My take on a Hyperball shooter modification

When I picked up my Hyperball a couple of weeks back, I took a close look at the shooter. Apparently it is a common thing to see the tip of the shooter smashed, and sometimes slanted which can in turn scratch the myriad of balls and destroy the playfield. A pinball collector by the name of Ed Cheung has a webpage on modifying the shooter, but leaves out a couple of things that I think could be helpful.

What to put in the shooter tip

As Ed says, he was looking for something that was softer than steel to keep the balls safe. He drilled out the middle of the shaft and ground down the tip and added a ‘hard rubber material’, stuffing it tightly in the shaft so that it barely protruded from the shooter.

But Ed doesn’t specify beyond that where to buy the rubber. I assume I could go down to my local Hobby Lobby and find something, but I like being efficient, and know when I buy something that it has already been a tested success. When I emailed him he said it was just some rubber he had laying around.

Jess Askey knows a ton about pinball and arcades in general, remember he is the guy making the additional levels for Major Havoc. Well, I contacted him to see what he might have in the way of suggestions for materials for the Hyperball shooter. He suggested a hard nylon rod. By this time I had emailed a number of Hyperball owners, and posted on RGP and Coinopspace.com for help.

Mark G. came forward and said he had gone the hard nylon rod route and showed me the website where he bought it. He took some awesome photos, better than mine. His photos really demonstrate what needs to be done.

Hyperball - Empty ShooterHyperball - Shooter + Nylon RodHyperball - Shooter with Rod inserted

He suggested buying a 3/16″ wide nylon rod from USPlastic.com. As of this writing, that link works. But regardless, visit their website and search ‘Natural Nylon Rod 3/16″ Diameter’ to find the product if the link goes bad. It’s a cheap purchase, you’ll spend way more on shipping than the rod itself. I ended up ordering plenty (4 feet @ .36 a foot) so that I could experiment as needed and had extra just in case.

Hyperball - Full Nylon Rod
How I prepped the tip

My Hyperball shooter shaft was still pretty straight, so all I did was drill out the middle where the steel was bulbus and had folded over just a hair into the middle. I had measured the shaft before I ordered the nylon, it was indeed 3/16″ from what I could tell.

Second, I cut down a piece of the nylon rod to the length I thought I needed. We went on the large side, fearing that we might make it too short and have the nylon stuff in the shooter shaft. Ed doesn’t detail how far the rod should stick out, and there is a certain tolerance before it is too far and the rod will block the balls from falling in the chamber. The shaft itself it about 1.5″, (depending on the degree of smashing) and after I had sanded the tip down numerous times, I found that it should not stick out further than 1/8″. Not very far at all. Here are some photos showing the tip.

Hyperball Shooter - Clipping off the endHyperball Shooter Photo - Nylon rod in place

After I had the tip situated, I just used a sander to make the surface flat.

The nlyon rod is still too wide at 3/16″

That is what I found out. Even with the shaft drilled out a little bit, the rod was too big, and nylon is hardly a malleable material. What I ended up doing was shaving down all sides of the rod until it was about 1/4 less thick in diameter. This gave me an end to push into the shaft, and then I took a hammer and lightly tapped it in the rest of the way. I had shavings of the nylon, but it is snug and there is no way it is coming back out due to silverball vibrations.

I had a number of suggestions where I’d first put some material in the shaft and then epoxy it in place. You can try that, USP sells a smaller diameter nylon rod at 1/8″ diameter. If it’s too small, you could go that route. But the shaving and hammering method works just fine.

Short and to the point, Ed’s page has more general detail about modifying the shooter on this pinball.

My Hyperball is playable now, right?

Well, wrong actually. I was pretty excited, I had company in town the day the nylon arrived. I had already played my Hyperball without any issue, so I just assumed I’d put in the new rod and get to show off the hybrid video pin, exciting some interest in a truly unique machine.

Alas, it didn’t work out that way. I was having some issues I believe with IC19, so I took that Hyperball board with me to Chicago and soon it will be repaired. I can’t wait. I want to play the game worry free a little bit before I make any more mods.

Here are some similar arcade posts

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Any worry about the nylon breaking or cracking over time? I suppose if it does you can drill out the old piece and replace it. Just curious.

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That is probably a thought….Jess suggested the nylon, don’t know if he used it himself, but I’ve got enough left and it was cheap enough. Hard to do rigorous product testing when you’re just trying to have fun 😉

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