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PinBox 3000 Review by Renee Knoblauch

Ben T. Matchstick and Pete Talbot
Cardboard Teck Instantute / Cardboard Teck LLC
123 Robinhood Circle
Montpelier VT 05602

We have used several STEM products over the years, and The PinBox 3000, co-created by Ben T. Matchstick and Pete Talbot, is one of the neatest projects we have done.  It is at the top of our list of STEM creations. Cardboard Teck Instantute / Cardboard Teck LLC has created a cardboard masterpiece that will endure countless pinball games.

PinBox 3000 retails for around $50.00. This particular one is a blank slate. You can purchase other predesigned kits, bundles, and other items. The kit includes everything you need to build a workable pinball machine. It comes with twelve die-cut cardboard sheets and punches out easily from the cardboard. The sheets also have graphics you can use to decorate the pinball machine.  All the rivets, marbles, heavy-duty rubber bands, pencil, hole puncher, a hook tool, a companion assembly instruction booklet are included. An official step-by-step video is available to watch. You might need a knife or a pair of scissors for a few stubborn sections in the cardboard and the graphics on the sheets. The building process is around an hour to build the kit. Decorating your final design will add more time to the kit.

The video is around forty minutes long. The assembly instructions act as a companion to follow along with the video. The letters shown on the sheet match the die-cuts on the cardboard sheets. The pieces are also numbered in order of steps. The pictures are detailed if you need a close-up visual to refer to and do a good job illustrating the instructions. The video is designed for you to follow along during the building process. He gives a few tips throughout the video too.

The pieces are labeled with instructions and the part on the cardboard sheets. Sections will say "fold-up" or "middle wall." The sheets will also tell you where to connect build pieces to create the pinball machine. They are scored for you to fold and shape easily in the intended direction. It will not fold or bend in the wrong direction unless you force it to do so. If you must force it, then you know you are doing it incorrectly. Once you have folded the pieces, the tabs will fit into the precut slots to lock the parts in place. As you are building it, you will notice that it gets sturdier as you go. My son said, "Younger kids will need help with the rivets." You must push them down to make them click together. They require a bit of power to lock correctly.

You can attach two games back-to-back for the battle mode. The back of the game has a cardboard door that allows the marbles to go back and forth between each game to play with another player. You lock it on the sides with a cardboard key that secures them together. When you are not in battle mode, the key stays secured on the side. This is a neat function for multi-players.

The pinball machine is entirely customizable for you to design any way you want to. You can buy booster packs, playboard refill packs, and ramps. You can also download templates and graphics. In addition, there are videos to help you add more elements to your game. Or you can just use your imagination.

Another feature you can add is sounds and lights, extra flippers, and your imagination is the limit. Videos for adding the elements are on the website and links to purchase items.

For storage, you can hang it on the wall with a notch built into the back. The marbles are kept in the kit by flipping up the cardboard of the ball return.

My teenage son built this with no assistance from me in an hour. He felt that the videos and assembly instructions were straightforward to follow. He was amazed at the quality of the product and its functionality. He was highly impressed with the end product. I must admit I was skeptical about how this would hold up and how it would work before receiving the kit. I was utterly wrong. This is top-notch in quality. This is such a clever concept. The plunger and the flippers are fantastic. The marbles drop into holes and return to the front drawer. It just amazes me that the whole thing is made from cardboard.

My son was able to add LED lights, sounds, and other light features to the playing board. He made wheels, stoppers, and flippers. He has managed to change around some aspects of his playboard too. He plans on purchasing a refill pack for his playboard. This will allow him to create different themes for his pinball machine. The sky is the limit with how you can customize your pinball machine.

His friend bought a kit after he saw his, and they were able to play battle mode style. The battle mode made the game a bit more challenging, and it was fun combining the pinball machines.

If you are looking for a creative and fun STEM kit, I highly recommend PinBox 3000.

-Product review by Renee Knoblauch, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2021