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Monster United EM Bowling Machine 1962

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  • Monster United EM Bowling Machine 1962

    Well here’s one that might interest a few people as we don’t see many of these in Australia. This is a 16ft (4.9m), 750lbs (340kg) monster EM bowling game. Manufactured in 1962 by United. United was bought out by Williams in 1964 and Williams moved to the United premises in Chicago and still make slot machines there to this day.

    The machine is a United Capri. Flyer and pics from Clays site can be see here.

    This is a 6 player EM that comes in 4 separate sections. I was lucky enough to score this machine as a project from some arcade machines, jukeboxes and pins that Retropin scored as a bulk lot.

    I plan to restore this machine over the next couple of months, my goal is to have it ready for a meet we are planning loosely for July (if all goes to plan a special kiwi feast is planned!).

    Anyway, here are the initial pics. The condition of the machine is as follows:

    Backglasses – both 9/10 – here is the upper backglass, there are a couple of spots that I plan to fix up with some photoshopping.

    Here is the lower backglass. This has one spot that will need a little touch up as well.

    The lane itself is a laminate and is in very dirty but good condition. There is one chipped area that I plan to touch up with some 2 part coloured epoxy. The chip could be left alone as it doesn’t affect gameplay but I plan to give this one the ‘works’ so will try and repair it fully.

    The frame is solid oak and makes up a lot of the 340kg. It has nearly 50 years of scrapes and scratches but I have a feeling that with a light sanding and treatment that it will look fantastic. It is furniture grade timber and will come up really nice.

    The pin unit is not in good condition. The way these things work is that each pin is on a solenoid that retracts the pin when a lane switch is activated by the ball. The switches can be seen here:

    The switches are just in front of the pins so the ball looks like it is hitting the pins but it is a bit of an optical illusion from 16ft away. There are a few broken switches (2 are missing altogether). The pins themselves will need a bit of work (dirty and a some a bit misshapen and cracked). All swing up mechanisms will need rebuilding.

    The pin uplift mechanisms and coils, some not working, bent housings, gummed up actions.

    There is a pin reset motor where the windings have broken. The cam is badly worn and this will require a major rebuild. Many of the pin coils poorly adjusted/bent (don’t know how many of the coils themselves are ok yet). Some broken leaf switches.

    The hood unit (home of the lower backglass) is pretty simple in comparison. This is basically just a light board. The cool thing about this is that just like in real bowling it lights which pins are still standing after your bowl.

    The coin unit is in fair condition. No key of course so it will need to be drilled out. There may be more surprises inside.

    The ball return unit. After your bowl the ball it finds it’s way onto an elevator that takes it to the top of the rear unit and allows it to roll down a ramp which returns it to the front of the machine (VERY cool!). The elevator unit will need a rebuild and re-lube. Note the copper tubes which allows the ops to oil the motor bearings (I’m already stressing about what condition they will be in when I open that up).

    Silent ball return rubber. The photos look worse than it really is. A heat gun and some care will most likely get it back to working condition but you can also buy replacement rubber which I’ll probably do just to get it looking shmick.

    The main backbox. Basically the rear of the machine is the brain. It could be loosely described as a 6 player EM pinball in terms of logic but anyone that has seen the backbox of a 4 player EM pin will know just how much gear lives in there. The score reels, the score motor and the pin count units. There are 4 motors and 102 coils in here. I’m pleased to report that it looks super clean. Contacts will need adjusting and cleaning and counters and motors will need rebuilding but at least there is not a layer of the usual filth and black dust!

    All in all there are 102 coils and 4 motors and about 40 switches that drive this unit. It runs on 117 volt US power so will need to be driven off a step down transformer for the time being. It pulls 3.5 amps @ 117v. There are 2 transformer taps @ 50v and 6v but a couple of things like the elevator motor run on 117 raw.

