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(Topic ID: 265768)

My Twilight Zone Restoration in the Twight Zone *COMPLETED*


By uncivil_engineer

6 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 78 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 days ago by Manny65
  • Topic is favorited by 25 Pinsiders

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There are 78 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 6 months ago

So last September, my buddy Justin calls me up. He has a project machine he is looking to sell. I asked him what it is? He tells me its a TZ, am I interested? My eyebrows raise, of course I am interested.

TZ was one of the machines I cut my pinball teeth on in the early 1990s as a tech at a small arcade. We had a TZ, an AF, and a ES all in a line among the fighting machines and the ticket games. When the arcade was slow, I played the snot out of that game. TZ has forever been a grail pin of mine. So am I interested in a project? You bet.

Then I saw the machine....

You can see it too here: https://pinside.com/pinball/market/classifieds/archive/81473

So once again another basket case has landed in my lap. If you have followed any of my restorations, you know I have an affinity for basket case pinball machines. I took on a termite eaten Sorcerer, a long neglected SF2. So this TZ seems to be right up my alley.

The game itself appears to be a reimport from Europe. I think I will be at least the third person to try to bring this machine back to life. The previous owners all contributed to this project, with a machine, and a few boxes of replacement parts. Still even with this managery of parts, I have quite the challenge on my hands.
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#2 6 months ago

So after my initial inventory, here was my shopping list..

1. a new cabinet.
The front of the cabinet was pretty torn up. It looks like it was the victim of multiple lock bars, and the plywood was separating in more than one location. Was the cabinet salvageable? Probably, but I have learned often time you spend a lot more time and effort trying to salvage a cabinet than just picking up a new one. So I called my friend Scott cosmokramer down in SoCal who builds cabinets. A few weeks later, I was picking up a brand new Bally/Williams wide body cabinet.

Progress!

I actually painted it last fall when I was working my way through Fish Tales. It came out pretty nice.

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2. Next will be the Saga of the Playfield....

#3 6 months ago

Following miss my old tz. Great game worth saving.

#5 6 months ago

Looking forward to seeing your progress. Looks like you have plenty of water to get you through the project!

#6 6 months ago

Following. Doing my own TZ restore right now.

#7 6 months ago

Oooh, it's coming back...

#8 6 months ago

The saga of the Playfield...

In October of last year, I got yet another call from Justin. He was at the Pin-a-go-go show in northern California, and called to tell me there a vendor there selling a TZ playfield. Was I interested? You bet I was. To his eyes, it was a normal TZ playfield, and need just a small amount of touch up and some clear coat.

So I bought it, and Justin brought it home...

A few weeks later I decided to clear coat it, I posted about it on pinside here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/my-tz-odd-duck-playfield-restoration-

So yeah... the Twilight Zone was in full effect that day. I didn't have just an old NOS playfield... I had an uninstalled prototype playfield.

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So there is where coyote comes to save the day. He offered to trade me a new repo playfield for the prototype playfield. Over the course of about 6 weeks he ordered the repo from German, it arrived in West Virginia, and he shipped it on to California. I received it, recycled the packaging to ship the proto playfield, and sent it off to West Virginia via Fedex. Fedex nearly looses the box, but after a false delivery report, the box finally showed up on coyote door step.

So now I am the proud owner of a repo playfield waiting for installation...
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#9 6 months ago

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on the Mirco playfield. I just did a huge restore on my TZ and the one thing I didn’t do was a full swap. I did swap the mini out. I’ve had three playfields from cpr and all need to be recrleared for various reasons.

#10 6 months ago

Thats going to look great! Love basket case projects.

Do you have a source for the ramp flaps. I'm doing 2 x TZ restores as the moment and can't find anywhere that sells the ramp flaps. Pinbits aren't answering any emails asking if they would remake them

#11 6 months ago
Quoted from robm:

Thats going to look great! Love basket case projects.
Do you have a source for the ramp flaps. I'm doing 2 x TZ restores as the moment and can't find anywhere that sells the ramp flaps. Pinbits aren't answering any emails asking if they would remake them

Three, four years ago, the only source was PinBits. Stainless steel, and a little too stiff (made ball bounce). BUT - better than rusted.

#12 6 months ago
Quoted from Coyote:

Three, four years ago, the only source was PinBits. Stainless steel, and a little too stiff (made ball bounce). BUT - better than rusted.

