(Topic ID: 196119)

Another Eight Ball Deluxe screaming for attention

By g94

3 years ago

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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Atari_Daze
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There are 194 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
#1 3 years ago

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I own this EBD for about 3 years, and I play it almost daily. Or rather: I used to play it almost daily… Since a while I don’t dare playing it anymore because the playfield is getting too damaged on the typical spots without Mylar protection. The game really is begging me for some love and attention, it actually screams for a thorough restoration.

I noticed a few ongoing EBD restorations being documented here, so why not add this one to the pack. Every restoration is different and seeing other people’s work is inspiring to me. Why not return the favour…

It’s not the most beautiful EBD around. A previous owner has gone crazy with some leftover paint, but apart from that the game is in an ok condition. The hardware is solid, there are no real structural issues, except for some planking on the head. I had shopped it when I bought it (added new rubbers, plastics etc).

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As with many games from this era, large areas on the playfield are covered with Mylar. And although it gets loose from some inserts, it has served its purpose well, damage is acceptable. But then the areas without Mylar protection… these are the reason why I don’t dare playing the game anymore. These areas really got worse over the past 3 years.

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Inside is the typical view of a 35-year old pinball machine: dirt, rust, corrosion. Nothing insurmountable though.

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A few “fixes” from the previous owner.

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I started this project early July and really wanted the playfield to have its first clearcoat before holidays. No time to waste. I prefer to move it from the cabinet into the rotisserie for disassembling.

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As I was doing so, I discovered some more “fixes” from the previous owner that I hadn’t noticed before. Like: better securing the flipper assembly’s using screws through the playfield…

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One of the annoying things about these old games is that all coils and switches are soldered directly to the wire harness, which by times is very unhandy. I decided to cut them loose and will add Molex connectors in due time, similarly to WPC games.

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Nonetheless such a wire harness remains a complex monster. I use to make lots of photos and to take detailed notes.

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And only now, as the playfield is totally empty, I start realising how bad the damage actually is. I don’t own a CPR replacement. This will be, without doubt, one of my most ambitious playfield restorations so far.

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#2 3 years ago

I know some are totally against it, but you might want to contact Herb Silvers and ask him about his screened mylar. EBD has a lot of tiny detail and can be difficult to touch up buy hand.

For the point that you are at now, you just belt sand it, clear coat it to seal it. And then apply the mylar (wet decal method). And you will have a playfield that will look like new again.

Just don't go crazy with a thick clear coat and don't over tighten the post to prevent bunching and wrinkles.

#3 3 years ago

Glad that game got such a good home !

LTG : )

#4 3 years ago

Thank you, and CactusJack: actually the airbrushing process is one of the exciting and fun parts for me, hence I don’t consider a repro playfield nor any printed mylar solution. At least: not for now. Unless I would mess things up of course, which I hope will not happen

First step is to remove the Mylar. I did a little test using Freeze Spray, but I experienced in the past that it usually doesn’t work well on these older playfields. This one is not different. Regardless the amount Freeze Spray used: the Mylar keeps stuck. I feel like I have to put too much effort to it and chances are huge that I will damage the delicate old screen print by proceeding this way.

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To my huge relief the hairdryer method appears to work very well. The glue looses easily and I hardly have to put any effort to it. First I carefully cut the mylar into smaller strips using a X-acto knife as I imagined that these 5 cm strips would be more convenient to deal with than a full size piece of Mylar. And indeed: there is no print whatsoever getting removed during the process.

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But then it appears to be a true challenge to remove the glue residue. It takes me about 3 hours before all is removed. Luckily still without any noticeable damage to the print.

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Next I cleaned the remaining dirt and ball swirls with nitro thinner applied on a cloth. Finally I carefully sanded the playfield for a good adhesion of the clearcoat.

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#5 3 years ago

While the playfield was out to the car repair shop for an initial clearcoat, I started gutting the cabinet. At that time the hack on the rectifier board had already bothered me so much that I couldn't but tackle it right away.

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Done! And talking about fixing previous owner’s hacks: the wire harness between rectifier board and head would be next.

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As I was fixing the harness anyway, it made sense to immediately clean it. My approach: partially remove all tie wraps, then thoroughly clean the wires with various workshop degreasers, Cillit Bang and ultrasonic cleaner and finally apply new tie wraps. Up to the next part until the whole harness is clean.
I fitted new Molex connectors where appropriate, I’m currently in doubt whether I should replace them all.

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#6 3 years ago

Just before holidays I got the playfield back from the car repair shop. Although the guy has sprayed a very thick layer of clearcoat, a lot of varnish has been sucked into the wood. As such I’m not unhappy with that, as I reckon that it will help sealing the old screen printed artwork. The downside is though that I will most likely not be able to sand the playfield flat enough to start the airbrush repairs.

