(Topic ID: 68695)

Mirror blades: who makes the best ones?


By MustangPaul

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 40 posts
  • 26 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by jetmechinnc
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 5 years ago

    I'm looking to add them to my new Star Trek and a couple other games. I know they are made by several different companies so I'm asking the people who bought and installed them who has the best for quality, fitment and price. Thanks

    #2 5 years ago

    I bought my black mirrors from www.pinballsidemirrors.com

    Thought the quality was pretty solid and install was rather easy on a newer Stern

    edit-Oh nice, looks like 2 of the pics on his main page of the Black mirrors are my TRON...Awesome!

    #3 5 years ago

    i bought from pinballsidemirrors also and the product, packaging and customer service were top notch.

    #4 5 years ago

    pinballsidemirrors here also. Great quality and service and price was right.

    #5 5 years ago

    If the games are older, make sure you have clearance on both sides for the mirror installs. A lot of older games (due to cabinet/or playfield warping) do not allow enough room for the mirrors. Thus the mirrors can and will get scratched. Once scratched you are SOL.

    There are several games I own that I cannot do mirrors because of this issue. Maybe someone has a solution that could fix this. Everything I have thought of requires major work (i.e. pulling playfield and sanding the sides?).

    Oh, I bought my mirrors from Pinballsidemirrors too.

    #6 5 years ago

    I put Pinball Side Mirrors in on my Funhouse with the instructions that you simply lift the playfield all of the way up, push it to either the left or right depending on what side you're installing, and install.

    It was not that easy on a system 11. The playfield does graze the mirrors and I do have scratches as a result of this and the difficult installation but you don't really notice them looking straight on at the game during gameplay. I mean, what's a Funhouse without mirrors?

    #7 5 years ago

    I had no problem putting them in my EATPM. It was quite simple, the blades rested nicely on the bolts the playfield is attached to. 3 screws each side, done. I DO NOT recommend using little felt strips though. The adhesive will smear onto the blades.

    #8 5 years ago

    They are all the same metal, same gauge, laser cut so there really isn't any difference...except for price. The mirror blade idea was from Henrik at Pinball Dreams (www.pinball-dreams) in Germany. Very bright guy, all the others are copies of his work. Pinball Dreams is also the company who created the lit aprons, another really cool ideal.

    #9 5 years ago

    Bump - Curious if anyone has purchased from pinballdecals.com or other sources as a comparison to pinballsidemirrors. I know the pricing is different but curious about the quality, ease-of-install, etc.

    #10 5 years ago

    Please see my previous post. The Pinball Decal blades are being made by our machine shop guys(the one that makes our switch brackets, ect). I introduced Joey to them so I know how they are made. He got the pattern from Henrik at Pinball Dreams when Henrik sent him blades to sell. He had them copied and they are, like all others, laser cut to the exact same pattern.

    Trust me they are all made using the same metal from the same metal manufacturer. Installation is either with screws or some use double sided adhesive (transfer adhesive) which you can get from U-Line. The adhesive process is the best process as it is the lowest profile.

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from PinballInc:

    The adhesive process is the best process as it is the lowest profile.

    Wouldnt the screws be? Then there is absolutely nothing in between the mirror/cabinet.

    #12 5 years ago

    Sorry, to clarify, the screws stick out a bit which is the point of the highest profile.

    #13 5 years ago
    Quoted from PinballInc:

    Sorry, to clarify, the screws stick out a bit which is the point of the highest profile.

    Indeed the screws stick out a bit, but they are well below the playfield with the playfield down and thus have no relevance to any decrease in clearance. On the other hand using an adhesive tape does decrease clearance X2 (both sides) and side mirror removal for any reason is not only difficult but has caused damage to wood sides and side mirrors when removed.

    Some producers also provide or recommend felt on the playfield edges. This has been a disaster when the felt pulls of and the felt adhesive gets all over the mirrors and playfield. If you fear scratching your side mirrors when elevating your playfield, why not put some paper between the playfield and mirror before raise the playfield.

    I have removed standard side mirrors to install colored mirror sides and was able to reuse the standard mirrors on another machine as original screw mounting permitted ease of removal with no damage to the sides or mirrors. The screws are very small and do not require any cabinet drilling for installation as they self tap into the wood through pre-drilled/cut holes in the side mirrors.

    Side mirrors for the money is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to add some life to your playfield.

    #14 5 years ago
    Quoted from minnesota13:

    Indeed the screws stick out a bit, but they are well below the playfield with the playfield down and thus have no relevance to any decrease in clearance. On the other hand using an adhesive tape does decrease clearance X2 (both sides) and side mirror removal for any reason is not only difficult but has caused damage to wood sides and side mirrors when removed.
    Some producers also provide or recommend felt on the playfield edges. This has been a disaster when the felt pulls of and the felt adhesive gets all over the mirrors and playfield. If you fear scratching your side mirrors when elevating your playfield, why not put some paper between the playfield and mirror before raise the playfield.
    I have removed standard side mirrors to install colored mirror sides and was able to reuse the standard mirrors on another machine as original screw mounting permitted ease of removal with no damage to the sides or mirrors. The screws are very small and do not require any cabinet drilling for installation as they self tap into the wood through pre-drilled/cut holes in the side mirrors.
    Side mirrors for the money is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to add some life to your playfield.

