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It's Time To Build A Homebrew.

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Been holding this one close to my chest but time to get some feedback on it I think. This mech is designed to increase the playfield's pitch as the game proceeds. The front of the playfield stays at it's set position and the back of the playfield elevates in increments as a means to increase the game's difficulty.


This mech is my biggest attempt yet to "make pinball great again". While pinball is great, we need to acknowledge unless new, younger players are drawn into playing, pinball is living on borrowed time. Up until now, you have had the choice, make the machine's playfield pitch to suit the learner or make it to suit the player. I believe this mechanism solves both needs offering both a benign angle at the start of the game that is more suited to the learner and less experienced player but as the player advances through the game, the playfield's pitch increases increasing the ball speed and naturally, the games difficulty.


The other benefit this mechanism offers for all players, a machine that constantly changes it's shot angles because as the pitch angle changes, this effects all the shots a player makes very discretely but still quite noticeable. This changing of the playing conditions as the game proceeds should keep the "player" quality player interested as it will extend the time before a player gets bored as the shots vary.


I'm thinking to exploit this feature to the max, levels are introduced. You start at level 1, ( level 1 being the lowest pitch angle), and through playing the game you complete tasks that result in the elevator rising to the next level. These levels are displayed so what level you get to becomes a game within a game.


The level also adjusts other features on the game such as playfield scoring, extra balls and specials. I'm thinking at set levels, playfield scoring increases, extra balls become available as well as specials awards. This is to encourage players to elevate the angle and through faster scoring, get to higher scores and the other rewards.


There is however a tradeoff I think is quite just. I'm intending on having a post between the flippers. This post is not a full sized post like used on machines like Bally's 6 Million Dollar Man or the small mini post. It is the size in between so while protecting the flipper gap, it won't stop the ball from exiting but go a long way to aiding learner pinball players. As the pitch level increases, this post disappears and doesn't come back.


Another part of the tradeoff is as the level increases, More "Gobble Holes" are exposed. As I'm a believer outlanes are an unfair way of loosing a ball, I'm reintroducing the Gobble hole feature. A gobble hole is way to loose the ball through a bad placed shot. If you stupidly place a shot at a gobble hole when it is exposed, you loose your ball. The ball travels from the gobble hole directly to the outhole and your ball is done.

Your bad shooting just cost you the ball, not luck of the draw like an outlane does.


The center post disappearing and more gobble holes being exposed as the playfield level increases are both methods I'm using to increase the difficulty of the machine as you proceed. I'm hoping these approaches will enable me to make a machine suitable and appealing to the leaner as well as the "player".


Well there's a bit there to digest. I hope I have explained it well enough for all to understand.


Now I'm REAL interested in hearing your feedback on this combination of features I think will be beneficial to pinball as a whole.


Feedback is what I'm after. Negative or positive but please explain why you think that way rather than just stupid idea or great ideas. Variations to the designs can be made and I'm guided by your feedback.


D.O.T.F..............Defender Of The Faith.


yeah I like the idea of the increasing playfield angle and could be done fairly easily with a reasonable linear actuator and the back of playfield could have some bearings allowing the playfield to rise up between 2 guides or to stop bearing jamming have a mechanical scissor mech like a V laying on it's side where the top points of a V anchor to the corners of the base of the cabinet and then the outer corners of the playfield and then the tip of the V faces the front of the cabinet and then hook up the linear actuator to this and when activate the V wants to flatten out.


the gobble holes is also a cool idea and could have like a trap door that folds down to allow the ball to drop down and into a subway - coil to close and servo to release

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I would like to play a pinball game where you can link two machines or more via direct link or over the net.

If you can then complete a task and it opened more gobble holes that would be great. Like a Tetris Vs battle style vibe. Not sure of this type of thing has been done before in pinball?


Sent from my AGM A8 using Tapatalk

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I think this idea is original and sounds great in theory. It the gobble holes are not always there I think it will work a treat!


Sent from my AGM A8 using Tapatalk


I thought the lowest level should have the between the flipper post up and the gobble holes blocked making it ridiculously hard to loose the ball. This is to aid the first time player. As for when and how many gobble holes open up, that would be determined by the game times. I was thinking 10 levels of elevation in total but only the best of the best would ever get to level 10 over the game.

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yeah I like the idea of the increasing playfield angle and could be done fairly easily with a reasonable linear actuator and the back of playfield could have some bearings allowing the playfield to rise up between 2 guides or to stop bearing jamming have a mechanical scissor mech like a V laying on it's side where the top points of a V anchor to the corners of the base of the cabinet and then the outer corners of the playfield and then the tip of the V faces the front of the cabinet and then hook up the linear actuator to this and when activate the V wants to flatten out.


Linear actuator mounted upright to the back wall of the cabinet was my thoughts. Steel ball at the top of the linear rod and a plate of metal with a cup shape pressed in it attached to the back of the playfield that sits over the ball. Front of playfield pivots on the existing hangers. No mechanical connection so it doesn't hinder working on the machine. (Simple and easy)

Could also be fitted to just about any existing pinball.


the gobble holes is also a cool idea and could have like a trap door that folds down to allow the ball to drop down and into a subway -


My thoughts on the gobble holes are no holes that suddenly appear in the playfield and the roll of the ball can loose your ball but more holes that appear in lanes you can only go up from flipper shots so only your misplaced shots the gobble hole/ holes takes. Especially for these that like to trap the ball and aim there shots, every couple of levels is a "Boss" mode level. That whole "boss" level has the flippers only working once per flipper button push so no trapping till that level has been passed so any player is capable of the occasional misplaced shot no matter how good you are.


coil to close and servo to release


Why not take advantage of the playfield raising as a means to raise and lower gobble hole blocks and posts?


