Beyond the Size

Exploring the Anatomy and Appeal of Pinball Machines

Pinball machines have been a beloved fixture in arcades, bars, and homes for decades, captivating players with their colorful playing fields, challenging obstacles, and opportunities to earn points galore. This coin-activated game has been entertaining players since the 1930s and continues to do so today.

In this article, we will explore the anatomy of a pinball machine, including its parts and how they work together to create an unforgettable playing experience.

The Anatomy of a Pinball Machine

A pinball machine is composed of several parts, including a cabinet, playing field glass, side rail, leg levelers, backbox, plunger, flippers, and coin door. Cabinet: The cabinet is the main body of the pinball machine that houses all of its components.

It is typically made of wood, metal, or plastic and can vary in shape and size, depending on the specific model. Playing field glass: The playing field glass is a sheet of tempered glass that covers the upper portion of the cabinet.

This glass protects the playing field and keeps the ball inside the game. Side rail: The side rail is a metal strip that runs along both sides of the cabinet.

Its purpose is to keep the ball from falling off the playing field. Leg levelers: Leg levelers are adjustable feet that support the weight of the pinball machine and help balance it on uneven surfaces.

Backbox: The backbox is the upper part of the cabinet that houses the score display, lights, and audio speakers. Plunger: The plunger is a spring-loaded mechanism that launches the ball onto the playing field.

Flippers: Flippers are the two mechanical arms located at the bottom of the playing field. They are controlled by the player and used to hit the ball and keep it in play.

Coin door: The coin door is located on the front of the cabinet and houses the coin mechanisms that activate the game.

How the Parts Work Together

When the player inserts a coin, it activates the game and launches the ball onto the playing field using a plunger. The objective of the game is to keep the ball in play by using the flippers to hit the ball and sending it back up the playing field.

The ball bounces off various obstacles and targets, earning the player points along the way. As the player earns points, the score is displayed on the backbox, accompanied by lights and sounds that add to the excitement of the game.

Once the player has exhausted all of their balls, the game is over, and the score is displayed for all to see.


In conclusion, the pinball machine is a timeless classic that has entertained generations of players with its engaging gameplay and challenging obstacles. Its intricate design and combination of mechanical and electronic components create a unique gaming experience that has stood the test of time.

Whether you are a seasoned player or have never played before, the pinball machine is a game that everyone can enjoy. So next time you come across one, consider giving it a tryyou never know, you might just become hooked!

3) Pinball Machine Sizes

Pinball machines come in various sizes, depending on the manufacturer, year of production, and specific model. However, there are two main size variations that are commonly found in the market.

Standardized Size

The most common size of a pinball machine is the standardized size, which measures about 51 inches long, 28.5 inches wide, and 76 inches tall. The playing field is sloped at a 6.5-degree angle, and the machine weighs around 325 pounds.

The backbox section of the machine is usually about 16 inches tall, which is where the scoring display, lights, and sound system are located.

Common Pinball Machine Size

Another common size for a pinball machine is slightly larger than the standardized size, measuring about 56 inches long, 29 inches wide, and 76 inches tall. This size variation has a wider playing field and a thicker backbox to accommodate a built-in computer that controls the game’s lighting and sound effects.

This type of pinball machine is generally heavier and more robustly built to withstand frequent use. It’s important to consider the size of a pinball machine before purchasing one, as it will require a large amount of space in your home or venue.

4) Should I Buy a Pinball Machine? Pinball machines make an excellent addition to a retro-themed room or a hobby room, providing hours of entertainment for players of all ages.

However, before making a purchase, there are several factors to consider.

Floor Space and Fitting Through a Door

Pinball machines are large, heavy items that require a significant amount of space. It’s important to ensure that you have enough floor space to accommodate the machine, as well as sufficient headspace to account for the machine’s height.

Additionally, you should measure the dimensions of the doorway through which the machine will need to pass when being installed, as some pinball machines may be too large to fit through standard-sized doors.

Maintenance and Care

Like any mechanical and electronic device, pinball machines require regular maintenance and care to keep them running smoothly. Before purchasing a pinball machine, it’s important to understand the level of maintenance required and whether you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to perform the necessary upkeep.

Regular maintenance might include cleaning and lubricating the machine’s mechanical components, adjusting and replacing parts as needed, and troubleshooting any issues that arise.


Pinball machines can be expensive items, ranging in price from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. The cost of the machine will depend on several factors, including the manufacturer, year of production, rarity, and condition.

If you’re considering purchasing a pinball machine, it’s important to have a budget in mind and to factor in the cost of any necessary repairs or maintenance. Care, Maintenance, and Repair

Pinball machines require careful handling to ensure that they remain in good working condition.

Avoid jostling the machine or shaking the legs, as this can damage the mechanical components and cause the playing field to become unlevel. Additionally, regular cleaning and lubrication of the machine’s mechanical parts will help to keep it running smoothly and prevent breakdowns.

In conclusion, owning a pinball machine can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to carefully consider the factors mentioned above before making a purchase. With the proper care and maintenance, a pinball machine can provide years of entertainment and enjoyment for players of all ages.

In conclusion, the pinball machine is a classic form of arcade entertainment that has captivated players for decades. Its intricate design, combination of mechanical and electronic components, and challenging features have stood the test of time and continue to provide a thrilling gaming experience.

Before purchasing a machine, it’s important to consider the floor space, maintenance requirements, and cost. With proper care and maintenance, owning a pinball machine can provide a fun and rewarding experience.


Q: Are pinball machines still being made? A: Yes, pinball machines are still being manufactured today, though production is limited.

Q: What is the average cost of a pinball machine? A: The cost of a pinball machine varies significantly, ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the manufacturer, year of production, rarity, and condition.

Q: How much space is needed to accommodate a pinball machine? A: A pinball machine requires a significant amount of floor space and headspace to account for its size and height.

Q: Do pinball machines require a lot of maintenance? A: Yes, regular maintenance is required to keep a pinball machine in good working condition, including cleaning and lubricating mechanical parts, making adjustments and repairs as needed, and troubleshooting issues.

Q: Are pinball machines difficult to repair? A: Repairing a pinball machine can be challenging, especially if you do not have experience working with mechanical and electronic components.

However, there are resources available online and in person to help with repairs and maintenance.

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