Northeast Metro Tech Students Create New Pinball Game Using Vintage Machine

Photo: Courtesy of Northeast Metro Tech

WAKFIELD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — What's old is new over at Northeast Metro Tech in Wakefield. Senior robotics and automation students put the skeleton of a 50-year-old pinball machine to use, coming up with a new working machine as part of their curriculum.

According to school officials, the "Dealer's Choice" machine was originally made in 1973 and was donated to the school to be stripped down and rebuilt. Over the course of a year, students had to demonstrate skills in automation, control design, displays, and electronics to get the job done. At the end, students had created "Circuit Meltdown," a refurbished version of the original.

Before— "Dealer's Choice"Photo: Courtesy of Northeast Metro Tech

The finished product— "Circuit Meltdown"Photo: Courtesy of Northeast Metro Tech

Apart from the hardware, students had to take on the software and programming of the machine too— completely replacing the machine's control, audio, and video systems with code they wrote themselves.

"I had the kids use all the shop technology that they've learned during their time here. I used the pinball machine to teach all of the technologies we learn, including electrical, electronics, software, electromechanical and wiring. All of those are pieces that they learn in the shop, and they were able to put those lessons together into constructing this pinball machine," Robotics and Automation Technology Department Head Brian Caven said.

The project branched out into other classes too, becoming a school-wide effort with Auto-Body students painting the shell, Design and Visual Arts students helping with the graphics, STEM students using laser cutting to make custom parts for the machine, and Metal Fabrication students welding metal components.

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NMT says the following seniors worked on the project:

  • John Antonucci, of Wakefield
  • Gabriel Fontes, of Malden
  • Caleb Galdamez, of Saugus
  • Carla Garcia Colon, of Chelsea
  • Escander Habda, of Malden
  • Joseph Pannese, of Revere
  • Jaiden Santos, of Chelsea
  • Kai Sweetland, of Malden
  • Angel Umana Hernandez, of Chelsea
  • Scott Upton, of Reading
  • Claire Wilson, of North Reading

It's not certain yet where the new pinball machine will end up, but school officials say it will be display at the Pintastic showcase in September.

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