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Spektre

Crisis On Pinfinite Earths (46-32X15.6) Analog Plunger

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Through this thread I hope to document my build for people completely new to this and to ask for the much help I will most likely need as one myself!

I will keep this first post updated with pertinent build info.

 

Spektre
 

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The year is 1983 and on my newly acquired Laser 128 (Apple IIe/c clone) I loaded up Pinball Construction set. This was probably one of the top 2 games I ever played on that computer. (The other being Super Sunday).

"If only there was a programming interface to go behind this", I thought, "how much more extensible it would be."

Flash forward many years and I remember reading...

"FAQ:

Q: So, is Visual Pinball pretty much like Pinball Construction Set?

A: Yes, except advanced 20 years.

Q: Wasn't Pinball Construction Set released only 17 years ago?

A: Visual Pinball is that good."

and I was hooked.


I was one of the early users of Visual Pinball, and remember when PinMAME got released. I authored a few fun but visually non-descript tables.

Then the project sat for years. I can remember thinking (I'd love to put this in a real pinball machine, but that would cost a mint in screens and it doesn't seem like I can rotate the pinball playfields."

I moved away from VP for some years and when I got back, it was open source! Sweet! I know tables would be around the corner.

Flash forward to now...

I have read through enough posts and seen enough projects to know now was the time to make my own cabinet.

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One of the first steps I took in this was to set a budget. I suggest the same for any newbie looking to get into this. It's going to be expensive and it woudl be poor planning to shoot too high and end up unable to finish a project from lack of funds.

MAIN HIGH TICKET ITEMS

If I can make a plug for a website... www.slickdeals.net is a great, user driven, deals finding website. It can really help finding a good price on the screens and computers/parts.

1. The PC. Unless you are a computer enthusiast like me and have parts to draw from, make sure you keep a decent budget for building/buying a system.

2. The screens. The most popular designs are 3 screens, with some very nice 2 screen looking tables.

3. The cabinet and hardware. Do you have the skills and tools to build a cabinet yourself? Can you retrofit and older cabinet? Can you afford to get a pre-built cabinet. How authentic do you want your cabinet? If you are going all out, you need to leave budget for side rails, lockdown bar, a coin door, playfield glass, etc.

Coming up next...my decisions...

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From July 2011 (Looks pretty accurate looking back)

 

A personal note, I am disabled and get very ill frequently. So this might be the slowest build ever seen.

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Although I cannot annotate it with the pictures I wanted until later, I can at least update the blog with some of the major decisions and missteps I made.
I decided to pattern my build loosely after Chriz99's

http://www.hyperspin-fe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4826

The main difference being I would build the cabinet up from a flat pack being offered here in the forums, or worst case from pdf plans for a widebody cabinet given here. (Warning! Popups will ensue at the next download link!)

http://www.mediafire.com/?n0jvdwdxmmt

The first components I'll tackle (as I did in real life decisions) were the screens. I watched for sales to occur and grabbed a great Olevia 32" LCD for the backglass. What I was most interested in was a 1080p screen at this size for a low price that had a 1:1 pixel mapping setting.

http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0354799

In general, be careful using TVs as HDMI monitors. Not all of them allow for a 1:1 pixel map and can have a good deal of under or overscan present (black bars at the edges or desktop missing behind the tv's bezel). Not noticeable for a TV, damned annoying for a computer screen.

I waited for a good sale price and went with a low cost 46" monitor for the playfield before selecting:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Curtis-LCD4686A-W/15727496

I hadn't made a decision yet on the 3rd DMD monitor but this is where the decisions started to fall apart.
-----
The flat packs I had hoped to buy never materialized. My local cabinet maker who was initiallly interested stopped returning my calls, and I was afraid the quote from him was going to be too expensive anyway. I personally have NO woodworking skills. (My shop teacher used to say I had two speeds, stop and reverse) So, things stalled for a short bit.

