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Thread: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

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    Fever Hunter topper's Avatar
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    Default What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Both of my vintage machines are semi-cyclic and that works great for them. But I recently acquired a 1990's era early modern machine. It goes through balls so fast, I'm constantly shuffling them manually, and god forbid I actually hit "fever mode" there's just no hope of keeping up. So I find myself considering a ball lifter.

    I don't have any intention of dropping $400+ on a ball lifter, if I can even find one, on ebay. So I've been looking at a lot of DIY videos online. There are a few really sophisticated ones that look like they work great but are way too complicated for me to build. Those folks (god bless them) have put in way more than $400 worth of labor to create their one-of-a-kind ball lifter solution.

    The ones that appeal to me are a lot simpler. This one looks like it works a lot like the expensive real-deal ball lifters I occasionally see here and on ebay. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB6Uiyw-Re0

    There's a link in the comments to some 3D files to build it (or something very like it). https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2361236 Looks like you'd just add a switch and a motor. You can even have the parts printed in plastic or laser cut from wood. The price depends on the materials, but it ranges from $30-$100.

    There are a few out there in this same vein, but I don't see any of them actually built to completion. And I haven't seen them discussed here on PachiTalk. All of which makes me think there's some fatal flaw to this approach that everyone (but me) has already figured out. I mean if there were a way to build a ball lifter for under $100, most of us would probably have one right?

    Has anyone tried to build one of these? Has anyone seen one that actually works?

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    Fever Hunter topper's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Well, I just found this: http://www.pachitalk.com/forums/show...296&viewfull=1

    Appears to be the same lifter as the video linked above. That threads more than 2 years old

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    Stuey - The RADministrator MrGneiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    There has been talk about building DIY ball lifters all 15 years that I've been here, even when the orange ones were cheap, but very few have made much progress..

    I feel there is probably a relatively easy and inexpensive way to build something at home that can move some tiny balls a couple feet, but we just haven't figured it out yet!!

    I mean there are 60+ year old machines that have hand cranked ball lifters..Surly there's enough parts at Home Depot to get it done??

    "Blowing smoke rings at the moon."

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    I was thrown out of Top Gear Drunkenclam's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    The greatest DIY one was the balldozer.
    Ian #UKPachinko

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    Master Inventor daverob's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    It's easy to make a ball lifter, it's hard to make one that doesn't jam up all the time.

    One of these days I'll revisit the ball lifter in the video in the first post. I have my own laser cutter now, so there's no excuse for putting it off (except time!).

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    Fever Hunter topper's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Quote Originally Posted by daverob View Post
    It's easy to make a ball lifter, it's hard to make one that doesn't jam up all the time.

    One of these days I'll revisit the ball lifter in the video in the first post. I have my own laser cutter now, so there's no excuse for putting it off (except time!).
    Thanks! Any experience with the files I linked to on Thingverse?

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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Anyone tried to make one with external magnets to pull the balls up? No ball contact with gears, would just need to move away from the tube/chute at the top to release them into a tray. Just thinking outside the gear box. Seems the internal gear drive has been the limiting factor up to now.
    Pachinko -Nishijin "C" Fishing Game & Hockey, Red Lions, CR Red Lions, Heiwa Double Wing, Takao Bruce Lee, SanseiR&D 777 Sevens Rock, Sankyo Wanted!, lots of other vintages!; Pachislo -SPIN LUCK, Kung Fu Lady, Gamera High Grade, Gundam

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    Stuey - The RADministrator MrGneiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Quote Originally Posted by naha13 View Post
    Anyone tried to make one with external magnets to pull the balls up? No ball contact with gears, would just need to move away from the tube/chute at the top to release them into a tray. Just thinking outside the gear box. Seems the internal gear drive has been the limiting factor up to now.
    There have been some pachis that used magnets to move balls on the playfield so it should work..But I would think if balls stayed on the magnets too long and became magnetized, there could be balls sticking together issues!!

    "Blowing smoke rings at the moon."

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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    I think the balls would get magnetized pretty quickly.

    I haven't seen anyone try to build something like the marble lifters they sell for kids. Those use a chain and some scoops to carry the balls. Might be too slow.

    3d printing has come a long way in a short time. You can get the lifter I linked to earlier printed in all sorts of materials including ABS plastic or laser cut from wood.

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    I was thrown out of Top Gear Drunkenclam's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    The Daito ball lifts use the chain link and scoop to lift the balls and they are extremely rare.

    http://www.pachitalk.com/forums/show...ighlight=Daito
    Ian #UKPachinko

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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    I'm currently building a simple non-jamming system using 3d printed parts. It's all hand modeled. It's still going through some final tests to ensure there is no jamming, but I plan on making a master post with a link to an etsy store where you can buy completed machines, and also a guide for building your own using common parts off of amazon/ebay/hardware stores. It'll be Arduino based and fully open source. Also any one's ordered machine will have a resin casted casing for the plastics instead of 3d printed (just due to the time sync 3d printing can take for one machine)!

