(Topic ID: 291434)

DIY Stranger Things Prem/LE Darkstar 9 screen details


By Medisinyl

32 days ago

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  • 45 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 days ago by roar
  • Topic is favorited by 30 Pinsiders

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#1 32 days ago

Since my post in the main Stranger Things thread, I've received many PMs and inquiries. Seemed easiest to keep one response in a separate thread.

The video clips below give some idea of what this material looks like. While the installed video came out darker than reality for much of it (phone would auto-adjust and I was using one hand to flip), it still gives a good idea of the huge difference it makes.

I purchased the screen material here, and would recommend having 5 sample sheets (it's possible this will prove to be difficult): https://shop.elitescreens.com/store/p127/Sample_Screen_Material.html

This is the adhesive sheeting I used (I also ordered the more expensive 3M sheets, but found this cheaper option to be the easiest to work with): amazon.com link »

To achieve the results seen in the installed video, I also have 1-3 layers of cardstock in all of the large arrow inserts and some of the smaller inserts closer to the screen. Also, the back half of my right flasher is blocked with a piece of black vinyl, the lighting is dimmed in the game through settings, and I made partial cones to go over the sling LEDs (still some room to better darken this area from the screen, which perhaps I'll do later). I also pulled the LED near the shooter lane exit and it was one of the worst offenders.

Can download the parts and see instructions for the billboard and bulb cones here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4825295

-----------------------

You'll have to figure out which direction is appropriate (they're not guaranteed to be one way or the other on the sheet as I received them both ways).

When turned the proper way, the image will be perfectly viewable at all 180 degrees from the bottom to the top, but standing further than at the corner of the game left to right will start to show the ambient light rejecting feature this material has. So no matter how tall or short you are, the game will look stellar from player perspective.

When the material is received with the proper direction being the slimmest, you'll likely need to carefully remove the adhesive to get enough height for the main screen panel (the front can be rolled off, but the back may need some help with contact cleaner--alcohol will ruin the material, and goo gone was messy).

Before cuts are made to the screen material, cut enough double sided tape sheet to cover an entire sample. After pulling the one side, with it on a flat surface, line up the screen materials and carefully apply it flat (I held the other end taught and something like a credit card to slowly push the material down into place to avoid air bubbles).

For the main panel: I placed the material over the factory white panels. It was best to cut the bottom, left, and right sides to proper size beforehand. All sides could be done that way, but I chose to use an exacto knife at the top. I used a sliding cutter for most straight cuts..similar to this: amazon.com link »

For the drops: I removed the drop asssembly from underneath and removed the old decals (cleaned any remaining adhesive with 91% alcohol). With one flat side at the lower end, and the rest cut oversized, apply the material one target at a time, cutting around the edge with an exacto knife to be a perfect fit--this is larger and better looking than the smaller factory size. I found the most accurate cut to be achieved when holding the blade angled in a bit toward the material side, and holding some pressure against the target.

Ramps: These may be tricky for some. I used card stock and progressively made many cuts until I got a nearly perfect shape of the ramp decals. It's best to remove the factory pieces, but I left them in. I cut the created template in half and placed them on top of the screen material, taping them all to a large piece of glass (any hard surface will do). IMPORTANT--the screen material MUST be cut in the proper direction--templates should be laid straight up and down, not at an angle--otherwise the result will be darker and likely different between both halves).

With that arrangement for the ramp pieces, I cut around the template with an exacto knife. Test the cut before pulling the backing for installation.

Spinner: I did the same as above, but used the decal replacement that came with the game as a template (I only applied to the side facing the player when it's at rest).

Stand up targets: Apply directly over the factory piece (this keeps the rivet from interfering). Can cut to the size of the supplied replacements.

Billboard: If using my 3D file, cut to fit (I used cardstock here as well after painting and clearing).

-------

Perhaps this will help some. Please feel free to let me know what I'm forgetting or what I could make clearer.

Sorry for the blurry billboard photos (didn't pull the glass, and would lose my ball before I could get a good shot )

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#2 32 days ago

thanks so much for doing this. Will certainly give it a shot.

#3 32 days ago

Curious what it all looks like with the game/projector powered off.

