(Topic ID: 122021)

Cleaning up dirty ball rails


By dgoodspeed

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 44 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by dgoodspeed
  • Topic is favorited by 24 Pinsiders

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#1 4 years ago

Got a Baywatch that is just filthy and I mean not the theme, but the game.

Anyway- the rails are just dirty as all get out and feel nasty. I took some Brasso to it to polish up a test area after I took one off and it seems to work pretty good, but my question is this.

Is there not a better and faster way than sitting down and hand polishing each and every rail part? That would take me weeks. Short of getting in the bath tub and taking a bath with them I'm at a loss.

Thanks!

#2 4 years ago

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I have some pretty dirty rails too , i picked up some buffing pads with jewelers ruge for $5.99 @ harbor freight1426961884688.jpg

Youll want to use the white bar for ball rails

This in theory should work great i will get back to you with results later

#3 4 years ago

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Works great

#4 4 years ago

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The rail literally is a mirror now ! Took 5 minutes cost 6 bucks
With enough material left to do many more

#5 4 years ago

The problem with that method is I think the ball rails were supposed to have a grain to them, you may have polished them too much. I am in the same situation. Here is what I did.
I first washed the rails with soap (dawn) and water, rinsed and dried. Any areas that still looked dirty got a shot of ZEP and a little scrubbing with a sponge. Took about 15 - 20 minutes. Then I took them outside and used the compressor with an air tip to make sure there wasn't any water behind the connection points (About a minute per).
Finally, I used some mother's aluminum and mag polish in the can. Wipe on and rub with a terry towel for about a minute, then wipe off real well with a micro cloth. I polished both sides for protection. The whole thing took about an hour, but really wasn't bad.

Rich

#6 4 years ago
Quoted from rmillman:

The problem with that method is I think the ball rails were supposed to have a grain to them, you may have polished them too much. I am in the same situation. Here is what I did.
I first washed the rails with soap (dawn) and water, rinsed and dried. Any areas that still looked dirty got a shot of ZEP and a little scrubbing with a sponge. Took about 15 - 20 minutes. Then I took them outside and used the compressor with an air tip to make sure there wasn't any water behind the connection points (About a minute per).
Finally, I used some mother's aluminum and mag polish in the can. Wipe on and rub with a terry towel for about a minute, then wipe off real well with a micro cloth. I polished both sides for protection. The whole thing took about an hour, but really wasn't bad.
Rich

I guess im just not a purist then ,i like my rails shiny ☆☆☆

#7 4 years ago
Quoted from rmillman:

The problem with that method is I think the ball rails were supposed to have a grain to them, you may have polished them too much.

The argument for polishing them to a mirror finish is that the ball trails don't show up as quick. If you regrain, ball trails will show up again after about 100 games. My vote is for the mirror finish, it looks nicer longer, not forever, but longer than regraining. If you never play the game and want it to look like you pulled it out of the box, then regrain, just don't expect it to look like that very long if you actually play it.

#8 4 years ago

You can also 'regrain'(like a lockdown bar)them w/sandpaper and then polish out.
How I do anyway. : )

#9 4 years ago
Quoted from rmillman:

Finally, I used some mother's aluminum and mag polish in the can.

I call that stuff my "Frank's hot sauce", when it comes to pinball.

"I put that sh!t on everything"....LOL

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from Glarrownage:

The argument for polishing them to a mirror finish is that the ball trails don't show up as quick. If you regrain, ball trails will show up again after about 100 games. My vote is for the mirror finish, it looks nicer longer, not forever, but longer than regraining. If you never play the game and want it to look like you pulled it out of the box, then regrain, just don't expect it to look like that very long if you actually play it.

I disagree - with a mirror finish that ball trail will stand out like a sore thumb. I regrain all of my machines, but to each their own...

#12 4 years ago

I think the ball trail on a rail gives it character. I just clean them up good sometimes yes, in the tub with soap and water. Rinse and dry, then maybe a little polishing with a mag wheel polish. This wouldn't cut it on a restore job I suppose, but for my less then perfect pins, it seems fine for a good shopping out.

#13 4 years ago

This is some great ideas! Thanks!

