(Topic ID: 280521)

Bare wood EM playfield repaint

By dr_nybble

12 months ago


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  • 55 posts
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  • Latest reply 3 months ago by Limorange
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There are 55 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
20
#1 12 months ago

When I first started out in the hobby I was lucky enough to get a Gay 90's from a local collector for $50.

I got a machine that was fully intact but reeked of years of smoke. The playfield had planking and major paint loss. The backglass had some flaking but not terrible. I managed, with the help of Clay's guides, to get it 100% functional. Then I tore it down and had to do the fabled "degreaser and pour hot water on it" to finally purge it of the deathly stench.

Maybe I should have left the flaking damaged paint but not knowing better at the time and perhaps being too ambitious, I scanned it with the HP 4600 Scanjet and then sanded all the ink off. There it sat for a few years, while I gained more experience at touchups and airbrushing.

Finally this summer I returned to the project. I repainted the cabinet, and then moved onto the playfield. I'll take you through how I did it...hopefully if anyone tries to tackle something like this they can learn from what I did and avoid any mistakes I made.

The starting point was a sanded playfield. After sanding, I glued in the inserts (all new except for the clear orange that I reused) slightly proud. Then I sanded the inserts flush to the playfield. I sealed the bare wood with Createx 4050 UVLS gloss clear. Then the repaint process was to start.
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#2 12 months ago

Here I'll detail the tools and techniques I used.

I scanned the playfield at 600 DPI using the HP Scanjet 4600 on Windows 10. I use the Vista 64-bit drivers, it works fine for me. If you have a Cruze scanner locally that would be even better. I stitched the images using Microsoft Image Composite Editor (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/product/computational-photography-applications/image-composite-editor/).

The scan is brought into Inkscape and played in a layer. Originally I redrew discrete parts of the playfield in separate files but I found it was much better to have everything in one file, with one color per layer. For the Black layer I created sub-layers for different small parts as I found it too hard to handle large stencils.

So yes, much time is spent in Inkscape redrawing all the artwork as vector to be used with the Silhouette Cameo cutter.

Silhouette Cameo Cutter -- the workhorse for creating stencils

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Self-healing cutting mat, x-acto knife, fine tweezers, scissors and metal ruler. Used to cut and weed stencils.

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Lighted magnifying lamp, used for weeding, touchups, and stencil positioning

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Iwata airbrush with 0.5mm needle and compressor

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Golden High Flow paints, bottles, and the Golden Virtual Paint Mixer

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Full size printout of the black layer on 24" transparent material. A screen printing service did this for me for $30. Without this it would have been near impossible.

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GerberMask Ultra 15" paint mask. Also shown is Oracal 813 which is a transparent mask, and transparent MT80P transfer tape.

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I also used a very fine brush for some touchups.

#3 12 months ago

The first job was to paint the white layer. If you sand back the screen printed artwork, you'll find that white ink is at the bottom of everything. Other inks vary in their opacity so having a white base gives a uniform look to all the other colours.

In order to paint white, everything that is not white must be masked off. This is accomplished by cutting stencils on the Silhouette Cameo. I originally had visions of laying down a couple of big stencils in one blow. After a few trips to the garbage can that was abandoned, it is just too hard to place and manage very large stencils with the kind of accuracy you need (or at least I found it so). Instead I did it in smaller pieces and got there eventually.

Here is an example of stencils that cover areas of the playfield that remain bare wood.

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Stencils are floppy and sticky. To help position them, transparent low-tack transfer tape is placed on top.

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Using my 24" transparency of the black layer (taped to the playfield) I position the stencil.

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GerberMask also comes in yellow, I'd probably buy that next time to avoid white-on-white problems.

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One side of the stencil is taped into position

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Now I peel back some of the backing paper on the stencil and cut it off with scissors. Then I can adhere the stencil to the playfield while it remains taped in position.

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Now all of the backing paper has been removed and only the transfer tape remains.