No electronics or drives required to operate them that way. Spring and lever can do it.


Thanks for the feedback. All going to a good cause.

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Playfield Elevator Mechanism. Great Idea. How To Use It?.


It amazes me this stupidly simple idea has never been done before. Cost wise, about as much as a shaker motor but rather than just shake the machine which I guess is cool, the playfield elevator mechanism offers so much more.

Increasing the playfield's pitch during play adjusts the play, speed of the ball and the difficulty, any pinball.


My honest opinion, I would be very surprised if this idea isn't taken up by all the pinball companies using it in some form or another. Might take a bit of time allowing for Patents to be filed so they can claim it as there own before any opposition can do exactly that themselves but in time, I think the playfield elevator mechanism will be mainstream much like multiball is these days.


I may be slightly biased in this assumption but there are so many ways this can be used on pinball from...

*The Holy Grail of all pinball design, a way to make one machine appealing to all level players from learner to expert.


*A novel feature to keep the player interested as the play is constantly changing as the ball gets faster as the pitch of the playfield rises through the game.


*A feature driven mechanism that increases rewards as the player completes more tasks and the playfield becomes faster.


*A mechanism that allows a player to set the level he is comfortable with for his or her skill level at the start of the game. Basically, dial your own difficulty.


I think the feature driven mechanism is most suitable for my needs and I think it exploits the whole idea to the max. It gives an incentive to jack the level up to expose higher scoring but it starts every player at the lowest level and only the best players will ever get to the top level of elevation. (Remember, I don't need to stop the playfield pitch at any set level. 7-7.5 degrees could be moderate. Let's set max at say 10-12 degrees playfield pitch angle).;)


Like I said, the intention is only the best get to that level and that in itself is good bragging rights much like grand champion is and probably worthy of being able to put your name in for all to see.


Anyway, enough of the sales pitch.


I need to find a way to have the machine detect what level the playfield is at so it can return the angle back to what it was when that player played his ball prior during multplayer games.

1st ball has everyone starting at the lowest level but once the game starts in multiplayer games, every player may advance the pitch at different times during the game. How the hell can I get the mechanism to return to that pitch angle that player was up to when it is his ball again?.


There are multiple ways to detect how high the playfield is from a potenciometer to individual switches to name a few but what I need is how to store this information so the machine can call upon this and set the playfield level accordingly when that player plays his next ball?.


I have my own ideas how to achieve this but am too old and wise to think I know best and would love to hear some suggestions.

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Great idea Steve but with the extra steepness come a faster ball & a faster ball is havoc for the plastic bits. I remember reading somewhere a manufacturers warning of exceeding their maximum limit of 6.5 degrees & the consequences you could expect.
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  • 1 month later...

Vector Flippers And Vari- Ball


Always loved the Bally Zipper Flippers and the Gottlieb Vari-Target. Both outstanding ideas I think but thought I would put a slight variation to them. Actually, I don't think either of my ideas are anything like the originals but thanks to these two mechs, it got me thinking how I could take them to the next level.


The Vector Flippers have nothing to do with Bally's Vector but more the altered vector the flippers can fire the ball in the two different positions. Thus the name, Vector Flippers.

Not real sure how to use these things yet. Was thinking maybe on a small playfield where you hit drop targets from a flipper's normal position and then that flipper drops to the other position and you need to hit a target behind the other flipper that is still in it's normal position to complete a sequence?

Maybe have four flipper buttons and the upper two buttons control that flipper's vector position?. Would be a fine way to use the extra real estate on a wide body's lower playfield areas.

Like I say, not real sure how to take full advantage of this mech yet. Maybe tie both flippers together but I like the idea of leaving them as individuals.

Pretty simple to make. A bearing sits tightly on the flipper mech nylon bushing. The bearing is mounted to the playfield on a retaining plate. This allows the top of the flipper mech to spin but still remain centered and the back of the mech is attached to a slide. I'll do a better job of the slide than Bally did. I always thought there mech had to much slop in it.

Here's a basic picture showing what the vector flippers would be actually doing. It shows the flippers in the normal position at the top and the other position they would go to at the bottom. Because the rest position and the hold position changes, the vector the flipper develops it's power also varies. The stroke of the flipper does not increase. just the hold up position and the rest position of the flipper changes....


The Vari-Ball mech is a combination of a Vari-Target's features and a captive ball. The difference is the captive ball hangs on a stiff wire so when it is hit, it swings in an arc. The harder and more direct the hanging ball is hit by the playfield ball, the higher the hanging ball swings in the arc. The arc the ball swings in also detects how high the ball swings. I'm actually thinking a potenciometer that turns more the higher the swinging ball is hit. The output of the pot goes to a voltage level detecting IC that drives different outputs from the chip. These outputs are connected to different values and scores different values like a Vari-Target does. It just does it electronically.


Again, a basic picture showing what I'm thinking showing the Vari-Ball's arc....




Comments are welcome. Feedback only improves an idea I think and I'm an old bastard so have thick skin. :lol

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