How do you clean/wax your playfields?

Started 2 years ago by DrAzzy in forum TechTech: Generic.


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How do you clean/wax your playfields?


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  • Started 2 years ago by DrAzzy
  • 33 Pinsiders participating in this thread.
  • Latest reply from balboarules

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    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I've got two machines, both of which had a playfield in good condition when I bought them (no need to strip them down and clearcoat them). I'm wondering how other people do routine cleaning+waxing. I've been using Millwax for general cleaning on the playfield, and have cleaned up a few spots with novus 1.

    It seems like Millwax doesn't really give much, if any, protective coating on the playfield. I was wondering if there is something better I should be using periodically to wax the playfield, to keep it in good condition

    Thanks


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    A good car wax with Carnuba in it will work really good. Millwax is a glorified cleaner and Ive heard it does more bad then good. I use a whole lot of Novus 1 and 2, terry cloth towels, Q-Tips and a can of air


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Do not use Milwax.
    Novus2 to clean and polish a dirty/dull playfield. But normally Novus 1 to clean then a pure Carnauba paste wax. Brand doesn't matter. I use my fingers to get into the tight areas such as orbits and lanes. Use auto terry cloth towels to buff off. Most people say do it every 100 games or so.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I use novus 2 to clean everything up and then follow that with carnuba wax (2 coats) and I do this twice a month


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Like the guys said, Novus 2 and a good carnuba wax. I use Mothers pure Carnuba wax WITHOUT cleaning additives.


    2 years, 9 months ago
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    I also use Novus 2 and Mothers Carnuba wax.....although the cheap Turtle wax seems to work about as well. Be really careful around star posts or spend forever cleaning up.


    2 years, 9 months ago
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    Does anyone use tools to help out? Like a dremmel with an attachment? If so, which attachments?


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Many extoll the virtues of Treasure Cove's cleaning and polishing kit:

    http://www.treasure-cove.net/PolishingKit.htm


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Ooooh, why do I get goose bumps looking at that picture??


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    That Treasure Cove kit looks like a big bucket of win.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I've read you're not supposed to use the Treasure Cove kit but a couple of times right? Cause it's so damn heavy duty?


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I only use that kit when I first get a used pin. It shines the playfield up real nice but is not needed after the first time. That is, if you take care of your playfield. If you use all 3 levels of that kit every time you clean your playfield, you will wear thru that clearcoat within a year I bet.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Yeah that's definitely good to know


    donjagra

    Pinball master
    3,002,000 4
    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    The mill wax you get from Marco or mad amusements is fine for light cleaning. You want to be careful using hardwood floor wax because it usually has a yellow tint to it. The last thing you want is a yellow play field. If you get the clear floor wax, it is usually just a carnuba wax so use a cleaner first, then coat and shine.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Any thoughts on liquid wax? I bought a bottle of Mother's California Gold Pure Carnuba Wax Step 3 (in liquid form). Should I get the paste instead?


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I'd use paste. I've never heard anyone recommend liquid, but I'm not sure why? Maybe it'll get into places where you don't want it?


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    After looking into this a bunch, I feel like one can over do it.

    I've got an IM that I purchased in January. It has roughly 1400 plays on it (take into consideration an average game might be a matter of minutes - 1400 plays on IM is WAY different than 1400 plays on LOTR).

    Anyways, since I've gotten it, I have never used Novus 2 as that is slightly abrasive. I figure after a year I'll use it. I have used Kit Wax, which is Carnauba, but also has a cleaning agent in it, which may have helped keep it clean (I used this about 4 times). I no longer use this as I don't want to use any cleaning agent on my playfield more than I absolutely have to. I also used Novus 1 the first month or so, but have read that it's not good for a playfield either, as you don't want a playfield to be wet at all or use anything to clean it that has alcohol in it.

    What I do now is simply wipe it down with a microfiber towel once a month and have put Mothers Pure Carnauba Past Wax on it. The table looks brand new despite 1400 plays and never using Novus 2.

    I stopped going crazy over cleaning once I talked to a collector who says he rarely cleans his pins and they look immaculate.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I think many of the people new to the hobby are acquiring older SS pins; which are probably in much need of good cleaning. It is likely that these were not diamond plated and definitely require a little more work to obtain a good shine. For kits like Treasure Cove you really wouldnt want to use anything more than the light-cut. For the lucky ones who have low-played games it is much easier to keep the playfield cherry. Love that glossy wet look. Ooh-rah.


    donjagra

    Pinball master
    3,002,000 4
    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Liquid flows into the star posts and the switch canals, and you have to get a tooth brush to get it out. Not that it's bad, just more work.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I've heard from others that the liquids tend to have cleaners in them. I am not sure if that is true or not to be honest. The pure paste carnuba wax is what I use and have been very pleased with the results. I try not to over clean since it can create wear on the field. I do a good clean and wax about every 2 months.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    When you all say you clean or wax it "every month" or "every two months" - that's not really very meaningful, without knowing how heavily the machine is played... Unless you guys play far more than I do, I should be cleaning my playfields a lot more than I do!


