Firepower: My first pin, my first teardown


By shutyertrap

4 years ago


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There are 92 posts in topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 4 years ago

Firepower is the first table I've ever owned. Other than playing pinball, I have zero experience with shopping or fixing a machine. That being said, isn't part of the fun of owning tearing the thing apart and making it better?

Mechanically my machine works. I don't have anything to trouble shoot, the electronics seem fine. I'll get to rebuilding the pop bumpers, rebuilding the flippers. I need to adjust the contacts on some of the targets as they'd register maybe 75% of the time. In other words, the table definitely needs a tune-up, but it is totally playable as is. It's just not as fun as it should be!

I picked the table up for $500 from a guy that had owned it for the past 15 years. I don't think he did one lick of maintenance on it. Put it to you this way...the batteries were 17 years old based on the best used by date. Fortunately there was no corrosion and somebody had put in the battery holder away from the boards. The playfield has some wear. It also has a really horrible touch up paint job right in the center. If this table was ever waxed, it's long gone now.

My game plan is to deal with the playfield first. At the minimum, deal with the bad paint that is now bumpy and horrible to look at. I've looked at Vid1900's playfield restoration thread, and he's offered to guide me through doing mine. I don't have remotely the budget to just buy a new CPR playfield, so using this as an educational plunge into the deep end it is!

So here I am, a month after purchasing. The playfield is now completely depopulated. Apart from an initial wipe down when I got it home, I haven't cleaned it. Let the journey begin!

pf_pulledt.jpg pf_pulled_2t.jpg pf_pulled_3t.jpg

#2 4 years ago

Awesome, I love these threads !

#3 4 years ago

I love firepower, I picked up a beautiful example of the game from tracelifter a few months back and it will not be leaving my collection. Good luck with your project and please keep updating your progress...

#4 4 years ago

Gonna throw a bunch of pics up. Give ya a taste of what I'm up against.

Playfield_lower_1.1.jpg PF_Det_1.1.jpg lanes_2t.jpg pop_area_t.jpg upper_left_1t.jpg eject_guide_crooked_t.jpg

#5 4 years ago

Good luck and thanks for sharing the photos.

#6 4 years ago

Here's my old and new:-)

P1010020.JPG

#7 4 years ago

Good luck OP. Fun pin!

#8 4 years ago

Playfields are night and day different...good luck

#9 4 years ago
Quoted from Andy_B:

Here's my old and new:-)

Which is which?
(Kidding. What a huge improvement that will be.)

Looks good so far. Good luck and have fun with this!

#10 4 years ago
Quoted from Andy_B:

Here's my old and new:-)

Did the original playfields start out white too, or was that a CPR choice?

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

Did the original playfields start out white too, or was that a CPR choice?

They used to be white.

#12 4 years ago

Chris,

As you know, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

Job one, politely beg for a 300 dpi or higher scan of the lower playfield.

Job two, buy all your Createx paints.

#13 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Chris,
As you know, you have a lot of work ahead of you.
Job one, politely beg for a 300 dpi or higher scan of the lower playfield.
Job two, buy all your Createx paints.

One member emailed me a file with the entire playfield broken down 12 hi res jpegs a few weeks back. I could stitch them together in photoshop and color correct if need be.

Or are you suggesting someone with a brand new playfield like Andy_B there maybe pm's me with some nice photos? (hint hint)

I'll get the paint in the next week. In the meantime, shouldn't I clean this first? Not sure what to use, or will anything be fine?

#14 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

Or are you suggesting someone with a brand new playfield like Andy_B there maybe pm's me with some nice photos? (hint hint)

You don't want photos, because you don't want to spend 2 hours in Photoshop dicking with sizes and whatnot.

You want an actual scan of the lower playfield (or better yet, the whole thing).

Quoted from shutyertrap:

shouldn't I clean this first?

Yes, you should.

Your playfield has lots of worn sections and checking, so you don't want anything water based that is going to swell the wood and make it worse.

Naphtha would be your choice.

#15 4 years ago

Happened to have a can of Naphtha in the garage, and the wife has a magic eraser, so I guess I know what I'm doing this weekend.

#16 4 years ago

Great pin! Killed it back in the day! Most important thing for you is to: have fun, enjoy what your doing, enjoy playing your gem, and start to think about pin number two. Great job!~SpOoKy

#17 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

nd the wife has a magic eraser, so I guess I know what I'm doing this weekend.

Be careful with the eraser.

It is the same as 1000 grit sandpaper, so you WILL be removing paint if you are not watching what you are doing.

#18 4 years ago

Be careful with the eraser.
It is the same as 1000 grit sandpaper, so you WILL be removing paint if you are not watching what you are doing.

