game is reset.

Sorry to hijack this thread. I will start my own thread shortly. This conversation was my original inspiration and where I learned everything I am doing to get my skee ball table up and running. Thanks for the invaluable advice and information to everyone who chimed in along the way.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: edizzle on July 05, 2013, 02:53:07 pm
I hope this topic and build is still active, as this is one of the projects I've been most excited to see in a while!  I love the craftsmanship of the table...I love the flash games, the led controlled lighting...everything!  After coming across this build, I know I must build one, which my wife does not love...in fact, she hates it!

OP, if you're still working on it (it looked like you were pretty busy with other things in your last few posts) is that horse game you mentioned like the ones at the fair?  Where you roll the ball into the holes with varying values to advance the horse?  If so, that is awesome!

Here's to hoping this thread is still alive and that ThatPurpleStuff's flash games may be available some time.  Just let me know where to send the money...really, it looks that good!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 06, 2014, 11:23:38 pm
Thanks for the kind words everyone and sorry for not responding sooner... this build is definitely still active, progress has just slowed to a crawl with my baby girl coming into the world this past September.  As proof that I haven't completely dropped off the planet, here's a video of the current Free Skee software.  I literally tried to record this 3 times and goofed it the first two... for some reason this third one doesn't have any audio at all and the framerate is very low but you'll get the idea.  The blue instruction screen is pulled up by pushing the up arrow on the machine... it stays on the screen as long as the button is held.  Each game also has a high score list that is accessed by pushing down, and again lasts as long as someone is holding the button down.

I also removed the "glow" effects from the scoreboards since they were bogging down the speed on my machine, but I will probably re-add more subtle, less processor intensive glow effects in the future.  All of these games are playable except for Shuuz, which is going to be a game like horseshoes.  Horskee still needs some polish, mainly just having it indicate whose turn it is on the screen.  Also not stoked with how Stack 'Em looks right now and will be making some changes.

Free Skee Beta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xokj2RZ-CLQ#ws)

Hardware-wise, I purchased some 4x4 PVC sleeves and have one of the legs cut, just need to cut the rest and paint them.  Having some issues with some misfiring of the right 100 ring... gotta pull it apart and see what's what.

Edit: Just noticed that bowling isn't scoring strikes correctly in the 10th frame... thought I had fixed that but apparently not haha

Edit #2: Nevermind, the reason 3 strikes only scored 30 points was because it was the 10th frame.  Been a long time since I coded that game and I forgot the rules.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on March 07, 2014, 12:07:20 am
Just watched the latest video. That looks fantastic! Great job on the software and graphics.

I'm very much looking forward to a release.

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DarakuTenshi on March 07, 2014, 08:25:22 am
I couldn't help but smile the whole time I looked through your progress on this. Especially once I ended up seeing the ingenious behind the multiple games... This is more than skeeball this is awesome!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on March 07, 2014, 10:51:10 am
That software is so badass I actually want to convert my Model H into a Free Skee! :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: DaOld Man on March 07, 2014, 11:18:40 am
I totally agree. This is some serious screaming loud work going on here.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Le Chuck on March 07, 2014, 11:19:35 am
Wow.

This is awesome, there is definetly a skeeball in my future some day and I know where I'll be coming for software and tips for sure  :applaud:  :applaud:  :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on March 07, 2014, 11:47:32 am
I love the segmented LED font you use for Skricket, can you tell me where you found it or what its called?  I'll have to post an update about my build here soon, glad to see yours is still kicking.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 07, 2014, 12:38:37 pm
I love the segmented LED font you use for Skricket, can you tell me where you found it or what its called?  I'll have to post an update about my build here soon, glad to see yours is still kicking.

Digital 7 Mono is the font used for all of the LED scoreboards... it's a beautiful font and it's fixed-width so you don't have to worry about numbers jumping around as they change.  Can't recommend it enough!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 15, 2014, 02:47:48 pm
So I mentioned earlier that I've been having issues with the mechanical triggers misfiring occasionally, and after looking into the costs of new mechanical switches I decided that I think it's time to bite the bullet and go optical on this hog.  The mechanical switches are accurate for the most part, but every once in a while a ball would go in so quickly or at a weird angle that it would cause the arm on the switch to pop off or misfire.  Also, the abuse that the switches take from the heavy skeeballs hitting them seems to shorten the life of the switch.

A way to prevent this would be to have the mechanical switch triggered after the ball goes in the hole by having it roll into the switch, not hit it directly.  I don't like this idea because I really like seeing the points go up immediately after the ring is hit.  Optical seems like the perfect fit considering it has the potential to be more accurate and will not suffer the physical abuse that the mechanical switches do.  Price is also a big consideration because those mechanical switches aren't cheap and optical prices are very comparable.

Some research online and I saw the following hardware used on another Skeeball machine:

Pololu Carrier with Sharp GP2Y0D805Z0F Digital Distance Sensor 5cm
http://www.pololu.com/product/1132/ (http://www.pololu.com/product/1132/)

(http://a.pololu-files.com/picture/0J1178.1200.jpg?1e233381650c535ce602e6dd72552262)

Those switches seem like the ideal solution, and buying 10 (8 + 2 extras) at $6.25 each I could outfit the entire machine for ~$63.  It's an expensive upgrade, but moving away from mechanical switches would mean that I'm far less likely to have to be buying new switches in the future.

I have absolutely zero experience with optical switches and am humbly turning to you guys for help.  Would these switches play nice with my LEDwiz?  How difficult would it be to provide power to them and how much power is ideal?  Will the black shiny skeeballs register correctly using an optical switch?  Is there a better alternative that I'm not aware of?

Thanks in advance for any guidance!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on March 15, 2014, 07:28:07 pm
I used these IR pairs on a pinewood derby timer to detect when the cars passed the finish line. They worked well, even in bright gyms. I was worried about ambient light interfering, but so far that seems unfounded. I plan on using these for my own skee ball when I start my build. They are only $.70 for each pair.  Shipping/handling would be around $4. Wiring is very basic.

http://robokitsworld.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=222 (http://robokitsworld.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=222)

I used them with an arduino micro, but I suspect they would work equally well with the ledwiz. I used discarded network cable to wire mine all up. Just make sure you use sufficient gauge wire for the IR LEDs, if you intend to connect multiple LEDs to the same run of wire.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on March 15, 2014, 10:21:33 pm
The two questions that come to mind are:

1. Are these active low devices? (when the ball is sensed, the encoder input is pulled down to ground)

2. How do you mount/configure the sensors?

The first kind looks like it relies on the IR beam reflecting off the ball.
      IR LED  \ Ball
Photodiode /

The separate LED/photodiode kind looks like it relies on the ball interrupting the IR LED light.
      IR LED  --- Ball  --- Photodiode

How did you configure your pinewood derby setup, Samej71?


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on March 16, 2014, 12:24:10 pm
@PL1, I used them like the second scenario you posted: the "breaking beam" scenario. I had the IR LEDs mounted under track, aiming up, and the IR photodiodes on the top of the track, facing down. When the cars go through the finish line, they break the beam, which is then detected. I think this method would be the best for skeeball too, as long as the balls are not clear or translucent.

For my skee, I planned on leaving the photodiode recessed in a 5mm hole to (superstitiously) help eliminate ambient light, but this is probably unnecessary, since this IR pair is filtered and it will generally not be seeing a whole lot of ambient IR light unless the machine is outside or by a window.

The photodiodes work on reverse bias.  The spec sheet is here for the details:

http://www.robokits.co.in/datasheets/BPV10nf.pdf (http://www.robokits.co.in/datasheets/BPV10nf.pdf)

Here is a short but excellent explanation, including sample circuits, of how use photodiodes: http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/33659/how-do-i-connect-a-photodiode (http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/33659/how-do-i-connect-a-photodiode)

The arduino had internal pull up resisters I could turn on for the input. If the LEDWiz doesn't have that, you will want to include those in your circuit to overcome pin capacitance,  which is negligible.

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thomas_surles on March 16, 2014, 03:36:19 pm
I have an idea for a game.
"Horse"
Just like the basket ball game, it is multi player.
One person takes a shot and the next player (s) have
To match the shot or receive a letter.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on March 16, 2014, 11:03:57 pm
thomas- Check out the end of the video I posted at the end of page 7.  Already got "Horskee" up and running haha

PL1 & samej71- Thanks for the info guys.  I'm definitely going to have to do some more research regarding these setups to see which one I want to go with.  My initial instinct is to want to go with the sensors that would reflect the beam off the ball as opposed to the sensors that would require a beam to be broken, only because like I said earlier occasionally the balls go in at odd angles that have bypassed the mechanical triggers altogether.  This probably wouldn't be an issue as long as the sensors were completely centered, but it seems like the reflective setup would be a bit more forgiving in terms of detecting scores and ambient light would be less of an issue (that's if I understand things correctly).

Just thought of another question... anyone know if the RGB LED's that currently light the holes will interfere with either setup?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on March 17, 2014, 12:21:17 am
I don't think RGB LEDs will interfere with any IR setup. LEDs in general emit narrow frequencies of light. So green component of an RGB led emits a narrow bandwidth of green (500-570nm) wavelength light, and same for the blue (450-500nm) and red (610-760nm) components. As such, they should not be emitting any IR (>760nm) light, unlike traditional bulbs and sunlight which are broad spectrum and usually include IR wavelengths.