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Pull off the transfer tape slowly at almost a 180 degree angle and the stencils are placed. Push the stencils back down if they are getting pulled up during transfer tape removal.

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#4 12 months ago

Here is the fully masked playfield. Took a while to accomplish this. GerberMask really works well and is easy to remove once done.

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I painted the white using Createx opaque white mixed with 4030 balancing clear. I used an Iwata LPH-80 spraygun. I was originally going to use Createx paints but I didn't want to bother with mixing reducer and balancing clear. I went with Golden High Flow instead which sprays out of the bottle, plus I got to use the awesome Virtual Color Mixer.

I could have used my airbrush to paint it but for a large area I chose the Iwata spray gun.

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After a few coats. If there is one lesson to learn it is GO LIGHT on the paint. Many light coats...if you get the paint wet, it creeps under the stencil or makes ridges, both of which are bad. Resist the urge to rush, light dry layers.....

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White is done. Painted in a $60 spraybooth from Amazon, it is actually really good for the price. amazon.com link »

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#5 12 months ago

Layers should generally be painted from light to dark. Here is the aqua colour painted.

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So black is your friend. Generally it goes over the seam where two colours meet. I made the mistake of being too cute and not fully butting up colours that would be covered with black keylines. The sub-millimetre positioning accuracy it required could not always be achieved, leading to discarded stencils or me having to rescan and tweak the artwork.

So the next lesson is leave room for error. If you paint light to dark, the darker colours can slightly overlap the lighter ones. That's how the original screen printed artwork was done. I would have saved a lot of pain had I done this better.

With the black transparency on top it is starting to look like something!

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#6 12 months ago

Now blue...most of the playfield is this colour. The Golden paints have no problem with taping over, never had any issues with paint lifting at all. No intermediate layers of clear were sprayed during the repaint.

Stencils again took a while for this one.

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Stencils removed and the black layer transparency on top. Looking like maybe I can pull this off!

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#7 12 months ago

There's a small amount of royal blue to go down...

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Painted!

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I don't have pictures of green but it was the worst. My first mix was too dark so I resprayed. I sprayed too wet and got a bunch of creeping leaks under the stencils. If only I had kept up the mantra of LIGHT COATS I would have saved myself much pain. Oh well, it's not perfect but for a first attempt I'm satisfied.

Now orange...if you wonder how accurately the Silhouette Cameo can cut -- very. The only issue is with letters like "A" where the little triangle in the "A" is so small that the tiny stencil bit either gets dragged off by the knife or doesn't have enough adhesive to stick. You can try to put it in its place with the magnifying lamp and x-acto knife; touch it up by hand later; or instead later cut a stencil with a hole and spray the colour back. I did all three.

Here you see that I positioned each stencil individually rather than trying one big one. I had more success with this.

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Orange is done, green is done, and what's this? Some black down...looking very nice! Again, I would have saved myself much pain if I had not been too fine in my redraw and gave myself some wiggle room.

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#8 12 months ago

Here is close to the final job...just a few more bits left:

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If you're wondering if things look a bit off-centre; the original was like that and I left it. Part of its charm!

#9 12 months ago

So I mentioned that certain small letters are problematic. At the top of the playfield are some "A" in black. I need to fill in the little triangle with green. I cut the transparent Oracal stencil, put the little triangle in place and sprayed green. Always mix enough paint to do touchups later and use high quality bottles so it doesn't dry out. I prefer the GerberMask but the Oracal has its place where you can use its transparency to your advantage.

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Pretty much all done and all touched up. It is very faithful to the original, I made a couple of small deviations to fix up a few paint mistakes and to cover up some damaged wood. Even though it is the "simple" pointy people artwork, redrawing it all makes you appreciate the effort and detail that went into it. I'm no artist so that was interesting to experience.

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25
#10 12 months ago

SprayMax 2K and that's a wrap! Any questions please ask away.

