(Topic ID: 198771)

A Fish Tales rebuild...PICS UP

By cosmokramer

1 year ago

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  • Latest reply 8 months ago by cosmokramer
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#1 1 year ago

Authors note: This is a documentation on how to buy a project pin, put in an enormous amount of time and money sourcing parts, then spend endless hours of labor.....just to have a pin that you could have bought for the same amount of cash, minus all the headache and work involved.


Our subject is Williams Fish Tales. I needed a project to occupy my time and this one came along so I took it on. If I had a chance to go back and change my mind I probably would buy it anyway...even though this thing is a basket case. I guess I just wanted to challenge myself, and this certainly is a challenge.

Here it sits in the condition I bought it, with the exception that I put it on an old set of legs I had, as it came with none.

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#3 1 year ago

At first glance it doesnt appear *too* bad...cab has nice colors, playfield looks to be very nice with almost no wear at all, topper and tub intact. Sure its missing a few boards and such but things look promising...
I will document dollars spent, but not hours put in because frankly its a lot.

Like I said AT FIRST GLANCE things look promising...but stay tuned

#4 1 year ago

Heres the parts the game is missing:
Translite glass with lift channel and edges
H channel
Back box lock
Power driver board
Audio board
Dmd driver
Fliptronics board
Ribbon cables
Flipper boards in cab
Playfield glass
Lock down bar
Coin door lock
Coin chute and button
Asic chip
Rubber kit
Shooter handle

Not too bad right?!?..oh, by the way, the cab and playfield had termites munching away for who knows how long...aaaaannnddd the game shipped back to the mainland from Hawaii so there is surface rust on everything on the topside of the playfield.

Yeah, OK

#5 1 year ago

Because im not totally crazy I thought it would be a good idea to take the boardset out of my WH20 and put it in the FT just to make sure everything else (transformer, speakers, harness, coin door interface board, adjust buttons etc) worked...and it did!
So I installed some legs, lock down bar and playfield glass that was in my stash of free parts I got awhile back (thanks tracelifter) and started to order parts...

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#6 1 year ago

This post will be used to track dollars spent ( against my better judgement I am going to keep track )
It will be updated as project moves along...

I bought the Fish Tales and Road Show projects for 1400 total and sold the RS for $850 so the base FT cost me $550

Base game $550
Legs and bolts $0
Playfield glass $0
Lock down bar $0
Knocker $0 (took from RS)
Flipper button boards $0 (took from RS)
Mpu $95
Audio board and dmd driver $235
New rottendog fliptronics $65
New rottendog power driver $300
Apron $35
New pps translite $125
Trans lift channel and trim $20
Dmd $80
Rubber kit $15
Boat plastic $10
Ribbon cable set $40
Tempered trans glass $35
Replacement playfield $460
Misc marco stuff $100
Cabinet decals $240
New cabinet $150
More misc Marco stuff $125
LEDs $100

And counting...

Thanks so far to :

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from dudah:

Following! I did one of these and flipped it right away, miss it. I love projects like these.
If you can't find the caster reel (which I'm guessing they're hard to find), any other plans? I'd personally just to a "Launch Ball" button and be done with it.

Plan A is to find an original caster handle but they seem to be rather scarce.
Plan C is a traditional launch ball button

But plan B is to take this guy and mount it on a reel seat of a cut down fishing rod with a button installed to launch ball like the original...

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#10 1 year ago

I thought I would start with the playfield. I knew the bugs had been eating this game for awhile, but did not know the extent of the damage. I removed the playfield and stripped both sides. I found quite a bit of termite damage under the playfield, but nothing noticeable from the top side that wasnt hidden by wooden rails...

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My plan was to use wood filler on the underside and sand smooth, I knew it wouldnt be perfect but it would work...

But then I thought I should really stress the top layer of plywood to check for structural integrity...and of course, I picked at this and found a shitstorm...I guess its for the best as as I would hate to go through all this labor just to have an airball bust through the art...So I contacted Ron Kruzman and a nice condition playfield is on the way...

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#12 1 year ago
Quoted from davijc02:

That sucks! It's gonna be awesome when done! Expensive but awesome

Yup, Im guessing I will spend about 2600.00 total and after countless hours of labor I will have a game worth about 2600.00
I dont recommend this method of collecting...

#14 1 year ago

Your Pinbot looks incredible, I have been following...

Quoted from Plumonium:

If you get all the missing parts, you can always come here and sell it for 5000$ CAD

I accept your offer of 5,000$ CAD..


After inspecting the damage to the cab it appears that it will not need to be replaced. Most of the bug damage is in two of the corner cleats. They will be easily replaced. I have built and decaled brand new cabs before, but Im happy to not have to do that with this project.

(Pics coming)

#15 1 year ago

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My mailman has been busy this week...this should be about 85% of what I need to get this baby back on the road...

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#18 1 year ago
Quoted from Plumonium:

Christmas before Christmas!
What kind of love did your Kruzman playfield got? How is it? Is it an original restored or a CPR + kruz treatment ?

Alas, nothing anywhere near as exciting as that. Ron was kind enough to sell me a nice original playfield that he aquired awhile back, it has not been restored. Although I plan on doing some full blown top to bottom complete restorations using Kruzmans works of art, this project is more of a rebuild rather than a resto. This nice replacement is a cost effective way to get this game in nice shape without spending more than it is worth. If I didnt have to move in a few months then I would be keeping the FT, and if I was keeping it I would have gone all the way.

A few pics of some parts before and after cleaning...warm water and simple green for plastics, aluminum foil and water to get the rust off the habitrails

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#23 1 year ago
Quoted from markp99:

Did you treat the clean wireforms with anything to avoid re-rusting them?

Im trying this stuff for the first tine... https://www.evaporust.com/rust-bandit

Cab repairs will begin this weekend (hopefully...I have had an awful sciatic nerve issue for 2 months now so I am currently moving at a snails pace). After thats done I will start cleaning and polishing the playfield, then begin repopulation.

#26 1 year ago

With a replacement playfield in hand I can now focus on the cab repair and some other woodworking I need to get out if the way... I need to cut new playfield rails and a new back panel, easy enough as I have the old bug eaten pieces for templates...

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Interestingly enough, the bugs ate the front right and left rear leg support cleats, but didnt touch the opposing ones...they also ate the 2 bottom corner cleats... you can see where the leg plate sucked through the hollowed out wood...

