(Topic ID: 208217)

Comet restoration project


By pinheadpierre

1 year ago



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  • 134 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by vid1900
  • Topic is favorited by 27 Pinsiders

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There are 134 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 3.
#101 1 year ago

Past my bedtime but couldn't resist going out to the workshop to see how it would look in the game. Not only does it look great, this sucker is waaaaay thicker than the originals. I'll be surprised if it ever breaks.

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#102 1 year ago

That new ramp looks so good! Cant wait to pick one up. Everything is looking really good. The playfield looks so much better when its not all torn up...lol

#103 1 year ago

Many thanks for posting the photo of the ramp on the playfield. Been dying to see this.

#104 1 year ago
Quoted from Freeplay40:

Many thanks for posting the photo of the ramp on the playfield. Been dying to see this.

I really love having it be both colored and see through. Besides fresh balls and regular playfield cleaning, do you recommend waxing or anything else to slow down the inevitable appearance of ball tracks?

#105 1 year ago

One nice thing about pinball machines today is that they certainly do not get the amount of play they did back in the day. Couple that with design or strength improvement and they should last a very long time. Maintenance would not be any different from any other ramp. I have also flame polished dyed ramps.

#106 1 year ago

I think that looks even better than the original. Goes well with the center tube too. Thanks for posting the pic.

#107 1 year ago

Went out to the workshop Monday to paint the orange layer on the cabinet and immediately caught a whiff of paint odor. Past experience has taught me a couple of things about rattle can paint:

1) If it still stinks, it's too early to topcoat
2) Topcoating too soon often causes the top layer to wrinkle

Waiting is easier than starting over after screwing something up, so I decided to give it another day. Yesterday when I opened the door, the room smelled normal so I decided to paint.

Applying the second layer of stencils took FOREVER to align. After many hours, I finally had them positioned the way I wanted them. Guess who didn't think about how hard this would be without some sort of alignment key built into both layers of stencils (other than the images themselves)? Guess who was wrong?

If you ever make your own cabinet stencils, be sure to key them to one another somehow. I hear pinballpimp has a good system for this, but having never used his stuff I don't know what it is. I'll find out soon since my next project is an Old Chicago and I plan on using his stencil for that.

There were two spots on the right front where the Oracal pulled off a large and small hunk of black. Not sure why the black pulled off in those areas. It cleanly exposed the primer underneath. Maybe I pulled a tad too fast or too much upward in that area. I'm planning on feathering it out, masking off the yellow/orange graphic and touching it up.

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Other than that, it turned out pretty well for a rookie homebrew stencil job imho.

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On a safety note, if you are still using a disposable dust mask for sanding and/or painting, give serious thought to upgrading your personal protection. A dual cartridge respirator with organic vapor cartridges and a secondary particulate filter are my bare minimum go to. When I'm spraying clear or sanding something extra toxic, I get out the full face shield model and the tyvek suit. These filters were brand new and pure white at the start of work yesterday. The light orange is atomized enamel. I can almost guarantee that some of that would have snuck past the poor perimeter seal of a disposable mask and wound up in my lungs (not to mention the solvent vapors).

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The organic vapor cartridges usually come with one or two pairs of particulate filters. I buy them in bulk so I'm not tempted to be stingy with them.

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#108 1 year ago

Amazing work! Do you have the pantone color codes for the cabinet yellow and orange? I need to restore the front of a Cyclone cabinet and I believe the colors are the same.

#109 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinwizkid:

Amazing work! Do you have the pantone color codes for the cabinet yellow and orange? I need to restore the front of a Cyclone cabinet and I believe the colors are the same.

Next time I paint a cabinet I might try upgrading to automotive base. This one is rattle can. Rust-Oleum Sun Yellow and Real Orange.

#110 1 year ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

Next time I paint a cabinet I might try upgrading to automotive base. This one is rattle can. Rust-Oleum Sun Yellow and Real Orange.

Thanks! Those will probably be fine for my needs.

#111 1 year ago

Between your pics and opening up my Reese Rails yesterday I'm seriously considering painting my cabinet.

