How to move a pinball machine

Tips for safely relocating your pinball machine

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Whether you’re a die-hard gamer or just love the nostalgic rush of seeing those flashing lights and hearing the satisfying clink of the ball hitting the bumpers, your pinball machine is undoubtedly a prized possession. 

But what happens when it’s time to move? With a bit of planning, professional help, and these helpful tips on how to move a pinball machine, you’ll have it running in no time—no muss, no fuss.

The anatomy of a pinball machine

a vintage pinball machine

Before we dive into the step-by-step tutorial on moving a pinball machine downstairs, upstairs, or elsewhere, let’s take a closer look at the equipment. What are its primary parts? How much does a pinball machine weigh?

Beyond the flashy lights and ringing bells, a pinball machine has several essential parts working to keep the game going. These include:

  • Backbox: Located on the top of the machine, it houses the electronics, score displays, backglass graphics, coin-entry mechanisms, sound speakers, and more.

  • Plunger: It is a spring-loaded lever used to launch the ball onto the playfield.

  • Playfield: The main playing area of a pinball machine, it is here where players can control the ball with flippers and hit various targets to score points.

  • Legs: These are adjustable components that support the weight of a pinball machine when it sits on a flat surface.

  • Cabinet: This is the main body of a pinball machine and houses all the playfield components, including the flippers and targets.

Now, how heavy is a pinball machine? While some are portable, the arcade-style ones are huge. The usual weight of a pinball machine is a staggering 145 kilograms. Meanwhile, the average pinball size is 130 centimetres in length, over 70 centimetres in width, and around 190 centimetres in height.

How to transport a pinball machine by yourself

Because of the massive weight and size, you should consider having a friend to help you. Better yet, request a quote from a mover. But if you want to DIY, ensure you have the right materials and equipment.

What you need to transport a pinball machine

  • Adjustable straps

  • Wrenches or ratchets

  • Screwdrivers

  • Tape measure

  • Pinball dolly or hand truck

  • Cardboards or Styrofoam

  • Plastic to wrap the machine

How to move a pinball machine upstairs or elsewhere

Here are the steps when moving a pinball machine in any part of your home or another location:

1. Measure the size of the machine, the obstacles, and the destination. Although we have provided the average pinball machine size, it comes in various shapes and sizes. Measuring it even before transferring it ensures it can fit curbs, narrow passageways, and doors.

2. Remove the balls from the machine. The equipment has many parts, but the balls are the most movable. When they bounce during transport, they can damage the electronics and other components. You can get rid of the balls by accessing the back box.

3. Protect the backbox. After removing the balls, insulate the rest from sudden movements and impact with cardboard or Styrofoam. When possible, fold the box into the cabinet.

4. Prepare the machine for wrapping. How do you get rid of pinball legs? Prop up the back and slowly remove the legs from their places. Then, using screws or ratchets, unscrew the bolts and nuts that keep the equipment fixed on the floor. Wrap the rest, especially the plunger handle, tightly with plastic.

5. Move the machine to the dolly or hand truck. Using one or two adjustable straps, secure the machine to the dolly. This prevents the machine from moving around when you’re transferring it. You can use the hand truck only if the equipment is light and thin.

6. Move the pinball machine to the destination. Start as slow and steady as possible to prevent damage, ensuring you avoid curbs and steps. When you reach the stairs, be prepared for a challenging task ahead of you. To move a pinball machine downstairs, position yourself at the back of the dolly or hand truck. Use a single hand to push it up or down one step at a time.

Hiring a pro for pinball machine moving

a moving van full of boxes

Can you move a pinball machine by yourself? Yes, but it is often risky, time-consuming, and not worth it. You:

  • Run the risk of damaging its components

  • Cannot see your path properly, especially when you’re moving up and down the stairs

  • Do not have the right tools to carry and move a piece of 325-pound equipment

  • Might injure yourself, especially your back

That’s why it’s always a good idea to hire a pinball machine mover to help you. These professionals have the experience and know-how to safely move your beloved game to its new location without damaging it. They can answer tough questions such as “Will a pinball machine fit in a minivan?” Some can even do minor repairs when necessary and know how to take apart a pinball machine. Also:

  • They have all the necessary tools and equipment to make the job efficient.

  • Most movers are insured, so you don’t have to worry if something goes wrong. They can also compensate you if they end up damaging your machine.

  • They offer other related services. These include shipping the machine to different locations, packing it, removing other appliances, and disassembling and assembling the equipment.

Move your pinball machine safely with Airtasker

Moving a pinball machine is tough, no doubt about it! It requires a lot of muscle, planning, and time. But don’t sweat it because you don’t have to do it alone. Hire a professional if you don’t want to risk your health or precious machine. 

With Airtasker, you can post a task and get responses to questions such as “How do you remove a pinball machine head?” You will shortly receive proposals and quotes that fit your budget and needs.

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The best way to transport a pinball machine is to hire a professional pinball mover. They have the necessary tools, experience, and know-how to transport your machine safely.

You will need at least two people to lift a pinball machine properly. Both should stand on either side of the machine, with one person supporting the back and another holding the front part. Slowly lift it and move it gently. Make sure that you keep your back straight to prevent any injury. Remember to bring a friend or hire helpers.

Yes, but it still depends on the sizes of the vehicle and the machine. You also have to consider the width of the door, ensuring that you can fit the equipment securely.

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