Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
MAKERBALL – The DIY Pinball Machine Kit project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$17,359
pledged of $36,107 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By MAKE & PLAY
$17,359
pledged of $36,107 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

Makerball is a DIY pinball machine kit. It's ready to play and upgradeable. Makerball is your new hobby. (-: And it's fun! :-)

 

Makerball is sturdy and solid with. The design is pure and simple. It consists mainly of wood and works with simple, reliable mechanics that are easy to understand. You also have the option of upgrading Makerball digitally: with a microcontroller and the free MAKE & PLAY score app on your smartphone, you can start playing for points!

As seen on

Makerball assembled. Materials, mechanics & design: pure and simple.
Makerball assembled. Materials, mechanics & design: pure and simple.

Idea

“I’ve always liked playing pinball and wanted to own my own pinball machine, but I never had the means to buy one. Used models weren’t an option either because I wouldn’t know how to repair them. And I couldn’t decide which kind of machine I wanted anyway. So I came up with the idea of Makerball: an affordable, simple and versatile DIY pinball machine.(Alain Schibli, inventor of Makerball)

 

Assembly

Depending on your DIY skills, it takes around 30 to 60 minutes to assemble. All you need is a screwdriver; we highly recommend a battery-powered one.

Makerball packaging (photoshopped). The starter kit comes in a box (17 x 60 x 90 cm ) weighing +/-14 kg and can be shipped worldwide.
Makerball packaging (photoshopped). The starter kit comes in a box (17 x 60 x 90 cm ) weighing +/-14 kg and can be shipped worldwide.

Level 1: Assemble & play

Once you’ve put all the parts together, you can start playing right away! The starter kit includes a basic obstacle set consisting of wooden obstacles, rubber elements, copper plates, metal pieces and magnets that can be placed anywhere on the perforated wooden playfield board.

The basic obstacle set (included in the starter kit).
The basic obstacle set (included in the starter kit).

 

The basic obstacle set in various positions.
The basic obstacle set in various positions.

Level 2: DIY – Do it Yourself

We provide the base, the rest is up to you! Expand, change, decorate, paint or pimp it up the way you want it. There are no rules and the sky is the limit! Makerball allows almost endless possibilities and is all about DIY. To give you an idea of what’s possible, we have created our own playfields (which was the most fun part of this project). Some of them might look nice, but they are far from perfect. We know that YOU can do better. Go crazy! Surprise us with your creations! Your pinball machine can be anything you imagine it to be. Let your creative juices flow. Just make it!

Cardboard, wood, bricks, clay, metal, paper, trash, gold – you can use almost anything to build your playfield.
Cardboard, wood, bricks, clay, metal, paper, trash, gold – you can use almost anything to build your playfield.

 

Go nuts!
Go nuts!

 

DIY! Sky is the limit.
DIY! Sky is the limit.

Level 3: Analog + Digital = Analogital

Makerball can be upgraded digitally. The starter kit includes wires and conductive copper foil that function as sensors. They are actually switches which are switched on when the ball hits them. Connect the wires to your microcontroller (not included), install the free MAKE & PLAY score app on your smartphone and start playing for points!

On our website, we will provide you with all instructions required to set up the electronics. It’s no biggie, even if you have no prior experience. Makerball is also an easy way of entering the maker universe and starting to experiment with microcontrollers.

Schematic figure of the electronical parts.
Schematic figure of the electronical parts.

 

Right row: The ball connects the two conductive copper plates and sends a signal via microcontroller to the MAKE & PLAY score app on your smartphone.
Right row: The ball connects the two conductive copper plates and sends a signal via microcontroller to the MAKE & PLAY score app on your smartphone.

 

Connection on the underside of the playfield.
Connection on the underside of the playfield.

 

The MAKE & PLAY score app can be downloaded for free.
The MAKE & PLAY score app can be downloaded for free.

 

Microcontroller, wires, breadboard, battery and smartphone are NOT included in the starter kit.
Microcontroller, wires, breadboard, battery and smartphone are NOT included in the starter kit.

Research

Makerball was part of a Master’s design project at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and has been developed over the past two years. It was explored in six circles of iterative prototyping. The seventh prototype is now ready to go into serial production. With your support, the production can finally start.

 

 

Within the Master thesis entitled „make & play“, the two seemingly contradictory activities “play” and “make” were examined: In our efficiency-driven, highly stressed society, playing is widely seen as a waste of time, especially by adults. Play became a four-letter word. At the same time, it is increasingly used as motivational way of boosting efficiency, mirrored in trends such as gamification. The aesthetics of undirected play have been neglected and a redesign is needed. But within the niche of the maker community, however, playing is a way of life. What was looked for in the world of play, was suddenly found in the tools of the digital DIY movement: playful systems for adults, which are innovative toys rather than tools.

Pinball too, has somehow become a thing of the past and the appeal of pinball machines as icons of pop culture has faded. The aim of Makerball is to counter play’s bad reputation. Makerball isn’t loud, nor does it have any flashing lights. Here, the rolling ball becomes an object of meditation. Mindfulness and concentration instead of sensory overload.

What's next?

As the words “starter kit” suggest, this is just the beginning. If our Kickstarter campaign succeeds, we want to collaborate with artists and designers to produce further add-ons like obstacle sets, playfields, more sensors and graphic inlays. Stay tuned. We are also envisioning Makerball events like fun contests, workshops and do-it-together gatherings. Our third eye also sees a growing community (#Makerball) that shares their creations with others. Who’s got balls? Extraordinary creations will be admired and their creators idolised. The “Playfield of the month” will be honoured and the “Makerballer of the Year” will become even more famous than Jay-Z.