#112 1 year ago

Got the front fixed, but not without some trial and error. First I masked off the graphic with frisket, sanded a bit, filled a bit, and sanded again. It felt good to the touch so I painted. Yeah, I know, I should prime first but I was out of primer and too dang lazy to go to the store again.

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Good the the touch...but not good to the eye - not at all. Egads. From straight on it looked okay but from a side angle, the outline was plainly visible, so I wiped it off with a naptha soaked rag while the paint was still wet and started over.

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First I went to the store and got some more of one of my best rattle can friends:

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Next, I feather sanded much more broadly and carefully than the first time. After a few coats of the filler primer and a couple topcoats of black, it's all better.

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I also masked off a few places on the sides of the cab where the Oracal pulled the edge off some of the yellow and touched it up. Next week when it's all cured, I'll seal it all with semi-gloss clear for good measure.

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#113 1 year ago

When I started this thread, I was kind of nervous about the rather massive potential to screw up in public but vowed to do it anyway. (No making a mistake, fixing it behind the scenes and then moving on without including it in the documentation thread.) I figured this was the best approach to both receive helpful feedback and to act as a cautionary tale for other newbies to avoid similar pitfalls. Well folks, I officially have a major screw-up to report. Check this out:

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That's a dome in the clear that formed around a post 24-48 hours after installing it. There are also some lesser points of failure where the clear formed a halo or partial halo around posts.

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One of the interesting/horrifying things was that in some places where there are multiple posts that get rubbered as a group, the clear was slightly buckling but only on the sides of the posts that were facing each other as though the force of the rubber pulling on the posts which were snug on the playfield had actually pulled the clear in that direction.

When I discovered all this I immediately removed all of the rubber and loosened all of the posts to remove any tension. Then I said, "##!!@%**!!" and walked away to consider my folly.

I am thinking that the clear was not cured fully enough to handle pressure and tension being applied to it in such a focused way. I am really hoping that folks will share their thoughts on this. Paging vid1900 kruzman captainneo and anyone else with extensive clearcoat experiance.....

My current thought/plan is to depopulate the topside again, mix a tiny batch of clear and inject it into the areas that failed but maybe there's some other glue or technique that would be better than clear? After that I plan on walking away for as long as necessary for the clear to be hard as a freaking rock before repopulating again.

#114 1 year ago

When I did my FP, I had a similar, though less troubling issue. I noticed, as my successive coats of clear dried between sanding, that the inserts were no longer smooth the day after. "I could have sworn they were smooth to the touch yesterday" I would tell myself...what the heck? It was only AFTER I had repopulated that I learned from Vid that he recommends spraying your second to last coat of clear, then waiting a MONTH, sanding flat, then shooting the final coat. I had no idea that I had to wait that long, and I was experiencing dieback, where clear that is thicker and filling in divots is progressively flattening with time while curing and outgassing. I was fooled by posts that said the clear would be "rock hard in 48 hours" or something like that. I have a feeling that this is exactly what happened to you, only with far more serious results.

I'd take the stuff off, wait for it to cure a few days, wet sand it down flat, wait a few weeks, spray your last coat, then sand and polish for shine and then repopulate. I'm sorry this happened!

1 week later
#116 1 year ago

Okay - so after checking in with Vid and some others, the consensus is that the clear was not completely cured. I now have a decent theory as to why. Basically it all boils down to the number of coats of paint/clear/paint/clear I needed to get all the layers of various colors and details done and isolated coupled with marginal temperatures. My workshop has a wood stove for heat. I can get it really hot in there but it's really not practical to keep it warm all the time during winter. Granted, winters here in California are not super cold but apparently for 2pac, it gets cold enough to cause problems.

