This is my attempt at duplicate the experience of playing pinball at home.
Approach: Use a 800Mhz PC running Win98 (configured to hide the boot and shutdown screens using TweakUI).
For the buttons I used a KeyWiz Eco2 encoder (solderless) board.
This uses Visual Pinball. I'm choosing to just run tables that do not require PinMame so I don't have to worry about ROM's and their associated licensing issues. I have it emulating 498 Tables so far. The machine boots to a menu of tables where you use the flipper buttons to navigate through it. You select the tables with the ball plunger button.
Cost for entire cabinet excluding the PC, coin door and trackball is approx $140. I switched from MDF to lighter weight plywood (actually slightly more expensive than MDF).
I ordered the buttons from the same place I purchased the KeyWiz Eco2 encoder to save on shipping. I ordered the legs off of eBay for $8 but you can easily find new ones from pinball suppliers for a good price. I purchased the coin door from ebay for $9 and the X-arcade Trackball for $49.
Here are my design drawings. I typically do all of my design and concept drawings in Paintbrush. One day I may switch to a CAD program but so far Paintbrush works fine for me. (I also write/program video games using Notepad but that's another story.)
I eliminated the need for a Trackball by tweaking the VPLauncher software.
Latest Machine Photographs:
This is what I have finished building so far. For the
marquee I decided to purchase a poster with a Dragon and Tiger circling a
yen-yang symbol. The dragon is holding a large silver ball (Perfect! - purchased
from wal-mart $3.99). I put a string of colored blinking Christmas
lights behind it to add some sparkle.
I decided to paint the top plate black and replace the marble texture around the screen with a textured black. To top it off, I added an extra pair of flipper buttons on the top to smaller children and table nudge buttons for up/down to go with the side to side ones and the crown jewel... a ball plunger! this works fine with a simple normally closed switch solidly planted into a 2x4 within the cabinet.