(Topic ID: 78091)

My TAF makeover


By vilant

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 18 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by vilant
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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#1 5 years ago

I would of done a full restoration, but I only have a certain amount of money I can put into it. I can do everything except airbrushing and clear coating. I was debating about decals, touching-up, and/or mylar, but in the end I left the playfield as is. This pin spent the first half of its life in an arcade or on a route. I picked it up in 2003 and haven't done anything to it except change bulbs, clean the playfield (what is exposed), and other routine maintenance. There is wear around the inserts, and a couple chipped paint spots, but considering this is 22 years old, all original, and was routed, the playfield is in excellent shape given those factors. I decided to add some mods and do a complete tear down of the top side of the playfield and clean everything I could get my hands on. Others have documented how to tear down so I'll skip that. I would suggest tons of pics, though. And when you think you have enough, take some more, you can never have too many. I would also suggest taking pics after you remove one layer or stage so you can see how it goes back together underneath the top layers. It took me @ 8 hours (at a leisurely pace) to disassemble the top-side. Here's a pic of what the playfield looked like.
TAF rebuild 067.jpg
Pretty darn filthy. It's also nice to have a nice large area to put all the pieces on. I put my pool table cover on and used that.
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Anyone whose done this can tell you the jet bumpers are a pain to remove. Photograph the underside and mark where each jet bumper came from, and tag or identify which side the diode is connected to. That's because there is plastic sleeves around certain leads that get routed through or near metal pieces. Take note and picture how they're routed.
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I pulled one end (when I could) or the whole staple out that holds the leads to the underside. Save them, and try to re-use them (a pain, but can be done. Unless of course you disassemble the underside too, then you can get a staple gun in there). Unfortunately some of staples are underneath the solder joints, so you have to melt the solder then pull the staple (a fun trick). You would think they could of used insulated wire instead of bare metal leads for the sockets in the jet bumpers.
I also removed from the underside the chair assembly, the swamp assembly, thing assembly, vault assembly, and the subway. I wanted to clean wherever the ball travels, plus most of this needs to come out anyway to completely clear the top side. I used a heat gun to remove the old pieces of mylar. Mine is adjustable, I set it to the level of a hair dryer (roughly) and used back and forth strokes (don't heat one spot too much). I used a plastic putty knife to lift the mylar, slowly and gently, and separate it from the playfield. I used Goo-gone to clean the rest of the adhesive off (thanks to vid, see his post on how to). Once everything was removed I cleaned the initial thick layer of grunge with Pledge multi-purpose wipes. They're safe on a multitude of surfaces, and no harsh ingredients. The only downside is if you wipe any of the rough, unsanded parts of the cabinet, it pulls at and leaves tiny bits of the wipe behind. Can be removed, just a nuisance. Any stuck on filth, like the shooting lane and where the ball travels in the back, I used a magic eraser (don't scrub too hard). Once the majority of the filth was gone I used Novus 1 to complete the cleaning. Then Novus 3 to fill in the heavy scratches, then Novus 2 for the small, fine scratches. I completed with a layer of Meguire's wax and buffed. Here's how it looks all clean and shiny.
TAF rebuild 071.jpg

Post edited by vilant : spelling

#2 5 years ago

I probably spent another 20+ hours cleaning all the other parts. I used CLR on all the metal parts they came out looking great. Poured a little in the bottom of a bucket and let all the posts, screws, and any other small metal parts soak for 15 min., rinse, then dry. For the larger pieces, like ramps, and any really dirty surfaces or rust, I scrubbed the part with very fine steel wool and the CLR. Again rinse then dry. After that I polished all the metal parts. What a difference I didn't want to soak the nylon lock nuts, so I bought new 8/32" and 6/32" nylon lock nuts from Sears hardware, they're like 10 cents each.
I also used a magic eraser for hard to remove dirt or grease, like the black line of oil or grease on the Thing. And cleaned all the plastic parts.
I bought four flipper rebuild kits and rebuilt all of them. I added light mods to the swamp, vault, chair, cloud topper, and bookcase. Also installed fuses on the magnets for "The Power" underneath. Bought this on eBay from Lee as a package, well worth it

#3 5 years ago

Looks great! Thanks for sharing the process.

I haven't got into air brushing or clear coating ether (yet) but with some good old fashioned elbow grease they come out looking so better that when I started.

#4 5 years ago
Quoted from dbpbandit:

Looks great! Thanks for sharing the process.
I haven't got into air brushing or clear coating ether (yet) but with some good old fashioned elbow grease they come out looking so better that when I started.

You're right. It's amazing what just a really good cleaning will do.

#5 5 years ago

I also changed all the bulbs that where out, all new rubber, Thing box decals, new bumper caps, and added decals to the bookcase. When disassembling the bookcase I'm sure most just unsolder the opto board. Although I can solder, I don't like soldering when the solder is real close to another joint, like on the opto board. So I cut the wires and crimped on female connectors to one side and male connectors on the other. They wilI fit inside the bookcase, but just barely. I used 1/4" but should of used something smaller or a flat 5-pin (if you can find one) instead. The up side is you just disconnect the wires instead of soldering when you need to replace your bookcase again(mine will need to be replaced, but is good for now).
TAF rebuild 081.jpg
I also found an alligator for the swamp. Looks right at home, Here's a pic of where I'm at now.
TAF rebuild 004.jpg
I'm still waiting for my back wall decal before I finish re-assembling the back side of the pin.

