(Topic ID: 72387)

1979 Williams Flash - amateur garage restoration


By SunKing

7 years ago



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  • 79 posts
  • 32 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by Bamaro
  • Topic is favorited by 14 Pinsiders

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There are 79 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 7 years ago

About a month ago, I posted a WTB thread for a '79 Flash. (http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/wtb-1979-williams-flash-houston-area). My only criteria was that the backglass had to be in good shape. A fellow Pinsider replied, and I made the drive from Houston to Austin to pick it up.

At first glance, the machine looked trashed. However, on closer inspection I could see that the playfield was in pretty good shape under all that dirt. After looking over the entire machine and talking to the owner, I believe I've figured out the history of this machine.

It was was operated in Texas from '79 until '83 (still has the tax stamps). At that point, I believe the operator took it off route because it wan't making much $$, and in order to use the MPU, Driver and main display boards in other games. I don't think this machine saw a lot of play because there was no mylar around the slings, yet only one tiny spot that had any wear. The kickout hole still looked perfect, and the underside of the playfield was really clean. The worst part of the playfield was the inserts - lifted and cupped. The owner (another operator) told me he purchased it about 20 years ago from the original operator for a project, but he never got around to it and it's been siting in his warehouse since then.

The first thing I did after unloading was to take some 'before' pictures. Here's a few of those...

DSC05281.JPG DSC05287.JPG DSC05289.JPG DSC05294.JPG DSC05304.JPG
#2 7 years ago

Put a few bucks into her and a lot of elbow grease and she'll shine.

I suggest doing the GI with blue superbrites. Actually, I HIGHLY recommend it.

Keep posting pics of progress.

#3 7 years ago

Dam, I thought my EATPM was dirty when I got her. That DEFINITELY needs a cleaning. Looks bad, but i'm sure it will look nice after a really good "shop" job. These kind of projects are almost the most fun, as long as the playfield isn't trashed which this one is not. Have fun! can't wait to see some after pics. I need to put some pics of my most recent project of EATPM up here. Some serious cleaning, new rubber, plastics where needed, maybe a few LEDS and some mechanical adjustments and it will look 10X better.

#4 7 years ago

This was my favorite game back when it was new and I put plenty of quarters in it. I really loved the increasing tempo for the background sound and sometimes during a really good ball it felt so exciting I thought I was going to have a heart attack or something. Good luck with your restoration and bringing back this fun game from the brink.

#5 7 years ago
Quoted from Blackbeard:

I suggest doing the GI with blue superbrites

I'm going to play around with LED's on this one. I'm not sure if I'll do the entire GI, but I'll try a few blue supers behind the drops for sure.

Quoted from Bohdi:

Have fun! can't wait to see some after pics.

Thanks Bohdi. I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't fun. After buying all the needed parts, there's certainly no money to be made from this project. That's OK. This is my second Flash, and I plan to keep this one.

Quoted from GSones:

I really loved the increasing tempo for the background sound

Yep, Flash was the first pinball with background sound/music. It's the machine that started my pinball addiction way back in '79. I was used to playing EM's, and the lights/sounds of Flash just blew me away.

Here's a few pics from the teardown and cleanup. Please remember that I'm not a professional restoration person. I don't have a nice workshop or decent tools - but I try to make do. I'm not putting these pics out as an example to follow - but just maybe it will inspire someone else to try saving a pin from the dump. I'd be happy with that.

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#6 7 years ago

Wow! Night and day! That playfield art looks as good as a Flash can!

#7 7 years ago
Quoted from RyThom:

That playfield art looks as good as a Flash can

Thanks - but it does get a little better. After the pics above, I repainted the few worn spots and key holes, leveled the inserts and clear coated the playfield.

Here's a few more pics...

Parts tumbled...
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Key line before...
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...and after.
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It took a lot of clear coat to level the inserts.
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#8 7 years ago

Nice!

Working on my own Flash right now. I am a big fan of amateur / garage / cheapo restos. I like getting machines to "as good as possible with a minimal amount of money spent".

