Home » Moving Tips » How to Move and Store a Pinball Machine Safely

Pinball machines are a fun addition to a home but can be a major hassle when you’re moving. And if you have to store a pinball machine for an extended period after your move, you may run into more complications that make it frustrating to keep safe. As a result, you need to safely follow the steps below to move and store a pinball machine. These steps are straightforward to understand and should not strain you if you get help from others during the sometimes long moving process.

Carefully Remove the Balls

Each pinball machine has many balls that must be removed before you move and store it. These balls are located in a storage bin under the machine. You can easily remove and access this container with a screwdriver. Please take all these balls out and place them in a small plastic box. Now, open up the machine to look for any extra balls that may linger throughout its interior.

These are usually located in select areas that activate when the multi-ball is triggered on the machine. Open this container and place the balls from here in the box with the others you have collected. You can now tape up the box and write “Pin Balls” or another legend on the tape to make them easier to find. Put them to the side while you prepare the rest of the machine for moving and storage.

Fold the Head Down On Newer Pinball Machines

Your pinball machine’s head is where you see the score and the other exciting elements that make the game so fun. Before you move the device, this head must be either folded down or removed. Newer machines have a simple pin that you can remove that allows the head to fold down onto the machine’s back. Put the pin back into place to lock it down.

Remove the Head Completely on Older Machines

On older machines, the head may need to be removed via a screwdriver or wrench. Locate the screws or bolts holding it down and use the proper tools to take them out. The tools needed will vary based on your machine, so be prepared for some differences here. Make sure to place the head to the side once it is removed, as you’ll be wrapping each machine part later for easier storage.

Remove the Legs

At this point, it is crucial to take the legs off of your machine to make it easier to move. Before doing that, lay a blanket down near the machine – you’ll move it to that later. You’re going to need at least two people to help you here. Position each of these individuals on one side of the back of the machine. Remove the legs by taking out the screws or the bolts holding them down. Your helpers hold the machine up and lower it to the ground safely after you are done.

Now, remove the front two legs or fold them up – some models may have this folding feature – and use your helpers to lower the front after you take off or move the legs. Take all of the screws you’ve removed from the machine so far and place each type – i.e., the legs and head screws – in separate small plastic baggies. Add a bit of tape to the baggie and label it with the name of the part from which you got each screw or bolt.

Wrap Up Your Pinball Machine

Take the pinball machine – you may need more helpers here, up to three or four in total – and place it on the blanket. Pull the blanket up as far as it can go and tape it in place. Use multiple blankets in this way to fully wrap up your machine and keep it safe. You may need at least three blankets, though the device will be surprisingly easy to wrap once you’ve removed the head and the legs.

Stuff bubble wrap, foam, or other protective material types underneath the blankets before you tape them down. Follow the same step with the legs and a removed head, if necessary. Bubble wrap is a good choice because it keeps your parts safe and doesn’t cause static. Place all the connecting items, like baggies with the screws and bolts, and the ball box in a larger container, seal it up, and label it with tape to make it easier to find later.

Move the Pinball Machine Carefully

When moving a pinball machine, we suggest checking out the layout of the area from which you are moving the machine to where you are loading it. Measure the doorways to make sure the device can fit. Now, use a handcart or a dolly to take your device where you want to go. Remember – these machines can weigh over 300 pounds and need specialized help to move appropriately.

It at all possible, make sure that you place your machine with the bottom side down to avoid any damage when shipping. If necessary, put it on one side or the back – removing the head first – to prevent damage. Stabilize the machine in any moving truck by placing blankets, bumpers, or other protective gear on the side. This keeps it and its equipment from getting damaged in the move.

Extra Ball Tip!

Purchase anti-static foam to use when storing your pinball machine. Though these machines aren’t too delicate, they may suffer electrical shocks during a move or storage. Make sure to place this foam inside of the wrap once you have the machine in storage. And avoid placing any heavy items on the machine – a separate storage room may be necessary.

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