We’ve seen smaller devices being used to replicate miniature arcade cabinets in the past, but we’ve never seen someone tackle the pinball table before. Now we have this clever little build which focuses on an iPad.

While the results of this project are impressive and seem to work great, it’s very simple to put together. A frame made of interlocking aluminium extrusions holds an iPad, a few arcade buttons and a Gemma microcontroller.

The buttons are hooked up to the Gemma, which interrupts their presses as keyboard input. This is then passed into the game which accepts keyboard input for the controls.

There’s a button for each flipper and one for the plunger. You will, unfortunately, be missing out on the satisfaction of pulling a spring back to launch the ball.

The clever people at Adafruit, who created this project, have also made the entire build free of any soldering, as it relies on alligator clips for the connections.

While this isn’t ideal for a permanent setup, this build is intended as a showcase for Adafruit’s components. Because of this everything used to make it is sold on their store. Going by the prices of the components they listed, it will be a pricey build not even including the iPad, so you may need to shop around.

When adding up the components we found that the real cost comes from the aluminium body and not the electronic components. if you’re thinking about replicating this you may want to go down a different route. laser cut wood would be a great replacement.

You’ll then need to follow this written guide or you can watch this hour-long livestream of the build process.


Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.