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lowepg

Is do-it-yourself REALLY cheaper? (considering time)?

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So I just recently was introduced to this world or virtual pinball.... I swear I was up watching videos and reading posts till about 5am I was so excited.

I had a nice collection of pins about 10 yrs ago (TZ, NGG, ST:TNG, BOP, FH, and a few odd balls like safecracker, Banzai Run, etc).

I sold them ALL to buy our current house (had newborn on the way) and OF COURSE- I kick myself for not at least saving the Twilight Zone or ONE of them! Sigh- it seemed like the only opton at the time, og well... cant change the past.

Anyways, since then Ive slowly begun building back my gameroom. I started with a homebuilt MAME cabinet... and I spared little expense...and I spent DAYS getting it right, reworking it, troubleshooting, etc, etc.

So fast forward to today. Now I NEED a virtual pin machine.... short of a windfall of about $40K, its the next best option to put all those old tables back in my basement. But I start to recall the TIME spent building the damn MAME machine and the thought of doing it again from scratch is haunting me a bit.

BTW- I GET the whole attraction of "knowing how its put together" - but honestly, that just doesn't appeal to be if its at the expense of 100 hours of labor :-) I mean, I can enjoy a nice steak without necessarily having slaughtered the cow....

So my question is this:

Roughly speaking, how much of a premium will I be paying to buy a built machine vs piecing it all together myself?

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Yeah, you will probably be over 100 hours of labor between research, finding parts and putting the thing together, but for me building it was half the fun. It is definitely cheaper, but if you don't have the tools, skills, or time it may work out better to buy a pre made one.

If your time is worth more, than I would recommend talking to Mameman. The guy does awesome work, and is reasonably priced. If you take a look at a few of the build threads on here, you will see some of his cabinets, and they all look great.

Edited by DeeGor

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Yeah, you will probably be over 100 hours of labor between research, finding parts and putting the thing together, but for me building it was half the fun. It is definitely cheaper, but if you don't have the tools, skills, or time it may work out better to buy a pre made one.

If your time is worth more, than I would recommend talking to Mameman. The guy does awesome work, and is reasonably priced. If you take a look at a few of the build threads on here, you will see some of his cabinets, and they all look great.

thanks... like i said- i did the whole "do-it-all-myself" gig once before, its not as appealing as it once was :-)

kinda like the first house we bought was a fixer-upper.... damn thing wasn't finished till we were ready to sell it and move out! Next house didnt even need a coat of paint... i swore never again would i get home from work and have to start drywalling or plumbing...

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I highly recommend Mameman as Deegor suggested. Fair pricing and top notch work. Plus I surely wouldn't have made a cab half as nice on my own. :D But in all seriousness, I too built a MAME a few years ago and I just don't have the time that I used to take on a project of this magnitude myself. Time = money.

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I know I am late to the PArty.. But I give a third vote for Mameman. He supplied me with my cabinet as a flatpack. Saving me a ton of screw ups trying to cut out a P2K Head :D Great price and excellent quality.

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Thanks for all the feedback.

I weighed the choices... and the dollars and decided to go with a VirtuaPin.

TZ%20WB2.jpg

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Thanks for all the feedback.

I weighed the choices... and the dollars and decided to go with a VirtuaPin.

TZ%20WB2.jpg

The kit or the full blown machine?

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The kit or the full blown machine?

The full enchilada (42" with real DMD).

I made a parts list and a to-do list and it would have been excessive. I had no parts to recycle:

- I was NOT going to gut out my no-good-gofers real pinball machine

- I just moved my backup PC to my MAME cabinet so i could run hyperspin, some newer software, etc.

So at first glance the pricetag was high... but then, when I added even a modest wagerate to the labor I'd need to put it- it got a lot closer to homebuilt.

Also, in the world of pinball, $5K isnt even that expensive just to buy ONE machine... (yes, yes, I know the differences :-) )

Hell, I just saw a Monster Bash I was interest in sell for something like $10K.... !?!?

Anyways, I guess if I had a PC, a pin cabinet, or maybe a LCD able to be re-tasked, I might have chosen differently- but that wasn't the case. Plus, to be honest, my passion isnt in scouring the web for the right custom lockdown bar that will fit and then spending an evening trying to get the LCD fit into the cabinet just so, etc, etc.

