(Topic ID: 8540)

Do-it-yourself Translites and Plexi Replica Backglasses ?

By CrazyFliprFingrs

12 years ago


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  • 49 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by Randy55
  • Topic is favorited by 45 Pinsiders

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#1 12 years ago

I have a three part question:

Anybody ever try to build their own translites or backglasses from sandwiching acetate film or whatever clear sheet media that can accept printer ink between two layers of plexiglas or acrylic sheets?

Sources for larger size transparency positive photographic printing from a jpg file...
(Like the kind with back illumination similar to what you see in airport walkways)
Anyone know?

Manufacturers of custom translites and backglasses?

Thanks..

-1
#2 12 years ago

thats a great Question CFF
would help in bringing back many pins that are without BGs

#3 12 years ago

I'm surprised people don't make vinyl reproductions as cheap and easy ways to fix or mask a bad bg

1 year later
#4 11 years ago

Bringing this question/thread back up in case anyone might be able to offer some advice.

Got a "Doodle Bug" machine that I'd like to do this to as well.

#5 11 years ago

Yes indeed, a good question Maybe ask to some professionnel like this : http://www.kappeler.eu/index.php/fr/les-produits/caisson-lumineux?Name=Value

#6 11 years ago
Quoted from northvibe:

I'm surprised people don't make vinyl reproductions as cheap and easy ways to fix or mask a bad bg

One word - licensing!

#7 11 years ago

I figure it is relatively easy to print large images on backlit foil these days. Even the copyshop around my corner is offering such a service. The EM backglasses are also relatively easy to photoshop. The only downside could be the glass would be printed in CMYK instead of separate layers of pantone colors, and the mirroring layer can't be printed that way. Even printing the back should be possible, although it would take some trial an error to get it perfect I guess. I understand the licensing issue, so you can't sell large quantities, but who would mind if you do such a print for the game you own?

#8 11 years ago

There is someone on the west coast that does this. My Klondike - sold now - had one. It was so good, you couldn't tell it was a print, sandwiched between 2 pieces of glass. Advertise which one you need here and on RGP. Maybe he will reply to your ad.

#9 11 years ago

I did this. Google "My DIY Jolly Roger Backglass Project." Turned out amazing, and I sent the art to others who printed and were also impressed. Just takes time.

#10 11 years ago

I did this for Ghostbusters. I cut my own lexan to size and had a translite material printed from a 300ppi jpg. I think it came out great.

#11 11 years ago

There is a company doing one off restorations either printing them entirely after restoration or correcting only the areas on the glass.

http://www.bgresto.com

Paul

1 week later
#12 11 years ago
Quoted from Betelgeuse:

I cut my own lexan to size and had a translite material printed from a 300ppi jpg.

Where did you get your translite printed? Is it pretty much the same setup as a newer game's type of translite(TZ, Shadow, TAF, etc.)? How much did it cost to have printed?

#13 11 years ago

http://www.gameongrafix.com/products/pinball-translite

It's definitely thinner, more like a repro translite you might find. The quality of contrast and colors is excellent, though. They also had it at my door in just a few days. $50.

#14 11 years ago

Awesome! Thanks for the info. It's been suggested that I come up with a new version of a translite for a specific game for a fellow pinsider. Now I know that if I do come up with it, we'll have a place to print it right.

1 year later
#15 9 years ago

How much would a print shop charge to print this to a translite? I want to ensure I do not over pay.

#16 9 years ago

Your local corner print shop will charge $$$$$ because he has to send the job out to another shop.

The trick is to find out who locally has a machine that can do backlit posters.

These guys are only $20 if you live in Cali and can pick it up:

http://www.printmoz.com/backlit-posters

#17 9 years ago

So now i just need to get the firepower backglass in .jpg ?

2 months later
#18 9 years ago

When printing what size is it being printed at? I measured ST pro trans at 25 3/4" x 19"

3 months later
#19 8 years ago

If you're having it printed, the source file should be high resolution (300dpi at actual size).

IOW, ST Pro dimensions listed above translates to an image resolution of 7725x5700. Oh, and don't save it in a lossy format like JPG - use PSD, AI or TIFF instead. Don't want any compression artifacts in the final product, however minor they may be.

