Building a pinball machine is not an easy task. It requires years of experience and accumulated knowledge to get the intricacies right and ensure both precision and robustness.
As you probably know, precision and robustness are not things that Lego is known for, but that did not deter one enthusiast, Bre Burns. It took 300 hours over 14 months to design, build, and program a fully functional pinball machine, but she did it, and has won awards and acclaim as a result.
The pinball table is called Benny's Spaceship Adventure. It took around 15,000 Lego bricks to make, including Lego Mindstorms NXT bricks which are programmable. These bricks are used to calculate the score.
It stands at just over two and a half feet tall, which is smaller than a full-size upright pinball table. That said, Bre did keep in place a number of pinball features, such as the 6.5-degree angle of the table.
It is a completely authentic Lego build as well. This means no gluing, screwing, or using any other build method that deviates from the standard way of putting Lego bricks together. There were some challenges to achieving this, but Bre overcame them with some ingenuity.
For example, bumpers are made using Lego rubber bands. It takes about 30 to make a bumper. The balls are steel castor balls from Lego Mindstorms. You can read a detailed breakdown of the build on the Brothers Brick website. Here’s the video too.
Benny's Spaceship Adventure is Bre’s second attempt at making a pinball machine from Lego. The first version wasn't strong or durable enough and it had programming errors which made it very difficult to play. Bre learned from this to make the new version fully functional.
Even though a lot of the problems were ironed out with this new version, there are still challenges. One of the most difficult is transporting the Lego pinball table from event to event. Every bump on the road risks throwing finely tuned elements on the table completely out of alignment.
That means a lot of tinkering when it gets to a destination. People who have had a chance to play it love it, though, and it has won a Lego Technic award for Amazing Tech Machines. So, the hard work was worth it.
That said, if you don’t have 15,000 Lego bricks and/or 300 hours to spare, you can still own your own real-life pinball machine. Check out our range of classic machines today.