(Topic ID: 163782)

BoP: Father and Son's First Restoration [COMPLETE]


By jsa

3 years ago



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18
#1 3 years ago

I arrived here about a year ago. A few buddies play in a league in SF at Free Gold Watch, snd they exposed me to pinball, and expos, and the whole thing. It was weird how fast I got hooked. I got my first machine a year ago, a ToM, and I didn't expect to get so into restoration and modding...Anyway, the short version is that I'm learning by doing and sometimes it's a bit like painting a jet while it's flying.

Anyway, the subject of what would be my pin #2 has been one of debate and curiosity for my friends and family. My decision was to get a working pin that needed a ton of work (not exactly a full project pin) that I could learn restoration on.

Meanwhile, in parallel, my son (15) was going through a bit of a revolution himself. As he entered high school, he had a number of learning challenges and social challenges until he discovered a class called "Principles of Technology," aka "Maker's Class." Basically, my son was rescued by an amazing teacher who focused him on learning to use all the tools in the workshop, from lathes to 3D printers to multimeters and soldering irons. He developed confidence in these things and we, his parents, threw as much fuel on the fire as we could.

As the summer approached, I suggested the idea that he and I try restoring a pinball machine together. You have to understand, it's been incredibly hard to find something that captures his interest and leverages his talent, and even harder to find one of those things he would do with me. He surprised me by showing a deep interest and thus the hunt began for the right machine.

I recently picked up a BoP that fit the bill. It was barely playable; Two posts were actually drywall screws, the head randomly spun, and the cabinet was faded and damaged. It wasn't entirely clear what worked and what didn't on the playfield. The electronics seemed to work perfectly, or at least were in very good shape. I brought it home a couple weeks ago and we started the process of tearing it down.

We're not in a rush. I figure there are plenty of BoP restoration threads, so probably not much new here. Regardless, I want to document it in case anyone wants to join in and help with comments...but also to share the experience of working with my son. I expect this to take months, as I have a day job, but who knows...Things are moving faster than I expected, so I'll post the stages here.

-JayIMG_1978_(resized).JPG

#2 3 years ago

Subscribed!

#3 3 years ago

Taking a quick peek around the machine...

That coin door has definitely seen a crowbar or two:

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The right side of the cabinet has lost all it's red pigment. This must be the side that was in the sun:

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Backbox has a ton of damage and bizarre faded repainting:

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A little scorching around the eggcrate lamps behind the translite:

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The electronics are actually clean and show no sign of damage. Time to start stripping this down. First step, get the backbox emptied, then we'll remove the playfield and start working on the cabinet.

#4 3 years ago

Our strategy was to empty the backbox first and remove the head.

Am I the only one who is surprised to see the MPU board looking this shiny? I'm assuming someone cleaned this in recent years.

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The power driver board... Can anyone confirm these are new caps?

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My son removing the parts from the backbox:

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Success! We have decapitated the bride.

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Next we turn our attention to stripping the head, taking out the playfield, and stripping the cabinet.

#5 3 years ago

Subscribed. Have fun you two. Tell your son he's a cool dude for working on this with his dad.

#6 3 years ago

We took plenty of photos as we removed parts. It's not like we've done this before so we've been a bit careful. As we took parts out, we throw them in the tumbler for good measure. My son loves the tumblers. The idea that it's working all night long is pretty appealing to him. That, and he loves the simplicity and physics of it!

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Anyway, slowly the parts come out of the head and are arranged where we can get to them:

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I would not have guessed the ground braid went behind the lock in the backbox.

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Eventually the playfield comes out. It's really not in horrible shape, but we're not exactly talented painters and clear coating seems like something that could use some experience. We'll see as we progress how ambitious we are.

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#7 3 years ago

Looking inside the cabinet, other than the cabinet itself being a filthy mess, it's actually in pretty good shape. The wiring harness isn't very dirty. I get the feeling at least one of the owners of this machine took good care of it. The boot print is a bit concerning though.

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Ok folks. What is the deal with this ground braid. Is this crazy path really necessary? It almost feels like a random path.

