Raspberry Pi-powered pinball prowess prevails in this DIY creation

Mark Baldridge

There’s something about retro gaming and geek culture that just go hand-in-hand (a bit like cats and the Internet). Naturally, you won’t be able to resist admiring this homemade Raspberry Pi pinball machine.

Recent High School graduate Mark Baldrigde started work on his pinball machine last July, and although he's still working on it, the basic elements are all in place. His machine uses the Rhett&Link YouTube channel for its theme, which explains the two guys featured on the play area.

At the machine's heart is a Raspberry Pi mini-PC, which controls all of the buttons, the flippers, and the little scoreboard that lights up when you hit a target. The Raspberry Pi seems like it works well for this sort of thing, but it can only connect to a total 16 I/O pins, which was well short of what Mark needed. He solved this by using an I2C buss and extender chip to add support for extra (up to 96 more) microcontrollers and peripherals.

The pinball machine lives in a wooden case that Mark cut and painted by himself. He bought the four legs are from a pinball store (these exist!), while other parts like buttons and the flippers were laser-cut.

At present, the start button, the ball shooter and return, the bumpers and slingshots, and the drop targets all work. Mark still needs to work on the programming elements and the fun audio/visual stuff, like the sound effects, the animations, and a coin slot.

The pinball machine may be a work in progress, but even at this stage, you can’t help but be excited about it. I’m looking forward to seeing a video of the first game.

[Mark Baldridge via MAKE]

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