Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Pinball

A custom / unique pinball machine. This is a 1978 Bally Star Trek table “mirrored” and re-worked into a Star Trek Mirror Universe Theme.

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For the last couple of years; I’ve been wanting to do a custom / unique pinball table. This is the first revision of a Bally Star Trek table from 1978 “mirrored” and re-worked into a Star Trek Mirror Universe pinball table.

Re-theme of a 1978 Bally Star Trek pinball machine based on the TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror" in which Kirk's Away team has a transporter accident and is re-materialized in an Parallel Universe where the Terran Empire rules the much of the galaxy with an iron fist. The Pinball table was CNCed from Birch Plywood and features custom artwork in the sprit of this Classic episode. The Backbox features Open Sourced 7 digit Nixie Tube Displays which the Author reverse engineered and design specific for this project. To debug the Electronics in this project; the Author designed an Arduino compatible Audio tester to verify the Audio card design. This Design is also Open Source for fellow PinHeads. Table required custom wood CNC inserts; laser cut plastic inserts, and several Playfield toys including a CNCed sword for the shooter lane. Much of the CNC work was done at Physical rollover switches were designed out of the Playfield design replaced with magnetic eddy sensors to sense the ball. An ATX powersupply was used in place of the Bally Transformer. All voltages except the 50V solenoid voltage is supplied from the ATX power supply. Custom Art packages were created in Photoshop by the owner and features Custom Table Art, a custom backglass, and custom plastics for the table.

This Machine was made possible under fair use of copyright law. Because Star Trek is copy-written by Paramount, the Art package cannot be made available for reproduction so please don't ask for it.

  • Texas Pinball Fesitival - Money Shots

    zittware04/09/2014 at 05:50 0 comments

    Here are some money shots of the machine running at Texas Pinball festival on March 27-30, 2014: Steve Richie playing the machine:Here's a picture of the game being played at TPF'14:

    Closeup of the nixie tube display:

    ShawnC snapped a few pictures from TPF and posted them to FB with me tagged; Passing them along:

    Are you going to the Austin Mini-Maker Faire on May 3rd, 2014? If so look me up; the Mirror Universe Pin will be present at that festival.

  • Finishing Touches

    zittware04/09/2014 at 05:41 0 comments

    3/13/2014: Been spending the last few nights chasing the bugs out of the system. Got the MPU board to boot, but goes straight into diag mode instead of attract mode.
    Had a Solenoid board with a bad 'LS154 decoder. The ChipSelect pin was shorted to ground; causing the coils to fire every time the soundboard was accessed. It was pretty funny to hear the star trek theme being beat out by coils on the PF.

    Tonight I worked on some of the lamps and began reassembly of the coin door.

    Since that's all I have to report; let's take a step back in time and continue updates from this past weekend.

    The Plastics were installed given the ball guides were completed. One of the pet peeve areas of the original Bally is the darkness of the Enterprise plastic behind the drop targets. Given the entire machine is planned to be LED for it's entire life; I don't have to worry about lamp heat melting the posts. So; drilled a hole between the two posts:
    I promptly voided the warranty of one of Comet Pinball's LEDs by removing the Bayonet Base and collar... then soldered a Green and Orange GI wire to the diodes.I saved the 30ohm current limit resistor from the base and soldered inline under the PF:Connecting the wires to the base of a GI lamp socket nearby.

    The result:3/15/2014: Today was a good day... in short; Star Trek: The Mirror Universe LIVES.

    A design short-sight with the MOSFET LAMP board I designed rendered the LED switched inserts too dim. Basically; I had forgotten that the MPU scans each LAMP in sequence which in effect cause the LEDs to be on for only a short period of time. I can't fix the design (will require a board spin at a minimum) in time for TPF; so I had to go back to the original lamp board... along with shoehorn in a 6.3V Switch GI transformer from radioshack.

    ShertzPinball loaned me a untested Lamp board which I debugged and was able to get the lamps functioning well enough for TPF.  Thanks Jason!
    All but one lamp is working... the outlier is the 10K bonus section on the primary hull of the ISS Enterprise. I'm planning on further debug after I get it buttoned together. I suspect a bad SCR; but will have to test.

    MPU was going straight into Diagnostics... or resetting after the machine entered Attract mode. given it was going into Diag / test mode was a clue... turns out that the 6821 PIA at U10 had pin 40 bent under the package instead of into the socket. This caused the flakiness.