Looking closer at these leg plates, it's got me wondering. I've read some posts (vid) recommending you replace the plates with newer style plates. Others (bryan) simply restore the plates...Maybe clean them off, etc. I have new plates, but they obviously don't fit without some wood work. I'm not exactly the world's gift to using table saws, so I'm curious what people do with these things typically. Here's the plate in all its original painted glory:

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The full cabinet interior:

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After my son and I removed everything:

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Anyone know who "A.M." or "J.M." might be?

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Cabinet has been stripped, rails removed. Next we'll have to get those crappy faded graphics off the cabinet.

#8 3 years ago

For those who are wondering, this is not how you use a heat gun:

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This is more like it:

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The painted vinyl (I believe it's screen painted vinyl vs. a decal, assuming it's original. There isn't any way for me to tell, honestly.) came off fairly easily, but as I was warned and expected, left the glue behind.

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You can see here the damage to the coin door opening:

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Is this what is meant by "cabinet/corner separation," or is this just needing some filler?

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Other corners seem like they are holding together, just need some restoration:

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Not sure what I'll do with this. I realize it's partially hidden under the backbox, but my OCD says I'm going to make this pretty before it's hidden again:

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#9 3 years ago

Removed the glue today. I learned something. Glue particles can fly in the air and land on your sports car.

Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon

#10 3 years ago

Love the footprint inside the cab.

#11 3 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

Looking closer at these leg plates, it's got me wondering. I've read some posts (vid) recommending you replace the plates with newer style plates. Others (bryan) simply restore the plates...Maybe clean them off, etc. I have new plates, but they obviously don't fit without some wood work. I'm not exactly the world's gift to using table saws, so I'm curious what people do with these things typically. Here's the plate in all its original painted glory:

The HD leg plates are worth their weight in gold, your cab will be rock solid once all the seperated seams are fixed. They will help protect your newly fixed seams from resplitting down the road.

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

The HD leg plates are worth their weight in gold, your cab will be rock solid once all the seperated seams are fixed. They will help protect your newly fixed seams from resplitting down the road.

The question is, replace the gosset in the corner with a smaller one, or notch out the existing gosset? Otherwise it just doesn't fit. The existing gosset on the corner comes out too far, plus as you can see the other gosset will need to be modified or shortened to make room:

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#13 3 years ago

I've signed on to watch . Congratulations on sharing this restoration with your son. My favorite time in this hobby is doing it with my son.We did a Dr Who last year and still enjoy playing it together. Thanks for sharing.

Quoted from jsa:

The question is, replace the gosset in the corner with a smaller one,

If you are looking to stay relative to original just put the smaller ones back.

#14 3 years ago

We managed to get the cabinet and backbox sanded clean with 80 grit paper. The hardest part was the back of the main cabinet. It's interesting how when you sand, since you expose paint that was shielded from the sun, you can see the original color in the dust. There is no question the backbox was painted on wood, not on vinyl like the main cabinet.

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My son in appropriate sanding gear:

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The sanded backbox. I've got to say, I'm impressed it's not more beat up than it is. Some of the corners are gouged but that will be covered in my next post.

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For the cabinet, we cleaned up the outside completely (we HOPE we got all the glue off, it's sort of hard to tell). For the inside, I gave it a good go with 80 grit, but didn't get too crazy. The more I look at the overspray and mess on the bottom inside, the more I think I'll end up priming/painting that as well. While I totally respect the restoration keeping the original bare cabinet bottom, I love the look of a black, clean cabinet floor. The flipside of this is that it will show more dirt (I have a black sports car, what a nightmare).

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Next stop: Fixing cabinet and backbox damage.

#15 3 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

The question is, replace the gosset in the corner with a smaller one, or notch out the existing gosset? Otherwise it just doesn't fit. The existing gosset on the corner comes out too far, plus as you can see the other gosset will need to be modified or shortened to make room:

I see, I didn't have that problem with my High Speed.

#16 3 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

I see, I didn't have that problem with my High Speed.

