(Topic ID: 316273)

Lady Robin Hood & Williams Blackout, my first resto

By natgreystar

75 days ago


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  • 23 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 days ago by mrm_4
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#1 75 days ago

I do lots of cosplay and maker stuff but I wanted to shake up my hobbies with stuff I haven't done before. I've restored a few arcade cabinets and never expected to get into pinball just due to cost. Well I landed a couple machines from an estate sale at a good price and they're both working but in need of some cleanup.

One is a 1948 Lady Robin Hood in relatively good condition but covered in dust and sorely aged.
Lady Robin Hood

Lady Robin Hood

I have exhausted the Internet trying to find parts and while I can find a few on sites listed as out of stock like the shooter cover, I can't find authentic pop bumper parts. There are tops but all of the original parts are marbled and the look would be diminished by getting cheaper looking solid color replacement caps. The posts and bumpers are nowhere to be found and a few are cracked. This leaves me with one option.

I'm going to cast and mold all of these parts in new plastic with the marbling. I have to do some tests but since they are marbled there's a limitation to how I can produce them and it will take some trial and error. If I manage to find a way to produce these without a lot of effort I might even sell them. As I said, these are nowhere to be found on the market and after 70 years a lot of these parts have warped or cracked.

The backglass is beyond saving so I've found someone who recreated this one already and ordered a replacement. It's pricey but I got this relatively cheap and I'm doing a full restore on this. The coin door panel is banged up and has glued on parts holding it together. I'm just going to remake it from scratch. The coils all seem to work but I haven't done full tests yet until I can determine what is high voltage. I have the schematics but everything in this is exposed and for me to check throughput safely I have to label the dangerous stuff. The gears and mechanisms definitely need cleaning. The flippers feel weak but I'm not sure if that's intended or these coils are undersized.

I've seen so many of these machines kept as-is but working that I've decided I'm going to do a full repaint and restore on the cabinet. Strip, sand, and re-stain the wood. Repaint all decals and I'm undecided on the weird yellow spray blotches all over. I think I might leave the playfield artwork as it is. I haven't decided yet but I'll know after I clean and polish it. First step is deconstructing all of the playfield because most of these parts are just too old to work well.

Lady Robin Hood playfield

I might replace the lighting with LED so the plastic holds up better in future but that means replacing the screw lamp holders.

--

The other machine is a Williams Blackout in relatively good condition.
Blackout

Williams Blackout

Sadly the backglass got scratched some time after these offer photos so I'll be trying to do some touch ups. Everything seems to work. Right flipper is weak and bulging. Capacitors are a bit bulged. Some resistors are doing their Williams cookout on the board. A fuse was just full on missing on the sound board but speech and sound all seem to be fine. Some minor cosmetic stuff and someone used a cheap lightswitch as a manual way to disable the speaker on the machine. There's also a free credit button underneath with a screwed in microswitch that I'll probably replace with a real button. Lastly the batteries are corroded so I'll swap out the whole thing.

Playfield needs new drop targets, a good cleaning, new rubber, and a new ball. Lane guides are cracked but it's difficult to tell. They're cheap to replace so I might just change them out. I'm going to try out 3D printing the Williams logos and finish them to look factory made to replace the scratched up metal panel paint.

Blackout playfield

The outside of the cabinet has no white so I'm going to replace the buttons with either yellow, red, or transparent lit orange or red lighted buttons.

I'll give some updates on the Blackout machine since I've already done a lot of work on it. I just need to take the after photos so I can do some before and after. I have some samples of LED lighting differences as well. I'll post the relevant photos with each set of work I'm doing and a before/after so the thread is coherent.

#2 74 days ago

The LRH playfield looks like it has all the parts you say are missing?
The flipper strength on these early games was low, more like lobbers compared to modern flippers.

What shooter cover are you looking for? Pinball Resource has some.

#3 74 days ago

Thanks for the info on the flipper strength. I wasn't sure if it was intended for them to just lightly toss the ball and not actually launch it. I haven't played an early produced machine before flippers were commonplace. With how old these are and how gunked the coil pins look I wasn't sure what the intended strength was. The 3 flippers are on a bar and all run off one coil so if there's any friction it would greatly reduce the force they have. I haven't disassembled this yet to see if they need a rebuild or just cleanup.

