Coiling Machine Progress

I made progress last night on the coiling machine. I cut out all the parts I drew up yesterday. I machined a pulley out of delrin. I cut down the 16″ case-hardened stainless steel rod (no easy feat that) into two pieces so the carriage wasn’t overly long.

Below are some pictures of the process. It’s always fun to watch the laser cutter do its thing. The sliding carriage mechanism is so smooth it’s scary. I love it. I’m going to re-cut the pulley mount, there were inconsistencies in the Baltic Birch plywood (glue, or a knot) that the laser didn’t get through. Usually you can take a utility knife to the back and it’s easy to release the part, but this went half way through the plywood, so it’s ugly. Functional enough though.

I’m also going to redesign the motor mount. While it fits the NEMA17 brackets that I have, I realized it’s not stable enough without an additional side to lock everything down.

I would do this tonight, but instead I’m going to the Wulin Hanyu Shaolin Kungfu Martial Arts Show put on the by the University of Idaho’s Confucius Institute (孔子學院).

Coiling Machine v2.0

Last night I sketched idea after idea, and finally converged on a prototype for my new coiling machine. So I went over to the CAD station and drew up some plans. I will cut them out tonight from a sheet of 1/4″ baltic birch I picked up at lunchtime.

I don’t know what the final height of the carriage mount will be yet, hence the rectangular design sans location tabs. I put the two bars at a 30 degree angle. It’s just a guess at what I need, but seemed to make sense as 45 felt too sharp.

Carriage mount
Magnet wire spool mount
Stepper motor mount
Pulley mount

Self-Leveling Playfield

One of the ideas I’ve had is for a self-leveling playfield. Basically you can wheel in in anywhere, hit a button, and even if the floor is uneven the table will balance itself right to left and set the angle of the playfield to the default (6.5 degree slope is what I have in mind). One interesting side effect is that I could programmatically change the slope of the game at any time. Perhaps make a game mode harder by raising the slope, or tilting to one side until the player makes a certain shot or the time runs out.

I was just given two Bosch seat recliner motors that will work perfectly for this feature! The two motors will sit under the upper corners of the playfield. The bottom center of the playfield will sit on a ball bearing and allow for adjustment left or right by the upper motors (since you only need three points to define a plane).

Theme Choice

Well it’s still pretty early, and I won’t say definite yet, but I think I have finally come to a decision on the theme for this pinball machine. I’ll talk about it later, when things get more solidified. But this will help with the table design and features, plus it’s one less thing I have to (eventually) worry about! Yay!


All this work has finally resulted in a working prototype!

Tonight I finished the ground wires, wired all the power, cut out a panel for the C14 power connecter and switch, and mounted the solenoid. I connected my Ubuntu laptop, ran MPF with my simple config, and saw everything work!
Here are a few pics of the process. First, cutting a power panel:

Next, here it is all put together:

And the wiring behind the scenes:

Finally, the solenoid mounted in its new home. I still need a spring to reset the position.