(Topic ID: 265203)

QUICKSILVER scratch build: A Detailed Guide

By HoakyPoaky

3 years ago

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#1 3 years ago

It’s been a few months since I completed my Mata Hari restoration. I found the entire process rewarding & I even impressed myself by how nice the game came out. Plus I picked up some valuable skills along the way. Now the only question is what my next project would be. I thought about putting a hardtop in my Taxi, but I wanted to do something a little more daring.

I considered doing a custom retheme project, but I thought that I might get overwhelmed doing all the artwork & redesigning a playfield by myself. So I wanted to make sure my next project at least involved a complete playfield swap, so I could gain that experience first.

I love the classic early 80s Bally/Stern/Williams titles. When I discovered that Mirco was reproducing Quicksilver playfields & that new wiring harnesses could be purchased, I decided to do a scratch QS build conversion of a classic Stern. This is going to be a project that overwhelms me at times, but thankfully there are other pinsiders who are also doing these builds, so hopefully I can find the guidance I need along the way.

This thread is to document my entire process. I’m sure many are curious what is involved with such a project & how much it costs. I’ll try to document as much as I can along the way. This is not a build & flip project for me. Quicksilver is a unique keeper machine for me. Incredible art package, classic 80s sounds, drop targets, two spinners to rip, and the best max ball bonus countdown in pinball IMO.

There were only 1,201 QS made & far less survived in the last 40 years, so a rare title like this deserves a 5* restoration. Hopefully I can do it justice! Wish me luck!

ATTENTION: IF YOU HAVE COMPLETED A QUICKSILVER SCRATCH BUILD, OR ARE IN THE PROCESS OF COMPLETING YOUR BUILD, FEEL FREE TO COMMENT & ADD TO THIS THREAD. I know there are quite a few people doing this build, so if you have a suggestion or some knowledge you would like to share, it would be greatly appreciated

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#3 3 years ago


1) DONOR GAME: 1979 Meteor - Project condition
2) PLAYFIELD: New reproduction QS Playfield by Mirco - 2nd run
3) BACKGLASS: New reproduction tempered QS backglass by BG Resto
4) WIRING: All new playfield, backbox & lower cabinet wiring harnesses by Third Coast Pinball
5) WOOD RAILS: New black wood rails for the playfield by Reese Rails
6) BALL GUIDES: New metal ball guide set, wire ball guide set & eject shield bracket by djblouw
7) PLASTICS: Reproduction playfield plastic set by Mirco
8.) LIGHTPANEL: Newly cut & drilled for the QS backbox cut by me. 3D print windows by djblouw


1) MPU: New Replacement Universal Bally/Stern MPU by nvram.weebly.com
2) SOLENOID: New Replacement Bally/Stern Solenoid/Voltage Regulator Board by nvram.weebly.com
3) LAMPS: New Replacement Bally/Stern LED Lamp Driver Board by nvram.weebly.com
4) SOUND: New Replacement Stern SB-300 with new wiring harness by nvram.weebly.com
5) RECTIFIER: New Replacement Bally/Stern Rectifier Board by nvram.weebly.com
6) DISPLAYS: New UNO white LED 7-digit Display Set DIY Kit by Pinitech - assembled by me


1) STENCILS: Cabinet stencils by Pinballpimp.com
2) PAINT: Molotow Silver & black, Montana semi-gloss varnish, Rustoleum White Gloss spray paint
3) PRIMER: Rustoleum Grey 2-in-1 Sandable Primer


1) CLEARCOATING: Additional playfield clearcoating & dimpling by Ron Kruzman

#4 3 years ago


1) Classic Stern 4-bank drop target assembly - purchased from pinsider
2) Classic Stern complete Spinner assembly - assemble myself
3) Classic Stern eject saucer arm & bracket assembly - purchased from pinsider
4) New standup targets - Pinball Life
5) All new switches everywhere, except for the drop target assemblies - Pinball Life
6) New wire rollovers - Pinball Resource
7) New flipper assemblies - Pinball Life
8) New drop targets - Marco
9) New coils - Pinball Resource
10) New pop bumper assemblies - Pinball Life
11) 3D printed Pop bumper rings - Swinks on Shapeways

1) Apron & various decals/stickers - Pinball Rescue
2) Classic Stern reproduction side rails - Pinball Life

1) Quicksilver Game Manual & Schematics - Marco Specialities
2) Stern 1981 Parts Catalog - Marco Specialities

#5 3 years ago

So the first thing was to decide on the right donor game, then try to locate one. I finally decided on a Meteor, because they made close to 8,000 of them & I won’t feel that guilty turning one into a QS. Luckily I found one after weeks of searching. It has the 3-bank drop assembly I need & a spinner. It also has the correct MPU-200 power transformer. This particular game had a decent cabinet as well...but more on that later. The only stern parts I still need to acquire is a 4-bank drop assembly, as well as another spinner assembly. The original coindoor is drilled, so I’ll need to find a solution for that as well.