Yes the LRH has all the parts but a few posts are cracked and some of the pops are warped, melted, or yellowed. I found replacements for some things but none of them are accurate. All of the plastic here is uniquely marbled. I did check Pinball Resource and their parts are all solid color like everyone else's, sadly they have nothing specific to my game. I can reproduce these parts cheaper than buying them at the prices I'm seeing.

This is the cap and you can see it's 2 colors with marbling in both. The only way to get this is if I make it, probably with a squish mold. All of the parts have this marbled effect to them.
20220526_132609 (resized).jpg

This is the pop housing and you can see melting. A few of them are in good condition so I can make a mold from one of them.
20220526_132616 (resized).jpg

I really want to make this machine look like it's nearly new but I don't want to cheapen the look with modern looking plastic. I'd rather leave them as is than replace them with something different but if I'm really going to restore these then it needs to look authentically original.

#4 74 days ago

I was lucky enough to have a very well preserved schematic in my Lady Robin Hood machine but this paper is literally falling apart just from touching it so I took a really good photo and placed it in the gallery.

This machine has no manual or info documented on anything. All we have to go off are pictures some owners have of papers and notecards on the machines. I might start a doc to make a supplemental manual to this machine. Things like gameplay instructions, ball number/size, notes posted inside the machine, how to change the scoring and gameplay, fuses, coil sizes, and rubber replacement sizing. Because of the age of these machines it's just so difficult to come by any info and most of the videos and guides you find on these things are from system 1.

#5 73 days ago

I'd be interested in your marbled pop bumper bodies for Lady Robin Hood. I'll send photos of my Lady Robin Hood project in a day or so.

#6 72 days ago

Call Pinball Resource and talk to Steve they have millions of parts that are not listed on the website. He is Gottlieb.
Jeff

#7 69 days ago

I dismantled all the parts on the playfield. The plastic is so incredibly brittle. I've done a lot of documenting and searching and a bunch of these parts have absolutely no reproduction so the only hope would be finding an original part which could also be decaying or brittle just due to time. Some parts used to be available and were discontinued so unless there's a stock of it somewhere it's also just gone. I'll contact Pinball Resource and just ask if they have any of these parts.

I've started molding the parts so I can cast new origin plastic. I had to repair a bunch of these parts with clay to cast them because removing them and cleaning them to prep for molding they just started flaking apart. So I'm going to have to sand and recreate the source parts to make ready molds. This is going to last much longer and be more resilient. If that doesn't work I might 3D model these parts so they can be printed in high temp resin. The worst decay is on the light posts for the special.

Is this Pepto or molds?
20220606_131726 (resized).jpg

To keep these machines alive I think creating 3D models is the only option. Otherwise eventually time will eliminate these machines with no hope to replace these parts to retain intended play. You'd have to supplement the parts. I can definitely recreate the marbled ones at higher cost but to 3D print these things would cost 6-18 cents a piece. In fact I uh already made the peg. It took me like 20 minutes in Fusion 360. 6 cents worth of material hahaha.
20220606_144008 (resized).jpg

I have a theory that you could recreate the marbling effect with a 3D printed resin part and then using nail polish in water to create the marble effect and dip it. You could then coat it with a UV protective clear coat. That might last a while and look closer to the originals.

2 weeks later
#8 56 days ago

I feel like I finally have Blackout finished. I replaced all the capacitors and it looks a lot cleaner and these things are smaller and lighter.

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I also updated all of the lighting to LED which I would say is a vast improvement. In daylight most of these indicators were hard to see but now they're vibrant and changing them from incandescent to color matched LEDs really makes the colors pop on the indicators. Here's a comparison of just the lane indicators with the 1 updated and the 2 and 3 still incandescent.
20220525_151955 (resized).jpg

It made a massive difference in the backglass lighting. I added fire effects behind the red portion and ice blue lamps really make the blues pop. I wasn't sure if I'd like it but I put red lamps behind the bottom portion (although I ran out of lamps) and it looks way better. It's difficult to get the exact brightness you see in person on camera but it looks really good.
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I did not use modern white lamps anywhere, it just looked so wrong. All of the white lamps are warm. Some of the artwork has accent color lighting behind it with blues and reds. I also added a red light strip to the shooter gap and it makes a really cool effect on the ball when it sits in the lane.

