(Topic ID: 137689)

Cleaning and Waxing Pinball Machines - Vid's Guide


By vid1900

3 years ago



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    There are 1782 posts in this topic. You are on page 19 of 36.
    #901 2 years ago
    Quoted from BorgDog:

    Would ME+naptha be another alternative just to get a little abrasive and get more of the dirt out?

    I just tried ME + naphtha on my Space Invaders and the results are better than anything I've ever achieved with ME + alcohol. Not perfect, but it removed so much dirt out of the ball swirls that the colors actually look brighter & more vibrant. Not having to worry about the naphtha softening the topcoat & ink like alcohol will is a big plus, you just have to make sure to keep the area wet enough because the naphtha evaporates very quickly.

    Vid, what are your thoughts on cleaning with ME + naphtha, especially on an older pf like an early Bally SS?

    #902 2 years ago
    Quoted from jibmums:

    Vid, what are your thoughts on cleaning with ME + naphtha, especially on an older pf like an early Bally SS?

    It works pretty good, but remember that the ME is abrasive.

    Make sure you put some good gloves on that won't dissolve with the Naphtha.

    #903 2 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    It works pretty good, but remember that the ME is abrasive.
    Make sure you put some good gloves on that won't dissolve with the Naphtha.

    Boy oh boy, am I really REALLY glad that I didn't attempt to clean with ME + alcohol. I just tried a little alcohol on a rag to clean a few spots under a plastic that the naphtha wouldn't budge, and it softened the topcoat like a warm knife on butter. I can imagine how much damage would have been done had I started right in with ME + alcohol in a conspicuous spot.

    #904 2 years ago

    I used ME and alcohol on my Bally Special Force to remove a glue spot under Mylar and it worked great. So then I used it on another spot to clean up some dirt, and the paint went bye bye. Luckily, it was in a hard to notice spot and was just a small amount of paint. But it taught me that I need to be more careful about what I'm using and study up.

    #905 2 years ago

    OK, Vid-
    Don't know if this particular topic has been addressed, but I didn't want to go through all 19 pages to find it if it has.
    I have a newly restored (but fully cured) Indiana Jones playfield from HEP. I've been reassembling it slowly in an open, rather dusty environment. The playfield is not populated yet, but I have the siderails installed. What, in your opinion, should I use to clean the playfield (applicator and cleaning media), of accumulated dust before a light application of Blitz One Grand?
    Greg

    #906 2 years ago
    Quoted from swanng:

    OK, Vid-
    Don't know if this particular topic has been addressed, but I didn't want to go through all 19 pages to find it if it has.
    I have a newly restored (but fully cured) Indiana Jones playfield from HEP. I've been reassembling it slowly in an open, rather dusty environment. The playfield is not populated yet, but I have the siderails installed. What, in your opinion, should I use to clean the playfield (applicator and cleaning media), of accumulated dust before a light application of Blitz One Grand?
    Greg

    Clean microfiber or cotton cloth. Since it's just material that has fallen on the surface, get it should just wipe right up. No really need to prep before the wax... But if you were anal about it wipe down with naphtha or novus 1

    Wax is intentionally a sacrificial layer and cleans right up... So no need to be paranoid clean before using.

    #907 2 years ago
    Quoted from swanng:

    What, in your opinion, should I use to clean the playfield (applicator and cleaning media), of accumulated dust before a light application of Blitz One Grand?

    A vacuum should get all the dust off.

    #908 2 years ago

    Not my vacuum. It doesn't suck. I wish it did.

    #909 2 years ago
    Quoted from swanng:

    Not my vacuum. It doesn't suck. I wish it did.

    Time to go to Sears for the $19.99 mini shop vac.

    It really sucks

    #910 2 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Novus2 is better at scratches than cleaning.
    Start with the least invasive and move up from there:
    Vacuum first - see how much crud goes away. Use brush attachment and crevasse attachment.
    Wipe with soft dry cloth - is the remaining dirt glued on, or did it wipe away?
    Wipe with soft cloth moistened with Novus1 or Simple Green - are you now down to clean playfield?
    Vacuum again - take note of any scratches and ball trails.
    Use Novus2 - with a soft cloth (not paper towel), polish out any scratches. Polish out the ball trails in the inlanes. Keep the cloth rotated to clean sections, and keep it moist with the Novus2.
    Vacuum again - check your work. Ignore tiny scratches you won't see with the glass on.
    Wax - Using the included applicator or a clean very slightly dampened with 1 drop of water cloth, rub the wax into the playfield using small circles. If your applicator is dirty from your car, don't even think of using it! Do the ramps, do the metal ball guides, the wire guides, undecaled target faces - every place the ball touches. Don't use too much wax! If using Blitz, use 1/4 of what you would use of Turtle Wax.
    Wait 20 minutes - Drag you finger across, if it cleanly removes the wax film, it's ready. If it's slightly tacky, give it another 10 minutes.
    Wipe - wipe off the wax film with soft cloth. If you are using good wax, there won't be any white wax chips or flakes at all. Keep the cloth turned to fresh areas.
    Vacuum again if needed - if you used cheaper wax, you may need this final vacuum to pick up the wax dust.
    Drop in new balls - for $5 a set, why not?