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They ate the entire center layer of plywood, it split evenly down the center...

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#31 1 year ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

feels like a flat pack cabinet or donor really would be better. The 'hidden' damage just keeps popping its ugly head out. Would hate to find new damage down the road. Enjoying the updates!!!

Possibly, but unlike the playfield, the cabinet plywood is unmolested. They seem to prefer the corner braces rather than the ply.
But, I will be doing an extensive check of the ply when I can get my bad back to agree to let me get some work done. And if the need arises then I will build a cab from scratch and install new decals.
In the meantime I have been cleaning parts and prepping to repopulate the replacement playfield. This is the first project that I have used evaporust and it seems to work great.
Looks like I will have to use a standard MM style ball launch button as the reel handle is currently unobtainium, however I was told that Marco was getting 250 reel assemblys in a few months.

#33 1 year ago
Quoted from ajfclark:

Just wondering what's been done to debug the cabinet? Fumigation? Freezing?

Bugs were eliminated long before I got the game.

#34 1 year ago

Here we go....put the playfield on my state of the art rotisserie...

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#38 1 year ago

New topper dome showed up today...

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#40 1 year ago

This game came with a topper dome, but my WH20 was missing it so I took the one off FT and put it on WH20. I wont be adding the cost of the topper dome to my bottom line since FT did come with one.

Quoted from jmountjoy111:

Where did you get that??!!?! I see the Marco tag but they have said out of stock forever. It’s the only thing I need for mine

I have been looking for one for WH20 for months and marco was out of stock every time. Then I checked and marco had them in stock for almost 2 weeks, but I didnt order one because I knew I needed parts for FT and wanted to get a list together and order it all at the same time. When I finally went to place my order they were out of stock again. I put up a WTB ad and a pinsider was kind enough to sell me a spare he had.
Mitch shared this link in my WTB ad, but they run about $130 shipped.

#43 1 year ago

Thanks for all the kind words guys...
It looks like I am in for just over $2100 so far, and I think I might have everything I need with the exception of a few incidentals that Im sure will pop up. The good news is that means even If I end up having to build a new cab I can do so for under $100 plus about $250 for decals. That still puts me at or around 2500.

#47 1 year ago
Quoted from PtownPin:

How many man hours do you have into this project?

I deceided not to keep track this time....it might prevent me from doing something like this again...

#49 1 year ago

Im standing here just getting ready to get started repopulating my playfield, but something is wrong. Something is bothering me and I cant quite put my finger on it, then it hits me....its the cabinet, great colors still and pretty solid but
..those damn bugs....

I cant do it, I cant put this work into this thing with the potential for a cab failure in the future.

So after I finish the playfield I will begin documenting a complete wpc cab build from scratch....in the meantime I hope to have a bit of work done on the playfield to show later today...

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Right out of the chute I take a self delivered kick in the nuts.....I had carefully removed the entire mass of harness, mechs and boards from the underside of the playfield and slid it onto a piece of plywood in the same shape/placement as it came off...plan was to slide it onto the new playfield, which I did, in the same general form and easily begin to re-attatch components....but the previous mentioned kick comes when I did not tighten the rotisserie and it spun around, dumping everything into a heaping mess on the floor... b
Here is the mess when I put it back on the playfield....

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Yep, off to a stellar start....
So about 90 min later its coming together...

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#52 1 year ago
Quoted from freezie:

Did you have to clean the harness at all ?or was it pretty clean already ?

It was pretty clean, just a quick wipe down was all that was needed...

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#53 1 year ago

After sleeping on it I think a new cab is in order for sure. This will be the first time I try building one using 3/4" MDO plywood instead of traditional birch like I have used in the past (one of many tips I picked up from Vid1900). I ordered a set of cabinet decals from Pete at Retro Refurb, delivery on these usually take a few weeks due to customs. Since the cab art and translite will be brand new and the playfield looks so good I am considering powdercoat for the legs, rails, coin door (maybe), head hinges, lock down bar and some fastners. Im not sure what color yet.

Heres a quick set of pics removing the siderails...really easy, just remove the bolt(s) then heat the glue with a heat gun and slide a putty knife between the rail and cab.

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And here is the real shame...look at the condition of the existing decals, not much fade. Pretty rare for this title. ..

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#54 1 year ago

I forgot to mention that before I started putting anything back on the playfield I put on some temporary rails while I cut and painted some new ones...its never a good idea to add weight to the playfield if it is unsupported..

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Here is some of my replacement rails after sanding, they are cut from oak. I am not sure if I will paint them black like the originals, or if I will go with the blue color from the playfield or the color of the powder coat...

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#56 1 year ago

I may have changed my mind on the powder coat, only because the examples I found on line looked like ass...does anybody have any suggestions or pics of good looking powder for FT? ...the only color that might look ok is black but show me what you got...

#58 1 year ago
Quoted from Plumonium:

Please, if you do powder coat, do black. Yes all others colors looks out of place sorry. Either stainless steel or black.
Why order your decals from retro refurb as opposed to PPS? What technique do you intend to use, dry or wet?
Yes your FT is practically non faded which is super rare. This is mine, slightly different.

Most I have seen look faded like yours, that's why I hesitated to build a new cab at first, but flynnibus was correct that I would be dealing with issues popping up throughout the project.
I went with RR decals instead of PPS mostly due to Pete, he has gone above and beyond for me in the past and as a small business owner I understand the value in customer service...Ricks customer service is, shall we say, lacking...since I have used the RR product before and the quality was great I supported them again, I appreciate what they do for the hobby.
I use the dry "hinge" method that I documented here (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/retro-refurb-decal-installationjohnny-needs-a-new-suit ).

I am looking forward to following along with your FT project, that Pinbot came out exceptionally well, you should be proud.

#60 1 year ago
Quoted from Plumonium:

I always dealt directly with Sara and was super happy

I will deal with her next time I need something from PPS, thanks for the tip.
To be fair to Rick, my friend ordered a set of plastics for Taxi recently and the resolution was very poor, and colors were off...he E mailed Rick and the crappy set was quickly replaced with a much more accurate version with no hassles.

#61 1 year ago

I was finally able to start working on the playfield again...I completed the under side after straightning out the mess I made when I dropped the harness, then began repopulating the top side...the sling plastics are just place holders, I found a NOS set in my stash of parts I will put on when the project is complete...

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As you can see in the above photo I am still using the temporary rails... The last few rails are cut and shaped as needed, next step is prime/paint...

