(Topic ID: 71059)

How I recreate plastics


By JeffHecht

5 years ago



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  • 84 posts
  • 45 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by rygar
  • Topic is favorited by 138 Pinsiders

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There are 84 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
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#51 5 years ago

It seems like such a shame that people are up against such a difficult task of recreating broken plastics for themselves. I've been looking for a high res scan of a T2 plastic (31-1-50013-19). If I had that scan I think I could make my own replacement. No commerce taking place, so it doesn't seem like it would be so illegal.

Hint, PM me if you have a scan. No questions asked.

#52 5 years ago
Quoted from Enaud:

It seems like such a shame that people are up against such a difficult task of recreating broken plastics for themselves. I've been looking for a high res scan of a T2 plastic (31-1-50013-19). If I had that scan I think I could make my own replacement. No commerce taking place, so it doesn't seem like it would be so illegal.
Hint, PM me if you have a scan. No questions asked.

Do you have a mostly intact old piece, or is it completely missing? If you're decent with a paint program, you can redraw the damaged parts and have it look pretty darn smooth.

#53 5 years ago

IMHO; depends on the final resolution of your printing device.
IIRC; HP Color Laser printers are 600dpi... so I tend to scan and 600dpi.
Unsure of commercial ink printers.

I can tell you; the Mirror Universe PF was scanned in at 600dpi. And yes; loading that into photoshop required x64 and >6GB of memory. so I could operate on it. Takes about 4-6minutes to load into photoshop.

#54 5 years ago

What if there's no scanner available?

Would it be possible to take a series of pictures and stitch them together? You'd likely need some way to suspend the camera equidistant from the plastic for every shot, but if the lighting was the same and the focal distance never changed... ?

Just thinking out loud, trying to find a way to approximate this methodology without having access to a hand scanner or those old two part HPs.

#55 5 years ago

I wish someone would make a primer on the process. I mess with gimp and can do a few things but what you have done(OP) would be great to learn

#56 5 years ago
Quoted from RDM:

Would it be possible to take a series of pictures and stitch them together?

Yes, that would work too, but there is a good chance of the graphic being distorted.

Robert

#57 5 years ago
Quoted from MrSanRamon:

Yes, that would work too, but there is a good chance of the graphic being distorted.
Robert

Yep, the camera would have to be perfectly aligned and the same distance on each pic, and even then the lens itself would curve the image towards the edge.

#58 5 years ago

Great Post -

#59 5 years ago
Quoted from RDM:

What if there's no scanner available?
Would it be possible to take a series of pictures and stitch them together? You'd likely need some way to suspend the camera equidistant from the plastic for every shot, but if the lighting was the same and the focal distance never changed... ?
Just thinking out loud, trying to find a way to approximate this methodology without having access to a hand scanner or those old two part HPs.

That's my problem. I don't have access to a scanner. But I think I might give the Office Depot a visit and see if they could scan it for me. What do you think of that approach?

#60 5 years ago

I have done playfield plastics and side art stencils with a mid-range digital SLR. I have also done plastics with a scanner which generally gives better results. The distortion is not that bad and can be corrected through software. I use a spotter scope set up that allows me to keep a constant distance from the work at reasonable levelness. The majority of the software work is done with Photoshop Elements 8.0 that came free with my Wacom Bamboo drawing tablet. All you need for decent results.

#61 5 years ago

does anyone know a good online shop that cuts clean or even printed plastics based on a vector graphics templates?

#62 5 years ago
Quoted from boilerman:

I wish someone would make a primer on the process. I mess with gimp and can do a few things but what you have done(OP) would be great to learn

I have used Gimp in the past as well, and while a great program (especially for free), I find that I prefer working in Photoshop (CS4). The print shop that I use also requires either Photoshop or Illustrator files. They use the paths embedded in the file created by the Pen tool to "cut out" the clear areas (i.e. between the artwork and the edges of the plastic, other clear areas on plastics like where the captive balls are on Embyon, etc. ).

Once I get the Time Warp backglass done that I'm working on, I can put together a more in-depth tutorial on recreating plastics. For those interested, you can see progress on the backglass here in a thread I started on restoring this Williams classic: http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/time-warp-restoration

Jeff

#63 5 years ago
Quoted from FirebrandX:

Yep, the camera would have to be perfectly aligned and the same distance on each pic, and even then the lens itself would curve the image towards the edge.