#4 32 days ago

Have you cleaned the screen material on the drop targets yet? Novus 1?

#5 32 days ago

How big was the sample? I just want to do the 3 main screen panels.

#6 32 days ago
Quoted from haveaniceswim:

Have you cleaned the screen material on the drop targets yet? Novus 1?

best rubber cleaner: lemon essential oil + water 1:3 mix, works like a charm.

IF any of you have optimum cleaner (orange is color), for detailing cars, use that too, 1:6 mix or higher. Optimum is an amazing cleaner, but essential oil diluted is a much better, safer, easier approach. Lemon will also dissolve any glue so go easy.

#7 32 days ago
Quoted from PinballConspiracy:

Curious what it all looks like with the game/projector powered off.

Here's a couple pics (glass on).

My stand up targets have been on the longest and have taken a beating. All other surfaces look like they'll hold up well (bunch of games with the ramps installed and they're still flawless, and the drops look great too [some scuffing in the pics, but no effect on projection quality yet--shall see how they hold up]).

Fortunately the high wear areas are tiny and not too difficult to replace when the time comes (I have plenty extra on hand for repairs). I'm still content with the trade-off for the result, and don't foresee ever having to replace the ramps or middle board (my factory left and right boards were damaged, so perhaps one day I'll see wear on those--so far so good).

Quoted from BowlingJim:

How big was the sample? I just want to do the 3 main screen panels.

You'll need 2-3 sheets for the main board (partially depends on if they send them oriented "portrait" or "landscape" and if mistakes are made).
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#8 32 days ago

Could you laminate the high wear areas with mylar without hurting reflective performance? Or maybe too specular?

#9 32 days ago
Quoted from joetechbob:

Could you laminate the high wear areas with mylar without hurting reflective performance? Or maybe too specular?

I wondered how that may work. A clear/glossy piece would likely be an issue for the projection, but perhaps a protective layer with a more matte finish would work.

I don't have such material on hand, but perhaps I can find something to experiment with.

#10 32 days ago
Quoted from Medisinyl:Here's a couple pics (glass on).
My stand up targets have been on the longest and have taken a beating. All other surfaces look like they'll hold up well (bunch of games with the ramps installed and they're still flawless, and the drops look great too [some scuffing in the pics, but no effect on projection quality yet--shall see how they hold up]).
[quoted image][quoted image]

I see the scuffs on the drops in the picture. On the factory white screen material, Novus 1 does a good job of restoring the drops to a clean white. Do the scuffs on the Darkstar 9 material not come off when cleaned? Or is the material actually being damaged (as opposed to soiled) by the balls?

Thanks for all your efforts to improve the game!

#11 31 days ago
Quoted from haveaniceswim:

I see the scuffs on the drops in the picture. On the factory white screen material, Novus 1 does a good job of restoring the drops to a clean white. Do the scuffs on the Darkstar 9 material not come off when cleaned? Or is the material actually being damaged (as opposed to soiled) by the balls?
Thanks for all your efforts to improve the game!

I'll pull the glass later tonight when I get home and see how it goes (I have yet to clean the stand ups, so they have some weeks on them, but I expect it's damage that won't clean off).

#12 31 days ago

Thanks for the offline pics. Looks better than the stock white I like it! Are you going to do theinner sides of the ramps also?

#13 31 days ago

Also, I think you already posted a pic of it but how does this mod do during the upside down mode? Thanks

#14 31 days ago
Quoted from PinballConspiracy:

Also, I think you already posted a pic of it but how does this mod do during the upside down mode? Thanks

It's in the first video. It works very well--can finally see everything (never even noticed all the pink mountain like scenery with lightning on the drops before).

As noted in the post, the material won't help on the ramp sides due to the extreme angles.

#15 31 days ago

You make the video’s in dark, do you have an video also in daylight? If not, is this also better in (day)light? And... also better them blackdiamond?

#16 31 days ago
Quoted from Munsters:

You make the video’s in dark, do you have an video also in daylight? If not, is this also better in (day)light? And... also better them blackdiamond?

The 27 second mark of the installed video shows a moment with bright lights on (can pause here to see it). The same amount of light would have left the projection nearly invisible on the factory material.

