I remember the days, when I was playing with my father, Pinball Fantasies on my Amiga 500. That was long time ago (early 90's) and since those days I became a big fan of pinball machines and I always wanted one...
I started looking for pinball machine to buy. While browsing the internet I have found some intresting projects of...virtual pinball machines! And that was it, I started to gather knowledge, how to build it, configure, install tables etc. In this short article I want to share with you, step by step, how to build your own virtual pinball cab.
Lets start from the parts list, we'll need:
- Material to build cabinet. You can use chipboard or plywood. I recommend chipboard as it's available in various colors, so there's no need to paint. Total price with CNC cutting ~100EUR. Cad files with project, can be found in this article.
- Arcade controller ~10EUR
- Arcade buttons - 10 pcs. - ~30EUR
- Backglass 21' 4:3 monitor (used) ~40EUR
- Playfield 32' FullHD TV (used) ~200EUR
- Plexiglass playfield and backglass cover ~40EUR
- Real pinball trolley ~20EUR
- Stickers ~30EUR
- RGB leds + controller ~25EUR
- Real knockers (used) + 5V relay ~25EUR
- PC mainboard with 4GB RDDR3 AM and Core i3 processor (used) ~160EUR
- GTX 660 Ti NVidia graphic card or similar (used) ~80EUR
- 120GB SSD HDD ~70EUR
- Stereo amplifier with speakers ~25EUR
- PSU ~15EUR
- t-molding in chosen color ~10EUR
- Pinball legs ~30EUR
- Other components, e.g. cables, some slats, screws ~30EUR
- Some time and skills to combine the parts, configure PinballX frontend etc- priceless;) But it's worth!
Total cost: ~940EUR
Of course you can use cheaper parts, like e.g. slower processor, cheaper graphic card and HD Ready TV for playfield. You'll save ~200EUR, but it's not recommended because of a great loss of experience (Future Pinball is very demanding on performance).
First step is to combine all the chipboard parts together. The very important here is t o have all the holes for screws and wooden pegs very precisely drilled. To achieve this I recommend to print the project in 1:1 scale, put it on chipboard, and then drill the required connection holes.
Once drilled we can insert wooden pegs in place and start assembling chiboard parts together.
...holes to mount pinball legs
After cabinet is assembled, now it's time to put interiors...here you can see white 6mm pcv on which mainboard and some other parts will be placed.
...arcade controller + power button
Now it's tricky part. I've decided to put plunger from the real pinball machine:) Here's the idea...
To add some feedback experience, I've also added real knockers. To do that I've to used 12V arduino relay with 3-5V trigger and connected it to the flipper buttons.
Time to fit playfield and add speakers...
Almost there. Time to mount plexiglass playfield cover. To do that I have used aluminium slats.
Some virtual pinball machine pictures with sticers in place.
To build a virtual pinball machine it takes a lot of time. But once finished it gives a lot of fun. If you like pinball machines for sure it's worth of doing it.
Future Pinball tables:
Some tips & tricks:
- Do not hurry:)
- There are many similar tutorials on youtube, e.g. Build your own Virtual Pinball Cabinet - 42"/DMD/Backbox, watch them all and find your own way doing that.
- After many research I recommend to use PinballX as a frontend. You can use Hyperpin as well, but in my opinion it's not that stable and easy to configure.
- You can find lots of free Future Pinball and Visuall Pinball tables on http://pinsimdb.org/ and http://vpuniverse.com/.
- Use Future Pinball with BAM (Better Arcade Mode) add-on. It gives a lot of configuration options for best playing experience. E.g. camera point of view and head tracking.
- If you want to add head tracking to your virtual pinball I recommend to use PS3 Eye camera with removed infrared filter, together with Track IR - lots of tutorials on youtube.
At the end I want to thank to my girlfriend Paulina for her understanding and patience:) Hopefully someone gets inspired by this article to build his own virtual pinball machine.