The Pinball Expo '88 tour arrives at Williams Electronics, Inc. A technician solders parts on a Williams Taxi playfield. Williams Taxi pinball machines undergo test and burn-in before shipment.

A highlight of Pinball Expo '88 was the tour of the Williams Electronics pinball machine factory. We watched metal parts fabrication, playfield construction, component wiring, cabinet assembly, final testing, and crating for shipment. The two dozen photos that accompany this story show how raw materials were transformed into Williams Taxi pinball machines.

Lockdown mechanism and plunger above the Gottlieb Surf Champ front door The lockdown mechanism removed from Gottlieb's Surf Champ A wire brush loosened rust from the Gottlieb Surf Champ lockdown mechanism Before cleaning and after: the Gottlieb Surf Champ lockdown sliding mechanism

My recently purchased Gottlieb Surf Champ had a stuck lockdown bar, so that was the first item to repair. I cleaned gunk and rust out of the mechanism and installed it back in the game. Now it operates smoothly.

A 3D model of a leg leveler designed in SketchUp. The 3D printed leg leveler on the bed of a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer. The 3D printed leg leveler fitted into the end of a pinball trophy leg. The FSPA pinball machine trophy with 3D printed leg levelers.

The Free State Pinball Association awards miniature pinball machine trophies to league winners. Their trophies include many details such as flipper buttons and coin doors, but they have no leg levelers. I designed leg levelers for my trophy and 3D printed them at a local maker space.

Early shoppers examine the games for sale at the National Pinball Museum. National Pinball Museum founder David Silverman discusses games with purchasers. A new owner carts Gottlieb's Pro Football out of the National Pinball Museum. Gottlieb's Big Hurt is a tight fit in this small car.

The National Pinball Museum in Baltimore closed on March 3, 2013 after failing to agree on new lease terms with its building owner. The Museum sold about 20 games on March 30 to offset moving and storage costs.

Practice games were available for free play at the Fairfax Pinball Open. 38 games were packed into the hotel ballroom for the Fairfax Pinball Open. Qualifiers asked scorekeepers to record game scores at the Fairfax Pinball Open. The tournamet T-shirt featured the Fairfax Pinball Open dot matrix display logo.

The Free State Pinball Association held its 10th Annual Fairfax Pinball Open tournament on February 22-24, 2013 at a new location: the Best Western Fairfax in Fairfax City, Virginia. Thanks to widespread publicity and meticulous planning, the new venue allowed more people to enjoy more games than in previous years.

FSPA league play at John's Place. FSPA league score keeping on the pool table at John's Place. FSPA league official Paul McGlone presents a trophy to B Division player Kevin S The Washington Post features the FSPA pinball league at John's Place.

The Free State Pinball Association sponsors pinball leagues near Baltimore and Washington, DC. I joined their Spring 2012 league in Fairfax, Virginia to play competitively for the first time. I didn't qualify to compete for a trophy, but I had fun and learned a lot about playing pinball.

Players filled the Pinhead Gallery at the National Pinball Museum in Baltimore. National Pinball Museum founder David Silverman greets visitors on opening day.

Hundreds of visitors played pinball on opening day at the National Building Museum's new location in Baltimore. The new location offers a little more space to play pinball and a little less space for historical displays. The crowd was very enthusiastic, with many people staying all day.

Volunteers wrap a pinball game at the National Pinball Museum. Half the pinball games were ready to move at the National Pinball Museum. Volunteers remove legs from a pinball game at the National Pinball Museum.

Volunteers and staff worked feverishly at the National Pinball Museum to prepare hundreds of pinball games and rooms full of historic exhibits for a forced move out of their leased space in Washington, DC. More than half the games were ready to go just five days after the museum closed to the public.

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