Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and don't miss any updates

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.

Similar projects worth following

This project was created on 04/01/2014 and last updated 2 years ago.

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

    04/09/2014 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

    04/09/2014 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...

    Read more »

  • Power SubSystem

    04/09/2014 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! 

View all 14 project logs

Enjoy this project?

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

Are you sure? yes | no

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:

Are you sure? yes | no

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 :-/

Are you sure? yes | no

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

Are you sure? yes | no

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.

Are you sure? yes | no

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

Are you sure? yes | no

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

Are you sure? yes | no

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

Are you sure? yes | no

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!

Are you sure? yes | no

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.

Are you sure? yes | no

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.

Are you sure? yes | no

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

Are you sure? yes | no

Similar projects