While I haven't tried Black Diamond, it has been reported by others that it doesn't work on the ramps--Darkstar 9 does.

Regardless, I couldn't imagine a better image than what I'm getting with this material (especially with such good viewing angles, which sounds like a miss on Black Diamond), but if anyone has a way to get me some Black Diamond material, I would do a comparison (I had asked before with no luck, but did try a ton of different materials before landing on this one).

I could make another video with full bright lights if desired.

#17 30 days ago

Sucks I can’t get the samples shipped to Canada. I tried.

#18 30 days ago
Quoted from MrMikeman:

Sucks I can’t get the samples shipped to Canada. I tried.

Darn. Unfortunate to hear, but thank you for letting others know.

I'm hoping many will get to experience the game this way.

#19 29 days ago
Quoted from MrMikeman:

Sucks I can’t get the samples shipped to Canada. I tried.

I'm sure someone here would be willing to ship them to you as long as you covered the costs. I don't have a normal-be-able-to-visit-the-post-office schedule for some time or I would do it.

#20 29 days ago

Was very pleased to finally get my e-mail that my Darkstar 9 samples are on their way today. That 6 day pause between order time and confirmation had me thinking I may have an issue getting them like Medisinyl mentioned.

#21 29 days ago
Quoted from MrMikeman:

Sucks I can’t get the samples shipped to Canada. I tried.

can one of those services that receive it in the US and pass it over the border be used?
for example:

https://shippsy.com/

1 week later
#22 21 days ago

I ordered my samples the day this thread was created and just got them today. I opened up my game just to see the difference between the stock white and Darkstar 9. gotta say this material is amazing. The only drag is you can't use it on the ramps. But the main wall ramp area, the drops, the scoreboards all look 10 times better.

#23 21 days ago
Quoted from Palmer:

I ordered my samples the day this thread was created and just got them today. I opened up my game just to see the difference between the stock white and Darkstar 9. gotta say this material is amazing. The only drag is you can't use it on the ramps. But the main wall ramp area, the drops, the scoreboards all look 10 times better.

Works great on the ramps as shown in my clips. Are you sure you had it turned the proper direction to test?

The material must be almost exactly the right orientation, and it works just as well as those main surfaces (just not on the more extreme sides of the ramps).

#24 21 days ago

Mine just came in too. Looking forward to trying it out!

#25 21 days ago
Quoted from Medisinyl:

Works great on the ramps as shown in my clips. Are you sure you had it turned the proper direction to test?
The material must be almost exactly the right orientation, and it works just as well as those main surfaces (just not on the more extreme sides of the ramps).

You know what. I probably didn't now that I am looking at your photos. That is good news!

#26 18 days ago

Is there a good online 3d printing service anyone would recommend? Not seeing anywhere to get it done locally..
Got main panels done with the Darkstar 9 and so far so good..air bubbles plague me, and my exacto skills arent great but chugging along with the smaller stuff..Also, I now know what you are saying with results being darker, my panels are "darker" bc thats what the dimensions of the D9 samples kinda dictated..was worried would be too dark but it is acceptable and is looking good on camera etc..will probly go darker with the ramps and smaller stuff also to keep it unison unless testing proves too dark to see those lil demidogs trotting across the targets lol

#27 18 days ago
Quoted from PinballConspiracy:

Is there a good online 3d printing service anyone would recommend? Not seeing anywhere to get it done locally..
Got main panels done with the Darkstar 9 and so far so good..air bubbles plague me, and my exacto skills arent great but chugging along with the smaller stuff..Also, I now know what you are saying with results being darker, my panels are "darker" bc thats what the dimensions of the D9 samples kinda dictated..was worried would be too dark but it is acceptable and is looking good on camera etc..will probly go darker with the ramps and smaller stuff also to keep it unison unless testing proves too dark to see those lil demidogs trotting across the targets lol

EDIT: [From our PMs, it was realized that the material in the quote was installed incorrectly--it only works properly when the silvery appearance is arranged up and down--the darker orientation isn't a personal preference option--it doesn't work]

-------

Not sure I understand what you mean by "darker," and there shouldn't be any "too dark" with this material unless oriented improperly.

