(Topic ID: 149474)

Looking for correct screws for Bally plastics


By jibmums

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by dasvis
  • Topic is favorited by 10 Pinsiders

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#1 3 years ago

Bally used a unique screw to hold down their early solid state plastics, it was like a Philips panhead but with a flat top and a beveled edge, see photo. If you've restored an early Bally SS you know exactly the screw I'm referring to. My plastics screw have mostly been replaced with truss-head and hex screws, and they just look wrong. Anybody got a source for these correct screws?

Bally_plastics_screws_(resized).jpg

#2 3 years ago
Quoted from jibmums:

Bally used a unique screw to hold down their early solid state plastics, it was like a Philips panhead but with a flat top and a beveled edge, see photo. If you've restored an early Bally SS you know exactly the screw I'm referring to. My plastics screw have mostly been replaced with truss-head and hex screws, and they just look wrong. Anybody got a source for these correct screws?

Bally_plastics_screws_(resized).jpg

How many do you need?

#3 3 years ago

I count fourteen on Centaur, and I have a ton of stuff piled in & on SI so I can't get an accurate count on that one but it's probably another dozen or so.

#4 3 years ago

I don't have that many to give ya or I would. I never found a source for these screw either.

#6 3 years ago

Picked some up from home depot that are pretty close and look great for 12 for about 2 bucks with tax. Not a match but works well.

#7 3 years ago

Nope, not truss. Williams used truss heads for their plastics, Bally used a weird "flattened truss" or "flattened dome" head. I'll probably just bite the bullet and use the truss head if I can't find the correct Bally screws.

Rstrunks, got a pic or a part number?

#8 3 years ago

Bally was so cheap, they probably bought factory "seconds" of regular truss head screws.

I've been using zinc truss head screws on the pinball machines I restored for Welby Bergum and they look perfectly fine.

#9 3 years ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Bally was so cheap, they probably bought factory "seconds" of regular truss head screws.

lol

#10 3 years ago

I've never found the exact match either, Fastenall had them only in phosphate finish last time I was there.

Stainless steel is soft, so you could always get them in stainless and then hit the heads with a hammer in a partially closed vise.

https://www.boltdepot.com/Sheet_metal_screws_Phillips_truss_head_Stainless_steel_18-8.aspx

#11 3 years ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Bally was so cheap, they probably bought factory "seconds" of regular truss head screws.
I've been using zinc truss head screws on the pinball machines I restored for Welby Bergum and they look perfectly fine.

Ken -
Does Welby lurk on Pinside or can you PM me his contact info? I bought some playfield glass from him last year at the PNW show & would like to order more for this year's show. Long ways off, but reading his name made me think of it.
Dasvis

#12 3 years ago

If you're a stickler for the stock screws you could check with Rixzilla. I saw he just parted out a Bally Playboy and he should have plenty of those screws on-hand.

#13 3 years ago
Quoted from dasvis:

Ken -
Does Welby lurk on Pinside or can you PM me his contact info? I bought some playfield glass from him last year at the PNW show & would like to order more for this year's show. Long ways off, but reading his name made me think of it.
Dasvis

On the machines I did for Welby, he took one of the original truss head screws to his local branch of Tacoma Screw Products (just a mile down the road from his house) and Tacoma Screw got him the exact replacements in zinc and for only 2 cents each in the 100 pack bags. It was special order and it took a month, but it was worth it. I think he bought 5 or 6 bags of them.

