The construction of the playfield was definitely the longest part of the project, and it’s something that has undergone lots of refinement and improvements. The first step was to find a nice piece of plywood. Looking back, I have spent a huge amount of hours working on this one piece of wood. I sized my playfield to be 600 x 1200 x 15 mm, which seemed pretty close to commercial pinball machines. Next, I hashed out the rough design I had simulated, and worked out a good spacing between parts.
I then started to build some of the features. I used some stainless steel strip for the guides around the outside of the board. The wire-frames are constructed from brass wire soldered together. The ramps are built from acrylic and bent into shape using an old electric bar heater.
I bought proper pinball assemblies from Pinball Life and eBay. This included 3 pop-bumpers, 2 slingshots, a bank of drop targets and the two flippers.
I also built a nifty contraption to kick the ball up from underneath the table, using an old coil.
Once the positions of the parts were fixed in place, I could start routing the holes for the lights. This was quite time consuming as I did it all with a hand router and jigsaw(!). In retrospect I should have used a CNC router, this would have saved a ton of time and would have probably done a better job. The light inserts were cut from 6 mm acrylic and then epoxied in place. I also found an easy way to get round lights on the playfield using some 12 mm diameter acrylic rod: Drill a 5 mm hole in one end of the rod to mount an LED, and then glue the rod into a hole on the playfield. Much easier than hand routing! Once the inserts and cutout were made, the playfield was then sanded to perfection.
I then could paint all the pieces I had built, and get started on the artwork! The art was painted by hand directly onto the playfield and then coated with a clear automotive paint.
More construction photos here!
Next: Cabinet Construction