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(Topic ID: 236711)

DE Simpsons

By polyacanthus

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 47 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by PinballManiac40
  • Topic is favorited by 17 Pinsiders


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#1 1 year ago

Getting started on restoring my newly acquired DE Simpsons playfield.

I like project machines which always require a full tear-down and cleaning. It's fun to find and fix all the hidden broken stuff and make things work like new. Then I see how yellowed and worn the playfield is and decide I need to touch things up, which means clearcoating, and what better time than while it's already torn down? So into the rabbit hole I go!

Here's an overview. I need to recreate Moe and a few other areas, but overall not too bad. We'll see how the mylar goes. I've already removed the top mylar above the top lanes since it was peeled up on a corner already and only lost a few flakes there so that wasn't too bad. I will have to see about the inserts too, some are raised a bit.

If anyone has a scan of the trouble areas they could help me out with I'd be much abliged! Also going to need plastics like everyone else, if anybody has theirs apart and could scan their plastics that would be awesome, I could try to recreate them.

Funny to think when they made this I'm sure they didn't expect the show would still be running 30 years later and pinball would be GAINING in popularity! And nobody would have a flying car.

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#2 1 year ago

Here's the small top mylar removed with most of the glue cleaned off. It went pretty well so I'll proceed with the rest of it. I've never removed it from a full playfield before but I've always had good luck with canned air, gentle touch, and patience. The flakes that did come off were around the edges of the mylar.

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#3 1 year ago

I can't scan it since my DE Simps has been reassembled for a couple of years, but here are the two best photos of my Moe area.

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#4 1 year ago
Quoted from jibmums:

I can't scan it since my DE Simps has been reassembled for a couple of years, but here are the two best photos of my Moe area.
[quoted image][quoted image]

That helps a lot, thanks!

Started at the top of the main mylar, going great so far.

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#5 1 year ago

Got the rest of the mylar off. Only lost a little paint on Marge's hair and by the chalkboard targets, but I knew those were already bad under the mylar. Unloaded three cans of air. Now the fun of taking the glue off.

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#6 1 year ago

Spent most of the afternoon working on the mylar glue. This is the toughest I've dealt with by far. Through some experimentation I've found I can get it off in 3 passes with isopropyl alcohol and flour.

First I use the flour and alcohol and just let it soak for a bit. Then I scrape the bulk of the glue off with a plastic putty knife, being careful not to dig into the paint or clip the edges of inserts. While it's still soft I use the usual flour and alcohol method to loosen up what's left and rub it off with my fingers, then wipe clean with a paper towel. This glue really doesn't ball up well but the flour does help make a gooey slurry that can be wiped off. Finally I go after any remaining residue or tough spots with magic eraser squares damp with alcohol, wiping clean with a paper towel damp with alcohol.

I've been using 91% isopropyl, tomorrow I'm going to see if I can find any higher concentration.

Here's a pic. Working from the top down in sections I'm down to about the top of the sofa. It's tedious but the paint is staying on the inserts so I'm going to keep going with this method. I think it'll be worth it in the end.

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#7 1 year ago
Quoted from polyacanthus:

.....a gooey slurry.....

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#8 1 year ago

No such luck finding higher concentration isopropyl, bit with a bit of elbow grease and a couple evenings of quality time with the playfield I was able get all the glue off. After that I gave it a thorough scrub with alcohol and magic eraser. Lost some flakes of paint here and there but nothing that broke my heart. Worth it to get a clearcoat on there for the long run.

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#9 1 year ago

I'm not a stickler for a pristine shooter lane like some people. This playfield isn't going to fool anyone into thinking it's minty new. But after cleaning up the ball trail grime the light colored wood where the lacquer has worn away sticks out like a sore thumb. It only took a few minutes to blend it in with some amber shellac and a fine brush.

Before and after. Not perfect but much better I think.

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#10 1 year ago

Yesterday I was able to remove all the raised inserts.

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#11 1 year ago

Okay, looking for suggestions on removing the glue from the insert holes. It is very gummy, unlike any inserts I've dealt with before. It's too soft to be scraped, and won't ball up with flour and solvents. It just sits there laughing at me! Ideas?

#12 1 year ago

I had planned on epoxying in the inserts as I've done on other playfields. But epoxy isn't going to hold on to that soft residue. Absent any better ideas for removing the remaining glue, I think I'll use E6000. It sounds like that's probably the type of adhesive that was used originally anyway, and it should stick to whatever residue I can't remove.