    All solenoids are firing under test; ball ejects into the shooter lane.
    All switches adjusted so switch test passes. Original soundcard passes tone test.
    Proximity sensors tested and verified working.

    3 of 5 displays are installed in Pl1,2, and the credit window. All pass the diagnostic digit count.

    Coin door reassembled and attached to cabinet. Lockdown bar hardware is being cleaned and prepped for re-install tomorrow.
    Hope to install side rails and misc cabinet hardware tomorrow.

    Sunday I hope to finish the last two displays and install them. It's at this point I'll probably drill the hole for the left handed shooter.

    So; What Do I have to report? Let's finish up the picture bomb from last weekend's work. Rather than post a bunch of individual plastics images... I've created a panoramic stitch of several high resolution shots. Feel free to click the picture/link and look at the detailed original image: ( yeah... it's HUGE... so big it wouldn't load in IE11. Chrome or FireFox)
    Each plastic (except the orbits) has it's own protector. There is protective transfer tape over the backglass... which will stay on until TPF to reduce scratches. 

    3/17/2014:  Attention moves to the Lockdown bar mechanisms and coin door. I resurfaced the coindoor skin with some sandpaper and installed the new coin door inserts; pictures later when I take them. Installed the coin door and proceed to clean the lockdown bar assembly:I disassembled it and cleaned the rust / grime off with some coarse sandpaper. Once I had the bracket rust free; I powdercoated it...

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  • Power SubSystem

    zittware04/09/2014 at 05:31 0 comments

    3/6/2014: Work continues on the Transformer and power situation. I began by sleeving the transformer connections to make them less of a mess inside the cabinet and then began wiring the ATX powersupply cable. I thought... hey; I'll just wired the ATX PSU into the existing wiring harness going into the machine. Keep in mind I designed the ATX PSU board to always power the ATX PSU when AC is supplied. So in effect right now; the Machine will always be powered.

    The switch in the machine is AFTER where I tied in the ATX PSU - as the Noise Suppressor is only rated for 5Amps as is the cable feeding the main power switch. The switch goes after the noise suppressor. The existing switch is only rated for 5A... and ATXs can demand 15A on a fully loaded machine. So it's not as simple as just wiring the ATX psu after the switch. Gonna have to replace the switch and probably run a wire back to the ATX power cable.

    So I took a trip to Lowes to get some 14gauge black wire to wire the hot side from the switch to the ATX power cable. I also stopped by Fry's Electronics to get a suitable switch which could handle the current. I ended up selecting a DPDT 20A / 125V... not because I needed 20A... but because they didn't have anything on the shelf > 10A.

    I desoldered the old switch and replace it with the new... putting in a red and a black wire to tie in the ATX PSU. In effect; I've bypassed the noise suppressor on the hot rail. But alas; can't be helped right now as I'm out of time for TPF.
    Here's the transformer wired up with sleeved power connections going into the backbox. Overall:He is Stinker... and He approves this message! 

  • BackGlass Art Package

    zittware04/07/2014 at 07:45 0 comments

    02/03/2013: I learned last weekend that my Comic book artist continues to have life-getting in the way issues; and probably won't make delivery of the backglass art in time for me to get it on the machine for TPF. I asked him to be done several times... but family / deaths / real-work deadlines keep getting in the way.

    So; On Thursday - I decided I was going to scan my existing CPR repro Prototype backglass and create my own. Well; the same HP Scanjet 4670 I used to scan the PF is now giving me a interference pattern on the scans.

    As a result; I decided to use an existing scan of the production backglass and "mirror-ize" it to have some of the features of the ProtoType Backglass.

    First; here an example of the original Production BG:
    And here's My current revision of the BG I've modified:
    I'm not sure about the nasa render of earth replacing the planetoid... I like it... but it may be too much for the BG.

    2/21/2014:  Received the Star Trek: Mirror Universe translite from today... Overall I think it looks pretty damn sweet.This weekend I hope to start cutting out the windows for the nixie tube displays and begin mounting it to the Acrylic I hope to get tomorrow from RegalPlastics.

    2/24/2014: Right now; the artwork is a translite - as a result; I want to make sure the lamps behind it don't wash out the colors and I need to provide a mechanism to enable the hidden text which is illuminated by said lamps. So I used a black layer to create a "lite blocker" layer which if successful will be sent to the vinyl cutter at Techshop where it can be use to create the dark silver layer necessary to "block" said lamp light.

