Hey Everyone,

It’s been a while, but I promise you a great update.  I have been making a large amount of progress on the playfield wiring and other various items on the checklists.  Check out the progress below!

I finally got both of my controlled gates built and installed!  These are using coils under the playfield to pull them up as needed.  This will be a very cool feature of the game which will allow me to open the orbits on the fly.


My LED segments are alive!  These are really cool looking in person.  I will be able to display ball save countdown seconds along with linking them to my lamp shows to do some really cool stuff.


Making progress on the wiring of the breakout boards and the RGB LED boards.


Here is a closeup of one of my RGB breakout boards.  This connects directly to the PD-LED and then has headers to connect to the RGB LED boards.  Pretty handy little PCB.


More progress on the wiring.  You can see I am starting to run the switch harnesses from the switches to the SW16 boards just off the left side of the image.


OK, it is starting to get really crazy here.  This PCB is a custom shield that houses an Arduino Nano that will control my 4 numeric Bally displays.


This board below is a pretty dangerous one…  This is my 48v filter board.  Basically, it will smooth out the 48v dips when coils fire by charging up these large capacitors and pulling a large amount of current quickly from them instead of all from the power supply directly.   This will also make my 48v line in my machine more dangerous since these capacitors can discharge a large amount of current very quickly into, let’s say, my hand.  😐


This is one of the smallest custom PCBs that I have built for this project.  This is an interface board for the emergency beacon that lives on top of my backbox.  It allows me to test and to change the pre-programmed patterns without the game running.  Obviously, a banana for scale…


Ok, here is where it starts getting pretty cool in the display department…  These displays in the picture are being controlled by the Arduino Nano using some code written by Mr. Jim Askey of MyPinballs.com.  These are now ready to go!


Of course, I could not leave the code as it was.  I created a very cool little startup test sequence that will show up upon initial boot.  Video below.

I have been covering most of my wires with black wire wrap to keep it clean, but these are just too good looking to cover up.  These are the plugs that lead to one of the banks of coils on my playfield.


And for the final pictures of the update…  You guys aren’t going to believe this, but I successfully completed all the under playfield wiring.  This includes all serial connections, power connections, switches, coils, and lamps.  I am pretty much done under there.  Now onto the cabinet!

Here is a picture of the playfield with all the inserts lit up at full power!


And finally, below is a full res picture of the bottom of my playfield.  Feel free to inspect away!  🙂


Hope you enjoyed the update, until next time!

Hey Guys and Gals,

I know it has been a while since the last update, but I am making awesome progress on the machine.  Not too much to talk about, but I have a bunch of pictures to show all the progress.  Check it out!

Circuit boards are here and I got a chance to populate and mount some of them pretty quickly:

This is the 3×3 matrix PCB with direct PD-LED input headers.  Less wires = good.


Here is the Bonus LED PCB with the PD-LED piggyback.  I was just test fitting in this picture.


The other boards turned out great!


Starting to mount the custom PCBs to the bottom of the playfield.


Deciding on the exact spinner placement.  This position won.

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3D Printing the shooter lane skip ramp that allows the ball to enter the orbit on the right side.



Hard to see, but the skip ramp is mounted and works great.


More progress on populating and mounting some of the custom PCBs.


Assembled bonus LED PCB with PD-LED piggyback.  Very cool looking.


Here is that same board mounted between the slingshots.


Every pinball machine from the 80’s needs a backglass insert panel.  I drew this one up to hold 4 LED numeric displays and my LCD.


Here is a photo of the insert panel mounted in the backbox.


Just a close-up of my single pop bumper.  This is a DE style pop bumper with a black base.


LCD has been mounted!


Computer has been mounted and powered up…  Only problem is the computer that I was planning on using would not POST.  The motherboard ended up being toast, so I “recycled” it and used a Zotac C Series.


Test fitting the Bally LED displays.  They fit and look great!


Diodes?  I have no need for you!


First boot of the PD-LED and the bonus LED assembly.  I also wired in 2 GI lights to the left just to try them out.  They ended up not being as bright as anticipated, but I compensated for that by putting them EVERYWHERE.


There is always going to be issues when using bulk electronics.  In this case, I had the blue channel burn out on one of the Piranha LEDs.  All good though, they are cheap and I will be able to repair it easily.


Now for the finale.  This is the latest picture of the bottom side of my playfield in full resolution.  I have successfully wired up 32 of my switches.  I have a bunch more, but will hammer through that pretty quickly.  I can then focus on getting all the LEDs wired up and do a full LED test.


Hope you enjoyed the update.  Stay tuned for more.


Hey Everyone,

Long time since I last posted about the Total Annihilation machine.  No worries, I am still working on it like crazy.  This update is going to be kinda fun since I took a bunch of pictures and screenshots along the way.

First off, the v3 playfield ended up having an issue where an inserts was way too large and I had to re-cut the entire thing as I did not notice it until after the playfield was done.  I quickly corrected the issue and started cutting v3.1!!!


Version 3.1 of the TA playfield being cut

After this playfield was cut and I verified all was well with the inserts, I started populating them staring with the bonus multiplier triangles.  The glue that I used to secure these inserts is a clear 5 minute 2-part epoxy.  These inserts are in for life!




Bonus multiplier inserts are in!

Below is a picture I took after I got ALL the inserts in place and hand sanded the playfield flat.  It was much more physical labor than anticipated…




Sanded TA Playfield

Well after that, you can probably guess that I had to do an entire playfield swap from the v2 playfield that was sitting in my cabinet.  🙂

Here is a look at the playfield as it sat right after the main assembly swap!


v3.1 playfield in!!!

