Do you ever wonder what happens after your ball hits the pins? How does the computer know how many pins you hit? How does your ball reappear so quickly on the ball return? It’s actually pretty interesting!
The machine that sets up the pins and sends your ball back to the ball return is called a pinsetter. It’s a large machine with about as many moving parts as a car. We have a team of specially trained mechanics who know how to keep them running as smoothly as possible. At any given time there’s always at least one mechanic behind the machines, ready to fix whatever problem may occur.
There are 20 to 21 pins in every pinsetter, that way when you have a full set of pins standing up, theres another full set in the machine ready to be set down in case you get a strike. 10 pins sit in a part of the machine called the turret, which holds them until they are ready to be dropped into the deck, which picks them up and puts them down.
In every pinsetter on each of our 60 lanes there’s a camera focused on the pins, and when your ball hits the pins the camera detects how many are still standing. At that point your ball rolls to the back of the machine, the machine picks up the standing pins(if you didn’t knock them all down), and the rake sweeps any fallen pins out of the way for your next shot. The pins that were left standing are then placed back down and the rake moves out of the way for your second shot!
If you get a strike and knock all the pins down, you make the machine’s life a little easier, because then all it has to do is put down another full set of (10) pins. If you throw a gutterball and don’t even knock a single pin down, the machine picks all the pins up at once and sets them back down.
When your ball reaches the back of the machine, there is a spinning wheel that rolls your ball up the side of the machine and onto a set of tracks. The tracks then slope downward and your ball rolls down, giving it enough momentum to make it all the way back to you at the ball return.
Now that you have a better understanding of how it all works, come play a few games with your new found appreciation of the sport!