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Got another package today, Im paying Marcos rent this month...

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One more before and after pic...

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#65 1 year ago
Quoted from Plumonium:

Wow, Is that all evaporust or some elbow grease as well?

Elbow grease, as the shape of these ramps prevents dunking in evaporust. Aluminum foil and water took the rust right off.

Quoted from SUPERBEE:

Great work as usual cosmo!! Keep it up !

Thank you

Quoted from hawkmoon:

Hey,Cosmo,I just got a FT myself,and ,boy,your cab was sure in better shape than mine was !!!Mine was bleached all white backround!Got a new set from BAA,last they have! My suggestion for legs,and coin door,lockdown,and rails,,,Chrome! I think it lends itself to the theme,and looks good too! Im making plans to do mine now! Fun and fast,so rock the boat baby!! Already did side rail art,FF speakers,color DMD!Flawless Diamond plate PF ,already upgraded with LEDs,and my P,D.I.glass really completes this title!!

Yeah its a real shame this cab is no good. I found some hidden damage below the coin door...

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I agree that black or chrome are the only options, unless I just stick with stainless...what do you think of the FF system in this title?

#68 1 year ago
Quoted from Soulrider911:

This is going to be awesome! I love fish tales, and it's going to look official with some brand new Serials!

Yes, special thanks to Soulrider911 for replicating the serial tags for this project...heres the original, the new ones look perfect.

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#72 1 year ago

Labor of love for sure, I enjoy fixin' them up more than I do playing them. Luckily my wife likes to play everyday so the games get enjoyed after I finish.

I bought the wood to build the new cabinet, A sheet of 3/4" MDO and a sheet of 1/4" plywood for the bottom. I have some scrap pieces from previous projects that will be used as well. I should be starting cab construction soon.
But for now I finished the back panel and playfield rails...

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All the remaining parts are clean and ready to go in...

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Making progress but I messed up and put the boat ramp decal on before I installed the boat on the playfield...I didnt even think about needing to line it up until it was too late...

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#75 1 year ago
Quoted from MikeO:

1/4" seems too thin for the bottom panel. How thick was the original?

I was thinking the same thing, I used 1/4" on an older Bally cab a few years back and it was correct. I checked with Vid1900 a was told that 1/4 ply is correct for a WPC cab also...
I cant check the FT cab because someone had replaced the bottom already with 1/2" particle board, but I am going to look at my WH20 cab today to figure out what the correct size is... if the 1/4" is to thin then I do have some 3/8" ply I can use.

EDIT: I checked my WH20 cab and it is indeed thicker (looks to be 1/2")

#77 1 year ago
Quoted from Soulrider911:

Hey cosmokramer something just occurred to me u may be able to (very carefully) use a heat gun to peel off and re apply that ramp decal

Im going to give that a try, if not I think the decal was under $10...

Heres how the playfield sits today, top and bottom fully populated...it seems I am missing a few playfield plastics on the left side, I will try to locate them without buying a complete set. Im just waiting for LEDs from comet, and those missing plastics then the playfield will be done. Then I just need to finish the back panel and I will be able to focus on the cab and head.

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#83 1 year ago

After a few days away from this project I was able to spend a bit of time on it this morning, mostly just getting some tools in order and prepping for the cabinet build.
And yet another package from marco, I really suck at getting together a COMPLETE parts list when I do a job like this....So not only am I paying marcos rent but I am pulling USPS out of debt as well...

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I took this project over to my fathers shop, he helped me with my Pinbot restoration and loves to build stuff...you can see him under the table, he is 77 and healthier than most people I know...

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My plan is to build a router table to tackle the locking miter joints for the cab. Using a piece of heavy angle as an adjustable fence and bolting the router under the table....

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Notched the angle for the router bit and cut some slots and made some collars so it slides easy...not real pretty but whatever...

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Made a few test runs on some 3/4" ply...I need to make some adjustments, I think Im trying to remove too much in one pass, I will set it up to make each cut in 3 passes...here is my first attempt...the profile is close, but I need a better result before I move on...more adjusting and testing coming...

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That joint should look more like this...

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#84 1 year ago

I used a 1 1/8" spade bit before to drill flipper button holes but was unhappy with the results. Of course it does not matter because no one sees it but in the end I wanted something to cut a cleaner hole for flipper buttons (1 1/8") and the start button (1 3/8") so this time am using a forstner bit... here is a quick test hole, nice and clean. ..

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#86 1 year ago
Quoted from Soulrider911:

I'm quite jealous of your workspace, amazing!

Thank you, but this is at my dads place...all my shop stuff is is storage as I am moving in a few months so I make do at his place for now. The good news when I get my stuff set up in my new shop I will have over 1,000 square feet for just pinball restoration, including a small spray booth, I cant wait...

#90 1 year ago

Closer but still need to adjust the bit height...

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#93 1 year ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

If you get this cabinet building thing down, you could build me a system 9 cabinet for my Socerer . It came from the same batch of machines your Fishtails came from..

You would be amazed at how many people have messaged me asking If I will build them a cab.... I have not said no yet, just want to see how much labor will be involved.
I heard you were at the MoP last weekend, thanks for helping out. Are you planning on coming back to prep for Arcade Expo?

Got decals from RR...

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And getting pretty close on the miter joint. I dont have any experience in joinery so the learning process is lengthy...

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Another test fit with some scraps...still a bit off...

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#96 1 year ago

Spent a few minutes this evening taking care of a few minor steps... got the new back panel wired, cleaned the plastic and put on the rails...

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The topper had a wire broken off the coil, it was re attatched, and the front just needed to be cleaned up...

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#99 1 year ago
Quoted from Soulrider911:

Looking great! Did u make a stencil and use a router to build the new back panel?

No, just traced it to the new plywood and cut it out with a jigsaw. A router was used just to make the slot for the pins on the lightboard.

Im pretty happy with the resolution of the decals that Pete sent me, not perfect but pretty good, I have not had a chance to compare the cab colors but you can see that the head decals match pretty well The originals are ever so slightly faded, but the comparison is close...the reds and yellows look spot on, its just the blue that is a shade lighter but overall I am pleased...

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#102 1 year ago
Quoted from SUPERBEE:

Keep up the good work cosmo! Looking forward to seeing the final result !

