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Thread: Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Pinball

  1. #51
    Got the Playfield back from the great people at Austin Color Labs...
    Remember; this was direct printed onto the Playfield:

    Honestly; The PF looks awesome except they made an error and sprayed most of the PF white before laying down the color. I supplied the "white" file... but not sure what happened. The inserts are fine; just the shooter was suppose to be bare wood. They said if I wanted; I could sand it back down and they'd redo it. I think I'll just leave it as-is; I could nickpick the bare wood issue; but Its bright and growing one me.

    Also something's up with the red special insert (over planet)... somehow the paint didn't seem to work right over that insert. May try to use a water slide decal to "fix" it.

    I'll take some detailed shots with my Nikon SLR later... For now the PF is on the way to work tomorrow for a Maker Faire.

  2. #52
    Ok. Been working on the Playfield over the holiday break. Not making as much progress as I'd like... but here's some.

    First; I needed to tackle the Special insert.... basically; something went wrong at the printer and it didn't come out right:

    I took the graphic file back into Photoshop and trimmed a new copy up for printing on some white water slide decal paper. Some patience and water yields this corrected implementation:

    Much better.

    Some black sharpie on the trimmed edges and a couple coats of acylic clear and that area is ready for the 2part automotive clear coat.

    While I waited for some clear; warmer days for the clearcoat... A friend (Ken) and I went to Techshop to work on the PF rails. I didn't want to put yellow painted wood back on the PF... I wanted something which would tie the machine together. I measured the wood and created a CAD file with the exact measurements. The plan was to cut these parts out of 1/2inch 6061 aluminum. I sourced the Aluminum from a local supplier in 4ftx4inx0.5in dimensions. This DXF file was then sent to the waterjet machine at techshop which results in the following parts:

    If you want to watch the Waterjet in action cutting this piece; see Youtube:

    I wanted the tops of the rails to look like knife edges; but no so much that they would be a danger to anyone working on the machine (Read: Me). Ken helped me put the 45 degree angles on the aluminum using the Jet#1 manual milling machine. Once the rails were milled; I proceeded to drill and tap the appropriate holes in the bottom side of the rails. For the purposes of this test fit; I used #6-32 x 5/8" machine screws. The result:

    While I had the rails attached; time to test fit the apron and shooter gauge:

    No obvious issues during the test fit. Tomorrow I hope to put 4-6coats of clearcoat on the PF... if the weather holds.
    More later...

  3. #53
    Lots happening behind the curtains... but thought I'd take a break to update the worklog.

    ClearCoat is on the Playfield I put about 6 coats of clearcoat on the surface to ensure I didn't blow thru the clearcoat and destroy the art underneath. I waited about 24 hours before beginning the process of re-leveling the surface.

    You'll note that I still had some "orange peel" problems with the clear coat.

    I needed to remove the orange peel so I started by sanding with 220 grit orbital sander:

    Then the hand sanding began with 320:

    wet sand 500:

    NOTE: I wouldn't recommend wet sanding a traditional PF. I've had issues with the plywood swelling under the clearcoat. In this case; I used a spray bottle to wet the surface and then used the wet/dry sandpaper. I did this because the clearcoat under the art and the white under the art did an excellent job of sealing the wood around the cnced holes. The sprayed water just beaded on the surface.

    wet sand 800:

    At this point; with this era of machine... I might have stopped here for a "matte" finish; but this is "The Mirror Universe"... so maybe I should put a mirror shine on it.

    wet sand 1000 followed by 1500:

    Closer... but that still won't do.
    I'd done quite a bit of sanding... all within 24hrs of laying the final coats of clear; so I decided to wait another 24hrs for the "time to decal" interval on the paint can.
    So; stay tuned.

  4. #54
    So I waited at least a day; but in reality... I think other aspects of the project got in the way; so yesterday I got back to addressing the playfield shine - or lack there of. I chucked a buffing cloth into the cordless drill and proceeded to use rubbing compound on the clear coat:

    Then polishing compound:

    And two sessions of Carnauba Wax:

    Yeap; I think we'll call that a near mirror shine.

  5. #55
    I wait on fasteners and other supplies to arrive from Pinball Life, PBResource, and McMaster-Carr; so let's get back to the backbox. Time to put it back together with the tin and such. First; I assembled the Fan Controller which will be used to keep the new fans in check. This designed was a KISS re-implementation (keep it simple stupid) of the Fan Controller I designed for the Captain's Chair a few years ago. Here's the TAPR/NCLed schematics for those that are interested:

    PCBs assembled and tested:

    Some Standoffs and Installed:

    While I was monkeying around in the backbox; I needed to redo the cards which were deteriorating with age. Also; the cards were not Star Trek; but supersonic as that was the head used as a donor. So I scanned the cards into the computer and recreated the same font which a little "flair" for the Mirror Universe. I printed the cards on 110lbs card stock using my color Laser printer and trimmed them with a xacto blade. I kept the original OQA tag from the supersonic head as I thought it would serve as a reminder.