#9 7 years ago

I'm working on a flash also. Flippers seem a little slower than I remember. I tried cleaning them up. Do the solenoids just get weaker over time and need to be replaced? Inserts need a little leveling and I did put some LEDs in. I found the vinyl blue covers actually add a nice glow to playfield. Love the sound and it brings me back to when i was 16.

#10 7 years ago
Quoted from jesster64:

I'm working on a flash also. Flippers seem a little slower than I remember. I tried cleaning them up. Do the solenoids just get weaker over time and need to be replaced? Inserts need a little leveling and I did put some LEDs in. I found the vinyl blue covers actually add a nice glow to playfield. Love the sound and it brings me back to when i was 16.

Upgrade to the WPC mechs per Vid's guide - smooth as butta and can't miss shots.

viperrwk

#11 7 years ago

LOL what is it Flash month? I just put my project Flash on legs the other night and started my winter project.

#12 7 years ago

I also just had a project Flash show up at my place. It is dead and filthy, but has very little wear.

What clear coat are you putting on the inserts to level them? How long does it take for that to dry/cure? It looks like it would take a long time if it was an evaporation/drying type of product and not a two part chemical cure.

#13 7 years ago
Quoted from jesster64:

I'm working on a flash also. Flippers seem a little slower than I remember. I tried cleaning them up. Do the solenoids just get weaker over time and need to be replaced? Inserts need a little leveling and I did put some LEDs in. I found the vinyl blue covers actually add a nice glow to playfield. Love the sound and it brings me back to when i was 16.

Make sure you have the correct return springs installed??

#14 7 years ago

Flash was my first big project. The "BIG" reason I got hooked on fixer uppers. It's a classic too. Nice Work!

#15 7 years ago

It is Flash month. Mines in the queue to start shortly. Im glad to see a resurgence of interest in this title.

Its one of Ritchies best IMHO

--Jeff

#16 7 years ago
Quoted from jesster64:

. Flippers seem a little slower than I remember. I tried cleaning them up. Do the solenoids just get weaker over time and need to be replaced?

Solenoids do not get weaker over time. They can melt from being locked on, but you would know this already.

Parts can become magnetized, springs can break, links can wear and lose power to the slop in the system.

At minimum, rebuild them:

http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-upgradingrebuilding-flippers/page/6 (about 1/2 way down)

Or if this is a game you are keeping, replace with modern mechs/coils:

http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-upgradingrebuilding-flippers/page/3

#17 7 years ago

Thanks Vid and everyone. I am going to make this my christmas project.

#18 7 years ago

What product is this?
How do you finish it off?
I have the same problem with my inserts and I'll need to fill them with clear sometime soon.

playfield-insert.jpg

#19 7 years ago

Thanks for the comments everyone! To answer your question, I used Rust-Oleum Varathane Crystal Clear Polyurethane Water-Based, Gloss Finish. I got some in a pint sized can, and 5 rattle cans.

I *HIGHLY* suggest you read Vid1900's guide to playfiled restoration. http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-ultimate-playfield-restoration.

I tried to follow Vid's guide, but I didn't do any airbrush - just a few spots touched up by hand. In a nutshell, here's what I did.

1) Strip playfield
2) Clean with Novus, then clean again with Magic Eraser.
3) Lay down a thin coat of clear - let dry.
4) Touch up paint
5) Use a pipette and fill inserts with clear - this is what you see in the picture above. Let dry - it may take a while.
6) I layed down another coat of clear - let dry.
7) Sand down flat. I started with 200, then 300, then 400 grit.
8) Another coat of clear - let dry.
9) Sand down flat. I started with 200, then 300, then 400 grit.
10) Another coat of clear - let dry.
11) Sand down flat. I started with 200, then 300, then 400 grit.
12) Lay the final coat of clear - let dry.
13) Sand down flat. I started with 200, then 300, then 400 grit, then 800, then 1000, then 1500 and finally 2000.
14) Polish with polishing compound, then I used Novus.

You may not need five coats of clear, but I figured - what the heck. Tonight I got my 'blackfriday' order from cointaker, and I'm getting all the lights working. If all goes well, I should be playing this weekend. I'll post more pics when I get a chance.

