Fun With Pinball

Pinball Engineering workshop

Are you curious about how things work? This interactive workshop opens with students playing a few games on a 1970s electromechanical pinball machine to introduce themselves to its basic features, rules and behaviors. With that introduction providing the context, the workshop starts with a discussion of how complex systems can be easier to understand when broken into smaller pieces. Then basic principles of electricity, magnetism and logic are presented to explain how they're harnessed in the pinball machine.

Electric currents and magnetic fieldsElectric currents and magnetic fieldsElectric currents and magnetic fields Electric current and magnetic fieldElectric current and magnetic fieldElectric current and magnetic field

From there, attention turns towards hands-on exploration of some of the devices from the small boards page where each device can be individually explained and understood in isolation. After surveying a number of the basic devices, the focus returns to the complete pinball machine.  The game is opened up and each of the devices studied individually is shown and demonstrated in its context in the game. Other devices and features are demonstrated as well.

The workshop wraps up with more game time on the pinball machine with the intention that much more of its behavior will be understood as the game is played.

Typical Pinball Engineering workshop settingTypical Pinball Engineering workshop setting

Workshops typically run 1-2 hours depending on the number of questions and are recommended for students 16 years of age or older, unless accompanied by an adult. Class size is usually limited to 10-12 students to assure plenty of hands on time with the devices.  For those interested in a more comprehensive look at the technology and repair techniques a much longer class is also available.

Although based in Northern Colorado, workshop locations out of the area can be arranged and suggestions are welcome. Cost varies with class size and location.

Upcoming workshops are listed on the Events page. If you would prefer to receive notices of upcoming workshops please use the Subscribe page to register, or you can Contact Us directly to schedule your own workshop.