    I took the picture, straighten and scaled it in photoshop then used it as a template to enable the custom "silver layer" for the mirror universe:

    I wanted:
    1) the yellow part of the sky to "glow" and contrast the dark planet side features.
    2) the pants of the crew to be dark (unlike the original).
    3) Artists signatures to glow.
    4) Hidden text is an Original Series font.
    5) Gold parts of logo glow... as does some shading on the red part of earth.
    6) Primitive ruins glow.

    Here's a rendering of what it should look like if the lite block comes out like I hope:The hardest part is going to be getting the dark to register closely to the translite.

     3/6/2014: Just after work Tonight -  ClayD (clay), Bess, and I worked on vinyl cutting the light blocker from Black vinyl on Techshop's Cutter. Here's the bottom of the LiteBlocker, Weeded on transfer tape; ready to move to the backside of the glass:
     And after some work getting it aligned right:
    Then We cut the top lite blocker and after about 1.5hrs working on the top; This is what I can show you:
    Here's a picture with it backlit by the overhead fluorescent lights in my garage. Best I can do right now as I'm waiting on USPS to deliver my CometPinball LED order. Some slight registration issues in a couple of spots; Due to workflow issues between photoshop (raster -> path) ... then to CorelDraw. I think at some point one of the conversions grew the mask by a 1/4" causing registration issues in some areas. If I have time I'll try to trim it up a bit more with an xacto knife before TPF.

    Anyway; overall really happy with the results.

  • CNCed Assemblies

    zittware04/07/2014 at 07:39 0 comments

    10/21/2013:  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.11/19/2013: 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:

    12/09/2013: I received the vinyl decals from Callie Graphics. I went ahead and installed them on the powder coated blanks:

    12/28/2013:  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...

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  • Under Playfield Assembly: Custom PCBs

    zittware04/07/2014 at 07:26 0 comments

    I marked the mount holes with a center punch; and proceeded to drill and tap each mount hole for a #6-32 nylon standoff as the light boards were mounted. Here's the PF with the proximity sensors mounted:And a close up showing a set of PCBs mounted with the coil leads going into the slots:With the PCBs mounted; I could then transfer the wiring harness from the donor PF to the Mirror Universe. Ofcourse it too had to be mirrored but that was easily accomplished by flipping the harness:
    Now the fun of crimping connectors and re-soldering coil/switch terminals begins.
    I also need to re-assembly the GI circuits/lamps. The cheapskate in me wants to try an re-use the old GI lamp sockets. However, the do-it-right guy in me; want to order new GI lamps so I won't have to deal with the damn flickering due to warn-out GI lamp sockets. Yes; I know you can solder/hack an old GI Lamp to work... but my experiences has been it doesn't work on every lamp.

    2/10/2014: It's was an awesomely mild weekend here in Austin; so I spent quite a bit of time in the garage working on the underside of the Playfield.
    Thru the cold snap earlier in the week; I sent an internal goal of wiring the GI circuits/Lamps with color coded wire - A color a night. Rather than wiring each lamp with a bare stapled wire - I point-to-pointed each in it's specific color. IE Green, orange, red, and white. With the GI squared away during the week; I spend this weekend tackling the Hot common of the switch illumination (Blue). I also crimped my fingers swore; as I completed the Inserts wiring.

    For the top GI connection; the original harness had two blue wires which were soldered to the "Common" of the lamp matrix. Instead I made a custom harness out of some 22gauge blue wire. Each one of these lamp boards had to be wired into that common.
    I tinned a piece of raw copper clad (blank circuit board material) and used it as a common tie point for the upper playfield's common hot. Each board was crimped to a length of blue wire and it was soldered to this tie point. The inserts were then crimped and installed on the connectors. Each LED board has a header so it can be uninstalled and fixed if necessary. For the upper playfield; A chain of 22awg blue wire moves between each led board in a circle; so in effect - each board has two 22AWG paths to hot. This should help with redundancy and supply more than enough current flow to lite the leds on the board.  In the case of the upper two boards; they have 4pin connectors ... with 2 Anodes and the 2 signal wires.

    For the middle of the PF; I tapped into the blue wire harness and used a rounded barrel terminal to house the common hot. This common point feed the Klingon LED board as well as the center Enterprise inserts. 2 qty 22AWG blue wires feed the center inserts common point:
    I had to cut the tie wraps for the middle of the harness and feed some of the shorter wires between the drop target inserts and the led nacelle boards. With this new route; I had enough slack to make it to the large center insert connector for all signals.

    Finally; I added another common hot tie point for the center Xk's  inserts:
    I'm not real happy with the way this turned out... the wiring harness and connector are in the way of each other. Can't really be helped at this point; but you can still disconnect the board with minimal effort so it's still a win.