I was going to add lighting to the trough but it just didn't look right and overwhelmed the "fire again" indicator. I didn't want to go too overboard with lighting to try and keep the original visual spirit of the game in tact. Maybe an amber colored trough light would work but I'm leaving it for now.

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The biggest difference the LED lighting made was the amount of power draw this thing uses. At half the wattage and a much lower amperage I don't have to worry about which lines I'm plugging into in my old house.

I also polished all the metal on this thing and did some restoration on the backglass. I think the 1 indicator is at the end of its life and I'm going to try to make a water transfer replacement. I've clear coated the thing to keep it from wearing any more because a lot of the black had micro cracks in it you could only see when the lamps are lit. Also replaced a coil on the right flipper because it looked swollen and was weak. Someone had greased the thing which I'm guessing caused it to heat and sadly replacing the rest of the parts did nothing. Works great now.

Lastly I put in all new drop target stickers and polished the play field. Now it looks like an almost new machine. Cleaning the back side of the indicator plastic covers made a huge difference to how it looks. Now with the LEDs I don't have to worry about lamp burn on the plastic. This game is somewhat basic but it's a lot more fun than I expected.

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#9 56 days ago

Don't forget to address the issue of the two rectifiers in the backbox.
Those need fuses or my Bridge Board replacement.
http://home.kpn.nl/inkochnito/bridge_board.htm
http://home.kpn.nl/inkochnito/FirePower.htm

I have a Blackout too.
I have split the GI into 4 seperate parts.
You can read all about it here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/blackout-club-fans-welcome/page/11#post-5277371

Peter
http://www.inkochnito.nl

#10 56 days ago

They both look like great restoration candidates. I will be following this and I hope you detail the pop bumper ideas for the Lady Robin Hood, sounds quite interesting!

#11 50 days ago
Quoted from Inkochnito:

Don't forget to address the issue of the two rectifiers in the backbox.
Those need fuses or my Bridge Board replacement.

Yeah so sort of did that.... I did one of them no problem and then the other one ugh. They soldered the connectors to the box on all the contacts. There's so much piled up all over it I can't remove them with desoldering. I assume they were loose and some service tech with little training just thought this was better than redoing the connectors. I'm going to have to replace all of it or clip the wire, extend it, add the fuse and let it look like a horror show. I only have this thing on while it's being played and I'm not playing it much so I'm not super worried right now since at least one of them is caught. I'll probably do the disgusting method for now. Everything works perfect from what I can tell.

#12 50 days ago

As for Lady Robin Hood I've done some tests and gotten really good results. These 3D models are really close to the original parts. The pop cap needs work still but it's quite close. The weird shaped tube indicator is nearly perfect reproduction. The triangle I can't tell if the shape is because of swelling due to lamp heat or if it just looks like this weird swollen triangle. I followed basic tools they would have used for creating injection molds to make this model. Functionally it's the same and it looks close.

I'm pretty sure if you printed these out of the right kind of resin they could be drop in replacements. You can use filament and they look ok but it's obvious without sanding and finishing that these are 3D printed.
20220625_175423 (resized).jpg

My cast molded part is nearly perfect with authentic marbling. Looks like an original part really.

20220624_1834272 (resized).jpg

I had to do a few tests to figure out the best way to get a marble effect from such a small molded part. I only have black dye on hand right now so I'm going to get some colors to match everything from the original machine. I've redone the molds and once I get some colors I'm going to try making some batches. If they turn out good I might open a store for them or sell them to pinball parts resellers. I should be able to mold every part on this machine and that's great because after a few discussions with parts stores I can assure anyone looking, these parts are long gone with no true replacement. Except me.

This is my test for the triangle thing.
20220625_180047 (resized).jpg

It looks good, has some flaws on the bottom I can sand to correct but overall captured the weird shape of the triangle. I'll need to look at other plastics though, this stuff is completely opaque and it has to be translucent for the lamp. I'm hoping I can find a plastic that will hold up better to heat without discoloring in case anyone wants to replace these and stick with incandescent.

1 week later
#13 43 days ago

AAAAND yesterday after all this time I finally noticed that Blackout has a blank master display. I was getting super annoyed with not knowing how many balls I have left or how many credits are on the machine and took out the manual... of course. So I spent hours last night checking everything. Bla bla bla did a bunch of checking resistors, lines, voltages, but I'm not seeing an obvious problem except a very strange 30v where I think 100v are supposed to be. Some of the resistors were reading lower than expected. A few were 10k but some were about 9k when I measured their ohms resistance. When I checked voltage they were okay but not consistent. One was way off though.