Where I went wrong seems to be in thinking that although I was careful to have everything at an optimal temperature for2pac application and also kept the room warm for many hours after application, having the nighttime temperature drop into the 50's or 60's was enough to prevent full evaporation of solvents from the clear. I would even give it the ol' sniff test to be sure it didn't have the telltale stink to it before moving on. What I did not know was that were I to crank up the heat, the stank of solvents would have still been there. It was cured enough to seem like it was done, but really it was in a suspended state of partial cure. To test this theory, I took the playfield outside on a sunny day and let it sit. Even on a 65 degree day, the direct sun was enough to quickly raise the surface temperature of the playfield up to roughly 105-120F. Guess what? Yup, stink-o-rama.

Are you old enough to remember the days when most folks were oblivious to the harmful effects of extensive sun exposure? I am. In high school, I actually used to go to the beach and slather tanning oil all over myself to speed up the process. Egads. To this day, the smell of coconut makes me think of summer and Hawaiian Tropic Deep Tanning Oil. Why do I bring this up? Because my playfield is now enjoying a daily regimen of sunbathing. I set it out in the morning and bring it back in late afternoon. It's working. The stink factor is much less now than it was when this all started. I suspect/hope that it is now hard enough to sand without gumming up a ton of sandpaper. I plan on giving it another week and then sanding it down a bit.

I suspect that sanding it will allow more solvent that could be trapped in lower layers to escape, so there might be another protracted period of sunbathing after the sanding. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that I carefully removed all of the wrinkles and delaminated areas with an exacto knife back when it was still soft. I found that heating it a bit with a hairdryer while performing the surgery helped a lot.

Once I have it sanded and after it no longer stinks while sunbathing, I will fill the cut out areas with 2pac, sand again, shoot a final layer of clear and then let it sit someplace warm and toasty for at least a month before proceeding.

I have a few other tasks to complete in the meantime (like making a new plastic for the end of the cycle jump and reinstalling my power board), so I will continue to post updates but not with great frequency until I have my Great Clearcoat Fiasco well in the rearview mirror.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in on Vid's restoration thread and elsewhere. All of your questions and guidance were super helpful - Pinside at it's best!

#117 1 year ago

I am glad that you are back on track! It will still be a wonderful table when done.

Just a slight correction: 2PAC doesn't have solvents; the reason it requires the constant, higher temperatures is that it hardens by endothermic reaction. If you recall middle school science, that means that the chemical reaction (between the clear and the hardener) requires energy input to catalyze properly. That's why paint will "dry" even though it could be 40 degrees in the winter (the solvent will still evaporate), but 2PAC will not harden correctly.

As an aside, when you do have it sanded and then put a final coat over, do as you said and leave it for a month...

...THEN, go and sand it one last time, and shoot another layer of clear. I didn't do that ("wait a month" was not in Vid's instructions), which led to slight dimpling in over the inserts that I had filled by dripping 2PAC into them. After a month of waiting, any areas that may dimple in slightly (according to Vid, called die-back by the professionals) can be leveled easily by now sanding them down. Then, once the surface is totally smooth, you shoot the last layer, let it cure, and then use that layer to do the progressive sand and polish to a mirror finish.

I was just lucky that the die-back was not bad enough to affect play: you can't notice it by eye, and balls still track straight over it, but you can feel it if you run your finger over it.

All the best in making this thing as good as it can be!

#118 1 year ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

I am glad that you are back on track! It will still be a wonderful table when done.
Just a slight correction: 2PAC doesn't have solvents; the reason it requires the constant, higher temperatures is that it hardens by endothermic reaction. If you recall middle school science, that means that the chemical reaction (between the clear and the hardener) requires energy input to catalyze properly. That's why paint will "dry" even though it could be 40 degrees in the winter (the solvent will still evaporate), but 2PAC will not harden correctly.
As an aside, when you do have it sanded and then put a final coat over, do as you said and leave it for a month...
...THEN, go and sand it one last time, and shoot another layer of clear. I didn't do that ("wait a month" was not in Vid's instructions), which led to slight dimpling in over the inserts that I had filled by dripping 2PAC into them. After a month of waiting, any areas that may dimple in slightly (according to Vid, called die-back by the professionals) can be leveled easily by now sanding them down. Then, once the surface is totally smooth, you shoot the last layer, let it cure, and then use that layer to do the progressive sand and polish to a mirror finish.
I was just lucky that the die-back was not bad enough to affect play: you can't notice it by eye, and balls still track straight over it, but you can feel it if you run your finger over it.
All the best in making this thing as good as it can be!