    At this point; I'm about 80ish-% complete on the bottom side of the PF:
    What's left to do on the bottom side?
    1) Still need to wire in proximity sensors.
    2) Flippers
    3) Slingshot switches
    4) Drop target assembly
    5) Wire GI to nacelle boards; need to double confirm PSU board outputs the polarity I think it does for the GI so I don't hook it backwards.
    6) Mount outhole switch and inlane switches.

    2/19/2014: Tonight I put the near finishing touches on the underside of the Playfield. I ran out of Butane for my cordless soldering iron; so I couldn't solder in the new fuse block for the solenoids. I tried in...

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  • Table Art becomes Reality

    zittware04/07/2014 at 07:16 0 comments

    12/09/2013: With the Laser Cut Inserts finshed it was time to work 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:

    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.

    12/19/2013: 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.

    12/28/2013: 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.

    1/5/2014: 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...

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  • Donor Head work

    zittware04/07/2014 at 06:50 0 comments

    After visiting with at Quakecon 2013, I picked up a donor head from DonW in Garland, TX. Don graciously donated this head to the Mirror Universe project.

    It started life as a Supersonic head... and was a rough from a paint flaking/ding perspective. All of this mattered nothing to me... as it was going to be dye/stained black just like the cabinet. Here are some before shots of the head:
    The back vent hole were coming apart; good because I wanted to improve the ventilation anyway...
    I went about destructing the head... to create new vent holes. Since eventually I plan to put more than just the original boards in the head... I decided I wanted some active cooling (IE DC FANs)... What better way to integrate vents... but using something from the Enterprise.

    Using the great work by, I recreated the Enterprise's impulse engines in CAD. The resultant CAD file yielded the following rendering of the DXF file. In order to practice for the upcoming Playfield CNC work; I wanted to practice with by CNCing out these vent holes in the Russian Plywood. Ken and I went to this past Saturday and CNCed the back vents:Once I got home; Saturday night I began re-assembling the head:
    Then I lightly sanded and vacuumed the inside of the head to prep it for interior paint:

    This time I decided to paint the inside prior to staining the outside; so:

    After the interior dried; I needed to replace the Veneer which I removed during the deconstruction phase. I thought about going to woodcraft to get it; but really; I didn't want to drive 30minutes in traffic... so I opted to get the iron-on type from Lowes. It comes in a roll; and you melt the glue with an iron. The smaller roll of veneer was on clearance; so I opted for it... but turned out to be a hair short. I filled the seams with Plastic Wood filler so the seams wouldn't be visible on the back without a close inspection.
    Not sure what I'm going to do about the small section... worst case I'll apply a patch after-the-fact.

    After some lite sanding with the orbital sander the back and the head was ready for the Black Dye:
    followed by the Black Stain:
     Even the bottom didn't escape the black of space...
    The plan is to let the Stain/Dye cure overnight. Then I'll begin to spray the Polycrlic Satin clear coat over the stain to seal the wood and prep is for future Stenciling. 

    8/20/2013: This past weekend; I intended to wrap up the Impulse Engine modification to the Mirror Universe pinball head. Unfortunately it spilled over to Monday; mainly because I couldn't get my Laser cutter into a completely operational state.

    Anywho; The intent was to make the vent holes to look like the Enterprise's Impulse Engine. To do this I created a stencil using the same scale and rendering as before. Since My laser cutter only has a 12x24 table; I had to only do 1/2 the stencil opting to flip it for the opposite side. Here's the stencil I created:
    I laser cut this out of dry erase poster board and sprayed it lightly with some stencil spray adhesive. Here it is positioned for the left Impulse Engine vent:
    Since I didn't have any grey spray paint on hand... and it was near or after midnight; I opted to spray with primer grey:I then flipped the stencil (after the primer had dried for a couple of hours) and sprayed the other side with light stencil adhesive and then grey primer:Now I needed to do some shading of the upper piece; So I used the drop pieces cut from the stencil as a stencil. Adhesive and some transparent black airbrush paint:Next I needed to stencil the center panel lines. I had already laser etched the panel lines into the wood; but I decided attempting to hand paint the etch lines would be problematic. Cue Stencil number 2:Adhesive, positioned:
    Sprayed with Black Opaque Airbrush paint:
    With the Stenciling complete; my attention returned to the Vents themselves. When I CNCed the wood; I also Laser cut a grill based upon the original render of the engines. The CorelDraw...

