Welcome to tilt.blog

Welcome to tilt.blog, a place where I hope to chronicle my journey fixing a pinball machine. I'm going to restore a Maverick pinball machine. I have never owned or restored a pinball machine before – this is all new to me. I'm expecting to make mistakes and have successes, and I hope you'll follow along. First, I'd like to introduce myself:

About Your Author

I retired from a career in software and electrical engineering in mid 2022 when my company instituted the post-pandemic return to office plan. I did not want to start commuting again, and I had been wildly successful in my work-from-home job during the pandemic. I didn't feel a return to the office was necessary. Additionally, as a manager, it was my job to tell my people to toe the line and come to the office. I didn't believe it was important for their work or career. So, rather than live with it, I decided to quit. My wife and I had always lived frugally, and we felt we could make it work.

But, Why Pinball?

I blame my friend and the YouTube algorithm.

Many years ago, a friend's spouse bought him a pinball machine. It was a machine he used to play in his dorm, it had special meaning to him. It was a nice, sentimental present… It was also broken. He mentioned the machine to me one day, and it stuck in my mind. I consider myself handy and smart, so I kept pestering him that we could learn to fix it together. But, he was busy with kids and remodeling his house, and didn't have time to go into the basement and putter on a pinball machine.

With this in mind, one day, during the pandemic, I searched on YouTube for my friend's machine and repair videos. YouTube gave me a couple of videos, and then the algorithm got to work. Soon my feed was full of pinball videos. With the pandemic raging, I was looking for stuff to do – so I watched them. And I was hooked.

Pinball machines were the perfect cross between engineering and play. There was electrical engineering problems, and mechanical problems, and art problems. It was neat. These machines were broken, and people brought them back to life. (Shoutout to Joe's Classic Video Games, c'mon people.) I watched the videos, and like any YouTube Expert™, I thought, yeah, I can do that too.

Well, dear reader, let's see if I can.

So, You Think You Want to Learn About Pinball?

Well, I did what any red-blooded middle age geek does, and I went on reddit and I asked people, how do I get into pinball repair? A couple of dozen people got back to me, and the basic consensus was, get into the hobby, meet people, and you'll meet the people to teach you. But, it gets weirder than that…

A few redditors reached out to me and said, hey, I'll help you, where are you? I live in New England, and it turns out these redditors live near me. As luck would have it, these people have machines and know other pinheads and they have broken machines and aren't scared to let me work with them. And I bought a machine from one of them.


Let me start by saying, my wife wanted a pinball machine. Convincing her about my new hobby wasn't hard, and she was all for it, until she realized the machine I found had Jodi Foster on it:

My wife doesn't like Jodi Foster. I don't think either of us like Mel Gibson either. But, it was a pinball machine, it was priced reasonably, and I thought, well, there's meat on the bone, and if we don't love the theme, we can sell it on, and get a new one. So, I bought a pinball machine. It's right now in the back of my car. We are still making space for it in the basement, and they guy that sold it to me will let me borrow his stuff and help move it around.

In my next post, I want to talk a bit more about my particular Maverick, and what I know needs work. I've written a project plan. While I'm no expert at pinball machines, I have written engineering project plans before. Like all project plans, I'm sure mine is incomplete and wrong, but like all projects plans, it's better than nothing.

I'm hoping to make this blog well detailed, so I'm going to share as much information as I can on the machine as I go. I hope you'll follow along.


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