I haven't compared the diameter of the balls you're using to the size of the holes in the backboard, but I would venture a guess there is no way you'd be able to get a ball in without breaking the beam. With a rotary mechanical switch, you have to rotate the lever a minimum distance before the switch actuates, which would not apply to either IR scenario. 

The pair I used is sensitive enough that my timer was able to distinguish between 3 thousandths of a second in one particular race, and some cars are much narrower in width (.75") than the balls and the receiver and transmitter were much further apart (around a foot) than they will be in a skee ball configuration. I don't see how it would fail to break the beam even if they were nowhere close to center as long as the ball is opaque. On a side note, the pair could be used in a reflective scenario, and instead of looking for the beam to break (IR light disappears) to detect a ball, you'd look for the IR light to appear (reflected) to detect a ball. I have not used them in this manner, so I can't speak to how well they would work, but in theory it is possible.

However, you need to choose whatever you're comfortable with. If the component you posted in your previous message is what you feel comfortable using, then that is what you should use (as long as you feel they will work with the LEDWiz).

One thing you do need to consider for a reflective scenario is how it will work with shiny (like polished plastic) vs flat (like unfinished wood) surfaces. Hopefully, that won't impact performance at all and you'll be good regardless of what types of balls you may use now or in the future.

No matter what IR solution you choose, good luck.

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on March 17, 2014, 01:17:50 am
My initial instinct is to want to go with the sensors that would reflect the beam off the ball as opposed to the sensors that would require a beam to be broken, only because like I said earlier occasionally the balls go in at odd angles that have bypassed the mechanical triggers altogether.  This probably wouldn't be an issue as long as the sensors were completely centered, but it seems like the reflective setup would be a bit more forgiving in terms of detecting scores and ambient light would be less of an issue (that's if I understand things correctly).
Ambient light is not a problem due to the built in light filter (870 nm to 890 nm) that only allows the light from the IR LED  (870 nm) to pass.

Mount the IR LED at 3 o'clock and the sensor at 9 o'clock of the hole and as close to the board as possible.

The extra mounting height of the switch and amount of lever arm travel required to trigger the switch may allow room for a ball to slip through.

Beam break is a better configuration than reflection for several reasons:

1. Works with reflective and non-reflective balls.

2. Angle of reflection = twice the angle of incidence.

The first thing that this causes is a shorter reflective trigger signal because the round ball will successfully reflect the IR within a shorter time frame than the beam break.

If the ball is moved out of the plane that the IR LED and photodiode are in, the amount of reflected IR is even less/shorter time.

anyone know if the RGB LED's that currently light the holes will interfere with either setup?
Unless you aim the RGB LED straight at the IR LED/sensor, it won't see enough light in the 870-890 nm range to make a difference.

With the RGB LED pointed up at the rings and the IR LED/photodiode pointed horizontally, you won't have any trouble -- especially if you can keep the RGB out of the view angle of the sensor.


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on March 17, 2014, 03:47:39 am
So I mentioned earlier that I've been having issues with the mechanical triggers misfiring occasionally, and after looking into the costs of new mechanical switches I decided that I think it's time to bite the bullet and go optical on this hog.  The mechanical switches are accurate for the most part, but every once in a while a ball would go in so quickly or at a weird angle that it would cause the arm on the switch to pop off or misfire.  Also, the abuse that the switches take from the heavy skeeballs hitting them seems to shorten the life of the switch.

A way to prevent this would be to have the mechanical switch triggered after the ball goes in the hole by having it roll into the switch, not hit it directly.  I don't like this idea because I really like seeing the points go up immediately after the ring is hit.  Optical seems like the perfect fit considering it has the potential to be more accurate and will not suffer the physical abuse that the mechanical switches do.  Price is also a big consideration because those mechanical switches aren't cheap and optical prices are very comparable.
Have you considered the $1.85 Suzo-Happ 1351 switches here (http://na.suzohapp.com/all_catalogs/electrical_supplies/1351)?

(http://na.suzohapp.com/php/thumb.php?src=/images/10/1351_lrg.jpg&x=300&y=300)

They are Zippy P/N CNR-05-S-03-Z. (datasheet here (http://www.zippy.com.tw/con_product_detail.asp?ps_rfnbr=295&pcs_rfnbr=13&ps_code=CNR%20Series&pcs_type=1&lv_rfnbr=2))

They can take repeated, hard, follow-thru swings with a 2-foot-long 1" x 4", even strikes that are >80 degrees from the normal path of the arm, and the arm has never popped off in my testing.   :o

The ONLY potential downside I've found while torture testing these switches is that when you hit them really hard, you need a longer debounce setting because the arm bounces like a diving board -- a solid whack yields 2-6 keystrokes using one of the default KADE firmwares, depending on the angle.   ;D


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: jongunz on March 17, 2014, 12:21:32 pm
Amazing build.  Now I understand why commercial skee-ball machines are so expensive.  Your different games are awesome as well.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thomas_surles on March 17, 2014, 07:17:00 pm
thomas- Check out the end of the video I posted at the end of page 7.  Already got "Horskee" up and running haha

PL1 & samej71- Thanks for the info guys.  I'm definitely going to have to do some more research regarding these setups to see which one I want to go with.  My initial instinct is to want to go with the sensors that would reflect the beam off the ball as opposed to the sensors that would require a beam to be broken, only because like I said earlier occasionally the balls go in at odd angles that have bypassed the mechanical triggers altogether.  This probably wouldn't be an issue as long as the sensors were completely centered, but it seems like the reflective setup would be a bit more forgiving in terms of detecting scores and ambient light would be less of an issue (that's if I understand things correctly).

Just thought of another question... anyone know if the RGB LED's that currently light the holes will interfere with either setup?
Sorry must have missed that one
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 09, 2014, 02:02:15 am
Welp, I need to learn to trust you guys.  I ended up buying Sharp digital distance sensors to test (I really liked the idea of all-in-one sensors with built-in resistors) but they don't work at all for my setup.  It was a bummer too since I wired one sensor up and it appeared to trigger flawlessly until I tried using it with my actual Skeeballs.  The old plain wood balls trigger it perfectly, you can trigger it by hand perfectly, pretty much anything and everything BUT my Skeeballs trigger the damn thing 100% of the time.  The shiny black Skeeballs are basically invisible to this darn thing.

So anyway, I'm an idiot and definitely should have listened to you guys (specifically samej71 and PL1) and gone with the broken beam setup.  To correct my lapse in judgment I was going to pick up 10 of these IR LED/photodiode pairs (http://robokitsworld.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11&products_id=222 (http://robokitsworld.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11&products_id=222)) but I'm a bit confused as to what kind of resistors I would need to get 8 sensor pairs working via the 5v on a GPWiz.  Keep in mind I have pretty much only wired arcade buttons so my knowledge of electronics is very basic.

Thanks in advance for any advice... I promise I'll listen this time haha!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on April 09, 2014, 03:59:39 am
First step, let's sort out the IR LED emitter part of the circuit.

***Disclaimer - Hopefully DaOld Man or one of our other resident electrical-engineering-types can confirm or deny if the following is correct.***

If I'm reading the datasheet (http://www.robokits.co.in/datasheets/TSFF5210.pdf) for the IR LEDs right, they draw 100mA @ 1.5v and you plan on using a 5v power supply and 8 LEDs.

Plugging those values into this LED series/parallel array wizard (http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz) gives 2 answers -- the second one is posted below.


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on April 09, 2014, 11:56:25 pm
Thanks Scott I sincerely appreciate how helpful you always are on here.

That diagram sorta makes sense for me, although I'm still wrapping my brain around using 4 resistors for the 8 leds.

I tried messing with that wizard for the photodiode circuit... I think it's 5v source/1 diode forward voltage/8 leds in array, but I'm unsure what to put in for diode forward current.  For that value I grabbed a couple of the numbers: reverse dark current (1nA) and reverse light current (55-60μA) and tried converting the numbers to mA... 60 μA converted to .06 mA... 1 nA converted to 0.000001 mA.

Those numbers seem weird and give me some crazy resistor numbers.... I feel like I'm doing this completely wrong haha.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on April 10, 2014, 02:09:12 am
The Light Emitting Diode calculator I linked won't work for the photodiode receiver, just the IR LED transmitters.

Look on the LED datasheet second page, first entry -- "forward voltage" is the spec that sounds the closest to what the calculator is asking for and is consistent with typical LED voltages.

The values I plugged in were:
  * Source voltage = 5
  * diode forward voltage = 1.5
  * diode forward current (mA) = 100
  * number of LEDs in your array = 8

The reason you can use 2 or 3 LEDs in series is that each LED drops part of the voltage and the resistor drops the rest.

To put it in plumbing terms:
  * Voltage is comparable to water pressure
  * Amperage is comparable to the amount of water flowing through per second
  * The LEDs and resistor are like water wheels
  * If the water pressure is too high, too much water will flow through causing the water wheel to spin too fast and fail
  * After the water flows over one water wheel, it will flow through the next one in series

The 100 mA flowing through each LED uses 1.5v from the original 5v.