Commercial lithography and color separation typically uses a 150 line screen and you double that to get your dpi. Newspapers are usually 75 line, so half the resolution of a magazine - the combination of web presses and the paper they use means it won't hold as small a dot, so extra resolution would actually make the finished product look washed out. Not sure how they print the translites as I only worked in offset and that was twenty years ago, but that should help you achieve maximum output quality.

Oh, and don't ever make color separated negatives of US Currency and keep them with a list of the PMS colors. They hate that shit. But if you do, make sure you have at least enough different serial number seps for the whole plate. Emulsion side down!

#20 8 years ago

The lesson I learned is to get a high resolution scan and have it printed 1 for 1. I did this for my EBD. The scan I had was bigger than the glass that came with mine so I stupidly had it reduced to fit the outside dimensions. This caused all the score windows to be misaligned. I will have it printed off again at full size and simply trim the edges to fit. All that is really missing is the mirror elements and backlit words but I am working on that... $40 at FastSigns. National chain of sign shops. They can print big but the scanning had to be done at a local blueprint company.

IMG_3806.JPGIMG_3806.JPG
-1
#21 8 years ago

You'd have to have a large scanner to produce a .jpg of good enough quality to reprint. It might be easier to have a a graphic artist reproduced the art into a vector format so you can stretch it as small or large as you would need.

#22 8 years ago
Quoted from Pahuffman:

You'd have to have a large scanner to produce a .jpg of good enough quality to reprint. It might be easier to have a a graphic artist reproduced the art into a vector format so you can stretch it as small or large as you would need.

Whoa there, I can't imagine any scenario where that would be true. Touching up a scan is one thing, but re-creating everything as you suggested in vector format (Adobe Illustrator or something comparable) would take even a skilled user quite a long time to get even close. No, I'm pretty sure you wanna stay in the raster world on this project. Just need a good flatbed scanner or access to a drum scanner if you wanna go wizard mode on it.

#23 8 years ago

I guess it depends on the glass. I only have 1 machine and it's pretty simple artwork, so perhaps I was thinking a little selfishly. It pays to know someone in the business though!

#24 8 years ago

DSC00237.JPGDSC00237.JPG
oh man it was so ugly i did not even want to play it.

So had it printed out and then Scrapped all the BG ink away, it was actually pretty damn hard and chemicals, water etc did not seem to affect at all. Of course some fell right off.
DSC00249.JPGDSC00249.JPG
recently done for less than 30 shipped printed on white back lit material.
DSC00257.JPGDSC00257.JPG
Not bad at all as a cheap option. IF you don't have Hidden light up messages like TilT Shoot again Etc..

The dude on EBAY trying to sell BG for 300 can keep it.

Oh and thanks again! fellow pinsider, for the help!

#25 8 years ago

For $50 a local printer printed a backlit movie poster for my Flash.
I used a high res file I found on the internet.
I need to adjust the black score cut-outs.
It's not perfect, but it looks a lot better than the original glass that was completely flaked.
404937-i.jpg404937-i.jpg

2 months later
#26 8 years ago

I was thinking about trying my hand at home made back glass for my newly acquired Black Hole. The inner glass is missing.

The artwork seems to be hard to come by. Most pics are not good enough to print and contain the whole back including both glass.

I like the printing idea since I have a wide format color printer at work. It can print 36" wide by how ever long I want.

2 things I am considering... what material to print too. Mylar? I seen some high res images for BH for Virtual Pinball that some have put much time into. My hopes are that the image has multiple layers so I can ditch the displays and rotating wheel. Maybe I can print an outline of the layout to be sure it is scaled right.

I'm in the curious stage of this while I wait for parts. If I can even just print semi transparent decals I can carefully position on a piece of tempered glass. I'm thinking since a lot of the rear glass is hidden from the front.

Any more discussion to be had here? I'm leaning toward trying out printing decals.

Meistro

#27 8 years ago

As I read through this topic again I realize it would be really nice to use an original glass and scan it. My scanner is capable of 600dpi at 36" wide.

How to get my hands on a glass is another issue though as I don't know of another BH in the area let alone someone letting me bring it to work to scan.

