Skip to content

1. Principles and practices

1-0. Assignment

Plan and sketch a potential final project.

1-1. Read the Fab Charter

I’m interested in difference between fablab and other commercial makerspace. Who owns fab lab inventions? and How can business use a fab lab? mention that people who use fablab can make things and earn money, but also they should share it on lab’s environment. Basically, their prototyping and ideas should be open like documentations of Fab Academy. I feel it sounds great, but also may have problem of independance commercially.

I uploaded Fab Academy Student Agreement here.

1-2. Initial Research

I want to make Pinball Machine, contain score counting sysytem. At first I searched for some example, homemade pinball machine.

PinBox 3000


  • Cardboard pinball kit mainly for children.
  • You can add Arduino based score counting system.


  • Wood (cut by laser cutter,maybe) and metal screws.
  • About 1 meter height, and have a wood scaffold.
  • Recomended to arrange game board, as a kind of interior funiture.
  • You can add smart phone app point count system.



  • Made by Japanese personal maker, noguo-san( )
  • Containning 3D printing, electronics, sound and LED !

Zaria Smalls’ Pinball

zaria's work

  • Made by Zaria Smmalls, in HTMAA class.
  • She made …
    • Cabinet by CNC cutting, Shopbot
    • Metal flippers by molding and casting.
    • 7 seg display by circuit board and 3D printed case.
    • Breakbeam seonsor by IR LED, IR collector.
  • It looks she couldn’t finish making machine.
    • She said “There were a ton of parts I didn’t get to simply because of time constraints.”

1-3. Sketch My Final Project Ideas/s

Think about my Pinball

  • I understand good point from examples…

    • 3D printing, laser cutting and CNC milling will work for making its body.
    • Wood looks pretty.
    • It’s possible to make score counting system based on Arduino.
  • Also, it seems to have some risks.

    • Zaria’s work tell me “Trying to make all of its parts will makes you too busy.”
    • Too large is not good for me, in this time. FabLab Kamakura doesn’t have large CNC like Shopbot(of course, we will ask for help with other labs), and I don’t have driving license.
  • What the unique point of my plan?

    • No need to be modular system like MAKERBALL, I won’t sell it for everyone.
    • It will be better to make small, portable, and focusing on raising its quality, program and mechanism.
    • (I also want to learn Unity Game programing. Doesn’t it nice idea that connect virtual and physical pinball games somehow…?)

Let’s make sketch!


I’d like to make a foldable and portable electronic pinball machine. It has a flanger that pushes the balls out, flippers that are activated by a button, bumpers that bounce the balls back, and a system for recording scores.

The size of the machine is small enough for one adult to hold, making it suitable for carrying around. Like chess or backgammon, I want it to be something that I can open when I want to play and close when I’m done.

First, I want to get it to a quality where I can play it well on my own, and then I want my labmates and people I meet on my travels to be able to play it too.

Parts Function
Case Housing all stuff
Metal Ball As a Player
Flipper Hit the ball back
Plunger Launch ball
Pop Bumper Hit the ball back and scores a point
Spinner When a ball passes through, it spins and scores a point
Display Show score
Lane Ways for ball
Target Scores a point

1-4. Have I ?

  • Read the Fab Charter
  • Sketched my final project idea/s
  • Described what it will do and who will use it

What I felt

Thinking about what I wanted to create was hard work, but fun. It’s been a while since I bought a sketchbook and started drawing too, so that was exciting!

I found a lot of DIY pinball makers, so I’d like to use them as a reference and finish my work to my own satisfaction.

Last update: July 19, 2021