The first LED output voltage is 3.5v.

The second LED output voltage is 2v.

The resistor changes the last 2v to heat, same as any resistor does.

If you added a third LED between the second one and the resistor, the resistor would only have .5v to turn to heat.

That's why the first solution uses a smaller resistor on the series with 3 LEDs.


Scott

EDIT: D'oh!  Just realized that you were trying to use the calculator for the photodiode part of the circuit -- the post still works for explaining 4 (or 3  ;D) resistors for 8 LEDs, though.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on April 29, 2014, 04:53:00 pm
There's a good article about connecting something like this to an Arduino, which is not the same as your GPWiz, but still relevant.
http://www.me.umn.edu/courses/me2011/arduino/technotes/irbeam/irbeam.html (http://www.me.umn.edu/courses/me2011/arduino/technotes/irbeam/irbeam.html)

Also relevant is http://electrapk.com/phototransistor/, (http://electrapk.com/phototransistor/,) section on Phototransistor ApplicationsóDark Activated Relay

The Arduino can read its input pins and convert the 0-5V value to a digital 0 or 1.  The GPWiz is not looking for 5V on each of its pins.  If you measure them, they have 5V on them.  It seems to just be looking for current on each pin when a simple switch (button) is closed, and its not expecting any load (impedance) on those pins beyond the very small resistance of the wires themselves.  The GPWiz isn't designed to drive any sort of load (not sure how much current it can put out, but certainly not more than 500 mA), but this thread (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=13386.0 (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=13386.0)) says that its ok to use an optical switch (like for a spinner wheel) in place of a normal mechanical switch.  The downside to this is that in a beam-break configuration (like you will use), the GPWiz is going to see the button "pressed down" all the time *except* when the ball passes through, so the opposite of what you have with the mechanical switches.  You might be able to just put an inverter in your circuit.  Here's a decent post about inverters:
http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/30238/how-to-invert-a-digital-signal (http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/30238/how-to-invert-a-digital-signal)
They make multi-pin inverters, so you might be able to invert all 8 of your lines with only one microchip.  2 of these would do the trick (http://www.nxp.com/documents/data_sheet/74HC_HCT04.pdf (http://www.nxp.com/documents/data_sheet/74HC_HCT04.pdf)).

On my machine, I use mechanical switches and just filter any switch bounces in software.  I've considered going optical (moreso after finding some cheap options in this thread), but I don't really have a problem with fake keypresses.  I make sure none of my switch wires are touching the board (otherwise a hard impact on the target area will actually trigger that switch), and I just timestamp each key-press on the way in.  If its the same switch & too close to the previous time a ball was scored (< 400 ms), I assume it was a switch bounce and throw it away.  C# also has an IsRepeat function that filters out subsequent presses if a key is held down, in case a ball spirals through the hole or something.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on April 29, 2014, 09:28:13 pm
Also relevant is http://electrapk.com/phototransistor/, (http://electrapk.com/phototransistor/) section on Phototransistor ApplicationsóDark Activated Relay

FIFY -- extra comma at end of URL.   ;D


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 01, 2014, 01:13:01 am
First off, please don't take my very slow responses as a lack of interest or a lack of appreciation for all of the great help that you guys have been offering.  I had some stuff pop up in my personal life that has had me preoccupied as of late, but all of that is (hopefully) behind me now and I'm ready to tackle this project.

I received the IR leds / photodiodes in the mail the other day (I actually bought 20 of each just cause I have no idea what I'm doing and figure I'll probably be popping more than my fair share of each.

One thing that I've considered doing is making all-in-one ring "slip on" parts that have the sensor setup and RGB led in one, fitting them over each hole, and then just connecting each ring in a chain via one big harness.  I really like the idea of being able to pull an entire ring off if there are ever any issues and being able to just repair/replace it and plug it back in.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=136713.0;attach=308411;image)

I think doing this would require me to have each IR LED have its own resistor (and if I've entered the info correctly into the LED calculator, I think the resistors would need to be 1W or greater 39 ohm).  Then again, now that I'm reading all of this stuff about inverters and stuff I might be overcomplicating something that is already confusing to me haha.  It may just be a better idea to make this as fullproof and simple as possible instead of trying to get crazy with individual rings, etc.

I definitely have a lot of reading to do (starting at really learning how to read circuit diagrams... I have a very basic understanding but I get lost trying to understand anything but the most basic circuits).  The one thing that has been nice to hear is that the LEDwiz might be able to receive the optical signals... I was dreading having to convert to digital signals along with all of the other wiring.

Anyway, like always I sincerely appreciate any and all input on this.  Like I said I've got a lot of reading to do so I have no idea how long this is going to take.  Thanks everyone!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on May 01, 2014, 02:25:45 am
The idea of a removable ring for the sensor sounds good, but wiring each IR LED with only one LED and a resistor between 5v and ground is very inefficient.

Given the different sizes of scoring rings, you may want to separate the RGB LED (red) from the sensor circuit (yellow and green) and place it recessed at an angle pointed where it will light up the numbers. (black)


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on May 01, 2014, 11:45:31 am
I'm pretty sure he has his LEDs on the underside of the board, angled up through the hole to light up the numbers, so the holes are actually all identical in terms of lighting the number.  That's how mine are done at least, and it works fine.  If the LEDS are imbedded in the board (as I'm interpreting your diagram), they have to be at a very low angle. 

I think the rings would work, but I'm also not sure if there's much value in streamlining it for one-of machine.  I have 2 that I'm computerizing, and its still rarely worth making a standard swappable part.  Working on the back of the board directly can be a pain in the ass too, so maybe just fabricating 7 rings on your workbench and slapping them in is a win for only 1 machine. 

Also, just to clarify, a KeyWiz/GPWiz might be able to read the optical switches.  The LEDWiz is only a controller.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 01, 2014, 12:56:28 pm
PL1- Like Entropy42 said, the LEDs are currently underneath the board (actually kinda inside of it on the inside lip of each hole) and the difference in distance is surprisingly pretty negligible for each hole.  I'm actually really happy with the light dispersal as it currently is, so I'd want to emulate it as close as I could with the ring idea.

One of the main reasons for the idea to make the ring components all-in-one was to create a template for others to follow in the future... for my specific machine it's really not the most ideal solution since I've already installed the RGB leds and the underside of the scoring area is already optimized for my software.

What really got me thinking about this all-in-one setup was the large number of emails I've received from people asking how they could use my software on their Skeeball machines.  Right now, converting a standard Skeeball machine to work with my software would be a pretty large PITA because of the method that Skeeball machines score (ie each 100 ring is worth 50 and each ring 10-50 is worth 10 and the balls hit each switch as they roll down).  Stock machines have no way of knowing which hole was actually triggered without a complete overhaul of the guts beneath the scoring area... in theory with these ring components a person could literally just remove the mechanical switches from their current machine, fit the ring components in underneath each hole and then leave the rest of the scoring area exactly the same.  It seems like it would save people a lot of work in regards to re-configuring the ball return, reconfiguring switches, lighting up holes, etc.

Entropy42- Yeah thanks for the clarification on the LEDwiz... I meant GPWiz just had a brainfart haha.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on May 01, 2014, 01:13:22 pm
The idea of a removable ring for the sensor sounds good, but wiring each IR LED with only one LED and a resistor between 5v and ground is very inefficient.

Just a quick note: Using a harness does not mean each IR LED must be wired independently with its own resistor; they still can be daisy chained as you described in an earlier post when designing the harness. To me--and I may be projecting my own interpretation here--the harness idea simply means a quick disconnect for the components in the ring from the wiring bundle. The wiring can still go from hole-to-hole as needed for chaining before leading back to the main connection points.

I would have chimed in earlier but things have been very busy and you guys already provided excellent responses. :)

--James
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 01, 2014, 01:38:35 pm
samej71- yeah that seems like it might be a more reasonable solution than my idea haha.

I think I need to pick up a breadboard or something and actually start plugging stuff in and playing with it, because right now just trying to wrap my head around all of this stuff is seeming to get more and more confusing.

Figured since all I've been posting about recently has been technical questions, it couldn't hurt to post a pic of the current iteration of the marquee area (the space where Infection is located is the screen).  Going to add some halftone patterns on the people, but otherwise I think I'm calling it done.  Then I just have to repaint my speaker grills back to black since I made them yellow and that part of the machine should be done!

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=136713.0;attach=308429;image)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on May 01, 2014, 02:24:44 pm
Randy, the marquee looks very nice.

On a side note, I'm waiting to start my own personal Skee until the first release of your software. Since I'm not a graphic designer, I'm not able to create anything as nice as what you've set up, and you've raised the bar high enough that I don't want to bother building a machine unless it has those games :). I wish it wouldn't require a Windows license, but I don't see an easy way around that at the moment--last I checked, admittedly awhile ago, GPWiz doesn't have a linux driver. I've thought about using an Arduino instead of the GPWiz, since it can be programmed register keypresses on Linux when certain events fire. I'd have to scan through old messages in this thread to see how you're controlling the LEDs and see what I'd have to do to emulate the RGB control. I'd like to avoid that extra work, though. Are you using both a GPWiz (for inputs) and an LEDWiz (to control the ring and ramp lights)?