I was able to pickup the players Meteor in Santa Cruz before all the COVID shelter-in-place restriction went into effect. I’m really glad I went to get it then I did, but I had to deal with a snowstorm & lousy 14 hour round trip drive over the Sierras. At least I got the game back home safely.

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#6 3 years ago

So I had to document the last game as a Meteor before the rebirth begins. As you can tell, this game has some issues & needs some work. Isn’t functioning properly at all. Most displays are out, the pop is not functional, Meteor drops don’t reset correctly, soundboard is jacked, etc etc. Doesn’t matter. All that will be replaced. My point is that this was a project game that needed alot of work to begin with.

In any case....goodnight Meteor!

#7 3 years ago

Which also reminds me...

Do you have a classic Stern 4-bank drop assembly? How about a complete Stern spinner assembly? I’ll take them. Please PM me

Parts - Wanted
Wanted! - “I'm doing a Quicksilver scratch build & I'm looking for a 4-bank classic Stern drop assembly. I know there are several different designs of these, depending on the game they ...”
Reno, NV
Archived after: 38 days
Viewed: 361 times
Status: Sold (amount undisclosed)

#8 3 years ago

Good luck man. Definitely following

#9 3 years ago

So getting back to the cabinet.....

I’ve unloaded games from my SUV by myself multiple times, by sliding it out onto my lift cart. But this time, as I slowly slid it the final 6 inches onto the cart, I suddenly heard a huge CRACK. The back panel of the cabinet got hung up & separated from the cabinet itself. I was so upset with myself, because I couldn’t understand how it happened.

It wasn’t until I removed the playfield & got good look inside until I saw the reason why. Someone had done a pretty lousy fix for a separated corner in the past, where they glued & screwed a 2x2 in the corner.

So I’ll be repairing the cabinet by glueing & clamping, then adding the proper updated corner brackets to make the whole cabinet rock solid & better than it ever was. It’s a blessing in disguise I guess. Since I have to sand & repaint anyway, it will be easier to do the repairs once all the components are removed. So that’s the next job. Strip, tag & bag.

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#10 3 years ago

When do we get to guess at the price tag? You could make a survey with guesses at every $100 mark from 3700 to 5100.

If you go with a survey and 100 increments, I'll open with 4400. Hard to know how much boards stuff u have to fish for.

#11 3 years ago

I don't even want to guess the price tag! It's alright though. I'm very happy with my collection right now, so it's ok if this project takes up most of my pinball resources this year.

I will post expenses at some point though.

I've been sidetracked the last week or so. I hope to get everything stripped from the cabinet this weekend & start gluing/clamping.

1 month later
#12 3 years ago

Shame on me for getting sidetracked for a month. Finished up some smaller jobs on other games during the quarantine. Now that that’s done, I finally started digging into the cabinet repair this weekend.

So the left back corner had a hack repair & the right corner bracing became cracked. I decided the best way to do the repair properly was replace the wedges for both corners. They had to be made from a pine 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 I found at Home Depot. I just cut it by hand. Not perfect or flat but nobody will ever notice. Upgrading all the corners to the big sturdy brackets.
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#13 3 years ago

Went through & bagged/tagged everything in the lower cabinet. I must say I like the way these Sterns are put together, compared to the Mata Hari I restored. Cables are easy to disconnect. Speaker & knocker easy to remove, transformer & tilt board lift right out. Very easy. The 16B-6 transformer is in nice shape.

Only odd thing was the coin door hinge, which was welded to the left cabinet door frame. I don’t know why they welded instead of screwing in place. This will make it more difficult to separate & soak those parts for rust or powdercoating. I’ll have to think about that.

Anyway thecabinet is stripped & ready to be repaired.