Yeah, the more I look at it, the more it seems it's an extremely small (maybe four mm?) difference. If the corner gosset was chiseled just a few mm, I think the new plate would fit completely flush over the exisiting holes.

It seems to me, since I'm not hung up on having everything exactly original, chiseling out some space to accommodate the new plates will be ideal to reinforce the corners. I'm not a master chiseler but my son is pretty good so we'll see how this goes. First I'm going to repair the cabinet corners and pipe clamp them nicely before I do any chiseling. I'm nervous I might break something.

#17 3 years ago

If I were Bryan Kelly I'd probably make new gossets. I'm no Bryan Kelly.

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

Yeah, the more I look at it, the more it seems it's an extremely small (maybe four mm?) difference. If the corner gosset was chiseled just a few mm, I think the new plate would fit completely flush over the exisiting holes.
It seems to me, since I'm not hung up on having everything exactly original, chiseling out some space to accommodate the new plates will be ideal to reinforce the corners. I'm not a master chiseler but my son is pretty good so we'll see how this goes. First I'm going to repair the cabinet corners and pipe clamp them nicely before I do any chiseling. I'm nervous I might break something.

That would work as long as the cab bolt holes stay in the same place. The screw holes in the plates are for wimpy #6 screws so I drilled out all of them and put big honkin #10's in. I ALWAYS over build stuff.

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

That would work as long as the cab bolt holes stay in the same place. The screw holes in the plates are for wimpy #6 screws so I drilled out all of them and put big honkin #10's in. I ALWAYS over build stuff.

#8's fit, for what it's worth. Overbuilding is the right move, but I think I'll stick with #8's for the plates.

#20 3 years ago

Love this thread. Father / son or daughter projects are the best! Thanks for sharing.

Brad

#21 3 years ago

Good work guys, subscribed!

I just started my Pinbot restoration so I'm with you guys!

Keep it up.

#22 3 years ago

We decided to use vid's aluminum dam/mold method to repair the bad corners on the cabinet and backbox. My son and I love watching fiberglass resin dry:

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Here's the resin drying. I had no idea working with this stuff would be so much fun. We haven't even started with the bondo yet!

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Gratuitous post-apocalyptic selfie:

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Our first repaired corner pre-sanding, with embedded screw:

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The challenge with these corners is they look better than the rest of the cabinet. Just making sure we have it square:

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And the finished product:

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If I've learned one thing doing this corners, is that you get excited and then you get ambitious. I don't recommend doing two at once. We got a little over-confident and tried too much. They still came out great but it adds unnecessary stress.

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We applied the same concept to the bottom of the main cabinet. What I like about the fiberglass resin is that it adds a certain corner strength that can't be knocked off later. In the case of this older (1989) Williams cabinet, the underside joints reveal some weird layering and delaminating of the plywood around the corners. The resin just drips right in and solidifies the entire thing:

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The other part of this process is applying glue (we're using Titebond III) to the corners. The corners aren't exactly separating. The bevel, or groove at the marriage of the two sides, may have had glue at some point but now has sections of empty space. We do our best to put glue in the groove and then clamp it. Some oozes out so we know we must be doing something right:

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Now that we've done all the fiberglass resin and glue work repairs, next stop, bondo treatment of any remaining damage on the cabinet and backbox. Meanwhile, one last little puzzle to solve:

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This shows how the new leg mounting plate doesn't quite fit. My idea was to chisel out the gosset to fit the plate. I did about two inches in like a half hour and realized how ridiculously hard it would be to do all four legs. I asked my son what he thought, and his idea is that we 3D print a small plate that fits between the cabinet walls and the bracket, and perhaps loops up and over the mounting plate. I kind of like his idea better (except the minor issue that we don't have a 3D printer today). It's really two thin for wood to be cut to fit, and a metal plate would have to be pretty thin as well. I'm also open to the idea of putting the old leg mounting plates back, but I'm not willing to give up yet!

#23 3 years ago

You should be able to find metal strip thin enough at Home Depot or someplace like that. If not find a local metal place that sells to the public. Make a wood shim the thickness you need and bring it with you so they can find the thickness you need.