Here are a few thoughts to consider that may make your harness idea easier:
- use old phone line (4 conductor) or cheap cat5 network (8 conductor) wire, it'll make all the wires much easier to manage since they'll already be in small bundles
- for a common ground or common power shared with many components, I'd recommend a heavier gauge wire than phone/network wire. Doorbell wire is usually pretty cheap and found at your local hardware store(s)
- I'd recommend using female connectors like these for your quick connecting/disconnecting harness: http://hansenhobbies.com/products/connectors/pt1inconnectors/ (http://hansenhobbies.com/products/connectors/pt1inconnectors/)

I used these connectors in previous projects and the hole spacing matched my IR and normal LED/photodiode legs perfectly. I made a jig to help me make my connectors by putting a clipped off LED leg scrap into a vise horizontal to the ground, sliding the female terminal on, and then it holds the terminal steady while I put the wire in place and crimp it. I daisy chained some of my LEDs in my project and while it was a little tricky, I could get two network wires crimped in a single female terminal, allowing me to chain to the next LED's terminal. After making the pair (or 4, if it works with your RGB LEDs) I then put the terminals into a 1x2 or 1x4 housing. After that, I did a test fitting by sliding it onto the legs of a LED and then trimmed the legs until the connector fit snugly and little to no bare leg was visible. If you opt to use these, too, make sure you buy plenty of extras. I had a few bad crimps and needed to redo some of them. You'll want to use a labeler, marker, nail polish, tape, or something to mark polarity on the LED/photodiodes and the connector or the wires leading into the connector to make your life easier down the road when connecting/reconnecting the harness to the rings, especially if the lighting is poor.

I haven't found a cheaper source for these connectors yet, but Hansen's prices are pretty reasonable. If anyone knows of a cheaper vendor, please pass it along.

After you get all the wire runs appropriately sized and test-fitted into your cabinet, you can zip-tie them together to make the bundle/harness, which will also make it easier to secure to the cabinet. If you make a note of the length of each run, it would be pretty easy for others to duplicate the harness.

If you'd like help figuring out the wiring diagram, including setting up an inverter (has anyone verified with RandyT if the GPWiz can only register button presses when current is present (how a normal momentary-closed button works) or if it can be configured to register a button press when current stops?), I'm sure the collective of us can help.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on May 01, 2014, 03:19:18 pm
I only found that one thread that referenced using the KeyWiz with optical switches, and I really don't understand how the KeyWiz works, so I just sort of inferred that it looks for current on each channel. First time I wired mine up, I assumed each channel was going to be looking for 5V (really wish it worked this way), and so I wired the 5V output of the Keywiz to the switches, and then back to each terminal. 

I also wired my LEDs the by making little plug in harnesses similar to those from Hansen, it paid off in a big way for me when I switched from clear to diffuse LEDs and didn't have to redo any soldering.

If you are looking to use his software though, you will need to use a GPWiz and an LEDWiz unless you can modify the source code, because the software will be looking for that hardware.  You might be able to replace the GPWiz with something else that can send keypresses, but the LEDWiz is going to be pretty integrated.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 01, 2014, 05:53:42 pm
samej71- Yup Entropy42 is right about the LEDwiz being required to light the rings... mainly because I used AS2 to write the game, and the only way I could figure to interface with the LEDwiz was with the clipboard.  It works great but ideally it would have been better to use Randy's OCX controls.  In terms of inputs, the software is only looking for keyboard inputs so as long as you are using something that can provide those it's all gravy.

One thing I had been holding off on mentioning to avoid getting people too antsy is that last month I decided to stop adding new game modes and work on making the software have the potential to work on machines other than my own.  I FINALLY went through all of the code and made it so the ring/button inputs can now be changed by modifying values in a text file, so configuring the game to work with different keyboard encoders should be a breeze.  That same text file also contains variables for debounce delays, so anyone wanting to use mechanical switches can change the delay for both the rings and the gutter.  I also took a ridiculously long time to make it so the game list is configurable (at least in regards to the order in which the games are listed... you can't remove games but it allows you to change the order however you like by reordering them within a text file).  Every game mode has its own hi score text file and rules text file, both of which can obviously be modified to reflect new hi scores and any changes to rule descriptions that you might want to do.

Really the only thing that I absolutely must do before I release a beta version is to make it so it works on 16:9 screens.  It is written to work on 4:3 screens right now, so when you load it on a 16:9 screen it has ugly black bars on either side.  My short term solution to this is just use the curtains that open and close between games to cover the extra screen space... at some point I may go back and actually modify the graphics for each game but that would be way down the line and this solution at least makes for a visually appealing solution in the meantime (see below).  Also a quick warning: the software is a bit low res as well (800x600) so it won't appear super crisp on larger, higher res monitors.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=136713.0;attach=308449;image)

Final game list for the first version (17 total): Free Skee, Classic, Old Skool, Flash Point, Wack A Hole, Bowling, Skeel of Forties, Cliffhanger, High Skees, Carnival, Stack 'Em, 310, Skricket, Splatskee! (see below, inspired from Nephasth's suggestion), Infection, Skee Spree, Horskee

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=136713.0;attach=308447;image)

So yeah, hadn't been planning on releasing that information for a bit but I figured what the hell haha.  I know it's been a long time coming, but the software is finally getting to a place that it's ready for public consumption... once I get my Skeeball machine back up and running I'll probably do a week or two of testing and then hopefully get a beta out there.  I literally haven't even played some of these new games that I've added yet.

Just realized this is a very long post... will make a new post in a few minutes regarding the sensors.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 01, 2014, 06:17:07 pm
You have no idea how excited I am to hear that tip about those connectors... With the last sensors I tried, I purchased a bunch of both 2 and 3 pin connectors like the ones you are describing and actually made a bunch of 3 pin cables thinking that I would be using them to connect all 8 sensors.  One of the main inspirations for creating a harness was to get use out of the connectors I bought and get to play with the new crimping tool haha.  I'm stoked to find out that the LED/photodiode legs fit inside perfectly!  I never thought of trying that but I did a quick test fit during my lunch break, as well as took pictures of the custom cables that I made for the other sensors that will never see the light of a Skeeball machine haha

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=136713.0;attach=308451;image)
test fit

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=136713.0;attach=308453;image)
doomed cables

In regards to helping me figure out a wiring diagram with inverters and whatever, you have no idea how much I would appreciate that.  I have been slogging through a bunch of reading on the subject, but something just isn't clicking so far.  Any help to speed up the process would be awesome because right now I feel like a chimpanzee trying to do long division!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on May 01, 2014, 08:47:12 pm
PL1- Like Entropy42 said, the LEDs are currently underneath the board (actually kinda inside of it on the inside lip of each hole) and the difference in distance is surprisingly pretty negligible for each hole.  I'm actually really happy with the light dispersal as it currently is, so I'd want to emulate it as close as I could with the ring idea.
That makes sense after double-checking the distances and angles.


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on May 01, 2014, 09:39:42 pm
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=136713.0;attach=308453;image)
doomed cables
If the wire lengths are reasonable, you could just use these for the optical switches and only use 2 of the 3 wires.  Better than redoing them.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on May 02, 2014, 12:21:58 pm
Here are a couple of 2-pin cables that I recreated really quick last night by salvaging a couple of 3-pin cables.  Glad that I *hopefully* won't have to do a lot of re-crimping since that was definitely the hardest part of making the cables initially!

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=136713.0;attach=308476;image)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: bukman009 on June 01, 2014, 08:46:48 pm
I had been following your progress for quite some time (lurking silently). I had convinced myself to build one from scratch after retiring from the military, finally having time now to work on hobbies. I have just acquired a long-neglected skee ball game for just under a $100, so I don't have to go through the trial and error portion of getting my dimensions just right.  There is a little bit of cosmetic work to do but it is totally missing the electronic guts. I am not a puritan, so keeping it all original is not a problem and I love your screen shots for your interface. I have yet to come across any postings with a your software available. I apologize if you have already covered this topic before. I lack the experience (and artistic ability) to program, code, and create it myself so I am hoping for a release someday. Keep up the great work and thanks for the inspiration.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thomas_surles on June 01, 2014, 11:26:11 pm
If you ever need new skee balls I jear chuck e cheese has them for just 1 token. Just bring a lady with a large purse ;)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on June 02, 2014, 12:48:59 am
bukman009- The software is pretty much ready to release, I just need to test out the new game modes on my machine and configure the LEDs for the games that were added.  I have literally added multiple game modes that I haven't even played yet.  Unfortunately the machine is in pieces right now since I am in the process of trying to figure out the circuit required to wire up all 8 optical beam break sensors, so I won't be doing any testing until the machine is back up and running.

thomas_surles- the bitter irony is that I think normal skeeballs would have worked fine using the sensors that I initially bought, but I splurged and bought the new-old-stock shiny black ones which are making me go with a different sensor setup.  I wouldn't change it though because the black skeeballs really do look nice haha
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on July 07, 2014, 07:49:54 pm
I am in the process of trying to figure out the circuit required to wire up all 8 optical beam break sensors
Did you ever figure out the circuit?


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on July 18, 2014, 05:29:09 pm
I am in the process of trying to figure out the circuit required to wire up all 8 optical beam break sensors
Did you ever figure out the circuit?