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#14 3 years ago

So all the glue from the hack repair had to be sanded away. The cracked corner wedge was chipped away & the staples removed. I lifted up the back panel of the cabinet & cleaned/sanded the areas where the glue was going.

I considered completely removing the back panel, but I realized that some long 3 inch staples were securing it. I don’t have a staple gun that could replace the long staples, so I didn’t want to remove the panel. I just glued everything well & then clamped everything in place. I’ll let it sit for a day or so before removing.

I need to pick up some 1 inch long 18g staples tomorrow. I’ll glue the wedges to the corners & then staple in place. The back of the cabinet should be rock solid afterwards.

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#15 3 years ago

Also looking for a spinner assembly. Let me know if you have one.

Parts - Wanted
Wanted! - “I'm doing a Quicksilver scratch build & I'm looking for a complete ClassicStern spinner assembly. I need the complete assembly (spinner, bracket, etc) not just the spinner its...”
Reno, NV
Archived after: 44 days
Viewed: 223 times
Status: Unknown reason:

#16 3 years ago


I also like your four leg helper in one of the photos!

#17 3 years ago

Mugs runs the show around here. I just follow orders

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#18 3 years ago

Glued the corner wedges in place & secured with 1 inch staples just to be sure. Looks pretty solid to me. I’ll drill out the holes when it dries.

Also noticed the neck of the cab was held in place by 4 braid nails. It was loose & lifted right off. That will make it so much easier to paint it black.

Speaking of that...I’ve been looking into some really unique chrome/metallic paints for the base coat of the head & cabinet. Need to do a little more research on them, but if I could get a reflective mirror surface on this Quicksilver, that would look pretty damn cool. Just have to make sure those paints will work with the stencils overlays.

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1 week later
#19 3 years ago

Head disassembly. Some chipping along the edges that will need to be repaired. Nothing too crazy. MPU is an Alltek, but all the other boards are original.

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#20 3 years ago

The sanding begins... worst part of the job if you ask me. Used the orbital sander with 80G discs just to get the paint off. At least this time I hooked it up to the shop vac so the dust was kept to a minimum. It was rather difficult to get all the paint off, compared to the work on my Mata Hari. I don’t know if they used thicker paint on these old Sterns, or just because it was black paint. Still couldn’t get it completely off, but I think it will be fine.

Noticed a strange area on the right side of the head. A rectangular area of a thin strip of wood, tacked in place with small nails. An area of bondo too. This was all underneath the original paint job. I’ll just bondo & sand it smooth. I also left the flashing in the head & just masked it off. No need to rip it out & replace.

Head done though. Start the cabinet tomorrow. Get all the paint off then it’s time to repair the wood.

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1 month later
#21 3 years ago

Backglass from BG Resto arrived out of blue today! I’ve been slacking, but this was just the boost I needed. Time to get cracking again on this build

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#22 3 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Backglass from BG Resto arrived out of blue today! I’ve been slacking, but this was just the boost I needed. Time to get cracking again on this build
[quoted image][quoted image]

Happy with how it came up? How long did it take?

#23 3 years ago

Very happy with the quality. Colors really pop. Took about 4 months to receive it. Really valuable service he provides for these titles that no one else is reproducing.

2 weeks later
#24 3 years ago

Just wanted to give a heads up on the plastic set I ordered from Mirco. They just started making them. I bought my reproduction playfield from them & I thought it would be good to purchase so that all the colors matched. They arrived the other day in a huge package, which I thought was incredibly strange for a set of plastics.

Well look at the photos. They were printed on plastic, adhered to cardboard, routed, and then just sent off in the mail. Would it kill them to do some final prep work for the customer? Yeesch. I was worried about breaking them while prying & tearing the pieces up from the cardboard. That’s how secured they were. Every single plastic set I’ve bought in the past has come in a plastic bag.

In any case, the plastics look nice after you clean them up. Just making sure people know what they’re getting if you order from Mirco.

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#25 3 years ago

Actually I take it back. Now I’m looking closely at the pieces. Look at this. It’s not even printed correctly.

You can see the artwork isn’t even printed to the edge & there’s black lines visible. How the hell did this even get past his quality control?

Not happy at all. I’ll have to reach out.

EDIT: Discovered that this is just how the artwork on Mirco’s plastics are. It’s not a printing error. So buyer beware.

