Pinball Coffee Table

After renovating the Space Shuttle playfield, I had the original playfield available.  I decided to store it whole and convert it into the centerpiece of a coffee table.

Construction of the casing
I had some 1x10 pine planking lying around and figured that it would be a good start as far as the casing was concerned.  The playfield is in fair cosmetic condition and completely functional, and I wished to put it on display that way.  This means that I needed a total width of 9" in the casing.  This dimension includes 4" above the playfield (high point is the Shuttle toy's tail), 0.5" thick playfield plank, and 4.5" from the bottom face of the playfield to the lowest point on the "T" target assembly.  The actual thickness of the planking is 0.75", and the width is 9.125".

Each of the end planks were 20.5" long, and the side planks were 44" long.  When assembled, the whole thing measured 44"x22"x9", and weighed 51 lbs (playfield was 36 lbs).  The additional weight in paint, screws and brackets were no more than 1 lb.

There are plenty of DIY projects to do if you have extra wood and materials on hand. Simple shelving or wine racks can be built with relative ease. You can always use a wine rack or new shelving unit somewhere in your home.

Playfield mounted inside the casing with the help of some angle brackets. 
The playfield will be screwed onto the angle brackets to allow it to be flipped over. 
Not shown is a brace under the playfield to ensure that the box stays square. 
Overall, the fit is very good as the playfield does not
touch the sides, and hangs neatly from the angle brackets. 
There is an even 1/4" gap all the way around.

Finishing the casing
After the fit-check above, I sanded and painted multiple coats of white semi-gloss latex paint on the outside, and then clearcoated the inside with a leftover can of clear Polyurethane from the Playfield renovation.

The finished casing next to the inverted coffee table that will be used to
house the playfield.  Note the cut corners
on the casing due to the corner braces on the bottom of the coffee table. 
The coffee table had two panes of glass on
either end.  The middle center solid panel was removed to
create a full view of the table.

A test fit check of the parts in the unmodified coffee table.  Obviously,
view of the playfield is severely obstructed, but this check showed
that the whole assembly fit together very well.

Modifying the coffee table and final assembly
Once I was satisfied with the initial fit check in the unmodified table, I ordered a pane of tempered glass (18.5" x 44.5") from a local glass place.  It arrived after 10 days, and I then started the modification of the table by cutting out the center panel with a circular saw.  I then used a router to create a 1/4" edge for the glass pane.  I used a 4 foot level clamped to the table as a rip fence to ensure straight cuts of the saw and router.

The modified coffee table with the center panel cut out and an edge routered for the
glass pane.  I was very pleased with the result.  It looks like a picture frame for the
playfield.  This coffee table was very close to the ideal size for a playfield.
This picture shot with the top glass in place.

The bottom of the casing is covered with a sheet of flexible clear plastic.  This allows the
viewing of the mechanical systems underneath the playfield.  One slight modification is
that I had to move the switches on the 3-bank target to reduce the height.

The GI connector was changed from an inline style (example on the right) to a
panel mount style of the same size.  This was then snapped into the clear
plastic sheet that covers the bottom of the casing.  With this, I can quickly connect
or disconnect the electrical cord from the coffee table.  By using the same size
and pinout, I maintain 100% functionality of the playfield.  It can be removed from the coffee table and swapped out at any time.

Transformer supply that powers the GI circuit.  It is slid under
the couch that is beside the coffee table.  A leftover piece of
clear plastic from the underside of the table covers
all the electrical connections.

To better show-off the playfield, it made sense to me to light the General Illumination (GI) circuit.  On the actual machine, the GI circuit requires 7.8 Amps.  Per the schematic, this is powered with a 6.3Vac transformer winding.  Although the current total includes the backglass and the coin door lights, the test allowed me to estimate the size of the transformer needed.  I purchased a 12.6V CT 4 Amp transformer from for $5.75.  By splitting the GI consumption into two separate 4 Amp circuits, efficiency is increased .  The two phases of the transformer power the two separate GI circuits on the playfield.

Using my Kill-a-Watt power meter, I measured a total power draw of 30 Watts for the lights and the transformer.  The transformer only gets very slightly warm.

The pinball coffee table can be seen from many parts of the home and should be a nice
conversation piece.  The top glass was removed for this photo.
Reverse angle

Pinball Neon Lighting

In November 2006, I bought a small neon sign on ebay for $37 (shipped).

The neon sign was installed at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the game room.
I had installed an electrical outlet the weekend before in anticipation of its arrival.
The light is turned on and off with the main wall switch.

Close-up of the lamp.  It comes with a right-angle adapter that allows it to be
wall mounted (holes in the base) or table mounted.

A switch in the base allows you to select flashing or constant 'on' mode.  We prefer the latter.

Pinball Shelf

I have a spare backglass that I wanted to mount in a decorative way, and this shelf gave me an idea.  I found a backbox for this project from a fellow RGPer.

more to come



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