Comet restoration project

(Topic ID: 208217)

Comet restoration project


By pinheadpierre

5 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 120 posts
  • 29 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 67 days ago by pinheadpierre
  • Topic is favorited by 24 Pinsiders

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There are 120 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.
#51 4 months ago

This is incredible. Absolutely unbelievable. Amazing work.

#52 4 months ago
Quoted from Mistermoberg:

This is incredible. Absolutely unbelievable. Amazing work.

Gosh - thanks. I am a newbie to restoration but probably have a bit of a leg up since my background includes an undergraduate degree in studio art with an emphasis on painting. I really enjoy this as an unexpected application of some of those skills. It's been interesting adding stencils, airbrushing and clearcoat into my arsenal of tools and materials. Thanks for the kind words.

#53 4 months ago

Following this from first post.
Fabulous work.
I want to get a comet and I do my own playfield restorations as well so your detailed reports will save me time and money.
Thank you.

#54 3 months ago

Yeah- I am also curious about this. I have not had excellent success with layering acrylics, I can and have done it but it’s a hair raising experience and I feel like I always end up with a repair needed due to paint sticking to the next layers stencil. I have used a heat gun, and I have gotten a lot better with spraying thin coats as that does help. Would be nice to know what is happening in work flow for people who routinely layer colors with no issues vs what I do.

#55 3 months ago
Quoted from rufessor:

Yeah- I am also curious about this. I have not had excellent success with layering acrylics, I can and have done it but it’s a hair raising experience and I feel like I always end up with a repair needed due to paint sticking to the next layers stencil. I have used a heat gun, and I have gotten a lot better with spraying thin coats as that does help. Would be nice to know what is happening in work flow for people who routinely layer colors with no issues vs what I do.

One thing I know that helps is the createx 4030 additive. On this project the only layering failure I had (though admittedly I didn't try much out of fear) was with yellow which did not have any 4030 added because it is already such a diluted transparent color. I agree that thinner is better for many reasons. I probably won't ever try making over an unprotected color that needed an undercoat of white - probably too thick to resist ripping.

#56 3 months ago

Can I send you my F-14 play field?

#57 3 months ago

Will have to look that one up.... I looked and its not in my ever growing stash of Createx colors.... kinda knew that but I surprise myself occasionally!

#58 3 months ago

Soooo about that 4030.... not so sure thats compatible with my work flow. Its a water based poly additive, certainly would improve adherence but would also potentially eliminate the ability (which I love) of being able to wipe up a layer or two or four of acrylic with a bit of warm water and a microfiber cloth. I lock down colors with clear but I do try to get more than one down first and I am both a perfectionist and also learning so I do a lot of re-doing. Curious, have you tried wiping up cured color that was sprayed with the additive?

#59 3 months ago
Quoted from rufessor:

Soooo about that 4030.... not so sure thats compatible with my work flow. Its a water based poly additive, certainly would improve adherence but would also potentially eliminate the ability (which I love) of being able to wipe up a layer or two or four of acrylic with a bit of warm water and a microfiber cloth. I lock down colors with clear but I do try to get more than one down first and I am both a perfectionist and also learning so I do a lot of re-doing. Curious, have you tried wiping up cured color that was sprayed with the additive?

As long as it's not heat set you can still wipe it off with water. It takes more of a scrubbing to get it off than without the 4030 but it does come off. A tiny bit of magic eraser dampened with water speeds up removal of mistakes nicely.

#60 3 months ago

Ok. Order placed!
Will give it a shot. If nothing else I am sure I will find a use for it with my kids projects as they enjoy airbrushing and I imagine this as a top coat to their cars etc would increase durability and probably shine.

3 weeks later
#61 3 months ago

Time for an update. Boy oh boy does this go slow when you cannot devote yourself to it full time. Bit by bit it is coming together. Since my last installment, I shot a final layer of clear and then lightly wet sanded it with 800/1200/2000 grit to get rid of a few various boogers followed by polishing with Novus 2.P4158794 (resized).JPG

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Love that fresh glossy surface!

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I also decided that the crummy vinyl wrapped wood would not be going back on the playfield. It always astonished me that manufacturers went that route. Seriously, how many pennies did they save by using that instead of real oak?_3228759 (resized).JPG

So off to the lumber yard I went and got myself a couple sticks of oak. Fortunately, I have a thickness planer and other woodshop tools to make milling the stock down to size perfectly easy. I thought automotive 2pac would be overkill and too glossy here. I opted instead for rattle can semi-gloss clear. Here are the new and improved models sitting at the ready along with the originals.