That's kind of what I figured. So the consensus seems to be that it's doable if there are no real other options, it just means more work in pre-production in order to try and fix the natural distortion applied by the camera lens. Thanks, good to know.

I wonder if this same methodology could be used to digitize the playfield too? Obviously not for a pro-grade restoration, but for a player quality machine, it might be a cost effective way to try and correct a previous "repair" attempt by someone who was no artist.

I might take some pictures and post in a separate thread, don't want to hijack this one. Thanks for the info gents.

#64 5 years ago
Quoted from RDM:

That's kind of what I figured. So the consensus seems to be that it's doable if there are no real other options, it just means more work in pre-production in order to try and fix the natural distortion applied by the camera lens. Thanks, good to know.
I wonder if this same methodology could be used to digitize the playfield too? Obviously not for a pro-grade restoration, but for a player quality machine, it might be a cost effective way to try and correct a previous "repair" attempt by someone who was no artist.
I might take some pictures and post in a separate thread, don't want to hijack this one. Thanks for the info gents.

I have done that to recreate areas on the playfield of my Embryon machine (for making water slide decals of high traffic areas). It's a bit more tedious, but certainly doable.

For a complete PF reproduction, I scanned an entire Strikes and Spares playfield and recreated the artwork in my computer and had a new vinyl print laid down on the old playfield (with the artwork sanded off and 2 coats of base clear coat). You can see the result here: http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/strikes-and-spares-restoration

Jeff

#65 5 years ago
Quoted from JeffHecht:

I have done that to recreate areas on the playfield of my Embryon machine (for making water slide decals of high traffic areas). It's a bit more tedious, but certainly doable.
For a complete PF reproduction, I scanned an entire Strikes and Spares playfield and recreated the artwork in my computer and had a new vinyl print laid down on the old playfield (with the artwork sanded off and 2 coats of base clear coat). You can see the result here: http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/strikes-and-spares-restoration
Jeff

Oh believe me, I'm quite familiar with that thread.

That's my main idea though and it would be in a fairly limited area, there are a few spots that could greatly benefit from a water slide decal on my Counterforce playfield and I'm a much better digital image manipulator than I am a painter/artist, so I was hoping to be able to digitize a section or two of the playfield, clean up the mess and then drop the decals on and throw a few coats of clear over top to have a really solid looking playfield.

#67 5 years ago

This is awesome. This would be ever so helpful if someone with the skills offered to do the work on certain tables. I am sure there would be pinsiders begging for these files for tables with no reproduction plastics avaliable. I have been on the lookout for Elektra plastics for a while with no results so far, and I cannot do many of the scans myself because I am just flat out missing some of the top playfield plastics.

#68 5 years ago
Quoted from Enaud:

I've been looking for a high res scan of a T2 plastic (31-1-50013-19).

Man, I wish I had a high res scan to send you, I only have multiple plastics that I redrew by hand...

Capture.JPG

#69 5 years ago
Quoted from ralphwiggum:

Man, I wish I had a high res scan to send you, I only have multiple plastics that I redrew by hand...

Capture.JPG 42 KB

Bummer! Too bad you can't help. If only there were a way to send files over that internet thingy!!

#70 5 years ago
Quoted from Pafasa:

Bummer! Too bad you can't help. If only there were a way to send files over that internet thingy!!

lol

#71 5 years ago

I made the grumpy looking old man, Vid, laugh. My weekend has just gotten off to a great start!

#72 5 years ago
Quoted from ralphwiggum:

Man, I wish I had a high res scan to send you, I only have multiple plastics that I redrew by hand...

Capture.JPG 42 KB

Sweet!

#73 5 years ago
Quoted from RDM:

What if there's no scanner available?

Would it be possible to take a series of pictures and stitch them together? You'd likely need some way to suspend the camera equidistant from the plastic for every shot, but if the lighting was the same and the focal distance never changed

You will never get the angle correct with a camera (not to mention you'll never get consistent light). Most people buy an HP4600 scanner (or whatever model is newer than that) off ebay for $40-$80. It's a portable scanner that you can lay on top of the work (instead of the other way around). You still have to scan chunks, but adobe photoshop is pretty good at auto-merging multiple photos (and it keeps the scale 1). It's not perfect, but if you don't want to spend $100 taking it to a professional shop that scans in one pass, it's usually good enough for most jobs.

#74 5 years ago

The CS2 version of both photoshop and illustrator are available for free from Adobe's site. CS2 will work just fine for this kind of work.

https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/entitlement/index.cfm?e=cs2%5Fdownloads

#75 5 years ago
Quoted from swedishc:

The CS2 version of both photoshop and illustrator are available for free from Adobe's site. CS2 will work just fine for this kind of work.
https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/entitlement/index.cfm?e=cs2%5Fdownloads

Thanks Swedishc! That's awesome to be able to get CS2 for free. Thanks for sharing

8 months later
#76 5 years ago
Quoted from JeffHecht:

Then, using the Pen tool, I fix all of the areas that need adjustment (this can be time consuming) and finally create a new layer and fill the path with black.

I know it's been a while, but this is the best thread I've seen so far on recreating plastics. Can you expand a bit more on this?

#77 5 years ago

The procedure that your sign shop would be following is to reverse the image and print to CLEAR self adhesive vinyl. This is then backed off with translucent WHITE ( so 2 layers of vinyl). These can then be hand cut to size and applied to your plastic. I use 3mm acrylic for mine as its nice and stiff and the extra thickness allows for a tighter fit to the posts. Seeing as you have made a vector file for the actual plastic, the next step is to get these laser or CNC cut.
Your vinyl artwork, (which I normally have double struck - 2 layers of print ink to make sure I get good depth of colour when backlit) is sticky on the clear side and is applied to the underside of the plastic. Its then a case of job done and ready to install.

Here's some Bank A Ball plastics I made some 5 or 6 years ago.. they still look as good as the day I made them..

// Error: Image 277396 not found //

And im currently working on the artwork for a WMS ROCKET

// Error: Image 277397 not found //

#79 5 years ago

I have a 1969 College Queens that sat next to a chain smoker in his living room for the last 20 years. I blasted it out with a blower and washed it with Mean Green then quarantined it for 6 months on the far end of my garage with air fresheners inside to get rid of the smell. Now I've pulled it out and starting to restore it. The plastics are all in tact but are completely brown! I cleaned the heck out of them with Novus 2 and a rag and got them spotless, but the brown is soaked in hard.

So I scanned the plastics and began figuring out how to recolor them in Photoshop. I soon figured out that it would take me decades of learning in Photoshop to do this simple task, so I looked for an easier solution. I did a little experimenting and landed on a great solution. Rather than Photoshop, I used Paint. Yes, Paint. The simple picture editor that comes with Windows. I brought the scan file in and saved it as a 16 color .bmp file. That knocked it down to a very easy file to deal with. At that point it only took a little over an hour to clean up the pixelation with the eraser tool and then fill areas with more appropriate colors. I still have a little work to go. Once done, I am going to send the file to an online printer to print it as a window decal with the ink on the glue side. I'll then paint the backside white and cut it out with an Xacto blade. Then I'll make new plastics from PTFE and apply the stickers.

Here is the work in progress of the artwork before and after.

// Error: Image 277398 not found //
// Error: Image 277399 not found //

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#78 5 years ago

Duplicate post. Pinside seems to be having problems!

#80 5 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

The plastics are all in tact but are completely brown!

I bought a bunch of early 60's wedgeheads a few years ago. The plastics were coated in nicotine top and bottom. I tried using Novus but had little luck. I used Dow Scrubbing Bubbles spray foam after finding a post (somewhere) saying it worked well on playfield plastics. I sprayed the top with the foam and let it work a few minutes. I wiped them off with a paper towel. I didn't feel safe spraying the foam on the bottom, so used the previous, damp paper towel to clean the underside. The plastics retained a brownish tone, especially in the clear spots, but were considerably cleaner than when I started.

#81 5 years ago

You guys should give GIMP a try as well. It's a free download and there are tons of video tutorials to help you on YouTube.

If those plastics are that brown from cigarettes just imagine what his lungs looked like!

#82 5 years ago

Well done!!!

#83 5 years ago

Awesome thread!

#84 5 years ago

I have found an interesting site that lets you convert your bitmap file to vector file. It is available as online or offline tool. You can try it for free on http://vectormagic.com/home . Just choose upload image to trace.

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