Meistro

#28 8 years ago

What kind of scanner ya got? Where are you located?

#29 8 years ago

I have this scanner... http://www.kip.com/kip-2300.php
This printer... http://www.kipc7800color.com/

I'm 1 hour north of Chicago

#30 8 years ago

If there does happen to be anyone willing to scan their back glass I can provide them with a print of the finished product for their troubles. I want to make mine so only the seasoned pinball enthusiast might be able to tell it has been reproduced. I'm quality conscious like that This printer prints extremely high quality images in full color.

#31 8 years ago

I have one of these
http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/graphic_arts_printing/large-format-printing/printers/acuity/advance-select/index.html
But no scanner. Anyone in Dallas have a large format scanner? I'll gladly take my BH glass somewhere to be scanned...

#32 8 years ago

I am doing this with my EBD and Space Invaders. Several places in town can make me a good print from scan for around $40. The only place in town that could scan something that large is a blueprint company. Check your local yellow pages.

IMG_4224.jpgIMG_4224.jpg

#33 8 years ago

This place says they can scan paintings. I assume a back glass might fit that type of category. It seems they probably have the right scanner for the job.

I was just thinking that when it is scanned that it would probably help to mask the see through areas from the back with green paper or something so its easier to Photoshop it to transparent.

If you happen to get a quote I would be willing to scrounge up some $$ to pay for it if it is reasonable. Or possibly split the cost and send you a copy in media from my printer. It uses some kind of new tech toner that seems like a thin coat of plastic on mylar media.

I think a transparent white film would probably work the best since white is not a color I can print. Trimming the clear parts out and peeling away the film seems like it might work.

We don't usually dont do graphics with it only 24x36 line drawings in grayscale. However it does a really kick ass print of architectural renderings occasionally.

#34 8 years ago
Quoted from Meistro:

I have this scanner... http://www.kip.com/kip-2300.php
This printer... http://www.kipc7800color.com/
I'm 1 hour north of Chicago

Waukegan? Gurnee?

#36 8 years ago

Yes waukegan

#37 8 years ago
Quoted from vdojaq:

Waukegan? Gurnee?

Want to meet me there now and scan yours? I'm actually in round lake but work in waukegan where printer is.

Its only 30 minutes away. Hint hint

#38 8 years ago
Quoted from Mk1Mod0:

I am doing this with my EBD and Space Invaders. Several places in town can make me a good print from scan for around $40. The only place in town that could scan something that large is a blueprint company. Check your local yellow pages.

IMG_4224.jpg

Looks really nice. What media is it printed on?

#39 8 years ago
Quoted from angryjeep:

I have one of these
http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/graphic_arts_printing/large-format-printing/printers/acuity/advance-select/index.html
But no scanner. Anyone in Dallas have a large format scanner? I'll gladly take my BH glass somewhere to be scanned...

Wow yeah your printer is more than qualified I think. White too. Wow.

#40 8 years ago

I had it done at a place called "FastSigns" which is a national chain. I told the guy what I needed and he showed me a few examples of backlit material they could print it on. I picked the one that looked best and went with it. Sorry, I do not recall exactly what it is, but it looks pretty good on the machine. I just have a few alignment issues to resolve. I cut out the "clear" parts and sandwich it between two sheets of 1/8" acrylic. I will use my Cameo hobby vinyl cutter to make reverse images of the "Game Over," "Match," and other shrouded areas and stick them to the back.

IMG_3805.jpgIMG_3805.jpg

#41 8 years ago

I've been working on the scans that I pieced together in Photoshop of my Flipper. It's been a long process but I'm just about there now. I'll probably bring the file into a print place and do the sandwich method of 2 pieces of thin glass or lexan. Here's what the backglass currently looks like and here's the file I created to have printed. For this post I changed these to low res files to upload better.

Backglass_original_pic.jpgBackglass_original_pic.jpg

Flipper_low_Res.jpgFlipper_low_Res.jpg

Flipper_Final_Mask_Low_Res.jpgFlipper_Final_Mask_Low_Res.jpg

#42 8 years ago

Nice work!! I'm curious about what your plan is with the mask. Are you going to lay the mask directly behind the color print then sandwich them both?