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Forgot to mention: whilst removing the additional Mylar rings round the bumpers, there appeared to be some loose paint in that area. Not really an issue because I plan on repainting that blue colour anyway. I’m happy that the more delicate artwork, like the guns and the cowgirl playing pool, remained undamaged after removing the Mylar.

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I partially sanded the clear and added some extra clearcoat in the deeper areas. The playfield would have time to cure during holidays.

#7 3 years ago

First job after holidays was to fill the screw holes through the playfield (aka: the flipper unit fix…) with a 2K polyester filler (Isopon P38). Then, after settling, I could safely sand it whilst sanding the clearcoat. From experience I know that I can airbrush on Isopon fixes right away.

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The additional clearcoat partially applied on the dieper areas did the job. Although the playfield is not yet perfectly flat after sanding, it is flat enough for the first airbrush repairs. No second round of clearcoat seems required at this point, and I’m happy with that because I want to keep the clearcoat layer as thin as possible. I will for now sand the remaining blinking deeper spots by hand for better adhesion.

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The shooterlane is progressing well. Will only require a few minor touch ups perhaps.

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#8 3 years ago

I finished removing stuff from cabinet and head. I’m still not impressed by the previous owner’s painting skills…

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I have now a totally disassembled game. I’m ready to start…

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… with making stencils for instance. After a bad experience with stencils from Twisted Pins (ahh) I wanted to attempt to make them myself. I know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, and I’m familiar with printing techniques.


My strategy: I first printed a grid with registration marks on A4-sized tracing paper, which I positioned on the cabinet to trace the line-art. Next I scanned these various parts and reassembled them in Photoshop. Finally I imported the Photoshop file into Illustrator and used it as a template to recreate the vector artwork.

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As known the colours are cream, yellow and black. It makes most sense to me to create them for application in that order. Not sure if that was the order used by Bally (I doubt it, I think they used black as the base colour) but with coverage in mind I’ll go for following setup: cream will be the base colour, first stencil will be yellow (magenta in my Illustrator file) and final stencil will be black (cyan in my Illustrator file). The dark purple areas are the bleeding (black on top of yellow), I hope this makes sense.

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And since I will spend that amount of time on creating my own stencils, I have come to the decision that I would make a few minor adjustments to the artwork. Nothing spectacular, but nonetheless. I assume that, back in 1981, there was very little time to create the artwork. And I can imagine that there was no budget nor time for a testing phase, to see how it looked in real and to adjust if appropriate. Luckily I have the time, and I can make a few minor adjustments to my liking. It is my own EBD after all

And exactly 16 hours later my stencils are ready to be cut. I hope they’ll be worth the effort…

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#9 3 years ago

I made myself a little gift: this cutting machine. In order to test things I drew some masks in Illustrator and used them to repaint the wood tones on the playfield. What an amazing thing. It would have taken me a few hours to cut all these masks out of Frisket film directly on the playfield. This little Cricut did the job in minutes, and they are all perfect.

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As often the case on these older playfields there are registration issues. Some print is not aligned properly with inserts and holes. Since I plan on airbrushing the main adjacent areas anyway I aligned them correctly, hence deviating by times from the original print.

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And that’s where I am after a little more than a month.

I want an archived version of the original artwork prior to proceeding. Therefor I will have the playfield scanned on a Cruse scanner tomorrow. I hope it will help in recreating the missing artwork.

#10 3 years ago

For those who, like me, never saw a Cruse scanner in action before: here it is!

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Here's a short action video :


The outcome is a 6607px × 13123px high resolution file. That is a LOT of detail…

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Offers a good view on the good…

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… and the bad.

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Quite a few challenges ahead...

#11 3 years ago

Amazing work so far, keep it up!
EBD is a great game and is a worthy candidate for sure.

#12 3 years ago

Thank you


Now that I have my playfield scanned I am eager to do a few tests. One of the more challenging graphics are these numbers in the inline drop target area, as they have very, really: very thin lines. I reckon they’re less than half a point.

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For what I know I have two options. Or I can make a decal, but that will add thickness to the artwork and have consequences when clearcoating. Or I could try airbrush. My approach would then be: first airbrush the black areas (lines and shadow), then the colours on top (white primer first). The other way around is not feasible: the black lines are way too thin to cutout.


Left is Frisk film, right is stencil. First I’m quickly spraying a thin layer of black. Both appear to work well and have sharp edges. Perhaps the edges on the stencil are a little sharper.

