Well Well

So Green Mustard announced an InvaderCon 4 this August. I guess I’d better get back to work on this project! I’m in need of an artist if there’s anyone that even reads this, I need cabinet side art soon or else I have to disassemble things later to add art to the sides.

There’s little to no chance of me bringing this to Boston in August though, transporting a pinball machine almost 2800 miles would be costly (I’d have to rent a van or truck or something, not to mention the drive both ways) or else I’d have to take the risk of shipping it freight. Sad, but it’s a tough situation. Now if there’s an InvaderCon 5 on the left coast…

Cabinet Joints

No, not those kind of joints. I’ve cut out most of the wood that I need for the new cabinet, but I’m waffling on how to join it together. The inside corners all have metal braces because that’s how the legs attach (through the corners and into the brace’s threaded receptacle). So even if you just did a butt joint you would have a pretty solid cabinet. Cutting a 45° miter looks a lot better, but you have to set it up right or you get a sloppy corner. But you’re still just glueing two flat surfaces together. Going to the top of the line joint, you’d use a lock miter which is an angle plus slot and tab that fit together, but that’s even harder to set up (if you have the right router bit). So I thought maybe a simple slot cut perpendicular to the miter that I could glue a strip of 1/8″-thick wood could be a good locking method. Here’s a picture of what I mean:

I’ll call this the “long biscuit miter joint” for lack of knowledge of what it’s actually called.

It should be plenty strong, but there’s a part of my brain that keeps saying “if you’re only going to do it once, do it right.” So maybe I’ll end up with a real honest lock miter joint. I’m going to work on it tomorrow and see what I come up with, and practice on some scrap.

Wow. Just, Wow.

I can barely believe I already have “version 2” (with larger Molex connector) in hand! These shipped out from ShenZhen YESTERDAY. And daddy didn’t pay for no overnight overseas shipping. Fantastic! Check out JLCPCB, this won’t be the last project I use them for!!


PS Version 2.1 with a smaller Molex connector is just shipping out now, so I’ll probably have it Monday or Tuesday.

New Switch Distribution Board

I just ordered a new switch distribution board, redesigned from my first attempt (and first manufactured PCB) to address a few small design issues. Mainly switching to tougher Molex connectors for the switch contacts. I designed them online with EasyEDA, and I’ll post pics when the boards get here. In the meantime, here is the basic view:


The whole point of these boards is to eliminate the isolated switch ground bus bars I’ve had to add in the past to keep the hardware happy. One board takes the full output from the Fast switch bank (8 switch contacts and 2 grounds) and breaks them out into 8 Molex KK series 2P connectors.

Distractions, Distractions

I realize I haven’t posted much here lately, I’ve stalled out waiting for some parts so I can build a new cabinet that will allow a second level with ramps and rails, etc. I picked them up the week before Halloween. I have just a couple other parts to pick up that won’t hold up my progress. I hope to be using the CNC machine this month to cut out the new cabinet, then assemble it.

Speaking of Halloween, I spent a few weeks putting this new costume together. I made the aluminum parts myself on the lathe and milling machines. I designed the clothes patterns, my wife did the sewing. I did the leatherwork, weathering, etc. I found a studio that had a casting of a Totokia (a Fijian war club that makes up most of the Gaderffii stick), and added the fins and spikes to it then painted everything.

My Boards Are Here!

I’m thrilled that my first foray into custom PCBs was a success! Though there are a number of things I will do different next time, I’m very happy with the outcome. Everything tests out just fine, I just have to remember to drill my mount holes before I solder on the extra parts next time…

Break’s Almost Up

Okay, so I took a bit more of a break than I thought I would. Summer has been nice, and family has been in town. All that aside, I haven’t been completely idle. I’ve been thinking about designs for a switch connector board, and think I’ve got everything ready for production so I just ordered some boards made. They’re quite simple and small. Small enough, in fact, to fit six in the default cheap size offered by Seeed Studios 100 square millimeter footprint (10 boards for $4.90!). I hope I got things right, otherwise I’ll have 60 of these connectors that don’t work. 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 1.28.36 PM

Resting, Not Dead

I’ve taken the week off after several busy weeks leading up to last weekend’s kinetic fest. I showed off the pinball machine and ran a selfie station. Tomorrow is a family day at the lake, back to work on this project next week!



I got lights working! I have some issues with the scoop weldment (VUK) device, and my 3-bank drop target assembly isn’t resetting properly, but things are coming together!