Post edited by vilant : added content

#6 5 years ago

Somethings I will need to do but can't afford now are; replace the main ramp (it's cracked but I glued it), new apron decals, a new Gomez piece (corner broke off, just glued back on for now), a new ball shooter (functionally fine just looks old and used), and possibly a full LED package. I'll post final pics when I get the rest of my parts.

#7 5 years ago

Very solid shop job, good work. Gotta save up for a tumbler for the smaller metal parts

#8 5 years ago
Quoted from CASTHOF:

Very solid shop job, good work. Gotta save up for a tumbler for the smaller metal parts

Yea, I thought about that, but I already spent $500 and funds were definitely a factor. You would be surprised how well the CLR worked though. Next best thing to tumbling. If I ever restore another one though, a tumbler will be on my list, among other things

#9 5 years ago
Quoted from vilant:

When disassembling the bookcase I'm sure most just unsolder the opto board. Although I can solder, I don't like soldering when the solder is real close to another joint, like on the opto board. So I cut the wires and crimped on female connectors to one side and male connectors on the other. They will fit inside the bookcase, but just barely. I used 1/4" but should of used something smaller or a flat 5-pin (if you can find one) instead. The up side is you just disconnect the wires instead of soldering when you need to replace your bookcase again(mine will need to be replaced, but is good for now).

I add a lot of Molex connectors to items like this. The cost is more but it makes future repairs and cleaning so much easer.

#10 5 years ago

Great progress. Thanks for sharing.

#11 5 years ago

nice !!

#12 5 years ago

Great job, I did something similar, actually still finishing it up, but I didn't tear mine down as far as you did. I did take off the jet bumpers and didn't pull out all of the posts, but was still able to give it a great cleaning, first one it has had in the over 12+ years I have owned the machine and it needed it.

I love the idea of adding the connectors to the opto board on the bookcase. I actually have mine broken down now as I am waiting on the small plastic arm for it which cracked during disassembly of the unit. I might have to pick up some molex connectors or something like you have for future cleanings, really like that idea.

I put up the backboard sticker and I really like how it turned out, I might add a backboard LED light strip in the future once I get things all put back together if I can't see it well enough, but I think it really adds to the machine.

Congrats and hope things all go back in for you without any issues.

Phil

#13 5 years ago

Nice to see you taking care of her like that.

I had to laugh at the picture of all the parts on the Pool table.....funny how my pool table has had more pinball parts on it than its actually played pool.

#14 5 years ago
Quoted from burningman:

Nice to see you taking care of her like that.
I had to laugh at the picture of all the parts on the Pool table.....funny how my pool table has had more pinball parts on it than its actually played pool.

air-hockey table for me...

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#15 5 years ago

Shoot again! Nice job and what a difference! Interesting idea on the bookcase. What a PITA that setup is that you can’t fit the board through. And the 5 pop bumpers make it tight in there.

#16 5 years ago

Thanks for kind words fellas. If anyone does do the connector in the bookcase let me know how the molex connectors work out. I was thinking of 3- 2 pin molex, but wasn't sure if they would fit. If you go with the male and female insulated connectors try to use something smaller than 1/4" and be sure to put the connectors a little further back away from the opto board than I did. I didn't leave enough wire to make the bend, so I had to trim the top of the connectors with a pair of angled wire cutters.

#17 5 years ago

I have to head to the store to check out some things, but I might use something like a wiring block if I can find one small enough. I will head to Radio Shack at some point in the next few days to see. If not, I might try the 3x 2pin molex's again as you said it will come down to size, but I still love this idea.

Phil

1 week later
#18 5 years ago

So I finally finished everything. What an ordeal. Had a bunch of gremlins attack the underside. First, the left side GI circuit had a dead short. After 2 hours of removing all 14 sockets and testing, turns out while soldering other parts under the playfield, (while it was in the upright position), solder dripped onto then somehow got inside the socket and shorted it, what a PIA. Then my flipper control board crapped the bed (cause I accidentally crossed one of the coil leads). Tried to replace the transistors and diodes but I hacked it, so I ordered a new board. I also noticed the ball kept getting stuck in the swamp, had to flip flop the piece in between the subway and the swamp cause I but them back in the wrong order. If anyone one decides to use connectors for the bookcase find the 3/16" insulated connectors or do what Phil did http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/question-on-taf-bookcase-wiring-mod
But even though there was some bumps in the road, it's back to 100%. Looks better than it ever did and I couldn't be happier Here's pics of it finished.
TAF rebuild 005.jpgTAF rebuild 004.jpgTAF rebuild 003.jpg
Now that I have my first shop of a pin under my belt, time for my second

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