The team

Makerball was initiated by Alain „Lain“ Schibli and has evolved thanks to the fantastic support from a team of experts: Chantal Bavaud (design), Thomas Walde (design), Dario Häfeli (electronics), Janos Escher (engineering), Bruno Lüscher (engineering) and Christian Fallegger (coding).

Areas of use

We see Makerball not only for private use, but also in universities, bars, co-working spaces and creative studios. Anywhere that fun should replace stress!

Makerball is fun. Almost anywhere.
Makerball is fun. Almost anywhere.

 

Want to play outside? No problem!
Want to play outside? No problem!

The code

The basic coding was written in Arduino. It is quite simple and checks whether or not there is a signal coming from the copper foils that are connected by wires to the Arduino. The Arduino communicates with the app on the smartphone via Bluetooth. Some microcontrollers such as the Arduino Genuino 101 have an integrated Bluetooth shield. The coding of the app was written with Xcode.

If the campaign succeeds, the code will be open-source so it can be changed, personalised and optimised as you wish. You can also write your own apps. Why not programme the sensors to use them, for example, like a game controller with left, right, shoot and jump buttons?

Part of the coding in Arduino.
Part of the coding in Arduino.

 

Part of the coding in Xcode
Part of the coding in Xcode

The timeline

22 May – 5 July 2017: Kickstarter campaign 

July & August 2017: Small improvements to be made to the sensors and the app will be programmed for Android smartphones

September & October 2017: Production

Late October & early November 2017: Dispatch

25 December 2017: Christmas (Makerball could be a nice Christmas present)



The pledges

MAKERBALL STARTER KIT: The starter kit contains the fully functional, mechanically simple pinball machine. It also includes the basic obstacle set.
MAKERBALL STARTER KIT: The starter kit contains the fully functional, mechanically simple pinball machine. It also includes the basic obstacle set.

 

MAKERBALL STARTER KIT – DESKTOP VERSION: The Desktop Version contains the fully functional, mechanically simple pinball machine. It also includes the basic obstacle set.
MAKERBALL STARTER KIT – DESKTOP VERSION: The Desktop Version contains the fully functional, mechanically simple pinball machine. It also includes the basic obstacle set.

 

MAKE T-SHIRT: To be honest, the T-shirt is not the best quality. It will probably shrink when washed for the first time and the cut is loose so not ideal for slim-fit lovers! The digital print on the chest says “MAKE – it’s fun”.
MAKE T-SHIRT: To be honest, the T-shirt is not the best quality. It will probably shrink when washed for the first time and the cut is loose so not ideal for slim-fit lovers! The digital print on the chest says “MAKE – it’s fun”.
 
MAKERBALL MAGAZINE: The full-colour magazine will have 32 pages or more. It contains information about Makerball and visually appealing pictures.
MAKERBALL MAGAZINE: The full-colour magazine will have 32 pages or more. It contains information about Makerball and visually appealing pictures.

 

FAQ

What is the size of a Makerball? Makerball has a height of 123 cm, a width of 53 cm and a length of 85 cm.

What age is Makerball best for? We want to push adult play in particular: Makerball is designed for adults aged between 18 and 112 years old!

What does the starter kit contain? The starter kit contains a fully functional, mechanically simple pinball machine. It also includes the basic obstacle set.

What is the difference between the Makerball Starter Kit and the Makerball Starter Kit Desktop Version? They are both exactly the same, except for the missing legs when you make a pledge for the Desktop Version. All other parts are the same. You can buy the legs separately later if you want to.

What do I have to buy extra? If you only want to use the analog version of Makerball, i.e. without sensors and the score app, you don’t need to buy any extras. You can start playing as soon as you’ve assembled it. If you want to upgrade Makerball digitally, you will need a smartphone, a microcontroller, some wires, a breadboard and a battery. We will provide you with more detailed instructions on our website once the campaign is over. A microcontroller and the other parts should cost you less than 60 USD. We recommend a microcontroller with an integrated Bluetooth shield; we’ve been working with the Arduino Genuino 101, which worked very well. The programming code will be open-source and can be changed individually.

How can we follow Makerball? We try to update our Instagram account regularly. It's @Makerball. Soon, our websites www.makerball.org and www.make-and-play.ch will be online. 

Thanks for your interest!

Lain playing with the Desktop Version
Lain playing with the Desktop Version

 

Risks and challenges

If there are more than 500 pledges for Makerball, we will have to produce in two batches. Second production batch would be in November 2017 and would arrive in Mid December 2017. First comes, first served.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Make a pledge without a reward

    CHF
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 29 or more About $30

    Makerball Postcard

    You will get updates about Makerball, a huge high-five and a nicely designed postcard personally handwritten by someone from the Makerball team. Just wait and see!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    CHF
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 49 or more About $50

    Makerball Magazine

    You get a huge high-five and the Makerball Magazine. A visually appealling full color magazine with 32 pages or more.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    4 backers
    CHF
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 59 or more About $61

    Make T-Shirt

    Besides a huge high-five you get a black T-Shirt in not the very best quality. We will contact you after the campaign for sizes (M / L / XL).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    4 backers
    CHF
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 239 or more About $246

    Makerball Starter Kit – Desktop Version

    You get the Desktop Version of MAKERBALL DIY Pinball Machine. The Desktop Version has no legs.
    Including a set of basic obstacles.
    Including wires and conductive copper foil to build the sensors.
    Microcontroller is not included.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    14 backers
    CHF
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 329 or more About $338

    Makerball Starter Kit

    You get the MAKERBALL DIY Pinball Machine.
    Including a set of basic obstacles.
    Including wires and conductive copper foil to build the sensors.
    Microcontroller is not included.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    31 backers
    CHF
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 9,500 About $9,764

    Do it Together

    We from MAKE & PLAY come to your place and we build a playfield together. Worldwide.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    CHF
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.