Tacoma Screw normally stocks the #6 by 1/2" long phillips truss head screws only in stainless steel (perfect for replacing the drive nails on side rails).

http://www.tacomascrew.com/s.nl/it.A/id.21694/.f

Here's a company that has them dirt cheap (2 cents each only sold in bags of 100) in nickel plated:

http://www.woodworkerexpress.com/Truss-Head-Screws-Hinge-Accessories-Truss-Head-Wood-Screws-Description-6-x-1-2-2-Phillips-Truss-Head-Wood-Screw.html

More in zinc:

http://ahturf.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=21510

Fastenal has some in zinc:

https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/0139246?r=~|categoryl1:%22600000%20Fasteners%22|~%20~|categoryl2:%22600051%20Screws%22|~%20~|categoryl3:%22600066%20Sheet%20Metal%20Screws%22|~%20~|sattr03:^Truss$|~%20~|sattr02:^Steel$|~%20~|sattr04:^Phillips$|~%20~|sattr05:^%229pound6%20-%2020%22$|~

https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/0142431?r=~|categoryl1:%22600000%20Fasteners%22|~%20~|categoryl2:%22600051%20Screws%22|~%20~|categoryl3:%22600066%20Sheet%20Metal%20Screws%22|~%20~|sattr03:^Truss$|~%20~|sattr02:^Steel$|~%20~|sattr04:^Phillips$|~%20~|sattr05:^%229pound6%20-%2020%22$|~

https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/31228?r=~|categoryl1:%22600000%20Fasteners%22|~%20~|categoryl2:%22600051%20Screws%22|~%20~|categoryl3:%22600066%20Sheet%20Metal%20Screws%22|~%20~|sattr03:^Truss$|~%20~|sattr02:^Steel$|~%20~|sattr04:^Phillips$|~%20~|sattr05:^%229pound6%20-%2018%22$|~

#14 3 years ago

Good info! Thanks Ken!

#15 3 years ago

Pinball Life also sells the truss head screws in zinc:

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=1137

#16 3 years ago

I have restored 6 early Bally solid state games and the all had the panhead #6X1/2 screws. I have seen the flat ones that you are talking about. I think they were only used on the upper arch plastic because they rest under the rear glass stop. I have no trouble with pan head screws and they come out very shiny after 2 days in the tumbler. The heads have a low profile so they should be ok to use.

#17 3 years ago

The plastics used truss head screws in the wooden side rails. Pan heads were used on the posts.

This is the general rule though. It seems Bally assembly deviated from time to time (probably when they ran out of a certain size/style or received a different lot).

Bally used #6 truss heads on some machines and #8 truss heads on others. You can use #8 because they are only 0.030" bigger in diameter and the holes that the original #6 screws were in are usually loose. My bolts have the same head size but will fit nice and tight like new, especially for the backbox wire looms and displays which used #8 a lot of the time. I do offer #6 truss heads too if people want them.

You have to remember that you can polish the OEM screws and they will look good but the appearance is usually short-lived because they were just cheap zinc-plated fasteners and the zinc wasn't very thick. They will usually oxidize quickly afterwards if left unprotected.

I've studied all the Bally fasteners in depth and manufacture several custom screws for pinball. All of my fasteners are 18-8 stainless and can be polished to a mirror finish with a slight buff or left natural to appear like the original zinc-plated bolts were. The lengths are custom and the heads are very close to the originals. Mine actually look better than original and are superior quality. Unlike the cheap originals, mine are designed to last forever (and look good too).

Custom sized 18-8 stainless steel fasteners from left to right:
1) 6-32 x 2" pan head (for posts with threaded T-nuts beneath the playfield)
2) #6 x 1.75" pan head sheet metal screw (for tall playfield posts that screw directly into wood)
3) #6 x 1.5" pan head sheet metal screw (for short playfield posts that screw directly into wood)
4) #8 x .5" truss head screw (for playfield plastics & backbox wire looms)
5) 8-32 x 1.125" carriage bolt (for Bally coin door frames & side rails)
6) 1/4-20 x 1.5" carriage bolt (for Bally playfield glass lockdown bar lever)

I have all these screws in stock and am adding more this year. You'll have a hard time finding these screws because they are not popular sizes. Also I made a point of trying to match the heads as close as reasonably possible. Carriage bolts you buy commercially will all have marked heads. Mine are smooth and I spend thousands of dollars having all of these screws custom-made.