    Some closeup shots:

    With that update; I think we're done with the updates for the night.

  6. #56
    awesome work , just beautiful!

  7. #57
    Lots of work behind the scenes getting the gross-level assembly started on the PF. Basically; I went thru and assembled all the Turbo bummers; kickout; switches such from the bottom side. No real pictures of this due to the tedious work involved. Once I had the big parts on the bottom of the playfield it was time to start installing some lighting. As I stated earlier in the thread; I created some custom LED boards to replace the underside switched Lamps.

    An example of these switch lamps is as follow:

    This being the center Xk's ... an butt load of lamp sockets which I hate tending to on my Bally Star Trek. To this end; I created custom LED boards which would bolt to the underside of the PF and give me the needed light. Given these are LEDs; they should last a lifetime under normal use.

    I started by carefully laying the Blank PCBs I designed out on the backside of the PF, drilling 0.24 of an inch into the wood, then Tapping said hole with a #6-32 tap. When the holes were tapped; I screwed in a 1/4" nylon standoff which the PCA (Printed Circuit Assembly) would mount to:

    Once I had the standoffs in place; I went ahead and assembled the PCBs using the Skillet method and some soldering paste. Here's a majority of the pcbs in the skillet during reflow:

    Once I had the SMT components done; I hand soldered the thru hole components. Which the PCBs assembled; the rest of the switch lamp matrix is assembled:

    I ran out of 5 red LEDs and 5 white LEDs; so I need to order some more to complete the rollover switches and the lane indicators.
    More coming; stay tuned.

  8. #58
    Once I had the switched lamp matrix resolved; it was time to begin looking at the "inlane" mechanics - namely the ball eject mechanism and the shooter lane. Initially; I had hoped that I could just "flip" the inlane and ball trough parts with the left shooter. Turns out that it wasn't really possible. As a result; I'm currently importing the parts into CAD so they can be mirrored. The Plan is to cut the parts out on Techshop's WaterJet when it comes back online. Today was that day. I had to cut new eject brackets as well as the ball trough as mirrored images. I decided I wanted to cut all the pieces out of 16gauge stainless steel so I would never have to worry about rust on these parts.

    Here's the "flattened" brackets coming off the waterjet machine. Took about 20minutes of machine time to cut these badboys:

    Then I spent some time on Techshop's JET finger break bending the brackets into their correct orientation. Here's the final product vs the original brackets:

    Once I got home; I assembled the ball trough giving us this:

    I still have to assembled the eject solenoid and the eject bracket; need to order some parts from McMaster-carr to finish the eject assembly.

  9. #59
    If you recall; there was a interactive portion where I asked people to speculate on what this was...

    ...its now time to answer that question.

    With the Eject lane in position; I was now able to install the shooter lane. This item above was carved out of 18x4inches of 1/2inch thick aluminum. When assembled it becomes the inside "guide" of the ball lane. Nobody guessed it's function; but that's ok. Now you get to see it in all it's splender.

    The pieces make up my rendition of the "Terran Sword of Conquest" as correctly identified by SaminVA here and on Pinside. I carefully cut out the 3D pieces and assembled them into the sword. The sword is made up of the little nobby thing you club someone on the head with... the handle... the hilt... and the blade itself. Each one of these pieces are bolted together with two pieces of steel. One JBwelded in the the knobby thing with a set screw at the base of the handle.
    The second steel rod is jb-welded to the sword blade. A set screw fastens the hilt to the rod, and the rod to the handle. No; it proably wouldn't make a good sword this way; but it's really just an ordimental piece. With the sword assembled; it's time to bolt it in it's place on the PF:

    Now I think you guys can see why I went with a "bladed" side rail... the two complement each other quite well.

    Another angle with another surprise feature of the PF...

    Several months ago; I contacted Cliffy at and asked him to do a custom inlane switch protector for this project. He graciously agreed. For inlane switch; he cut me a custom Enterprise switch protector which I cnced a place for it making it "level" with the PF wood/clear.

    Here's the mandatory money shot for the kids at home:

    Starting to look like a Pinball machine now; isn't it?

  10. #60
    A couple of weeks ago; I did a pretty big order... part of which was those awesome new Aluminum Flipper bats:

    Today; I executed the strategy for these bats. First went ahead and powdercoated them black... then a second clearcoat powder with the metal flake seen on the apron. Once I had the bat powdercoated; I laser etched a jig on the tormac laser cutter at techshop. This etch allowed me to position the bats in such a way that they ready to get their treatment:

    The Bats go into the Laser cutter to get their dagger etches:

    I hear the audience screaming for a money shot... who am I to argue?

    And that concludes my weekend update for you guys... Next up I'm thinking it's time to start the wiring harnesses for the boards, switches, Etc. I wanted to get the LED boards in place so I can figure out how to route the harnesses under the PF. Not sure how long this will take... so bear with me.

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