So just use a rag instead? Or use the eraser only for spots that warrant it? Guess I'll use the rag first and see where it gets me then.

I did stitch together that file of playfield images. I really don't know if it's a photo or scan, though I don't see any curvature to the image so I'm leaning toward it being a scan. I played with the brightness in photoshop to get the whites white without washing everything out. The upper field doesn't line up nice like the lower, off by little fractions. Even the lower, you'll notice on the left at the orange burst, it's slightly off but corrects real quickly.

I also put in an email request to one of the guys I interviewed at FarSight, who make The Pinball Arcade. Crossing my fingers that maybe they can provide me with what they used to recreate Firepower in their game. It's a long shot, but you never know.

My_LPF_stitch_web_vers.jpg

#19 4 years ago

Ha! I actually just noticed something about that image that changes my mind about it being a scan. If you look at the holes, you can see the inner edge on the upper portion of each hole EXCEPT where the left flipper would be, which is the exact opposite! Would think with a scan you wouldn't see any edge at all. Still, the planet pattern is well represented.

Also, I made mention of the upper playfield not lining up nicely and therefore didn't bother showing a pic of that. Just wanted to clarify. This was also something I whipped up without spending much time on. I have a friend with much better Photoshop skills, if push comes to shove I'll give the file over to him and see what he can whip up.

#20 4 years ago

Okay, close up pics of table after I went over it with a rag dipped in naphtha. Took these outside so the 'problems' would really pop. Yikes!

There are areas all over on the natural wood, usually around screw holes, with some kind of black schmootz, yet to the touch it is flat. No matter how hard I scrubbed with the rag, nothing. Then ya got all the pink circles, which is from the red posts that hold the rubber. Lovely. Or even just the difference in color of the wood that was hidden compared to that which was exposed.

It seems anywhere there was a bell spacer (under the metal ball guides) or red post, it looks like it was torqued good and hard so there is a physical ring in the playfield. Will that need to be filled? Or is that just what happens anyways? There are some areas that will for sure need filling, like the pit that was created when the original post holding up the end of the left inlane guide got broken off into the field, and a new post was screwed in just below it, creating a nice trench!

I haven't removed the mylar protectors yet, around the pops and the slingshots. I have the canned air to freeze 'em, or I have a heat gun to melt. Or do I leave 'em?

I for sure need to replace one of the star inserts, should I just replace both? For that matter, should I start fresh on all the inserts? The 3 blue inserts on the right for the targets, they're light purple (why, I don't know). Nothing seems cupped, but then I haven't taken a metal ruler to everything yet either.

You'll notice the discoloration of the red laser and the yellow afterburner. The cracking in the 'white' area. The chips of paint exposing wood. And then there's that botched retouch. That's gotta be sanded, yeah? Actually, most of the screw holes have wood raised up around them. Push it in or sand? Some idiot had used too long of a screw from the underside and it split the surface wood. I used some wood glue and a clamp and flattened it as best I could. It's under the apron though, so not really concerned.

Please, comments are welcome. I'll pick up my Createx paint tomorrow, as this weekend didn't allow me to get to the store for it. In the interim I dusted off the undersides of the inserts, straightened bulbs. Okay, I just felt like touching things on the thing!

So....next step Vid?

wood_color_t.jpg pink_fade_t.jpg pink_fade_2_t.jpg insert_purple_chipped_t.jpg inlane_2_hole_t.jpg

#21 4 years ago

More...

discolored_yellow_t.jpg discolored_red_t.jpg cracking_white_t.jpg

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

There are areas all over on the natural wood, usually around screw holes, with some kind of black schmootz, yet to the touch it is flat. No matter how hard I scrubbed with the rag, nothing.

Normal oxidation, don't worry about it.

Quoted from shutyertrap:

Then ya got all the pink circles, which is from the red posts that hold the rubber.

That is the red dye from the posts leeching onto the white paint. Again, normal.

Quoted from shutyertrap:

It seems anywhere there was a bell spacer (under the metal ball guides) or red post, it looks like it was torqued good and hard so there is a physical ring in the playfield. Will that need to be filled?

No.

Quoted from shutyertrap:

I haven't removed the mylar protectors yet, around the pops and the slingshots. I have the canned air to freeze 'em, or I have a heat gun to melt. Or do I leave 'em?

If you are not clear coating the playfield, leave them.

Quoted from shutyertrap:

I for sure need to replace one of the star inserts, should I just replace both? For that matter, should I start fresh on all the inserts?

Only replace cracked or faded inserts. Don't put a lot of money or time into things that won't make a difference in the end.

Remember , you can buy a new one for $599.

Quoted from shutyertrap:

The 3 blue inserts on the right for the targets, they're light purple (why, I don't know).