After a good cleaning I noticed one of the 100v leads had worn down and it was dropping down below 95v. I fixed that, no luck. I resoldered all the spots that looked old and possibly faulty but that didn't do it. I tried jumping the leads and the glass is definitely getting signal because I see numbers on the other displays when I jumper them. The numbers look super worn out so I'm worried it's just burned out. Wish I could just shift it over because the dead numbers that don't get used look brand new.

I can't find a 6184 except on ebay which is probably a crapshoot since most of these ship from China. I ordered a new 7180 in case it's that. Going to replace all the resistors and see if that helps.

Since I did all this I ripped apart the drop targets because I was getting annoyed the sound effects for those rarely go off. Well, they are slathered in grease or something. They will need a scrubbing because there's no way the contacts are working on them which would explain the random sound effects there. Also noticed the blackout ball reject tray was cracked so that's getting a replacement. This is what I get for playing this so much I notice everything.

I'll be so annoyed if it ends up being the glass and I have to switch all of this to XPin or something.

#14 43 days ago

I would get rid of the horseshoe drops and go with Old School Bob's setup. Works really well, fairly easy to install, and the drops fall easier and are reliable. Nothing to make them hang up.

[email protected]

There's a few other threads on here talking about them, and I think they are Vid approved!

#15 40 days ago

I'm weeding out which plastics just aren't going to work for LRH but I have the color almost fully accurate and the marbling definitely figured out. The complexity of finding the right plastic or set of plastics is bonkers. They have to be rigid but not brittle, impact resistant but not warp or bend under the tension of the rubber, translucent but also have color fastness. I had to make a spreadsheet to figure this all out because not a single plastic can do all of these things so I have to find compromises. It's a mess and I have a spreadsheet for the possible plastics that could work.

As long as both colors of resin maintain the same gravity then marbling doesn't bleed. Figuring this out is all down to math I haven't figured out yet based on calculated weights. As long as I pour off a mixed total, blend the original color in slightly, and count drops of dye I can basically determine that they won't improperly mix after pour as long as the resulting gravity is equalized. Regardless I have pretty much replicated the original marbling to the point if the color were exact you couldn't tell the difference. That said I have the color for red and blue figured out. I did some photoshopping of the parts and by reducing the yellow saturation a bit I was able to somewhat recreate the original colors. The color difference isn't massive but I think it looks better.

20220705_161821 (resized).jpg

Only thing I'm not happy with are the bubbles. I haven't needed a pressure pot until now but the bubbles really like to catch where the rubber goes. Problem is if you agitate the mold too much it causes the marbling to bleed together. For a player, you won't see any of this because the imperfections are so small. Over time it will probably hold up, but I can't sell something that isn't at least like 98% good. Only thing is I need to test putting these in a machine and chucking a ball at it. I don't see any reason they'd fail but you have to be sure.

The lit parts are more difficult. Smooth-Cast 60D is at least translucent so it works better but only if you want it bright. Smooth-Cast 326 may work for the lighted parts to be a bit more yellowed if you mix in white. TASK 9 could work but it may be brittle.

The biggest challenge is the thinness of the pop caps and the red ball launch lane topper. That topper is extremely thin and a lot of the plastics either bend or snap at that thinness. The pop caps are less concerning but still at 1.5mm I wouldn't want a ball hitting it just right snapping the side off. When I figure out what plastics go with what parts I'll post the spreadsheet for anyone who wants to recreate their own parts.

#16 40 days ago

Good to know. I'll have to bookmark these. I cleaned up one of them, contacts still good just really mucked up. I need to test it out but I have to wait for a few parts before I put everything back together. Thanks for the suggestion though. I still have to clean the other target board so we'll see what that looks like soon.

Quoted from Billc479:

I would get rid of the horseshoe drops and go with Old School Bob's setup. Works really well, fairly easy to install, and the drops fall easier and are reliable. Nothing to make them hang up.
[email protected]
There's a few other threads on here talking about them, and I think they are Vid approved!

#17 40 days ago
Quoted from natgreystar:

The biggest challenge is the thinness of the pop caps and the red ball launch lane topper.

If you are looking at printing your own versions, you could make it thicker, perhaps just thin in the center for lights to shine through.

