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(Topic ID: 279578)

Future Spa Hardtop Install - Vid's Guide

By vid1900

11 days ago

Topic Stats

  • 65 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 days ago by vid1900
  • Topic is favorited by 19 Pinsiders


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There are 65 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 11 days ago

Guys who like broads with harry legs love Future Spa, because all that un-removable ball swirl in the flesh colored paint, makes for a strange attraction.

I found these pics from over a year ago, so I put up a quick guide. Because they are old, it's possible that some things have changed with the FS Hardtops. Consider it a snapshot in time.

I've installed over a dozen Hardtops, and have the process almost down to a science. The Outside Edge guys probably think I'm being overly critical every time I post about their products, but I just report how I see it. If I did not like the product, I would not keep using it, lol.

Here is a Comet I documented, read this for more tips that I won't repeat:
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#2 11 days ago

Here is a pic of the uninstalled Hardtop lit from behind.

It gives you an idea of where bare wood is going to show through; so you can see where you have to repair the existing table.

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#3 11 days ago

Welcome back!!! And thank you!

#4 11 days ago

There is a line where no adheasive is applied.

Don't panic, it does not seem to telegraph through the playfield once installed.

It also gives you a way to install it in two steps, peeling as you go.

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#5 11 days ago

The backside where you peel away the paper from the glue

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#6 11 days ago

After 40 years, the upper arch and shooter lane will need to be sanded, stained, and clearcoated; before the new Hardtop is installed.

You also need to scrape off the ink from the inserts and sand them to get the scratches out.


^ read the above again before continuing ^

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#7 11 days ago

Because I did not have the Hardtop in hand, and there were no pictures of it anywhere on the internet, I sanded off a bunch of ink that I should not have, making more work for myself.

ONLY sand the shooterlane, the kickout, and the upper arch.

How to fix the shooterlane is here:
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#8 11 days ago

The freshly sanded Maple is too bright for a 40 year old game.

Before clearcoating the shooter lane and ball arch, I sprayed it with oil based polyurethane. This turns the wood a golden color.

Poly is not tough enough for a final shooterlane coating, so it gets a normal 2PAC clear over the top of it.

Put old lightbulbs in the sockets to keep the poly and 2PAC from coating the electrical contacts.

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#9 11 days ago

The original inserts were tragically cupped, so much so, that I though they would be visible through the HT.

I filled them in with 2PAC, then scraped them level.

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#10 11 days ago

Welcome back! looking forward to seeing the rest of this thread

#11 11 days ago

FS only has a few clear inserts, and unlike let's say Comet, none of them are Jeweled or decorative in any way.

You probably could just leave the clear inserts sanded to 400 grit and they would look fine (better maybe?).

I sanded them to 1500 here, and in hindsight, probably should have left them frosted at 400 like all the opaque ones.

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#12 11 days ago

Since you have to wait for the Poly to dry, you can get everything else ready.

Use zip ties to get the rollover wire arm out of the way.

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#13 11 days ago

A few things to note in this shot:

Ziptie all the coils to the harness, you are going to be flipping the playfield a lot, and you don't want them swinging around getting damaged.

Ziptie all the loose switch stacks, or they will come apart (trust me on this)

Throw out all the common coil sleeves (you can't clean them). Save the larger coil sleeve for the drop targets, since you probably don't have a new one lying around)

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#14 11 days ago

The giant FS playfield only has 25 GI lamps....

So add a few more in obvious places, like around the Drops and in front of the flippers.

Don't think that adding brighter LEDs will fix this oversight, it won't (you'll see why latter)

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#15 11 days ago

The drop target cage needs a slight modification to keep the topside GI lamps symmetrical.

It's a one minute fix with a cut-off wheel, fine tooth hacksaw, or even a Dremmel

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#16 11 days ago

While you have the drop target cage apart, put the proper drops in.

On the old Bally ads, they are either all stars, or one star and 2x,4x,6x so either one could be considered "correct"

Don't trust ebay sellers who sell a "kit" of all bullseyes, that's not correct.

#17 11 days ago

Install (because they are probably missing or clipped) or replace any green original Bally switch caps.

These are always bad, or about to become bad.

If you get all 4 dangerous drops down, and then don't get the Extra Ball credit because you were too lazy to replace the cap, you will be pissed.

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Note here that someone clipped this cap rather than replacing it.

Note also that heavy duty threaded Tnuts have been added to keep the worn post holes upright

Note #3 that blue painters tape keeps any overspray from sticking to the new spoons (only important if you replace the spoons before you spray the shooterlane) .

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#18 11 days ago

No playfield overlay, decal or hardtop is going to match the existing one exactly.

Sometimes 3 different companies made the playfields, and each can have slight variances.

So don't align your HT with the holes in your playfield, align with the INSERTS.

We can drill more holes, we can't change the position of the inserts.