The effect will only work properly in one direction--any deviation will result in a dark/muddy image that I wouldn't consider an improvement (worse the further the deviation, up to 90 degrees).

Bubbles should be easy to avoid if you perfectly pre-cut the 3 sides mentioned in the post, then carefully apply from bottom to top (cutting any excess at the top, which will be very little if the samples were oriented in the way that proper viewing is a "landscape" rather than "portrait" [I received samples in both orientations, so it can't be assumed]--it's harder to use in the landscape orientation due to the height not working without careful cleaning of the adhesive to gain full height). For me, cutting straight lines was easiest with the sliding tool (similar to what was linked).

The demodogs and such are MUCH easier to see with the D9 material, but you'll want to put at least one piece of fitted cardstock in the inserts below and turn the lights down in the game a bit (otherwise they'll show that nearby light too much IMO).

As noted, the material will suffer noticeable damage on the stand up targets, but my drop targets still look perfect when playing (despite being able to see some light marking when the game is off, I can't detect it when projecting, even knowing they're there). I'll likely periodically replace the stand up material--it would be hard to go back to stock after seeing them this way.

#28 17 days ago
Quoted from Ottawaflip:

can one of those services that receive it in the US and pass it over the border be used?
for example:
https://shippsy.com/

I don't know. Probably have to look into it if I want the DS9 material...

#29 16 days ago
Quoted from MrMikeman:

I don't know. Probably have to look into it if I want the DS9 material...

ok let me know what you decide and maybe we can order together.

#30 12 days ago

Got mine installed last night and I love it. I only did the big screen, both ramps and the drops and I was able to do that with 3 sheets and some to spare.

Just to add some side notes:

You have to remove the old material from the drops otherwise the "4 bank drop trip" doesn't work properly.

Should also remove the old material from the ramps because otherwise the new screen will sit up above the ramp entrance plate. The height difference seemed pretty significant to me and worthy of removal.

Since I have an LE, I'm not sure where the reflection of the backglass shows up on regular glass, but with HD glass it shows up right over the big screen. Luckily there is a setting that turns down the backglass light during play and I turned it down to 25% and it made a huge difference.

Patience is key here, especially when removing the glue and paper from the DS9 sample and also when applying the adhesive to the sample so as to not get bubbles, we're talking TK lock level patience

Thanks Medisinyl for doing all the leg work!

IMG_20210502_094357 (resized).jpg
#31 11 days ago
Quoted from killborn:

Got mine installed last night and I love it. I only did the big screen, both ramps and the drops and I was able to do that with 3 sheets and some to spare.
Just to add some side notes:
You have to remove the old material from the drops otherwise the "4 bank drop trip" doesn't work properly.
Should also remove the old material from the ramps because otherwise the new screen will sit up above the ramp entrance plate. The height difference seemed pretty significant to me and worthy of removal.
Since I have an LE, I'm not sure where the reflection of the backglass shows up on regular glass, but with HD glass it shows up right over the big screen. Luckily there is a setting that turns down the backglass light during play and I turned it down to 25% and it made a huge difference.
Patience is key here, especially when removing the glue and paper from the DS9 sample and also when applying the adhesive to the sample so as to not get bubbles, we're talking TK lock level patience
Thanks Medisinyl for doing all the leg work!
[quoted image]

put up some pics of it working!

#32 10 days ago
Quoted from killborn:

Got mine installed last night and I love it. I only did the big screen, both ramps and the drops and I was able to do that with 3 sheets and some to spare.
Just to add some side notes:
You have to remove the old material from the drops otherwise the "4 bank drop trip" doesn't work properly.
Should also remove the old material from the ramps because otherwise the new screen will sit up above the ramp entrance plate. The height difference seemed pretty significant to me and worthy of removal.
Since I have an LE, I'm not sure where the reflection of the backglass shows up on regular glass, but with HD glass it shows up right over the big screen. Luckily there is a setting that turns down the backglass light during play and I turned it down to 25% and it made a huge difference.
Patience is key here, especially when removing the glue and paper from the DS9 sample and also when applying the adhesive to the sample so as to not get bubbles, we're talking TK lock level patience
Thanks Medisinyl for doing all the leg work!
[quoted image]

Glad to see others getting to experience the game with this material . Patience is indeed the key. It's not a hard job...just a tedious one to do properly. As noted, I also suggest removing the original ramp and drop decals, but you'll want to keep the original stand up decals if covering those (some may not want to deal with high wear of the stand ups with this material though).