The method I was thinking about was using a piece of tempered glass and printing a mirror image to the mylar finish side to glue it to the glass. I'm kinda hoping that while testing the glue doesn't ruin the clarity. Then I was thinking about masking the clear spots then spray some kind of semi transparent white to the areas I want to be lit up from behind. Finally using a mask like yours to have cut somewhere to make a one use spray mask to black out the rest of the back.

Just thought some more. I wonder how well it would work to print the mask to white semi transparent media, trim out the clear spots, then kinda laminate it to the back of the color print? Thats a lot of ink to dump out hoping it will be enough to block the light.

#43 8 years ago

You know, I haven't done this before so the mask hasn't been thought out too much. But this is what I'm thinking- 1st layer = blank thin glass. 2nd layer = the print. 3rd layer = blank thin glass. On that 3rd layer I'm thinking I'll use frisket and trace out the mask on the frisket. Then I'll cut along all of the white/black boundary with an exacto knife. Then remove the black part. I'll then pick a flat black spray from a can? Do as many coats as nessesary to make it block the light. That's kind of what I'm thinking. Like anything it'll be a work in progress with changes on the fly, but at least I'll have a good print to use and I won't have to touch that in any way. The rest is just glass and spray paint. We'll see.

#44 8 years ago

I have Flipper down as a Shay produced glass, from the Mondial Gottlieb LLC list.

#45 8 years ago
Quoted from Catch86:

You know, I haven't done this before so the mask hasn't been thought out too much. But this is what I'm thinking- 1st layer = blank thin glass. 2nd layer = the print. 3rd layer = blank thin glass. On that 3rd layer I'm thinking I'll use frisket and trace out the mask on the frisket. Then I'll cut along all of the white/black boundary with an exacto knife. Then remove the black part. I'll then pick a flat black spray from a can? Do as many coats as nessesary to make it block the light. That's kind of what I'm thinking. Like anything it'll be a work in progress with changes on the fly, but at least I'll have a good print to use and I won't have to touch that in any way. The rest is just glass and spray paint. We'll see.

I hear ya. I'm waiting for parts so thats all I'm doing is thinking haha. I like your thinking about having the glass behind being the blackout piece. Saves the print from any reaction to paint. Thinking about the blackout print, since your cutting away all the black leaving the mask, it might be good to cut away to no color on most of the black area. Like leave a thick 1" of black around each mask so you at least know to cut the inside of it. It would reduce the amount of ink to a fraction.

I can't wait to try this I still don't have spit for reference graphics so I'll try my hand at printing the spinning disk first I guess. I figure clear film then use that elmers water based general purpose spray adhesive. I happen to have 1/8" white acrylic.
Gottlieb_1981_Black_Hole_Scan_of_Spinning_Disc_200dpi_.jpgGottlieb_1981_Black_Hole_Scan_of_Spinning_Disc_200dpi_.jpg

I don't know what the hell I'd do with myself if I didn't have a broken pinball laying around.

#46 8 years ago

The more I think about it I don't think I'll need to have the mask printed. Since it's just a mask for allowing the lights to highlight parts of the glass I think I can just print out sections at a time with a regular printer so I can trace them out. This way I'm only paying for the actual print and not a mask that I would cut up. Although I guess I could print out the mask as well and just sandwich them together between the 2 pieces of glass. The thinking is that there are no lights behind the rest so how much bleed will I get? I don't know. Worse case is I print out both and the mask isn't opaque enough and I have to spray the 2nd glass anyway. Trial and error for the next time I guess.

#47 8 years ago
Quoted from Meistro:

I seen some high res images for BH for Virtual Pinball that some have put much time into. My hopes are that the image has multiple layers so I can ditch the displays and rotating wheel. Maybe I can print an outline of the layout to be sure it is scaled right.

So you have some sort of file? I would then bring it into Photoshop and edit it and add layers as needed.

#48 8 years ago

Has anyone tried acrylic facemounting for one of these?

3 years later
#49 5 years ago

So what size should I have the print printed as how to make your score Reel Steel fit my glasses 25.5 by 28.5

15416357514841117601692 (resized).jpg15416357514841117601692 (resized).jpg
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