IMG_4465_(resized).JPG

#18 3 years ago

I guess as Lovef2k said, I'll just use the flat/truss that I have (thanks meSz!) on the arch plastics and regular truss elsewhere.

Gatecrasher, granted my experience is only a few years now but I've found that while Williams used panhead screws for posts, Bally used round-head screws. Or at least early Bally SS did, every single post screw, either wood or machine, I've removed from Playboy, Space Invaders, and Centaur was a round-head.

Here's an odd little tidbit, have any other early Bally owners ever noticed this - old Bally post screws give off a strange yeasty odor if they have never been cleaned. My three Bally games all came from different places, but each one's screws all had the same odd smell when I removed them for shopping. No odor from my Williams or Data East screws, only Bally. Something in the cheap plating, maybe?

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from jibmums:

old Bally post screws give off a strange yeasty odor

You're supposed to sniff the glue not the screws!!!!

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from jibmums:

I guess as Lovef2k said, I'll just use the flat/truss that I have (thanks meSz!) on the arch plastics and regular truss elsewhere.
Gatecrasher, granted my experience is only a few years now but I've found that while Williams used panhead screws for posts, Bally used round-head screws. Or at least early Bally SS did, every single post screw, wood or machined, I've removed from Playboy, Space Invaders, and Centaur was a round-head.
Here's an odd little tidbit, have any other early Bally owners ever noticed this - old Bally post screws give off a strange yeasty odor if they have never been cleaned. My three Bally games all came from different places, and each one's screws all had the same odd smell when I removed them for shopping. No odor from my Williams or Data East screws, only Bally. Something in the cheap plating, maybe?

I have noticed that smell, I thought it was from the posts, maybe from the plastic or the dye used for coloring? Xenon was the worst.

#21 3 years ago
Quoted from Gatecrasher:

[snip]
I have all these screws in stock and am adding more this year.
IMG_4465_(resized).JPG

do you have a website or way to order these for people wanting to do so?

#22 3 years ago

I have used Gatecrasher's coin door trim bolts on my Ballys. Very nice quality.

#23 3 years ago
Quoted from jibmums:

Gatecrasher, granted my experience is only a few years now but I've found that while Williams used panhead screws for posts, Bally used round-head screws. Or at least early Bally SS did, every single post screw, either wood or machine, I've removed from Playboy, Space Invaders, and Centaur was a round-head.

Well they are kind of in between because some of them seem to look like they have been modified/ground on. I find these on just about every machine. Very few are what I would consider to be a true round head with an almost perfectly radiused head.

This is why I say "I made a point of trying to match the heads as close as reasonably possible" because they aren't perfectly uniform and vary substantially. Some are real bad.

Below is a picture of some factory Bally SS fasteners. I have bags full of these from numerous machines. Several years ago when I approached fastener companies here in Chicago to duplicate these there was a lot of discussion as to what these really are. If you look at the heads you'll see they really aren't true round heads and to me a pan head is more representative of how these look (plus IMO a panhead looks and functions better). That's why the decision was made to go panhead instead of round head. There was no way I was going to get what look like hand-modified bolts. The bolts Bally used look cheap and were shoddily-made (probably came from Taiwan).

IMG_4471_(resized).JPG

IMG_4478_(resized).JPG

#24 3 years ago
Quoted from j_m_:

Do you have a website or a way to order these for people wanting to do so?

Yeh, what he said.

#25 3 years ago
Quoted from j_m_:

do you have a website or way to order these for people wanting to do so?

Hopefully I'll have my lift channels back in stock next week and I'll post an updated parts flyer.

#26 3 years ago
Quoted from Gatecrasher:

Hopefully I'll have my lift channels back in stock next week and I'll post an updated parts flyer.

Looking forward to that. I need 2 of them.

#27 3 years ago
Quoted from Gatecrasher:

Hopefully I'll have my lift channels back in stock next week and I'll post an updated parts flyer.

Fantastic. Just moved my Old Chicago into my garage & ready to start the restore... need some stuff!

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