I made a playfield protector… self-evaulation

(Topic ID: 226769)

I made a playfield protector… self-evaulation


By rkahr

10 days ago



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#1 10 days ago

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.

-Rob
-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

#2 10 days ago

Ok, less words and some pics from here forward.

Here's the game prior to starting. It sits in the unfinished part of my basement next to my Flash.

My Alien Poker

And here is some playfield detail - plenty of wear.

Lower PF
Upper PF

-Rob
-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

#3 10 days ago

I made the pattern from scrap paper - primarily cut from shipping labels I print to ship daughterboards and some old bills pulled from the shred stack.

Upper Left Pattern in Game

Upper Right Pattern in Game

Lower Right Pattern in Game

Complete Pattern

-Rob
-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

#4 10 days ago

I traced the pattern onto the plastic with a fine tip sharpie. Making the pattern took some time but this step was easy. I marked some circles that I would use the hole punch to cut.

Pattern Trace

-Rob
-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

#5 10 days ago

Here's the cheap punch set I got from Amazon. It worked fine with my rubber mallet and a block of wood behind the sheet. The case came cracked (barely visible in the photo).

Punch Set

Like I noted above cutting proved difficult for me. Hand tools were not effective for me. My scroll saw was effective (it took about 2 hours of cutting)

Cut detail 1

Here you can see where I added circles for the Pops thinking I would use my drill press but I ended up using the scroll saw on the circles too.

Cut detail 2

-Rob
-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

#6 10 days ago

The first interior piece i removed was from the main drop target on the playfield. I pulled the protective plastic to take a look at the cut edge. It was somewhat rough but I was able to clean it up pretty well (and quickly) with a file and some sand paper.

Before:
Before

After:
After

-Rob
-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

#7 10 days ago

Test fitting. It took me two cycles of placing my DIY protector and removing it for additional cutting. I numbered the marks that needed additional attention on the second pull. Side note - very little of the playfield has to be disassembled to do this for Alien Poker.

Lower PF

Drop Target Bank

Upper PF

-Rob
-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

#8 10 days ago

Here are shots from when I pulled off the protective layers.

Bottom first:

Removing Bottom Protector

Then the top when the protector is positioned:

Top layer almost off

-Rob
-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

#9 10 days ago

And the final result:

Whole Playfield

Detail area

Not perfect, but definitely much better than running the balls directly on what's left of this playfield. Again, if you want to try it, come to York next weekend!

Hope you enjoyed.

-Rob
-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

#10 10 days ago

Looks great and no easy task doing it by hand bravo! I have an Alien Poker myself and while the playfield looks nice the inserts on these old games Drop pretty bad. Some days it feels like Im playing put put golf! Great job thanks for sharing!

#11 9 days ago

Nice job. What thickness of polycarbonate did you use? Your pic looks like .030" but it is hard to tell. I made two with .030" then went down to .020". .020" works just as well and is so much easier to cut.

#12 9 days ago

Rob,

Man that looks like a labor of love.
Finished result looks pretty nice!
Now you can enjoy the cool art of alien poker for years to come...

Nice work, keep preserving the classics any way possible!

#13 9 days ago

Glad you like it. Here's hoping I never have to create another one!

I used .03 thickness that I got from Walmart online. It shipped flat and was well packaged: https://www.walmart.com/ip/847612345

-Rob

#14 9 days ago
Quoted from rkahr:

Glad you like it. Here's hoping I never have to create another one!
I used .03 thickness that I got from Walmart online. It shipped flat and was well packaged: https://www.walmart.com/ip/847612345
-Rob

how long did that take apprx. ?
I have one, that I'd like to do something similar for but eeesh!!

#15 9 days ago
Quoted from hocuslocus:

how long did that take apprx. ?
I have one, that I'd like to do something similar for but eeesh!!

Don't let him scare you. It is not that bad if you have some tools. It does take time, though. My 1st one took me about 10 hours off and on. My 5th one took about 7 hours.

#16 9 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

My 1st one took me about 10 hours off and on. My 5th one took about 7 hours

That sounds about right. Certainly not all the time I invested was productive. If I can do it certainly you can too but I’d rather have the laser cut one when/if I ever need another.