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Next opaque white (I didn’t bother sealing the black spray first). The advantage of Frisk is that it can be positioned more precisely. The stencil is semi-transparent and a little off. On the other hand stencils are easier to cutout. Perhaps I must figure out a way to include temporary registration marks…

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In any way I’m quite happy with the result. For this proof of concept I didn’t bother to exactly match the original font, but it's close, and size and thickness are the same. It doesn’t look worse than the original imho...

As I didn’t bother painting the colours on top of the white primer I quickly added them in Photoshop, just to see how that would look…

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#13 3 years ago

First touches up on the playfield: red, black.

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I recreated the missing lamp outlines using the one on the left intlane as a template.

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Still a lot to be done (cream, grey, yellow, orange, green...), but better yet…

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#14 3 years ago

I've been mixing some colours for the playfield. I usually do this in two steps:

1) first I make a small mix with drops of possible donor-colours on a transparent piece of plastic using a thin flat paintbrush. I test the mix on the playfield (slightly wetted), adjust, test again, ... and so on until the mix is very close.

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2) next I mix the required amount of my final colour in a little container, using the donor-colours that appeared suitable and in the ratios that looked good. Final adjustments happen now, again testing on a the slightly wetted playfield, and adjusting until the colour is perfect (or as close as I can get it).

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I was lucky this time. These appeared to be rather easy colours and it took my only 10 minutes until both were spot on

#15 3 years ago

The green center area. Most noticeable damage is near the slingshots and next to the 4-ball.

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Hmm. The little dots worked out well, but the colour is slightly more vivid than the original green. Not much but still. Perhaps I'll repaint, will depend on how the other colours come together.

#16 3 years ago

Got the blues today . Starting with the quite damaged bumper area.

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The letters "pocket" were cutout by Cricut. A little timesaver

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Yellow ribbon still to be done, but it already looks a lot better than before imho. I'm happy that I repositioned the wood tones to align them with the holes.

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#17 3 years ago

very impressive work.

How were you able to cut the mask for the yellow rope art so precisely?

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from indypinhead:

How were you able to cut the mask for the yellow rope art so precisely?

He scanned the playfield then used Adobe Illustrator to create a mask, then used a computer-controlled cutter

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

He scanned the playfield then used Adobe Illustrator to create a mask, then used a computer-controlled cutter

No, not for the rope. I only used Cricut to cut the letters from "pocket" and the mask for the 10- and 2-ball underneath, but the rest (rope etc) was cut directly on the playfield from Frisket with an x-acto knife. I feel comfortable with this technique. Cutting masks with Cricut is new to me, and so far I didn't figure out a method to position such large masks precisely enough. I wanted to preserve the black lines you see...

#20 3 years ago

More blues: the area between the flippers. A few chips, many scratches and ball swirl. Overall very dull.
Again almost everything had to be cut by hand, even the letters, because these were simply too small to cut with the cutter. Cricut only helped making the temporary insert masks.

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The whole process took me 2 1/2 hours. But I'm happy. I will do some final touching up on the copyright text bottom left tomorrow, but the other text is good. I don't think I will repaint it. Even the horseshoe looks good next to the clean background.

I didn't bother cutting out the orange curls. I'll add them later on.

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#21 3 years ago

What type of frisket did you use? Gloss or Matt?

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from Silverstreak02:

What type of frisket did you use? Gloss or Matt?

I'm using Matt Low-Tack Masking Film from Frisket.

#23 3 years ago

Still the blues...

Left loop: ball swirl and dirt. It's easy to see that they printed orange rectangles first, the text was cut out of the blue background.
The 500 label is messy due to alignment issues. I'll try to cut exactly outside of the black outline.

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I managed to cutout the orange text with Cricut. A huge timesaver, although I still have to improve the process.

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The 500 label already looks better. I'll try to touch-up the orange gaps with a paintbrush. The white curls will be added later on.

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#24 3 years ago

Orange curls were gone...

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Not for long

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#25 3 years ago

I've also worked on the bottom left area, near in and outlane. Paintbrush only here.

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Quickly wiping with a wet cloth to simulate the effect of clearcoat. Black outlines will finish this area. And the cream slingshot area of course

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#26 3 years ago

This is an incredible thread. Just amazing attention to detail.

#28 3 years ago

Damn, you're good!!

#29 3 years ago

Just amazing work!!!

#30 3 years ago

Thank you

No playfield fun today... I've scanned my plastics set and made the clear protectors. I like to have these protectors on all my older games, even if repro plastics sets exist.

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It's not so difficult: just redraw the borders in Illustrator, whilst adding a little protective edge where the ball can hit the plastic, and stick to the original border where it can't (bumpers, outer edges, ...)