Does anyone know the pinbits guys or able to contact them to plead with them to do a rerun of the flaps? I would buy at least 4 sets, and reckon i could get quite a few others to join in

#13 6 months ago

I have the pinbit’s flaps on my game. They are MIA I got mine a couple of years ago from them. Every game I restore I put them on. They look absolutely 100% better than the blued steel. As far as ball hops I haven’t seen that effect at all.

#14 6 months ago

The last couple of ramp flaps I replaced I ended up making myself. I used the originals as a template, and cut them out by hand. I have a hand punch for making the holes. They turned out all right.

#15 6 months ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

The last couple of ramp flaps I replaced I ended up making myself. I used the originals as a template, and cut them out by hand. I have a hand punch for making the holes. They turned out all right.

What sort of material did you use? Shim steel or stainless, do you recall the thickness?

#16 6 months ago
Quoted from robm:

What sort of material did you use? Shim steel or stainless, do you recall the thickness?

Marco sells raw spring steel here in the states. The thickness is .01 inch I believe.
https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/66-FSS01

#17 6 months ago

If you need any reference pictures for re-assembly let me know and I can send them over.

1 week later
#18 6 months ago

So the decals on this machine were an adventure... I didn't purchase these decals, one of the past owners of this project did, and they came with the game when I purchased it. I didn't think much about them until I pulled them out to flatten and saw the date on them: 06/02/2005! So am dealing with nearly 15 year old decals. The good news was they appear to have been stored in the tube the whole time. The only issue with them was some separating from back from being rolled up.
These decals were also different because printed right no them were installation instructions, and they recommended installing them wet.
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Ive had bad experience with old decals before, so I went into this part of the project with rather low expectations.

I did the head first, and used my proven dry method to put them on. They went on easy enough, and look pretty good.
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Then I turned my attention to the front. The front on twilight zone has two buttons on it that have to be lined up, so I decided to follow the directions and use the wet method. Ive never done the wet method before, and I thought this would be perfect time to try....
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I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I pre-cut the start button hole to make it easier to locate, and then sprayed the soapy water on the cabinet. I made sure that when I adjusted the decal, I moved the whole thing. It didn't take long to get it into position, and then I squeegeed out the soapy water. The decal stayed in place, and lined up perfectly. I was pretty happy with the results. I don't think I will do the wet method again on large decals unless I absolutely have to.

My biggest concern going forward with the wet method are the edges. In noticed they don't stick down as well right away. You have to wait for the decals to dry before the edges will stick down well.

#19 6 months ago

The wrinkles in the side decals made them a little more challenging, but the went on ok.
You may have noticed in my other pictures that I sand my cabinets for I decal them. I do this to make sure I have a smooth surface to work with. I have a small air power sander I use. I generally wet sand with 400 grit then 600 grit. This makes the decal look so much better when they go on.

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Overall I was pretty happy with these 15 year old decals.

#20 6 months ago

So last night I finally got some time in the shop, and I put the ground braid in the cabinet.

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It was also last night I discovered a goof in the way my cabinet was constructed... Poor Scott put the transformer template on sideways when he drilled the holes for mounting. As a consequence, my transformer will have to face to the side. I think it will still work this way fine, and obviously won't affect the game play. I can't think of any way that is not going to be noticable to re-mount the transformer. So I may leave it this way unless someone else comes up with a good idea. If this is the worst thing that goes wrong with this restoration, I will be pretty happy.
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#21 6 months ago

So here is the pretty much completed cabinet...
About the only thing I have left to do on the decals is seal the edges with black paint.
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1 week later
#22 6 months ago

So I was able to finish up the ground braid in the head, and clean up and mount the back board. I think they turned out pretty well.

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#23 6 months ago

Over the weekend I got the cabinet back on its legs, and I put the rails on it, and test fit the back box.
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Next I am going to get the power box installed before turning my attention to the playfield.

#24 5 months ago

Liking it, following it...

#25 5 months ago

So I installed the power box, and did an important test this evening. This machine is a reimport, and the transformation had a TNT sticker on it. So while I’m pretty sure all the parts are here from the AC plug to the transformer, it’s never been powered up before. So before I plug any thing else into this power setup I decided to at least test it. I’m happy to report all the different AC voltages were present.

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3 weeks later
#26 5 months ago

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. You might say I’ve been a little distracted....

