Transporting Your Pinball Machine

One of the responsibilities involved in buying a new pinball machine is knowing how you will be transporting it without damaging it. If you’re going to be shelling out a decent wad of cash to get a pinball machine, it’s a good idea to learn how to move it from point A to point B and still keep it in the same condition it was when it started its journey.

Firstly, and possibly most obviously, you’re going to need a vehicle that’s large enough to hold it. It may be a van, truck, or trailer but it’s going to have to have space to hold a unit that, when folded down will measure 76cm wide, 76cm tall and 140cm deep.

Never try to transport a pinball machine in its fully assembled configuration – that way lies heartbreak all round.

Before attempting to put the pinball machine in your vehicle, you first have to fold down the headboard. Most of the more recently manufactured pinball machines and by that I’m talking about the ones that were made from around 1980 onwards, are made with hinges to allow the headboard to be folded. Otherwise, your pinball machine will have a headboard that is bolted into place.

To get to the bolts on an older pinball machine you will have to remove the backing panel. When you undo the bolts you will also have to unplug the connectors that run down into the box. If you’re worried about remembering where these connectors go, it might be a good idea to label them.

Once the headboard has been folded on top of the machine, you will have to remove the pinball machine legs. While removing the legs, make sure you take note of the front legs and back legs to avoid confusion when reattaching them when you have reached your destination. With some makes of pinball machine, the legs will be the same length front and back making it difficult to tell them apart. Others, such as Sega pinball machines, the legs are longer at the back than the front – easier to tell which goes where.

Make sure you have removed the balls from the machine, you don’t want them bouncing around everywhere in transit. Also, make sure the coin return door has been secured if you had opened it while undoing the legs.

Loading the pinball machine into a vehicle is a two-person job. Simply load one end (front first usually works best) onto the tray and then slide it in. Because you’ve folded the headboard down it will most likely be lying up on the front end of the table. Loading the pinball machine front first will put the heavy end closest to the vehicle’s cabin and will prevent the majority of potential movement. Make sure the machine is securely tied down with straps and you’re on your way.

When you’ve arrived at your destination, it is usually a good idea to slide the machine halfway out of your vehicle, attaching the legs to one end before sliding it out the rest of the way and attaching the other legs. Once the pinball machine is in position, reassemble the headboard and you’re ready to enjoy your new pinball machine.