#14 4 years ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

I disagree - with a mirror finish that ball trail will stand out like a sore thumb. I regrain all of my machines, but to each their own...

Look closely at your ball trails. The ball actually creates more of a mirror finish on the rail which stand out like a sore thumb on regrained rails. Watch PinballMikeD's MB restoration, he says the same thing.

#15 4 years ago

Simple green and a scotchbrite pad knocks it out in a minute

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from Glarrownage:

Look closely at your ball trails. The ball actually creates more of a mirror finish on the rail which stand out like a sore thumb on regrained rails. Watch PinballMikeD's MB restoration, he says the same thing.

Maybe I'm more of a "restore it to original" kind of guy - I hate chrome as well

#17 4 years ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Maybe I'm more of a "restore it to original" kind of guy - I hate chrome as well

Totally understandable, freshly regrained ball guides do look great!

#18 4 years ago

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So shiny they could make a purist puke , "thats how i like em yall!"

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from lockednlit:

1427162184050.jpg (Click image to enlarge)
So shiny they could make a purist puke , "thats how i like em yall!"

Hey Locked, do you use any scotchbrite pads before you use the buffer pads or do you just clean them and buff white rouge on them? If its the latter, I'm putting way too much effort into mine lol.

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from Glarrownage:

Hey Locked, do you use any scotchbrite pads before you use the buffer pads or do you just clean them and buff white rouge on them? If its the latter, I'm putting way too much effort into mine lol.

I just wipe them with soap and water first to make sure im not buffing in dirt , spin some white rouge on the pad and buff with the wheel to the lenth of the rail , no scotch brite at all , i did all 5 sections on my genesis in about 20 minutes , and they were nasty bad , as seen in the first pic i posted

#21 4 years ago
Quoted from lockednlit:

I just wipe them with soap and water first to make sure im not buffing in dirt , spin some white rouge on the pad and buff with the wheel to the lenth of the rail , no scotch brite at all , i did all 5 sections on my Genesis in about 20 minutes , and they were nasty bad , as seen in the first pic i posted

Wow, I am putting far too much effort into mine... I'm switching to your method!

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from Glarrownage:

Wow, I am putting far too much effort into mine... I'm switching to your method!

Ya me too!!!

#23 4 years ago

I hate chrome too.

To clean these ball guides, just get out some sandpaper and go to it. Then polish with a little cleaner. Like new.

#24 4 years ago

I've had
Mothers Mag polish bring rails back to life just as good as polishing out w/buffer.

Also when 'regraining', go one way w/Scotch Brite/Sandpaper etc.. Try to stay in a straight line.

#25 4 years ago

I am in the polishing camp as well, especially the backside where the ball doesn't touch, to help reflect more light. But I do prefer the look overall. Kind of like mini versions of the mirror blades people seem to like

#26 4 years ago
Quoted from Cash_Riprock:

I've had
Mothers Mag polish bring rails back to life just as good as polishing out w/buffer.
Also when 'regraining', go one way w/Scotch Brite/Sandpaper etc.. Try to stay in a straight line.

Actually no buffer needed , i use my makita lxt cordless drill

#27 4 years ago

Love those mirror polished rails. I will do the same to mine.

#28 4 years ago

Im telling you it doesnt get much easier then to use the flap wheels, I will try and do a demo video - also gets out deep ball trails that would require lots of elbow otherwise. Also takes out heavy scratches etc on lock down bars, makes them look nice and new with out much effort.

I finish it off with a scotchbrite pad by hand to fine tune

91IMaBiWBKL._SL1500_.jpg
#29 4 years ago
Quoted from fusion301:

Im telling you it doesnt get much easier then to use the flap wheels, I will try and do a demo video - also gets out deep ball trails that would require lots of elbow otherwise. Also takes out heavy scratches etc on lock down bars, makes them look nice and new with out much effort.
I finish it off with a scotchbrite pad by hand to fine tune

91IMaBiWBKL._SL1500_.jpg (Click image to enlarge)

I am REALLY looking forward to your video on this. I have been experimenting on my rails and having difficulty getting it right. How do you get inside the ramps and other tight spaces?

#30 4 years ago
Quoted from Pinterest:

I am REALLY looking forward to your video on this. I have been experimenting on my rails and having difficulty getting it right. How do you get inside the ramps and other tight spaces?