Fade from UV. (unless someone replaced them with EM purple ones, LOL)

Quoted from shutyertrap:

Nothing seems cupped, but then I haven't taken a metal ruler to everything yet either.

If they were cupped, you would see it w/o a ruler.

Quoted from shutyertrap:

Actually, most of the screw holes have wood raised up around them. Push it in or sand?

Tap them back down with the round end of a nut driver handle.

#23 4 years ago

Last ones...

cracking_white_2_t.jpg botched_retouch_t.jpg

#24 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Normal oxidation, don't worry about it.

That is the red dye from the posts leeching onto the white paint. Again, normal.

No.

If you are not clear coating the playfield, leave them.

Only replace cracked or faded inserts. Don't put a lot of money or time into things that won't make a difference in the end.
Remember that when they rerun these playfields, you can buy a new one for $599.

Fade from UV.

If they were cupped, you would see it w/o a ruler.

Tap them back down with the round end of a nut driver handle.

Wow. Fast answers!

Thanks Vid, that helps. I'll check those inserts with a ruler then. I don't plan on going with LED lights, but maybe instead of replacing the purpled inserts, I'll correct with those instead.

#25 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

I don't plan on going with LED lights, but maybe instead of replacing the purpled inserts, I'll correct with those instead.

Show a pic of the inserts lit by daylight from behind .

#26 4 years ago

Trap, my FP playfield could almost be the twin of yours. Same wear in the same spots, same dye leeching, raised arrow inserts, raised wood around screwholes, etc. Will be watching this thread very closely and paralleling your efforts. Good luck with the resto.

#27 4 years ago

Show a pic of the inserts lit by daylight from behind .

Here we are. Sorry for the quality, was balancing playfield upright with one hand and the camera with the other!

daylight_inserts_2_t.jpg daylight_inserts_1_t.jpg

#28 4 years ago

Okay Vid1900...next step?

paint.JPG

#29 4 years ago

Next step:

If you are replacing those 3 inserts that have totally faded, this is the time.

Remove Mylar.

Mask off and sand flat the lumpy repainted sections.

#30 4 years ago

What kind of grit should I use for sanding the lumps?

I'll get an order in too for those inserts. Would now be also the time to re-seat any of the arrow inserts that are slightly poking up?

#31 4 years ago

Try 400 and see if it makes a dent. Really depends on how thick it is and what kind of paint it is.

Reseat proud inserts.

Put some epoxy on the back of ALL the inserts to keep them from ever moving.

#32 4 years ago

One last question for the night...

The inserts with decals on them that are not 100% (or all of them for that matter), should I remove the existing decal now too? More importantly, what do I use to remove them? I'll have the new decals ready to go in a few days.

#33 4 years ago

Was kinda glad to see that nail in the tear down pic... I just tore down my FP for a PF swap and I also have the nail in the same spot. Preston from Game Room Junkies said he's seen that before too as a manufacturer after thought to support large plastics... I thought it was a hack at first.

-Steve Ridge
Louisville, KY

#34 4 years ago

Best of luck with the resto!

#35 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

One last question for the night...
The inserts with decals on them that are not 100% (or all of them for that matter), should I remove the existing decal now too? More importantly, what do I use to remove them? I'll have the new decals ready to go in a few days.

Those are not decals, that is screen printed black ink.

You can use a freshly sharpened chisel at a 90* angle (yes, 90* degrees) and the old ink just flakes off the face of the inserts.

#36 4 years ago

Took a ruler to all my inserts...virtually every one of them is cupped The only ones that aren't, yeah that'd be the 3 that are now purple!

I watched a video on removing inserts (use heat gun till warm, nut driver to tap 'em out). Same series of videos showed how to sand 'em down (400 grit to start, then progressing all the way to 1500). Seems doable, but then I also read a thread on here about how easy it is to crack inserts upon removal. What to do, what to do. The 'proud' inserts are my arrows, and I didn't see a trick for removing those.

Because I don't do anything without knowing there's a safety net first, I've been trying to track down replacement inserts just in case. Of coarse, I can't seem to find replacements for everything in the rounds. My hesitation toward replacing the purpled inserts is that I can only find starbursts, while everything else on the table is not. I'll have to think a bit about that. Also, I'm really trying to not spend where I don't need to.

Hmmm, time to find more videos!

#37 4 years ago

The 'proud' inserts are my arrows, and I didn't see a trick for removing those.

Don't remove them. Warm them up and level them with a clamp and block of wood. Epoxy from the rear when cooled.

clamping.jpg

#38 4 years ago

Well.....I went a little nuts last night!

