Flipper Alignment

I’ve read through every thread I could find on every pinball forum thread in the past 15+ years. Here’s the most recent one that came up: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/advice-adjusting-flipper-angle#post-2627213

No matter where, this discussion always contains the same set of opinions, but never any conclusive answers:

  1. Designers put the holes there because that is the intended angle of the flippers, and they should be aligned with the bats, not the rubbers.
  2. Designers put the holes there because that is the intended angle of the flippers, and they should be aligned with the rubbers. not the bats.
  3. The alignment holes are just there to help busy ops get the game “close enough” on route.
  4. Flippers are intended to be lined up with the lane guide.
  5. Flippers should be aligned according to what feels right.

On new Sterns I’ve seen. the alignment holes are actually at the tip of the flipper, which seems to suggest the tip of the flipper should point right at them (that’s how they ship). On old (classic) Sterns, there are permanent alignment pins that suggest the flipper should not be aligned with the lane guide.

I just thought maybe someone here (@keefer, @heyrocker) might be able to offer some insight so I can get some sleep at night instead of scouring RGP threads from 1997 :slight_smile:


5 all day. #4 is a joke even when you point a pinsider to the flyer showing how it was aligned at the factory they will then argue the photographer did that before the shoot. I’m not even joking it’s there on PS somewhere lol. I always align mine low even if they were intended to be that way only because it makes ball control harder but that’s just me…

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The holes are use for alignment at factory BUT I have never seen evidence of what tool they used for this. And what diameter this tool might have had on the above playfield part of it. That the flipper is actually held up against. And whether this is designed to be with or without rubber ring on flipper.

This diameter will affect flipper angle.

Never gave too much for the toothpick in hole tip, because I believe a toothpick is too poor af reference. Flimsy.

Personally I eye ball the flipper angle to align the inline guide. And adjust, if afterwards playing convinces me that the game plays better with flippers a little lower or higher.

When possible I clamp something straight to align bats and lane guides, then tighten them. Not sure what the best is, but some pics of Ballys, for example, tend to show them at a lower angle than the guides. Aligning with the guides though, should provide for the smoothest gameplay.

I use the holes (on the bats) for 90’s and newer games. Most 80’s games I align with the guides. Fittingly, Ripley’s has the guide holes above the flippers.

Not sure if there was ever a tool, but once you’ve done a couple, you just eyeball it. Snug the pawls with the bats above normal at rest position, lower playfield, push bats down into proper position, then tighten pawls. I’m guessing that’s how they do it at the factory too. A tool would slow you down.

Cyclone has the alignment holes, but the manual reminds to op to align the bats with the lane guides. I’ve never seen a flipper alignment hole out of position. I’ve seen lots of other holes out of position, but never those.

Do a search for “shipping pin holes” on pinside and don’t forget your popcorn.

A year goes by so quickly.