I remove everything from the playfield when Im shopping a game out, very difficult to do this type of stuff with a populated playfield.

2 weeks later
#31 4 years ago
Quoted from fusion301:

Im telling you it doesnt get much easier then to use the flap wheels, I will try and do a demo video - also gets out deep ball trails that would require lots of elbow otherwise. Also takes out heavy scratches etc on lock down bars, makes them look nice and new with out much effort.
I finish it off with a scotchbrite pad by hand to fine tune

91IMaBiWBKL._SL1500_.jpg (Click image to enlarge)

Okay Fusion - I bought the medium and a fine flap wheel you recommended. THANK YOU!

This is by far the easiest way I have found to re-grain the rails to date.

I LOVE chrome - and would prefer to polish the rails - but its just way too much work.

Excellent tip Fusion - I owe you one!!

#32 4 years ago

Glad it's working for you Pinterest, makes old lockdown bars look great also, I like to finish them by hand just to get the grains more uniform

3 weeks later
#33 4 years ago

Thought I would make a video to show everyone how nicely fusion301's process works. It's quick, easy, and looks fantastic!

Upvote my post if you find it useful.

Lockednlit - I challenge you to create and post a video demonstrating the "polish" method of rail restoration since I do love the chrome look also!

#34 4 years ago

Great video!!! Joe

#35 4 years ago

nice vid, my scratched up lockdown bars thank you.

#36 4 years ago
Quoted from Glarrownage:

Wow, I am putting far too much effort into mine... I'm switching to your method!

Extra work builds character

FYI - the dremel is more important for removing grooves then anything else. No need to have a track in a shiny new rail right? There are tons of different ways to do this, do what works best for you. Experimentation is always good

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

Extra work builds character
FYI - the dremel is more important for removing grooves then anything else. No need to have a track in a shiny new rail right? There are tons of different ways to do this, do what works best for you. Experimentation is always good

Extra work is just... ...well... ... work.

Where are those Videos from the shiny ball guide guys??

1 week later
#38 4 years ago
Quoted from Pinterest:

Thought I would make a video to show everyone how nicely fusion301's process works. It's quick, easy, and looks fantastic!

Great Video Pinterest!!!!

Sorry I never got to making mine, got tied up with Pinsanity tournament stuff. Awesome stuff!!

for those asking about shiny:
To make them chrome like, I then go down through some wet sanding steps by hand, with a final polish and buffing wheel - this takes much longer but works just as well.

1 week later
#39 3 years ago

For you shiny rail guys, what type of buffing wheel do you use on your bench buffer? I had no idea how many different kind of wheels there were before I looked into buying more for my buffer.

#40 3 years ago
Quoted from Glarrownage:

For you shiny rail guys, what type of buffing wheel do you use on your bench buffer? I had no idea how many different kind of wheels there were before I looked into buying more for my buffer.

I've been using a 6" spiral cotton buffing wheel. I was going to try a 8" wheel after my current 6" wheel wears down some more.

I also tried some small buffing wheels from harbor freight to attach to a drill, but they were way too soft and fluffy and didn't actually do much of anything. The 6" spiral wheel is a lot more firm.

#41 3 years ago

Foundit gonna try it

14339571631441767538390.jpg
#42 3 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

I've been using a 6" spiral cotton buffing wheel. I was going to try a 8" wheel after my current 6" wheel wears down some more.
I also tried some small buffing wheels from harbor freight to attach to a drill, but they were way too soft and fluffy and didn't actually do much of anything. The 6" spiral wheel is a lot more firm.

Nice, is there an advantage to the 8" over the 6"? I was thinking about a package like this but I wouldn't know which wheel to use when.

amazon.com link »

1 year later
#43 2 years ago
Quoted from fusion301:

Im telling you it doesnt get much easier then to use the flap wheels, I will try and do a demo video - also gets out deep ball trails that would require lots of elbow otherwise. Also takes out heavy scratches etc on lock down bars, makes them look nice and new with out much effort.
I finish it off with a scotchbrite pad by hand to fine tune

Would anyone reccomend using these on the ball trail ramps, etc?

1 week later
#44 2 years ago

Anyone?

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