#13 1 year ago

I got all the inserts glued in last night. Nice and flat now. Lost some paint around the edges but it was loose anyway where it was being pushed up away from the wood. Should have a solid base now for the clear. You can also see I started sanding with 600 grit paper. There is ever so little clearcoat (lacquer I assume) atop the paint.

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#14 1 year ago

Another thing I wanted to fix before the first coat of clear was the gouges above the bowling pin drops. It looks like at some point the wireform backer snapped off (I still need to remove the broken ends embedded in the wood) and the ball made some nice gouges at the back of that opening.

I roughed up the wood and made a dam of painter's tape, then filled the gouges with epoxy.

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#15 1 year ago

I sold mine almost a year ago and every time I see one I miss mine , not a bad playfield to touch up cause of the rough lines and font, you can kind of improvise and it still looks good. Looks like you have made a good start, I will post some pics of mine later.

#16 1 year ago

What epoxy is that? Looks like it blends very well

#17 1 year ago

looking good so far keep posting pics cant wait to see the finished product.

#18 1 year ago
Quoted from Asmig:

What epoxy is that? Looks like it blends very well

Well I did give the cliffs notes version, wasn't sure if anyone was actually following along!

It's just clear two part epoxy. In the third photo you can see the corner on it but you can tell it's clear epoxy. Had I thought about it at the time I should've mixed in some west systems fibers to make it stronger, but I believe with the proper rubber and back wire support the ball shouldn't be hitting this edge and cracking my epoxy.

I used a bamboo skewer to put in some 15 minute epoxy last night. This morning I removed the tape and sanded it square, but due to the viscosity it wasn't completely level, I expected it wouldn't be. Then I scratched up the smooth surface of the divets in the epoxy, and applied a little 5 minute epoxy and scraped it off smooth with a putty knife at a 45 degree angle. After that hardened I sanded it and painted with artist acrylic mixed to match the wood color as best I could.

#19 1 year ago

Finished touching up other various bare wood areas like around the up kicker holes and rollover slots. Then finished sanding everything with 600 paper and then again with gray scotch brite to make sure to get in all the divets for the clear to stick. Wiped it down well with naptha and will drop it off at the body shop tomorrow!

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#20 1 year ago

Here is a couple of mine, might help for reference.

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#21 1 year ago

Thanks! Those will help. I'm checking my phone every 5 minutes to see if the body shop called to tell me the playfield is ready. Meanwhile I have yellow pop bumper bodies coming from Australia (one of mine had two corners broken) and yellow double posts coming from Germany. Gotta love the internet age. Thinking about picking up a tumbler to polish the hardware.

1 week later
#22 1 year ago

I called the body shop yesterday to make sure I hadn't missed a call and it sounds like he forgot about my playfield maybe I'll get it this week.

Meanwhile I've been cleaning all the parts. I thought I'd show my plastic situation. The large left and right plastics have been broken and attempted to be repaired many times over. Looks like a lot of super glue has been used so there's a lot of frosting from the vapors.

I acquired a new right side plastic on eBay. I haven't peeled the protective film off except for a corner to check it out and it looks pretty nice. It makes me wonder who produced it, when, and was a whole set produced? And if so can they make more? The seller didn't know those answers, maybe someone here would know.

Sling plastics are pretty good shape but center plastic is completely missing so I don't have a template to work from there. If someone would even trace theirs so I'd have a shape that would be helpful.

I'll also need to repair or get a new "photo with bigfoot" plastic. I always wash plastics with dawn and warm water, the paint started to dissolve on that one, which I've never seen before, it must've been damaged, maybe the vapors from the super glue did it, who knows.

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#23 1 year ago

Hurray, got my playfield back today! Looks good enough to play on as is so that's a good start.

Right away I noticed how much the clearcoat soaked into the bare wood grain where the original paint was worn away, so I'll need at least another coat to level it. Hopefully not two. Also some areas of planking were accentuated.

You can definitely see the tiny ripples where the clear conformed to the swirls and cracks in the paint.

The shooter lane came out nicely, I didn't sand it down completely but the little bit of shellac blended what was bare nicely with the patina of the original top coat. It's not perfect but it doesn't catch your eye for sure, and that's what I'm going for here.

I'll include some pics of the problem areas I'd like to fix.

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#24 1 year ago

Been spending some time mixing batches of paint. I paint little test patches on the clearcoat as I go and clean them off later. Haven't done yellow yet, expecting that one to be the hardest to match.

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#25 1 year ago


#26 1 year ago

Thanks for the pics!

Does anyone have a picture of the bicycle Lisa decal on the right ramp? I'd love to reproduce it.


#27 1 year ago

It would need some Photoshop work but here's mine.

