|Description: A row of pre-assembled pinball board for Stern Pinball's Ghostbusters cabinet await assembly. Photo courtesy of Brian Crecente & Polygon.|
Dankberg, Stern's director of marketing and licensing, comes by to walk me through the assembly process. [We] marvel at the process of turning reels of fine wires into the wiring harnesses that bring pinball machines to life.
"We can't really automate this stuff," he said. "It has to be done by people.
“Steve Ritchie is the king of flow,” Dankberg said. “He’s there with a ruler measuring angles, making sure everything fits. Some people like to build it out and see how it plays first.”
The initial board designs are build on a white-wood, or an unpainted wood play field. We’ll cut a table, make some prototype parts,” Dankberg said. “Then they’ll test it. The white-wood stage could be really short or really iterative. If they hit a homer un at first, how great is that? But a lot of times they like to change things. It’s like a first draft.”
The rest of the article features tons of behind the scenes assembly pictures and offers a fascinating look at how pinball machines are crafted by hand in 2016.