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3D printed parts for half scale pinsetter


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  • #16
    Okay, wow! I am excited and overwhelmed at the same time about the programming portion of the pinsetter. At first I though I was going to hate programming; however, I found a great channel on youtube, Paul McWhorter, who has over 40 tutorials and goes in depth, step by step, on how to program Arduino. He is a high school electronics teacher that teaches students on this stuff. I have spent the past couple of days learning programming and I am starting to get the hang of it (so far just turning on and off a couple of LED's.) With that being said, I am a little concerned about the robustness of the Arduino board for use on pinsetter, and the 5V wiring concerns me, especially for long distance runs. It seems kind of like a tinker toy to me.

    Thanks for your input on the PLC CoasterP. I downloaded the software and set up a few modules in there. The price is pretty decent for PLC and modules. I will order the basic CPU (and maybe a module or 2) to play with, and probably go in this direction.

    dhudach, they did show on the tutorials on the effects of a potentiometer among other things. I didn't get the kit with all of those goodies inside. I have the Mega with some pushbuttons and LED's. I looked up the homemade cockpits, those are pretty intense setups. I can see why you would want to go with a Raspberry PI. I did compare the difference between the Arduino and the Raspberry, and it looked like the Arduino would be best for a pinsetter.
    If it can't be fixed with a hammer, try a bowling pin! They're heavier and more surface area for whacking!


    • #17
      Merry Christmas Bowltech! I have a present for you all! Here are the pic's of my 3D printed bowling pins and below are the links to the STL. files, enjoy.
      Attached Files
      If it can't be fixed with a hammer, try a bowling pin! They're heavier and more surface area for whacking!


      • brokenpin
        brokenpin commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey Andy,
        Any chance I could get a 3D printed pin from you? Let me know thanks

    • #18
      Andy, I agree that for the pinsetter the Arduino approach is the way to go. If you wanted to incorporate the automatic scoring system, then I could see where Pi could be used: it could contain the software for the score sheets and everything. And it could interact with the pinsetter. But that's stepping outside of pinsetter functionality.

      Some 40 years ago when I started tinkering, my original idea was to create the pinsetter much like the A2, make it as mechanical as possible. But now with Arduino and robust software, it makes sense and the way to go is to make the pinsetter as smart as possible.

      Andy, I thought of something about your pin release design. You want to move the solenoid out of the pin cup and onto the table. A few years ago when I was looking at this type of release after studying the GS for a bit, I thought the same thing - move the solenoid onto the table to avoid bulky, cumbersome pin cups. And then I thought, well, if there is only going to be a pushrod on the table that activates the pin cup release, why not just have a single solenoid or even a servo that drives a main set of linkages and levers to the pin cup release pushrods. This would be similar to how the pin scissors (re-sport) mechanisms are driven. There is a huge trade off here. Wires and solenoids vs linkages and levers.


      • #19
        Andy, it's cool that you are spending the time getting into the coding aspect. If you decide not to go that way, understanding that aspect just gives you another set of tools, you'll have more options. I'm glad you checked out some of the cockpit videos - yes they are intense. But for me, they opened up the entire world of possibilities for these hobbies.

        That's funny what you said about tinker toys. I kind of thought the same thing when I first looked into Arduino. But the more I got into it and saw what people are doing with these units, the more I realized that they are quite powerful. And even if some of the sophisticated projects don't use Arduino, I'm certain they are making use of similar micro-controllers. So basically, it's the same model/design approach, just a different implementation. I do think the 5v concern is valid when considering the distances. And I don't know the answer to that. But I'm going to guess that 5V is typical in the micro-controller world. Also, I'm sure that you and I are not the first to raise this concern and I'm thinking that it's a problem that's been addressed. For example, home security systems probably make use of these kinds of components for door open/close, motion detectors, etc. Switches and detectors mounted at locations not near the controller.

        In any event, good luck in the coding world. You may not go that route, but you'll be making an informed choice for sure.


        • #20
          Back to the Arduino tinker toy. The simple blinking lights is pretty much where most people start. It's one of the easiest ways to understand how these units work. And for me, without knowing more about what these micro-controllers can do, I found myself thinking, blinking lights, really? But there are all types of components that can be attached to an Arduino. And the power is in its simplicity I think. There are basically two types of pins; digital and analog. And all the software does is ask: what is the state of the digital pin, what is the voltage of the analog pin. And for the most part, all of these peripherals do is change the state or change the voltage at the pins. And in your main loop, you are scanning each pin for which there is something connected. The other thing I'm going to do is use a combination MOSFET and optical coupler to be able to control lights and other components that require higher voltages or other power sources. The possibilities are endless.


          • #21
            dhudach, the solenoids are going to be attached to the pin stations that are installed on the distributor, not on the table. The idea is to have no wires going to the table at all, and no wires on moving parts.

            I was feeling pretty good about the basic coding until I opened up Scoremore. I need to make a few tweaks to it to work with my pinsetter. That coding looked Greek to me, back to basics. I am guessing that most of the stuff written in Scoremore is in the actual program, and the Arduino is getting it's information from the computer.