#20 7 years ago

wow. you really are moving fast on getting this going. I have an extra Gorgar hanging as wall art that I may do this to.
I may bookmark this page and ask questions later.

Looking good

-Rev

#21 7 years ago

Before I post any more pics, I want to stress again that I'm only doing a very low level repair/restore - a 'players' restore if you will. I'm not cleaning wire harnesses, or polishing parts under the playfield. I'm not doing any bondo work on the cabinet. My goal is for the machine to look nice, and play better. To be honest, I'd be completely embarrased to have someone like Brian_Kelly or HEP review my work. My level of 'restoration' (and I use that term loosely) is miles away from what those guys do. I was just looking at another thread, and Gecko's Fun House restoration puts mine to shame - and he still caught some flack for not re-wrapping the coils. Imagine what those guys would say here?

In the end, it's my machine. I'm not doing this for anyone other than myself. If I end up with a good looking Flash that plays like new, I'll be a happy camper. So why start the thread and post pics? I guess that, despite the amateur level of work, I'm still proud to have saved this one from the dump, and wanted to share what I've been doing in the garage with my fellow pinheads. ...I hope you enjoy, and take it for what it is.

#22 7 years ago

Looking good. I have the exact same plans for my own Flash. I like your term 'player's restore', that's exactly what I'm going for. I appreciate seeing some less than perfect restores, so please keep up with your progress!

#23 7 years ago

Here's a pic of the playfield after the clear dried in the inserts, but BEFORE sanding. Also a couple pics of the backglass. As you can see, the condition of the backglass was what prompted me to buy this pin.

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#24 7 years ago
Quoted from SunKing:

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Did you pop out the plastic inserts then reglue them back in? Or did you just leave them alone and add the clear coat?

-Rev

#25 7 years ago

For the most part I left them alone. However, a bunch of them were raised above the playfield (especially the arrow inserts). For those, I did try to level 'em as best as possible. To do this, I would heat up the insert with a hair drier until the glue loosened up a bit, then push 'em down as hard as I could without breaking. I used some super glue from the back to hold 'em in place.

#26 7 years ago

Did you apply the heat to the face, or bottom of the insert or both?

Questions, questions!

#27 7 years ago

Mostly from the bottom. I'd be pushing down on the insert from the top, and could feel when it started to loosen up, and also if it was getting too hot.

#28 7 years ago

Not to interrupt your repair thread but I just played a FLASH down the Jersey Shore for the 1st time in my life (at least I cant remember playing it as a kid). It was definitely in my Top 3 of the 30-40 machines I played. Cant wait to get my own. Keep up the good work and you will be rewarded with an amazing playing pin.

#29 7 years ago

30 blue superbrites in the GI. PLEASE.

#30 7 years ago

Blackbeard, do you have any pics of your Flash with all blue GI? I'd be interested to see it - thanks!

#31 7 years ago

Have one in my garage I just finished. Playfield, cab, backbox really nice. Typical poor backglass, so I got some transparent paint and touched it up. Turned out pretty nice. Had to adjust backbox led's because some of that transparent paint (like the yellow) didn't cover up the best. BUT the transparent blue with frosted whites turned those areas NEON! Looks really cool! Who knew?

#32 7 years ago
Quoted from Blackbeard:

30 blue superbrites in the GI. PLEASE.

To each his own but I prefer retro warm white LEDs

#33 7 years ago

Here's a pict with the blue GIs, definitely a good look IMO

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#34 7 years ago

Dante beat me to it. That's basically what mine looked like. And seriously, a pic doesn't do it justice. It looks amazing in person. I believe it took exactly 30 leds.

Edit: DANTE: hey, that's my old Flash I believe!

#35 7 years ago

If I had to guess, your machine was probably from later in the production run since it has the red posts. Seems the red post machines had the System 6 board set installed whereas the blue post machines were the System 4 boardset. The blue lane guides with the red posts is a unique combination and may have been put there by the Op - usually the lane guides and the posts match on all the ones I've seen.