    Why not wipe with moistened micro fiber cloth with naptha in place of Novus1 or Simple Green? Not enforcing a practice, but just confused when prior posts recommend no water based cleaners.

    #911 2 years ago

    Naphtha is used because it leaves no residue and evaporates so quickly it presents no wood swelling threat

    #912 2 years ago

    Just a little update on my Golden Arrow. I tried both the Novus 2 and ME+naphtha and the ME+naphtha seemed to do a better job with less effort, likely because it is more abrasive, but this was all pretty quick since I wasn't stripping, just cleaning. Still a little dirt in the deep cracks around the planking mostly, but I'm happy with how it came out so am going to wax and play. Maybe someday do a restore, maybe Before and after below.

    2016-08-21 18.21.16 (resized).jpg

    2016-08-17 17.56.10 (resized).jpg

    #913 2 years ago
    Quoted from BorgDog:

    Just a little update on my Golden Arrow. I tried both the Novus 2 and ME+naphtha and the ME+naphtha seemed to do a better job with less effort, likely because it is more abrasive, but this was all pretty quick since I wasn't stripping, just cleaning. Still a little dirt in the deep cracks around the planking mostly, but I'm happy with how it came out so am going to wax and play. Maybe someday do a restore, maybe Before and after below.

    Nice. Not prefect, but that looks about a 100 percent better.

    #914 2 years ago

    That cleaned up nicely. Good job!!

    #915 2 years ago

    Vid (or anyone), I've got a sorta strange question to ask--and I apologize in advance if it seems like a derail question.

    So, I've recently gotten back into backpacking and camping recently, and I've slowly been upgrading my gear. I bought a nice Coleman lantern (that runs on Coleman liquid fuel, or "white gas"), and I got a nice backpack stove that runs on the same stuff. The question is, is Naphtha the same as "White Gas?" Ie, do you think I could burn Naphtha in my camping gear without ill effects?

    I ask here because I'd like to buy the stuff in a nice big gallon jug at a cheaper rate, and use it both for regular pinball cleaning AND Camping equipment--It'd be one less jug of dangerously flammable liquid I'd have to worry about. The internet is mysteriously vague on the topic.

    #916 2 years ago

    Naphtha is lighter fluid.

    So if you stove can safely burn that, you are good.

    Test it out in the middle of you yard, in case it blows up.

    1 month later
    #917 2 years ago

    Hi Vid,
    Was wondering if there's a way to remove this dullness from the clear in my TZ. I tried 3m automotive clear light swirl and scratch remover in an inconspicuous place with no change. Was hoping I didn't have to sand and reclear to fix it, but I may have to. The paint is fine, but wherever there is high ball travel I notice the dullness in the clear. Here's a pic.
    Thanks, Joe

    IMG_20160925_112141_359 (resized).jpg

    IMG_20160925_112158_332 (resized).jpg

    #918 2 years ago
    Quoted from vilant:

    Hi Vid,
    Was wondering if there's a way to remove this dullness from the clear in my TZ. I tried 3m automotive clear light swirl and scratch remover in an inconspicuous place with no change. Was hoping I didn't have to sand and reclear to fix it, but I may have to. The paint is fine, but wherever there is high ball travel I notice the dullness in the clear. Here's a pic.
    Thanks, Joe

    What did you apply it with? To get a real polish you need machine action and the right kind of pad. Hand application will not have much effect except to remove stuck in dirt.

    #919 2 years ago

    This is a real nice kit for bringing the shine back to a table:

    http://www.treasurecovepinball.com/polishing-kit.htm

    #920 2 years ago

    But usually that kind of pattern can usually be minimized with just novus2 and liberal action with cotton rags. If that doesn't help... Upgrade to a random orbital polisher with the different cut polishes... Kits like the treasure cove one give you a package deal in how to tackle it

    #921 2 years ago
    Quoted from vilant:

    Hi Vid,
    Was wondering if there's a way to remove this dullness from the clear in my TZ. I tried 3m automotive clear light swirl and scratch remover in an inconspicuous place with no change. Was hoping I didn't have to sand and reclear to fix it, but I may have to. The paint is fine, but wherever there is high ball travel I notice the dullness in the clear. Here's a pic.
    Thanks, Joe

    I'd try Novus2 first on a cotton rag.