-Rob
-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

#17 9 days ago

cottonm4 has made some nice protectors. Nice work Rob...definitely a labor of love.

#18 9 days ago
Quoted from rkahr:

Here's hoping I never have to create another one!

If you ever do have to create another one, strip the topside of the playfield and clamp the protector to the top.

Using a small trim router ($20 at HF or HD), and a "pattern bit" that will follow all the holes without damaging the playfield, you will have the whole thing done in a hour.
professional-woodworker-specialty-power-tools-46662-64_1000 (resized).jpgqwer (resized).jpg

Also, by having everything off the top, you can COMPLETELY clean the playfield of any 40 year old crud hiding in the mechs and posts.

#19 9 days ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If you ever do have to create another one, strip the topside of the playfield and clamp the protector to the top.
Using a small trim router ($20 at HF or HD), and a "pattern bit" that will follow all the holes without damaging the playfield, you will have the whole thing done in a hour.
[quoted image][quoted image]
Also, by having everything off the top, you can COMPLETELY clean the playfield of any 40 year old crud hiding in the mechs and posts.

No. That won't work 100%. I have a Dremel Trio with small pattern bit. Some places you just can't go with a router.

Yes for pop holes and drop target slots.

No for roll over wire slots; Those are for small drill bits and razor knives.

Maybe the for holes in the slingshots---trouble with that method is that if you need to remove the protector, for any reason, you have to disassemble the entire play field. It is best to cut a triangle all around the slings. For my first one, I opened up for all holes in the sling area. That is an unnecessary PIA. Just cut a triangle around the slings.

If you don't want the trap of taking the play field apart to remove the protector, then you still have to make a paper pattern around any flat metal ball guides and trace them out by hand and cut them by hand.

Thermal expansion requires the protector float free in all areas of the play field. I always find two posts located close together at the top of the play field to fasten the protector down with. All other edges of the protector must float free.

Without a laser cutter you have to do hand work.

#20 9 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

No for roll over wire slots; Those are for small drill bits and razor knives.

As I showed in the Elektra thread, the Rotozip bits cut those wire rollover slots in PET-G no problem.

They are made for cutting through that textured fiberglass wall board used in commercial kitchens and restrooms.

The pilot tip glides around electrical outlet boxes and ceiling cans.

$1 each and still made in USA

Because they are a hair under 1/8", you will finally have a use for the collet adapter that came with your trim router, lol
720361006069 (resized).jpgshopping (resized).jpg

#21 7 days ago

Can't wait to play it.

#22 7 days ago

That’s a good idea to secure the sheet with two posts close together. I was going to secure sheet with At least two posts, but on opposite sides of the playfield, thus not allowing for expansion/contraction

In terms of expansion/contraction, I was going to do pretty tight cuts around posts ect so the protector looks more invisible, I don’t mind taking everything off, would thermal expansion be an issue with about 1 - 1.5mm post clearance if the game is always inside without huge ambient temp fluctuations?

#23 7 days ago
Quoted from Joydivision:

That’s a good idea to secure the sheet with two posts close together. I was going to secure sheet with At least two posts, but on opposite sides of the playfield, thus not allowing for expansion/contraction
In terms of expansion/contraction, I was going to do pretty tight cuts around posts ect so the protector looks more invisible, I don’t mind taking everything off, would thermal expansion be an issue with about 1 - 1.5mm post clearance if the game is always inside without huge ambient temp fluctuations?

I'm just finishing reassembling a game where I didn't leave any room around posts, and instead just drilled holes only for the screws. All posts on top of protector. Curious to see how bad the expansion issue gets, and if stuff like LEDs lessens it.