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Novus 1 & 2, turtle wax, and a TON of chamois cloths.

    Chamois cloth. Essential for car care AND pinball machine care.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #
    The_Dude_Abides said:

    I've heard from others that the liquids tend to have cleaners in them.

    From what I understand, liquid waxes have cleaners in them. You want to use Carnauba wax and pure Carnauba wax should be solid, not liquid. So, if you used "liquid carnauba wax", then that indicates that there are significant amounts of chemicals in there other than carnauba that is making it "liquid". Who knows how good they are for your playfield?

    I like Mother's best as the wax past tends to be hard, indicating that it's more pure and has less chemicals than other waxes I've come across.

    Milwax, from all that I've read, is the last thing you want to use.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    We occasionally use purple cleaner on really tough deposits. Nothing cleans quite like it. Just never spray it directly on anything. Put it on a towel, use the towel to clean, and wipe off any extra liquid. I have no idea what's actually in it. It's just purple industrial cleanser.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #
    CadillacMusic said:

    It's just purple industrial cleanser.

    Not sure I would go that route since many warn that the chemicals in industrial cleaners will dull color in the long run. Have you noticed any negative effects on yours since you started doing this?


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Hmm, was just struck with question here. Novus 2 is slightly abrasive, so we wouldn't want to use it for routine cleaning - just getting up the general traces of dirt on playfield - all the time, right?

    And we don't want to use millwax at all.

    So what do you do for low-intensity, general cleaning? Do you wax every time you clean? I'm assuming not...


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I brought this discussion up with someone who has been trading and collecting pinball machines for more than 10 years now. His answer to all this is that machines were meant to be played constantly and didn't need to be cleaned all the time. He thought that cleaning once a month/after 100 plays was way over doing it.

    When asked how often he waxes, he said once a year, or, as he stated, "unless I'm putting 6,000 plays on the thing".

    So, my approach, I wipe it down with a dry microfiber towel once a month or so. I think waxing twice a year is more than enough and using novus 2 once or twice a year is more than enough. The only exception would be to wax an area around a magnet if there is one (really there should be mylar around the magnet). Remember, these were machines were meant for public use with tons of play on them between cleanings.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #
    Gusphan said:

    So, my approach, I wipe it down with a dry microfiber towel once a month or so. I think waxing twice a year is more than enough and using novus 2 once or twice a year is more than enough.

    While I have very little experience in the matter I have have read a whole bunch on here and RGP and to me it makes sense that you can overdo it and actually do harm to the machine.....with my LOTR NIB I've used the microfiber towel a few times and don't need to wax it yet....

    With older machines that don't have the diamond plate or extra coatings, maybe more TLC is required....


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    I don't think there is any one right answer. I do, however, think that waxing a game after every 100 plays seems a bit excessive. I play all of my pins regularly, and I try to give them a good cleaning with Novus 1 about once a month. I give each playfield a thorough waxing with Mother's pure carnuba wax about once every six months. I use the liquid and have had good results, but there is a paste available as well:

    If you keep your pins clean, I don't really see a need to use Novus 2. In my eyes, Novus 2 is a great product if you are shopping a dirty pin, but it is more abrasive than necessary for general cleanings.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #
    donjagra said:

    Liquid flows into the star posts and the switch canals, and you have to get a tooth brush to get it out. Not that it's bad, just more work.

    I can't speak for all liquid waxes, but the stuff I use (pictured above) is very thick. I never have a problem with it going where I don't want it to, and I find it a little easier to work with than a paste.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    That's the stuff that I purchased as well, just have not used it yet. I'll give it a shot on my MB once I get it cleaned up.


    2 years, 9 months ago
    #

    Looks as if I may be way over cleaning and waxing from the info here. I have been cleaning/waxing mine like this for over five yrs. without any visable effects but, you know it's probably like watching ourselves age......happens so gradually that we don't notice ourselves so easily. I might need to have my brother look at mine and tell me if he thinks it shows alot more wear since i've had it, he only sees it three to four times a year so may have a better perception of it. Thx guys for the info and thx to DrAzzy for posting it in the first place. It's amazing how many things I seemingly take as simple or routine that turn out to be lessons to be learned.


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    Do you have to strip a playfield to do a decent waxing? I don't mind removing some toys and ramps here and there, but really don't want to do a full strip. As long as I can wax all the main areas is that good enough so to speak? Seems as long as I protect the ball traffic areas, it's an improvement


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    We personally remove EVERYTHING.


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #
    pinballparadise said:

    We personally remove EVERYTHING.