Scott

Thanks for the followup Scott!

Unfortunately no, I've really hit a proverbial brick wall in regards to this circuit and I've been so busy with work and our new baby that trying to figure it out in my spare time has just not been happening.  I think I understand the basics of getting the LEDs wired up, but getting the photodiodes going is just something I can't seem to wrap my brain around (specifically how to wire them up so that they don't send a trigger until the light beam is broken rather than just always being triggered because of the LED always being lit).

I was actually thinking about making a new post about the circuits in the main forum or something asking for help, because I seem to have lost all my steam otherwise haha.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Le Chuck on July 18, 2014, 05:45:49 pm
Folks have used 5cm range digital distance sensor on other skee ball builds.  I know you probably don't want to switch lines of effort yet but if you get stuck these might be the way to go: http://www.pololu.com/product/1132 (http://www.pololu.com/product/1132)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on July 18, 2014, 06:22:13 pm
Folks have used 5cm range digital distance sensor on other skee ball builds.  I know you probably don't want to switch lines of effort yet but if you get stuck these might be the way to go: http://www.pololu.com/product/1132 (http://www.pololu.com/product/1132)

I actually bought 8 of those for my build and hooked up one of them.  It worked GREAT for the old wooden balls that I was using when I first built the machine... unfortunately for me a few years ago I bought NOS official black skeeballs and have been using those ever since... well after testing with those wooden balls I went and tried out my shiny black Skeeballs and it's like they are freakin invisible.  Literally nothing happens even if I wave the damn ball back and forth in front of the sensor.  Turns out that the IR doesn't play nice with dark and/or shiny objects.   Considering that I dropped ~$20/ball on the black ones, those balls are staying and I have to come up with a different sensor option haha.  I would definitely recommend trying those sensors to people that are using regular Skeeballs though!

btw your R2Beer2 is amazing!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Le Chuck on July 18, 2014, 07:38:30 pm
Oh ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- man, I need to reread before posting. I remember you talking about that before.

Thanks for the kudos on R2AU, I love this build of yours and want to tackle my own at some point.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on July 19, 2014, 04:23:00 am
I think I understand the basics of getting the LEDs wired up, but getting the photodiodes going is just something I can't seem to wrap my brain around (specifically how to wire them up so that they don't send a trigger until the light beam is broken rather than just always being triggered because of the LED always being lit).

Based on posts here (http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/33659/how-do-i-connect-a-photodiode), here (http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/38580/how-to-use-this-type-of-photodiode), and here (http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/22414/forward-bias-photodiode-circuit), when light hits the reverse-biased photodiode, it allows current to flow through the photodiode which then flows through resistor R2, resulting in a voltage drop across R2. (voltage developing resistor)

With the right size resistor (somewhere between 10k and 470k ohms?), the voltage drop will be close to 5v.

The encoder interprets voltages close to 5v as "button not pressed".

When the light is blocked, current doesn't flow through the photodiode and resistor, which results in no voltage being developed across the resistor.

The encoder interprets voltages close to 0v as "button pressed".

Before connecting the circuit to your encoder, mount your IR LED (w. current limiting resistor) and photodiode in one of your sensor rings, and add either an easily-swapped fixed or a 470k variable resistor to test the output voltage with your multi-meter.

When the beam is unbroken, you want about 4.5 - 5v.

When the beam is broken, it should drop down close to 0v.

Once you meet those criteria, hook the output to the encoder input and test it there. (The variable resistor will let you experiment with different values to dial in the best results once you get the whole circuit working.)   ;D

As always, remember to only measure resistance (ohms) when power is disconnected from the circuit -- unless you want to damage your meter.   ::)


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: samej71 on July 20, 2014, 12:49:54 am
I'm sorry I haven't had time to help with this.

I had a 5v supply and I used a 100k 1/4 watt resistors with each photodiodes (in the manner PL1 discussed in his most recent post). I haven't looked at the specs for the digital inverter/not chip to see what its thresholds are. My goal was > 4v for digital 1 and < 1v for digital 0. I had a distance between the led and photodiode of around a foot, larger than the hole of a skee machine, but I suspect that resistor value will probably still work.

Link to photodiode resisters I used:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062350 (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062350)

Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on July 23, 2014, 12:24:34 pm
Glad to see this thread revived! I am in the process of writing a few games for my SkeeBall machine (based on the ideas from this thread). Here is my first original game - playable, up to 4 players, really fun:
Skee Wars:
http://johnkalnin.com/skee/games/skeewars.html (http://johnkalnin.com/skee/games/skeewars.html)

I am about halfway done writing my newest game: TimeBomb
This is a level based skill game where you have to hit the targets in a certain order to defuse the bomb. YOu have a time limit for each stage. The early levels are like - get a 50. Get 100. Then it gets tough: get 30 then 40, or get 100 then 30. The final levels you have to get three in order: 20, 50, 100 or 40, 30, 50. If you miss one you start over. If the time runs out the bomb explodes and the game ends.

I many more game ideas. Too bad I have three kids now, it's summer, and I have zero time to Flash code.
Hopefully I can get some of your games to save me time. There is no way I'll be able to program half of the games I'd like to make.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 06, 2014, 01:09:11 am
Scott- thank you for the info!  I think I'm slowly starting to wrap my brain around this one haha

Just a quick update... samej71 was kind enough to offer help by drawing up a wiring schematic of all the sensors for me.  He hasn't actually done it yet since he had some questions for me regarding my setup, but once he's had time he is going to summarize some of the info that we've discussed and post it here.  Needless to say I am very thankful, and who knows I may actually get these optical sensors installed after all!

Regarding the software, I'm pretty much ready for a first release once I have an opportunity to test all of the new modes on the actual machine and make sure everything works like it is supposed to.  It's as configurable as I want it to be right now (meaning only UI stuff like organizing the games list and defining your own keyboard inputs for driving the menu, rings, gutter).  I thought about making all of the timers, ball counts, etc configurable for different games but I sorta like the idea of everyone that runs Free Skee playing by the same rules.

I've tested it on a couple different widescreen monitors and it has worked great, the one caveat being that since it was designed for an 800x600 display it can look a bit pixelated on larger monitors (although many elements are vector so they scale nicely).  It has the curtains that hide what would normally be empty black bars on either side of any monitor that is wider than 4:3, so no matter what aspect ratio you are running it won't look super awkward.

Along those lines, I am going to be upgrading the tiny 15" 4:3 LCD that is currently in it to a 20" 16:9 display, and also updating the PC that is running in the machine.  Right now the software was written exclusively for a tiny-screened very slow computer, so some of the effects that I would have liked to incorporate (like glow effects on the scoreboards) had to go by the wayside to make sure everything ran full speed.

What all this really means is that AFTER the first release, I will be overhauling Free Skee to run at a higher resolution and have all my originally intended bells and whistles added back in (and formatted for 16:9 monitors instead of using the curtain fix to make it work on them).  I may also take this opportunity to make the switch from AS2 to AS3, but that really all depends on how rough the transition is between the two.  Below is a mockup of the new layout for my scoreboard... the speakers that are on my current scoreboard will have to be moved to a new location, possibly to the front of the machine.

(https://31.media.tumblr.com/46748fc790a16da486eb3be4c0561cb2/tumblr_n9vc2qqv1C1txqs1vo1_1280.jpg)

Will post any sensor updates when they happen!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on August 06, 2014, 10:39:20 am
Scott- thank you for the info!  I think I'm slowly starting to wrap my brain around this one haha
Glad to assist.

I've also posted a more in-depth explanation here (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,140466.msg1454885.html#msg1454885) in Le Chuck's Space Base thread of IR LEDs wired in series like the water-wheel (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,91011.msg1432779.html#msg1432779) image.


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: eds1275 on August 06, 2014, 11:40:10 am
I see a list of different types of games there. Are they something you designed, or is there more than just going for a high score?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on August 06, 2014, 12:22:18 pm
I see a list of different types of games there. Are they something you designed, or is there more than just going for a high score?
He did the coding himself  :notworthy: and describes some of the game rules here (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,91011.msg1297186.html#msg1297186).

Some of the games in action -- video is several years old.

MOV09021 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoFa--rgonY#)


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 06, 2014, 12:29:51 pm
Thanks Scott!  Here's a newer video that shows most of the games (Shuuz is no longer on the list, and Splat! has been added), no sound though!  The up/down menu buttons double as rules/hi score buttons in-game so that's what the blue info windows that pop up are.

Free Skee Beta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xokj2RZ-CLQ#ws)
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on August 06, 2014, 12:44:03 pm
I still think we should combine our efforts as we are probably the only two people on earth with skeeball machines creating Flash games with LEDWiz being used as the main controller. I can make my games available to you so that you can add them to your package if you are interested. SkeeWars took me forever to code, so I am happy to get it out there for everyone to enjoy.  I just need to make a few changes so that my games can use your variables for the controls.

