PREMIUM – Bits to Atoms Project Autopsy: Mini Pinball Cabinet

While in the prepping stages for their next collaboration, the Bits to Atoms team meets up to dissect a past personal project. Jeremy shares his mini Pinball Cabinet, which he built with a custom board to illuminate and animate like its life-size counterpart. Here’s how he designed it!

Comments (20)

20 thoughts on “PREMIUM – Bits to Atoms Project Autopsy: Mini Pinball Cabinet

  1. This was great and thanks for posting. Wonderful project!

    I’d love to see a segment on setting up, using and programming a controller (arduino) I’m exploring the basics of animatronics and I have not been able to find a good source for learning this process.

  2. Love this. Keep this series running!!!

    I agree with a series on “basics” would be awesome! As a community we’re knowledgeable about many things but sometimes it’s the basic information that’s taken for granted and not shared, either because people are too embarrassed to ask or there’s the thought of “I learned the hard way (can wading through YouTube be considered the hard way? 😛 ) so you should too.” I can solder but a piece on hot air soldering/rework stations would be pretty neat.

  3. This is so freaking amazing. Please tell me you added the “Look out, Martians!”… “ATTAAAAACK” sound byte haha!

    I’d absolutely love a Medieval Madness version of this, or maybe even Monster Bash. I will take a look later and see if I can extract the playfield textures out of The Pinball Arcade >_> (I wonder if the 3D models for all the playfield features could be extracted and 3D printed!)

    An accelerometer would be a nice addition to trigger a *TILT* with appropriate sound effects.

    FYI, I don’t suppose you’d want to invest the cost and time in another (non-free) PCB package, but I use Easy PC by Number One Systems at work and that allows importing a bitmap. Compared to many professional PCB packages, it’s quite reasonably priced, too.

  4. Thanks guys!

    We could look into making a video about setting up basic software packages, but aren’t there plenty of them already on YouTube?

    I did add both of those sound effects. It’s not shown in the video but it was tedious fun capturing all of the sounds using PinMame, one at a time. Music too!

  5. So that you guys are aware; on the Mac side, at least, it looks like 123d Design has been discontinued. They appear to be rolling it into Fusion 360. Just a heads-up for new users.

  6. MOAR PLS!! Loving this series. I’d pay my premium subscription just for this. Got my Pi Score built last week and my kids and I have been having a blast playing old arcade games. Thanks!

  7. Keep up the awesome content guys!

    With the recent news about the Tricorder competition, why not make a replica from the show?

    Should be a nice combination of 3d printing and modeling with electronics, buttons and lights.

  8. Love this show!!

    IMHO 3d Boolean operation algorithms are a bit obscure, difficult to find and understand, and difficult to implement in code. They can’t use the same geometry libraries, or even math libraries, used to make mainstream 3d graphics for games or whatnot. The available free and open source boolean geometry engines are kind of janky and crashy. Companies like Autodesk are using extremely expensive and secret proprietary geometry engines (or as wiki calls them geometric modeling kernels ).


  9. I dropped a lot of quarters into the 1992 Data East Star Wars when it was in my local arcade and Pin•Bot is one of my most played NES carts. Jeremy, what tables do you have in your personal collection?

  10. Jeremy and Sean- Have you guys considered combining the Pi Score and this Mini Pinball Cabinet to make a microcab that plays the Old DOS Epic Pinball Games?

    Having a portable version of Crash and Burn would be my Jam.

  11. This is very cool! Thanks for putting this out there and I’m jealous. Would love to have one of those on my desk.

  12. SparkFun Electronics has a lot of cool components for prototyping like this as well, and they even resell some of AdaFruit’s stuff. They also have a WAV trigger board and an MP3 trigger board. Little more pricey and a bigger footprint, but really cool.


    This is awesome 🙂

  13. Jeremy, you should switch to a Pro Mini from the Uno, and put a socket on the back of your LED board for it to plug into – it looks to be about the same size as your sound board (which you could also socket into the LED board, come to think of it).

    As for software, you should try KiCad ( for PCB layout, and OpenSCAD or FreeCAD for 3D modeling.

  14. Ah so that’s why I could find it! How annoying

    I had a look at Free Cad but it looks too complex for what I want (rapidly create an environment to work out 2D compositions). I have used Sketch up before but it takes ages to get what I want and at the right size.

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