For quite awhile now, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing my own home brew pinball project. The idea first crossed my mind around 4 years ago, but I didn’t give it much time. Thoughts about doing it came again and again since that time, each being stronger than the last. But again I had always pushed it off as building a machine from scratch is more work than I was willing to do. It was more work than I could even get my head around. What about extending something that already exists though? Now that was something I could start getting my head around. Enter Bride of Pinbot 2.0. Owning a BoP 2.0 allowed me to see just what was possible with extending an existing game and how it all hooked up hardware wise. I was impressed with what a platform like P-ROC could do and the fact it was all reversible, means the game can be switched back to stock configuration again. I don’t have a large collection of machines that I could choose from in order to do this project, but there was one in my line up that stood out the most. Pinbot.
After all the work I’ve done to the cabinet and playfield, there was one part that still stood out as needing attention. The apron. It’s by no means terrible, as I’ve seen much (MUCH) worse. But it now stands out as being below standard when compared against everything else done to the game. So it’s time to give the apron a face lift. There were two options in front of me to consider for the face lift. The first is a set of black decals to keep it looking original. The second option (which was more appealing) is to go with a fancy set of 2.0 apron decals from Retro Refurbs. These are printed on a chrome style material and give a cool looking rainbow shine effect when light reflects off the surface. The perfect look for a 2.0 machine with this theme!
There are some things that remain on my pinball “to-do” list for quite awhile before I get around to them. Addressing the picture quality of my SWEP1 has been one of these things that I keep pushing back. In the current state, it’s not terrible and the game is very playable which is why I’ve considered it a low priority. But, I know it can be SO much better as much of the detail in the video and playfield animations is lost. The issue is the contrast. The contrast dial (which is responsible for the “white” level) is already at max and cannot be increased further. That’s where the small video amp board from Ultimarc comes in. This little board sits between the PC display output and the monitor, boosting the video signal. It’s available here, along with some additional information: http://www.ultimarc.com/vidamp.html
My Bride of Pinbot has received a lot of loving attention since I purchased it. Now, I’m facing the final mountain before I can say – It’s complete!. Doing up the cabinet was always going to be one of the final two things to be done. It was a bit of a race to see if the final challenge would be the playfield or the cabinet, with the cabinet winning (or is it losing?) that race. The plan had always been to do it around late December last year or early January this year, but that got pushed back to February – and here we are! I spent quite a bit of time last year deciding what path to take with the new decals. Do I keep it original with new BoP decals from PPS? Or now that it’s a 2.0 machine, go with 2.0 decals from Retro Refurbs. In the end, after much deliberation and weighing pros and cons, I went with a 2.0 make over. Some may hold back tears while proclaiming – “But it’s not original anymore!”. Meh. This is a 2.0 machine now. It will remain a 2.0 machine. I love 2.0. There are not many 2.0 machines in the world and very few that are done up in this manor. So new 2.0 decals were purchased to bring this cabinet back to life. Naturally they arrived the day I started back at work (after 4 weeks of leave), which means the process will take longer to get done. The decal set includes the head box, cabinet sides, coin door and a 2.0 translite. The art is heavily based on the original, but with a more modern look (and some 2.0 branding).
Who likes self punishment? I do, it seems. My BoP 2.0 machine came with a touched up and clear coated playfield when I purchased it 14 months ago and it’s a task I knew I would get to at some point. But when you’re having fun playing a game, it’s hard to take it offline for some major changes. Playfield swaps are a time consuming process, so it’s not something I’ve been looking forward to. I gained some excellent experience when I did my Pinbot CPR playfield a couple of years ago and I’ll be rolling that knowledge in to how I approach this one. The up side here is the replacement playfield is an existing playfield, so all screw holes (both sides) are already there. New playfields have (most) screw holes dimpled, but can be up to 1mm out in any direction (according to CPR – not sure if that also applies to other playfield makers). On my Pinbot playfield, I found many dimples missing on the underside. This can be a pain for assemblies under the playfield that are made up of 2 or 3 components, consisting of up to 12 screws, which all need to line up in order for it to operate smoothly. The current playfield in my game isn’t bad by any stretch as mylar across the central playfield and pop bumper areas has protected most of it. I actually think it would make a great drop in replacement for someone who has a trashed playfield or someone who wants to touch up and clear coat one for themselves. Time to begin the process.