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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Default Pachinko Machine

One of the benefits of growing up in a Military household was spending a number of my childhood years between Hawaii and Guam. While there I was exposed to a lot of Japanese and other Asian cultural items, one being Pachinko.

My Father had aquired an old Pachinko machine, and I remember fighting with my brother for a turn to play with it. For such a simple game, it can be addictive.

The double edged sword of being able to move to such places as Guam and Hawaii was that we had to move back. In order to make the weight limits allowed for our personal effects when we moved, things had to get left behind. One of those was the Pachinko Machine.

My mother had recently mentioned the machine in a conversation, and how disappointed she was we had to get rid of it. In a strange coincidence, I received that same week an estate sale invitation that had on the manifest a pachinko machine for sale.

Needless to say, a few well placed bids later I had the machine... or what used to be one. The case was in bad repair, the electrical wiring was shot, and the linkages bore the consequences from sitting in a drafty shed for Lord knows how long.

With a few weeks of cleaning, lubricating, adjusting and entirely re-wiring I had the mechanicals of the machine working again. It still could not stand on its own, so I decided instead of replacing all the wood parts (which would have meant removing each component...) I build a second frame around it to provide support.

My original plan was to enclose the back side to keep foreign objects from getting inside, but I decided that for me, the back with all its mechanical marvel is the more fascinating side to look at. Instead I made a wider top to cover the ball feed tray, and hopefully prevent debris from falling inside. I used 8 rare earth magnets to hold a removable door over the ball tray which lifts easily out of the way to add balls, but doesn't take away from the grain of the walnut top.

Needless to say, Mom is quite happy with the results. I'm not sure their dog is pleased to have such a noisy toy in their home, however.
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Doug
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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This machine was from the early 70's, as best as I can guess with the Japanese dating system it is from 1974.

These machines operated entirely on a system of mechanical levers, see-saws, and a whole lot of finely adjusted linkages and counterweights. They did not require any electricity to work, just gravity. Even the bell that rings when jackpots are earned is rung as the steel balls fall across it on their way into the payout tray. The only electrical components were 2 switches and 2 lamps.

In the pachinko parlor, the machines had a 10v DC supply for the lights. The importer would remove the leads when they shipped them to the States, and recommend a 9v battery. The previous owner of this one tried hooking it up to 110v AC. I really wish I could have seen the look on his face the first time the switches closed......

needless to say the thin brass switches were in bad shape, the contacts had holes blown into them from the arcing when the switches opened. I could not find any switches similar to them that would work, and normal microswitches took too much pressure to operate. I was able to take the parts from the two original switches and make one, but I had to remanufacture the 'ball empty' light switch from brass flat stock. It took a lot of adjusting to get the gap set that the switch would operate properly, but it was worth the effort.

The unit only had 2 lights originally, one for the jackpot, one for the ball empty indicator. That wasn't going to do, so I carefully located a couple of places behind the original plastic decorations on the face of the machine and I added a few LEDs. The whole unit is powered by a 12v computer speaker power adapter that I picked up from the Habitat for Humanity store for a dollar.
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Doug
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http://disasterreliefeffort.org/

Last edited by kp91; 08-07-2011 at 03:13 PM.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 12:49 PM
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WOW, that's an amazing restoration project, you should be really proud of it! I bet you're playing a lot of pachinko now.

I used to play a wooden board game called skittles when I was a kid. It was a ton of fun. A while ago, my grandmother sold the board at a garage sale. I'd like to make a new Skittles table some day...
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Rob,

It was great for a while, I was bartering time on the machine in exchange for the kids pulling weeds in the garden. Too bad it's at their Grandma's now!

Thanks for the kind comments!

Doug
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 01:50 PM
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Cool I have played that game when I was Young, it is very addictive

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 02:27 PM
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Doug, I think you should put a cover on the back of the machine to protect the components from dust if nothing else. How about some clear plastic? Remember to place some holes for air flow to keep it cool, a piece of loose knit fabric would work well as an air filter.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 04:27 PM
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Doug, I also brought one of those home years ago, kids drove me and the wife mad with all the noise. It was fun however and now it is long gone.......not that I would want another. Have fun. Robbie
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-05-2011, 09:35 PM
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Interesting restoration, Doug.

I bet that brings back many family memories.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2011, 12:58 AM
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Yup, I remember playing these on TDYs to Japan in the late 60's. Couple of us would get so involved we easily missed our train back to base and wound up taking a Taxi from Tokyo to Yokota.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 09:46 PM
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All I remember about the Pachinko parlours in Tokyo (1960) was the sound of 200 machines I bet a few of the regular players ended up with ear problems later in life.
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