Quoted from Pinball-Ike:
Regardless, your fix looks great, and I hope you report back about longevity and if made a difference on keeping the playfield, etc.. cleaner.
Well, hard to say about keeping the playfield cleaner. But, I can say it does “work” nice - the softer rubber has nice grip and spins/throws the ball out of that area, so it adds that extra bit of unpredictability and fun like the game was designed to do.
Now, on the note about the “clean” playfield.......to anyone interested........
I actually took all of the ramps and most of the plastics off so I could do a deep clean and wax. My machine has thousands of plays on it. When you looked at the playfield, you could clearly see the area where the ball is in play vs. the original shiny clear coat. Also very well defined ball tracks in the lanes. That bothered me a lot, so I started looking into the threads on this forum about playfield restoration. Most notably, Vid’s thread on playfield restoration. I found it funny that just like a lot of other topics, everyone had very strong feelings on products, and there was a lot of “never” do this or “always” use that. I have rarely found absolutes in life, and this project was no different.
I decided to use the Novus products, and I also ordered a set of round sponge and wool buffing/polishing pads off Amazon for my cordless drill. Some on the other forum said “never” use either. The Novus is an abrasive and will eat through the clear coat. The power drill will cause too much action and also eat through your clear coat in short order.
The Cliff’s Notes version is, as long as you treat each like indulgences in life - use in moderation - you can achieve great results without “damaging” the clear coat.
The reason that I ordered the rotary pads was I first tried the sponge pads from pinballlife that I got with the Novus for hand polishing. They probably work great for a maintained machine, but not for a deep clean/restoration project like I was doing. They didn’t make a dent.
I started out using the coarsest sponge pad and Novus 2. I worked a small area for a while and saw some improvement. But I was disappointed in the lack of results. Especially the ball tracks. They weren’t going anywhere. I started eyeing the Novus 3 bottle. The other thread was all like “oh dear God never use Novus 3 on clear coat!!!”
I picked up the bottle and looked at the back. Company HQ in St. Paul, near where I live. I decided to call and see if I could get someone to give me some advice. Not only did I get a person right away, but he was friendly and extremely knowledgeable and helpful. And yes, he was well aware of all of us pinball enthusiasts using the products for playfields.
So I asked him right off the bat - can I use Novus 3 on a playfield or will it chew through the clear coat? Without hesitation the answer was no, but it circled back to my point above about “moderation”. I think if you used a coarse enough sponge or other device and applied too much pressure, it would eat through the clear coat. I asked if these products were just made for plastic stuff like acrylic ramps and he said no that clear coat had acrylic in it. (I was embarrassed at my dumb question).
Anyways, he said using the #3, you were making a series of fine scratches that will get the bigger scratches worn down. Then you move on to the #2 which makes even finer scratches which are extremely fine, then move on to finish with the #1. Contrary to popular understanding, the #1 isn’t just a “cleaner” but actually has additives that fill and polish so that your finished product looks really shiny and nice.
I said, “I want to get it back to that factory, mirror-like finish”. He said, you’ll never be able to achieve that with ANY product. Looking at the playfield (or whatever you are working on, like a car) at an angle and in the right light you will always see the fine swirls from buffing the large scratches out.
I ended up working the vast majority of the playfied with #3 to get rid of ball tracks, ball swirls, and general clear coat clouding from what I believe are thousands of micro scratches in the clear coat in the general play area. I took my time, and just applied light pressure and kept re-checking the progress. I ended up getting “a lot” of the wear and tracks out. Not all of it, but this was a conscious decision by me. I didn’t want to “over-do it” and end up doing what everyone warned me not to do and eat deep into the clear coat or even the underlying paint.
I also did this with my clear ramps. They had that opaque area at the start of the ramp where a wide variety of angles entered, followed by ball tracks for the rest of the ramp/track. The #3 certainly made the opaque areas a lot less noticeable, and the ball tracks faded quite a bit. Just like the playfield, I followed up with the #2 and then polished with #1.
I also did flipper rebuilds, and changed out a ton of solenoid sleeves and parts to make sure everything was playing fast and strong.
Laid down two layers of Blitz. Made a conscious effort to really work the Blitz into the areas prone to ball tracks. Game now playing fast AF.
If anyone has any further questions about the work I did feel free to post either on this thread or PM me.