    Just do a small area, rubbing a finger wide section back and forth (not in a swirl).

    Does this make one shiny line?

    #922 2 years ago

    yay vid! after that jpop thread fiasco i was hoping you werent banned. good to seee you arent. your advise has been super helpful to guys like me.

    #923 2 years ago

    I tried everything by hand first, then was using a 6" compact polisher, (spins and vibrates). I tried the 3m first,very light cut. Then a medium cut, then novus 2 and 3. There's now light swirls in the flawless clear, but the high travel area looks the same. This was done under the mini playfield, so you'll never actually see it. But the dullness hasn't gone away. Granted I haven't buffed it for long, but I don't want to damage anything. Wasn't sure if a clay bar would work or if there was some other trick.

    #924 2 years ago
    Quoted from DanTheGlassMan:

    yay vid! after that jpop thread fiasco i was hoping you werent banned. good to seee you arent. your advise has been super helpful to guys like me.

    Thank you for the kind words.

    And like Bette Middler once said "Fnck them if they can't take a joke"

    #925 2 years ago
    Quoted from vilant:

    I tried everything by hand first, then was using a 6" compact polisher, (spins and vibrates). I tried the 3m first,very light cut. Then a medium cut, then novus 2 and 3. There's now light swirls in the flawless clear, but the high travel area looks the same. This was done under the mini playfield, so you'll never actually see it. But the dullness hasn't gone away. Granted I haven't buffed it for long, but I don't want to damage anything. Wasn't sure if a clay bar would work or if there was some other trick.

    Is it factory clear, or has somebody put Varathane on it at some point?

    #926 2 years ago

    Think it's all original. The parts of the playfield protected either by plastics or mylar (was looking ratty so I removed it) look like new. Wherever the ball traveled has the dullness. How can I tell if Varathane was used?

    #927 2 years ago

    More shocked you quoted Bette Midler Vid!
    "Did you ever know your my hero.."
    Thx again.. Super helpful ongoing advice for us weekend pin guys.

    #928 2 years ago

    Here's a pic of where mylar was and the playfield

    IMG_20160925_130147_509 (resized).jpg

    #929 2 years ago

    Quick question. Is it okay to use Naphtha to clean switch contacts? I wanted to clean up some EOS switches.

    #930 2 years ago
    Quoted from mystman12:

    Quick question. Is it okay to use Naphtha to clean switch contacts? I wanted to clean up some EOS switches.

    Those are cleaned with simple paperboard (like a business card) wiping or filing them if needing to remove more stubborn stuff.

    #931 2 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Those are cleaned with simple paperboard (like a business card) wiping or filing them if needing to remove more stubborn stuff.

    So I don't need to use any alcohol or anything? Just a dry businesses card? I tried that but it didn't look like much came up. They certainly look rough, though, so I guess I'll go at 'em with a file. These aren't gold, correct? (This is a Stargate, btw)

    IMG_20160925_213028969 (resized).jpg

    #932 2 years ago

    hrmm.. stargate. Pretty sure those GTB flippers are all high power switches. So that would be a tungsten switch.. which you'd file with a metal file or like 400git sandpaper.

    Low voltage switches used for game logic you'd use the paper. The higher voltage switches used in EMs you'd use a flexstone, and the tungsten switches used in flipper voltages you need the metal file (it just wears out a flexstone as the tunsten is harder)

    You don't use solvents around that stuff... unless you like fires.

    That's a lot of corrosion on that switch.. like the game has been wet.

    #933 2 years ago
    Quoted from mystman12:

    Quick question. Is it okay to use Naphtha to clean switch contacts? I wanted to clean up some EOS switches.

    Remember there are 2 types of switches.

    Low Voltage - clean with just a crisp $100 bill drawn between the contacts, until the bill comes out clean.

    High Voltage - like an EOS Switch, clean with a file.

    No need for any cleaning chemicals.

    1 week later
    #934 2 years ago

    *Another* quick question! Can I use Naphtha to clean the cabinet? There's nothing major on it (besides some scuffs and scratches), just a little bit of dirt.

    #935 2 years ago
    Quoted from mystman12:

    *Another* quick question! Can I use Naphtha to clean the cabinet? There's nothing major on it (besides some scuffs and scratches), just a little bit of dirt.

    Painted cabinet? Decal'd cabinet?

    You can use naphtha for this on painted wood cabinets... but it won't do much for you. You'll probably end up using something stronger like an orange cleaner or simple green. But it depends on the material in play...

    #936 2 years ago

    Hmm, I'd assume Stargate has a decal'd cabinet, but don't know for sure. Really I just want to know if it's safe and then give it a shot, since I already have plenty of Naphtha. It's really just one spot on the front of the cabinet where it looks like some dirt got smeared on it.