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#11 12 months ago

Looks great.
I can only imagine all the time spent creating the stencils,weeding them,placing them.
Touching things up,dealing with edges,cleaning the gun etc etc etc.
the smaller the details the more tedious and risky each color becomes.
Really cool project.

#12 12 months ago
Quoted from dr_nybble:

SprayMax 2K and that's a wrap!

BEAUTIFUL!!!!

#13 12 months ago

Stunning!

I am about to start stencil fabrication myself (for touch ups only) and feeling confident on the results based on your experience. I have about the same equipment, only my cutter is a Cricut. It seems the Cameo can cut on long pieces of material, I think my cricut is limited to the size of the mat loaded on the machine. I have since acquired the tabloid-size mats but there are nowhere long enough to for a cabinet side / Playfield.

Keep up the good work!

#14 12 months ago

Outstanding work!

#15 12 months ago

Wow, this is great, thanks for sharing all the details too

#16 12 months ago

WOW! What a restoration / save !!! Most people would never have done this... Amazing work!

#17 12 months ago

amazing job

#18 12 months ago

Nice work, very patient, and very brave!

How many of these had you done before?
What's your guess on total hours/real-days to accomplish this (including planning, driving, etc)

Is there another thread with the total machine restore so we can see overall progress?

-mof

#19 12 months ago

There's a first time for everything! Only touch-ups on a Williams Spitfire (1954) and Bram Stoker's Dracula before this.

The repaint itself I'd say 20-30 hours -- much of that was placing the stencils. Redrawing all the artwork -- probably double that.

You can see the cabinet that was repainted with laser cut stencils here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/what-are-you-working-on-right-now/page/23#post-5801111

The rest is standard cleaning/polishing. The only interesting thing left is recreating a plastic, which I've done before with success, and pondering what to do with the backglass. It has some flaking, but I know they are very hard to do convincing repairs on. Or I might just buy a reproduction, not sure yet.

#20 12 months ago
Quoted from dr_nybble:

There's a first time for everything! Only touch-ups on a Williams Spitfire (1954) and Bram Stoker's Dracula before this.
The repaint itself I'd say 20-30 hours -- much of that was placing the stencils. Redrawing all the artwork -- probably double that.
You can see the cabinet that was repainted with laser cut stencils here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/what-are-you-working-on-right-now/page/23#post-5801111
The rest is standard cleaning/polishing. The only interesting thing left is recreating a plastic, which I've done before with success, and pondering what to do with the backglass. It has some flaking, but I know they are very hard to do convincing repairs on. Or I might just buy a reproduction, not sure yet.

If you end up going the translite route let me know. My glass is cracked. I was almost considering changing the title if I had a translite made. I have a feeling this is going to be difficult to sell when the time comes. Ha!

#21 12 months ago

Bingo guys in Europe sell a repro backglass http://www.coos.net/bingo_e/backglasses.html

#22 12 months ago

:applause:Soooo Money!!!!

#23 12 months ago

I took on a similar project to yours for my first foray into airbrushing and Cameo stencils. Mine isn't as good as yours (yours is amazing!) but it's incredible what a beginner can do with these tools.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/hideous-target-alpha-playfield-needs-art#post-5871770

I need to sand and polish my spraymax to complete.

#24 11 months ago

Great work

Going from bare wood is impressive. Having done some 70-80% repaints, I appreciate the huge investment of time - especially creating the stencils.

#25 11 months ago

Well, you made that look easy. Great work all around!

1 month later
#26 10 months ago

Found a "before" picture:

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#27 10 months ago

Absolutely beautiful work.
Nice save.

