Pinscape is the name of my virtual pinball cabinet. In the course of building it, I've had to figure out numerous engineering puzzles, mechanical and electrical. This site is an attempt to capture and share some of what I've learned, to help other cab builders with their projects. I've also written a fair amount of pin cab-related software and even designed some electronics hardware. All of my projects are free and open-source. You'll find links and information here.

Pinscape Controller Software

Open-source plunger, nudge, feedback device, and button input controller

The Pinscape Controller is a free, open-source software project for the KL25Z microcontroller board. It turns this inexpensive ($15) device into a full-featured I/O controller for your virtual pinball cabinet. The project came about because I couldn't find a commercial plunger device that worked well enough for my tastes. In time it grew into a comprehensive I/O controller that can handle just about all cabinet I/O needs: plunger input, accelerometer nudging, button inputs, and output device control. It's cheaper than the commercial alternatives, does more, and offers the unlimited customization potential of an open-source system.

Pinscape Expansion Board

An all-in-one control system for virtual pin cabinets

This is a companion project to the Pinscape Controller. It's a modular set of circuit boards that provides an expandable array of PWM-controlled, MOSFET-driven outputs to control your feedback devices without any extra booster boards, relays, or amplifiers. Together with the Controller, it's a complete, all-in-one input/output system that can run pretty much everything in your pin cab. Like the Controller, it's an open-source, DIY project that you can build yourself and customize to fit your exact needs.


An open-source pin cab "front end" program

A front end is a program that lets you browse and launch tables on your pin cab with a media-rich, button-operated, arcade-like user interface. This is the first thing you see when you walk up to the cab, so it's an essential part of making your cab feel truly finished. The options available up until now were closed-source, which I found limiting. So I created this 100% open-source alternative.


Volume control software for pin cabs

This is a little program I wrote to make it easier to control the audio volume in a virtual pin cab.


CPU affinity optimizer for virtual pin cabs

An easy-to-use tool that lets you control which programs are assigned to which CPU cores. CPU affinity is a powerful way to optimize performance on a pin cab and is especially good for eliminating "stutter".

The New Pinscape Build Guide

A comprehensive guide to building a virtual pin cab, and the Pinscape Controller projects

The new Build Guide is designed to be a full How-To manual for building a virtual pin cab, covering everything from building the physical cabinet to setting up the PC to installing lights and solenoids. And of course, it includes documentation for building the Pinscape Controller, the expansion boards, and the several plunger sensors it can work with. This is my attempt to take the huge amount of information that I had to gather in building my cab, and assemble it into a single, comprehensive guide.

A Visual Guide to the Virtual Pin Cab

A visual map of the electronic systems and components comprising a virtual pinball machine

As part of the new Pinscape v2 Build Guide, I've prepared this detailed map of everything that goes into a virtual pinball machine and how it all connects together. If you're new to the virtual pinball world and you're starting to plan your own machine, this is designed to help you get a concrete idea of what you'll need. And if you're not familiar with all of the great possibilities for features, this can be a source of ideas.

DOF R3++ & LEDWIZ.DLL Updates

Pinscape-compatible updates of important system files

If you're using the Pinscape v2 software, you should install these updated versions of the DirectOutput Framework (DOF) library and the LEDWIZ.DLL interface file.

New! The LedWiz DLL now gives legacy LedWiz software full access to all Pinscape Controller ports, even if you have more than 32, by creating additional "virtual" LedWiz interfaces. The DLL download also includes has a spiffy new test tool, NewLedTester, that makes it easier to test your output wiring.

Plunger drilling template

I couldn't find an accurate template anywhere for drilling the mounting hole for a plunger, so I measured some real machines. I'm sharing it here for others looking for the same information.

Plunger Optical Sensor Bracket

A SketchUp design for a mounting bracket for the optical plunger sensors (TSL1410R and TSL1412S)

Plunger Sensor Connector Board

An EAGLE design for a small printed circuit board that makes it easier to attach the plunger optical sensor to the expansion board

DOF R3 Setup Tester

This is a simple command-line program for testing your DOF installation.

DCS Format Reference Guide

An unofficial technical reference to the DCS audio format, used in the classic Williams/​Bally/​Midway pinball machines of the 1990s. This contains details on DCS internals, including the compressed digital audio format, which would be of interest to developers creating new software to play back, examine, or construct DCS audio ROMs.