    Good point, transfer adhesive is so thin that the difference is negligible. It's been a while since I've seen the install using screws, what attaches the top of the blade to the cabinet?

    I agree with the adhesive if you remove you'll most likely have to do some touch up.

    You may have an idea, someone should come up with a guide to put between the blades and the PF when lifting. I think paper would not be very good, it would have to be something that won't tear like thin plastic or something along that line.

    #15 5 years ago

    While they are made the same way there are definitely differences in the reflectivity between the suppliers. Guess it has to do with the material they use and how well it's polished. While expensive Pinball Decals blades are the best I seen and have a perfect mirror reflection, whereas some others blades out there are not as crisp and have a dull look. I never seen Pinball Side Mirrors in person but it sounds like the might be as nice as Pinball Decals and at a cheaper price.

    #16 5 years ago

    As mentioned above, the basic material that is being used by all mirror blade suppliers is the same (stainless steel sheets in 0.8mm thickness).

    Where it differs is that there are numbered grading levels with polished stainless steel in how much time (labour) has been spent on the finish. The higher the number the better the finish. All mirror blades should be a number 8 grade.

    No. 3: Coarse abrasive finish applied mechanically
    No. 4: Brushed finish
    No. 5: Satin finish
    No. 6: Matte finish (brushed but smoother than #4)
    No. 7: Reflective finish
    No. 8: Mirror finish

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from PinballInc:

    You may have an idea, someone should come up with a guide to put between the blades and the PF when lifting. I think paper would not be very good, it would have to be something that won't tear like thin plastic or something along that line.

    I read in a different post someone creating their own templates out of posterboard to protect their mirror blades when raising PF.

    #18 5 years ago

    I bought some of the pinball side mirrors at Expo. I was debating which machine to put them on...I decided to buy a set for TZ. I just got around to installing them. It took some doing, but I got them in. When I bought them I guess I didn't think there might be a problem putting them in and getting scratched. If you go to their website, you'll see a number of warnings about problems you could encounter and not to buy them if the fit is tight on your machine...no such discussion or warning at Expo...shame on me for not thinking it through. Anywhoooo...I put them in and am very pleased with them. The screws sticking out a big caused a bit of a "forced" push down of the playfield to get past them. But, I'm not seeing scratches on the mirrors. I hope I won't have to lift the playfield too often. The Stern blades look like they will go in easier (as the playfield will move side to side as the video and instructions show. Again, they do look great...

    #19 5 years ago

    The design of the side mirror is such that the mounting screws should be below the playfield and an interference as you describe should not occur.

    Indeed there are differences in cabinets that become greater with time. A cabinet that has had the leg levelers not properly set can induce a warp in the cabinet over time as well as just changes in climate, storage and other factors associated with a unfinished (inside) open topped box. This is evident if you see deep scratches in the cabinet top insides associated with playfield elevation and return. Oddly you may see this on only one side, and indication of cabinet warp. Again this can be caused by improperly adjusted levelers.

    Please send an email to the pinballsidemirrors.com site indicating your experience with the screws interfering with the lowering of the playfield. Customer support is important to this vendor.

    #20 5 years ago

    another option is flat head drawing pins = less damage to the cabinet.

    #21 5 years ago
    Quoted from PC-Pin-NC:

    I read in a different post someone creating their own templates out of posterboard to protect their mirror blades when raising PF.

    Thats a great idea. I have the felt and have never had a problem, but can see where it could be someday down the road. When that starts to happen I will just pull off the old felt and put on new.
    All my games with mirrors are DMD, but the only one that had a really tight fit to the cabinet was AC/DC. All the others had enough clearance.

    #22 5 years ago

    I got all mine from Pinballer22 in DesMoines and he was the cheapest I have found. Great guy too. Unfortunately he won't ship them.

    #23 5 years ago

    Minnesota13...thanks for the input...I will send a note to their website. Again, the blades look great but I do have concerns on raising and lowering the PF in the future. I haven't lifted it again to look at the back screws, but that's where the jam up occurred. You are correct that the screws are below the PF but when you first install them, you have to lower the PF before you can push it back in place...that was the problem I ran into, hitting the back screws as I was lowering it. Again, maybe I didn't lower it right and I haven't raised it again to look at it to see if there's another way. All in all...happy with the purchase.

    1 week later
    #24 5 years ago

    actually I think what is causing the problem is the fact that the round holes at the top of the mirror don't fit over the metal protrusions (button if you will) in the cabinet side walls causing the mirrors to be tighter than I think they should be when the playfield is lowered. I haven't raised the playfield again to check and see if it's the screws that were the issue when I lowered the pf or the protrusion discussed above. For those that have there's on Williams machines, are the circle holes big enough to fit over the protrusions?

    Thanks.

    Hogey

    PS-I sent an e mail to their website a week ago with no response...just sent another one and hope to hear back from them as well.