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#62 3 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

I also decided that the crummy vinyl wrapped wood would not be going back on the playfield. It always astonished me that manufacturers went that route. Seriously, how many pennies did they save by using that instead of real oak?

It would have been enough even for a run of 8,100 machines... not to mention the rest of the machines they built and sold. It may seem like pennies, but it adds up in a very big hurry.

#63 3 months ago

Drill press for those rail holes = much less headache!

#64 3 months ago

I really enjoy checking into this thread - it's so good seeing a Comet get this much love. It's one of my all-time favorites, and holds up very well in any lineup. Here's my current pin setup (Baby Pac not pictured)...

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#65 3 months ago
Quoted from dmieczko:

I really enjoy checking into this thread - it's so good seeing a Comet get this much love. It's one of my all-time favorites, and holds up very well in any lineup. Here's my current pin setup (Baby Pac not pictured)...

Your Comet is in excellent company!

#66 3 months ago

Looks great!!! Shutting down mine tomorrow for the hard top install. You is much cooler though!!!

#67 3 months ago

Started repopulating today.

Quoted from La_Porta:

Drill press for those rail holes = much less headache!

Yup - that was my thought as well. Line 'em up, clamp 'em and drill 'em. Easy peasy.

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I also decided to go ahead and polish/get rid of ball trails on the metal guides. This really does turn into one of those situations where you start out just cleaning that one spot on the kitchen ceiling and before you know it you are repainting the whole house....

Example of ball guide before....

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and after.

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There was a surprising amount of crud built up on the piano wire guides that needed to be cleaned off prior to polishing. Look at the goober on this one. You can see exactly where to top of the playfield was.

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I used a diamond tipped dremel bit to carefully grind the clear out of all the holes on the top of the playfield prior to installing stuff so that it wouldn't crack. The holes really fill up with clear. It's always a bit nervewracking pounding those wire guides into the playfield. You're basically pounding a blunt nail into your freshly clearcoated labor of love. For all the jitters it causes me, I havn't f'd one up yet (knock on wood).

Here's today's progress. For me this is the stage where the game morphs in my mind from being a series of material manipulation challenges to being a game again. All rails, ball guides, one ramp and many posts done.

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#68 3 months ago

Oh yeah - and of course, every switch under and above the playfield gets cleaned and polished prior to being put back in place. No better time to do it than now with all the switches hanging loose and the playfield on the rotisserie.

#69 3 months ago

Polishing the guides really does make a difference. I know that my Firepower ones were not mirrors originally, but I couldn't help myself, as I thought it just looked too awesome.

#70 3 months ago

More topside progress - got most of the targets reinstalled. I cleaned and polished all parts of the standup targets, cleaned and polished all target switches, installed new foam, removed old and installed new duck, rabbit and dummy stickers. Also started installing all new red star posts.

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Got the shooter lane gates back on as well as the corkscrew alley wireform gate.

Realized that I need to repaint or replace the standup target behind the dummy. The white rings are pretty beat.

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#71 3 months ago

Meanwhile, I've also been chipping away at the cabinet. At first I thought I might just touch it up but after so much effort on the playfield, it didn't seem right to put the playfield back into a not even so-so cab. There were many various dings, scratches, poor touchups and stains. Plus, the wood itself was pretty planked.

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First, I hand sanded a small area to expose all paint layers and tested it for lead.

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All layers tested negative. I always wear a double cartridge respirator with organic vapor cartridges and particle filters when doing this kind of work even if there's no lead. There's plenty else in paint dust that's not healthy. I take extra precautions if there's lead, though, so I was glad to have the tests be negative.

Time to get out the random orbital sander and make everything smooth again.

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After sanding, there were still some scratches, gouges, planking texture, etc that needed to be filled.

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Fill, sand, fill, sand....prime!

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Aaaaaand....black! (Queue up AC/DC here.)

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#72 3 months ago

Looks like your getting your ducks in a row.
If you can rivet PBR has the target you need.

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#73 3 months ago

Awesome job so far! Can wait to see the final results.

#74 3 months ago

fabulous work. Keep it up!
It is funny how these things start off simple enough and balloon into an epic restoration.
You are not alone in getting sucked in.

#75 3 months ago

For the targets, you can also print stickers. I printed mine on some adhesive backed peel away printer paper that I got on Amazon. I also used a roll of mylar that I had for elsewhere on the play field, and smoothed that down over the printed sheet. I then used an Xacto to cut them out as a combination. Bam: mylar-protected target stickers. You can't even tell.

#76 3 months ago

I've been enjoying this post and think he's ready for this...going out tomorrow morning..

