Test prints have been coming out great, and I’m already mounting these in my own games. So I have put them live on the website for you to order.
Price is $15 each, in your choice of colors. Right now I only have the natural ABS on-hand, but will take orders for any of the standard colors available at no extra charge. I’ll probably be ordering some of the more common colors in the next couple days either way, definitely red and black at the very least, so the delays will be shorter on these colors.
Check them out in the store!
Now that the 3D printer is running, I can get down to the CAD/CAM work to start releasing new product for sale. I’m going to really like this aspect of the business, as I can make things available very rapidly with not much by way of introductory costs. If something doesn’t sell very well, there’s little to no risk, as I will have little to no inventory on these products. They can sit in the shopping cart waiting for that next order, and it won’t have any negative impact on me.
So, here’s the first of those products! I just need to do a test print or two so that I can get the settings dialed in, but it should be up on the site in a week or so. It’s a hard cover for the AC power switch in your System 3-7 lower cabinet. Originally these were covered with fibroid fish paper, but that is often missing these days, and lets face it…. the stuff isn’t THAT durable. Many people don’t realize they have live 120 volt AC power exposed right inside their coin doors. Hey, by the way, aren’t many coin boxes of the era made of metal? Well, here’s a 2mm thick shell that will fit right over the existing switch, has an exit port on the back for the wiring, and is notched to allow for the grounding braid that goes on one of the screw mounts.
Right now I only have natural beige ABS on-hand, but colors will be available too. If it’s a color I don’t have, I can order it no problem, there just might be a week delay on shipping until it arrives. First test print happens tonight, I finally got the 3D model where I wanted it. If you remember the earlier revision with the squared top, this one has been updated to make printing much easier and to give a sleeker look.
First sample assembly is done, almost, on the new Bally LED adapter. A small ordering snafu has them missing one part, which is already ordered. I also need to trim the PCB for the first run of these due to a dimensional issue. I tried to go a connector too far, and there’s not enough room for the extra .156 headers between the two larger PCB’s once they’re mounted on the driver board. Not a big problem, I’m already set up to trim PCB’s if needed. I didn’t order a huge batch this time, and this will be revised on the next update.
Other than those small glitches, they’re just about ready to head out for testing once the other resistor array shows up. Here’s a photo of the first assembled set before trimming.
Between the Bally LED boards being en-route from the board house, and the 3D printer doing its first test print as I type this, I’m in a good mood. Then Bob, a very friendly guy, asked if the sale was done on the system 3-9 bench display.
Yes, the sale was done. But I’m in a great mood! So back on sale until the end of July at 25% off again.
So, if you are saving a few bucks this month, thank Bob.
And here is that first 3D print with about 15 minutes left to go. Appropriately, as is often the case on 3D printer kits, the first part printed is for the printer. In this case a cooling fan for part of the hot end.
Of those two new products I was mentioning, I am ready to announce what the first one will be. It’s a set of plug-in LED adapter boards for classic Bally / Stern games. I know that many folks are very happy with the Altek driver boards, which incorporate a very similar concept, this is more of a low cost alternative for people that don’t want to replace the entire driver board. They will require a single wire added per board, but not a time consuming harness like is used on the lamp matrix and switch matrix boards. Wiring and connectors will of course be included.
The initial sample pieces are shipping from the board house today, and should be ready for final testing mid-week. Once they check out OK, I will be going into production on these. They will be sold either as a set of 3 complete and assembled PCB’s for $45, or just the bare boards at $10 for the set. I’m hoping to have them open for sale by the end of the month.
Well, I just finished up my bi-annual paperwork for the business, including sales tax filings, and 2014 is being fairly kind to me so far. Even including the big capital expense of the 3D printer, I’m coming out nicely ahead so far. I’m not even close to meeting my gross sales goal, but net sales is doing better than expected.
So that gives me some flexability when it comes to new product releases, and I’ve had a couple of great ideas come in over the past week or two. If you know where to look on some online forums you may know what they are, but I am not going to officially announce anything just yet about what they are. With luck I should have them both released by the end of July.
In other news, the 3D printer has arrived… but I haven’t had a chance to look at it in any way yet, as my de-soldering station has been giving me fits. I have a repair job to finish and really need to get the vacuum portion working properly again quickly.
In a couple of places actually, but I wanted to link to someone else that has been using my tester gear in a few videos. Roger Patenaude has a few videos on his channel showing methods of testing that are not covered in what I have done already. This includes system 11 boards with Leon’s tester rom, and and data readout from using Andre’s test rom. It’s very neat to see somebody getting good use out of the design that basically started this whole enterprise.
You can find his videos under this link right here.
There’s also more videos out there such as this one from Matt Rasmussen.
And my own channel with a few videos to it. Just about to hit 1000 total views pretty soon too!
I have a hyperball board set in for repair right now, first time I’ve ever worked on one, and it’s a cool but quirky design. I never had any opportunity to try out my tester gear on these driver boards in the past so I could never confirm nor deny if they worked.
The good news is that it looks like there is some compatibility with minimal changes to the regular test sequence. The DB-04-011 solenoid tester does in fact work on the Hyperball solenoid output circuits, with one minor change. You also need to run a ground jumper between connector 2J19 and a ground of some type. Connector 2J2-1 through 2J2-4 are all ground, and 2J2-6 through 2J2-9 are a good 5v source to power the LED’s. I’ll get a good photo and add it to the info section for that particular tester when I get a chance, I just want to look at a couple of other sections on the driver board first to see how they work.
The switch matrix tester may be awkward, due to the use of opto switches in some areas of the game, and I haven’t dug into that at all yet.
I received shipping and tracking info on the 3D printer. I can’t wait! Should be here early next week, which is a good thing as I have to do my bi-annual tax filing paperwork on Sunday for sales tax in South Dakota and Wisconsin.
If you’ve visited the main page recently, you’ll probably notice the big link to the ‘old product info’ page is gone. And if you visited the index of the old products, you’ll notice that is blank too with just a link to the new storefront. That is because I have finished transferring all the instruction info from the old pages into the new storefront, diagrams and all. The actual content pages will be live for a while if you’re still using old links, but that won’t last much longer either. The last minor bit of transfer from the old host to the new is also completed, with the actual domain registration being moved over as well. I’ve also been adding lead-free/RoHS logos to the boards I make, as they are made compliant and I do want to advertise that fact for my customers in Europe.
Given the easy of managing everything in the new storefront, I really wish I had made this transition sooner. Adding, updating, pricing, sales, they are all so much easier now than had been in the past.
Now I can stop fretting so much over time wasted on website updates, and get back to making cool stuff to sell. Only 2 weeks until the printer arrives!