Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Visiting the Pacific Pinball Museum

I was planning to visit the National Pinball Museum in Baltimore during my visit to the USA, but it was far from any other place I was intending to visit. It turned out that I did not visit it. But I also decided to visit San Francisco Bay Area and some people told me that there is a pinball museum there too. So, I decided to check it out. I took the BART from San Francisco (where I was hosted in a friend's house) to Alameda - east bay - and visited the Pacific Pinball Museum!

When I arrived at the museum I introduced myself, telling them that I was looking for some advice on my homebrew pinball project and that I was also interested in buying some pinball parts for it. I was then introduced to Michael Schiess, the museum founder, who was very friendly and took me to a private tour around the warehouse where he stores the hundreds of machines that are not in the public area of the museum - either due to lack of space or because the machines need to be repaired/restored.

 There, Michael guided me through some interesting machines including the world's largest pinball game, which is played with a pool ball and whose flippers are activated by 110 volts coils:

  Then he started looking for some pinball parts for me, but he didn't have many spare parts. So he decided to give me a playfield, as a gift, so that I could take parts from it. He said to me that as it woudn't be possible for me to take the whole playfield to Brazil, I should remove the parts that interest me and then give the playfield wood (with the artwork of the game) to my host there in San Francisco. I liked the idea. He gave me a ride to the BART and then I brought the machine to Seth's place. Seth has lent me this shopping cart so that I could more easily move the pinball playfield around:

 So, I took it to NoiseBridge (a hacker space in San Francisco) and spent 3 or 4 hours removing all the parts from it. I have left the playfield wood in the public area of the hacker space so that anybody can use it for whatever project and I have sent them a notice in their mailing list. My personal suggestion is to hook it to the walls as a decorative item. Perhaps they could use a microcontroller to blink some leds also, just for astethic purposes.

Here are the parts that I've brought to Brazil:
* 32 orange posts
* 4 hit targets
* 5 red rubbers and 5 new shining pinball balls given to me by Michael

Thanks, Michael!


  1. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Great visit, Juca!

    I have a great interest to create new playfields with another technology.

    I have some ideas. Wanna share?

  2. sure! Let's share some ideas!

    I know you are from Brazil, so If you want to email me in private to discuss it then you can do it in brazilian portuguese. But If you prefer to discuss it here in public (which is what I would suggest you to do) then we should stick to english so that a greater number of people can follow the discussions and perhaps even participate on it.