    #25 5 years ago

    I like the mirror blades, but I am amused that we beat up on Stern about the posts v. rails on the Pro models but folks are busy installing mirror blades that make it an even bigger pain in the ass to raise the playfield. I raise the playfield on my AVLE without a 2nd thought. However, my POTC came with mirror blades and I had to go find some parchment wax paper in my kitchen to use as a protective buffer just so I could raise my playfield. It was a pain in the butt. I need a better solution.

    #26 5 years ago

    Just heard back from pinballsidemirrors. He advised that you need to remove the nuts in the side wall, install the mirrors, then reinstall the nuts. Dummy me...never thought of that. Will try to get the pf up, remove and reinstall per his directions. He advised that there is a new Williams install video coming out that will address this. I probably should have figured it out myself, but I've never removed those nuts before. Lesson learned. Duuuuuuuh....

    #27 5 years ago

    You'll need a hex/allen key to undo them.

    Only remove one side at a time. Always leave the other side tightened to prevent the backbox from tipping off.

    #28 5 years ago

    will do...thanks for the note. I heard back from Marty at PinballSideMirrors. He advised that he will send me new mirrors on Monday as these got trashed...very nice of him. Great product, great service....many thanks.

    3 months later
    #29 5 years ago

    to close the loop on the above situation. The replacement side mirrors showed up and have been installed and look great. Thanks to Marty and Pinball Side Mirrors for such great customer service and a great product.

    #30 5 years ago

    Would have loved to have bought some swish black mirrors from Pinball Side Mirrors, they look very cool. However, they are quoting $239.84 shipping on top of the item price to send to me in Australia.

    #31 5 years ago
    Quoted from StormyX73:

    Would have loved to have bought some swish black mirrors from Pinball Side Mirrors, they look very cool. However, they are quoting $239.84 shipping on top of the item price to send to me in Australia.

    Sorry we have no control over shipping cost written within the site is based on best price threw the carrier. Wish we could help but that just something we have no control over. Sorry

    #32 5 years ago
    Quoted from wdpvideo:

    Sorry we have no control over shipping cost written within the site is based on best price threw the carrier. Wish we could help but that just something we have no control over. Sorry

    No problem. I know shipping costs especially overseas, can easily rack up.

    Some of the quotes I've had to send even small items overseas have been ridiculous.

    #33 5 years ago

    How about some pics of installed blades? Would like to see what they hype is all about.

    #34 5 years ago

    Put Pinball Side Mirrors in 4 of my games and have been very happy. Super easy to install, and look great.

    #35 5 years ago

    I posted about a year and a half ago about using construction style paper. Forget all the other crap. You can buy this stuff cheap anywhere, make a one inch fold in the middle of the long direction, and drape it over each side of the cab.

    This allows you to install these even in very tight to touching scenarios, as when the construction paper is between the blades and the PF, it can rub all it wants and there are no marks.

    It takes extra time of course now every time you want to lift the PF, but for the difference, it's worth it.

    #36 5 years ago

    Don't know if this has been said already, but...A must add to your machine if you have side mirrors is the peel & stick on felt. You stick it onto the wood sides of the playfield. That way there is a nice thin felt cushion there to prevent scratching. I don't even have mirror blades but added the felt to protect the paint on my SP and TFLE and the stuff really works well. Great adhesion and protection and only took 2 minutes to install.

    Here's where I got it. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page link. This is a MUST have.

    http://www.pinballdecals.com/MirrorBladesPage.html

    #37 5 years ago
    Quoted from Pinfidel:

    Don't know if this has been said already, but...A must add to your machine if you have side mirrors is the peel & stick on felt. You stick it onto the wood sides of the playfield. That way there is a nice thin felt cushion there to prevent scratching. I don't even have mirror blades but added the felt to protect the paint on my SP and TFLE and the stuff really works well. Great adhesion and protection and only took 2 minutes to install.
    Here's where I got it. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page link. This is a MUST have.
    http://www.pinballdecals.com/MirrorBladesPage.html

    i got mine from here too.. and they are fantastic.

    3 years later
    #38 1 year ago
    Quoted from Atomicboy:

    I posted about a year and a half ago about using construction style paper. Forget all the other crap.
    It takes extra time of course now every time you want to lift the PF, but for the difference, it's worth it.

    While I love the mirror blades, I was messing around and bought a 12" x 60" roll of black mirror vinyl wrap from Amazon for $17. You can get plain mirror, blue, red, or other tints as well. amazon.com link »

    I put it on my Metallica, and it looks cool. It's not 100% smooth, but it bounces the light pretty well. I have a carbon fiber look one that I was going to try in my Avengers LE.

    #39 1 year ago

    How about a pic of it?

    #40 1 year ago
    Quoted from nikpinball:

    How about a pic of it?

    This would be a cool idea, especially the choice of colors, I used chrome/rainbow duct tape on my old F-14 and it worked well, but not mirror obviously. I love my real mirror blades on my STTNG, but now that I just picked up Black Knight 2000, I'd like to add some more pizzazz to that game. Just don't see a brand of blades that work with system 11 games.

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