If nothing gives you perfect alignment, then favor the inserts close to the player!

This playfield's serial was in the 3000s, so it was halfway through the run

All the arrow insert cutouts on the HT were just a little too large, so I blackened around them with some Createx Flat Black Paint.

Unless you have your eye right against the playfield, nobody will ever know.
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#19 11 days ago

Here I have a double 4 foot florescent lamp on the floor under the playfield rotisserie

This allows me to check all the inserts at once.

After a few more touchups with the black paint, I clamped the HT at the bottom of the playfield, then peeled off the paper backing and installed it.

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#20 11 days ago

Next, it's time to do all the dust making tasks, before repopulating the playfield.

I drill out the new GI lighting holes (see, why I did not install the sockets yet?)

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#21 11 days ago


Thanks for making a hard top guide!
It looks fantastic and makes me wanna go after one.

Quoted from vid1900:

The giant FS playfield only has 25 GI lamps....
So add a few more in obvious places, like around the Drops and in front of the flippers

Quoted from vid1900:

I drill out the new GI lighting holes (see, why I did not install the sockets yet

Here you added extra GI. Do you have suggestions on the best way to drill the holes and make it look original?

#22 11 days ago

The holes for the Pop Bumper Nails have to be enlarged to clear the nail heads.

Williams nail heads are smaller than Bally, so I used those instead

Once you have the holes drilled (there are a lot of them with 5 Pops on FS), then drive the nails in with a Punch or Nail Set.

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#23 11 days ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Next, it's time to do all the dust making tasks, before repopulating the playfield.
I drill out the new GI lighting holes (see, why I did not install the sockets yet?)[quoted image]

could you elaborate on the drilling of holes in the hardtop?

#24 11 days ago

Don't reuse the old Star Rollover. It's brittle and those little tabs inside will often break off, even if you are careful

The original was amber or orange, not red; so buy the correct one:

First, Dremmel out the hole in the HT:

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The insert is not flat from the factory, so you have to put sandpaper upside down on your table saw, and flatten it.

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120 grit

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240 grit

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500 grit

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800 grit and done

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#25 11 days ago

Rough up the sides of the insert with 120 grit, prime with Plastic Primer, and epoxy flush with the HT:
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Clean up any epoxy squeeze out with a rag. It won't stick to the HT.

#26 11 days ago

Only Vid could return from a two year hiatus and just drop a hardtop tutorial like nothing happened.

#27 11 days ago

Welcome back!!!

#28 10 days ago
Quoted from Cheddar:

could you elaborate on the drilling of holes in the hardtop?

Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

Here you added extra GI. Do you have suggestions on the best way to drill the holes and make it look original?

I drilled the holes in the original playfield (the same size as the original Bally lamp holes), before the hardtop was installed.

(Use a centerpunch to mark the wood, drill a 1/8" pilot hole, follow with full size bit)

Then installed the hardtop.

Lit from bellow, the holes in the playfield are evident through the HT (see arrows in pic)

Drill 1/8" hole through HT, then follow will full size bit.

Install sockets and add to GI circuit (because LEDs draw less current that incandescent, we are not worried about overloading the power supply connectors)
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#29 10 days ago

We will kill 2 birds with one stone here.

Sockets in Pops are often problematic from all the vibration.

Skip the sockets.

LEDs in Pops have a very hard time illuminating the playfield, because LEDs are very directional

Skip the conventional LEDs.

I unsoldered the socket bases from these Comet Pop LEDs:

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Then I flipped it upsidedown, so the bright side faces the pop body, and soldered on my own 3" long leads (I know, I voided my warranty)

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Even with the dim side up, they are still WAY too bright for the caps (fix latter), but they light up the body and playfield nicely.

So no crappy light sockets, and no dark bodies. Win/win

Other pop discs do not fit properly in classic Bally, these do:

#30 10 days ago

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Here you can see the excellent, even illumination from the upsidedown Comet discs (click for moneyshot)

#31 10 days ago

With the HT installed, we have made the playfield 30mills thicker.

But now the Drops are recessed 30mills below the playfield surface, causing the balls to hang.

I cut a piece of 30mill Lexan from some scrap.

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The Drop Targets rest inside the cage on top of the strip, raising them up flush with the HT surface.

If you don't have any Lexan, you can just cut a slice from the end of the playfield, under the apron (Outside Edge should obviously include a piece of scrap with each purchase)

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#32 10 days ago

No sense in doing all that work and not rebuild the filppers back to factory.

Note here how much nylon has worn from the old bushing, you know this would have dragged on the thicker playfield:

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#33 10 days ago

Note here how the new EOS switches are slightly bent at the tips to work with these Lever Arms.