Thanks, I have not been able to make any progress as my back problems have ramped up and its hard to move right now...Im hoping to get back to this project soon.
Once the cab is built it should go back together fairly quickly. However I think it would be a good idea to build the cab, then assemble the game just to make sure everything is cool with the fit and finish. Then I will take the game apart again and paint/decal the cab before final assembly.
Looks like the hardest part of cab construction is about done, I have a pretty dialed in set up for the miter joints now. This pic is the last test that still had a tiny gap, I did not take a pic of the final joint, but will do so when I post pics of the cab...

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I will probably start a second thread that will document the cab build so someone can use it without having to root through the other chatter in this thread to do so. Quite a few people have asked for a detailed how-to guide, I will try to outline it as best I can...

#105 1 year ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

do how are going to do the 90 degree router cuts? that seems like it would be the hardest part of getting those joints ready.

I will start a seperate cabinet building thread to document the entire process. I have not been able to do any work lately so progress has stalled. As soon as I physically am able to continue, I will...

#111 1 year ago

Thanks guys, I was diagnosed yesterday with a "displaced nerve" and have to see a neurosurgeon. That sounds like fun.

I should have a bit more done on the cab this weekend. I have been getting the last few pieces of tooling and bought a second router to make things easier.

#112 1 year ago

Was able to spend a short amount of time in the shop today before I had to get off my feet.
I will go into cab construction in detail in a dedicated thread, but I thought I would post a few pics of what was done today, all the tools and methods will be documented later....

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These are the 4 sides cut and miter edjed...the are not glued, just testing fit...I just need to cut the front and back panel down, they stick up about an inch over the side pieces
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#116 1 year ago
Quoted from Soulrider911:

The craftsmanship here is awesome! cosmokramer

Quoted from PtownPin:

This is a very impressive restoration project...u clearly have some mad skill sets

Everything I'm able to do today is because of the old man in the above photos. My dad started teaching me about tools and craftsmanship at an early age and, luckily for me, I still learn something everytime we work together. Time spent working on these projects with him are more valueable than what I have to show for it at the end...

#118 1 year ago

After working on a few other games this week, today I get back to the FT project. Today the cab should be assembled and glued. I bought 2 more sheets of 3/4 " MDO, 2 sheets of 1/4" ply (yes, I bought 1/4" again for the bottom instead of 1/2"...I will explain why in the cabinet build thread) and 1 sheet of 1/2" particle board. I bought all this extra lumber because why build one cabinet when you can build 3!

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Also spending time today on the coin door restoration...

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More to come...

#119 1 year ago

The top piece has an angle cut so the glass slides easily into the retainer...an easy cut on the table saw after making a new top piece...

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Testing dado blade settings...

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Cut cab for insertion of bottom and cross brace..

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Nice clean new bottom...

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Squaring these up can be a bitch, setting up a jig to help...

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Lets see how it fits...

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All cabinet pieces are cut and tested for fit and finish, so far so good...now its time to cut the back box pieces. I will be using 3/4" MDO again to reduce prep time for decal application, and using 1/2" particle board for the back of the head for an original look..

#120 1 year ago

Lets take a look at the coin door...

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The coin door is in great shape for the most part, pretty dirty on the backside...

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Buy luckily for me the main door skin is in perfect shape, all the texture is there and no dents...

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The bezel however shows what thousands of coins can do to the paint. The "tokens only" sticker residue must go as well...

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Almost there, Im going to retexture the bezel to match the door skin. Then paint the bezel, skin, frame and mounting bolts...

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#122 1 year ago

Whats this part called so I can source one?
Its the metal shroud that attatches to the apron and covers the shooter lane coil. I found the decal, just need the base. I can fabricate one if needed but would prefer not to...

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EDIT: I found it...I swear I looked at every FT part Marco has and couldnt find it...then was looking for something else and found this part.

#124 1 year ago
Quoted from SUPERBEE:

Awesome work cosmo !

Got the coin door assembly prepped for painting. Since I dont have to do any bodywork, I dont have bead blast the paint off the steel. I just cleaned the parts with simple green, then dried them and wiped down wirh naptha. Nothin fancy here, just some plastic, some foam for the bolts and some custom stands for the coin door...

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I like to use a light color primer when I have to do any texturing, it allows me to better monitor the black laquer blobs as I try to match the original pattern. Although the bezel is the only component that I am texturing, I use the same light color primer on all parts. I found out the hard way on another restoration that primer color does change the primary color...starting with a light coat...

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And after final coat...I will hit it with some 800 grit and water very lightly to knock down a few pieces of dust...

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#126 1 year ago
Quoted from SUPERBEE:

Are you going to try and replicate the original finish ? If so, whats the plan ?

Yes, I use instant drying laquer that I chill in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Then with some practice you learn to just barely depress the nozzle and the laquer "spits" out in small globs, slowly building up the texture until it looks right. Then I paint the whole thing again with a coat of black paint...

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Heres one I did for my Pinbot 2 years ago...

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#129 1 year ago

Getting ready to test fit...

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#130 1 year ago

Just some pics for fun...

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#136 1 year ago

Checking fit and finish, not too bad. I had a bit of worry when I slid the glass in, when I grooved the top of the side panels for the glass channel the blade I used was a bit wider than they used originally. As a result the glass channels are about 1/8" farther apart than they should be. Not a huge deal as the glass would just have a bit of slop but overall would be un-noticed....But, when I put the glass in the channel it was VERY loose, and even sort of fell out of the channel. I measured everything twice comparing my new cab to my original FT cab and to my WH20 cab but just came up with a 1/8" difference and could not figure out why 1/8" would cause so much slop.
As it turns out I finally measured the glass itself and it was only 20 7/8" not a full 21" wide.. so instead of dealing with a 1/8" gap it was really 1/4"...I swapped glass with my WH20 and now it fits pretty good.
Pretty good is, well, pretty good...but Im going to try for better, I think this cab will just be used as a prototype and not get decaled. I will build a new cab to actually use for the project when it comes time to paint and decal...

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#137 1 year ago

Quick note on the side rails. After the are removed from the game the two sided tape used to hold the rails to the cabinet needs to be removed. I have tried to heat them up and scrape it off but that doesnt work, the only way I found is to moisten the tape with gasoline and let it break down the adhesive. Then I use a razorblade to remove the gummy mess. It takes 2 or 3 attempts to get it all off. Then I wash with soap and water, dry them off and they will be ready for re-finishing...

