I’ve been enjoying the split screen goodness of Visual Pinball and PinMame just lately so I’ve decided to make myself a small pinball case and some proper flipper buttons. Before I go ahead and start cutting wood I thought’d I take a few measurements and get a few ideas by making a cardboard mockup…sorta!
Having a dig around at work at the pile of used cardboard and I found this old shelf box…does this not scream pinball table or what!
It’s just the right size for my TV and the slant means that I won’t have to attack it too much with the scissors. Now for another box that will house my Netbook and act as the backbox score display.
My Netbook will also run the pinball emulators and use the secondary VGA port to expand my desktop to the TV screen
This one should do nicely…held together with the strongest tape I could find.
Test fitting with my Netbook. The finished case might have to be slightly bigger back box to allow room for the VGA cable sticking out the right hand side. I’ll aim to create a front bezel to hide this and the other cables etc.
My favourite bit next, the arcade buttons. Only a few required for n a pinball table – namely left/right flipper buttons but I’ll be adding a coin and launch button.
I’m using standard Happs arcade buttons and some of those really noisy micro switches left over from when I swapped them out of my iCade <see previous blog post http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/icade-with-leaf-switch-arcade-buttons/
Going forward I’m aiming to have a spring loaded piece of dowel that will, when pulled back and released, touch an internally fitted arcade button l configured as the ‘ball’ button in Visual Pinball. With any luck, this should sorta emulate the ball launcher on a real Pinball table.
IPAC boards are very cheap these days so I’ve now got a few extra for a number of planned projects.
Micro switches connected to the IPAC wiring loom. The coloured wires are for the positive terminals and the black wires are daisy chained as ground. It looks a little messy in there but a few well placed tie-wraps should sort that out later.
Mapping the controls using a utility called WinIPAC. All I need to do now is map the same keys in Visual Pinball e.g so that the button on the left (mapped to key ‘Z’) is mapped at key ‘Z’ in Visual Pinball for the left flipper button.
I’ve added a couple of cardboard support boxes inside the table box to elevate the TV screen. One slightly taller than the other so that it’s titled like a Pinball table.
It seems to fit pretty o.k. Both screens need a bezel though!
I like to build these cardboard mocks ups as it can often highlight some of the problems I’ll need to address when building the wood version. For example, I need to think a little more about the route and connection points for the VGA, IPAC and mains cables. Also I’ve found that my Netbook speakers are not particularly loud enough when in the back box so i’ll be fitting a cheap set of USB external speakers…somewhere!
Using my previous Visual Pinball set up, I’ve downloaded a couple more FS tables from VPforum including Breakup and Monster Mash.
The viewing angle on my cheap TV screen is pretty poor. It’s o.k when you’re actually playing it but from any other angle, the table details become unclear.
Here’s a video of it in action.