As far as attaching the protector down without having to worry about expansion, I'd recommend using the pop bumpers. Take them out, cut the protector right to the edge of the holes, and install pops on top. Locks it down tight, can't move the protector at all even with nothing else holding it, and since the pops are close together not much expansion can happen, and you won't notice it anyway

#24 7 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

I'm just finishing reassembling a game where I didn't leave any room around posts, and instead just drilled holes only for the screws. All posts on top of protector. Curious to see how bad the expansion issue gets, and if stuff like LEDs lessens it.
As far as attaching the protector down without having to worry about expansion, I'd recommend using the pop bumpers. Take them out, cut the protector right to the edge of the holes, and install pops on top. Locks it down tight, can't move the protector at all even with nothing else holding it, and since the pops are close together not much expansion can happen, and you won't notice it anyway

Trust me. You don't want it locked down and pinched. Anywhere. You want it to float free.

#25 7 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

Trust me. You don't want it locked down and pinched. Anywhere. You want it to float free.

Not an option in this case. The whole idea is to lock down the flaking paint.

#26 7 days ago
Quoted from Joydivision:

That’s a good idea to secure the sheet with two posts close together. I was going to secure sheet with At least two posts, but on opposite sides of the playfield, thus not allowing for expansion/contraction
In terms of expansion/contraction, I was going to do pretty tight cuts around posts ect so the protector looks more invisible, I don’t mind taking everything off, would thermal expansion be an issue with about 1 - 1.5mm post clearance if the game is always inside without huge ambient temp fluctuations?

When I made my first protector I was like you. I wanted tight cuts. I wanted it to looked like it was not there. That was a mistake. For the next two days of game play I had to keep the glass off and the Dremel Tool handy because I kept having interference with the posts.

And then I figure out that if you can see the edges of the protector it does not look all that bad, especially under the play field glass.

And then I figured out that when I am playing I don't see it at all.

You don't want to trap your protector on your play field. You don't want it trapped under all your slingshot junk. Cut a loose triangle around the slings or any other similar area. Perfection is to be able to remove the plastics and then the protector without any hassle (as much as possible).
I will allow that trying to trace your cuts around your inlane/outlane ball guides is a wasted effort. Now I just remove those giides, drill my holes and put the ball guides back on.

When you lay your protector down you will think that you vacuumed and wipe your play field clean. You will be proved wrong. You will miss shavings etc. that will crawl under your new protector. All of the protectors I have made I have had to pull at least once to clean what shook loose.

Thermal expansion will be an issue. It might be no more than a corner of the protector curling up that goes back down when the ball rolls over but I could not live with that.

************

On this game, the two center inlane posts are my lock points. The way to do this is remove the carriage bolts that come in from underneath, lay your protector down and get it positioned. You will need to remove some of the protective peel on the protector so you can see where you need to drill. Drill two holes in the protector to match. Don't oversize the holes. If the carriage bolts are 1/8" then drill 1/8". You want them tight. Things will get tighter when you screw the posts down but you don't want the posts doing all of the work.

IMG_8633 (resized).JPG

On Seawitch, my two locking points are the two outside posts at the 4-place drop target assembly in the middle of the play field. Going with the drop target location seemed like the thing to do at the time. Works great. Doesn't move.

IMG_8635 (resized).JPG

On this pin, the two posts behind the drop targets are the lock points.

IMG_8637 (resized).JPG

On this pin, the lock points are also behind the drop targets. The outside posts. You want your locking base to be as wide as possible while being close together. And this one, I screwed up. I oversized one of the holes and the protector was shifting around from side to side. So, I had to get the super glue and some scrap plastic to get it to stay in position.

One other thing I learned is to leave the protective peel on as long as possible and just cut and pull back small areas as you are cutting and drilling holes. Otherwise, it will be a scratched up POS before you ever play one game.

Oh yeah, one other other thing I learned is that it is much easier to cut a good fit with the strip of protector that goes into the shooter lane is by removing the inside shooter lane rail and laying your pattern paper all the way out to the edge. Then screw the shooter rail back down over the paper. You just need a couple of screws. Trace a cut line around the shooter rail. Before you lay your pattern paper on your sheet on material, take a razor and cut out what was under the the rail; Leave a small chunk of your pattern intact down by your shooter rod to keep your cut area straight. Then complete the cut by cutting out that chunk. This will leave you with a protector that will fit your play field and also fit your shooter lane dead on.

#27 7 days ago

I just did one Sunday night. Some notes.