    The really great thing about it is the dusty crud covered envelope with rusty fasteners that was in the back. It had the full schematics and coil and motor specs. The schematics fold out to be about 1m by 3m and I’m sure they get a fair bit of use in the next few months. Anyway, I’ll update the thread with progress as I go along. Thanks to DavidAVD who happened to appear as I was moving it into the gamesroom, hope you recover soon...
    Last edited by stuba; 30th March 2009, 08:17 PM.

  • #2
    What a beast Stu I can't wait to play it


    • #3
      Wow that head box reminds me of the 1950's lift motor room at work

      The wood work will come up a treat!
      "Beer, it does a belly good!"

      Wanted: Pacman Cab Next Project: Skinny MAME Cab for Samfoot, thread soon, no really. I might even do one on my Pole Position cab!


      • #4
        Excellent score! Condition looks great for it's age and complete.
        EM paradise
        EM score motors wanted: nonworking or working
        Sega Sub Roc 3D periscope mech. needed except motors.
        Wanted, Mitsubishi 60" RP (vs 6041) complete TV gun assembly. (R Proj TV/monitors and parts taken away).
        Take Five pinball machine PCB wanted.


        • #5
          WOW....That is a great score.....good luck with all those switches,looks like a bloody bingo wonders it heavy.
          Looks like it will look great setup..well done on picking that up.
          Spooky Pinball Australia

          Newcastle the Home of Pinball


          • #6
            WOW cool machine

            must be very rare in AU


            • #7
              Absolutely beautiful. Been fascinated by these ever since I saw a picture of one years ago.

              Very few around, great score. Look forward to seeing how you progress.

              PS Don't freak too much about those bearings - they will most likely just be sintered bronze sleeves so will clean up easily.

              Would love to play one - and if I owned one would probably spend most of my time "under the bonnet" just fiddling and watching how it works...



              • #8
                An exciting Restore, look forward to updates. I've always wanted one of these but unfortunately room factor will see me without one


                • #9
                  Great score will follow your progress closely..



                  • #10
                    Awesome looking machine Stu , should clean up a treat


                    • #11
                      Love the woodwork and the sheer size of it--whoever said bigger is better is spot-on


                      • #12
                        thanks for the postive comments guys. i hvae fallen in love with this thing, it will be the centre piece of my games room when done.

                        stage 1 complete. logic dictated that i should start with the playfield switch deck. it had a couple of missing and broken switches and most were rusted and non functioning.

                        here's a pic of a particularly bad section:

                        you can see below a broken switch and whats left of the gutter ball switch on the far left. the other gutterball switch is missing altogether..

                        here are the newly manufactured switches:

                        any farm boy knows that there's not much that can't be fixed with no 8 fencing wire. only prob is that whilst its the right guage it does lack the tensile strength of the 1962 stuff. i don't think it will matter though for this use.

                        i removed every switch and cleaned off the rust, re-installed and then tested every switch with a multi meter, many needed some fine sanding of the contacts but pleased to report that they are all working reliably now. it should make diagnosing the backbox possible now. The original metal switches are black and my replacements are silver so i put black heatshrink on them - don't know how well that will last but we'll see. here's the finished deck before i re-installed it:

                        if your eyes are good you'll spot the gutter ball switches. I don't know the optimum length of these as i do not have any balls to test with (they are enroute from the US) I expect that i will be able to cut them back a bit when i can test them properly.

                        one comment I'll make is that American manufacturing in the 60's was amazing. this thing is beautifully built at every level. something like this will look just as good in 50 years time and be just as functional. i sound like an old fart when i say they don't make em like they used to. todays shit that only lasts for the life of the warranty is a long way from this.

                        I drilled the coin unit lock, no surprises, just an empty coin box. I'm going to have to rig a credit button but obvioulsy don't want it visible.mmmmnnnn.


                        • #13
                          What a beauty..!


                          • #14
                            I'm super jealous of such a showpiece, although still not as much as your asteroids. *sob*
                            My Projects


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dmworking247 View Post
                              I'm super jealous of such a showpiece, although still not as much as your asteroids. *sob*
                              well you know you are always welcome for a game dale the asteroids is not working and requires a full rebuild and possibly a new monitor. still a great score but not without some pain before the gain..


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