Since your games and mine use the LEDWiz we should at least coordinate how they are connected. Do you have two lights for each scoring hole, and can you list the connections to lights? Ex: 50's light #1 to slot 17, 50's light #2 to slot 18... etc. If these aren't aren't connected the same the games will not control the lighting correctly. Oh yeah, I also have a relay on one of the LEDWiz output slots to control the siren on top of the machine. Mine also has a small "control panel" on the front with an up arrow, select button, and a down arrow. I use them to select games and control the menu system. Coordinating this between us sounds like a big hassle, I know. It just seems like a waste to have two people doing the same thing but not working together doing it.

As for AS3, I figure why bother? AS2 works, you already have the code figured out, and Flash is all but dead. Why waste time learning a new, complex programming language when that time can be spent writing more games?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on August 06, 2014, 12:46:55 pm
You should check out my menu system for selecting games. It shows how many players and the rules, and is easy to customize for adding new games (and also changing the bg music):

http://johnkalnin.com/skee/games/SkeeBall-MainController.swf (http://johnkalnin.com/skee/games/SkeeBall-MainController.swf)

1 - move up
P - move down
5 - select game
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 06, 2014, 02:51:59 pm
nickels-

In regards to merging the projects, I just have to be honest and say that I'm a total control freak and I really wouldn't be comfortable combining the two.  I've literally poured hundreds of hours into this software and I'm pretty proud that I did it on my own, plus I am very inconsistent in regards to the time I spend on it and trying to coordinate with someone would more than likely take a lot of the fun and spontaneity out of it for me.  Please don't take anything personally, your SkeeWars game looks awesome and I definitely want to try to play it sometime on my machine once I get it all put back together!

For the LEDwiz, each ring has an RGB led so I use 3 outputs per hole.  I'll have to go back and look to verify, but I'm fairly certain that Ring 10 is slots 1-3, ring 20 is 4-6, ring 30 is 7-9, ring 40 is 10-12, ring 50 is 13-15, left 100 ring is 16-18, and right 100 ring is 19-21.  Again, not positive on those but I'm pretty sure that's the way they are.

About ActionScript, I've read that AS3 executes code up to 10 times faster than AS2, which might be beneficial to those that are running slower hardware.  Other than that there wouldn't be a whole lot of reasons to switch over.  Again, I may make the jump it just depends on how much of a pain in it is.

About the menu, the latest video isn't entirely accurate since there has been a lot of coding done since it was recorded.  It's almost the same visually, but it now shows very faint light gray text at the bottom of the screen showing # of players for each game as they are highlighted.  The menu system is pretty robust as well, since it accesses an external settings file that you can modify to rearrange games in whatever order you like.  The ball characters all correspond to specific game modes and swap out correctly no matter what order the games are in, which took me much longer than I care to admit to get figured out haha.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on August 06, 2014, 03:18:36 pm
I know how you feel, and totally understand. No hard feelings on my end cause none of my work would even be possible without this thread. I'll just make a sub-menu that launches to your menu or mine so that I can have all of them working at once. I'll figure it out once you release your software.

Oh crap! I am using a LEDWiz GP+ with only 16 available outputs. So, I can't use RGB lights due to not having enough output slots for all of the lights. Damn damn. I figured it would be easier to have one device doing everything, and that is the price for going that route. Hopefully the lights aren't a major part of your games.

Cheers to you for doing this, inspiring me, and I look forward to the day that your software is available.  :cheers:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on August 06, 2014, 03:36:32 pm
Any chance that you might add a simple configuration menu or file?

It would be great to allow people to:

  * Select 4:3 vs 16:9

  * Configure the inputs for a keyboard-style encoder vs a gamepad-style encoder.

  * Use an open-source LED-Blinky compatible controller like this one (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=132903.0).


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 06, 2014, 04:34:54 pm
nickels- I've made sure when creating the games that while the lights are helpful, they are not essential to being able to play any of them.  Any time there is a specific hole lit, there is something on the screen that indicates the same thing.  Right now the software just loads LWA files to the LEDwiz to light up holes, so you could always modify those LWA files so that the lights work with your setup.  That wouldn't help a lot for games that use multiple colors, but it would definitely help for some.  Thanks for the kind words!

PL1- Yeah right now there's a basic config file that could definitely be expanded upon to allow users to customize more options.

1) 4:3 vs 16:9... I still need to figure out how exactly I want to make the switch.  It will most likely end up with me redesigning every game for widescreen, but that will take a long freaking time so I think the best solution in the interim is to just increase the resolution of all of the assets so that they are crisp on 1280x720 or something.  Right now the game will go fullscreen as large as it can vertically, then any extra real estate is covered by the curtains that swoop in to begin and end each game.  Right now there's no need to tell the game if it's widescreen or not, but if I do end up remaking widescreen versions of each game then I will definitely add that as something that the user can configure via settings.

2) joystick input... just from a really quick cursory Google search, it looks like there is no way in AS2 to directly read joystick inputs.  It does sound like there may be a workaround though, and one that wouldn't require much work on my end.  If I use an 3rd party SWF wrapper while I am creating the .exe then in theory that wrapper could do all of the joystick/keyboard conversion on the fly, although again this is just me blabbing after reading a few pages online and I'd have to look into it a lot further to know whether it was something I was capable of or not.

3) open source LED-blinky compatible controller... I am definitely open to supporting this, but it would have to be able to read clipboard commands at the moment.  Right now the way that the software interacts with the LEDs is the only thing that I am not really satisfied with.  I have to use the clipboard to send commands to the LEDwiz, which seems to work fine but is definitely not ideal and just feels dirty haha.  Now that you mention it, I may want to look into the way that other programs interface with LEDblinky because that could very well be a workaround that I have missed.

I'm really just a fake-it-'til-you-make-it programmer, as this is the first thing I've ever really programmed in ActionScript and I really only learn new things when I encounter something that I want to add and don't know how to.  Apologies if I missed anything, I typed this up during my lunch and was a bit rushed!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on August 06, 2014, 04:42:40 pm
2) I use Joy2Key
http://joytokey.net/en/ (http://joytokey.net/en/)

Not sure if this will help you at all, but this is how I convert my switches' inputs to keystrokes for Flash interaction. The LEDWiz sees my switches as if they are coming from a joystick, then this software converts that to keyboard keystrokes for use in the Flash games. You can open up the software and change the inputs to any keystroke that you want. Works great.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 07, 2014, 11:58:06 pm
Been playing with LEDblinky and I'm amazed at how easy it is to create animations and transitions between colors.  I bought my copy of it like 6 months ago for the arcade cab that I will be building at some point, but I literally had never even loaded the program up until now.  I really want to use it for Free Skee, but I'm afraid I might have hit a dead end regarding functionality.

Not sure how to word this, but does anyone know if LEDblinky allows for incremental control of LEDs?  By this I mean is there a way to send one command to light the 10 ring, then send another command to light the 20 ring and have the 10 ring remain lit?  So far every time I send a command via LEDblinky it seems to just wipe all the LEDs states before it makes the new changes.  If there isn't a way around this, it's pretty much a dealbreaker for me since many games require individual rings to be turned on and off while the rest remain unchanged.

The only thing I've found regarding this is in the animation editor documentation regarding single frame animations, but it appears that you can only do what I'm wanting in a very limited manner (by using LEDblinky events like "FE Active" or "Game Play" but even then I don't think I can do what I need to do).

Any LEDblinky experts out there know if there's a way for me to get LEDblinky to do what I need it to?  If not, is there an easy way to convert the .LWAX XML files that LEDblinky uses to the .LWA files that the standard LEDwiz software uses?

edit: Found an app on the forum by headkaze http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,69102.msg714226.html#msg714226 (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,69102.msg714226.html#msg714226) called LWA2LWAX which seems to work for converting LWA to LWAX, but when I check the "Reverse" box to convert LWAX to LWA I get an "Unhandled exception has occurred in your application" error.  Bummer!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on August 08, 2014, 11:41:00 am
Since you brought it up, how do you do that using the LEDWiz controller? I have no use for it on my current games but I was wondering for future games. All I know how to do is send commands from flash to activate my lwa files: System.setClipboard("LWZ-FLP:16-LED");
In that example the file 16-LED.lwa simply activates the 16th slot on my LEDWiz - this file is created using the control panel/software. That is how I turn on the siren light on mine.

So how do you activate slot 15, then activate 12 but do not disable anything else? Basically what you are saying to turn on and off one slot at a time yet ignore the other other slots active or disabled states? Do I just create lwa files that activate/disable one slot at a time and call them as needed? My LEDWiz is connect to my skee ball machine and cracking it open to test is not easy.

Here is the nonsense code in the 16-led.lwa file probably not important
Code: [Select]
"3"
"LWZ-DUR:250"
"LWZ-PBA:48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48,48"
"LWZ-SBA:0,128,0,0,3"
-meaningless to me!

Not even sure i'll need this as I have no plans on recreating games you've already made. It would be nice to know though just in case. Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 08, 2014, 12:00:27 pm
nickels- I use Randy's software to create an animation that only turns on one ring (it can be multiple slots on the LEDwiz since I've got an RGB setup) and then use the clipboard to call up that LWA animation.  It keeps the existing states the same on the rest of the LEDs while only updating the LED slots that I specify.

