Like many of us, [BuildXYZ] has always wanted to own a pinball machine, but doesn’t have the space to justify buying such a big and heavy toy. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. [BuildXYZ] figured that if they could build a pinball machine into a coffee table form factor, they’d be at least halfway to justification.
[BuildXYZ] didn’t choose just any pin. After doing a bunch of research, they settled on 1981’s Bally Centaur because it’s an early solid-state machine, and it’s one of the best. It has no secondary playfield levels to deal with, making it much easier to do this project.
Where do we even start to describe this beautiful labor of love? There are too many details to list, but know that it seems to be equal amounts of restoration work and custom work that brought this table together. The build video after the break is definitely worth your time, and you’ll gain a much better appreciation of the amount of time that went into this, from the custom score decoder chip built on an FPGA to the 3D printed replacement drop targets and new acrylic bits to replace the yellowing ones from the playfield.
[BuildXYZ] started by building a pintisserie, which is exactly what it sounds like — a rotating barbecue spit for a pinball machine’s guts that makes it a breeze to work on. This maintenance-friendliness reappears in the new cabinet design, where the circuit boards are screwed to a pair of drawers.
No, you don’t have to play it flat. But you do have to clear off the top before pressing Start, because a pair of mini industrial linear actuators raise the back end by 5-7° depending on the setting. We were a little sad about the lack of plunger, but [BuildXYZ] is right — it would knock at your kneecaps. On the bright side, [BuildXYZ] reused the ‘free ball’ solenoid as the ball launcher, which is driven by that shiny metal button. Again, be sure to check it out after the break.
Honestly, we haven’t seen this much work go into a pinball machine since this one, built entirely from K’nex.