(Topic ID: 109880)

New Pinball Repair shop idea - opinions?


By cfh

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 42 posts
  • 35 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by BMHouze
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    15
    #1 5 years ago

    At the Ann Arbor pinball museum, due to an agreement with the township, we can't be open to the public but a limited number of weekends a year. (See our web page for the next opening in May 2015, which will showcase 250 games http://www.vfwpinball.com ). So we're always trying to come up with ideas on how the museum can be of better service to the pinball community, and perhaps pay a few bills in the process.

    One thing that we are really proud of is the repair shop at the museum. It's actually pretty awesome, more pinball parts than probably any other facility in the state of Michigan. We also have test fixtures and soldering/desoldering tools and electronic parts and so on and so on. This is all used to service our games. But what if we made this available to the public too?

    Idea: Open the museum once a week, say Sundays from 1pm to 5pm, and let someone bring in their game. Use our facility, our tools, and if needed, our knowledge to fix your own game!

    This accomplishes a couple things... first it allows people to repair their own stuff under the supervision of an experienced tech. So there's an educational aspect to the experience. And if they can't get it done (frustrated, "above their pay grade"), the tech can dive in and finish or do the entire job. Or just lend a helping hand with light help. Or just point to where the tools live (with essentially no help.) The amount of help utilized is completely variable, and up to the game owner's desires.

    What does the museum get out of this? well, we will charge for this service, anywhere from $25/hour (for use of the facility/tools without any help), to $75/hour (if you just give up and want us to just get the repair done), or somewhere in between for light help. (The labor rate will be up to the tech present and the game owner, something they can work out between themselves.)

    Another idea....
    holding pinball repair classes. We've done this before at the museum, and people really seem to like it. But perhaps we could charge for the two hour class? would people pay to have a class? Say $25 to $50 per two hour class? would people think that is worth it? would anyone want that? (In the past the classes have been free, but that doesn't pay the electric bill.)

    Anyway, what do people think of these two ideas?
    thanks!

    #2 5 years ago

    While I'm not close by, it really sounds like a great idea.

    #3 5 years ago

    If I was in the area, I would say yes to both the repair and classes!

    #4 5 years ago

    It's a solid idea, just too far away for me to take advantage of

    #5 5 years ago

    What kind of tools do you have that make it worth someone's time to schlep their game over (honest question, I can't think of anything I'd pack up my pin and drive to a shop to use rather than just purchase so I could use in the future). Is there a market of people who have the knowledge to use those tools, don't have them, and are willing to bring games in to use them?

    Classes would definitely be cool. I'd buy your DVDs if they were as entertaining as TOP

    #6 5 years ago

    I imagine people could also bring their boards in, get some help from the techs and use your test fixtures to see if the repair worked, that would be cool。

    #7 5 years ago

    Clay, I think the repair classes are an excellent idea and would be more than willing to pay for the experience, even though I am three hours away. You have made a number of resources available through the years that Have created educational opportunities for folks across the web, however, there is nothing better than learning in a face-to-face hands on environment. I'm in.

    #8 5 years ago

    Great idea, but if my local museum (Pacific Pinball Museum) were to do this I doubt I would take advantage of this service often.

    However, if there was an art docent that could help with playfield touch ups (basically mentor), or a paint booth for cabinet restores, etc etc, that would be awesome. This is the stuff that always slows me down. I can watch videos and follow threads and usually work my way thru tech issues. But the guides on restoration with paint always end up sounding too scary.

    #9 5 years ago

    I would love to come over with a game in toe that needs troubleshooting and pay the middle area ($50 per hr?) to have an experienced expert teach me the ins/outs of diagnosing and repairing. That said I am pretty far away and would only do this if also coming over for a show (like the few days before or after).

    #10 5 years ago

    I'm in for both ideas. I'll make the 2.5 hour drive no problem.