#24 3 years ago

I sure hope my photo record can help me remember what size goes where... Yikes.

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#25 3 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

I sure hope my photo record can help me remember what size goes where... Yikes.

Well the 2 bigger 2 piece ones on the left are for the bb hinge. Does that help.

#26 3 years ago

Nice job on the corners...big pet peeve of mine. Which resin did you use?

#27 3 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

Well the 2 bigger 2 piece ones on the left are for the bb hinge. Does that help.

It does. You can see I incorrectly put the hinge "receivers" on the two equal gauge, shorter ones. I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, though.

#28 3 years ago
Quoted from kvan99:

Nice job on the corners...big pet peeve of mine. Which resin did you use?

Thanks! We used fiberglass resin, Bondo brand. You can actually buy it at Home Depot. We also picked up some actual Bondo for the next phase, repairing the various dings on the cabinet. Curiously, Bryan Kelly's photos of Bondo are gray. When you add the hardener to Bondo, it turns pink, right? Maybe there is a non-pink version.

#29 3 years ago

Fixing the first side with bondo:

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We will bondo and hit each side with 80 grit, then once we're happy the dings are gone, we'll hit the whole cabinet with 120 and 220.

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#30 3 years ago

Nice job Jay, I've seen the bondo in pink, blue and gray. I basically skim coat the whole outside of the cabinet because I always seen to miss something. I use a spot putty if it's not deep.

This made thread made me look back to one of the first ones I did with my son. It was a cyclone in 2008 and he was 10 now he's going to college!

You guys look like your doing it the right way with no cutting corners! Gonna be a showpiece when done. Todd Scott

#31 3 years ago
Quoted from lostlumberjacks:

Nice job Jay, I've seen the bondo in pink, blue and gray. I basically skim coat the whole outside of the cabinet because I always seen to miss something. I use a spot putty if it's not deep.
This made thread made me look back to one of the first ones I did with my son. It was a cyclone in 2008 and he was 10 now he's going to college!
You guys look like your doing it the right way with no cutting corners! Gonna be a showpiece when done. Todd Scott

I love hearing that. We're really enjoying this, I can imagine doing many with him in the future. He's almost 16 now so we're getting a late start, but better late than never.

Interesting strategy about skim coating the whole thing. You're making me think we'll be well suited to inspect it carefully before priming. The primer has to help smooth it to some degree, though, right?

Today we were looking at how Chris Hutchins at High End Pins restores this game. He's got two examples on his gallery. One had chrome for the stainless parts (that's our plan, it looks amazing), another has stainless (which it came with). There definitely will be some tweaking to the look as we get closer to final painting. Exciting stuff!

#32 3 years ago

I use a sealer on wood. i don't think its as important when your installing a decal compared to full paint job. here's a picture of a centaur ai did for a guy with skim coat, before sanding it down. You guys are doing good. If you click on this there is some pictures of the cyclone. this website needs updating bad but you can see some pictures.
http://solidstatepinball.com/restorations.html

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#33 3 years ago
Quoted from lostlumberjacks:

If you click on this there is some pictures of the cyclone. this website needs updating bad but you can see some pictures.
http://solidstatepinball.com/restorations.html

Todd, my son and I have gone through all your photos. We love the double-decker rotisserie! That's brilliant! For a playfield swap, that makes absolute sense. We have the standard PinTisserie from Marco, not nearly as cool.

Just FYI, The Flash Gordons are ridiculously awesome. We have a ToM...It had been so well taken care of by its original owners (Mike and Bill Hollenbeck of Pacific Coast Pinball) that I can't bring myself to restore it further. I updated the speaker panel and performed the process here:

http://www.dziedzic.us/wpc_speaker_replacement.html

Perhaps one day we'll strip the playfield and have it more professionally restored. We have so much fun playing it we can't imagine taking it down long enough to do anything else to it.

#34 3 years ago

Hi JSA,

Just found this thread today and cruised through the whole thing. Glad I found it in it's early stages so I can follow along.

