Fairyland Tales Design

As with most tables, Fairyland Tales started off as a simple sketch in a notebook. As time went on, I created a simple Visual Pinball model of the table, then fully defined the table in a CAD program.

This design page will contain all table layout related history and progression. A lot has changed since the initial sketch!

Fairyland Tales – First ramp mold completed!

Over the past week and a half I’ve been slowly working on my first set of ramp molds for Fairlyland Tales. I made a couple out of wood which I plan on redoing, and I just completed what I consider to be a fairly complex ramp mold.

I made this mold out of wood and Plaster of Paris. The mold may seem simple enough, but it was in fact fairly difficult to make… and it still isn’t perfect. For a while, I was debating if I should make the mold out of wood or something else. I finally settled on industrial clay. Yeah. That didn’t happen… the prices are way to high for my little operation. So I ended up using a combination of wood and Plaster of Paris. The nice thing about plaster is it’s very easy to manipulate (and it’s cheap). Unfortunately though it isn’t the strongest stuff in the world, but it will work fine for my prototyping purposes.

Tomorrow I plan on actually vacuum forming this ramp. I’ve never vacuum formed anything before, but the plethora of YouTube videos make it look easy :) I will also be filming the process and have it posted tomorrow night.

Below is an image showing the mold right after I made the wood base and formed the ramp’s gradient. The last two images show the completed mold.

Fairyland Tales – Building the Foam-core model and Whitewood

There isn’t much to say about this. Both the foamcore and whitewood builds are based completely on the cad model. The whitewood is made completely by hand by me. It isn’t 100% perfect, but it’s certainly close enough.

When I made the foamcore model I found that some posts and guides were in annoying spots, so I moved them and updated the cad file. The nice thing about foamcore is that you can easily move things and make new holes. The bad part is that it sags from the weight of the pinball contraptions, and it’s soft which adds more friction to the ball. Still, foamcore models are definitely needed as a first pass to quickly and cheaply test, or make, a design.

I hooked power up to the flippers for flow and shot testing. Bumpers, Slingshots, Poppers, etc had no power.

The first wood piece I made was the mini playfield. It was small and easy to deal with.

This table has 2 wireform ramps on it. One from the scoop ramp, another from a poper onto the mini playfield. I’m making these wireforms by hand, bending the wire with a clamp and pliers… yeah… and welding with a simple small butane tourch.

This is where I welded

Fits like a glove!

I then went on to tackle the main playfield. Here’s a set of pictures showing it’s progression.

And finally, here’s the current state of the whitewood. I am currently in the process of making molds to vacuum form the 4 ramps. I hope to have that done in a month or so. I have the subway ramp and mini playfield ramp molded, the two sections of the main ramp are fairly complex.


Fairyland Tales – Current CAD design

This is the current version of the cad model I have. There are a few more things I need to define on it, otherwise I just need to make little tweaks and optimizations.

You’ll notice many things have changed from the visual pinball model. The ramps and 3rd flipper are the most noticeable. Other changes include target placement, flipper positioning, and hidden (under the mini table) guides… just to name a few.

Those mushroom caps on the pop bumpers actually are no longer in the game. I need to make new diamond shaped caps.


Fairyland Tales – Early VPT Model

Like most of my designs, Fairyland Tales officially started its creation via Visual Pinball. You can clearly see that this table design is much closer to the initial “Fairyland Legends” design. The table has since gone through a few layout changes since the vpt design was made.

Some differences between this model and the current design are:

  • The main ramp here has a left and right path
  • The ramp from the minitable goes into the bumper
  • There’s a door to the castle (ala Medieval Madness)
  • There are only 3 large spot targets around the bumpers
  • There are more target banks around the table


Fairyland Tales – Early Designs

The original name for this table was Fairyland Legends. The idea was to take multiple fairy tales and throw them onto a table. There was a beanstalk ramp, castle, dragon, fairies, golems, and lily pads on top of the pop bumpers.

The lily pads are actually something I want to revisit again in some future table. The idea is, if the ball is rolling around on the main table, then it’ll get bumped by a typical pop bumper. But the ball can also fall onto the top-most bumper’s cap, then get kicked to the left-most bumper’s cap, and finally get kicked to the bottom-right-most bumper’s cap. From there it rolls of into a subway or something. It’s a neat idea, but very difficult to fit in the required space.

The next picture shows an idea I had surrounding the pop bumpers and mini playfield.

I wanted the pop bumpers to be trees with little doors on them. Gnomes would occasionally pop out of the doors and poke fun at the player (ala Buzz and Bud from No Good Gofers).

The mini playfield would have a large Fairy Queen object. It’s head would turn and it would tell the player what to do next. Unlike the gnomes, the Fairy Queen would be helpful to player as well as get in arguments with the gnomes.

These ideas were scrapped when the table’s mood changed. The Fairy Queen is still going to be part of the table, but now she’s only going to appear in the LCD screen.

The last picture is much closer to the final fairy spring design. There are still a few elements that have changed, but not as many as before