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    I was thrown out of Top Gear Drunkenclam's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    There was a mention above about magnetic lifters.
    Some parlour systems use a magnetic drum to lift balls a short distance. These are located every 4 machines or so. It means that the feed rail from the main lift isn't a slight gradient all the way to the end of the aisle. But is actually staggered with steeper inclines. Although not seen ine personally, only in diagrams. They lift I would say approx 8-10inches
    Ian #UKPachinko

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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    I would expect a parlour system to incorporate a bulk demagnatizer somewhere.

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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Since I have a 3d printer, I have built the one on Thingiverse that you linked to. The guy is also selling the same model on eBay. His eBay version also includes all the other bits, as well as a custom circuit board. For some reason, he is using a 5v proximity sensor to drive a 12v motor. I didn't understand that extra complexity, so I got a 12v proximity detector instead. You still need some kind of relay (I have solid state), because the motor current draw exceeds the range of the sensor. But you don't have to mess with an extra buck converter to change the voltage. There is also a small piece of rod or wire that needs to be slid into a small hole hear the elbow at the bottom. This guides the balls into the elbow. It isn't shown in his Thingiverse post. You also will have to come up with some kind of switch to stop the lifter if the top bin gets full.
    Overall, this lifter works very well. I do wonder how long the gear part will last, since I just printed everything with PLA. But printing another gear and replacing it would be a breeze, so I'm not too concerned about it.
    The motor, sensor, relay, etc are all available on Amazon.

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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Quote Originally Posted by centauri61032 View Post
    Since I have a 3d printer,
    Welcome to Pachitalk
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    Stuey - The RADministrator MrGneiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    WELCOME!!!

    "Blowing smoke rings at the moon."

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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    When things don't go right the 1st time , Step back ,Take a break and come back renewed. RGS

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    I was thrown out of Top Gear Drunkenclam's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Welcome Aboard





    Yes I noticed that about the proximity switches are rated at about 300mA but relay coils are rated at 500mA

    I did find some relays rated at 200mA I hope to be able to test them tomorrow.

    20210328_110155_resized.jpg
    Ian #UKPachinko

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    Tokie Owens centauri61032's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Since there seems to be some interest, here are the parts I used...

    Relay - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B888WVC/

    Sensor - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0872Y3C7D

    Motor - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KLMM49K

    You also need a motor shaft key. I got a 3/16 x 1.5" key from Menards, part # 201-6160

    And for the wire/rod I mentioned, I just used a piece of solid 12ga electrical wire. I don't remember the exact overall length. But I stripped just about all the insulation from it, leaving about an inch on the outer end. I found the wire fit the hole and gear slot perfectly, and the insulation would friction fit into the outer hole to secure it all without anything else. It sticks out a bit to allow easy removal later if needed. (Like to replace the gear.)

    Finally, you need a length of 1/2 PEX plumbing pipe for the lift tube.

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    Sandwich Shooter samslack's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's with all the DIY ball lifters

    Quote Originally Posted by centauri61032 View Post
    Since I have a 3d printer, I have built the one on Thingiverse that you linked to. The guy is also selling the same model on eBay. His eBay version also includes all the other bits, as well as a custom circuit board. For some reason, he is using a 5v proximity sensor to drive a 12v motor. I didn't understand that extra complexity, so I got a 12v proximity detector instead. You still need some kind of relay (I have solid state), because the motor current draw exceeds the range of the sensor. But you don't have to mess with an extra buck converter to change the voltage. There is also a small piece of rod or wire that needs to be slid into a small hole hear the elbow at the bottom. This guides the balls into the elbow. It isn't shown in his Thingiverse post. You also will have to come up with some kind of switch to stop the lifter if the top bin gets full.
    Overall, this lifter works very well. I do wonder how long the gear part will last, since I just printed everything with PLA. But printing another gear and replacing it would be a breeze, so I'm not too concerned about it.
    The motor, sensor, relay, etc are all available on Amazon.
    For the gear not sure about pla but I used petg and I have 7 machines that have been running that setup with the custom boards for about a year now. The gear still looks perfect. After about a year of play. I have run dozens of fevers. It works just fine for me. The board has a reversal for if a jam occurred I used it once because my 6 yr old threw a screw in the hopper and it caused a jam. And when that happened the fuse blew and I just had to replace a simple fuse. Reverse the motor with the switch for 1 sec and take the screw out. And I don't miss manually dumping and filling.

    Sent from my SM-A515U using Tapatalk

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