You mentioned:

Quoted from jsa:

Curiously, Bryan Kelly's photos of Bondo are gray. When you add the hardener to Bondo, it turns pink, right? Maybe there is a non-pink version.

I've never used bondo, but doesn't it turn grey when it hardens...kind of like some of the more modern spackle for patching drywall? Perhaps more experience folks here can chime in.

Also wanted to say, NICE WORK using...

Quoted from jsa:

...vid's aluminum dam/mold method to repair the bad corners on the cabinet and backbox.

Finally, I really like your son's idea to...

Quoted from jsa:

...3D print a small plate that fits between the cabinet walls and the bracket...

...even though you...

Quoted from jsa:

...don't have a 3D printer today.

Remember...

Quoted from jsa:

We're not in a rush.

...and any avenue to give your son ownership over this project is gonna pay dividends. Could he still get access to that maker-space at school and print one out? Either that, or do a quick shapeways order. Just a couple of thoughts.

Regardless of how this minor issue is solved, I'm looking forward to keeping up with this thread. Best of luck to you and your son!

Sincerely,
Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics
www.ElephantEater.com

#35 3 years ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

...and any avenue to give your son ownership over this project is gonna pay dividends. Could he still get access to that maker-space at school and print one out? Either that, or do a quick shapeways order. Just a couple of thoughts

Ryan, thanks for the kudos! Agreed 100% on giving my son ownership. Frankly, I'll benefit, because well, he's a genius.

Given my son's knowledge of 3D printing from school, and his desire to dive deep into that world, I took the plunge and ordered a lulzbot. It means one less pinball machine in the next few years, but if in exchange we throw more fuel into his fascination with making things then I think it's the right investment.

Today we discussed what filament would be best for it (he thinks ABS), and that we could post the STL file so other pinball restorers running into this problem could just print their own. I'll keep you all posted on progress on that.

By the way, it seems that Bondo has color options for the cream hardener. Apparently my local Home Depot only carried the red, hence my confusion. From the Bondo website:

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I can't decide what I love more right now, the Bondo or the fiberglass resin. I'll never fix things with duct tape again.

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

I can't decide what I love more right now, the Bondo or the fiberglass resin. I'll never fix things with duct tape again.

Don't tell that to the U.S. Navy, hehe, they love duct tape and zip ties

Following along! So glad to have another few members of the bop club...

I have seen a few guys paint the floor of the cabinet white or tan, it looks great that way if you needed a suggestion to get away from black.

Which decals for the cabinet are yall using? I've seen purple and black... Or are you guys doing something custom??

Ben

#37 3 years ago
Quoted from Chosen_S:

Don't tell that to the U.S. Navy, hehe, they love duct tape and zip ties
Following along! So glad to have another few members of the bop club...
I have seen a few guys paint the floor of the cabinet white or tan, it looks great that way if you needed a suggestion to get away from black.
Which decals for the cabinet are yall using? I've seen purple and black... Or are you guys doing something custom??
Ben

We ordered decals from Bay Area Amusements. To be honest, we haven't opened them yet, figuring they are probably somewhat fragile and we should avoid it until we're ready. I'd assume they are purple, which was stock. The only black ones I've seen were after market or custom, though there is some beautiful art in the BoP and BoP 2.0 threads.

#38 3 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

We ordered decals from Bay Area Amusements. To be honest, we haven't opened them yet, figuring they are probably somewhat fragile and we should avoid it until we're ready. I'd assume they are purple, which was stock. The only black ones I've seen were after market or custom, though there is some beautiful art in the BoP and BoP 2.0 threads.

Right on, I'm for purple all the way. It just looks right!

I have read using rapid tac is really good for installing large decals like these...

I personally apply decals dry, but if you aren't installing vinyl or decals on a regular basis it helps to have all the advantages you can get...

amazon.com link »

Oh... If your planning to use a squeegee, you may want to find one with felt on its edge. Every time I apply a decal with one with a plastic or rubber edge it leaves micro scratches.

Ok, I'll shut up for now ... Just too many problems I'd like to help yall avoid.

The cab is looking great!

#39 3 years ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

..3D print a small plate that fits between the cabinet walls and the bracket...