            The ladder diagram is super simple for the Click PLC's (at least for me) and if I spend a few more days on Arduino I should be able to get the basics down enough to write a program for the pinsetter. The only difference I see between ladder logic and C++ is how its displayed. As an example "and" and "or" statements on a ladder is shown by simple lines, vs C++ which is written out. The problem I am running into with the PLC is the external sensors. Although the 24 volt stuff is pretty robust, the sensors are quite large for my project. I am having issues fitting the optic sensors in the tight areas that I have, not to mention they are 10 times more expensive than the Arduino counterpart. Another option is to have a PLC Arduino hybrid. Basically the Arduino would control the pin feed on the distributor and can send a signal to the PLC indicating the stations are loaded and ready to go. The PLC would control the rest of the pinsetter.

            If it can't be fixed with a hammer, try a bowling pin! They're heavier and more surface area for whacking!


            • #22
              For sure these are interesting projects. There is so much to learn. Last year when I was working on the sim project, doing research and educating myself, there were many, many times when I felt overwhelmed with possibilities and options. Sometimes it felt like - ok, this is too much information: I could do this, or this, or this, or this .....

              I think I see what you mean about the solenoids, but not being completely familiar with your design, I was just making some guesses.

              I have known about PLC technology for a long time, but don't know anything about it. I actually think I'll delve into it. It may not be a fit for what I am doing, but it's probably a good idea to be familiar with it.

              The hybrid idea sounds interesting. Choose the best tool/tech for the job.


              • #23
                What's good about Arduinos (and really any simple PLC compute units) is that while they do provide power out, you can simply use external power sources to do most of the heavily lifting power wise. Then you can use the Arduino only for control rather than powering and controlling. If you are only needing 12v, there are tons of good, cheap power supplies that can get you where you need to be. You can find a ton of stuff that works directly with Arduinos that can make your life a lot easier such as 8 or 16 port relay banks, or additional plugin boards (such as stepper motor boards or servo boards). It can be overwhelming but if you go piece by piece and follow other tutorials and examples online it won't be too bad. Luckily there are millions out there playing and coming up with ideas that want to share it with everyone either on YouTube or written up.
                - Shaun R.
                - Web Developer / Programmer


                • #24
                  Yes, it's not that the technology was overwhelming, just the endless possibilities. Learning about the technology and how it works, yes it was a learning curve. But not horrible. And I agree that using the Arduino boards to control devices that run on other power supplies makes things scalable and flexible. I think I wrote in a previous post that I'm using MOSFETs to run lights and other components that use higher voltage.


                  • #25
                    Here is a prototype of my new cup and re-spot mechanism. The idea is that it will load a pin like a GS style machine and invert the pin cups 90 degrees like a GS machine, but with the front guide it essentially turns the cup into a deck chute and sets the pin on the lane like an A2. The shifting deck sets the pins like an A2 but doubles as a re-spot mechanism as well. One motor will be used to operate the deck with three positions, fully open (ready to re-spot pins) fully closed (grabbing the pins to re-spot) and a middle position to allow the cups to lower to set the pins.


                    I am attempting to upload pics, but it is saying the files are corrupt. I will try again later.
                    If it can't be fixed with a hammer, try a bowling pin! They're heavier and more surface area for whacking!


                    • #26
                      That design looks great! The cup and chutes kind of give me a sort of old Brunswick B10 style setting. That's definitely a cool middle ground! With respot, I definitely like that idea and have really liked the way that Phil integrated it on his machine.

                      With the scale of the pins, I've been curious, do you have a lot of off-spot pins during normal runs? Because of not having a full lane as of yet, any use of them has been pretty rudimentary for me so far so I haven't been able to really tell if off-spot pins are a common occurrence on half scale lanes.

                      If it's not super common, I might be back to the drawing board on mine as well.
                      - Shaun R.
                      - Web Developer / Programmer


                      • #27
                        It is very rare that the pins are knocked off spot. I have seen more pins spin in the standing position than slide. It's an extremely rare event for a pin to get knocked off spot so bad that the table will land on top of the pin. I have over 6000 games on my pinspotter, and I can count 5 times when the table hit the top of the pin. Unless you plan on adding oil to your lane, I believe off spots are a non issue.

                        I was finally able to upload the pics, here they are.
                        You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.
                        If it can't be fixed with a hammer, try a bowling pin! They're heavier and more surface area for whacking!


                        • #28
                          Nicely done. Looking forward to watching this develop.


                          • #29

                            Rick THE AMF DOCTOR

                            It's been a long time since the days of your 1/2 scale 70. As you might remember, I was collecting all your vids on that venture. Two things come to mind that I never saw vids on. This being the distributor and the pin elevator. Did you you ever make vids on these two items. If possible I,d like to get them for the collection. I will be keeping a eye out for your new project and will be keeping a eye out for building vids. Hope to hear from you soon.

                            RICK, AMF DOCTOR (The doctor makes house calls)
                            AMF DOCTOR
                            The doctor makes house calls.


                            • #30
                              Hey Rick, yes, I will make a video of the distributor and pin lift. Give me a couple of days to replace one of the missing flight cups and a minor tune up, I will make the video and post it.
                              If it can't be fixed with a hammer, try a bowling pin! They're heavier and more surface area for whacking!


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