Pokitto pinball



During the Christmas/New year holiday I have been building my own pinball machine made with cardboard and elastics. I have been thinking about using a docked pokitto as the electronic brain to add sounds to this pinball machine I made.

I was wondering how that could be done. I heard that copper tape could be used to make some basic circuits and using a metal ball bearing instead of the marble I am using right now could make connections with the copper tape. Any idea of what could be cool to do with the pokitto?

I think I would rather keep using the marbles because they are more lightweight and won’t break my structure and ramps though… So that means I would need to make contacts in a different way…


Maybe you could use light sensors?


I will have to have a look at that. But I really first have to understand how the pins on the pokitto works and how to use them. I will check in the forum, there must be a tutorial about them.

For those interested in building pinball machine themselves with cardboard you can have a look at www.pinbox3000.com .

Maybe I could even use the pokitto screen to keep track of the score as well. So for each sound triggered a certain amount of point could be added…


I know of this handy tutorial series that explains how to use the PEX. :P

As long as you remember to keep the power at 3.3v then you should be alright.

What you’d ideally need is some conductive wire to turn into coils for the bumpers and a conductive pinball.
That’s how pinball games traditionally work at least.

I’m pretty sure there must be some lightweight conductive metals.
You might be able to find some hollow metal balls somewhere.

Perhaps you might be able to find a scrapped pinball machine and scavenge the pinballs from it?

Ultimately if you’ve got some current measuring equipment then you might be able to source some metal ball bearings locally and test their conductiveness.

Alternatively you could buy a medium weight ball made from a lightweight (preferably hard) metal and electroplate it with a more conductive metal, like copper.
(I found a video demonstrating electroplating copper onto a brass key, and one that explains the chemistry behind it.)

There’s a list of conductive metals at the bottom of this article.


One advantage of using a metal ball is that you can also use (electro) magnets to trap the ball somewhere on the table.


Yes, I know about the metal ball. I do have some that I tried. It will work with it. My problem is that it will destroy my structure and ramps quite fast unless I redo them all in plastic. I might try to find hollow metal balls as big as a normal marble and see how conductive they are.

Like I said earlier, I know that copper tape works for that kind of use. It’s on the pokitto side that I will have to do some testing and figure out how to wire things up and program something that will keep track of score and make sounds.

It should be straight forward since it’s all probably just interrupts.


To be honest any material will probably do damage if it’s going fast enough.
At the very least you might want to reinforce the cardboard with a wood or plastic skeleton.
Perhaps just buy some wood, build a skeleton with it and glue the cardboard to that.

Aparently I could get some MDF for £4.54 per square metre*, which is about $7.72 (CA),
but I’m guessing wood might be cheaper than that over in Canada since forestry is a big thing in Canada.

* 1 sq m is probably enough for most or possibly all of the pinball machine

That would be ideal.

Even if the material isn’t conductive you can always plate a more conductive metal onto a less conductive one if the chemistry is right.

Depending on how many connections there will be, it might be alright to just check the state of everything in an update loop without having to set up any interrupts.