1 week later
#18 29 days ago

I'm really happy with these! Color may be a bit too bright red but the marbling is perfect.

20220716_184709 (resized).jpg

I made one huge mess to figure out the best way to do this and today I got it. Easy to repeat and get great results with minimal effort. No bubbles with this method I came up with, didn't need a pressure pot either. I get really unique marbling on every one. I need see if I can clean up the original flashing from the injection parts the manufacturer originally made to redo my molds and add a few things that should make for some easier finishing. I think these need a harder plastic too because if you screw these down too tight they will warp.

#19 29 days ago
Quoted from mark532011:

If you are looking at printing your own versions, you could make it thicker, perhaps just thin in the center for lights to shine through.

For the pop cap I can definitely make some adaptations in the 3D print version so it may be less prone to warping. The molded replica I can't do much about. I could maybe thicken it up a little for the mold but it would be easier to just make more molds and use the right plastic. There is a plastic perfect for this but it takes 16 hours to cure. It's just because these parts are the thickness of a few sheets of paper. The lane blocking cover holds a metal bar and it's just a decorative cover non-lit so I can get away with a less robust plastic. The pop caps are probably going to be the biggest challenge.

#20 29 days ago

Following. Very impressed with your tenacity and attention to detail with the plastics. The marbled look is a hallmark of the older machines as you’ve pointed out. From a selfish standpoint I’m also currently restoring a machine with several cracked marbled plastics so I’m watching with interest. Keep up the good work!

3 weeks later
#21 2 days ago

I started painting the cabinet for LRH and I think I found THE Gottlieb blue that is used on all the EM cabinets. They tend to use this color quite a bit and on LRH it's the main color and the accent image on the back box. I'm mixing these colors myself but if anyone wants to paint match using pantones, hold on to your butts. Here are the pantone colors that match each color on this machine along with some off the shelf Benjamin Moore colors if you don't mix your own colors. I'm using automotive paints with a spray gun and I'll get some pictures up once I have a few coats down.

Gottlieb Teal Blue
Pantone P 121-12 C
Matching Benjamin Moore colors: 2055-50 Fairy Tale Blue, 2056-50 Baby Boy Blue, HC-147 Woodlawn Blue
If you like the old yellowed look but need touch ups: Benjamin Moore 2050-40 Florida Keys Blue or 2041-40 Juneau Spring

Red Accents
Hemoglobin Red
Benjamin: CSP-1145 Tomato Tango

Very Dark Blue/Navy
This one is tough because if you photograph it, it comes out more black than blue. To my eye it looks like a darker navy. So here are two pantone options but it's really near impossible to find a color at a paint store that is near black anything. You'd be best off taking this pantone to the paint store.
Pantone 532 C or Piano Black

Yellow Splatter
If you're doing a full repaint and you want to do the paint splatter of the yellow I think these go decently well as options.
Chartreuse Shot
Pantone 14-0756 Tcx Empire Yellow

#22 2 days ago

An update on casting parts! I've finally figured out the color recipe to recreate the playfield pegs. This green was one of the more difficult colors to match because they had really yellowed. I tried to match the playfield paint color more than the original pegs. I love the way they look.
20220808_224440 (resized).jpg

20220809_195423 (resized).jpg

I have plastics for the other parts and I need to find the right color set for the red translucent. I tried to wash and prep the bonus lamp plastic and it cracked really bad so. I remodeled the original and printed with a minor improvement so it sits properly flush with the table. It fits perfectly. Honestly you could just use these 3D prints. These are made from resin on my SLA printer but you could get a decent enough result with an FDM. I'm going to mold this for the nice marbled look though.
20220812_195150 (resized).jpg

Here's some of the other parts I made models for. Really if you used the right color resin or colored it yourself you could just drop these in a machine and no one would ever know.
20220812_195221 (resized).jpg
20220812_195237 (resized).jpg

Oh wait, what's that?
20220812_162817 (resized).jpg

Yeah that's a Gottlieb Melody I found on auction. Excuse my disgusting makeshift garage paint area mess. The pictures showed it as working but it's not turning on. They also didn't give me keys so I have to find a way in so I can get the glass off and see what's going on with this. This thing took a lot of body damage before it ended up with me though. It obviously hasn't seen any maintenance in quite a while. At least that glass is near flawless.

#23 2 days ago

Those posts are impressive nice work!

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