Quoted from TechnicalSteam:
I would hope that some of the original molds still exist.
Does someone currently own the ramp molds to these original games?
Will they share them with you or let you copy them?
Regardless glad to see someone making this happen on their own steam.
We appreciate all the time your putting into this. Wish there
were a few others that could help jump into the fray.
If I had the space for the machine or home made rig I'd be in.
I've been hoping 3d printing would evolve to the point we could
print some of these. For now my focus is PF resto.
There are original molds still in existence for many games. When Pinball Inc sold to Fantasy Pinball, a significant portion of the purchase was for the molds. Rick at Planetary still occasionally resurrects an original mold. Seems most of the molds still in existence are for Bally/Williams games. The original molds were monstrosities designed for large production runs and not suitable for a non-commercial forming machine and they did not have CNC back I the day so often there are jigs associated to the ramps to facilitate the cut-out. These days, even the production runs for new games pales in comparison to the runs of ~20k games likes Adam's Family. Creating a mold out of solid aluminum would simply be cost prohibitive with the demand these days. I do this because I like to and frankly because the community needs these.
I just received an email from dung saying he was disappointed that his mold only made it through one run...I've been there and I have at least two ramp molds made of Bondo and wood that I still use. Not as durable as the steel reinforced ceramic I use, but still an effective medium. Last night I cast a mold for Black Belt. The donor ramp was actually a prototype yellow one. This is clearly one of the very first formed Black Belt ramps formed as the finish on that ramp is frankly horrible indicating that is was made out of something soft in the game design phase. When I say the finish is horrible, the ramp itself has a very rough finish so is not clear as we would expect. Will require the entire mold surface to be smoothed before I can mold them. The one form I got from the mold dung provided yielded an almost perfect specimen and will require very minor finishing. The process I just went through with dung greatly accelerated a ramp to production.
So, you CAD guys out there....Can you scan a ramp then CNC it out of wood-like medium? Scanning would be cool, otherwise I assume you would need to program the entire ramp. I've been intrigued by the CNC process, but just don't think it is worth it for me to take the time to learn and again is it worth the time considering the size of runs. gotta' be an expert out there. 3D printing is another possibility, not for making finish ramps, but possibly for making proto-type ramp shapes that can be formed one time to produce a form that can then be cast. We actually tried a 3d print with my son and it sort of worked. Many of the 3D printed stuff I've seen are not really very strong and the machine I use has incredible power and can just a 3D print piece.....It has even cracked a few ceramics. Possibly a good idea for a new game, but again, how much time does it take to program it to reproduce an existing ramp.
Rambling now...back to work on the Transporter ramps.