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  • Donor Cabinet work

    zittware04/02/2014 at 03:36 0 comments


    As I stated; been working on the cabinet for the Mirror universe project. I bought a couple of "project" Bally Star Treks from a fellow pinball collector out of Shertz a few years ago. These have been setting in storage for a while... and were very rough.

    I took the cabinet with the most flaking and damage as the donor cabinet for this project. Here it is in all it glory:
    I began by stripping all the hardware (coindoor) and side rails off of the machine so I could access the state of the "bones" (ie wood) of the cabinet. I noticed that the front corners were beginning to separate.... also some of the plywood cores were starting to come apart.
    First I used some white gorilla glue to repair the plywood core:
    Then I used ratchet straps to re-glue both sides:
     I CNCed a diamond shaped piece out of MDF and glue it in the old shooter hole:

    With that I began stripping the old flaking paint off with CitraStrip along the way I tried to save as much of the wood as I could. When possible; I reglued the laminate back to the plywood... or used some wood filler to fill in the rough areas.
    I also repaired the bottom - not pictured. 3 of the four sides had lost the plywood under the grove... which means the bottom would probably fall out at some point. I fixed this by saving as much of the plywood core on the 1 "acceptable" side... then using quarter round pieces from Lowes.  The quarter round piece was secured with the same gorilla glue and some 18 gauge pin nails.

    I bought some mill wax ebony oil stain as I wanted to stain the cabinet black instead of paint. I wanted something "different" looking. Here's one side stained with several coats. Looked like absolute trash...
    That just would not do AT ALL.

    The next day I went to our local WoodCraft store ... they seemed to have a better selection of stain.

    Since I was in new territory on this project; I decided to get a couple of product. The first was a Ebony Wood Dye product and the second was a Black Water-based Stain. The guy at the store claimed the dye would dye the fibers of the wood in a "molecular" like fasion ... while the Stain is pigment based (and would act more like paint). I added the later. I figured I'd buy both and try it on the cabinet.

    After I got home; I stripped the back of the cabinet and put down some test swatches:
    Upper right hand: Ebony Dye
    Upper LEft: Satin Black Stain
    Lower Right: Stain over Dye
    Lower left: 50/50% mix of both

    I didn't like the ebony stain as is... as it still had a purple/blue hue to it.
    The stain looked ok; but had a paint like view.
    The Dye under Stain had what my mind thought was the best of the two. The Dye in effect raised the wood grain a little; and the stain still let the overall look like a satin look. The 50/50 worked; but wasn't as vibrant as the Stain over dye.

    With this decision; I proceed to dye then stain the cabinet. The Outsides of the cabinet were stripped of all paint; then dyed then stained. The inside of the cabinet I decided to lightly sand the interior then spray it with a Satin Black spraypaint from Rustolem.  I also sprayed the bottom side with the same Satin black so it'd look more finished.

    The results:
    Yes... I probably could have save myself some more time by just painting the cabinet with some latex black... Or any black paint; but I kinda wanted to have the wood grains show thru the background. I may regret this decision later... but I'm currently very happy with the way it turned out.

    Tonight I worked on the stencil design for the cabinet. Obviously; it's going to be a black background; however, I wanted to pay a nod to the original cabinet design. I traced the existing design and pulled it into Corel Draw. Given Black background; I still wanted to keep some of the same colors in the stencil. So the stars became Yellow. The planet Yellow/Red... and The Phasers became blue. I going to make the Enterprise BattleShip grey.
    I removed the Klingons ... instead having the Enterprise fire on the planet....

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  • Playfield Plastics

    zittware04/02/2014 at 03:19 0 comments

    I've been working on the Plastics for the machine...

    remember to click the images to get larger/higher rez renderings

    Here's what they basically looked like on a prototype machine ... I re-did the text here:
     Why ProtoType? Well... Yellow/Silver uniforms do not fit the theme of the known Mirror Universe... That and I really enjoy the Busty Blonde.
     So; now I needed to "mirror universe" it up.

    However, I'm kinda torn between two designs. First; here's a screen cap of Scotty put on one of the pieces:

    1) Busty Blonde has been Mirrorized.
    2) Spock has a beard.
    3) Uhura has been Mirrorized - complete with black stockings.
    4) Those.... um... who-knows what has been removed and cartoonized-screen-caps of Kor and the Romulan Commander have replaced them. With the req factional logos in place.
    5) Scotty Screen cap from Mirror Mirror.