When I redid mine I also put in blue skirts and red transparent caps on the pops. I felt it gave the machine a more modern look.

viperrwk

#36 7 years ago
Quoted from viperrwk:

The blue lane guides with the red posts is a unique combination and may have been put there by the Op - usually the lane guides and the posts match on all the ones I've seen.

Interesting, mine came with blue posts and red lane guides. I guess somebody swapped them out at some point, or the Williams factory just grabbed a handful of whatever was handy when they were building them

#37 7 years ago

FWIW, mine came with the blue posts but red lane guides and a system 6 board. One lane guide was cracked so I replaced all with blue ones. Cool white LEDs look really good there.

#38 7 years ago

Yeah, the Flash I owned originally had blue posts, and I liked those better. I went ahead and purchased all new blue posts for this one as well.

Blackbeard / Dante, that all blue GI does look pretty damn nice. I may consider going that route. For now, I've got cool white supers in most of the GI. It's BRIGHT. The playfield has some pretty serious yellowing from age, and the cool whites seem to brighten it up.

Before I post pics of the LED's, here's a few showing the playfield after it was cleared and polished. I know it's not 'like glass' perfect - but it's flat, shiney, and will play smooth and fast.

DSC05494.JPG DSC05496.JPG DSC05500.JPG
#39 7 years ago

Does the milkiness of the clear in places that got a lot of it (cupped inserts etc) go away as it cures, or is that just a downside of filling with clear?

#40 7 years ago

Please let us know how you feel about the gameplay once you get this thing back together. One of my fears is that the game won't play quite right with a clear coat.

#41 7 years ago

It should go away.....fingers crossed. It has gotten better over time. If I do another playfield (which I suspect I will eventually) I'll take more time and have more patience. Instead of trying to fill the bigger inserts in one big batch, I should have done it in several smaller batches, and let each one cure longer. This is my third attempt at clearing a playfiled. It's my best yet, but there's still lots of room for improvement.

#42 7 years ago
Quoted from Deaconblooze:

One of my fears is that the game won't play quite right with a clear coat.

Depends on how you define 'right'. If fast and smooth is right for you, then you should be happy. I did a 'players restoration' on a '78 Bally Lost World, and cleared the playfield. It plays like brand new IMHO - pops, sling and flippers are snappy, and there's no cupped or raised inserts to throw the ball off track.

#43 7 years ago

Here's a few pics of Flash with LED's installed. I've got most everything working - just waiting on a chip from Rottendog to fix the switch matrix. I've still got some work to do on the cabinet, and various touchups and tweaks here and there. But for the most part, she's almost ready to play!

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#44 7 years ago

Looks very, very nice! I like your choice in LED's, not too overpowering.

Did you upgrade the flippers?

#45 7 years ago
Quoted from Blackbeard:

Dante beat me to it. That's basically what mine looked like. And seriously, a pic doesn't do it justice. It looks amazing in person. I believe it took exactly 30 leds.
Edit: DANTE: hey, that's my old Flash I believe!

It just might be your Flash. I found the pict somewhere and liked it, so saved it off so that when I eventually find a local Flash, I can light it the same way.

#46 7 years ago
Quoted from Deaconblooze:

Looks very, very nice! I like your choice in LED's, not too overpowering.
Did you upgrade the flippers?

Thanks! No, they're rebuilt but not upgraded.

#47 7 years ago

Great end result, flash is still my favourite game will never sell mine....thanks for posting this thread.

#48 7 years ago

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#49 7 years ago

I added LEDs and lights went out, so I panicked and went back to reg bulbs with blue vinyl covers. Adds a softer effect on playfield. Extra brights under half moon that stay lit, but I kind of like it that way. Frosted blue LEDs on under top lane guides.LEDS under playfield. None in backbox yet. still need to rebuild flippers and fool around with lighting.

#50 7 years ago
Quoted from jesster64:

Extra brights under half moon that stay lit, but I kind of like it that way.

There is probably a warming resistor under the playfield that needs to be cut to keep the lights from burning all the time.

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