The goal of this pinball project was to combine both practical Arduino development and various fabrication methods including wood working, laser cutting, and soldering/circuit design. The final product features two 3D printed flippers, ball-launching mechanism, digital sensors for score, an LED scoreboard, and arcade buttons for playing the game.
Arduino development and more by project partner Gregorio Figuroa
For this final project, we wanted to make something using an existing interaction that we enjoyed and could improve upon, or at least learn a lot from trying to replicate. Thus we decided to create a pinball machine. While pinball machines have roots back to the 1800s, modern pinball machines are feats of game design with hundreds of LEDs, dozens of sensors, and a menagerie of motors from solenoids to servos. While we couldn’t make something of that scale in a few weeks. we could try and complete the basic functions of a pinball machine while trying to design a game that was fun to play!
For our project, we incorporated two force sensitive sensors to give the player points when they hit them, and two rubber-band obstacles placed in areas where the ball commonly went so as to incorporate some unpredictability into the game. Our enclosure is made out of basswood and walnut, and uses traditional arcade buttons for the player to interact with the flippers. The game can also be reset by one of the buttons, allowing a new player to take over.
If you would like to read more about the process, check out my blog post!
The initial prototype we created was not very polished but it implemented the key ideas we wanted to get right. 3D printing the flippers was a challenge, having to re-start a few times to get the right size and without errors. While making this prototype we found that designing the play area would be a key challenge to ensuring that the game was not just playable but also fun.
I am always happy to chat about your game or project, and am open to providing feedback for resumes and cover letters! Please reach out on Twitter, you can find me @Mossflwer
Bachelors of Creative Technology and Design
University of Colorado Boulder - May 2021
Honors: Cum laude
Associates of General Studies
Pikes Peak Community College - May 2017