Build Your Own Pinball Rotisserie

Install Replacement Displays

by , 12/02/08. Modified 8/3/2015
Copyright 2006 - 2015, all rights reserved.

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You can make your own pinball playfield rotisserie. Having a rotisserie to mount a pinball playfield is a great time saver and makes a tough job much easier. There are commercial ones (sometimes) available and they are extremely well engineered. However, if you want to save quite a bit of money and are a bit handy, you can build your own.

My design is outlined below. This design is compact and fairly inexpensive. There are other rotisseries that use pipes to connect the two ends and keep them at a fixed distance. But that design is more expensive and it takes up room when not in use or requires disassembly for storage - see the links below for more information on those designs.

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To save a little money, I made a compromise. I had two spare sawhorses and attached the moving components to the top of each. This cut out a lot of galvanized pipe from the design and makes storage quite a bit easier, especially since my saw horses fold up.

The pictures I have included are prior to installing the thumb screws. These are installed by drilling a hole at the top of the 3/4" Tee with a 13/64" drill bit. A 1/4" NC tap is then used to thread the hole.

Note: There is a design modification below that substitutes a water faucet handle for the thumb screws and is highly recommended.***

I used a 3-1/2" pipe (Nipple) within the 3/4" Tee so that the pipe will not slide back and forth. It would be possible to save a few dollars and just use a longer pipe that connects directly to the 1/2" flange. However, the pipe will then slide back and forth and it might make the design less stable. It would also make any pre-drilled holes for the thumbscrew, outlined above, useless.

The size of the angle iron is tricky. Too small (1" for example) and it can be difficult to attach the playfield. Too large and the iron will cover too much of the bottom of the playfield, making it difficult to remove parts.

 

Modification Note: The original design used a thumb screw to tighten the nut, which held the playfield in place. I found that this required a wrench to tighten the thumb screw enough to hold the playfield. A friend (thanks Dennis!) suggested substituting an outside water faucet handle in place of the thumb screw. This is a great improvement and makes it easy to lock and loosen the rotisserie into place. I got all the parts at a Ace hardware store. Look for the faucet handle with a square hole (Ace 4005864) and then use a carriage bolt with the square opening. They fit perfectly and it makes a secure connection for the screw. I used a 2" screw, but a shorter one will work just as well.

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To attach the playfield to the rotisserie, most use c-clamps. This will work quite well, but lends itself to slippage and a catastrophic fall. While some might consider this a sacrilege, I connect the playfield to the angle iron with screws and nuts. In this example, there were already enough holes drilled in the lower (bottom) part of the playfield so I did not have to add any. However, to secure the playfield, I would not hesitate to drill a couple of holes in areas where they are not visible in the assembled playfield.

At the top of the playfield, I remove wood screws that hold the top wooden board in place and then use slightly longer screws to attach the playfield to the angle iron.

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All parts are galvanized pipes and associated parts unless otherwise noted.

Parts List:

Description Quantity
   
1/2" Cap 2
1/2" Coupling 2
1/2" x 2" Nipple 2
3/4" Iron Tee 2
3/4" Flange 2
3/4" x 2" Nipple 2
1/2" x 3-1/2" Nipple 2
1/2" Flange 2
Angle Iron 1" to 1& 1/2" 2 x 2ft or 1 x 4ft cut in half
Saw horses 2
1/4x1" thumb screws*** see below and skip these 2
1/4" 20NC tap 1
13/64" drill bit 1

***Modifications:

 
Handle Valve (Ace - 4005864) 2
1/4 x 20 x 2" (can be shorter) carriage bolt 2
1/4 x 20 course nut 2

External Links:

Purchase a Rotisserie - A commercial built one. Very nice.
Build Your Own - A very nice home design
Build Your Own - This is pretty primitive, but it is less expensive than my design.
Build Your Own - Another primitive, but effective design.
Build Your Own - Perhaps the most sophisticated home made design.

 

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This is a personal homepage and doesn't represent the opinions of my employer, family members, friends, or anyone else.