I've figured out how to call up the animations using LEDBlinky just fine, but it seems to wipe the current states of all LEDs before it applies the new state no matter what I do.  I created a thread in the main forum about this issue hoping that arzoo sees it and can shed some light as to whether it's possible or not to do what I need it to do.  If I could get LEDBlinky to work with my software, it would address Scott's request for supporting open source LEDblinky compatible controllers while also allowing for more slick animations than I'm capable of creating right now.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on August 08, 2014, 12:18:15 pm
Thanks again. I see the LEDBlinky creator is here:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,73905.msg1452489.html (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,73905.msg1452489.html)

arzoo seems to be pretty active, so you should get an answer pretty quick if you post it on that thread.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Nephasth on August 10, 2014, 01:16:41 pm
Shuuz is no longer on the list, and Splat! has been added

Very cool!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thomas_surles on August 10, 2014, 03:11:33 pm
Another game suggestion. I just like coming up with fun ideas.

How about a board game 1-4 players.
Each player rolls to see who goes first (or not, not sure how that would work out)
But an on screen board game is displayed,  a 10 moves you 1 space, 20 is 2 and so on...
Maybe some chance spaces to make the player advance or move back spaces. First to the finish wins..
That could be cool.

Also I had an idea for a very complex fighter or turn base rpg type scene.
Like a certain roll could determine the attack used. That would be really awesome but hard to code.
The player an enemy would have a certain hp and the goal wold be to kill the enemy before he kills you.
Or even easier than a computer enemy with random attacks would be player vs player.

It would be really cool if you could have an on screen fight scene maybe in an 8 bit style or something.
Could name it skee fighter or skee kombat.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: PL1 on August 10, 2014, 06:18:39 pm
Could name it skee fighter or skee kombat.
Skee't Fighter?  Skee It Fighter?

Health bars at the top.

Roll to see who attacks first.

--Message on screen "P1 Ready" . . . (variable delay 2-5 seconds?) . . . "Roll"

--Message on screen "P2 Ready" . . . (variable delay 2-5 seconds?) . . . "Roll"

--Highest score attacks first. In case of tie, whoever scored fastest is first.

(For this example, P1 scored higher)

Attack/defense sequence

--Message on screen "P1 Ready" . . . (variable delay 2-5 seconds?) . . . "Attack"

--Message on screen "P2 Ready" . . . (variable delay 2-5 seconds?) . . . "Defend"

--P1 higher score = successful attack, damage based on P1 attack roll - P2 defense roll
(10 = minimum damage, 100 = maximum damage)

--P2 higher score = successful defense, no damage

--In case of tie, whoever scored fastest wins minimum damage (P1) or successful defense. (P2)

--Update health bars and play an animated attack (based on amount of damage and whether a fatality has occurred)

--If neither player has been killed, repeat the attack/defense sequence with the player numbers reversed.


Scott
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thomas_surles on August 11, 2014, 12:28:19 pm
Could name it skee fighter or skee kombat.
Skee't Fighter?  Skee It Fighter?

Health bars at the top.

Roll to see who attacks first.

--Message on screen "P1 Ready" . . . (variable delay 2-5 seconds?) . . . "Roll"

--Message on screen "P2 Ready" . . . (variable delay 2-5 seconds?) . . . "Roll"

--Highest score attacks first. In case of tie, whoever scored fastest is first.

(For this example, P1 scored higher)

Attack/defense sequence

--Message on screen "P1 Ready" . . . (variable delay 2-5 seconds?) . . . "Attack"

--Message on screen "P2 Ready" . . . (variable delay 2-5 seconds?) . . . "Defend"

--P1 higher score = successful attack, damage based on P1 attack roll - P2 defense roll
(10 = minimum damage, 100 = maximum damage)

--P2 higher score = successful defense, no damage

--In case of tie, whoever scored fastest wins minimum damage (P1) or successful defense. (P2)

--Update health bars and play an animated attack (based on amount of damage and whether a fatality has occurred)

--If neither player has been killed, repeat the attack/defense sequence with the player numbers reversed.


Scott
I like it,
You could also take this same idea and do a boxing game but when the hp goes down the player has 10 seconds to recover and regain a little hp by hitting a certain hole or something
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on August 14, 2014, 02:30:34 am
Cool game ideas!  I've banned myself from creating any new games until I have all of the features and updates finished that are on my list of things to do, but I will most likely add more games after I get everything else dialed in.  Speaking of which, I've decided that the resolution that I am writing the software for is 1366x768.  I started adding all of elements that I could in vector format and got about halfway done, but then realized that vector data is more cpu intensive than raster data and I don't want to waste valuable processing power that could be used for doing things like glow effects, shadows, etc.  Will be going back and importing each raster element at the exact resolution that it needs to be for best performance.

Here's a screenshot of the current menu in full 1366x768 resolution... you'll notice that the Free Skee logo has been removed in favor of making the Skeeballs larger.  The software is still called Free Skee, I just removed it from the menu screen since it might conflict with any themes that people have.  The title above the Skeeballs changes depending on what game is selected, and the text along the bottom lists the number of players each game allows.  Like I posted earlier in the thread, the software now reads from an external config file that will let users put the games in any order that they want.
(https://31.media.tumblr.com/13f5c42a082979a06ca6e0986baabadb/tumblr_naa8u8Y8mA1txqs1vo1_1280.jpg)

After spending a bunch of time upping the resolution of the different game modes, I'm honestly not sure if I'll ever remove the curtains from the sides... I feel like this is an elegant solution to different monitor aspect ratios and I actually think it frames the screen well.  Either way even if the curtains did go away, it wouldn't be for quite a while since it would require remaking every single game theme and I want to have a stable release done a lot sooner than that.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Le Chuck on August 14, 2014, 07:54:14 am
I can't tell you how excited I am for the eventual release of this.  It looks fantastic.  I don't know if I'll have a skeeball anytime soon but whenever I get one this will be the mod package I go with.  Fantastic!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on November 18, 2014, 01:51:15 pm
Hope the OP is still monitoring this thread, technical Flash question...
I am using AS2 and the script
Code: [Select]
System.setClipboard("LWZ-FLP:3-LED"); to light up the LED on the 3rd slot for example. I am trying to use this code to light up the LED lights on the table in sync with some music for one of my games. However, there seems to be a delay when using this setClipboard code. I was wondering if you found any workarounds to this problem?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on November 19, 2014, 02:14:49 am
nickels- To be honest, I haven't tried to do any LED sync'ing with music but I'd imagine it would be tricky.  I am actually trying to have my software interface with LEDblinky now rather than the LEDwiz software... this serves to both add support for open-source hardware as well as allows me to use some more fancy animations.

I've written my own little AHK script to monitor the clipboard which then processes it and runs LEDblinky with the appropriate commands.  It works really well and allows for the more detailed animations that LEDblinky provides, but the one potential dealbreaker is that by default it clears all of the LEDs before it runs any animation (which is a huge problem if you don't want the lights flickering every time a new animation loads).  Arzoo said that he will look into adding a backend option to not clear the LEDs if it's not to much of a pain for him, so I've got my fingers crossed that LEDblinky will be the way to go.

This was basically a longwinded way of saying that all of my LED coding has been put on hold while I wait to see if arzoo is able to make some magic happen, but even then I don't really know of any workaround to use the LEDwiz software or LEDblinky that doesn't use the clipboard (which will most likely always have some level of delay).  Sorry I couldn't be more help!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on November 19, 2014, 02:48:05 am
Figured while I'm at it I would give a quick update on progress.  I haven't heard anything back from samej71 yet in regards to drawing up the circuit diagram, but I've made huge leaps and bounds with the software in the meantime.

First, I've completely redone all of the sound code and I've added support for custom background music.  Each game can have a total of 3 songs associated with it... the software will load up songs that you specify for that game and randomly select one as the game loads.  The ability to turn the music on and off can be triggered with a combination of menu buttons as well.

Second, I'm very close to being done increasing the resolution for the games to 1600x900.  Everything is all smoothed out now too, so even going a little bigger looks pretty good and it's light years better than the 800x600 that it was originally.  For now I am just keeping the red curtains on the sides so I don't have to completely recreate every theme to support widescreen, and that's honestly probably how it will stay since I really like the look of it (and it's nice to have the option of using different aspect ratios like 4:3, 16:9, etc without changes).  I've also made a point to start fine tuning all of the small bells and whistles that I've been wanting to add, like the bowling pin particle generators in the video below (thank Youtube for muting the entire video because it had "The Man in Me" from The Big Lebowski playing as the background song).

Bowling (http://youtu.be/p4nGBtCcick)

Pretty much all of the important stuff can be modified via settings files now (input keys, menu list organization, background music, misc options) and it's honestly getting pretty close to being ready to go.  Once I get my optical switch circuits figured out I will be able to give everything a thorough testing (there are still a bunch of these games that I haven't even played a single time yet) and hopefully by that point I will know one way or the other about LEDblinky support so I can either finish converting all of the lighting over to LEDblinky's format or make the switch back to the LEDwiz software.