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#27 5 months ago

Wow that’s a great shop. My “shop” is in the middle of my game room, wife loves it there :/

2 weeks later
#28 4 months ago

Ok, now that I have the pair of Addams Family machines out of my shop (well actually one stayed). I can get back to the main event.

First up, we have all the wiring harness off the old playfield! So this means I had to sneak them into the kitchen for a cleaning.

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This harness was really dirty, along with all the other under playfield machinery. I ran the wiring harness through the dishwasher twice, and the harness was not as clean as I would like.

#29 4 months ago

Before I begin to assemble the new playfield, there is lots of cleaning that needs to happen.

This is the grime I am up against....

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After taking apart a few mechs, I think I now know why everything was so dirty. It appear at one point in this poor machine's life, someone tried to add lubricant to the coil plungers. This made an absolute mess out of all the mechs.

#30 4 months ago

So this evening I got to spend some quality time with my new playfield. I got all the tee nuts installed.

This is the first time I’ve ever pressed in all the tee nuts, and now I’m wondering why I never did it this way before.

My press was a very simple affair. I used a large washer with a felt coaster attached to it, and a fender washer on the top. The bolt I used to pull in the tee nuts was a 1 inch long stainless steel cap bolt. I bought a 6/32 and an 8/32 bolt. I think I spent a total of $6 on the press at my local Home Depot. The most expensive part was the felt coaster.

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I started out using two fender washers, but I soon discovered you can use just one and it works fine. The stainless steel cap bolt i used is stronger than your typical Home Depot hardware, and won’t break or strip. You can usually find these in the drawers in the hardware section.

The setup worked very well. I got all the tee nuts in without cracking any clear coat. It’s areas like I show below where you have insert very close to a tee nut that you get cracks when using a hammer.

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In the end, I think it’s a lot easier and faster than using a hammer.

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#31 4 months ago

So now the rails are on! I’m at the point I may need to order parts.

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#32 4 months ago

I placed four parts orders yesterday, all from different vendors. I still need to buy leds and a few other minor parts, but I think I got 90% of what I need. This machine is also turning out to be expensive. I totaled up how much I’ve spent so far, and I could have purchased a decent players condition machine for what I have in this one.

The playfield build is coming along. The divot placing is not bad for a reproduction playfield. I’ve seen worse.

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I’m still not done cleaning mechs yet. I think I’m down to six to go. This includes the flipper mechs.
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I’ve taken a couple of weeks off before I start a new job, so of course they can’t all be spent in the shop. There is a bathroom to remodel too.
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I hate old plumbing, but at least I got the sinks done.

#33 4 months ago

Well I managed to get out to the shop today for a little fun..

While waiting for parts, I turned my attention back to the cabinet. I managed to get the new 8 inch speaker mounted. Right now it’s just glued in, but I’m considering bolting it in because that speaker is heavy.
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I also got the game to boot for the first time in the new cabinet! It won’t go into attract mode yet because it can’t find any of the optos in the switch matrix. But I can get into test mode now.
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#34 4 months ago

Please, get rid of the f*cking "CH" ROM revision.

#35 4 months ago

I was unaware of the controversy around the BH and CH ROMs. I had to go digging through the alt.rec.games.pinball archives to get the whole story. Out of respect for Ted, I’ll get a copy of the 9.4H ROMs.

#36 4 months ago

Thought everyone knew by now. Heh. I can burn and send you some if you want. Free, as long as shipping is covered.

#37 4 months ago
Quoted from Coyote:

Thought everyone knew by now. Heh. I can burn and send you some if you want. Free, as long as shipping is covered.

I appreciate the offer, but I have a burner. I just need to get my shop organized enough to find my eraser light.

#38 4 months ago

Oh! Hah! Okay.

1 week later
#39 3 months ago

More progress...

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I got just about all the switches mounted on the underside of the playfield. I’ve had to swap a few of the old DA5 micro switches for DB3s. I don’t like the DB3. The ones I have won’t activate until the nub is nearly completely depressed. The DA5s wools activate at about 1/2 depression. This means every switch I replace I have to hand bend the actuators levers to get them to activate properly when the ball goes over them.

I also learned this week that I have to wrong flipper coils in my game. Oh well I needed to order bumper caps anyway.
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1 week later
#40 3 months ago

Well after my 4th of July detour to perform a playfield swap on my DE Batman, I have turned my attention back to my TZ. I am happy to report the switch harness and the lighting harness are both on the playfield, and tomorrow I am going to focus on the coil harness. I am getting close to getting the playfield back in the cabinet. Now if only the pinblades I ordered would come in...