The Curtis TV arrived and had burnt pixels so it got returned and a replacement shipped. The 2nd Curtis TV had damage to the TVs bezel (which would be thrown anyway, but I didn't want to buy a brand new damaged TV). Walmart offered a replacement for the 3rd go around and I took it! It is a TCL brand 46" LED backlit super thin TV. For those making the build and knowing what I know at this point I would suggest this set.
It is well reviewed, offers 1:1 pixel mapping, uses LED backlight so less heat is generated and when I looked at the two screens side by side, it is going to be much easier to work with this TV than the traditionally lit thicker LCD model. WITH bezel the thing is only 1.25" thick. If you are going top mount as I plan to do, this MAY allow you to get away with using standard siderails; a point which will become important later.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/TCL-The-Cr...P21TA/16115033

-----
With my cabinet plans still up in the air, I started calling around to the few pinball repair shops about (something I should have done earlier) to see if they had any shells about for sale. First call, I found a Judge Dredd widebody shell the guy was willing to part with for $125! He started asking "Do you want to buy this or not" after my 20 questions to make sure I was not taking a possible functional table out of service and he said a lot of the innards had already been parted out. Unfortunately he also said it was in "GREAT SHAPE", which I guess was in the eye of the beholder.

So now I had at least part of my cabinet plan decided. Unfortuantely a 32" TV just will not fit in a Williams widebody cabinet. So I went out searching for a 30" TV/monitor. These are nearly impossible to find. 30" is not a standard panel size any longer for TVs so you either look to older TVs or very pricey new (usually overkill 2560x1600) monitor. With my budget an older TV was the way to go. I settled on a Dell W3000.

http://www.dell.com/html/us/products...3000lcdtv.html

It is only 720p and has not arrived yet. I'll let you know how it looks when I get it. Why not just make a new backbox? Maybe someday, but please reference the earlier comment about my woodworking skills. Until then, I am playing MAME on a 32" display smile.png

Lastly for the DMD display. I selected a very low cost Coby 15.6" 720p TV. It’s not particularly well reviewed but looks quite acceptable for a DMD, and I think a smaller monitor will be easier to mount. This was available for $79 at my local BigLots.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...efinition.html

Interestingly, by picking 3 TVs if I choose I could run an antenna into the thing and watch all 3 games simultaneously...on my pinball machine smile.png

Next up…PC specs.

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(From July 2011...Early on evil thoughts!  :D )

 

Hmm, I'll try in blog questions. If it works great, if not I'll start them in their own threads.

Does VP have the capability of using an analog plunger? Do the hooks exist?

Spektre

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Well more research has found that support for an analog plunger is provided only through 1. table scripts and 2. not released VP builds at this point. I have gotten the source code to look at and will be contacting the developers to see if I can help on this.

 

EDIT 5/12/2013:  And with some help from Rascal and a few others, the code got updated even though I got thrown out of the development group :D

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Having seen a move in recent table to mounting the playfield recessed from the playfield glass, one of the next decisions Was where to mount the playfield, flushed or recessed.

This one was just a combination of personal preference and practicality.

When retrofitting and old case, I did not see an easy way to allow for a recessed playfield without cutting out the front or the back of the cabinet. Also looking at the build here, I think I prefer the look of the flush mounted screen.

So, unless some form of head tracking or other 3D advancement hits, mine is going to be flush mounted.

Spektre

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Some progress, some hurdles today.

Hurdle:

I received the Dell 30" I ordered of ebay.  Despite repeat back and forth email assurance that the unit functions fine, and has no dead or stuck pixels...it appears to have a video processor board prolem :(

The screen looks like this when an image is displayed from any source.

20dscf0206.th.jpg

Back it goes (shipping should be fun), and my search for an affordable 30" monitor continues.  Or I'll just break down and get someone to build a new backbox that will fit a 32" TV.

Some pics of the cabinet:

93dscf0210.th.jpg
79dscf0211.th.jpg

And of the 46" TV

60dscf0212.th.jpg

And of the 15" TV decased.

17dscf0213.th.jpg

Today's progress was removing the buttons and siderails.  The buttons were really locked on, so much so that I had to drill them out from the inside to get them off.   I used a heat gun and a flexible putty knife and took off the side rails.  Even moving slow and steady it did a number on the vinyl decal artwork.  I'd be very concerned about using this method to remove the siderails if I wanted to keep the original artwork.  Since it will all be coming off eventually I was not worried about it.

 

Spektre

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Today's update.