Interesting. Thank you for the correction, advice and encouragement. I assumed the stink was solvent. I wonder what causes 2pac to stink like that until it is cured?

#119 1 year ago

I'd assume that the chemical reaction releases some kind of a gas as a byproduct. That's probably what it is. Definitely something I avoided!

#120 1 year ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

I'd assume that the chemical reaction releases some kind of a gas as a byproduct. That's probably what it is. Definitely something I avoided!

Yeah - I'm guessing it's not healthy, whatever it is.

2 months later
#121 10 months ago

After the Great Clearcoat Fiasco, I had to just stuff this in a corner and forget about it. This had a great benefit to my mental state and allowed the playfield to totally cure. When enough time had passed for my mind and the playfield to both cure, I set my restoration switch to "self-inflicted repair" mode. Turns out, dripping clear into the harmed areas was not sufficient, the damage was still grossly evident. I tried several routes and finally resigned myself to the fact that what needed to happen was to drip clear into the areas where I had cut out the wrinkled clear, sand it smooth, remask the art, touch up the paint and clear it all again. Here it is as of today, three months out from the Fiasco. The clear is about a week old and has been sanded to 2000 grit. I plan to let it sit another month before final polishing and attempting to repopulate again.

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An added bonus was that I had an opportunity to correct a super goofy spacecase mistake I had made in the art. I didn't notice it until I was reassembling the playfield just before the Great Fiasco occurred. Did anyone else notice it? I was going to leave it there like a signature and see how many people noticed it over the years but since I was reclearing the whole shebang anyways I went ahead and fixed it. Here is an old picture of the playfield with the art error from April.

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And here is a picture of the section with the error corrected. Can you find it?

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#122 10 months ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

Just a slight correction: 2PAC doesn't have solvents

I think you meant to say it has a ton of solvents?

There are lots of solvents in 2PAC. That's why it eats decals if you put it on too heavy. That's why it sticks to plastic. That's what gives it that perfect flowout viscosity when sprayed. That's why it's super flammable

There is Acetone, Benzene and MEK in most 2PAC

#123 10 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

An added bonus was that I had an opportunity to correct a super goofy spacecase mistake I had made in the art. I didn't notice it until I was reassembling the playfield just before the Great Fiasco occurred. Did anyone else notice it? I was going to leave it there like a signature and see how many people noticed it over the years but since I was reclearing the whole shebang anyways I went ahead and fixed it. Here is an old picture of the playfield with the art error from April.

And here is a picture of the section with the error corrected. Can you find it?

Duck bonus /Rabbit bonus.

#124 10 months ago
Quoted from Tim_may:

Duck bonus /Rabbit bonus.

We have a winner! Might've been funny to have left it but I'm glad it's fixed.

#125 10 months ago

Glad to see you're back at it!!! Looks great, and I'm sure it will be just about perfect by the time you're done.

#126 10 months ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I think you meant to say it has a ton of solvents?
There are lots of solvents in 2PAC. That's why it eats decals if you put it on too heavy. That's why it sticks to plastic. That's what gives it that perfect flowout viscosity when sprayed. That's why it's super flammable
There is Acetone, Benzene and MEK in most 2PAC

Thanks for the clarification, Vid!

Quoted from jaytrem:

Glad to see you're back at it!!! Looks great, and I'm sure it will be just about perfect by the time you're done.

Thanks - it won't be perfect, but it'll be a lot better than what I started with. Now that I've salvaged the playfield, I will finish up the miscellaneous odds and ends on the cabinet so it's all ready to go in a month.

1 week later
#127 10 months ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I think you meant to say it has a ton of solvents?
There are lots of solvents in 2PAC. That's why it eats decals if you put it on too heavy. That's why it sticks to plastic. That's what gives it that perfect flowout viscosity when sprayed. That's why it's super flammable
There is Acetone, Benzene and MEK in most 2PAC

Apologies. I meant it in the sense that evaporation of solvents is not what causes 2PAC to "dry," it's the chemical reaction with the hardener that does.