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#26 3 years ago

The playfield finally arrived today from Ron Kruzman. It just looks outstanding to me. I was pretty impressed how well it was crated & protected for shipping. I have no complaints at all. Smooth as glass. You get what you pay for

It will sit for awhile to cure further, as I doubt the cabinet will be done for another month or so.

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#28 3 years ago

Following. I’m wrapping up my Star Gazer build and have parts to do a quicksilver too.

1 week later
#29 3 years ago

Sanded the paint off from the Meteor cab. At least this time I connected my orbital sander to my shopvac, so the dust wasn’t bad at all. Took it all off with 60g sandpaper.

Now time to repair the corner damage with resin. Poured it tonight buy forgot to take a photo. I’ll sand that down tomorrow & then hit the other flat areas with regular bondo.

I’m still debating what type of paint to go with. Instead of doing the standard black & grey look of the classic cabinet, I’m thinking of using metallic silver paint. I ordered some samples to test out first. But metallic silver & black paint might look pretty unique.

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#30 3 years ago

So I did this epoxy resin trick on my last build & it worked out well again.

I used painters tape to mask off the corners & create a mold to pour the epoxy. Then I waited about 24 hours and sanded with 150g sandpaper. Nice way to create a sharp strong angled corner.

Only two corners needed to be repaired. Got a little sloppy on the bottom of the cabinet as the resin leaked under the tape a bit, but no one will see that. Nice sunset tonight too!

Now it’s onto the bondo for the flat surfaces.

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#31 3 years ago

Looks awesome!

Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

So I did this epoxy resin trick on my last build & it worked out well again.
I used painters tape to mask off the corners & create a mold to pour the epoxy. Then I waited about 24 hours and sanded with 150g sandpaper. Nice way to create a sharp strong angled corner.
Only two corners needed to be repaired. Got a little sloppy on the bottom of the cabinet as the resin leaked under the tape a bit, but no one will see that. Nice sunset tonight too!
Now it’s onto the bondo for the flat surfaces.
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

1 week later
#32 3 years ago

Woodworking & sanding finished this weekend. Then laid down first coat of primer on the head & body. Several sessions of that over the next week or so, then the cabinet should be ready for paint.

I was going to mask off the floor of the cabinet on the inside, but decided to spray primer everywhere. I think the inside of the cabinet will be black with silver highlights. Still waiting on the last can samples of silver.

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#33 3 years ago

Which primer did you go with on this project?

#34 3 years ago

Hard to take an accurate photo, but for reference:

Genrock 793 silver, with a satin clear

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#35 3 years ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

Which primer did you go with on this project?

Prety much the same thing I did on my Mata Hari. Gray Rustoleum 2-in-1 Filler & Sandable primer on the outside. Gray Ultra Cover 2x Primer on the inside.

The 2-in-1 Filler primer goes on thick & fills in minor wood-grain imperfections, which are then sanded away with multiple coats. There are so many small areas inside the head that are hard to sand, so I use the 2x primer that doesn't require much sanding on the inside.

Since my base coat will be silver, I'm using gray primer for all coats. On my Mata Hari, I used a final coat of white 2-in-1 primer to make the yellow base coat pop better. But it was hard to find that white primer.

Hope that helps.

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from Flynnyfalcon:

Hard to take an accurate photo, but for reference:
Genrock 793 silver, with a satin clear
[quoted image]

Yeah that looks amazing. I can see the metallic flake in there now. I'm going to test some more. The last thing I want is to screw up the metallic silver application & then have to sand down & reapply the primer again.

#37 3 years ago

First coats of primer sanded with 220g. Gentle pass with the orbital, then passes by hand to smooth finish.

Couple coats & it should be filled in nicely. If you look close you can see grains on the wood, and with repeat coats & sanding, those areas should fill in. It’s just a matter of how my times you feel like doing it. See how it looks after next coat.

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#38 3 years ago

I also did my final test samples of painting. It came down to multiple coats Montana Metallic Silver vs Molotow Silver Dollar, covered with final coat of Montana Semi-gloss Varnish. Sprayed on a flat surface.

Hard to tell from the photos. The metallic paints have more sparkle in them, but spray under medium pressure. If you’re not precise, you can get some shadow streaking. It would require at least 3 light coats to be safe. I’m concerned I’d have problems spraying over a large surface & spray too much.

