How to transport a pinball machine

There's already a lot written about moving pinball machines. I suggest you search the newsgroup on and search on 'moving pinball' for more tips.

Pinball in car

Here are some general tips:

  • Open the game and remove every loose part
  • Remove the backbox
  • A pinball machine is heavy ! 100 to 150 kilogram !
  • Use a (pinball) cart if you have one :-)
  • Remove the pinballs and every other loose thing in in the cabinet (manuals, screws, broken pieces, ..).
  • To move a pin a very short distance (i.e. other side of the room), an easy way is to crouch under the pin and lift it with your back. Don't lift it too high though so it won't tip over to one side..
  • Even more easy is to use furniture rollers, small wheels which you put underneath each leg, and you just roll your pinball machine through your house.
  • Measure doors (and stairs) you'll have to pass before you start. You don't want to get stuck halfway a stairway..
  • If you're going to rent a car, or use your own car, measure it so you know a pin will fit in. A lot of cars unfortunately are just an inch too short / low :-(
  • Use cardboard to protect the sides of the pin (and doors) when you have to pass small doors.
  • If a door is just a bit too small for the backbox, it isn't always necessary to remove the backbox completely. Remove the bolts which secure it to the cabinet, and rotate backbox 45 degrees so it's over the playfield. You do need an extra person to hold the backbox in place now.
  • Put something (i.e. piece of wood) under the cabinet, if you have to put it down on the floor when the legs are off. At least then you're still able to put your fingers under it to lift it again. If you forgot this, don't try to lift the cabinet by pulling at the plunger (it may break off or bend) - lift at the hole in the cabinet where it connects to the backbox (you did take the backbox off, didn't you ?), or open the coin door.
  • You can put a cabinet on its back. Be sure there's nothing loose in the cabinet anymore !
  • Usually 2 people can move a pin without any problem. When you have some kind of cart, it's even possible to do it alone (if it's all on ground level).
  • When moving a pin in your car: be sure to TIE IT DOWN so it's secured !! Your seat won't protect you from a +100kg (200 pounds) object hitting your back, in case you have an accident (like when the stupid driver behind you didn't see you brake and drives into you). Make sure you have some kind of protection when moving a pin in a car !
  • Also make sure the backbox is in a safe position and can't move around. The backglass is the safest in the backbox itself. I usually put the glass side towards the cabinet, with some cardboard or foam between.
  • Remove the legs. If you are going to put a pinball machine into a car and you're with 2 people, it's easy to bring the pinball towards the car, take 2 legs off, slide the cabinet halfway in the car, and then remove the other 2 legs..
  • Don't leave keys in the lock, they break off easily. Don't forget where you've put the keys.
  • If you're going to drive a long distance, make sure you use blankets or foam to protect the machine, so it doesn't move around or rubs against anything else.
  • Don't move a pin with the backbox still up. Remove the backbox if possible, or fold it down on recent pins. The backbox may break off if you leave it up !
  • If you have to move a pin upstairs, remove the head and is possible the playfield too. This will make it more manageable. If it's a recent game and you want to move it in one piece upstairs with the head folded down, be very careful !

lord of the rings pinball machine
Moving pins up in the air.. this one is going to the 13th floor !