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    element14's The Ben Heck Show

    Join the Ben Heck team every week for amazing hacks! Watch them build and mod community-inspired projects using electronics!

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    Mini Pinball Kit
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    In this episode, Ben designs and cuts the plywood enclosure for the mini pinball machine.  It’s all tabbed together with screws and nuts. The playfield opens up to access the board.  The bottom of the unit is also opened up for easy access to IO from the bottom of the unit. 



    A few months ago they built the flipper ball loading mechanism along with some buttons.  Ben’s torn it up because he wants to see how it interfaces with a paper pattern, representing the shape of the new machine, that's been cut to full size. In this case, it's faster to do something with foam core and physically put it together than it is to draw everything on the computer and figure out if things are intersecting.  It’s also cheap and quick to mock-up the design with foam core. After fitting it together, they can figure out placement of the flipper buttons.  Once he knows it works with the form core he’ll move onto the more expensive six millimeter plywood.

    Ben gets to work designing in illustrator and continues assembling the pinball kit using the foam core. He’ll also design a board mount.  They want to line up their board so that the display is centered.  He does a few more tests with the foam core before cutting the more expensive wood. As the cabinet takes shape, an interference between the wood joints and ports on the board emerges that would cause the structure being unstable. Ben goes over some options with Felix.  Another consideration for placement of the board is how difficult it would be to access all the plugs for input and output.

    There at the point where its time to redesign the circuit board, print it out, draw that into their design, and then finalize or prototype the rear panel and both of the bezels. Modifying the PCB hasn’t been too complicated so far. Ben goes over all the changes that were made to the circuit board. He moved the LCD half an inch up, left the Arduino where it was, he moved the Teensy about .7 inches to the right, then he moved the power switch and the power plug to the right, and extended the circuit board to the right to accommodate them and the Teensy. Now that he’s got the PCB figured out physically, Ben completes the rest of the case and assembles it. After adding the bezel, he puts in the pieces that hold the playfield together. This will show him how the playfield fits in relation to the bezel and they can put in the back along with the faux circuit board.  The bottom of the pinball machine is open for easy access to input and output.

    What do you think of the project so far? 

    Do you like the PCB?  What about the wooden case?

    Let us know in the comments below!