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!

Wiring Complete!

Well, except for two small power connections anyway (bottom center, the black and red bundle). But yay! My wiring is complete!!


Plus, more solder porn. I love soldering pads like these.

More Wiring and Stuff!

Last Saturday I spent the day installing and wiring up everything I had left in my parts box (well, except for one spinner). I installed the second Fast 3208 board, and distribution blocks for 5v+/-, and 48v power. As I started wiring, I quickly realized that some kind of connection board for my pop bumpers would be really convenient, making connections to the switches and the Neopixel Jewels would save so much trouble. I prototyped a simpler version sans-switches and soldered it together. I also talked to Marty about a workshop on designing custom PCBs, he loved the idea, so we may do that in the future and this would be my first candidate, along with a larger version of the Jewel for the center of the pops and an in-place connector for a bank of 8 switches coming off the Fast boards. I drew up a simple diagram for future reference.

I soldered connectors to my static targets (all three of them), installed the scoop weldment and scratched my head at the PCB silkscreening (“A K” on one side, “C E” on the other), then spent the rest of the afternoon on the wiring.

(I’ve since figured out the opto connection: A is for the power anode, K for the “K”athode and it takes 5v or 12v with the right resistor. C and E are the collector which goes to ground and emitter which goes to the switch input on the Fast board).

It’s Been a While

Monday and Tuesday evenings were taken up with other matters (Monday was a kinetic festival meeting, fest is in 1.5 weeks!; Tuesday afternoon I had family arrive in town. So with that out of the way, last night I got back to work.

I started with securing the Neopixel Jewels in the pop bumpers with M2 bolts and nuts (I was missing a few so I didn’t finish on Saturday). I drilled holes in spots chosen mainly at random and installed the pop bumpers. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?

I bent an 18″ plunger lane guide out of some 2mm stainless steel rod. I was worried about how well it would stay in place but it seems fine. It is a bit bendy when the ball hits it though, so final version will be shorter pieces or thicker rods, or both.

I cut new acrylic lane guides after redesigning them to not have an inlane/outlane separator (the ball would get stuck between them and the rubber of the slingshot), then bent some 4.5″ wire to use as lane separators instead. They look pretty good.

With that done, I decided since I was already cutting on the playfield that I should do some more and add the other parts I have. So I pretty much chose places at random that I thought might be good and started cutting. These will be done on the CNC machine next time, they’re a pain in the 屁股. I’ll happily file down the rounded corners that the square end mill leaves over cutting these by hand again.

My next steps are to install the rest of the devices (a VUK, a 3-bank drop target assembly, and three static targets) and wire everything up.

I have been reviewing my game code, and writing bits for the new devices such as the pop bumper upgrade idea I’ve been cooking up in my head. Hopefully by the end of the day on Saturday I’ll have everything flipping again!

Saturday Went Fast

Last Saturday I spent my time working on finishing up the wiring, fixing some grounding issues on the logical switch banks, and a few other things. I swapped out my bare aluminum 48v distribution block for a (much safer) covered block so I stop getting dirty looks from people. Rewiring the switches took a while, and I had to move a  few things around to make room for the big, clunky, safer distribution blocks.

I also cut out a mount for the Neopixel Jewels that fit inside a pop bumper, and I’m very happy with how they turned out. Then I tested out my 3D-printed rail supports, and they look like they’ll work (until I try to bend the bars anyway).

Wire Railing

My 2mm stainless steel rods came in today, they’re pretty thin but really strong. I drew up a quick and dirty support idea to 3D-print and try out:

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I’m waiting for it to come off the 3D printer, four of them take about 30 minutes to print.