Restored – Bally (1981) Eight Ball Deluxe Pinball

Pinball machines used to made from a complicated set of relays, motors, wheels and contacts which allowed the games to have basic sets of rules.  Around 1977, solid state machines were being designed which incorporated the latest technology of micro processors, memory and various integrated circuits.  This cutting edge technology wasn’t even available to consumers until IBM and Compaq introduced them years later in the form of large desktop computers – but at ridiculous prices.

The pinball industry was one of the leaders in this new technology in the early 1980’s.  The Bally Company continued to design high tech machines for the gaming industry and soon released one of their most complicated and resulting best selling machines of the decade: Eight Ball Deluxe.

Eight Ball Deluxe was designed to continue the success of the popular Eight Ball pinball machine (with Fonzi on the back glass).  This time, Bally added many more rules, complicated shot combinations, and speech synthesis.   The result was a masterpiece and is still revered today as one of the best pinball machines ever designed.

Our Machine

We picked up a donor Eight Ball Machine about a 18 months ago and started collecting parts for the machine.  It was in reasonable original condition, but did not operate.  As well, much of the plastic parts were brittle and broken.   The playfield was worn a bit and the cabinet was pretty dinged up.  However, it was sound and all the components still existed, so it was an excellent candidate for restoration.  We just had no idea how long it really was going to take…

We started by gutting the entire machine and putting all the parts in various boxes.   We attacked the cabinet first and stripped it down to the wood.  The cabinet was repaired, and went through stenciling and a 4-stage paint process including automotive clear.

The playfield was also stripped, sanded down to the wood, repaired and received new reproduction graphics.  The playfield was also clear coated 4 times and cured over 2 months.   In the meanwhile, we bought all of the remaining Eight Ball Deluxe plastic pieces we could find in order to come up with a single complete set of new parts.

The circuit boards were repaired, including the unique combination sound and speech synth board.   A new MPU and auxiliary lamp driver board were sourced in order to drive all the LED lighting that replaced the old incandescent bulbs.

A new coin door, legs and hardware rounded out the package.


Before And After Pictures

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