Once I get pretty close to launch I will make a new thread in the software forum to announce it and hopefully help iron out any bugs.  Anyway, just wanted to let everyone know I'm still making progress even if it's ridiculously slow!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on November 19, 2014, 10:11:55 am
It seems that you are very close to the finish line while I feel like I just started the marathon. Believe me, I totally understand the reason this stuff takes months and years not days. I will continue to work on making the LEDs sync, but that seems like a technical problem that will take longer to solve than I feel like investing into it. I look forward to your release, and hope to have some new games myself one of these days. Eventually. At least these little talks get me inspired to get back to work. Thanks and good luck!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on February 04, 2015, 02:17:56 pm
Technical update for thatpurplestuff - leaving this public in the rare case a Flash programmer using the LED-Wiz searches for some info...

In the process of making one skeeball game in particular, it has come to my attention that using the clipboard to control the LED lights there are some limits on what you can and can't do. As you know, in order to make the state of one light not effect the state of another you have to use commands such as

System.setClipboard("LWZ-S01:1");

That turns on the LED on the 01 position and ignores everything else. Let's say you want to leave that lit and now light the next light:
System.setClipboard("LWZ-S02:1");

That will light up the LED on the LED-Wiz attached to the second output position. It it also leaves everything else alone, so position 1 is still lit from before. Using this technique is about the only way I've found to turn lights on and off while ignoring the other ones. If you run a command like:
System.setClipboard("LWZ-FRP:animation-file-name,1");

That will run the animation that you have saved, but it will also turn OFF everything before it runs. So, this code is great for running lighting animations, but you lose control over all lights (or connected devices) that were turned ON prior to using that command.

I have noticed that if you run Flash at 30FPS, you can not make the LWZ-S calls in corresponding frames or even within 4 frames. For me to get consistent, repeatable results, the clipboard calls to control the LED-Wiz must be no fewer than 5 frames apart. I ran multiple tests and this seems to be the most reliable way to control the lights on the table.

Example of it failing:
Frame 1 actionscript:
System.setClipboard("LWZ-S01:1");
Frame 2 actionscript:
System.setClipboard("LWZ-S02:1");

Results when run - sometime only one light is lit, sometimes both. I believe it skips the first call frequently, and only the second light is lit. There is no documentation for the delay needed for the LED-Wiz to read the clipboard and react in time. In order for this to work here is the fix:

Example of it working:
Frame 1 actionscript:
System.setClipboard("LWZ-S01:1");
Frame 6 actionscript:
System.setClipboard("LWZ-S02:1");

Now, when I run the flash file the table consistently lights up both lights. Nothing is missed or skipped. So, if you want to have complete control over the lights without the code acting funky, keep your clipboard calls 5 frames apart running at 30FPS. Not sure if this is the same for all PCs, or a performance issue with the computer I use to run my games? Just be aware that making clipboard calls spaced close together in the flash frames results in some of the commands being ignored by the LED-Wiz. Of course the need for this is rare at best. My game needs this type of control and I was having a lot of trouble figuring out why my code wasn't always giving me consistent results? After running a bunch of tests and spreading out the commands, my results are now what I was expecting. Hope this info helps someone! There aren't a lot of resources out there for this kind of thing.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on February 04, 2015, 04:32:26 pm
nickels- I have actually stopped using the LEDwiz software to run the LEDs, instead opting to use LEDBlinky because of the slick animation editor and more detailed animations that I was able to create.  I created an AHK script that monitors the clipboard and runs LEDBlinky with arguments from the clipboard any time that the clipboard changes.  I'm not sure how often per second AHK checks for updates, but I'd imagine that a similar delay would be required compared to the LEDwiz software to make sure no commands are lost.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on February 04, 2015, 04:32:49 pm
First off, just wanted to publicly thank arzoo (the creator of LEDBlinky) for going out of his way and creating a patch that makes LEDBlinky work with my Skeeball software.  LEDBlinky allows for much more detailed animations, but I was having an issue with the LEDs resetting between animations... he kindly added an argument that can be added when running LEDBlinky that makes it so the states are not reset before animations, which is exactly what I needed and I am incredibly grateful for the time he spent adding such a random frivolous feature.  Now that I know for certain how I am going to be controlling the LEDs I can go about finalizing all animations and putting the final polish on Free Skee (I have capped myself at the 20 existing game modes until I get the initial release finished).  Below are a couple of shots of the latest finished games:

(https://41.media.tumblr.com/b5f4b147cf3de6bb826d6c05d0a4906f/tumblr_nj9mrj56Gl1txqs1vo2_1280.jpg)
Each player starts with 150 and the goal is to get 300... the catch is that the only way to score is to suck points away from the other player!

(https://41.media.tumblr.com/364147d88956c519750d221091c279e4/tumblr_nj9mrj56Gl1txqs1vo1_1280.jpg)
Target starts at 10 and gets progressively more difficult.  Players take turns making the shots to "pass" the potato to the other player before it explodes.

Anyway now that the lighting situation is figured out, my final hurdle is to get these beam break sensors up and running.  I just ordered these:

IR Break Beam Sensor - 3mm LEDs
https://www.adafruit.com/products/2167 (https://www.adafruit.com/products/2167)

In theory these will either work out of the box or with a 10 ohm resister added to each receiver.  Once I get them in the mail and start testing them out I will post more details about how they function and if they are a good option to use... it seems that if they do work, they'd be a great option for other stuff like the current arcade basketball build that is going on.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on February 04, 2015, 04:38:49 pm
Very cool! Those are some interesting new games you've created. Can't wait to get them up and running on my end when you go public.

I was going to ask about using LEDBlinky, but I don't have RGB lights (only one red and one blue per hole) so my need for animations is minimal. At least now I know about the delay and can get back to finishing the game I've been working on for what seems like a year now.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: thatpurplestuff on February 12, 2015, 12:18:33 am
Well the sensors came in the mail last night and I can't say enough good things about them.  I hooked one up to an IPAC (btw you know you have a BYOAC problem when you've got multiple spare encoders around to choose from)... I was thoroughly expecting the initial test to be a failure and I was amazed that it worked straight out of the box.  No pull up resistors needed, no modifications to it whatsover.  It just freakin works!

After discovering that the sensors worked, I decided to play around for a few minutes testing the size/speed of objects that would trigger the sensors.  I started off with large objects (skeeballs) and worked my way all the way down to the tip of a screwdriver and these sensors didn't miss a thing.  They are INCREDIBLY accurate and I can't wait to get everything wired up to finally begin testing out some of these new games I've written!

Thanks again to everyone that has helped me (or attempted to help me) get these sensors going!  This has given me a lot of steam to push forward... will be wiring up the sensors, adding a new computer, installing the new larger screen, moving the speakers to the front of the machine, and finally installing the leg covers.  Expect updates that actually contain pictures soon!
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Le Chuck on February 20, 2015, 10:54:14 am
That's awesome!  Glad to hear they work so well, I'll keep those in the toolbox for later use for sure!!  Now let's see this thing get finished.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: HanoiBoi on April 08, 2015, 05:55:54 pm
Anyone know how the IR sensors would get wired up to an ipac?  I'm used to microswitch/buttons and am hoping to use these as a keystroke entry too. 

I realize the ground for emitter and receiver could daisy chain to the ipac ground, but what about the rest?

Since there are two pieces required, I'm just not sure of the wiring.  Do both red wires go to one ipac input? Or... does the white receiver wire go into the ipac?
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Entropy42 on April 08, 2015, 06:21:40 pm
From the adafruit site:
https://learn.adafruit.com/ir-breakbeam-sensors
You wire up both blacks to ground, both reds to 3.3 or 5V, and the white to your iPac.  The white is at the same voltage as your red, unless the beam is broken, then it is pulled down (I guess the iPac has a built-in pull up resistor?) to 0 V and that reads as a keystroke/button press.

I have not actually done this, but from reading that, I think that's how it goes.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: redcardkid7 on December 07, 2015, 01:49:34 pm
Wow, fantastic work!  I really wish I would have discovered this thread 6 months ago, would have saved me a lot of time and headaches with my own skeeball build.  Your software and games are also incredible.  Have you released the software yet?  Right now my machine just plays original skeeball and I would love to be able to play your games.  Again awesome job! :applaud:
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: kjkam on December 16, 2016, 02:14:20 pm
Amazing read, just purchased a used skeeball machine only on reassembly to find the control board has failed :angry: (worked before i moved it)  Really interested to know if there are still plans to release freeskee and if anyone has modified an existing machine to run on freeskee.  Your programing really brings skeeball to life. 
Thanks
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: Swillie on December 23, 2016, 02:29:58 pm
Amazing read, just purchased a used skeeball machine only on reassembly to find the control board has failed :angry: (worked before i moved it)  Really interested to know if there are still plans to release freeskee and if anyone has modified an existing machine to run on freeskee.  Your programing really brings skeeball to life. 
Thanks

I agree the software looks fantastic. Wish I could program, in the end I had to move my skeeball on. Good luck with your wait.
Title: Re: That's How I Roll! (Skeeball build)
Post by: nickels on September 18, 2017, 02:10:04 pm
Wow, my project began in 2013 and here I am still working on it 4 years later. I went from having a few LED's under my holes to currently installing full LED rope lights surrounding the entire scoring areas:
(https://i.imgur.com/XrSyvb8.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/fZAIUzK.jpg)

I am still creating new games and my current selection of Flash based Skee ball games is now at 5 full games, 1 stalled playable beta, and 2 more games currently in development. Once those are done I am not making any more games for a long, long time. Glad to see people are still making these machines.