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#139 1 year ago
Quoted from Plumonium:

Man that's dedication!
What are your plan for the rails? From the pictures they seemed to have a few dings, good enough to powerder coat?

I really want to powdercoat but I have yet to see a color on FT that doesnt look awful. If anybody has any suggestions I would like to see them.
As far as the dings go, I can usually get them back into shape. They look worse in the pics than they are. After straightening them out they will get regrained back to original finish if I dont powder.

#140 1 year ago

2 days for the primer to dry completely, now its time to put the texture. I'm going to try to replicate the original pattern on the coin slot bezel only....if I do it right it will match the coin door and both will get a finish coat of black. If it doesnt match then I will strip all components down to metal and texture it all.
I use Ace brand instant drying laquer ( pictured in a previous post ) and then chill in the freezer...this was a full can so I had to leave it in the freezer for almost 45 minutes, a partial can takes about 25. Then I practice on some cardboard, lightly pressing down causing the paint to splatter. Once I get the right feel its time to apply it ...

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First a light dusting, still working on tecnique. I find each can sprays a bit different, you have to find the sweet spot...

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Second pass. Luckily, Instant drying laquer is, well, lets just say it dries quickly...no time needed between coats...

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Now its starting to look right, the key is to progress slowly. Its easier to add more that to fix a big blob...

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I rub my finger on the original texture, then the bezel, when they feel the same I guess I'm done. I wont know if I got it right until I hit it with the black paint...

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#143 1 year ago
Quoted from AUKraut:

I've used a similar eraser wheel to remove 2-sided tape with good success and no chemicals:
amazon.com link »

I'll give it a try, I dont like using a chemical and would like an alternative...but I tried a sanding wheel and it would clog up instantly.

#144 1 year ago

I ordered an eraser wheel, looking forward to trying it on some other adhesives as well

Since I dont think I have spent enough money on this project, I grabbed a color DMD to put in it....

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#148 1 year ago

Hey Art! Good to hear from you buddy. Thanks for the heads up with the set up block. I kept a few pieces of scrap to reset the fence, but that block will work better. Im going to cut out the pieces for 2 more cabinets this weekend, but I think I'm going back to birch. I found that the MDO has a tendency to chip, I never had that problem when I used MDO for other projects but those didnt involve detailed corners. Its too bad because I was looking forward to not having a lot of bondo and sanding.
If you get the FT, let me know if you need any parts, I have some stuff I wont need.

I should have the coin door done and reassembled this weekend. The proto cabinet seems to be close to what I want, I will knock out 2 more cabs and get one in the gameroom for drilling and fitting. I have a buddy who is quite a bit smarter than me designing and 3D printing some custom jigs to aide in the drilling of the leg bolt holes, insuring the bit penetrates at a 45° angle. I plan on getting as much done before my back surgery but I doubt this project will be completed. If I can get the cab built, painted and decaled at least I can work on small details during recovery.

Again if anyone has any suggestions for powdercoat let me know...

#149 1 year ago

Little to report, got pieces for 2 more cabinets cut, this time out of domestic birch...had to spend a little time perfecting the joint used on the back box. I used a locking miter joint for the lower cab because it is stronger than original and cant be seen once the side rails and lock down bar are on. I wanted to use an original back box joint because you can clearly see it after the game is assembled and it needs to look correct...

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Test joint ^^

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A Williams original back box joint^^


Next is a pic of the playfield hooked up to life support. I've got a weak pulse, condition is currently critical. If I can get the vital signs stabilized I can take care of switch test/adjustments, coil tests, lamp tests, board operations etc so that when the cabinet is done I *should* be able to just simply assemble it and hopefully just fine tune it...

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#152 1 year ago

Heres the finish on a brand new WPC coin door....

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Heres my FT...close but still a ways to go...

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The can is back in the freezer, another medium coat might do it...

#153 1 year ago

This looks about right, the flourescent bulbs in the garage make it look a bit more grey than it is...Im happy...

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Obviously you can see I textured the door skin as well, I just was'nt happy with the results when I only did the bezel. The frame was done to match.

#155 1 year ago
Quoted from patrickvc:

Coin door looks great. I've done a few like that. It's better than when people paint them with black gloss

I agree that the gloss look is awful, I am guilty of trying it myself in the past. The combination of satin black for the base and laquer for the texture gives a very close finish to what came from the factory...

#156 1 year ago

Coin door done...like a dummy I didnt notice the two different tags in the push buttons, one tokens one quarters...and of course now the coin chutes looked scuffed compared to the new looking coin door, so I will probably order new buttons and chutes...just more $ right

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#160 1 year ago
Quoted from MagicSmoke:

Wow that coin door looks amazing

Quoted from Plumonium:

That door turned out great!


Quoted from Soulrider911:

Looks amazing cosmokramer, I’m picking up a fish tales next week!!

If you are going to restore it, Ron Kruzman has a beautiful playfield I think you will like...If I knew I was going to be putting so much work into this project , I would have bought it myself.

#161 1 year ago

Wow, whose stupid idea was it to rebuild this parts machine...what an dumb move!

Im glad I chose to not keep track of hours spent, its a ridiculous number...

Last night I washed the cabinet wire harness in simple green, cleaned some boards and broke down the power box for painting...

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I also had trouble using my WH20 to run the FT playfield, I thought I could just swap the roms and playfield connectors but no luck. So I am using the proto cabinet as a test rig to mock up the FT until the new cab is done...

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Thanks to my friend magicsmoke for helping me with some ROMs, 3d printing, moral support and general information... thanks buddy.

Last but not least...yes, this is another box from Marco...I needed some side rails, glass guides, back box hinges, pivot bolts, back box lock and latch etc to have in the shop to mock up new cabinets, so I bought all new stuff for the FT and I will use the old stuff in the shop...and since I had to buy it anyway for the cab builds, I am not counting it in the cost of material for this project...

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#164 1 year ago

So my last post was bitching about the amount of work, but I must say I have learned more from this project than any others to date. I have memorized every connection on the WPC boardset, not having any boards to begin with made me study the schematics like never before. This info will be quite helpful on future restos and trouble shooting.
And I really like doing it....

Again not too much to show, busy with a few other things going on outside of pinball but I can show a little bit of progress...
The transformer, power box and rear plate looked pretty beat up and plain...

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For the rear plate I just hit it with some 400 grit sandpaper, primed, and painted with satin black. Satin is a great choice for coin doirs, legs etc. as it does not appear to shiny like gloss does...

