May 10

News : Pinball fan uses 3D printed parts to customize pinball machines (Mezel Mods) : wrote and printed a story about one of the modder companies in the pinball hobby, Mezel Mods.  The story talks about the company and how they started into the business.

May 9, 2016 | By Alec

Just two decades ago, you could not go anywhere without being confronted by a pinball machine. Though they have been partly pushed out of sight by digital technology, the world of pinball is still very much alive among a small group of dedicated fans and collectors. And as Tim Mezel shows, they do not spurn modern technologies, but embrace them. In late 2013, Mezel founded Mezel Mods together with his wife Kristin, and they have become a huge hit selling custom-made 3D printed modifications for pinball machines that are no longer being manufactured.

Mezel Mods is a fantastic business that shows exactly what can be achieved if you combine your passions with modern making technologies. After being infected with a love for pinball while working for Intel, Mezel began collecting pinball machines and was confronted with the same problems as the rest of the community. Right now there’s only one pinball manufacturer left in the world, a company called Stern, while many existing machines from a few decades ago are no longer supported by anyone. So if a machine is incomplete, or part of the playing field breaks down, you have a problem.

Mezel experienced this himself with his “High Speed 2: The Getaway” machine. The digital display had a ‘Donut Heaven’ feature while the field still had one empty spot, but there was no heaven to play on. “When you play, the image of it comes up on the screen but it’s not on the play field,” Mezel recalled. While some people in the digital pinball community had tried making their own cover, Mezel put in a lot more effort than others. Purchasing a MakerBot 3D printer in August 2013, he quickly 3D printed a modification complete with LED lights.

This mod was immensely loved by the community, as was a modification for his Metallica machine to give a snake fangs. This was a feature in the original game, but left out of later models. A huge response from the community led to dozens of purchase requests, and Mezel soon found himself selling 3D printed modifications on Etsy. Unable to cope with the huge demand, Mezel’s wife Kristin Browning-Mezel left her job as CEO of an Albuquerque courier company to become CEO of Mezel Mods. “It was right before Christmas and I said, ‘You need to get these out,’” she said in an interview.

Watch the video and read the rest of the story here : 

Thanks to and Alec for the story and pics.