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Thread: Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Pinball

  1. #41
    In between stenciling; I waited for the LED test boards to come on a slowboat from china... I received them early last week. In short; I wanted to do some insert testing with some LEDs to find the "optimal" LED current using my inserts from earlier in the build. I didn't want the inserts to blind the player... but I also wanted to make them look right. As a result; I used the following circuit to vary the current thru the LED:

    Basically the single 2n3904 transistor is operating in constant current mode; R2 is empty and the current is measured via the emitter resistor at R8. This particular board was designed to have two uses.
    1) Enable "current" test early on...
    2) Then after current is known; remove the active circuitry and simply populate the resistors R2 and R4.

    Three of these boards would be used to lite under the dual lane inserts. For the LEDs; I went with 0.5W LEDs from Kingbright. the AA3535 series. I went with high power so that I could keep the currents low but still get plenty of photons from the LEDs. This was recommended by a friend in the "know" and I really appreciate his advice.

    For the test boards; I went with smart prototypes out of china because they allowed me to order White silkscreen. The white silkscreen will help reflect and stray photons back toward the insert.

    Here's the board installed under the test playfield. It mounts with two wood screws; and allows the pots to be adjusted.

    Here's how the board looks from the top w/o the laser cut inserts:

    Here's what I think the inserts should look like during play:

    With this the measured currents were as follows:
    Neutral White: 36.1mA ~= 41.2ohm 1/4W at 5V supply
    Red: 24.07mA ~= 86.6ohm 1/4W at 5V supply

    Given these are 150mA peak current LEDs; I'm not operating them anywhere near their peak currents. It should help prolog the life and keep them running cool.

  2. #42
    I've been quietly working on the remaining cabinet stencils and should be ready to clearcoat the cabinet by next weekend. I'm thinking about going with some 2part DuPont™ ChromaClear® 2370S™ Flexible Matted if I can get it locally. Between stenciling sessions the house got struck by lightning about a week ago... so I've been digging out of the random bad electronics and such. One of which is my Color LaserJet which I need to finish the apron.

    Anyway; tonight after dinner I did a marathon session at Techshop... leaving just after 10pm. The main thing I did was put the "base" on for the Apron. Like the cabinet; I wanted it black with a holographic star field. So I did a base coat in black and followed it up with some clear powdercoat with the holographic flakes in it. Here's a closeup shot of the powdercoat:

    I'm planning on waterjetting the inlayed pieces out of some 22ga steel and then doing a heat transfer of the graphics onto those pieces. Here's a mockup of the overall look; if it works as I hope it will.

    A massive order of PCBs are on the way from Hong Kong ... so I expect to be working on various electronic boards... including the 5 Nixie Pinball displays over the next few weeks. More later.

  3. #43
    I've been busy the last few weeks on other tasks including some PCBs for the project. I submitted another set of 4 PCBs to the china fab house last night so was able to spend some time on the apron.

    Early last week I had a few minutes after work; so I went to Techshop and waterjetted some apron pieces out of some mild steel sourced from lowes. After cutting; I sandblasted them and This weekend I put them under some 220grit sandpaper to remove the coarseness added by the sandblasting. Once I had a smooth surface; I powdercoated them with some "Mirror chrome".

    A few months ago I sourced some "SinglePrint (tm) Multi Surface Laser "no weed" " paper from them during a sale. The idea here is that using a heat press; I'd be able to "bond" laser printed graphics to the powder coated surface. Then be able to apply the needed clear powder coat over the label to give it a single resilient surface.

    With the label printed using my color laser jet; I proceeded to bond the label to the substrate. I didn't have a heat press and I really didn't have the room for one anyway... so I thought I'd use a household iron. Once I received the paper; the included instructions said in italics "do not use a home iron".

    Then I remembered I had a hot laminator which I used in attempting to make homebrew PCBs using laser paper. The laminator claimed it did 300F max... and would apply some pressure; so I figured what the hell. worth a shot.

    I preheated the substrate in the toaster oven to 300F and then applied the mirrored SinglePrint to the it and ran it thru the laminator about a dozen times. When removing the paper; it hadn't bonded to the surface. Humm. However, it was in place so I ran it thru twice to re-flatten the paper to the substrate... at this point I had nothing to really lose; so I put the substrate+paper back in the toaster oven set to ~325F. I let it bake there for about 2minutes; then quickly transferred it to the at temp Laminator. Running it thru 3 times. The returned the combo back to the oven for another heat session. I did this for about 4 times then let it cool for about 30seconds before peeling the paper from the substrate.

    This time it was better; but not perfect.

    As you can see; some of the label stayed with the paper.
    I could "erase the label" and try again; but the label isn't really "solid enough" for my tastes. The toner is somewhat transparent which leads to muddled colors against the metallic background. It's probably be perfect on a white powercoated substrate.

    I may try to source some vinyl labels in order to get the look I think I want.
    Here's the other apron pieces positioned on the apron:

  4. #44
    trial and error ... still ... it will all come together and in the end, the results from all the effort will be most awesome

  5. #45
    Looks to be a busy weekend. I got my SMT assembles back from SteveC for the Nixie Tube displays... I've already assembled two full displays. They'll go into testing hopefully Saturday afternoon... and if functional; the remaining 7 will be built.

    Sneak peakAfter work today... this happened at

    I <3 me some CNCing.