    My issue with screencap is it kinda looks out of place with cartoonized Evil-Spock and Evil-Uhura... but "matches" the screencaps of the foes.

    Option 2: Took a screen cap of Scotty from The Animated Series (TAS) and heavily modified him to make it a mirrored version.

    I'm also thinking about putting Evil-Sulu on the other arrowed plastic. But depends on which direction I go in.

    Been in touch with Kevin at ; unfortunately - the printer purchased by the Austin / RoundRock Techshop is only 24in wide... and the 4mil pressure sensitive adhesive film I wanted to use only comes in 36inch widths. The only material that comes in 24inch is a non-adhesive roll; meaning I'd have to find some kind of adhesive to attach the graphics to the PF.

    He did put me in contact with a local printing company:
    whom may have a large format printer which can print directly to the Playfield; which should make it easier to create as I won't have to "register" and "line up" the graphics to the inserts/table.


    A while back; I put the breaks on further work on the Plastics. The reason I stated was that I was working on a plan to knock your socks off. Tonight is the moment I reveal the plan and work that has been done.

    When I realized my art skils were not up to the task... I decided to consult a professional. I approched a well known Star Trek graphic novel artist with the project; and he agreed to do the work on commission. It wasn’t cheap; but I decide to do it because I was spending so much effort to make this a one-of-a-kind original; that it would just stupid (in my mind) to leave the plastics art to an armature artist like me.

    The schedule we settled on was for him to deliver me Pen and Ink drawings electronically by this past weekend to enable me some time to create the plastics prior to TPF'2013. Monday he delivered the drawings.

    Oh; and BTW: I'm retaining all rights to the art for now... as I have worked out final rights with the artist. No one is allowed to reproduce these for any reason.
    Now that I had the ink files; It was time to do some photoshop work on it ... I decided I wanted to color the drawings rather than hire another professional; thereby spending more bank.

    TBH; I'm very pleased with the results.
    Gordon did an EXCELLENT job giving me the baseline for the art don't you think?

    I may do some more work on Sulu as he looks off with the teeth.

    Comments / Suggestions?

    Now I need to send him the plans/Ideas for the BackGlass. First; I have to scan the existing backglass and measure the critical parameters. So; now is your chance to provide ideas for said backglass; I want to get him something by Friday.


    I've been working on the two of the plastics I had forgotten about.

    I forgot about the orbit/arch plastics which are at the top of the PF. Might as well bang them out before I try to make the plastics. I scanned them into my computer a while ago; and took this time to clean them up and vectorize them. I tried to color match them against the new plastics shown previously - reusing colors and the like.

    Additionally; I put some extras on the plastics...

    Read more »

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screamingsayonara wrote 05/27/2014 at 00:02 point
This looks great!
I was just given the same model machine from someone at work. Needs work but I don't mind.
You've done a great job here

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zittware wrote 05/28/2014 at 05:17 point
Thanks. My biggest issue is that even Hackaday doesn't realize the amount of work involved... Creating Nixie Tube displays... Custom LED board... and all the CNC work which went into it. While it "looks" like a Bally 1979 Star Trek... it isn't.

Good luck on your project... if you need pointers / motivation:

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Neil Jansen wrote 05/06/2014 at 22:42 point
Dumb question -- how do you get your project logs to be visible on your top-level project page? All that shows up for mine are the summaries :-/

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zittware wrote 05/07/2014 at 02:37 point
I did nothing special.

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Neil Jansen wrote 05/05/2014 at 23:33 point
Holy crap. You had me at Nixie tubes. Great job all around. And thanks for following my project.

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zittware wrote 05/05/2014 at 23:57 point
Heh; yeah - lots of people like that feature the most I think.

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davisforsythe wrote 05/01/2014 at 19:50 point
Awesome project and a huge undertaking. Best of luck in the contest!

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zittware wrote 05/02/2014 at 03:33 point
Thanks. Appreciate it.

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Sprout wrote 04/11/2014 at 01:50 point
Coming along nicely; enjoyed getting a chance to see it first-hand at TPF and looking forward to taking the final version for a spin when it's done!

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zittware wrote 04/11/2014 at 19:11 point
thanks. Have so many ideas for this project... but going to have to draw a line in the sand at some point.

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Eric Evenchick wrote 04/02/2014 at 00:23 point
I think this is the first pinball table build on Projects! Looking forward to seeing it progress. I've seen some pretty neat pinball builds, looking forward to watching yours shape up.

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zittware wrote 04/02/2014 at 02:53 point
Working on the updates as we speak.

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