#28 1 year ago
Quoted from polyacanthus:

It would need some Photoshop work but here's mine.
[quoted image]

Ooh, you're a champion. Will see how I go with it....if I forget, please send me a PM.


#29 1 year ago

Been following along and like how this is going.

#30 1 year ago

I wet sanded with rubber block with 400 grit. That revealed all the low areas clearly, then I cheated a little bit before sanding to 600. Because I'm taking this to a body shop for clearcoating I want to minimize the coats I'll need. I'm hoping I can get it flat enough to paint with a second coat, so I painted low areas like gouges and overtightened post divets with polycrylic. After a couple days I wet sanded again with 600 which feathered the edges of the poly. It looks like with that little extra build most of my white under plastic areas are smooth enough for paint so I'll hit those before my second clearcoat.

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Edit: Oh yeah, before I started sanding I scanned the whole playfield, I'll work on some decals while it's at the shop.

I also used some epoxy wood filler to fill the "extra" operator screw holes and sanded them smooth. I filled 6 holes from drywall screws

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#31 1 year ago

I wanted to get some painting in before the next coat of clear. I figured I could paint the white areas since they're not directly visible so the small leveling imperfections will be hidden. Although they are pretty smooth as is. I sprayed the white I had previously mixed to match areas protected by the mylar. It came out a lot darker than I expected, maybe I hadn't mixed well enough when matching. I thought I'd just leave it and see what it looks like after clear. If nothing else it'll be a decent base coat for a brighter coat. I also painted some key lines while I was at it, that always makes things start to look nice. I filled the holes for the wire behind the bowling pins with epoxy with colloidal silica filler since they were enlarged. I'll redrill them later.

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1 week later
#32 1 year ago

Got the playfield back today and it's looking pretty snazzy. Looks like everything is pretty much flat enough to paint. I will paint brighter white over what I did previously but it's already looking nicer.

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1 week later
#33 1 year ago

Finally got everything sanded back down, it's not perfectly smooth but it'll have to do. I also have 11 bottles of color mixed and ready to go. Finally the fun part! Tonight I got started on Bart. I used Model Master acrylic for the yellow, I feel like it covers really well for yellow. I sprayed 6 coats allowing drying to the touch in between. I can still see the shadow of wood underneath, so I'll probably scuff it carefully and spray more tomorrow.

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#34 1 year ago

Yellow didn't go well. Needed too many coats to hide the wood and it came out too thick and rubbery, so I cleaned it off and will circle back around to it. In the meantime got some red around the pops, upper rollover lanes, and Bart's slingshot. Tonight sprayed some orange spots as shown, will pull the frisket in the morning. Started the lines around the left lock and brushed in some details like the bear's rear end.

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#35 1 year ago

For the yellow, lay down a base with white first. That should cover the wood and give you a good base coat. Then put down the yellow coat

#36 1 year ago

Indeed. I thought I could get away without a base coat here but I was mistaken. I try to avoid it when I can because when you sand the edge smooth you often reveal the white base. That's what happens when you try to cheat

#37 1 year ago

Got some more done today, it's beginning to look like something. Got some yellow borders and key lines done around the bowling pin drops and left lock, and a lot of light blue: upper river, starburst around bowling ball, right standup targets, insert borders, kickback, and lower Bart background.

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1 week later
#38 1 year ago

Yellow on Bart came out much better with some white base coat this time.

I was also able to get scans of Moe and the waterfall off a NOS playfield this weekend at PATZ, thanks a million to Sir Ron @Kruzman !

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#39 1 year ago

Got some purple and green done. Looking good but still so much to do!

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#40 1 year ago

It's fantastic to have the scans. I printed the area I needed and attached a piece of tracing paper to the back. Then aligned it, taped it down, and used a dull pencil over the lines to transfer to the playfield.

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#41 1 year ago

Need to clean up some lines but Moe is coming together.

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10 months later
#42 8 months ago

Thread resurrection! This project was set aside just after my previous post until just recently. I got a little burned out and sidetracked with other hobbies and outdoor activities but I'm back at it.

I'll get some more pics but here's how the waterfall turned out.

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#43 8 months ago

Looks sweet man! For some reason that waterfall spot gets worn on every single Simpsons ever. Good job fixing it!

#44 8 months ago

looking great, I enjoyed touching mine up, what made it easier for me was the outlines are crooked so if its not exactly like original it doesn't stand out. hardest part for me was matching the colors.

#45 8 months ago

Glad your back on the project

#46 8 months ago

Moe is just about there. Could be better but it'll do. I think I'll put my decals on the next coat of clear.
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#47 8 months ago

Talent right there

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