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I will add the clear plastics (ball guides etc) and the technical plastics (f.i. the high voltage plastic on the rectifier board). Next the set will be laser cut in a shop nearby.

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No idea if there's EBD protector sets for sale. But if anyone would like the illustrator file to have them laser cut: simply send me a PM.

#31 3 years ago

A little stress today as I want to airbrush the two inner loops. Both have a gradient fill from green to blue. Back in 1981 they first printed the green background, then a blue gradient on top. I'll follow the same procedure. Obviously I will loose the print dither, but I hope to get a clean gradient in return...

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The right side (8-ball area) has substantial ball swirl and some art is missing. Not sure if it makes sense to keep the black outline on the explosion as I'll have to repaint it anyway due to the damage.

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Also blank spots on the left side (inline drops). As I have to repaint the numbers anyway (5,000 20,000 and so) I decided to also ditch the Bank Shot label for now. It's not well printed anyway...

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The cowgirl area has little damage. I try to keep the inserts labels on the left as these are extremely thin...

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Airbrushed. This is tricky as I only have one chance. As said the green background first, then the blue gradient. I was so stressed that I forgot to make photos of the green airbrush only

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And that's enough fun for today...

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#32 3 years ago

I had started touching up the cream/grey flags using a paintbrush, but I wasn't satisfied with the result. Especially the upper flag is very damaged, and using a paintbrush simply didn't work. It looked too "painted". Hence I wiped a few hours of work away and decided to airbrush the larger surfaces first.

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I'm getting better at using Cricut and I start knowing its limits. I'm also experimenting with various vinyls and stencils and this blue one gives very good results. Not that it saves time though...

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Cream airbrushed. I'll add the "25000 when lit"-label back later, it has the same colour scene as those numbers in the inline drop target area.

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Grey next.

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Obviously it's far from finished, but I'm happy with the work in progress. The repainted areas look a little out of place next to the damaged areas. But that is a temporary issue...

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#33 3 years ago

In case anyone whould wonder what I've been doing today...
I think I've spent like 6 hours on 30 square inches.

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Remaining are the green lamp shades and a few black outlines before I can check this area off. Oh and the cream background of course. Nonetheless: comparing today's status with older photos is encouraging...

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#34 3 years ago

>>25000 WHEN LIT<< is back

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#35 3 years ago

Finally addressing these large ugly cream areas. Overall this will be, without doubt, a huge visual jump forward...

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Unmasked. What a difference indeed compared to the area behind the target bank which has not been repainted yet.

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#36 3 years ago

A reverse view: the reflection from the window shows all repainted areas so far...

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#37 3 years ago

For some time, I'm in doubt about how to tackle this area. Overall here is little damage (as it was covered with Mylar), but there is some planking. I could live with the very thin lines in the cream colour, but there's a few bigger, more visible scratches in the yellow and orange area. And there's dirt and swirl on the right edge, close to the drop targets.

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Because orange and yellow are transparent colours there is no way to simply touch up the scratches with a paintbrush without being noticeable from a mile's distance. The only proper way seems to repaint the whole area. But then the artwork is so extremely thin... cutting this from Frisket is crazy.

Eventually I decided to give it a try with the cutter. My approach would be to first spray the cream background, then add yellow and orange on top and finally repaint the black lines. In case of failure I can still wipe it all off and figure out a different strategy...

And hence I spent a few hours creating vector artwork in Illustrator, using the high res scan as a template. Next export it as an svg file.

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Cricut in action...

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The result:

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Masks in place.

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Thin layer of primer on the coloured spots that will be fully covered for now.

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Next the cream colour. Just a thin layer and feathering out next to the inserts, just enough to cover the thin scratches.

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And done. So far so good.
I'll let the paint settle properly overnight and proceed tomorrow with bringing back the flames. The large emply gap truly feels weird...

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#38 3 years ago

Here we go...

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Pfew. Glad this worked out well. I'll do a few minor touch-ups over the weekend and will bring the playfield to the car repair shop on Monday for a protective layer of clearcoat.

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#39 3 years ago


#40 3 years ago

Amazing work.

Does your cutting machine cut all the way through the vinyl and the vinyl backing? Or just the vinyl? Then you line up the vinyl and the backing, tape the sheet in place, peel off the backing, and finally gently remove the areas of the vinyl that should be sprayed, leaving the remaining masks in place?