I got the 30" monitor decased and did some measurements.

The decased panel is 27-3/8" wide. The backbox from a Superpin cab is 27-1/4" inside dimension. Arrrrrrrgh.

Even if I get this TV to work, I'll have to route a bit off each side to make it fit.

If you have a Whiff of woodworking skills, a 32" compatible backbox would be much easier.

Spektre

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I decided on some ebay 3W RGB LEDs for the top of the backbox flashers. Hopefully they provide good brightness. The Cree's were too $$$ for me.

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From August 9, 2011

 

Big setback for me this week. The TCL TV is too wide for the Williams widebody cabinet. It's not by much but about an 1/8" on each side. The lockdown bar will not fit over it.

Budget might require this project go on hold for a bit while I build up funds for either another TV or another cabinet.

Spektre

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The plan was to do exactly as chris did in his first build and cut the top of the cabinet and set it on top. At this point it is a new TV or a new cabinet. I am thinking it will be cheaper to build up a new cabinet from scratch. Was really hoping to refurb this old cabinet, but its not going to work out.

I may have a Judge Dredd cabinet to sell soon.

Spektre

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Try #2

I have been getting some great advice here in the forums so I'm going to punt this one up to you as well.

The TCL TV I had selected is too wide decased to fit my cabinet. I have decided I really want to retrofit the old cabinet and thus I need to buy a new TV.

My Judge Dredd cabinet is 24.6875" wide which means the decased TV needs to be between 23.1875-24.6875". The decased TV must also be 13/16" or less deep to fit the stackup of foam/TV/foam/glass and hide it under the 1-1/4" siderails. This of course limits me to LED TVs

I have been doing a bit of research trying to find a new TV. Since decased specs are not published I have been using the TCL TV's outer dimensions as a guide. It was 1.9" deep and 27.8" high. This corresponded to 13/16" deep and 25" decased.

The Sharp monitors listed here are either difficult to obtain locally or are very expensive.

I have found two candidate monitors in the Toshiba 46SL417U and the Toshiba 46UL605U. The dimensions for these are 42.44"x25.87"x1.17" and 43.05"x22.63"x1.38" respectively. Both are similarly priced and spec'd. Both have 1:1 pixel mapping and a gaming mode. The 46UL605U is slightly older and slightly better reviewed.

The 46SL417U is slightly thinner, but niether is so thin as to guarantee uncased it will be < 13/16". The 25.87" for the 46SL417U does not guarantee it will decase to 23.1875"-24.6875, but it is smaller than the TCL TV which was only slightly too large.

Which bring me to a main question. The 46UL605U is listed as a 46" TV, with a height of only 22.63". This is far shorter than any other 46" TV I have seen, Sharp's included. A viewing area of 46" 16:9 display is 40.09"x22.55". This leaves only 0.08" (0.04" per top and bottom) for a metal case and plastic bezel. Does this even make sense? Seems to me one or the other must be wrong. Even if we assume this is one of the 45.9" screens this only gives 0.06" per top and bottom. There are none of these sets available locally for me to measure.

If the height dimension is correct, this set will actuall be too THIN to fit on top of a widebody cabinet. I don't think this is even possible for a 46" TV

So to recap:

1. Does it make sense that a metal case and a plastic bezel adds only 0.04" per top and bottom of the TV?

2. Does anyone have access to a 46UL605U to measure it?

3. Does anyone have any general experience with Toshiba LED sets?

4. Any other suggestions for a TV given the retrofit requirements above?

Thanks,

Spektre

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(User Weirdo chimed in)

 

"The 46SL417U's case is 5/8" thick, 25 3/4" tall, and 42 7/16" wide. Mine arrived Saturday. There's about 7/8" of bezel surrounding the top and sides and it stands right about 1/8" proud of the surface of the screen. The viewable area of the screen is 22 7/8" tall, so you're probably looking at no more than 24.625" tall and a half inch thick at the edges.

I haven't decided whether to decase it yet or not, or I'd just measure the panel itself for you."

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Hey, thanks a lot Weirdo! Well, I mean that in a nice way.

I ordered my Toshiba 46SL417U yesterday. Good to know someone else is trying this set out.