    We being the key word. I'm not in the pinball business, not do I have a couple of techs working with/for me. I don't plan on making a business out of this. Just looking to protect my home machine, and make it shine;)


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #
    RWH said:

    I might need to have my brother look at mine and tell me if he thinks it shows alot more wear since i've had it, he only sees it three to four times a year so may have a better perception of it.

    I'm really curious if your brother notices anything. Can you please report back on this thread when he takes a look? (and if you don't mind, PM with the answer as I'll probably forget about this).

    Thanks1


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    When i newly buy a machine, i do a full strip. After, i just hand wax (not with a machine who spit wax all over the place...)


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    We being the key word. I'm not in the pinball business, not do I have a couple of techs working with/for me. I don't plan on making a business out of this. Just looking to protect my home machine, and make it shine;)

    Oh, i'm deeply sorry.

    "We" could of meant myself & my youngest brother.

    ..Talk about jumping the gun! Slow down, Cowboy.

    p.s NEVER assume it makes an ASS out of U and ME!


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    Do you have to strip a playfield to do a decent waxing?

    I'd personally say it's always best too. Imagine if you were waxing/polishing your car (automobile) but you had to work around your boot (trunk) lid, lock, handle etc

    When you vacuum.. Do you move your couch, table, rug etc? I know I do.

    A job worth doing is worth doing to the full degree.


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    It's certainly best_ to do a full strip.... though you can get away without taking everything off the playfield. What I did for my TZ was to remove all the ramps and mini PF, etc, so I had easy access to everyplace that the ball would go. I didn't bother taking off everything though - I left the gumball machine on (hellish to remove - had to take it off a while back). The path the ball takes out of it is easily accessible anyway, and is by no means high traffic area.

    How important it is, I think, depends on the condition of the playfield (and hence how much polishing/cleaning you need to do) and how much stuff you're replacing at the same time, if anything. And of course, on how much time you have available to work on a pinball machine.

    pinballparadise said:

    When you vacuum.. Do you move your couch, table, rug etc? I know I do.

    I sure don't...


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    I could see stripping the field every 15 years or so but if you keep the machine clean it will not need stripped. Removing the handles and locks on a car are not done to wax the car, they are removed to restore and paint. That is different process than a clean or a wax.

    In the end it is up to the owner to determine how often they clean their machines or wax them or even decide if it needs an complete strip and overhaul.

    The enviroment the machine is stored is going to make a difference as well. If it is in a humid area it will swell and corrode. If it is in a dusty area it will not swell but it will get dirty fast.

    It is like an air filter on a vehicle. They tell you to to replace/clean it around 3,000-5,000 miles under normal conditions. The same vehicle would need to be cleaned after 500 in extreme or dirty conditions. Some people follow those rules some do more and some less.


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    I think for the first time, the playfield needs stripped. Then it's all a matter of what it looks like. I'm a Novus 2 fan, we use it for everything, playfield/plastics/targets etc. All the metal parts get polished with a bench grinder/buffer and rouge. Small parts like screws and such go into a vibration tumbler.
    If the playfield isn't up to par, we use a buffer (like the one in the kit, but we get them on ebay.) with novus 2, followed by hand coats of Mothers or Mcguires or whatever carnuba wax (solid wax in the can) for at least 2 coats, sometimes 3. And always brand new balls, new shooter springs and tips, and all new rings.
    And when it all goes back together it's something to be proud of. I guess you can cut corners, but if it's your machine don't you want it perfect?


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    ^^^ I agree!


    2 years, 8 months ago
    #

    Well, it seems I will be doing it the right way. Took TONS of pictures, and even some video last night. Ordered new shiny balls, springs, rubbers and such. I don't have a tumbler for cleaning the hardware though.

    This will be my first time doing this. I figure I need to know how to/be comfortable with this process. I'm going to be adding a couple new toys (LED lit Enterprise toy and the like) as well as LEDs, new playfield target decal set as well as adding some GI lighting. Especially dark in the upper left(STTNG). Might as well do it all in one weekend. I want my machine to be the best it can be.

    I'm just gonna strip the whole thing, Novus 2, Novus 1 then carnuba was the thing.


    2 years, 7 months ago
    #

    Gonna try to order Treasure Cove's 4" and 2" combo kit.

    I know the product is great... not entirely impressed with the website. An order form? What year is this?


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #
    Rascal_H said:

    What year is this?

    2011, sites have "shopping carts".


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    zaino


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    I don't feel a tumbler is necessary if just doing a machine or two. I have very good results on brushed stainless parts using scotchbrite.


    Riffbear

    Pinball addict
    1,060,450 2
    2 years, 6 months ago
    #

    I wonder if twice a month is too much?


    2 years, 6 months ago
    #
    gweempose said:

    I give each playfield a thorough waxing with Mother's pure carnuba wax about once every six months. I use the liquid and have had good results

    I use the Mother's pure carnuba wax about every 6 months or when they need it. I've had good results with it also. It leaves a high gloss durable shine.



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