Template

Cabinet :: Design :: Head

This Pinball Head design is one that I’ve used on all three of my Custom Pinball Machines, and will work with the lower-angled retro-looking cabinets, as well as the steeper multi-level ones. The head has a thinner profile than older games, mainly because less room is needed for electronics and wiring. The angled trim pieces, however, keep the vintage look.

Head assembly CAD model

SolidWorks screenshot of of Head assembly.

This SolidWorks model is available on the downloads page, as well as DXFs and SVGs of the templates you see here.

Custom Pinball Head

Diagram of individual parts for the Head, along with assembly views.

Above is a diagram of the parts needed to make the head, along with assembly views. These pieces are cut from either 1×4 or 1×6 pine, which is easy to find at your local hardware store. The light board is 1/2″ plywood, but doesn’t need to be the same high quality as the playfield. A piano hinge is used to attach the light board to the head, allowing access to the back. My preference for score displays is to use vintage brackets, which I’ve included in the template as an example.

Cabinet with Head

Extra trim parts and brackets needed to complete Cabinet assembly and Head attachment.

There are several extra trim pieces needed to complete the Cabinet and Head assembly. A piece of 1×4 pine stock is cut down to 2.375 wide, and serves to fill the gap between the head and cabinet, as well as act as a corner brace for the rear corners. A 1.75″ long block of 2×2 pine (which is really 1.5″x 1.5″) is used to locate and support the leg bracket during assembly, and also serves as corner reinforcement.

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Cabinet :: Design :: Templates

My most recent Custom Pinball Machine utilized a multi-level playfield, which requires the steeper slope you typically see on more modern cabinets. I’ve posted templates for this design for those that are either looking for a modern feel, or need the extra headroom for flying wire-forms or alpha-ramps (or just an old-school upper level playfield).

I call this latest pin “Miss Adventure”, so all the files will have the initial MA right after the date code. These can all be found on the download page. Please understand ahead of time that the Cabinet depth is designed to work with Gottlieb lockdown bar hardware, and a Custom Head (template for this to follow in the next post).

Note that, as in the previous post, the front corners are intended to be mitered for a high-quality professional look. If you’re not going to do this step for whatever reason, be sure to take off an extra 3/4″ cut (indicated by the blue dash in the SVG and DXF files), but only take this off either 1) front of both left and right side pieces (preferred) or 2) both edges of the front piece (less-preferred).

SolidWorks ScreenShot

This is a SolidWorks screenshot for a two-level Custom Pinball Cabinet

This template is designed to be mostly cut from a single sheet of 4’x8′ plywood, 3/4″ thick. Birch top is usually relatively cheap while providing a quality finish. Some other minor pieces are needed, which I usually cut from pine stock. I’ll detail this in the next post related to the Head fabrication.

Plywood template for Custom Pinball Cabinet

Template for cutting Custom Cabinet pieces from a single sheet of 4’x8′ Birch plywood.