BTW- Im not taking a swipe at those that ARE good at that- thats just not me. I have other hobbies and other time drains that would make building a tougher choice.

Edited by lowepg

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If you plan on adding any sort of LEDs or force feedback that price tag goes up. Unfortunately the Virtuapin cabs come with none of the cool toys. Just a box, TVs and a PC.

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If you plan on adding any sort of LEDs or force feedback that price tag goes up. Unfortunately the Virtuapin cabs come with none of the cool toys.

Which makes sense to me... those are items that perhaps not everyone wants.

For instance, while I think adding the "bling" of LEDs around a pinball machine might be fun- but it's not the look that I want.... those "cool toys" are not to everyone's tastes...

Just a box, TVs and a PC.

LOL- I suppose that's true...but then again so are all these projects to an extent....

I suppose you could say my car is just a bunch of plastic, glass, metal and rubber.... but to me- the sum of those parts is something more.

post-78705-142870586621_thumb.jpg

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If you're not into the extras, then the Virtuapin will do just fine.

I just wanted to make sure you were aware that they didn't come with all the leds / force feedback you see in many of the build threads.

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If you're not into the extras, then the Virtuapin will do just fine.

I just wanted to make sure you were aware that they didn't come with all the leds / force feedback you see in many of the build threads.

Sorry, I guess I (mis)took your comment "its just a box, tv and computer" to mean something a bit different that that. :-). I was well aware that the machine doesn not come standard with any of the extraneous bling.... I suppose folks could simply add that for a couple hundred bucks if they so chose to.

My car didn't come from the factory with neon ground effect lights or fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror either- but I still bought it :-)

At any rate- I've yet to speak to, hear about or read about anyone that has done anything but GUSH about the VirtuaPin machines. The only criticism Ive found has generally been from folk that have never touched or seen one... which isnt shocking.... The ONLY whack has been the cost (vs the homebrew boxes out there- and I'm OK with THAT tradeoff).

Thanks for the feedback.

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Its not just cost. I was about to buy a machine from them but I'm so glad I decided to build my own. I put a much better PC in my machine than they sell. They don't use a solid state hard drive. I bought a lot of the parts for my machine from them. I think I'm enjoying building the machine more than I will like playing it. So I feel like I'm getting a better machine for less money. The playfield monitor they use they sell for like $1300. You can buy all your monitors and DMD for that. I bought the sound system they use and it sucked so bad I'll send it to you for the cost of shipping. So no I haven't actually bought their cabinet but that doesn't mean I can't evaluate the parts they use versus the parts I'm buying. And you better hope they deliver their cabinets better than their parts because some of us have been waiting several weeks or months.

Gil

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The force feedback is the only reason i am doing mine. I want my replay knocker to scare the crap out of people! ha.

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Buying ready build is always way more expensive than DIY, I imagine. I mean, isn't it kinda like building you own pc? Researching parts, putting it all together yourself is way cheaper than just buying a pc straight out.But if you like DIY it's also much more satisfying. I always feel those buying a prefab pc are being robbed.

I figure building your own cab or pincab is much more of a time consuming task. The convenience has a price tag, and you're either prepared to pay it or not, just like you're willing to put in the time or not. It's all things to take into consideration and only you can decide if the one or the other is worth it or not.

I guess if you'd calculate the price if you were to pay yourself your hourly wage it's not that expensive in the end to just buy a pre-build cab. But then again it's not like free time that is not invested will get you any money :D

I don't know, I don't even know why I typed all of this. I was planning on building a regular cab myself, but never got to it. Only have controls, etc in a box, gathering dust. So what do I know :D

Btw, are there any cab builders (both pin & regular) in the EU with a good reputation and/or reasonable price? It's not like I have the money atm, just curious. And yes, I'm asking questions before doing any actual research here, I thing I despise in others. But we all deserve to be a hypocrite sometimes :P

Edited by THK

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its not worth it buying your cab because you can never guess what parts they use. Building your own cabinet maybe more time comsuming but the feeling you will get when you know you've finished it will make it worth and also you know what you did to do this, that and the other :)

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