I have always wanted to create a real pinball machine. There are a lot of companies that sell pinball table hardware, but it would be cool to create all the bumpers, traps, targets and other stuff ourselves. I'm still not sure how big this project would be, so some analysis would be needed.
There are two ways to do this. We can either buy an old machine and start refurbishing it or we can begin thinking up a design in a simulator and try to create the needed board elements and electronics one at a time.
Currently, a week-long pinball hacking session is planned in November 2010. We will probably take the road of creating the table from scratch using an existing design.
Interesting forum post http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=23428.0
Commercial pinball parts for inspiration http://www.marcospecialties.com
Wikipedia has a nice article with description of some board elements http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/pinball
Ben Heck and his Bill Paxton-themed pinball machine from scratch
Jerri Elsworth was also designing a table. She made a few videos
Felipe Sanches is building a remake of the Party Land table from the Pinball Fantasies computer game
Future Pinball simulator. It's a Windoze app, but has a nice editor. http://www.futurepinball.com
Or, just Google “DIY pinball”, “homemade pinball”, “pinball repair”, etc…