The Molotow is a brand I’m familiar with. Low pressure, lots of pigment, easy to control. It’s almost identical to the metallic, but it doesn’t sparkle as much. In the sun it’s noticeable. In a dark game room, I doubt you could tell the difference.

Going Molotow Silver Dollar & Molotow Deep Black. I like how the semi gloss varnish looks as well.
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#39 3 years ago

Looks great so far! I’m thinking of trying this in my quest for a bad cats.

Can you tell me more about who’s making new harnesses?

#40 3 years ago
Quoted from Clnilsen:

Looks great so far! I’m thinking of trying this in my quest for a bad cats.
Can you tell me more about who’s making new harnesses?

Shawn at Thrid Coast Pinball. Without him this project wouldn’t even be possible. You can read thread here...


1 week later
#41 3 years ago

Paints have arrived

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#42 3 years ago


#43 3 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

First coats of primer sanded with 220g. Gentle pass with the orbital, then passes by hand to smooth finish.

Amazing info thank you!

How long did you wait between primer coat for sanding? I was told 4 days but it is taking me forever to do my several coats of primers...

#44 3 years ago
Quoted from hisokajp:

Amazing info thank you!
How long did you wait between primer coat for sanding? I was told 4 days but it is taking me forever to do my several coats of primers...

As you can see from my progress, I don't move very fast. But with the primer I'm using, I would have no problem spraying, then waiting 24hrs to sand. It dries pretty quick, but I think after 24hrs the layer is fully cured.

It's the amount of passes that's a pain. This cab I'm spraying now has some really visible areas of long wood grain that needs multiple passes to get to a smooth finish. 3 passes of priming/sanding is enough for me. Pain in the ass & my least favorite part of the job. Is what it is after 3 passes IMO.

I also go extremely slow when painting. I only spray onto horizontal surfaces to eliminate any chance of runs. Takes forever, but the result is worth it. Alot of people can bang out a cabinet paint job in 2 days. That's not my style. Just do what's comfortable for your technique.

1 week later
#45 3 years ago

Well I’ve decided I’m done with primer. Only did two coats. Now there are still some areas where you can see some wood grain that didn’t get filled, but it’s just not worth the effort for another round of spraying & sanding IMO.

The final sanding was done lightly by hand with 320g & 400g. Nice and smooth now, inside & out. The plan is to spray the front edge & inside of the head in black, then the rest of the outside in silver. Spray the floor of the cabinet black, mask those areas off, then spray the silver base everywhere else.

Obviously black stencil is last.

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#46 3 years ago

nice, good progress! Stupid hot weather and then smoke block me from any more painting lately :S

#47 3 years ago

More painting progress. Did the blacks on the head/cabinet. These paints are so forgiving, so I sprayed some areas vertical for the first time to speed up the process. If you’re laying thin coats, it’s almost impossible to get runs.

I sprayed 4 thin coats, 7 minutes apart, and around 70 degrees.

Onto the silver base next.

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1 week later
#48 3 years ago

So about that silver.....

I’m learning the hard way that spraying metallic paints with flakes isn’t easy without a dedicated spray gun. It has been difficult with the rattle cans when trying to spray a larger area. After doing most of the back box, where’s what I learned

* Grey primer base makes it hard to see spray coverage while spraying. The last primer layer should have been white.

* If I sprayed at 6 inches, I got orange peel rough surface & it laid down lousy. If I sprayed at 3 inches, the flakes tended to pool and not spread out & dark streaks appeared in the paint. But the surface did dry smooth.

* The flakes in the paint created awful overspray. The flakes go everywhere & my ventilation in my garage isn’t the best. I should have sprayed the black last! I taped those areas off, but I’m not sure if it worked yet. What drove me nuts is that the flake overspray got on sides that I already finished, and created rough areas to the touch.

So this is how I’m proceeding...

1) Spray horizontal surfaces only

2) Multiple layers at 3 inches. Repeat until no streaks visible.

3) Mask any surface that isn’t being sprayed to control unwanted overspray.

Photos hard to tell, but the silver DOES look nice. Shiny, smooth & reflective. Look at the paint can in the reflection. Just going to go slow & make it look as best I can.

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#49 3 years ago

I wanted to zoom in to get a good look at how the paint is setting. I’m liking it so far.

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#50 3 years ago

Ha! I’ve had that poster for 30 years. Fan favorite!

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