1: I used .020 from Wal-Maert which cuts easily with scissors
https://www.walmart.com/ip/3-pack-PETG-CLEAR-PLASTIC-SHEET-020-24-X-48/911517885

2: I used transparency sheets to make the template. Easier than paper because you can lay it over playfield parts. mark the rough outline with a marker and then trim to perfection.
amazon.com link »

3: Trimmed with scissors. Then used spade bits on a drill to cut holes and curves. Set on a piece of disposable wood and cut down into the wood to make perfect circles. Used a dremel with small sanding drums to smooth out rough spots.

Took about 3 hours. The hardest parts was the slots for the lane switches. Used a dremel cut off disc. But didn't get them perfect. Router with tracing bit would have been much better.

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#28 7 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Not an option in this case. The whole idea is to lock down the flaking paint.

If the pops are close together and you have everything else floating free you will probably be OK. But with it locked down with all of your posts, too, I don't know how that will work. I'll be interested in hearing how it works out.

#29 7 days ago
Quoted from hailrazer:

2: I used transparency sheets to make the template. Easier than paper because you can lay it over playfield parts. mark the rough outline with a marker and then trim to perfection.

I wish I had thought of that.

Nice looking. I want a Stars.

#30 7 days ago

Great thread! I am in the process of doing this to my Stern Galaxy. I don’t have a good place to spray clear. I bought one for my Power Play and it works good. I am swapping to a better playfield at the same time so it should be easier.

#31 7 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

I wish I had thought of that.
Nice looking. I want a Stars.

All credit goes to my wife. She was helping me with tracing paper and said "Hold on a second I got something better". I love her creativity

#32 7 days ago
Quoted from SR230CC:

Great thread! I am in the process of doing this to my Stern Galaxy. I don’t have a good place to spray clear. I bought one for my Power Play and it works good. I am swapping to a better playfield at the same time so it should be easier.

Agreed - a lot of very good ideas and excellent examples added.

Here's an example of a post-install adjustment I had to make: After installing and waxing the protector the crossover plunger shot no longer made it up to the top of the playfield (slow-mo video here:

). Instead of going through the spinner to the top of the playfield the ball smacked a rubber and bounced out. Took me a while to find it but the lane guide exit is adjustable - made a minor adjustment and the shot is back. Please don't poke fun at the wrong-size rubber - the kit I bought had an error. Just below that rubber you can see the edge of the protector I made.

Adjusted here

-Rob
-visit http://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC pinball resets or my replacement LED displays for model H and model S skee ball

#33 7 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

If the pops are close together and you have everything else floating free you will probably be OK. But with it locked down with all of your posts, too, I don't know how that will work. I'll be interested in hearing how it works out.

Just pops and 0.1" around everything else is how I made my last one. Worked great for a regular playfield, and never saw the protector get any closer to any posts.

On my current one (4 million bc) the paint is flaking so I want to ensure absolutely no movement. Hoping the expansion can be minimized through Leds, etc enough to keep it playable, but time will tell.

#34 7 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Just pops and 0.1" around everything else is how I made my last one. Worked great for a regular playfield, and never saw the protector get any closer to any posts.
On my current one (4 million bc) the paint is flaking so I want to ensure absolutely no movement. Hoping the expansion can be minimized through Leds, etc enough to keep it playable, but time will tell.

When thermal expansion is being talked about, we are not talking a major movement. Just the tiniest bit of expansion will warp your protector if it is barely touching something. We are talking thousandths of an inch.

There not that many lights on 4 Million BC. You should be OK. 4MBC is a cool game. Tough game to play well. Great skill shot.

What are your plans for the flaking paint long term? I would think there is something more positive you could do to lock it down besides just sandwiching it.

#35 6 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

When thermal expansion is being talked about, we are not talking a major movement. Just the tiniest bit of expansion will warp your protector if it is barely touching something. We are talking thousandths of an inch.
There not that many lights on 4 Million BC. You should be OK. 4MBC is a cool game. Tough game to play well. Great skill shot.
What are your plans for the flaking paint long term? I would think there is something more positive you could do to lock it down besides just sandwiching it.

