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Thread: I Made Matthew818ply's Ball Lifter - Notes for anyone attempting

  1. #1
    Tokie Owens VulGerrity's Avatar
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    Default I Made Matthew818ply's Ball Lifter - Notes for anyone attempting

    Okay! So I finally got the ball lifter made. Once I got it working, it's a fantastic design, but I do have some notes for the creator and anyone trying to make this themselves.

    The tolerances on this model are VERY tight. I had to reprint the bottom and middle because I had WAY too much warping which meant the parts didn't mesh very well and caused balls to jam. I recommend printing the parts with brims so you don't get warping.

    The three layers of the catcher don't lock together in any way and the BOM doesn't include any bolts for attaching them. I used 2@1/4" lag bolts to attach the back to my machine and 2 longer 1/4" bolts for the front, which I'm able to use as legs. It might be worth using thinner bolts so you don't have to screw them in and can instead bolt them in place. I think the lag bolts were 3.5" and the longer bolts were 4".

    The BOM also doesn't include the tubing you should use, it's 1/2 pex tubing. For the elbows which are used to attach the tubing, those also don't connect in a secure way. If you can print them as a single piece, this would be preferred, but I can't see how you can do this nicely without supports, maybe you can. If you print them in halves, you will have to secure them some how. I used a combination of zip ties and electrical tape.

    I was not familiar with woodruff keys and I had a HELLUVA time trying to find some. The only ones I found were rounded on one side, which wasn't quite right. I instead used a piece of (I think) 3/16" steel which was perfect. I cut it down to size with a diamond cutting wheel.

    The distance from the proximity sensor to the balls is maybe a little too far. Balls have to be in JUST the right spot in order to trigger the motor. This means, if you get a lot of balls in the hopper and they align in just the wrong way, it won't trigger the motor and your balls won't get lifted and the hopper will get full and jam. After I cleared out the hopper, I haven't had any issues, but if the creator does any iterations, I would love to see this improved.

    The tolerance between the gear and the hopper is VERY tight. On my first print I needed to sand down the gap so that the gear could spin freely. When I reprinted the bottom, I didn't have any issues, but I had also sanded down the gear a bit. A bigger tolerance would be helpful.

    Other than that, this works great! It sure beats spending $200+ on a premade ball lifter, but it will likely require some tinkering to get it working just right. I used a 12v power supply from Amazon and split the output to a buck converter to get 5v for the sensor and sent 12v straight to the motor/solid state relay.

    Oh! Lastly, balls have a tendency to bounce out. I may have been able to alleviate this by mounting the hopper higher, but I instead designed and printed a custom shroud to direct the balls into the hopper and prevent them from bouncing out.

    Since it's not included in the BOM here's links to the power supply, buck converter, and solid state relay.

    12v Power Supply

    Buck Converter

    Solid State Relay


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  3. #2
    Stuey - The RADministrator MrGneiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Made Matthew818ply's Ball Lifter - Notes for anyone attempting


    "Blowing smoke rings at the moon."

  4. #3
    Eye Shooter rockston's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Made Matthew818ply's Ball Lifter - Notes for anyone attempting

    That was possibly the most persuasive argument I have read so far for simply having a Cyclone delivered to your door.

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    Fever Hunter Atoombolle's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Made Matthew818ply's Ball Lifter - Notes for anyone attempting

    Gratz on getting it to work. I have no 3d printer and somehow keep seeing messages on Facebook of people who are having all sorts of issues with their 3d printers and print jobs, so I'll keep following Rockston's advice myself.

    That said, I think I only have two machines where I didn't have to rig something up to make it work/fit. Two of my machines have multiple outputs where the lost balls come out of, and one has the exit so close against the front of the machine that it needed a little ramp to guide the balls to the lifter.

    Then again, I can't imagine anyone getting into Pachinko and assuming there will be no tinkering involved at all...

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  7. #5
    Tokie Owens mb7241's Avatar
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    Oct 2018
    Cleveland, TN
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    Default Re: I Made Matthew818ply's Ball Lifter - Notes for anyone attempting

    Useful knowledge indeed. I'm considering purchasing a cheapish 3D printer and printing 5 of these bad boys for my setup...problem is, I've never owned a 3D printer before, or even had access to one with which to print I have some research yet to complete, it seems.

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