    So yeah... me is happy:

  6. #46
    Today I had another 4hour block on the CNC machine at techshop... I finished up drilling the holes in the PF:

    I also flipped the PF and CNCed out the proximity slots on the underside of the PF:

    I have about 7 hours total in the PF including setup and actual CNC time.
    I cleaned the wood "fuzzies" from the top of the PF with a wire brush attachment on my dremel. There is currently Primer grey on the underside of the PF... trying to dry in this cold as$ texas night. Yes; I know your not suppose to paint below 50F... but I really don't have a lot of choice if I'm going to meet the TPF'14 deadline.

    Tomorrow I hope to begin inserting the inserts.

  7. #47
    I've been working on the PF; inserts are in. Glue is drying. Tomorrow I hope to complete sanding the inserts flat in prep of clear coat on the whitewood this weekend.

    Inbetween sessions in the cold garage; I've been working on the External speaker solution. A while back I asked for some suggestions and femto over at the Aussie Pinball forums suggested that I make the speakers look like the nacelles of the Enterprise. I liked that idea; but was unsure how to execute it. Well; that all came to a head a couple of weeks ago when I came across some older
    Altec Lansing FX2020 Expressionist
    speakers during the uptenth time I looked for a suitable speaker set. These speakers had the same basic shape as the warp nacelles so they be a good starting point. Once I had the speakers this past weekend; I upacked them and promptly voided the warranty by taking them apart. Once I had them apart; I hatched a plan to making them into warp nacelles. First; I was going to ditch the polycarbonate "stands" and replace it with a 3D printed "wrap" which I'd mock up in sketchup.

    Removing the 4 silver screws on the front allows the speaker grill to be removed; then you have access to the speaker and the 4 screw tubes/standoffs which sandwiches the polycarbonate stand between the sliver ring and the black body. I decided I wanted to sandwich the 3D printed "nacelle wrap" identically as the stand.

    Here's my 5th revision of the nacelle wrap:

    Here's a rear view showing the hollow center for the speaker tube... thereby still giving access to the rear panels.

    The wrap is about 4.5inches in diameter and about 5.9inchs long not including the spoke pattern guard.

    One of the tradeoffs I ended up doing was that I wanted a "speaker grill" rounded like the front of the nacelles. IE a semi-spherical shape. The problem was I wasn't sure I could find a suitable material to "bend" in the correct but exacting shape. As I result; I brought out the spoke patterns into a spherical speaker grill to give the nacelle shape. I'll proably print the body in grey and the nacelle spokes in black to give it a better indication.

    If anyone has the capability or know how to create an oval grill please let me know... I was thinking something like this:
    but have no ideal how to shape it easily.

  8. #48
    vacuum forming ?

    we have how to make a table listed in the Resource Database

    here you go (and I also fixed the link in the Database) ...
    Last edited by DB; 11-30-2013 at 06:34 AM.

  9. #49
    Over thanksgiving weekend; I worked extensively on the PF. I started by spraying backside of the PF with grey primer ... unsure why the older Bally PF had the grey paint on the backside... but I figured when in Rome; do as the romans do.

    Once the grey primer was dry; Sprayed the inside of the insert holes white; partly due to the Romans... partly due to the desire to have a clean looking insert. Here's the back of the PF trimmed up and sprayed.

    With the white dry; I began gluing in the inserts. Once I had the inserts glued inplace and dry; I took a 80 grit orbital sander to the whole PF to level the inserts and remove the white primer. Here's the PF at 80 grit:

    And again at 220grit:

    Then I proceeded to sand the inserts to 500 and 800 grit. At this point I considered the PF ready for ClearCoat. For this I used ChromaClear 2part 4:1 automotive clear. I put down one light coat and 3 medium coats. Heres the PF after clearcoat:

    I let the clearcoat cure for a little over 24 hours; then sanded it flat with 220grit orbital sander to remove the orange peel and give the inserts another flat process. The PF/inserts needs to be flat so the sign shop can print the insert circles and artwork without any gaps in the art.

    Here's the PF being back lit by shop lights:

    While I waited for the clear coat to arrive; I received the vinyl decals from Callie Graphics. I went ahead and installed them on the powder coated blanks:

    On Friday afternoon; I took the PF and artwork files to Austin Color Labs so they can put the artwork directly on the PF. I hope to hear from them by end of week with a printed PF. When the PF gets back from the printers; my plan it to put 4-6 coats of clear coat over the art then sand flat and polish to a shine.

    While I wait for the PF; I'll try to clear coat the decaled apron inserts... if we get a warm day in the near future. In the meantime I have PCBs to assemble; including the ATX PSU board.

  10. #50
    Unfortunately; My Stern Star Trek LE arrived late afternoon on Friday... It's been kinda hard to focus on the project when there NIB machine setting in the gameroom waiting to be played. None-the-less; I will attempt to make some progress on this project.

    I've been working all week on various PCB projects; soldering PCB assembles. The ATX -> 2815 PSU board is nearly complete; but I'm missing some fuse clips which should be in Monday I hope.

    While I waited on the Fuse clips; I went ahead and assembled my plan for the Nacelle Inserts I created and featured earlier in the worklog. I didn't want to just lite them with LEDs... I wanted them to be more active. I took my Bally Star Trek Flipper Button Mod
    and shrank it to fit within the insert dimensions using 603 chip LEDs.

    The result can be seen here:

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