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).

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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!

Success!

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!

https://youtu.be/6kKOjXkb86M
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.

Switch Bus Bar

A couple of days ago I made a simple bus bar out of some brass bar stock to act as the common ground for a bay of switches from the control board. I drilled and tapped holes so I can screw down crimp connectors. I plan on doing the same basic thing for the 48v solenoid power and a universal ground. I also installed the switch and wired it to my board.IMG_20161112_134318.jpgIMG_20161112_154856.jpgIMG_20161112_154851.jpg

I made some standoff posts with a 1/4″ delrin rod I picked up. They’re what hold the bus bar off the wood. I’m leaning away from using the Pine64 board that I’ve had ready for a while now. Beside the odd few problems I keep seeing with it, I also need power, keyboard, mouse, and an HDMI monitor just to work on it. For the time being, I’m going to switch to using an old laptop from work.

Since I have a fresh Ubuntu installation on said laptop, I updated to the latest version of Mission Pinball Framework and have streamlined my config file to be able to test my solenoid/switch/flipper combination as soon as I finish the rest of the wiring and mount the coil.

Vacation

So I was gone for about 10 days in October, nothing much to report. I am back now, though, and believe I have come up with a mount for the solenoids that should work real well. I’ll prototype it out of wood and see how that goes. I can machine it out of steel or aluminum later if need be.