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Next is the power box, I didnt want to do just satin with this because the cab interior will be black as well and the box would blend with the side panel of cabinet. I didnt want a crazy red or white finish either so I chose to finish it like I did the coin door. This will give it just enough contrast to stand out without looking odd...
Im just waiting for a buddy to print up the decals...

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#167 1 year ago
Quoted from CraigC:

i have an extra shooter handle and a ton of other FT parts, hit me up with what you need.

PM sent

1 week later
#170 1 year ago

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#173 1 year ago

Doh' ... I just spotted some blue painters tape still stuck on the transformer in that picture....

#175 1 year ago

Today is hopefully the big day, I finally got the missing chips for mpu board, and some last minute goodies...going to see if it will actually come to life!
I rigged up every component that will used in this game so I can test everything all together, its all wired up, grounded, playfield connected, dmd hooked up...lets go!!

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#176 1 year ago

Hmmmm...well, It didnt catch on fire so theres that...
First hiccup to address- no dmd display, it displays fine when I use the buttons on the back of the color DMD for settings, but its not displaying data from the game...

On a positive note the playfield is displaying proper lighting and coil firing , wheel spinning, catapult catapulting etc. It appears to be functioning in attract mode, so it is showing signs of wanting to flip...

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#177 1 year ago

Got home from the auction this afternoon and started troubleshooting...after about 90 minutes I got her up and running!
I really couldnt be happier as this was a huge undertaking to try to piece together a working game from almost nothing...

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Still not sure why the color DMD is not working, I had to take the dmd panel from WH20 but all the boards and everything else belongs to FT...to my suprise the only switches not working is 1 pop bumper and the spinner...the reel passed the reel test, flippers work great in flip test, sound, flipper buttons, everything else is good to go...

#178 1 year ago

Still need to hook up topper and light board for translite...


#180 1 year ago
Quoted from Soulrider911:

Wow amazing job, what an accomplishment on bringing this machine back to life

thanks, this is the first project where once I got 30% into it I was l like, WTF did I do? It feels good to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I am by no means near the finish line, but it feels good having the largest obstacle behind me. The rest of the project consists of paint and decal the new cab, install insert LEDs, reassembly, fine tuning...still a good bit of work but all stuff I am very familiar with

#182 1 year ago

Got color dmd working...been enjoying some of the animations, looks totally different than the standard dmd...by far one of the best products on the market...the playfield switch issues have been worked out so now I have been debating raising the back side of my rotisserie to give me a 6.5° pitch so I can start playing it now...

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#190 1 year ago
Quoted from SUPERBEE:

I thought the same thing until i finally bit the bullet and got one for my Getaway and all i can say is WOW ! what a difference it makes and I just love it !

I agree... Im not a mod guy but its night and day, I can actually make out what the animations are supposed to be.

Took me awhile to troubleshoot the problem I was having with the DMD.....turns out the brand new ribbon cable is no good...

#193 1 year ago

Not too much to report, next week I hope to prep the new cabinet for paint and decals, then final assembly will begin.
In the meantime I ran a switch test after adjusting the pop bumper and spinner and all is good. I changed all the insert bulbs to color matched non ghosting LEDs. I had some green and blues in the GI, but I am kind of getting away from the color GI look so I changed it all to frosted white (it looks better). Also color matched LED flashers. All lamps, flippers, reel, flashers, drop targets, and coils passed testing on the first shot. I received my replacement ribbon cable from Marco so the dmd is up and running.
Basically I am done until the cab is complete...

2 weeks later
#194 1 year ago

As usual, delay after delay...been too busy with work, back injury and packing up to move to get much done.
The name of the game lately has been templates, we are making router templates for all of the cut outs. Not needed to make one or two cabinets but I want to be able to produce them fairly quickly so these will speed up the process...

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Assembling Fish Tales cabinet 2.0...

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Routing speaker hole and power switch hole...

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Starting to look like something...

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Rigged up a quick jig to drill the corner braces perfectly centered...

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#200 1 year ago

Test fitting FT cab 2.0 with some mock-up parts...a perfect fit so far...

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Sorry kitty, no fish in the fish tales...

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#206 1 year ago

Building pinball cabinets is hard....
That being said I have a few WPC cabs I am finishing up that will be for sale, fully assembled and drilled with heavy duty leg plates installed. I have a few cabs to build after that for some people who have been patiently waiting... after that I will have some information on some kits I plan on selling, as well as fully decaled and painted cabs, but Im not ready for that yet so any announcement on these wont be coming for awhile...

New cab is being populated, I want to figure out placement of components before the paint and decals are on so as to minimize risk of damage...

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Starting the head...

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#208 1 year ago

Still looking for missing reel handle shooter assembly and fishing rod plastic...
I drilled the cab for the reel, not the generic ball launch button I may have to use if I cant locate one...

#211 1 year ago
Quoted from cosmokramer:

Still looking for missing reel handle shooter assembly and fishing rod plastic...
I drilled the cab for the reel, not the generic ball launch button I may have to use if I cant locate one...

Looks like I have a solid lead on the reel handle from a trustworthy pinsider, I will confirm when I have it in my possesion....now I am focusing on finding the missing plastic...

2 weeks later
#213 1 year ago

The head turned out to be a bit more challenging, I underestimated the amount of work to make it like the original was. Routing out for the lock cam and cutting trim pieces took forever to figure out how to do it right...finally should have cab base and head together in a few days, then move on to fill and sand...

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#215 1 year ago
Quoted from Badamack:

Nice! Is that mdo or birch veneer ply?

domestic birch

#218 1 year ago

Test fitting with some mis matched parts, I want to do all my fine tuning before I tear it back down for the artwork...

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Speaker panel and translite fit well, time to move on to back box latch and hinges...

Went to the Museum of Pinball today to help prepare for arcade expo for a short while, while I was there I took the opportunityto make a template for the large plastic I am missing. I am going to try to make a new one, however it really looks like it is going to be a pain in the ass. I traced the profile onto some paper, marking the areas where I will have to heat and bend...

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Drilling holes for lightboard hardware...

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A few minor adjustments and the light board is good to go...

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Lock and trim pieces fitted...lock is temporarily screwed in, t nuts will be installed before final glueing of parts. These last few details are quickly being crossed off the to do list...

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#219 1 year ago

After a total of 41 holes measured and drilled in the head and another 33 in the lower cab, I am finally ready to start to fill and sand...

