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How Do Arcade Punching Machines Work | Where Can I Buy

Ryan Bader hitting an arcade punching machine.

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First of all, let’s be clear that there are several types of punching machines. Several types of designs such as the hanging punch ball design, an upright arm with a pad or even a full human punching dummy. But the main question we want to know is how exactly do punching machines work.

Depending on the specific type of machine, a sensor is placed on the arm of the hanging punch ball registers. As the ball is struck the holding arm at the top locks in and registers the force of the impact generated.

The issue with the hanging ball-style punching machine is that when you punch, the ball swings up at an angle. As this happens the contact area between the fist and the surface of the ball is minimised. And is no longer at a right angle to the trajectory of the punch.

So as the punching arm extends, the hanging object moves away at an angle which diminishes the power of the punch itself. But not to fear, in this article we also discuss how to get around this issue.

But in terms of how the hanging ball style which we most commonly see in arcades and bars works. This tends to use two switches to track the diagnostics around the punch itself.

A standalone arcade boxing game on which people try to get a high punching power score.
Arcade Punching Machine example

With a micro switch on the speedball that knows when it has been hit. You then have what is called an actuator on a pad, which the ball hits against after being struck.

So essentially what happens is the computer uses the time between the micro switch on the punch ball being hit. And measures that against the time it takes before reaching the pad on the mainframe of the machine to give the score.

So the ball which hangs freely from the mainframe travels at speed and in the form of an arch and not directly backward. Thereby capturing the full force of the blow. It offers diminishing returns on the force of your punch.

How Accurate Is An Arcade Punch Machine

The general acceptance is that punching machines are not at all accurate. Sure they can tell you if you hit the ball hard, but it’s not an exact science. The machine itself is not a finely tuned piece of equipment and it is not meant to be. More than anything it is meant to be a bit of fun and not taken all that seriously.

But in terms of how accurate it actually is? Well, I touched upon the fact that the punching ball does not move back in a linear fashion. So it effectively swings upward after being struck. The punch continues to move forward and the full force of the blow is lost on the ball itself.

Where To Hit The Arcade Punching Machine

The way in which the data from a punching machine is captured means that it’s not very accurate. But in order to punch it correctly, it’s important that firstly the ball is hanging directly down. Make sure to adjust it in case it is in any way hanging off to the side.

Now the position of your body is just as important as the hitting of the bag or ball itself. So plant your feet apart slightly wider than your shoulders. The opposite leg to your punching hand should be out in front slightly past the hanging bag.

Now you are going to drive the punch slightly up and through so that the punch finishes just behind the bag itself. You are not just snapping out a punch that barely lands, but driving all the force through the bag for maximum impact.

Now swivel your shoulders while keeping your legs firmly planted. And take aim at the centre of the hanging bag. Drive from your back leg transferring the power-up, through your hips into your shoulders and down your arm. Landing and going through and past the bag, for maximum force.

How To Get A High Score On An Arcade Punching Machine

As the design of the machine leads to some of the force from the punch being lost. The best way to up your score on the machine is to compensate for the angle at which the punch bag travels.

A guy hits a punching game in the arcade as a friend looks on.
A guy hits an arcade punching machine.

So instead of throwing a straight linear punch, throw more of an upswing or uppercut style. So that the punch ball travels faster to its target, which will result in a higher score.

In reality, it’s not a punch that would ever be thrown in training or a fight. But for the purposes of getting a high score, if done properly, this technique will have your score numbers shooting up.

Types Of Punching Machines

There are three main types of punching machines currently available on the market. Here are the three types in order of popularity:

  • The hanging ball style of machine is the most common one we see in bars and arcades.
  • A human punching dummy is a full-size body. Where you strike at a certain point and the force is then registered. These are not so common but look like good fun.
  • The upright arm style has a punching pad fixed to an arm that comes up as opposed to down from the punching machine. The force is registered in the same way, measuring the time from the strike landing to the arm hitting the sensor on the main machine.

What’s The Cost Of An Arcade Punching Machine

The price of the machine can vary widely, so you need to know what you are buying and how much you are willing to pay. There can be an obvious issue with buying a cheap substandard machine. Which over time begins to fall apart and require constant maintenance.

If you decide to go for a more expensive punch machine you have to make sure it’s worth the extra money. What do you expect to make over what length of time? Will you make your money back or will you be old and grey by the time you begin to make some profit?

When buying from a local distributor, the costs I have seen for machines can vary as much as $9000, down to $4000. While you can pick one up online for anywhere from $700 to $3000. While buying online does appear much cheaper. Always take into account transportation and after-sales.

Where Can I Buy An Arcade Punching Machine

In these days of buying online, the world is your oyster in terms of where to buy an arcade-style punching machine. In most European and North American countries you can buy these types of machines from local sellers.

The one thing I will say is that local sellers put a good markup on these machines. And with most of them ordering from abroad, the best course of action is to go directly to the original seller.

That being said, buying a machine like this from abroad could be fraught with issues. So make sure there are protections in place in terms of warranties, repairs or even returns. As if there is an issue, you may have no way to deal with problems that pop up.

Some Places You Will Find These Machines For Sale Include:

Here are some recommended places where you can purchase arcade punching machines. While the list is not exhaustive, these would be the most likely and best locations for you to find what you need:

  • (Or your local country eBay)
  • (You will need to pay for long-distance transportation)
  • (When ordering smaller amounts from
  • Check local business listings for sales
  • Simply Google “buy arcade punch machine” and depending on your location you will see most of the local sellers
  • In terms of used items, do a Google search for “used arcade punching machine for sale.”

In Conclusion

It’s pretty obvious from what we have discussed that punching machines are not very accurate. But they are not meant to be exact scientific results of a person’s punching power.

More so a little bit of fun for you and your friends. So next time you want to impress some people. Follow my directions to gain maximum results while having fun.

Arcade punching machines are large and sometimes very costly pieces of equipment. With both moving mechanical and computer parts, you will no doubt over time run into repairs that need to be done. So it’s critical that before you buy, make sure to do your research.

Check the competition, the costs and what their own customers have to say. Search for reviews, both negative and positive to try and get a feel for what you will be buying and who you will be buying from.

Ask other owners questions in forums and via email or phone. So that you have a fuller picture of what you will be getting yourself into before handing over your credit card. Having bought similar equipment from Asia in the past, I can tell you it is not always plain sailing.