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#77 3 months ago
Quoted from Freeplay40:

I've been enjoying this post and think he's ready for this...going out tomorrow morning..

THANK YOU!! I am so excited. Your ramp will definitely be a gorgeous cherry on top of this effort. I can hardly wait!

#78 3 months ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

For the targets, you can also print stickers. I printed mine on some adhesive backed peel away printer paper that I got on Amazon. I also used a roll of mylar that I had for elsewhere on the play field, and smoothed that down over the printed sheet. I then used an Xacto to cut them out as a combination. Bam: mylar-protected target stickers. You can't even tell.

Hmmmmm.....I like that idea. I might give it a try.

#79 3 months ago

More cabinet work today. I've actually been doing a bunch of work on this offline for awhile. For example, here and there over the past month I've been working on the computer making cut files for stencils. I know, I know...Pinball Pimp has Comet cab stencils available. I've never used The Pimp's stencils, but I hear they're really nice. Since I'm using this project as an opportunity to hone various skills I thought I might as well see what it's like to scan a cabinet and make stencils. Basically it's just a larger scale version of the process of making stencils for the playfield work. Just like with the playfield, it's the scratches and visual "noise" of an old beat up surface that makes turning a scan into a stencil challenging. There's lots of cleanup work and line adjustments involved after stitching the scans together.

Of course, my plotter only cuts 12-inches wide so I had to make a couple passes for the sides. Fortunately, it's just the tops of the roller coaster tracks that doesn't fit. Since there's nothing complicated there it was really easy to cut them separately and manually align them on the cabinet. Here are some stencil groups mocked up on the cabinet.

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I ended up framing each end with yellow tape as an application guide but forgot to take a picture of that part of the process.

I found it a bit tricky getting a piece of vinyl that long onto the transfer tape without trapping air bubbles or wrinkling it. Does anyone out there have a trick for this in case I turn out to be nutty enough to make my own cab stencils again? The best I came up with was to tape the corners tight to the floor and work carefully from one end, smoothing as I went along.

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Applying the large stencils to the cab posed a similar challenge. I wound up with lots of air bubbles and wrinkles, but nothing that I couldn't work out one way or another. Finally I taped off the rest of the cab and sprayed away.

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It took three coats for yellow to cover jet black really well. I left much of the masking in place after I removed the stencils to reuse. I'll do the yellow on the head tomorrow and then hopefully shoot orange on Monday.

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#80 3 months ago

Those stencils are amazing. What exactly did you use to make that?

#81 3 months ago

Very cool, I was wondering if you were going to make your own stencils. You might be inspiring me to fix up my cabinet more than initially planned. I have one side that's pretty nice, other side not terrible. The head is where I have the most damage. Anyway, looks amazing, can't wait to see the finished product!!!

#82 3 months ago

Can I buy a set of stencils?

#83 3 months ago

Ive never had an issue with the transfer tape. I just start at one end and then as you slowly put it down, smooth it with the other hand. It almost looks like you took the masking material off the backing first (by looking at the pic). Just leave it on the backing, put on the transfer tape, then remove the backing a little at a time as you go while putting it on the cab. Shouldnt have any issues with wrinkles or bubbles that way

#84 3 months ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

Those stencils are amazing. What exactly did you use to make that?

Scanned the cab section by section. Stitched the scans together in photoshop. Cleaned up the image and separated the colors > transferred image to Cameo Silhouette Studio to convert into a cut file. Cut stencil with Cameo.

Quoted from Malenko:

Can I buy a set of stencils?

I think you'd be happier buying them from a pro like pinballpimp. Apparently, he's really got a good user friendly system together. My "system" such as it is is still pretty raw. If you want to cut your own, I would happily share my cut files with you. I'm sending copies to brewninja later today.

Quoted from BrewNinja:

Just leave it on the backing, put on the transfer tape, then remove the backing a little at a time as you go while putting it on the cab. Shouldnt have any issues with wrinkles or bubbles that way

Oh! That's so obvious that I never thought to do it that way. Leave the backing on the stencil after putting it on the transfer tape, expose just a bit at a time as I work along the roll. That might save my skin doing the second color! Thanks for the suggestion.

#85 3 months ago

Took the advice from brewninja and applied the stencils differently this time. Hooray - no air bubbles or wrinkles!

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Thanks for the guidance. Yellow on head is complete.

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Made a little more progress reassembling. I'm done for the week. Next week - orange on cab and finish topside assembly.

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#86 3 months ago

Is that a blackish cycle ramp? Meant to ask that when you posted the previous pics but I think I forgot.