    #937 2 years ago

    Naphtha is fine on painted cab.

    On decals, it's a crapshoot because you never know what chemicals past owners may have applied (possibly weakening the ink bonds).

    #938 2 years ago

    I' ve read all excellent Vid1900 guides post, but I am not sure about a very simple newbie question. Do clearcoated playfields need waxing?

    #939 2 years ago
    Quoted from Luppin:

    I' ve read all excellent Vid1900 guides post, but I am not sure about a very simple newbie question. Do clearcoated playfields need waxing?

    All playfields need waxing.

    #940 2 years ago

    Im from Europe and I cannot see Blitz Wax One Grand available on usual websites. Anybody from Europe knows where to get it from? Or alternative brands available here with the same composition of Blitz?

    #941 2 years ago
    Quoted from Luppin:

    I' ve read all excellent Vid1900 guides post, but I am not sure about a very simple newbie question. Do clearcoated playfields need waxing?

    I was wondering the same thing. Most people on the forums seem to say yes, some say no. For what it's worth my distributor, who has been repairing and restoring games for 30 years, says to wax only non-clearcoated playfields. I'll probably wax when I get my first clearcoated game given the apparent majority opinion, but it would be easier of there were a consensus on this.

    #942 2 years ago

    What about System 11, and in general mylared playfields?

    #943 2 years ago
    Quoted from Spelunk71:

    I was wondering the same thing. Most people on the forums seem to say yes, some say no. For what it's worth my distributor, who has been repairing and restoring games for 30 years, says to wax only non-clearcoated playfields. I'll probably wax when I get my first clearcoated game given the apparent majority opinion, but it would be easier of there were a consensus on this.

    Wax offers a layer of protection from wear.

    Clear coat wears down and gets ball trails after a while. I've seen it happen on games owned by people who insist they don't need to be waxed. So, their games now all have ball trails--even their brand new sterns with a couple hundred plays.

    Quoted from Luppin:

    What about System 11, and in general mylared playfields?

    Like I said, all playfields need waxing. Wax helps protect surfaces from wear no matter what kind of playfield surface it is.

    #944 2 years ago

    I guess wax also improve pinball speed, right?

    #945 2 years ago
    Quoted from Luppin:

    I guess wax also improve pinball speed, right?

    It has some effect on ball speed, yes.

    #946 2 years ago

    Good, ready to wax! )

    So, any European here knowing where to get Blitz Wax from?

    #947 2 years ago

    Kinda of a random question, but has anyone tried any of the new(er) ceramic car coating on their play field? I.E. Opti-Coat? http://www.optimumcarcare.com/ocoat1.php

    I realize it's not wax, but if the PF has an automotive-like clear coat it would add another (small) layer that could be buffed out without getting to the actual clear coat.

    Just curious.

    #948 2 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Like I said, all playfields need waxing. Wax helps protect surfaces from wear no matter what kind of playfield surface it is.

    Or maybe better to say... 'all playfields can BENEFIT from waxing' - they don't necessarily 'need' it. As you say, even on the modern hardcoats the wax helps by being a sacrificial layer. But it's the older games where the finish is less durable and even worn away.. where waxing is really needed to keep a game from damage.

    #950 2 years ago

    I agree, all playfields will be better protected if waxed. Although, I've got a slightly different way of thinking about the way wax protects a playfield than most others have described it.

    I think we all agree that a pinball with fine scratches all over it is the equivalent of a fine sandpaper covered ball. The "protection" provided by the wax isn't that it is harder or more durable that a clear coat though. It's that the wax provides a layer of lubrication.

    A dry piece of sandpaper sliding across a clearcoated playfield is going to continually remove finish over time. The rate of removal will depend on how coarse the sandpaper is (in this case, how scratched the balls are). If we apply some wax to our playfield our fine sandpaper then slides smoothly across it, reducing the scratching. Part of the protection also comes from the fact that the sandpaper is picking up the wax, filling in its abrasive surface, and itself becoming lubricated. When the sandpaper is covered with enough wax it won't scratch anything. Over time the wax will eventually wear off and the abrasiveness returns (time to rewax)

    The distinction is important because, in my view, it doesn't matter if you get wax on to every part of your playfield you want to protect. You just need to get enough wax down to continually keep the surface of the balls lubricated. It also makes the case for periodic waxing of the balls themselves. By this logic, Pledge does provide protection, it just doesn't last. If you want to Pledge every few days your pins will be protected (and play like lightning). The reason carnauba is nice for pinball is because it is convenient and stays in place as a lubricant much longer.

    The other part of the playfield wear equation is minimizing the amount of scratches on the balls. Change them often and keep your playfield waxed and your playfield is going to last.

    -Jay

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