    #11 5 years ago

    I'm a newbie in a process of learning to do basic maintenance and repairs. I could definitely see myself attending a workshop and even paying for it, but not hauling my pins over. A board yes, but that could be part of a workshop (troubleshooting and eg replacing a transistor)

    #12 5 years ago

    i appreciate the feedback thank you. Sounds like the repair shop idea is a no-go.

    #13 5 years ago

    Sounds a fantastic approach Clay but limited to those who are within driving distance of the Museum & for those, like me, in another continent quite impossible. Have you considered conducting the classes also by web? I for one would certainly participate and happy to pay a fee. That would open up the opportunities for participants and considerably expand the economic potential for the Museum.

    #14 5 years ago
    Quoted from wayner:

    Have you considered conducting the classes also by web?

    Hey, now that is a great idea!

    #15 5 years ago

    Definitely a great idea for those that are far away (like me)!

    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    i appreciate the feedback thank you. Sounds like the repair shop idea is a no-go.

    Did something change? did the town say no?

    #17 5 years ago

    Repair classes with X amount for students and X+ amount to the person whos machine is being fixed. A learning experience for cheap and a repair at a good rate from a experienced tech. Win win.

    #18 5 years ago

    The Township your in is really LAME ! Your in such a remote area with what 1 neighbor ! So did the Vet's only have one event a year? The Township is what you need to work on . Tell them about the boost to local economy or something to agree to more events .

    #19 5 years ago
    Quoted from TenaciousT:

    The Township your in is really LAME ! Your in such a remote area with what 1 neighbor ! So did the Vet's only have one event a year? The Township is what you need to work on . Tell them about the boost to local economy or something to agree to more events .

    The whole issue centers around private club type events vs. public. The old VFW was a private club, not open to the public. So the new VFW is not approved as a public facility, but as a private museum.

    The classes would be cool, but probably not enough pinheads close enough to make it work long term. I would gladly attend one or more, and stay at my brother's house just up the road. Not sure how far people would travel to attend.

    #20 5 years ago

    I'd make the drive for a repair class. Great idea.

    #21 5 years ago

    Can you skirt the private club by charging membership and then hosting a small class/event combined?

    I would happily pay a premium to come over with a game for a long weekend.

    In my ideal world, I could come with something like my RoboWar which has some odd bugs. Arrive on Thursday evening along with 9 other pinheads which also have a game in need of some love. Friday durring the day, Clay and the techs help each of us to troubleshoot and repair the game. 7pm we break for food and some game playing in the private club hall.

    Saturday, we finish up any trouble shooting/repairs and make videos of all the projects for documentation and to put on the ninja website. Saturday 7pm we break for food and more relaxed playing.

    Depart either late saturday or Sunday morning.

    I would pay a pretty nice price ($400-500) for a weekend like this. A big part for me would be all the knowledge imparted due to 9 other guys bringing games and the ability to learn on 10 hands on games. The travel time is made more worth it because I get to also play games in an essentially limited attendance game night.

    Get 10 guys (even cooler if you set these up as system/manufacturer/era specific sessions; i.e GTB sys 80B) and you are looking at 5k for a fun weekend of work and possibly some new friendships.

    #22 5 years ago

    It's just a bit too far for me to tote a game across the lake on a Sunday and while I would love to take the occasional class, if they are not on the web, distance is a problem again.

    What about a pinball repair and restoration conference? I would pay shiny coin for that and swim across lake Michigan if necessary.

    Maybe a day or two of sessions culminating in one of the museums open weekends?

    In my dreams, topics would be as simple as setting a machine up properly, to as complicated as basic board repair and everything in between.

    #23 5 years ago

    Clay, you could move your shop and pins to a boat. Pinheads and their families sail the seven seas with Clay and his team of top techs. Pinheads attend a week of classes, seminars, and tourneys while their families enjoy fun n' sun and dock in the world's premiere pinball destination ports. Everyone reconvenes at night for the Marco Specialties Pool Party. THE PINBALL CRUISE

    #24 5 years ago
    Quoted from RCA1:

    The whole issue centers around private club type events vs. public. The old VFW was a private club, not open to the public. So the new VFW is not approved as a public facility, but as a private museum.
    The classes would be cool, but probably not enough pinheads close enough to make it work long term. I would gladly attend one or more, and stay at my brother's house just up the road. Not sure how far people would travel to attend.