Without decasing it, if you set it on its side and view it from the angle you will view it playing pinball, how does the picture look?

The knock I have seen about this one is light leak in the corners (very common for edge lit LEDs) and a color shift when viewed off angle. The 2nd one is worrisome to me.

That's awesome about the case. All the literature says its a 1.17" thick case. At 5/8" or maybe even 1/2" at the edges, it will easily fit under the standard side rails.

Thanks again,

Spektre

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A prying fingernail and a "please don't snap" prayer was used here to decase the TV LOL.

 

There are two bottom brackets rivetted to the main frame of the TV which cannot be removed. My plan is to use a small cutting wheel on my dremel tool to cut them off. If not, I'll remember the grinder tip.

Poor warranty.

 

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Well after quite the vacation, a flurry of activity on the project.

Also, a couple questions.

1. Judge Dredd was the law, but he got repealed. I took off the old battered Judge Dread decal.

a.What are the best things to use to remove lingering adhesive?


b.What is best to prime these wood cabinets with to get them ready for a decal appliation.

2. Most of the old fixtures have been removed in preparation for painting, however there is one carriage bolt on each side with no nut, but rather a block of wood on the inside. Almost as if the bolt was glued on one side and then threaded onto the carriage bolt and affixed to the side of the cabinet. Much of the guts of this shell were removed before I got it so I don't know what used to be attached there. Any ideas and any ideas how to remove them?

Spektre

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Answers to the above questions were:

 

I used a combination of GooGone and acetone.

 

I primed it and used a flat black paint applied with a roller to the wood.

 

The bolt I drilled down and filled over.

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Been a while but I had the unusual syncing of health and something actually done to show.  Here is where we last left the project.

2w7onkz.jpg

The old decal had to go.

1z4eek2.jpg
2znmnir.jpg
28nwyg.jpg
2ilhun5.jpg

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Then it was time for the scariest part of the cabinet.  Cutting the perfectly straight lines to make the slots for the TV.  Many trials with a jigsaw would not cut anything remotely straight, even with a guide.  So the decision was made to cut a rough cut out away with the jigsaw and to make the final cut with a router and a guide.

2qkotgh.jpg
 

Last chance...how did it turn out?

4tx5ec.jpg

 

Nice perfect straight cut!!

 

Finally, all fitted into place the first time.

2nsyhjm.jpg

The backbox assembled and ready for painting.

330gqd2.jpg

Main cabinet filled and sanded.

sdeg7q.jpg

And finally painted (need to take one with the front finished)

sx137q.jpg

Next up, mounting the monitors in the now painted backbox!

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If I had to do it over again, I might have gone a different route. I had a strong desire to "save a cabinet" instead of building up from scratch.

With my current physical issues though (and lack of skills laugh.gif)
this project is kicking my butt.

Today I got the metals wirebrushed. The siderails came out really nicely, as I was FINALLY able to get off the adhesive from the underside of it.

The legs I don't think I really finished so well, but they were pretty rough. Hopefully the black crinkle pain will cover a multitude of sins.

The only part I did not get to was the lockdown bar. There are 4 welds underneath that show through plainly to the top. Not a show stopper but any ideas how to hide those?

Tomorrow will hopefully be crinkle painting of the legs and buffing and polishing of the other metals.

Spektre

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For those who have real pinball machines, how does the pinball mechanism mount to the cabinet?

There is a diamond pattern extended from the flush plate 3/4" with screw holes. If the flush plate is flush I owuld have to cut a roughy diamond shaped hole out of the cabinet. Then what do the screws mount to?

IN a real cabinet is there a metal plate?

My converted Judge Dredd, just had a fire button.

Spektre

 

EDIT 5/12/2013:  I had to buy the backing metal plate for the plunger.

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Haven't posted an update in a while.  Still plugging away.

Got the monitors mounted in the backbox.  (also got a heatsink/RGB LED/cap) sitting on top and I think they look sharp like this.

 

Also got one fo Zeb's LEDWiz booster boards.  (I have gotten it populated and need a new pic)


More pics including the much await analog plunger to come!
 

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May 30, 2012

 

Pretty stoked...

Got my analog plunger working well, and got the video uploaded.

Take a look!

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