2 months later
#128 8 months ago

I decided that after what happened the last time I went to repopulate, I would wait a good long while before giving it another go - more than the standard month. I also decided to take yet another page out of the book of vid1900 and place all of the star posts on top of thin washers. At the very least, this will prevent the common perimeter ring caused by posts screwed tight to the playfield. The posts float a hair above the playfield. You can't even tell unless you get your nose (or camera) right down there next to it.

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I have to admit that I was pretty damn nervous placing tension on that first group of posts. The Great Fiasco started gradually, almost glacially. This time, just to be safe, I decided to tension a small group in an easy-to-fix area at the top right. I placed the posts on washers, put the rubber on, crossed my fingers and walked away for the day.

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I figured that if it failed again, I would set the game aside someplace warm in the house for a year and see what happened. I felt pretty confident that all would be well though as I had run the repaired playfield through a number of readiness tests that I had not previously. Namely, I had taken in back out into the warm sunshine for a few hours and then stuck my nose up to it. No odor. That's good. Warmth is important here as I learned the last time around. A room temperature clearcoat might not give off its telltale odor even if it's not finished curing, but it will when it is warm.

The next test was the ol' fingernail test. Can I dent the clear with my fingernail? No! Good!!!

#129 8 months ago

Having passed the initial wrinkle test, I moved forward with renewed confidence with repopulating which went smoothly. I did have to repair a few screw holes that were too enlarged to hold well. There are many ways to skin this cat. I had went with wedging toothpicks in the holes with a bit of wood glue. You could nip these off with a good set of flush cut dykes. I couldn't because I misplaced mine. Rather than buy another set of dykes (since I know that they will turn up as soon as I replace them), I went with my other preferred method - a razor blade mostly wrapped in tape.

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The tape prevents the blade ends from gouging the surface. You really only need a cutting surface a bit wider than the toothpick. Careful now. Just a little pressure, wiggling the blade back and forth a bit is plenty to cut through the toothpicks with a sharp, new blade. Don't use too much pressure. You don't want the blade to go slipping through across the surface once it makes it through the picks.

#130 8 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

I also decided to take yet another page out of the book of vid1900 and place all of the star posts on top of thin washers.

I can't take the blame for that one, lol

#131 8 months ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I can't take the blame for that one, lol

Really? I thought I read that in your playfield swap guide. Either way, it works nicely, looks good and does not have a perceptible effect on ball bounce.

#132 8 months ago

I won't bore you with the details of repopulation. Suffice it to say that thankfully it all went together without a hitch. Here it is all decked out with a new corckscrew ramp from freeplay40, a new cycle jump ramp that I picked up from Marco Specialties a couple of years ago. (To the best of my knowledge, they have been out of stock there for awhile but freeplay40 makes those now, too.) Also fitted it with a new set of plastics.

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All I really need/want now is a new center ramp. The entrance to mine was broken. I was able to repair it, but it is visually subpar compared to the rest of the project. At least the repair is nice and strong and the ramp works well.

Next, I'll make some custom apron cards. I'll likely touch up the various nicks and scratches on the apron and shooter rod cover and clearcoat them, too. I also have some ideas for a custom backbox for the million shot at the end of the ramp, but that's a low priority customization that I'll probably save for winter.

For now, I am enjoying tweaking it for optimal play. My eight year-old is more than happy to play test it for me! It is now his favorite machine in the herd. I ended up removing the blued metal shooter lane protector from under the ramp drop (still in place in this photo) as I found that it adversely affected plunges too much for my liking.

#133 8 months ago

Looks amazing!!! Will be nice when Mark can finally make the Comet ramp. Mine is not bad though.

#134 8 months ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

Really? I thought I read that in your playfield swap guide. Either way, it works nicely, looks good and does not have a perceptible effect on ball bounce.

Not that I can ever recall.

I do put washers under metal posts if the wood is damaged around them; that's probably what you are thinking of.

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