Thursday, 22 January 2015

Improved Flippers

Over the past week I've been working on designing an improved version of Pinbox (see the first prototype here). One of the things on the to do list is develop the flipper system. On the previous version there's quite a few parts to it, and these are held together with bolts. Also the handles are a bit flimsy and looked a bit like lolly pop sticks.

After some research into toy pinball games, I took some inspiration to make a more robust, yet straight forward flipper system. Scaled to a small version so I don't spend so much time and money on laser cutting a prototype I feel already it's a huge improvement, mechanically and aesthetically.
To add is a spring in between the two moveable flipper paddles this will spring back the paddle when pushed, to make it much more like the real game. It will also allow to flip the ball much further and faster. I'll need to add some way of inserting the spring that also keeps it in place. A cover may need to be added which will also hold down the flipper paddles - but the playfield over the top may solve both of these issues.

The above shows how the flippers just freely sit in place - so they are removable. The idea here is that it's easy to quickly get to the playfield to remove and change it, but also the idea that the whole thing is customisable, they could be replaced with a different flipper shape for example. At this size the flippers are not heavy enough to stay in place. A bigger protoype should be made but I may need to add a clip or stopper at the top to hold the flipper down.

Also will need to do quick test with a rough cardboard playfield - there will need to be an extra 1/4 circle hole cut to allow the pin from the flipper to slot into the paddle below. The pin may need to be extended slightly to allow for that.

My next plan is to finish off the new box drawings - which I'm designing to be collapsible / flat-pack style - and incorporate this new flipper system into the structure of that. Due to a few days of work experience next week, the plan for production of the next prototype may be in a few weeks - I need to keep moving and get these designs completed!