Short of a full restoration I haven't been able to think of much else. And I don't have the capabilities for that. 4mbc does have an incredibly small number of lights, it's impressive. Right now they're all incandescents still, but if I have problems I'll led it

#36 6 days ago

I located a pic of the first protector i did. I wanted that close fit.

This is an example of how not to make a protector. Cutting around every light socket and every post is a waste of time. Now, I completely cut a triangle around these areas. Most of the area is hidden from view with the posts and plastics. And if an area is at the back of the play field and not in the player's view I don't lose any sleep if the cut is not perfect.

I was fairly anal about it and critical of the ones that you buy because of the loose cuts. I have since relaxed my views.

There is another thread ongoing where people are get all bummed out that their protector is getting scratched up during play action. So now, they are looking for a way to protect the protector. Insane.

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#37 6 days ago

Different plastics have different thermal expansion coefficients .

For instance these PET-G protectors have zero clearance around posts. In fact many of the holes are undrilled and you have to drill them yourself after installation.

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#38 6 days ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Different plastics have different thermal expansion coefficients .
For instance these PET-G protectors have zero clearance around posts. In fact may of the holes are undrilled and you have to drill them yourself.
[quoted image]

but they're also adhesive? Ive been curious how one of those without adhesive would work

cottonm4 what material did you use for your protectors?

#39 6 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

but they're also adhesive?

It's a sheet of 3M 300LSE "double sided" adhesive stuck on the back side.

You can buy it at any craft store or Amazon.

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#40 6 days ago

If you are making your own protector, the Star Rollovers can be a challenge.

Instead of cutting around the star, it's easier to make the whole insert flush with the face of the protector

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-hardtop-restoration-comet#post-4470140

Think what a nightmare Strikes N Spares or Starlight would be, if you were trying to cut all those stars out....

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#41 6 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

but they're also adhesive? Ive been curious how one of those without adhesive would work
cottonm4 what material did you use for your protectors?

I used polycarbonate. The trade names are Lexan and Macrolon. I bought 2 sheets of .030" at a local plastics supply house and paid a retail fortune. When I asked for .020 I was told they could not get that and I found some on Ebay (that is hit or miss) and bought 3 sheets for real cheap.

If this PET-G had been available I could have used that, as well.

#42 6 days ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If you are making your own protector, the Star Rollovers can be a challenge.
Instead of cutting around the star, it's easier to make the whole insert flush with the face of the protector
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-hardtop-restoration-comet#post-4470140
Think what a nightmare Strikes N Spares or Starlight would be, if you were trying to cut all those stars out....[quoted image]

Yes. The only good way to deal with the star rollovers is to remove them and reset them to the height of your protector. You definitely need that palm router with the pattern bit to cut matching rollover holes in your protector. This is where those one-size-fits-all from Germany doesn't work well with the football style holes that are cut.

On my last protector I got lazy and did not want to remove the Star rollover. Since the rollover is up at the top in the ball shooter trail I figured I would be OK. So I just beveled the edges of the hole so the ball would not have that big of hump to jump. It works but I wish I had of removed the rollover and worked it "correctly" by raising it to protector surface height.

#43 6 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

If this PET-G had been available I could have used that, as well.

A sheet of 48"x96"x.02" PETG is ~$25 online

https://www.eplastics.com/sheets/PETGCLR0-020FM48X96

My local AIN Plastics has it for $19 a sheet, but you have to call 2 days in advance, so you can't just impulse buy - and they jab you for $1 a cut if you want the sheet pre-sliced into 5 playfields .

#44 6 days ago

This is a great thread. I might end up doing one of these just to try it out.

#45 6 days ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

I used polycarbonate. The trade names are Lexan and Macrolon. I bought 2 sheets of .030" at a local plastics supply house and paid a retail fortune. When I asked for .020 I was told they could not get that and I found some on Ebay (that is hit or miss) and bought 3 sheets for real cheap.
If this PET-G had been available I could have used that, as well.

I used acrylic last time and petg this time, ordered online. I'd love to know how much the material effects the expansion, but hard to know without making two...

#46 6 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

I'd love to know how much the material effects the expansion, but hard to know without making two...

