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.
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.
To save a little money, we made a compromise. We 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 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″ 20NC 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.***
We 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.
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. We 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. Parts were obtained from an 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. We used a 2″ screw, but a shorter one will work just as well.
To attach the playfield to the rotisserie, many use c-clamps. This will work quite well, but lends itself to slippage and a catastrophic fall. While some might consider this a sacrilege, we 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 we did not have to add any.
However, to secure the playfield, we would not hesitate to drill a couple of holes in areas where they are not visible in the assembled playfield. Or use a wood screw from the bottom not long enough to go through the playfield.
At the top of the playfield, we 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. The longer screws must be the same diameter as the ones removed. If they are larger, then when the original screws are replaced, they will not hold. If they are smaller, the screws will not hold the playfield to the angle iron.
All parts are galvanized pipes and associated parts unless otherwise noted.
An Alternative Design
Here is an image sent by a friend of an alternative design. We have now modified ours by including the clamps shown on one end. We felt that the top of the playfield could not (usually) be easily clamped unless the end piece of wood was removed. Instead, we usually remove 2 0r 3 wood screws that go through that playfield to the wood at the top, and put in wood screws through the flange into those existing holes.
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Purchase a Rotisserie – A commercial built one. Very nice.
Build Your Own – A very nice design
Build Your Own – This is also nice.
Build Your Own – Another primitive, but effective design.
Build Your Own – Perhaps the most sophisticated home made design.
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