Here’s a thought, what happens to pinball machines when they are beyond repair? Upcycler Dan Burfield turns them into pinball birdhouses! As an avid pinball collector and restorer, Burfield sometimes finds pinball machines that can’t be fixed. He gives these machines a second life as pinball birdhouses.
Dan Burfield grew up in the video game generation. He started playing around with computer programming in grade 2. He also loves sculpting mechanical pieces. Pinball machines brought together his love of digital and mechanical. Unlike video games, pinball machines have tangible aspects. There is real wood, plastic and metals.
Dan Burfield’s obsession with pinball machines began in 2000. Someone gave him a broken basement game and he’s never been the same since. Burfield has a policy, never dismantle a machine that has reasonable potential to become playable again.
I once heard a story about a time when games were too expensive to repair so operators were paying men to chop them up and burn to make room for new. The idea horrified me.
The pinball material that Dan Burfield uses is at the end of its life. Tiltcycle is a word he created to refer to the reuse of pinball machines for functional art. Many of his pieces would likely have been thrown away if he did not upcycle them.
Dan Burfield was inspired to start making pinball birdhouses by a friend that was making birdhouses out of reclaimed lumber from foreclosed houses. He began to research what it takes to make a proper birdhouse. An important factor is creating the perfect-sized hole. It occured to Dan that the outhole kicker on most electromechanical machines might be just right. His target bird is the most prevalent bird in North America, the House Wren. As it turned out, the outhole is a perfect diameter for these birds.
We think that Dan Burfield’s pinball birdhouses are really creative and beautiful. The retro illustrations really come to life in their new form as pinball birdhouses! We especially love the designs of the 1960 Bally Beauty content pinball machine playfield.
See more of Dan Burfield’s pinball birdhouses: Tiltcycle