Other lighting changes will be what's necessary to get the result I've shown.

A simple test, would be to place a couple layers of cardstock over all of the main 7 arrow inserts during attract mode, then pull them away to see how much of a difference it makes.

Even once a few layers of cardstock are cut and inserted into each insert from underneath (and all lights dimmed in settings), the sling lights (and light at the end of the shooter lane) still significantly pollute the projection quality. Putting your hands over the slings during attract and removing them will give some idea of how much those bulb cones I made can help in those areas.

#33 10 days ago

Anyone try laminating with mylar yet?

#34 10 days ago

Nice mod, video quality looks much better. I recently installed a grey projector screen in my home theater and the black levels are much better versus a white screen. Looks like the same concept here. The grey areas will also produce better black levels versus a white screen while lights are on in the room.

#35 9 days ago
Quoted from joetechbob:

Anyone try laminating with mylar yet?

It's a special fabric that only reflects light in 1 way and disperses side lighting. Putting shiny mylar on top would completely negate all positive effects of the DS9 material.

#36 9 days ago
Quoted from PanzerFreak:

Nice mod, video quality looks much better. I recently installed a grey projector screen in my home theater and the black levels are much better versus a white screen. Looks like the same concept here. The grey areas will also produce better black levels versus a white screen while lights are on in the room.

I also tried some grey theater screen material from multiple brands, but the results were mediocre.

The Darkstar 9 manages to pull off a magic trick with great black levels, far superior contrast, and good color accuracy (the other grey materials would suffer with color accuracy and brightness, and still not get the same black levels). In full screen form, it does cost significantly more than their standard Cinegray though (~30x).

#37 9 days ago

Finally got around to taking some photos. Here are some with the glass on.

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#38 9 days ago

And here is some close ups with the glass off.

I haven't added any cardstock in the inserts or tried to block any other lights. I may try that eventually.

IMG_20210504_173900 (resized).jpgIMG_20210504_173903 (resized).jpgIMG_20210504_173911 (resized).jpgIMG_20210504_173914 (resized).jpg
#39 9 days ago

Ok, I was gone from the thread a couple weeks. Is a precut kit being sold yet?

#40 9 days ago

looks really good!

#41 9 days ago
Quoted from ToucanF16:

Ok, I was gone from the thread a couple weeks. Is a precut kit being sold yet?

I'm with you on that one... I'd rather just buy a pre-cut kit from the OP and not have to deal with my shaky, should never operate an knife, hand...

Jeff

#42 9 days ago

I wonder how well the material would cut in a Silhouette or a Cricut, that would be the way to get this done without having to take on the cost of die cutting. I've got a silhouette, but don't have a Stranger Things to test it with.

#43 9 days ago
Quoted from ToucanF16:

Ok, I was gone from the thread a couple weeks. Is a precut kit being sold yet?

Quoted from jeffro01:

I'm with you on that one... I'd rather just buy a pre-cut kit from the OP and not have to deal with my shaky, should never operate an knife, hand...
Jeff

As noted, I have no intention to produce a kit, but I'd be glad to see someone else pick up where I left off to create a peel and stick solution.

Just hoped my findings and 3D files could help some while I continue to put my time into other mod development and production.

#44 8 days ago
Quoted from roar:

I wonder how well the material would cut in a Silhouette or a Cricut, that would be the way to get this done without having to take on the cost of die cutting. I've got a silhouette, but don't have a Stranger Things to test it with.

a circuit would be the way to go... I do not see why it would not work? mind you I never used one, lol

#45 8 days ago
Quoted from Ottawaflip:

a circuit would be the way to go... I do not see why it would not work? mind you I never used one, lol

The devices do cut materials of different thickness and makeup, just depends how tough the material is, it would be a fun project to work on... just need to get a STPrem to make it worth my effort to figure out

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