#41 3 years ago

Thanks guys!

lb1 > No not exactly: the machine must be setup to only cut the vinyl (blue) and leave the backing (white coated paper) intact. Then you peel off the areas that will be airbrushed (the white areas on the first photo). Next you stick a sheet of transfer tape (slightly sticky film or paper) over the whole piece, which will keep the vinyl in place when you remove the backing. Now you precisely stick the vinyl + transfer tape on the playfield. Next you remove the transfer tape. The vinyl will remain on the playfield because it sticks harder than the transfer tape. Tape off the rest of the playfield and you're ready to airbrush.
So basically you need both an adhesive vinyl (with backing) and transfer tape.
Hope this makes sense...

#42 3 years ago

Few minor touches-up done. Not finished yet but I'm getting somewhere. Before-after shots are good for keeping spirits up... (if any doubt: left is before ha-ha)

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It's now really time for a protective layer of clearcoat. For sure I don't want to take the risk to damage the repainted areas...

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#43 3 years ago

No, one more... I had already fixed the damage in the 3-ball caused by a few too long screws. And now wanted to do an attempt to preserve the pattern in the ball shades by touching-up the screw damage below the 6-ball (instead of airbrushing all these shades). It's not perfect, but once cleared I hope this will no longer be noticeable from a player's point of view...

DPU_0635 (resized).jpg

#44 3 years ago

(Besides the plastic protectors) I now also have all clear plastics ready to be cut by laser.

The original clear plastics (lower ball guides in targets and scoop area) are riveted on small metal posts which are hard to remove (without breaking the plastics). During previous restorations I have experienced that it's also hard to insert them in the repro plastics one can buy online: the holes are too small and you have to drill them larger in order to insert the posts. As a consequence these posts fit too loose.

By means of experiment I have drawn oval holes. The idea behind this is that the largest gap will allow to easily insert the post, but then the smaller gap will keep them in place. Not sure if this will work, but I thought it's worth the try...

DPU_0522 (resized).jpg

(the offer is still valid: if anyone wants the ai file, just send me a pm with your email address and I'll wetransfer it to you).

#45 3 years ago

I've been experimenting with a zinc/nickel plating set I bought online:

Here's the 8-ball drop target assy. It has some rust and corrosion.

DPU_0658 (resized).jpgDPU_0676 (resized).jpg

After sandblasting things look pretty good actually.

DPU_0677 (resized).jpg

After plating. Hmm... some parts still look good, but others have got stains or dull spots.

DPU_0698 (resized).jpg

Oh well, seems like there's a learning curve .
I'll try to do some research online to figure out what I'm doing wrong, but if anyone has ideas?...

#46 3 years ago

When it comes to restoration, I've seen folks do pretty much everything here on the site. Cabinet, playfield, clearcoat, even powder coating (i.e. Skins). The one thing I haven't seen anyone do is plating. Even "platers" such as the late Mike Chesnut only do prep work. They outsource the actual plating. It take a lot of infrastructure to do and the bulk of the cost is labor to properly prepare the surface.

#47 3 years ago

What prep was done before the plating? How was the corrosion removed first? Plating will brighten the surface but not change the surface shape at all, it will lay down on top of what is there.

#48 3 years ago

I sandblasted the parts, all corrosion is gone. Apart from that I didn't do any other cleaning or sanding.

I followed the instructions precisely. There's 4 steps in the kit:
1) 5 min alcaline cleaner to remove all traces of oil etc
2) 1 min pre-plating in dry acid pickling salt solution
3) 20-40 min plating
4) 20-40 sec clear blue passivating

As said some are good. And others that had exactly the same treatment have these stains. It seems random but I'm convinced it isn't random and it would be great to figure out why it happens... I'll sandblast the parts again tomorrow and will give it another try.

I know most people outsource their plating, but I like the idea of trying to achieve it at home. It would save some budget too...

I'm not giving up yet

#49 3 years ago

Yea, I agree with the others. I tried a kit and was not very impressed. The plating is so thin any defects no matter how small show up. Plus complex shapes are impossible to prep and polish properly.....

#50 3 years ago

I can report some progress...

I discovered that I made a mistake doing the maths , when converting square inches to square centimeters. Hence my amperage was way too low (amperage depends on the size of the surface to be plated), it was not even a 3rd of what it should be. The dull spots could simply have been a lack of sufficient zinc/nickel plating... it's even surprising that some parts were good after all

Apart from that I have been more precise in cleaning and pickling. And rinsing between steps. The success rate is increasing. I have replated the dull parts from yesterday and they are now as I hoped them to be.

DPU_0743 (resized).jpg

I also tested some cabinet parts.

DPU_0736 (resized).jpgDPU_0739 (resized).jpg

Not all parts are good enough right away. But then they get better at a second pass. Or not. Although there is definitely progress I'm not there yet. But in a way this plating experiment is exciting and... well: fun.

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