#87 3 months ago
Quoted from jaytrem:

Is that a blackish cycle ramp? Meant to ask that when you posted the previous pics but I think I forgot.

It's something I picked up from Marco a little over a year ago. I had no idea at the time that they would become scarce. Thankfully freeplay40 will be making more. His will undoubtedly be better than this faithful reproduction of the often shattered original.

#88 3 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

His will undoubtedly be better than this faithful reproduction of the often shattered original.

Mines more hotglue than ramp at this point.

#89 3 months ago
Quoted from Malenko:

Mines more hotglue than ramp at this point.

These beauties are what mine came with.

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#90 3 months ago

Note how ineffective the support bracket between the small and medium sized hole is. I'm noodling on ways to improve upon this. I'm open to suggestions....I'm thinking the other cross member could use some sort of reinforcement as well.

#91 3 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

Note how ineffective the support bracket between the small and medium sized hole is. I'm noodling on ways to improve upon this. I'm open to suggestions....I'm thinking the other cross member could use some sort of reinforcement as well.

The Williams ones are just paper thin, typical Williams brittleness.

There were some aftermarket ones in the 90s that were probably 3x as thick and more flexible plastic. These never break (that I've seen).

If the new Freeplay40 one is thicker and made of more impact resistant plastic, I dare say you might not need reinforcement.

#92 3 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

It's something I picked up from Marco a little over a year ago. I had no idea at the time that they would become scarce. Thankfully freeplay40 will be making more. His will undoubtedly be better than this faithful reproduction of the often shattered original.

I meant the metal jump itself, not the landing area. Yours looks more black compared to my silver one. Looks nice.

The prior owner of mine made a reinformenr the covers the whole landing area. Looks like just a layer of black plastic with the 3 holes cut out. Not too bad loos wise, better than the cracks underneath for sure. I'd shoot a pic but I'm away for the weekend. It does sounds like Marks will be nice and strong though, so hopefully no need for extra protection.

#93 3 months ago

Since you made the stencils anyway, couldn't you have sprayed the cabinet yellow first and laid the core of the stencils over that and then painted the black?

#94 3 months ago
Quoted from jaytrem:

I meant the metal jump itself, not the landing area. Yours looks more black compared to my silver one. Looks nice.

That's just funky lighting/photography. My ramp is freshly polished shiny metal.

Quoted from PinballAir:

Since you made the stencils anyway, couldn't you have sprayed the cabinet yellow first and laid the core of the stencils over that and then painted the black?

I suppose I could have but then the layering sequence would be different than the original.

#95 3 months ago

I meant the Corkscrew not the skeeball shot There's glue alllllll along the bottom from the previous owner, and the sides, and the corners........ I like the fact its the original, but that orange repro looks pretty great.

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#96 3 months ago
Quoted from Malenko:

I meant the Corkscrew not the skeeball shot There's glue alllllll along the bottom from the previous owner, and the sides, and the corners........ I like the fact its the original, but that orange repro looks pretty great.

You can fill and repair that with Plastix, but it will cost only slightly more to get a better, newer ramp.

Is freeplay40 making both ramps? Most of the comet ramps Ive seen are made out of packing tape and epoxy at this time.

#97 3 months ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

Most of the comet ramps Ive seen are made out of packing tape and epoxy at this time.

Yep.

The originals were orange, the Williams replacements were black (also paper thin), the 2010 ones were a thicker opaque orange (but not quite the correct tint). All the rest are fiberglass mesh and epoxy

#98 3 months ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

Is freeplay40 making both ramps?

I am finishing the Cork Screw ramps now and will begin taking orders for those that just want the Cork Screw ramp on Monday. In about 7-10 days I will be making a couple variations of the Cycle Jump ramp and appears quite a few want to wait to get both at the same time. As far as the larger center ramp, I do intend to do it once I get the new heater finished. More than likely it will be the first one I do.

#99 3 months ago
Quoted from Freeplay40:

I am finishing the Cork Screw ramps now and will begin taking orders for those that just want the Cork Screw ramp on Monday. In about 7-10 days I will be making a couple variations of the Cycle Jump ramp and appears quite a few want to wait to get both at the same time. As far as the larger center ramp, I do intend to do it once I get the new heater finished. More than likely it will be the first one I do.

The larger main ramp and corkscrew are whats needed now, as there are a few of the last batch of more durable (ABS?) cycle jump ramps still out there. Although they are mainly in europe right now.

#100 88 days ago

Look what arrived today! If you've never received a package from freeplay40, you won't believe how perfectly he wraps and packages his work for shipping. It's every bit as perfect as his ramps. Thanks again, Mark!

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