#41 3 months ago

All the harness are back on the playfield finally.
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I was also able to move the cabinet to the playfield and hook up the switch matrix and lighting system. I found a few problems with switching matrix, mainly one bad soldering joint that took out most of one switch row.

The lighting was in better shape, with only one bad 555 base to deal with.

Now I’m just waiting for my pinblades to get here so I can install them befor putting the playfield back into the cabinet.

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1 week later
#42 3 months ago

I got some time in the shop today, and I was able to make some progress.

The new speaker in the cabinet has been wired up, and I’m about done with the wiring in the cabinet.

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I also got the art blades installed.

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All of this was in preparation for mounting the playfield! I pulled it off the rotisserie and added the last few coils, and mounted the back board.

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With the help of my 17 year old son, we got the playfield into the cabinet. After wiring it up, I got the switches and lights up and running. I still have a little soldering to do to get the coils up and running.
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#43 3 months ago

One thing I did overlook until today was the wire forms. The plating is definitely coming off a couple of them. I am going to have to pack them up to be replated.

#44 3 months ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

I placed four parts orders yesterday, all from different vendors. I still need to buy leds and a few other minor parts, but I think I got 90% of what I need. This machine is also turning out to be expensive. I totaled up how much I’ve spent so far, and I could have purchased a decent players condition machine .

Lol. Yeah, my TZ was doubled in purchase price after restore. Best of everything. Our girls deserve it!

1 week later
#45 3 months ago

The re-populating is coming along... It is going slower than expected because 1. My new job is taking up a lot more time than I expected, and 2. When you work with a former hangar queen machine, you quickly discover that there are a LOT of missing fasteners, especially metal standoffs.

I also hooked up my clock and tested it out. The good news is that for the most part, it works! It's a bit noisy, but all the optos on it work. The bad news is that gears are not aligned properly. The hour hand is a quarter of an hour off. I am going to have to take apart the gear train to put a little lube on it to hopefully quite it down, and hopefully at the same time I can fix the alignment problem. I also found out it had a busted minute hand... Oh well, another item for the next Marco order.

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#46 3 months ago

Ugh... So much missing hardware. I think I have a handle on exactly what is missing now. At least all the missing hardware is related to the the plastics. I have a complete new plastic set, but I am missing the spacers and screws that go with them. My biggest issue is that there does not appear to be parts manual for TZ. I looked through the parts catalogs on the planetary pinball site, and TZ is not there... I have to bug a friend of mine to let me take his ramp off his TZ so I can get the sizes of the stand offs for the ramp cover, and a plastic piece under it.

#47 3 months ago

Well I found the parts catalog for TZ, and wouldn't you know, it does not have the information I need, so I guess I will need to get with a buddy of mine who has a TZ and measure the standoffs I need.

In other news, I started work on the apron. The apron is rusty, and in pretty bad shape. My plan is to strip it, smooth out as many of the inperfections as I can, and re-paint it black. I have some decals to apply for the graphics.

I started trying to strip the apron using a wire wheel, but the paint turned out to bee too tough for my drill, so I broke out the citrus stripper.

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It took a couple of applications, but the paint all came off. The rust was more serious than I thought, but with all the paint off, I was able to deal with it using a wire wheel.
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All the imprefections on the apron are now visable. The next step is going to be applying bond to these areas and sanding them down. Most all of this pitting is a results of rust. I am hoping I can get to that this evening.
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#48 3 months ago

I did finish up the wiring for my 3rd magnet mod last night. I drilled the ball guides before I installed them, and checked the alignment before I installed the optos.

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I setup the optos to be at about the same height as the regular right hand opto. Using the standard bally/williams opto mounts, you only have to add about 3mm of a spacer under it to get to the right height. This turned out to be just about the same height as a 6-32 nut. I daisy chained the emitter to the existing emitter (an idea I got from Ed Cheungs website), and I hooked the receiver directly to the switch matrix to fill in the place of switch 82.

The results look pretty good, and it works well in test mode. It may be a while before I can test it in game mode.

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#49 3 months ago

Looking real good!

#50 84 days ago

Wow that seems like a lot of work. My first pin was a TZ. I still regret selling it. It's an amazing game.

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