The pinball or ball machine, “petaco”, etc.
How to make a homemade Pinball with clothes pegs?
Wood was one of the most common materials for making toys. How many scroll saws have we broken?
To build the Pinball (ball machine) you needed, in addition to a fat marble or a steel ball, two clothes pegs, a good board and a handful of nails.
Another element that gave us more than one joy because of the number of possible uses (especially for shooting) were the rubber bands, rubber bands and rubber bands, for the machine you needed a good handful of elastic bands.
It was also necessary to get hold of a few jar lids, it was no problem to go to the pantry and leave several containers without lids without stopping for a second to think about their contents.
To begin with, we had to mark with a marker or a pencil all the rails and bouncing places we wanted for our recreational board, usually trying to emulate (with pathetic results) the ones they used to put in bars.
Hammer or substitute striking element in hand, the drawing was nailed and the caps were glued to the template, gumming everything and giving several turns to the rubber bands to leave them as taut as possible and then we started to test the inclination with the ball.
A few brush strokes and play
We usually imagined a cool design to paint it. Even electrical or electronic mechanisms and incredible mechanical springs were planned. In the end we’d end up giving it three brush strokes of gouache in a “here’s where I get you, here’s where I play you” fashion and we’d proceed to use it.
It was completely manual operation. The power of the rubber grippers rarely took the ball beyond half the board. We had to count the points scored from memory, but it was all the same. Having a machine that you didn’t have to “throw” coins into was a triumph in itself.
It took hours to set it up and minutes to get bored of playing. It didn’t matter, we’d come back soon after and start a new one, always believing that we could build the perfect machine.
I got to see some real feats of skill. Genuine worthy attempts, replicas of the ones we knew, with legs, light markers, well-drawn pictures, mazes and lamps. As was to be expected, they worked like assholes and after three shakes they were dismantled to end up as an amusing bonfire.
There was no failure that could not cheer up a big improvised bonfire.
See other instalments of “Making toys”