For the GI, I ended up using light pipes that I will put VERY bright LEDs under.  My initial testing has shown that they spread the light very evenly.  These are similar to how TBL will be handling the GI in tight places.


Light Pipes

I ended up designing a small RGB board that fits in the bottom of my pop bumper assembly.  These LEDs are bright as hell.  Check out the image below to see how it fits!


RGB Pop Bumper

So here is the most important part to any playfield, the trough.  This is the new Pinball Life lower and upper trough.  I configured it for 4 balls.  This trough will be released by PBL very soon.

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PBL Upper Trough


PBL Lower Trough

PBL Lower Trough


PBL Trough Exit

PBL Trough Exit

Next on the agenda was getting some of the custom circuit boards designed and sent off for manufacturing.  Below are some screenshots of the boards prior to being sent off.

Custom RGB LED Board

Custom RGB LED Board


Custom PD-LED Breakout Board

Custom PD-LED Breakout Board


Custom 2 Digit Display Board

Custom 2 Digit Display Board


TA 3x3 RGB Lamp Board

TA 3×3 RGB Lamp Board


TA Bonus Lamp Board

TA Bonus Lamp Board


Well, that is all I have for now.  Hope you enjoyed the update!

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to give a quick update on the V3 playfield.  I have finally finished the insert layout.  I decided to remove the obtuse arrows on the left side and sub in some nice early Bally style arrows.  I have also begin the process of testing out my insert hole machining.  The first test was actually pretty good.  Check out the results below.




Hey Everyone,

Happy New Year!  Here is another update on the Total Annihilation project.  I have currently finished populating and testing the layout of the V2 playfield.  The next step will be to finish the design of the V3 playfield that includes inserts.  I also need to update my trough cuts to adapt to the new Pinball Life ball trough that will be coming out early this year.  I will post some specs of that trough once I get it into my design.

Below are pictures of the populated V2 playfield, a video of my inline drop ball locking release, and a sneak peek at an early version of the V3 playfield that includes inserts.  Click on the images for the full size view.



Hey Everyone,

After populating my V1 playfield and testing a few things out, I discovered that my upper right kickback design was not very smooth and I just could not live with the design as it seemed amateur to me.  I ended up replacing the upper right side of the design with some straight inline drops with a scoop behind them.  I am going to do some really cool ball locking tricks with this setup and it will be much better than the original design.  Below is a rendering of the upper section of the V2 playfield that I updated.


So on a separate note, I have gotten a bunch of questions on how the hell I am milling a full sized playfield on an X-Carve that is only capable of doing 31″ x 31″.  The process is not that difficult.  Here are the high level steps that I perform to get my playfields cut.

Step 1: Export the full DXF file of my playfield from SolidWorks.  You will notice in the 2 images below there are 2 little lines sticking out of the right and left side of the playfield.  These will be referenced in the next few steps.


Step 2: Import the full DXF into my CAM program and delete all the lines and artifacts ABOVE the 2 guide lines.  I then program the CAM and save as “Playfield Bottom”.


Step 3: Import the full DXF again to a new document and delete all the lines and artifacts BELOW the guide lines.  I then program the CAM and save as “Playfield Top”.


Step 4: It is important to make sure that the X (left/right) axis is the same for both the top and bottom playfield.  I ensure this happens by setting my X axis to the tip of the left guide line.  This will ensure that the left and right positioning of the 2 cuts are parallel.

Step 5: Start cutting the bottom part of the playfield and return the machine to X0 Y0 when complete.


Step 6: Once the bottom part of the playfield is cut, I unlock and slide the stock down and align the tip of the left guide line to the center of the end mill bit.  Once I am happy with the Y alignment, I lock the stock back in place.  I then proceed to cut the top part of the playfield without resetting my X or Y axis in the software.  The machine will pick up where it left off and hopefully continue like it was all cut at once.  It is not perfect every single time, but it is damn close.

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Step 7: Let the machine continue and do not set your beer by the Emergency Stop button.

Hey Everyone,

I just thought I would post up a few updated pictures of my Total Annihilation pinball project.  I finally got the CAD/CAM programmed for version 1.0 of the full playfield.  I was able to get it cut this weekend and started populating the playfield.  I also dabbled a bit with the art to come up with the feel of the future art.


TA Logo2









Hey Everyone,
The time has finally come for me to create a Pinball Machine of my own design from the ground up. I will be posting progress updates here.

So, a little bit of overall info about the project… I will be making a single level Classic Bally style game that will have fully updated electronics. The P3-ROC system will be used throughout this project. I plan to use integrating the existing displays, but may upgrade them to Alphanumeric to make communication with the player a bit easier. RGB LEDs will be used along with fully controllable GI.

As for the theme, this is where it gets interesting. The player will assume the role of the antihero where he/she will be trying to take down as many nuclear reactors as possible in a post-apocalyptic world. The player will need to destroy backup power generators, boron rods, coolant reserves, and battle the reactor core to meltdown. I currently do not have a name set in stone for the game, so I am open to suggestions, let me know what you think.

Below are a few pictures of the current status of the project. It looks like I am much further than I am.  The lower playfield is CNC’d so I can start experimenting with the physical layout.


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Recently a few of us pinball enthusiasts were contacted by Jason Compton regarding how 3D Printing has changed the evolution of the pinball hobby.  The article was just released this morning.

Please check it out!  He also has a bunch of other interesting things on his blog as well.


Pinball News has written up a great article on the release party for The Big Lebowski Pinball.  Below is a video of the attract mode along with a link tot he Article.

More to come soon!!!