You should use steel not plastic.

#40 3 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

You should use steel not plastic.

What about using some washers?

#41 3 years ago
Quoted from Chosen_S:

What about using some washers?

That might work but you really want to distribute the brackets clamping force evenly , that's why I say use full metal. Plastic especially that thin will have to much flex.

#42 3 years ago
Quoted from Chosen_S:

I have read using rapid tac is really good for installing large decals like these...
I personally apply decals dry, but if you aren't installing vinyl or decals on a regular basis it helps to have all the advantages you can get...
Oh... If your planning to use a squeegee, you may want to find one with felt on its edge. Every time I apply a decal with one with a plastic or rubber edge it leaves micro scratches.

Clearly I failed to read the tutorial on applying cabinet decals! Why wet vs. dry? What's the advantage?

Quoted from MustangPaul:

That might work but you really want to distribute the brackets clamping force evenly , that's why I say use full metal. Plastic especially that thin will have to much flex.

Unfortunately, I can't print (easily) metal. I could find some brackets that can fit in the gap, but they won't be connected to each other, which I think would enhance the value. I agree metal is better but...This might be enough. Only one way to find out.

I noticed that Chris Hutchins installed these in his two BoP restorations without any brackets you can see, so I'm guessing he used washers. We're talking 3-4mm here, so I'm guessing also the brackets can bend slightly to accommodate.

#43 3 years ago

Just about any hardware store has 1 inch wide and wider steel strips in different thickness's and length, check around.

Quoted from jsa:

I could find some brackets that can fit in the gap, but they won't be connected to each other, which I think would enhance the value.

That won't make any difference, filling the gap completly is what makes the difference. If your still worried about the strength get the right thickness of metal strips, cut to length, drill a couple of big holes in the hd braces then take everything and have the new steel welded on with Rosetta welds, grind smooth, drill the holes where the original hd bracket holes are, paint with a zinc paint, and your done.

#44 3 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

Clearly I failed to read the tutorial on applying cabinet decals! Why wet vs. dry?

The wet method allows you to be able to reset the decal if placement is off, also if done properly you can wash the specs of dust from the cab... Kind of like window tinting...

The dry method is quick, precise and depending on the decal; doesn't allow for many mistakes

These are good example vids

#45 3 years ago

#46 3 years ago

For the corner brackets I would just find some good grade plastic that is the right thickness, trim to size and drill them out. 3D printed ones while maybe a bit more effort and expense are way cooler!

#47 3 years ago

We'll post some updates tomorrow. We're being a bit OCD on the bondo process.

#48 3 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

We'll post some updates tomorrow. We're being a bit OCD on the bondo process.

OCD is good with that process.

#49 3 years ago
Quoted from Chosen_S:

I have read using rapid tac is really good for installing large decals like these...
I personally apply decals dry, but if you aren't installing vinyl or decals on a regular basis it helps to have all the advantages you can get...
amazon.com link »
Oh... If your planning to use a squeegee, you may want to find one with felt on its edge. Every time I apply a decal with one with a plastic or rubber edge it leaves micro scratches.
Ok, I'll shut up for now ... Just too many problems I'd like to help yall avoid.

My son and I watched all these videos. By the end he was saying "Dad, can we not watch another person put on decals, I'm dying over here." LOL.

Anyway, what strikes me here is that the wet method may be best for decals that aren't 100% flat on arrival or are in danger of some kind of awkward application. On the flip side, my intuition is that I'd rather apply the decal dry, if I had my choice. The actual act of spraying the decal's underside while applying introduces a point in the process where I could introduce a mistake (i.e. a crease), whereas the cleanliness and simplicity of the dry process seems more my style.

Once we open up the packaging the decals arrived in (tube with tape covering the ends, not exactly hermetically sealed) and see their condition, we'll make the call on our first decal application method!

Now, back to sanding Bondo. My whole body is covered in pink dust.

#50 3 years ago

BY THE WAY, my son and I will be at California Extreme this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, if anyone following this thread wants to meet us. I'll look for my Pinside badge...

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