    Happy to come from Australia every couple of years subject to life expectancy!!

    1 month later
    #25 4 years ago

    I would definitely pay/attend a repair class

    #26 4 years ago

    Clay, you should run a playfield clearcoat day.

    Have everyone bring their playfields and run an assembly line of coating.

    Only the topsides would have to be depopulated, so that would save time and frustration compared to sending a playfield out.

    Some guys would bring new Sterns, others, old EMs.

    #27 4 years ago

    I'd love to attend a repair class, but I'm just so far away. If you guys could do a 3-5 day intensive "boot camp" repair seminar though, that would be something I (and probably others from out of town) might really be interested in.

    It could cover all types of machines, like a day for EMs, day for early Solid States, day for System 9-11/DE, day for WPC and then one for Sega/Stern. Something like this, I'd be willing to make the trip and pay several hundred dollars for.

    I've got extensive experience on some systems, but wouldn't mind a refresher from someone with more experience, and would love the opportunity to learn more about certain types that I don't have much experience with (EM/Gameplan/Williams early SS). If it was extensive enough though, it could fill the gap for a lot of people like that. For instance, in contrast, there might be people very familiar with EM repair, but would greatly benefit from the WPC or Stern/Sega days.

    Just a thought from an out-of-towner

    #28 4 years ago

    I think it's a great idea, just don't know how practical it is. While I would think most hobbyists would like to work in a shop attended by people who can help when you hit the inevitable brick wall, bringing in a machine makes it a much more difficult task. How many repairs would the ninja have done if all those people had to bring their pins to him? . So, as others have said, volume is a challenge.

    I think, however, that the biggest challenge in a setting like this is liability. Joe Blow sets a desoldering tool down in the cabinet, where it topples out of it's holder and starts a fire. Scorched cab is no big deal, but what if that's the day that Clay has special guest tech 'Candy' polishing shooter rods in her own special way, and nobody notices the fire until the game is destroyed and the building is fully involved...?

    Producing videos or webcasts? Now there's an idea. Maybe it's time for the ninja to go live streaming.

    #29 4 years ago

    Sounds like you have a lot of machines. How about a lease program? Businesses and regular people could lease a machine by the month. Perhaps rotate them every 3 months or so.

    #30 4 years ago

    The township is not an issue. the problem is, in the original post, there didn't seem to be a lot of interest in that concept or bring a pin to the vfw shop, and getting guidance on fixing it yourself. on the class idea... yes everyone likes repair classes. but that's a fair amount of planning and work and time. it's not like you just have a class. a meaningful subject with learning points has to be developed along with machine(s) with the problems (either real or invented) to use as props and teaching tools. this is not really an easy thing to do, or you would see others doing it.

    #31 4 years ago

    Love the notion of classes. Suggested that at the local pinball shows here in the Cleveland Ohio area that there be classes offered for a reasonable fee.

    George

    #32 4 years ago

    I would come to classes. Not sure if I would haul my pin to the vfw to fix it though, tough getting it out of the basement.

    #33 4 years ago

    Clay, If I was anywhere in your neighborhood, I would gladly pay to further enhance my repair and troubleshooting skills. I find your knowledge to be very interesting and a huge benefit to the pinball community.

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from DannyFresh:

    Clay, If I was anywhere in your neighborhood, I would gladly pay to further enhance my repair and troubleshooting skills. I find your knowledge to be very interesting and a huge benefit to the pinball community.

    Ditto here. If you want to make money to pay the electric bill, figure out a way to update and make pinrepair.com available again. This is the most valuable tool in pinball and 99% of the people I know would pay money to have access to an updated version of it. There would be no need to travel to Michigan and pinheads from all over the world could enjoy it and it would save countless machines from being parted out.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from GPS:

    Love the notion of classes. Suggested that at the local pinball shows here in the Cleveland Ohio area that there be classes offered for a reasonable fee.
    George

    I would be in. It's hard to find anyone willing to teach you repair. They think you want in on their busness. I have learned a lot thanks to Pinside. (Vid and Barak). I love the hobby and can never pass up a deal on a broke machine. Problem now is I have 5 to fix. 4 have been saved. I would load up one of mine and head up in a minute.