20180204_121414 (resized).jpgbut before I do I have to glue in the trim pieces at the top of the head...you can see I had to install T nuts for the lock plate before glueing...

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This area proved to be the most challenging to get it right...

#222 1 year ago

Setting T nuts in the neck with a contraption...

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#223 1 year ago

One of the drawbacks when using a brand new cab is that it takes a lot of work to get the parts to all fit and work properly...but the nice thing about a new cab is that unlike restoring an old one, there is no gluing or reinforcing needed and very little bondo work.... next stop, primertown!

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#224 1 year ago

Well, I forgot there was a 2 hour layover in Tapeville before I can travel on to Primertown
I wanted to paint the inside all the way down, but keep the natural woodgrain look for the bottom itself...this requires a lot of patience to tape it off properly. I use green frog tape in medium (21 day clean release) for the edges to control paint seepage... then mask the rest with paper and blue tape...I left the speaker and power switch pads along with the cross member exposed to be painted black for a bit of contrast

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Then the bottom side...

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Gonna do the head the same way...all black and natural partical board on the rear...

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#225 1 year ago

..what is that?...can it be!?...

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It is! Its light at the end of the tunnel, I can see it!

#230 1 year ago

And this us why we dont use cheap ass tape when we run out of good tape...

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#232 1 year ago
Quoted from Badamack:

Curious: why did you mask the bottom edge of the sides of the cabinet?

it just gives it a nice clean look...
Set up a homeless encampment style spray booth in the garage...

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Just shot a very light coat and bailed out... respirator was not doing the job properly and I was getting higher than a nornal Tuesday night
Also I was not quite happy with the performance of the HVLP gun, I need to adjust some settings before the next application.
Gonna pick up a fresh respirator tomorrow and shoot a nice coat, then sand after it dries. The primer makes it easy to see the remaining defects, dings, scratches, dimples, depressions, dents, marks, pits etc. that seem to come from nowhere...these will be filled and sanded before the next coat...

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#233 1 year ago
Quoted from g94:

It is fascinating to be following both current Fish Tales restos: yours and the one from Soulrider911. Same game, more or less the same starting point - yet a remarkably different approach and process. Very interesting.
I can imagine that it must be fascinating for both of you as well to check each-others progress. I hope to be in that situation one day myself.

I have enjoyed following soulrider911 restoration thread. He was also kind enough to share his talents with me for this project, his contribution will be applied and revealed after the painting is completed.

#235 1 year ago
Quoted from Soulrider911:

original williams and abally cabinets the whole bottom is not painnted including the edges

Yes they are raw wood on the edges...I considered painting the edge but there is something about the look of natural wood that I like...not that anybody will see it anyway.


I got a chuckle last night when my adult daughter came home, she saw all the plastic, gloves and rubber hoses in the garage and said she thought I went "Dexter"...

#237 1 year ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

So what are you using for primer and paint?

Im shooting rustoleum filler primer right now, it does a great job of filling in the small cracks/scuffs but sure is dusty when sanded...

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#239 1 year ago

Sprayed a decent coat of primer today. Overall I am happy with the early results, however in my typical fashion it did not go without a hiccup. I made the classic error of running out of paint just before finishing. I have a few areas where I couldnt finish and the primer is a bit thin...after sanding out this coat I will put down one more heavier coat and sand again before begining to shoot the black...this primer knocks down easily with a few swipes of the sanding block and quickly smoothes out to a nice feel...
Pics just after shooting but before sanding...

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1 week later
#240 1 year ago

Sanded, filled, sanded, final coat of primer....

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Next I have to knock down the primer with some sandpaper and I'm ready for the first coat of black...

#243 1 year ago

Sprayed first coat of black, I failed to achieve complete coverage. I sprayed too thin in some areas, and totally missed a few areas and spray angles....but, the paint that is down is very smooth and looks great, the black sprays a bit different than the primer so I think I will tweak the settings just a bit for the next coat....tomorrow I will wet sand what was sprayed today and try to lay down a better coat ...

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#245 1 year ago
Quoted from Badamack:

I know you showed the primer you are using. What's the black?

I almost made the mistake of shooting latex paint, I know some people will use latex but I dont think it is durable enough...So at the last minute I send a PM to another amateur restorer here on pinside and he recommended this.... its ready to spray with no thinning and worked well with the HVLP gun...

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My local auto parts shop has it in stock, they can order it by the gallon...
Thanks to soulrider911 for the recommendation...

#246 1 year ago

Also, I am very excited as today I am expecting a package that contains a very important item that I have been looking for extensively... stay tuned!

#250 1 year ago

Next coat came out better, but I do have a bit of golden retriever hair in the paint. really looking forward to setting up an actual spray booth. Im going to take a corner of my new shop and finally have a dust free enviorment to spray...
I need to wet sand the dog hair out, clean up the area where I have been spraying, and shoot the final coat before I apply decals...my wife has been very patient through this whole process but if I cant get her camaro back in the garage soon it may push her over the edge...

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#252 1 year ago

I sprayed the final coat of black on the lower cabinet, as soon as it is dry I can remove all the masking and see how it turned out...the head still needs the final coat, I will spray that later today.

Can anybody point me in the right direction for a replacement cabinet speaker? Im not looking to upgrade to flipper fidelity, just looking for a basic simple replacement for the stock speaker...the cab looks nice and I dont want to put that shitty looking stock speaker back in it...

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#253 1 year ago

Special thanks to indypinhead! Just as I was preparing to use the template I made at the MoP to make a rod plastic I got a pm from indypinhead saying that he has the plastic I need. Thanks Tim for holding on to it for almost 10 years for me, I appreciate it...
A few new decals and its good to go...

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Also as you may have read ericpinballfan has come through with the missing reel handle! I now have all the parts needed, and in the nick of time too as I am starting reassembly in a few days...

#256 1 year ago


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#257 1 year ago

Since the decals were stored in a tube for 3+ months it is always easier if you lay them out a day or 2 before install to ease some of the curling...first I just lay them across a flat table to reduce some of the torque, later I will put a bit of weight on them to flatten them out...

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#260 1 year ago
Quoted from jmountjoy111:

I don’t need this part but I by chance stumbled on to it today. I’ve never ordered from this site but I have a friend who has. Just throwing it out there. I mean obviously cosmo no longer needs it but it seemed like a super hard part to find so maybe one of the people following could use it

that figures...I spent 4 months looking for one and as soon as I get it another pops up for sale...someone will grab that pretty quick.