#28 10 months ago

I’m amazed with your skills and the end result. I have a scanner, but have never figured out how to stitch the images together let alone clean up the image in layers. Did you have the computer skills before trying this? How steep was the learning curve? I may try this in the future if I can develop the computer skills. Do you have the 12 or 24 inch Cameo? I was looking at them on the web. It looks like they are up to version 4 now. I was also hoping to buy a lightly used one. Unfortunately folks are trying to sell them for 90% of retail. I might be cheap, but if I’m going to take a chance on something used I prefer to pay 50% especially if it’s a previous model. Oh well I’ll keep looking. Again great job.

#29 10 months ago

Awesome!

3 weeks later
#30 9 months ago
Quoted from dr_nybble:

So yes, much time is spent in Inkscape redrawing all the artwork as vector to be used with the Silhouette Cameo cutter.
Silhouette Cameo Cutter -- the workhorse for creating stencils

If buying new which model would you purchase today? I'm thinking its time to add this device to my arsenal of tools.

Number 4 seems to be the most common, does only 12" width though.

amazon.com link »

#31 9 months ago

Wow!! Great job, thanks for sharing!

#32 9 months ago

I’d buy the 15” one — be prepared for sticker shock on GerberMask Ultra too!

But I’d also look at 24” or 30” cutters.

2 weeks later
#33 9 months ago

Absolutely beautiful. Did you leave the bare wood mask stencil on while allowing the white to dry and keeping it on for the light blue or did you remove, then clear the white then remask the bare wood etc for the light blue? Been thinking about a plan for my project, Ive put it off for a year so far.
Thanks
Dave

#34 9 months ago

How did you do your key lines?

#35 9 months ago
Quoted from Murphdom:

How did you do your key lines?

Everything is done with stencils! Perfect results, the vinyl cutter does them with ease.

#36 9 months ago
Quoted from gawlicd:

Absolutely beautiful. Did you leave the bare wood mask stencil on while allowing the white to dry and keeping it on for the light blue or did you remove, then clear the white then remask the bare wood etc for the light blue? Been thinking about a plan for my project, Ive put it off for a year so far.
Thanks
Dave

I left the bare wood ones on for several colours yes.

#38 9 months ago

That is some outstanding work. Really unbelievable. You should take great pride in that. Playfield touchups are my weakness. Thanks for making me feel really useless on them now.

#39 9 months ago

That is kick ass beautiful; bravo for bringing that beat to crap playfield back from the dead... pointy people rebirth!

#40 9 months ago
Quoted from dr_nybble:

Everything is done with stencils! Perfect results, the vinyl cutter does them with ease.

Wow nice work. Doing pencil thin line stencils must have been tedious.

#41 9 months ago

Awesome job, thanks for the tips!

#42 9 months ago

This is awesome work. Do you have more info on the screen printer that made the transparent print? Was it someone local to you or can I order one online?

1 week later
#43 8 months ago
Quoted from detroitzoran:

This is awesome work. Do you have more info on the screen printer that made the transparent print? Was it someone local to you or can I order one online?

I did it online from a place in Toronto (https://www.screentec.ca -- check under "Film Output" service). I'm sure you could find someone local to do it.

2 months later
#44 6 months ago

just finding this thread. incredible job!

#45 6 months ago

Nice thing is it mostly requires patience and a modicum of skill -- no talent!

#46 6 months ago

Amazing work! Imagine all of the blown playfields that could be redone. Any pics of the completed project?

#47 6 months ago
Quoted from dr_nybble:

Nice thing is it mostly requires patience and a modicum of skill -- no talent!

Your modesty is charming but unnecessary - you totally rocked this!

#48 6 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Amazing work! Imagine all of the blown playfields that could be redone. Any pics of the completed project?

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/gay-90s-complete

2 weeks later
#49 5 months ago

Thanks for the great Tutorial. I did the same thing with a 1950 Williams Lucky Inning. The playfield was so badly separating that I had to create a new board, drill holes, re-insert inserts and then paint layer by layer.
Mike

Before ...Just the top layer of veneer with the black line tracing on top to make sure it lined up correctly.

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#50 5 months ago

Then mask, paint, paint, Done!

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