I went to remove the bad star rollover, used a little too much heat gun, and melted it a touch. No biggie, since I needed to buy a new one anyway. Figuring I may as well replace both, I tapped out the other one cold. Didn't take much, it came right out.

Why stop there? I tapped out the 3 purple inserts. Again, didn't take much to convince them to come out. By the way, they be purple through and through. I don't think they ever started out blue, as even the edges are purple. They can't be original, can they?

Before I knew it, I was tapping out everything. Yep, even the arrows. The glue wasn't holding things is too well, and like I said, EVERYTHING was cupped, so I figured do it all. This morning I went to finish the job. All I had left were the white opaque bonus inserts. First 4 came out no prob. Then it finally happened. Tapping the same as I had before, when #7 came out, a piece of the edge stayed behind. Dammit, first broken. Not having learned my lesson yet, #6 did the same thing! So out came the heat gun, but with much more care this time, I'd warm up an area for 5 or 6 secs, tap a little, warm again, and then they'd pop right out.

So now I'm gonna sand the lot. Needed to buy some 400 grit to smooth out the raised paint, guess I'll throw some 600, 1200, and 1500 into the cart too for some wet sanding. As for the broken inserts, pbresources sells 'em, so I'm not worried there. Depending on what color they restore to after sanding, I might need to just order up new whites for the lot.

Now, here's my question regarding removing mylar. Freeze or heat? Someone raised the point that freezing is good for newer playfields, not so good for my era as it might take up the paint. Thoughts?

inserts_b4_t.jpg inserts_b4_2_t.jpg blurple_t.jpg blurple_2_t.jpg

#39 4 years ago

Beautiful La Habra.

#40 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

They can't be original, can they?

Hard to say. I've seen lane guides turn purple with fade, but replace all 5 so the whole playfield matches.

Same with white inserts, if you replace any, the others will look yellow; so do them all.

#41 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

Now, here's my question regarding removing mylar. Freeze or heat? Someone raised the point that freezing is good for newer playfields, not so good for my era as it might take up the paint. Thoughts?

IF the playfield feels flaky, go with a hair dryer and slowly pull it up.

#42 4 years ago

This project is so close by, that I can smell the old mylar glue blowing in the wind. Are you near Harbor and Imperial?

#43 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

This project is so close by, that I can smell the old mylar glue blowing in the wind. Are you near Harbor and Imperial?

I'm right by Costco at Beach and La Habra Blvd. You know you wanna help o-din!

#44 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

You know you wanna help o-din!

I was more thinking that since that is your only pin, you may want to play one that works.

Black Knight perhaps?

#45 4 years ago

o-din, throw out the invite and I'll find the time to take you up on it!

#46 4 years ago

I may be meeting NimblePin over at Pallazzos after work. I noticed you said you might go there, too.

#47 4 years ago

I'm a little late to the thread, but good luck with the restore! I put a lot of quarters into Firepower growing up... great game!

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

So now I'm gonna sand the lot. Needed to buy some 400 grit to smooth out the raised paint, guess I'll throw some 600, 1200, and 1500 into the cart too for some wet sanding.

Don't sand them too much, they are already very thin.

Clean em up and let the clear coat level them off.

#49 4 years ago

Looks like Bay Area Amusements has the blue flat back inserts...unfortunately they're all sold out of the white opaques. Why can't one store have everything I need?! I'm gonna keep looking, since I've got a wee bit of time before needing to put them back in.

Was chatting with a few other pinheads, and this idea got thrown at me...replacing the opaque white with a starburst clear. Wouldn't that be a lot of light blasting up since those bonus lights are lit most of the time? One of the guy's was thinking of doing that to his Grand Lizard.

#50 4 years ago

Good news bad news today.

Under good, I removed the mylar with zero issues. Freezed it, put some flour on the adhesive, poured some naphtha on it, and rubbed rubbed rubbed. Fingers are a little raw, but all's well otherwise.

Now for the bad. I was putting down some low tack tape to mask the area I planned on sanding. I moved one piece, noticed flakes on the back of it. Pulled all the others, same story. One spot on the planet came up bad. I put a small piece on a portion of the playfield I thought was good...a small amount of flakes came up. Dammit.

Vid1900 says I need to put down a light layer of clear, otherwise I'll never be able to mask for the real painting. I don't have a sprayer, or any experience with clear coating at all. Was hoping I could get away with an aerosol can version until it came to the final clearing. Anybody have any experience with those?

Also means I need to get my inserts ordered and put in beforehand. I was all set to dive in this weekend, and now I'm derailed All part of the process though, right? Guess in the meantime I'll try and polish metal, clean the inside of the cabinet, clean the inside of the head...cleaning is boring!

no_mylar_t.jpg flakey_paint_t.jpg

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