Begun, the Pinball Wars have

Ho, ho, ho, now I have a CNC machine.

Yes, after years of using other people’s CNC machines I finally bought one of my own. A big one. A 4’x8′ ShopBot to be exact. Now I can build more of everything and hopefully even sell kits / cases in the future.

In other news, after a shaky truce The Pinball Wars have begun anew. Pinball upstart “The Longhorn Engineer” is attempting to have his machine done by the Midwest Gaming Classic in March. It is called “Reset Vector” and is based off all of the tropes in crappy hacker movies.

Also everyone’s favorite ex-Roller Derby girl / engineer Jeri Ellworth hasn’t given up on her custom pinball either. It’s called “As Seen on TV” and celebrates the world of cheesy infomercials.

For myself, I am planning at least 2 new machines. “Tesla VS Edison” and “Lost“. “Lost” is an unlicensed one-off that I’m doing for a friend, similar to Paxton, but “Tesla” is something I’m hoping to build 2-3 of and sell to interested buyers. If you’re interested please let me know.

Be sure to check out the latest episode of The Ben Heck Show for an exclusive tour of my shop and home, as well as other hi-jinks.

15 thoughts on “Begun, the Pinball Wars have”

  1. Tesla Vs. Edison sounds great. AC Vs. DC! The clash of the classical electrical engineering titans!

  2. Are you going to be able to finish them for MGC? It doesn’t seem like you would have enough time. I got to play Paxton pinball and I want to play them all. 😀

  3. Ben, the Lost game should keep changing the point system on the player, have tons of ball ramps that go absolutely nowhere, and when the game ends, you don’t actually get a high score and instead are swerved into thinking that you never wanted or needed one.

  4. Well, Mr Neil, I am thinking about excluding Season 6 from the Lost pinball entirely 🙂

    I am going to try and have something for MGC, but if not, Longhorn Engineer insists his “Reset Vector” will be done and he’ll be bringing it.

  5. Hey not sure if you are interested, but I have been working on my own homebrew for some time now (there was a house move inbetween work that set me back a bit). I actually posted a horribly produced youtube video of my work yesterday.

    Right now I have the computer in vb taking switch hits and firing the solenoids through a uhid board. Using P40NF10L Fets to do it. Self teaching (with a little help from friends here and there) all of the electronics has made my project slow. But it is coming along. Thought you might be interested that there is another home brewer out there. I haven’t even moved on to fabricating the playfield yet since I’m prototyping on an old playfield.

  6. This is great to see you got that great machine. Whit all the tutorials that are on the net in page like I really was thinking that you will end up building your own CNC instead buying one. But you really get one great machine.


  7. Cool, I can’t believe you managed to wait so many years before getting a CNC (at first I thought you’ll eventually build one, but hey… you seem quite busy already on other stuff).

    ¡Hope to see you on CNCZone!

  8. Kendall, it might be worth your looking into microcontrollers. Just for people who don’t know…

    Basically it’s an 8-bit CPU, a few hundred bytes, or a couple of K, RAM, interrupts, built-in timers you can set to whatever you want, and on-board EPROM or EEPROM that you program with a simple lead to a PC. Like a 1-chip 2600!

    They come as ICs with 8 to 40 pins. None of the pins are standard CPU pins, they’re all I/O. You can set the status of them in software easily. Then, some of the pins also connect to inbuilt A/D converters, serial ports, and other gubbins. All of these onboard peripherals can be turned on or off by the programmer, as needed.

    It’s like a simple 8-bit computer, with peripherals that are easily used or not used. If you understand machine code, they’re a breeze. Once programmed, you put them in your circuit and they do their job forever. Most of the computers in the world are microcontrollers. You might own a hundred, and never know!

    If you can’t get your head round machine code, there’s flowcode (a graphical flowchart-like thing), BASIC, C compilers, and other methods of writing code for them. The principles behind machine code aren’t complicated, once you get them, and it gives you a new understanding of how all computers work.

    It’s much more sturdy, stable, practical and obviously cheaper than using a PC, with something like VB giving a fairly high latency, with it’s gigabytes of OS etc, just to read a few switches and ping a few solenoids. There’s LOADS of interest in micros on the net. One called the Arduino is designed to be used by beginners, and insulates the programmer from the low-level stuff.

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