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(Topic ID: 199659)

A Complete Beginner's Shot at Playfield Work

By statictrance

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by statictrance
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders


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There have been 8 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

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#1 3 years ago

So - I have about a dozen games to my name, and all of them have gone through the same once over and tear down process (bring them in, get them working, tear down, novus 2/wax, reassemble, play and enjoy). I've had pretty great success repairing SS machines (thank you Desoldering station) and some wins for EMs as well... but I've never had the balls to try playfield work. If paint was missing - fine. If inserts were cupped - so be it. I've always wanted to try my hand at restoration - not a pro level 3 resto or anything, but at least getting a nice clear down, evening out inserts, and trying to improve the look.

So... here we are... I took a shot on a very cheap project Pinball Pool and here goes nothing. From the first awful pics all through the process. I'm writing this not as a guide, but as an artifact to maybe help other first timers avoid some other newbie pitalls and give the pros something to laugh about. And if anyone wants to throw some tips my way - I'd be happy to have them.

Oh yeah - and here's a picture of what we're dealing with... So far - I've opened it up (thanks to someone spilling motor oil near the lock bar, the receiver was totally frozen), and checked some basics... Time for the fun to begin.


#2 3 years ago

First, turn the game over. An upside-down game like that will be difficult to work on.

But seriously. Get the picture thing together. Take some nice close ups of the areas you are working on so we can follow the progress.

#3 3 years ago

I had thought to hang machines from the ceiling to save space...

#4 3 years ago
Quoted from markp99:

I had thought to hang machines from the ceiling to save space...

Have you ever worked underneath a porch or overhang have you? Scrape, paint or stain looking up will teach you a few things about crap in your face and the next day strain of mussels you never knew existed.

#5 3 years ago

if you bolt it to the ceiling, does that work like a rotisserie? Least you don't have to worry about screws and nuts falling down into the cabinet.

#6 3 years ago

Go into edit then tap your picture and press the center button to flip your picture.

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#7 3 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

if you bolt it to the ceiling, does that work like a rotisserie? Least you don't have to worry about screws and nuts falling down into the cabinet.

I recall seeing photos of a bar somewhere that had entire games bolted upside down on the ceiling.

#9 3 years ago
Quoted from DennisDodel:

I recall seeing photos of a bar somewhere that had entire games bolted upside down on the ceiling.

Found it. Post #342.

#10 3 years ago

Give the man a break ... will ya !
Ok statictrance .. lets see some photos ! I am on route restoring my Fast Draw so it will be interesting to see how your progressing here


#11 3 years ago

Good luck with the restoration. Keep posting.

#12 3 years ago

When you have limited space - hanging from the ceiling doubles your pin capactiy

Seriously though - apparently the browser on my work laptop doesn't like the picture editing tools. Clicking the middle makes the whole photo disappear, so I'll be loading them then fixing them with my mobile. I saw it was upside down, but #Dadlife was calling and I had to run. Go figure - The four on this post are loading no problem.

Anyway... I tore down most of the playfield and did an initial clean to get most of the junk off. I found three separate mylar-like pieces of plastic glued to the playfield. It felt far too thick of mylar, but removed relatively cleanly using the freeze method (one in the upper arch mark, two covering the damaged bonus multiplier area). Unfortunately, the pop bumpers didn't fare as well, as there was a different glue used to adhere these. This felt far too thin and stretchy to be mylar, but was solid glued to the playfield. I used a hair dryer to get them up relatively easily - but unlike the cold freeze, the underneath paint suffered a bit.

I tried my initial clean with Novus 2 - but the field was far too dirty. I'm now a firm believer in ME and alcohol. I took a little paint off at the bottom unfortunately, but there was a solid line of gunk built up over the years on the apron that was stuck to the playfield. I'd best describe it as solid grease and it wasn't coming off with Novus, plastic razor, etc.

Next up - I'm going to pry up/tap out the wireforms (Got the nylon prys from Harbor Freight over the weekend) and give it a deep clean. The ME/91% cleaned it up well (The girl doesn't look like the robot gave her a shiner anymore), but I can still see a haze over large patches that needs a second go over, plus the dirt left behind around the pops that likely need another go of goo gone too. (Not to mention the areas around wire/switches once I drop those below the field) I'll look into sanding out the arch line and the shooter lane while I'm at it, then replace the bulbs and begin masking underneath. I also bought the stuff to build my rotisserie - so I'll be getting that together too.

One thing I wanted to ask (and admittedly, I just haven't done my research yet and may be jumping the gun on this question so far). What's the best way to tackle the star inserts before clearing? Pop the star completely? How do you mask it/keep it open without it?

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#13 3 years ago

for star rollover inserts, you can do several things.

You can either

Just clear it as is, and take an exacto knife later and scrape the side walls afterwards

You can take the new star blanks if you have them laying around from another field and put them in.

you can take a set of used stars, flip them upside down and clear that way to block the center hole from getting clear in it. You will need new white stars as your other ones will be covered in clear. Flipping them upside down allows you to have a stem to grab onto to take them back off. I always pull my stars or whatever I use to block, after about an hour or so. Once clear hardens, it's sometimes hard to get them out.

regardless of which method you choose, you have to pull the stars out. Best way I found is flip the field over and allow room so the star can fall out. Grab the nub and wiggle it around until it works itself back through past the clips. Don't be too aggressive or you may break some of the clips, if they are not broken already. If they are, it should fall out for you easy.

#14 3 years ago

Removing the star...
I found using a bit of heatshrink worked great and no risk of breaking anything

Or a drinking straw as I found later

#15 3 years ago

I can't imagine the scenario where I would want to keep the old yellowed star I clip the knob off the bottom of the old one with clippers, pull it straight out with no risk of damage now to the fingers of the insert. Then I use that upside down while clearing...and replace with a nice new white one.

#16 3 years ago

Well, I had to take a break to do the most fun part of any pin restore... Usually I just snip off wire by wire and use a new plastic housing, but since the flat blade housings aren't readily available it's my first time with this lovely Molex tool. Not bad really, but another step in a tedious process.

You don't want the close up picture. The battery leak was so bad it ate through the A1 <-> A3 wires and started on the driver board top connectors. Hell most of the connectors are green and many are snapping in half when I pop the molex tool in. They all need replaced before they touch the new P1-1X4 I bought for it, so the playfield has to wait. (that and Destiny 2 is a frigging addicting loot cycle). I'm just hoping I don't have to cut so much wire I need to start soldering donor wires.

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2 months later
#17 2 years ago

Apologies for the delay on these posts. I had a few things come up (like an Argosy and an F14 that required much less work than this and came up at can't miss prices) plus the usual holiday crunch with kids.

Anyway - The Rotisserie is built and I'll soon be starting onto the playfield itself. It went together pretty easily, but it never felt stable to me and I kept delaying putting it up. So long the pipes are tightened down - the playfield actually helps hold the whole structure in place.

I had two minor issues with securing the field... I had to remove some of the brackets on the bottom of the playfield to get it to lay flat along the angle iron. The top left one (looking from the standard playing angle) was trickier due to the resistor board hanging out in the very corner. I used a much smaller clamp than I'd have liked, but feel like it's still secure given it's tight and the other three are there too. I can say I'm glad I took the time to spray the plasti-dip onto the angle iron because there was minimal movement as I moved around and clamped it down.

I'll make sure my next post doesn't take 77 days and hopefully will have a lot of interesting results to report.

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