    #36 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Clay, you should run a playfield clearcoat day.
    Have everyone bring their playfields and run an assembly line of coating.
    Only the topsides would have to be depopulated, so that would save time and frustration compared to sending a playfield out.
    Some guys would bring new Sterns, others, old EMs.

    I think this would be an awesome idea. I am also in for the class. I would love to learn more from people with a wealth of knowledge.

    #37 4 years ago

    Clay my take: I would offer a 6 hour class that would make travel and a stay in a motel worthwhile. Limit the class size to 20 or whatever number you feel appropriate. Professionally video tape the class and edit for future sale.

    $100 dollars for such a class would be too much a bargain so maybe $200.

    Deciding what to cover in the class Test equipment, Early electronics - Bally/Stern/Williams/Gottlieb? WPC? Data East/Sega/Stern? EMs?

    #38 4 years ago

    I wish there was a pinball repair class in the Houston area....great idea!

    #39 4 years ago

    I'd love to attend a class. Learned alot from the ninja site. I lost all my GI in my Elektra and I knew it had to be the rectifier board as I lost ALL of the GI. (head vs playfield vs coin door) Tested the board and sure enough, I lost a bridge. Going to replace them both. Thanks for making videos of the repairs that you do as I wouldn't have been able to find the problem.

    Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say Clay.....If you decide to run the classes....I'm in.

    #40 4 years ago

    It's a great idea, but will only work if you move the museum to Denver...

    #41 4 years ago

    This may be complicated to do but how about a live video cast class from your workshop where viewers can also ask questions.

    You can have a schedule of repair topics and it can be a pay per view or one price for all classes or both.

    Maybe you can solve the viewers machine issues online during the class as a remote repair person if the viewer has all the necessary tools for the repair on hand.

    Just some ideas thrown into the ring for using your shop where everyone can have access without physically being there.

    If anyone can set this up I know you could.

    #42 4 years ago

    Run diagnosis days. Kinda like the antiques roadshow.
    You may be able to find some people who may want certain machines and could hook these people up with a potential buyer if they wish to sell. (or get a a donor machine or two that may be good for parts, etc.) or at the very least you could have clinics to show how to properly run down problems, and fix up the easy fixes for a small fee.
    Lesson 1: drilling out locks we have no keys for...

    I am looking forward to hopefully seeing your booth at the Rochester MI show. It's worth the trip from Canada, even with our dollar tanking.

    Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
    $ 7.49
    Electronics
    Yorktown Parts and Equip
    $ 9.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 3.00
    Playfield - Decals
    Doc's Pinball Shop
    $ 800.00
    Playfields
    Pinball Playfields
    $ 9.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 86.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    $ 78.99
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lermods
    $ 15.00
    Playfield - Decals
    Metal-Mods
    $ 221.00
    Cabinet Parts
    Tilted Pinball
    $ 96.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    $ 1,199.00
    Flipper Parts
    Mircoplayfields
    £ 29.00
    Lighting - Led
    PinballToys
    $ 8.00
    Cabinet Parts
    Pinball Haus
    From: $ 179.99
    Lighting - Led
    Comet Pinball
    $ 135.00
    Lighting - Led
    LED OCD
    From: $ 220.00
    From: $ 42.00
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    From: $ 3.00
    Lighting - Interactive
    Professor Pinball
    $ 400.00
    Boards
    Great American Pinball
    $ 76.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    $ 87.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lermods
    $ 2.50
    Playfield - Decals
    Doc's Pinball Shop
    $ 36.99
    Lighting - Interactive
    Lee's Parts
    $ 3.00
    Various Other Swag
    Project Pinball Charity

    Hey there! Got a moment?

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside