Over the summer I picked up a project Alien Poker machine. It needed some board work, was missing the main drop target bank, and the playfield art had moderate wear under the typical layer of dirt. The board work was straightforward for me and the hunt for the missing target bank quickly proved fruitful so that left the part where my skills lack – artwork.
I knew I had a player’s condition playfield. I did some light vacuuming/cleaning of the playfield and pretty quickly realized what I had was pretty fragile. I’ve cleared Max2K on a couple playfields with good results and I’ve been satisfied with the laser cut playfield protectors from Europe as well (have one in my Flash). Primarily because they are easier but also not wanting to lock in this playfied’s condition with clear, I decided to order one to prevent additional damage to my playfield. Then I discovered Alien Poker isn’t on their list of available titles. Bummer.
When at Pintastic I saw the nice work docquest did with his home-made protectors. He connected me with a couple of important threads about DIY methods - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/inexpensive-petg-sheets-for-playfield-protectors#post-4282152 and https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/batman-66-official-club-thread/page/7#post-3527141 . Seemed like a lot of work but I still figured it was better than clearing the playfield in the current condition.
Below this post are some step-by-step photos and some explanations from my process but I wanted to bring what I learned up into this top post. I had a lot of help from Pinside along the way so I figure it’s only fair to share this self evaluation of what I did to add to the discussion. So here we go:
1. First note to self is to never make one for a title where a laser cut one is available for purchase. My DIY isn’t nearly as nicely finished and it took a lot of time to make. Your mileage may vary, but for me the cost vs time calculation is easy.
2. The right tools help. A lot.
a) The punch set was much easier than the drill press. The cheap sets on Amazon will easily get through a single DIY manufacture and probably many more than that.
b) I couldn’t do crap precisely with a razor blade and I was incredibly slow with it. Scissors cut the plastic well but not precisely on long cuts. Maybe that’s just part of the general difficulty of using scissors that comes with being left handed but I failed to produce acceptable results with hand tools.
c) The scroll saw with the right blade made relatively quick work of it. It was not difficult to be precise.
3. Photos help. I didn’t take enough. In my world of pinball how many times must this lesson be offered before I demonstrate evidence that I’ve actually learned it?
4. Wax it after you install it. The threads above have recommendations both ways and in my experience waxing made it play properly.
Want to see the result in person? Come to York - I’m bringing the game to the show so folks can check out the finished product.
-visit http://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC pinball resets or my replacement LED display boards for model H and model S Skee Ball