So I have decided to build a virtual pinball machine. I have spent days researching the project and even set up a test machine on my desktop PC to better understand how all the various programs and applications work together. I have decided to take the approach of building out a working but simple machine. Building the framework for being able to add more sophisticated components over time. New components available will make this much easier than it was just a few years ago.
The Computer that will drive the machine is basically a gaming PC with ample horsepower:
|EVGA Z97 FTW (142-HR-E977-KR) LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard.|
|Intel Core i7-4790K Devil’s Canyon Quad-Core 4.0GHz LGA 1150 BX80646I74790K Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4600.|
|CORSAIR Dominator Platinum 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model CMD16GX3M4A1866C9.|
|EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 750 G 80 PLUS GOLD Certified 750W Active PFC ATX12V v2.31/EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Full Modular PSU 10 YearWarranty 120-G1-0750-XR NEW Haswell Ready Power Supply.|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 700 SuperClocked 02G-P4-2765-RX GeForce GTX 760 2GB 256-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 SLI Support w/ EVGA ACX Cooler Video Card.|
|Crucial MX200 CT500MX200SSD1 2.5" 500GB SATA 6Gbps (SATA III) Micron 16nm MLC NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD).|
|All of the above will rest in a DIYPC Alpha-DB6 Black Acrylic ATX Bench Case Bench Computer Case for ATX/Micro ATX motherboard. This will provide easy access and allow all components excellent airflow in the pinball case.|
|A wireless Keyboard & Mouse will provide control and programming. I’ll build a space under the cabinet to store these when not in use.|
The Back glass of the machine will have an AOC e2752She Glossy Black 27" 2ms Dual HDMI Widescreen LED Backlight Slim Monitor 300 cd/m2 20,000,000:1 (dynamic).
Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit SP1 Full Pro DVD & COA Keycode will be the operating system.|
Now for some specialized Pinball parts I will use the following:
Some assembly required! A precision CNC-cut American Maple plywood cabinet, accurate to 3/1000th of an inch, is packed flat and shipped. Easy to assemble and finished by the aspiring virtual pinball cabinet builder. (That’s Me!)
This is, by far, the most complete build your own pinball kit on the market today!
This kit is everything you need to build a base pinball cabinet, with all holes drilled and cut and corner blocks and braces included! Comes with complete step-by-step instructions on how to assemble.
WPC-style backbox, flatpacked to be easily assembled. CNC-cut 3/4" American Maple with hinged 1/2" back panel for ease of access to mount and maintain your backbox monitor. Perfect for your virtual pinball project.
An unfinished WPC speaker panel is precision CNC-cut 3/8" MDF, just like back in the day! A perfect fit for 2 5.25" speakers.
Hardware Kit includes:
Standard Williams/Bally steel pinball legs.
Legs are 28.5 inches in height.
Chrome finish.Plus all necessary hardware and Lockdown bar, leg brackets, door hardware, etc. Everything except the glass I will buy locally!
|TARGUS ASF27W9USZ Privacy 27" 16:9 Wide Screen Filter LCD Monitor cps27. This is 100$ so have not ordered it yet, but may need one if the glare on the play surface from the back glass monitor is annoying during play.|
Airflow, wiring, power, sound, lights, computer, TV and Monitors.
It was rewarding to see things starting to come together. I actually started to think “Hey, this might work!”
And then I looked at the bench and saw all those parts, still needing a home inside this box!
I cut a access door in the back to get to the PC. And for limited service, added a third fan, and started placing the various components to see what might make the best fit.
I reworked the coin door to allow the coin jam push button to trigger the micro switch for simulating inserting a coin.
Next step is to apply some graphics I created on my computer and had printed for the cabinet. The graphics represent various pinball games and the Multi-Ball indicates it can play Multi pinball games.
I did not create the graphics from scratch, I used a template someone had already created, and just modified it to add color and adjusted them to fit my needs. There is a great community of folks that allow guys like me to build something like this.
OK, time to fit the computer into the cabinet and start wiring things up.
Now time to take apart the 4K HD TV and build a frame so it fits into the cabinet.
Now to clean up some of the wiring and we are good to go!
In all it took over five months, and about $3K to build this. I am very pleased with how it turned out.
UPDATE: October 29, 2015 - Notice the glare on the play surface from the backglass lighting. Well I found a way to keep the effect, but eliminate the glare. I relocated the LED strips to behind the backglass monitor, and used reflective tape on the back of the backglass access panel so now the light is indirect, still looks good but no glare!