Quoted from MrArt2u:

I got a replacement cabinet speaker from Marco for about $20. It was a HUGE improvement over my destroyed one. That said, I usually drive out to a place called Speaker City in Burbank and have them match a speaker for me. They tend to be overkill, meaning they will handle a bunch more power than we'd ever throw at them, but they really look great in there. I just put one in a buddy's Gorgar and the sound improvement was amazing, and the price, about $25 out the door. Maybe you have a speaker place closer to you?

thanks Art, gonna head to the stereo shop today

#262 1 year ago

I want to try to center the start button in the sun circle using a flashlight from underneath to line it up...

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Then set and trim front decal...

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Moving on to the sides...

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Trimmed... flip it over and do it again...

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Moving on to the head...

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#264 1 year ago

I use a heat gun on low setting to warm up the decals after installation...you can actually see the vinyl "grab" the cabinet as the heat passes over it... it sucks into all the holes as well making them easy to see and cut out..

Dont panic if the decals have a wrinkle or bubble before installation as seen here...

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These decals are super durable and easy to use, those wrinkles smooth right out...you will also notice when you apply heat some bubbles will form and you can watch them grow as the warm air expands, again its no worry, they will dissipate in a day or two and you'll never see them.
I used the dry "hinge" method of installation.

#266 1 year ago

Lots of new hardware in the head along with new ground braid, now thats it coming together I wish I would have done something with the metal base plate for the boards...
Im working on getting a bockbox warning silkscreen made so that wont be done for awhile...

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#268 1 year ago

Heres how it sits this morning, should be flippin today.

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#276 1 year ago
Quoted from Plumonium:

Must feel good applying the decals, nice work man!

Quoted from Soulrider911:

Looks awesome! cosmokramer and your decal is in the mail!

Thanks guys.

I had an issue with some bubbling of the decals...some of the through bolts and around the coin door bubbled as the fastners were tightened. Here is one near the coin door...

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No worries though...just remove the bolt (or coin door), heat up the decal and rub out the air...then reinstall

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#278 1 year ago
Quoted from northerndude:

How many feet of ground brain did you need?

Im not 100% sure because it came off a 100' roll but I think around 25'

#279 1 year ago

Tying up a few loose ends...new tempered glass, trim and translite...time to build a backglass.

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#282 1 year ago
Quoted from Plumonium:

3D or regular the translite?

I got the regular version, it is a next gen pps and they did a great job on it

Quoted from Wildbill327:

The excitement must be getting ready to boil over.

yes, Im just wrapping up the final fit and finish

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#284 1 year ago

Like a dummy I tried to use felt instead of metal standoffs for the legs and got decal wrinkle at all 4 legs...had to remove the legs, heat the decals and work out the wrinkles...then I made some metal standoffs, they dont look pretty but I didnt want to spend $20 for a set of 4 pieces of angle with 2 holes...

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I made 4, then trimmed the decals that would be under the standoffs and installed. Now there is a gap between the legs and decals...

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#286 1 year ago

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#288 1 year ago

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#289 1 year ago

Still need to install new sling plastics, new legs, leds for the flipper buttons, reel handle and I need to screenprint the backbox.

#296 1 year ago

Thanks, pretty sure this probably should have been a parts game from the beginning but its nice to see it in all its glory.
I have a lot of people to thank, and this weekend I will update the $$ spent list then total it all up, Im not looking forward to that...
Im very happy I decided not to keep track of man hours spent, I think it would shocking...

#299 1 year ago

Today was a great day, my friend ericpinballfan stopped by today to deliver the last piece needed to finish this game...Not only is Eric a true asset to this site and the hobby, he is also the only person I have ever met who has seen the band Food for Feet perform live that was not at the Moose Lodge in Norco, Ca circa 1986 at Skid Thomason's 16th birthday party with me and some friends...

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... thanks Eric

I have a decent size punch list of small things to do, I scratched the paint on the interior wall just a touch putting in the playfield so I will fix that. The fishing reel needs to be nickle plated, I have some parts for TOM (my next restoration project) that I have to get re brassed so I will get it all done at the same time. In the meantime, I have been so busy with other stuff I have not played a full game yet...looking forward to that soon.

#300 1 year ago

Does anybody know of a good plating company in So Cal? I am really leary of sending out an unobtainium part with all the horror stories of lost parts. Looking for black nickle and re-brassing

#306 1 year ago

I should be getting some feedback later this month on a local plating company, waiting to see the results from a test piece that a friend droppedd off last week.

I sliced my finger open pretty bad early this week so I had not been able to work on the FT for several days. I had not even put a ball into play until last night
I plugged in the reel handle and booted it up. No bonging sound, just a smooth start. I have natural white frosted leds for all GI and color matched leds for inserts...a few of the flashers are color but most are white...I gotta say the game looks great.

Tried to play a game and had weird things happening with the right flipper...it would work in test mode but not in game play. After a bit of troubleshooting I swapped the cab flipper board for the right flipper with the one in my WH20 and it fixed it (ordered a few extra for spares last night). So I was able to play my first game...for a few moments, then the ball kept getting stuck on the upper right hand switch.
I took the glass of to check all other switches and functions and all else was good. Reel lock, catapult, drop target, VUK, kick out, gate, topper all work properly.
The switch that is hanging the ball up has a bent wire the keeps rubbing on the playfield. I tried to bend it back but after a few attempts I quit for the night. I have some new switches, tonight I will replace the culprit and should be able to play a complete game .
Still need to:
Replace flipper board
Replace 1 switch
Properly mount switch on habitrail as it feeds reel lock
Replace rear leg levelers
Install reflective tape on dome
Refinish and mount reel handle
Install leds for flipper buttons

#308 1 year ago
Quoted from Soulrider911:

Sadly my fish tales is still not working. I had the power driver board repaired, as I was having major reset and coil firing issues. Now next issue is none of the trough switches work. In addition to that the left pop bumper is triggering current to the drop target mini coil. It’s been a nightmare seriously losing my
Patients, but I’m keeping hope

That sucks, hopefully you can get it sorted out soon. One thing I started doing on my restorations is to get the game working 100% before I start to take it apart.

1 week later
#310 1 year ago

Played my first complete game after troubleshooting a few switch issues that popped up during f