Some stuff is junk as far as expansion.

The "window replacement plastic" they sell at HD expands so much in the sun, that the plastic completely jumps out of the frame.

It comes with no instructions, but I imagine that a 32" wide piece would need a 1/4" of room around the frame to allow for it to not buck out, if placed on the sunny side of the house.

#47 6 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

I used acrylic last time and petg this time, ordered online. I'd love to know how much the material effects the expansion, but hard to know without making two...

I'd like to know that, as well. But not enough to spend the time researching it.

It was all due to ignorance that I just concentrated on making sure I had clearance at the posts and other play field parts. All around the outside edge of the play field and rails I have 1/16" to 1/8 clearance.

Some of you have been talking about heat from the lights. When I installed my first protector on my Big Game it was an eye opener. BG has 27 lights in the middle of the play field that light up during play. I got a big "heat bubble" in the middle of the play field and was like "oh shit" but then I found the post where I had interference. Once I Dremeled some clearance the bubble went away.

#48 6 days ago

Cutting your shooter lane can be real tricky. This is the 2nd one I did; It is a cluster. Sometimes it will throw the trajectory of the ball out of whack, but not enough that I want to make a replacement since this pin will be getting a new play field. You can see my sloppy cut around the star rollover ( the crappy cut is only obvious when standing directly over the rollover).

The pointed dark spot in the lower left is the tip of the inside shooter rail. It has another sloppy cut in front of it. I cut it with router nice and clean but had to file it some to get clearance. But you don't see it in normal playing stance.

This material is .030" thick. You can do some cutting with scissors but it can be difficult. I cut the shooter lane groove with a box knife and the Dremel Tool and made a mess of it.

IMG_8641 (resized).JPG

This protector is the last one I made. It is .020" poly. .020" cuts very easily with a pair of scissors. I used a new pair of cheapies from Walmart and they did OK. Better scissors will probably work better. I should qualify the scissors. They cut real well on straight lines and outside curves. For inside curves you are going to be using routers, box knives, files, sandpaper, and your Dremel Tool.

For this shooter lane, I got better. Don't bother trying to measure anything. The thing to do is get your protector mounted and locked down on your play field; Several pieces of tape are good enough. You will need to pull back some of the protective peel. I followed the trough cut in the shooter lane and at the point the trough ended I made a small mark with my drill (you can use a fine point Sharpie). I start my shooter lane protector about 3" above the ball kickout and apron. I'll make two small marks at the shooter trough there. Then I pull the protector and using a straight edge draw two lines to the point I made and trace out a long "V". Using the box knife and straight edge I cut out the section of protector that covered the shooter trough. The .020 cuts easily with a sharp blade. I did not bother to sand or file a beveled edge as I did on the Seawitch. It just two razor cuts. The ball launches straight and true and will hit the play field as fast as I want I want to plunge it.

IMG_8645 (resized).JPG

#49 6 days ago
Quoted from vid1900:

A sheet of 48"x96"x.02" PETG is ~$25 online
https://www.eplastics.com/sheets/PETGCLR0-020FM48X96
My local AIN Plastics has it for $19 a sheet, but you have to call 2 days in advance, so you can't just impulse buy - and they jab you for $1 a cut if you want the sheet pre-sliced into 5 playfields .

https://www.walmart.com/ip/3-pack-PETG-CLEAR-PLASTIC-SHEET-020-24-X-48/911517885

I used this because of being in a small town and having no way to get it locally. But it got here in 4 days and being almost the perfect size already helps.

#50 6 days ago
Quoted from rkahr:

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.

Thanks for the call out ... and glad the info was helpful. Here's some help for those that want to cut the switch slots with a razor blade.

When you cut these use a fresh blade in a retractable razor knife. Use a heavy duty knife, not those "break off blade" types.
Cut the switch slots by slicing 2 parallel cuts outside the switch wire then pull your knife off and the cut each ends using straight cuts that meet at a point at each end.
The cut out now has each "end" cut as a triangle shape.

This was very easy to cut and much easier than cutting them in a smooth curve

Great job guys on all the examples in this thread!

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