Note that the Coil Lugs are mounted opposite the Coil Stop

Get the Rebuild Kit here for $36 (minus your 10% discount for exceeding $100)

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#34 10 days ago

light your Kickout and Rollover with some "bendies*"

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* TM Todd Tucky

#35 10 days ago

The client who gave me this project had somehow lost the Cam that flips the ball save gate.

I made a new one from a $2 set of Drill Stops from HF

Drill hole in Stop wall, put piece of rod in hole, hit with hammer to expand rod.

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#36 10 days ago

Get a new set of pop caps, because the old ones always have melted areas that look even worse when lit by LEDs

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#37 10 days ago

Can you elaborate more on why you don’t want to sand all the art off? For the areas you do sand, what grit are you using?

#38 10 days ago

On the Right spinner lane, there is a bracket that can hang up a slow roll ball.

Most operators used to put a metal washer there, but a clear PETG one looks better, and does not chew up the ball.

Use your wire cutters, and snip off the edge of the washer, install between bracket and screw head.
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#39 10 days ago

To maximize light transmission on an already dark playfield, I used clear beehive posts (get the taller ones, not the 1")

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and Titan transparent rubbers:

#40 10 days ago

Strange things....

So there was a big hole, that I had already sanded off the paint from (mistake) in front of the left outlanes in the HT.

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There was no hole in the factory playfield (mid run, serial number #3000 playfield)

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So I saw online that some games had a post here, some did not.

The owner of this game now has one, he'll just have to adjust his playing

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#41 10 days ago

Many of the HT holes were large, even if they just had a tiny pin installed in them.

Other holes were drilled, even though there was no hole at all in the original (like under the Pop Skirt)

Best to leave the paint on the old playfield, rather than have to mix paint touch up the holes.

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#42 10 days ago
Quoted from Mudflaps:

Only Vid could return from a two year hiatus and just drop a hardtop tutorial like nothing happened.

Thinking same thing.

Welcome back!

#43 10 days ago

There were some strange water marks visible in some of the insert windows.

Nothing too crazy, but I wish I would have seen them before I stuck the HT down

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#44 10 days ago

Never put the playfield back in the game until you've tested all the lights and solenoids

Way easier to flip the playfield back and forth as you track down any gremlins, or set up all the switch gaps - while it's still in the rotisserie

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#45 10 days ago

The owner gave me the game broken, with mixed rubbers, LEDs and Incan bulbs; just a giant random pile.

One thing I noticed after I installed all his LEDs, was you could no longer read any playfield printing.

All you could see was the bright glare of the inserts and playfield plastics.

It sucked (especially compared to my own, all incandescent FS)

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#46 10 days ago



Job one was to remove all the 1 SMD LEDs from the inserts, they were simply too bright blasting into your eyes, compared to how dark the rest of the playfield was.

I replaced them with those super cheap .25 cent LEDs

These cut the glare down a lot, and gave a better hue of cool white to match the game. Big improvement.

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Next, all the plastics were crazy bright.

I used white vinyl tape used to detail cars (removable, no residue) and slapped it on the backs of all the plastics.

This way the light was reflected rather than transmitted through.

This had a BIG effect, and still let about 10% of the light through.

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The 2 SMD LEDs, even when I frosted the domes with 120 grit sandpaper, still had too much light blasting out the tops.

IMG_20201001_163022 (resized).jpg

#47 10 days ago

Although kinda expensive (lucky there are not many GI lights here), the Comet Opmax threw the most light out the sides, and the least light up into the players eyes.

These, with the white vinyl tape, were the winning combination
Comet_Pinball_Opmax_Optimus_Maximus_e483e823-08a5-48f9-9403-074bac75c422 (resized).jpg

#48 10 days ago

The final headache (literally) was the Pop Caps.

Even though the LED discs were mounted dim side up, they were simply insane bright.

It took 4 layers of the vinyl tape in the domes of the Caps, to finally bring it to a human level (who on earth would want the BRIGHT side shinning up into their faces???)

Now finally, you can play his game and actually read the graphics around the playfield.
IMG_20201010_153449 (resized).jpg

Of course it's impossible for any picture to do the playfield justice, but trust me, you can play this game in the dark and it's plenty well-lit.

#49 10 days ago

Future Spa is one of the best competition games.

It's a perfect fan layout, lots of bumping required, and no crazy rules that only owners understand.

Without the cupped inserts throwing off the ball path in every direction, this one is ready for league play.


Super bonus play: Everyone put $20 in the pot, the first person to light the green arrows at the top (by spelling out F-U-T-U-R-E without lighting any letter of S-P-A ) takes it.

Harder than it looks....

#50 10 days ago

I was always so-so on the backglass art, but I like the playfield art a lot. Especially the 2 girls in the upper corners, it is just so damn blatant I can't believe it was allowed on there. Dave Christiansen is my hero.

Thanks for this guide too, this answered a lot of questions I had about these overlays.

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