Greetings Pinsiders. Some of you may have followed my last restoration, of Bride of Pinbot. You can see it here:
Some additional background: In May of 2016, I asked my son (who was 15 at the time) if he would be interested in restoring a pinball machine with me. Ben has talent as a maker, and discovered a community at school that welcomed him as he explored everything in the maker universe (3D printers, laser cutters, electronics, etc.). It was life changing for him. I was looking for something which we could connect on and do together, and so I approached him about restoring the BoP linked above.
We spent the better part of eight months building it. Thanks to mentorship from so many of you, and the role models of @bryan_kelly and @high_end_pins, we set off on an adventure that turned out amazing. We don't think there's a better example of a BoP out there, but hell, we're biased.
Anyway, we spent the year playing it, and now we wanted another project, hopefully one a bit easier that gives us a chance to improve our skills in a few areas, primarily painting. We found our chance with this 1979 Bally Future Spa:
What's special about this particular game is that it feels like a time capsule. The playfield was a NOS assembly, found in a crate several years ago, though the cabinet is original and probably didn't see much abuse, outside the usual wear and tear and fading:
Typical cabinet separation:
The playfield is immaculate, but that's also part of the reason we're taking it apart. This playfield's paint is old enough that it's very fragile, despite looking beautiful. It sat in a crate for 40 years so to play on it too much is inviting a lot of damage. We decided we wanted to have it professionally clearcoated, so we would be tearing it down and shipping it out. You can see how nice it looks, though the inserts are significantly cupped:
The plastics and rubbers are still white:
The guide rails still shiny:
The only thing we can find corroded are the light sockets. Can these be tumbled and restored, or do we just replace? Here's an example:
Overall, though, the underside is in great shape. It hurts me to even pull it apart:
That left us with the cabinet. I've followed a lot of debate here on Pinside about a cabinet in this good shape, that perhaps it would make sense to wait for something to fall off it it before restoring it to its original glory. Ben and I are not those people. We want to bring it up and past the original quality! Also, for our last restoration, we were using decals. This will be our first paint job with stencils, thanks to Pinball Pimp. The plan is to disassemble everything, reinforce/repair all the dings and splintering parts, fix the corners up, sand and prime everything perfect, and then do our first HVLP with two part auto paints. I'd normally use rattle cans but I want to try it for fun.
I'd love opinions on this process. I know @high_end_pins will do multiple layers of clear in between so he can touch up, knock down edges, etc. I'm planning on doing something similar, though if last time taught me anything, I kind of suck with an HVLP gun. (I hope these paints are easier to work with than when I tried to paint with latex last time.) What is everyone painting their stencils with?
Also the backglass looks great:
There's no triple thick on it. I'm not inclined to do anything to it since it's not flaking! I'd love opinions. Well, the only thing I did, I took the idea from @high_end_pins and put the back glass up high where I won't accidentally break it:
I'll rebuild all the corroded trifercon connectors, probably I'll use newish boards (my boards are fine, but my rectifier has never been updated and some of these boards need a refresh). I've not decided on LEDs yet, I'll burn that bridge when I get to it. I even built a new rotisserie inspired by @vid1900's thread:
Anyway, we've got a long road ahead and we'd love any advice you can spare along the way. Back to the Spa!