(Topic ID: 218168)

Official "HARDTOPS" thread

By Skypilot

4 years ago


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Topic Stats

  • 2,826 posts
  • 452 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 days ago by Ceckitti
  • Topic is favorited by 261 Pinsiders

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Topic poll

“If we produce a Hardtop for this game would yo purchase it?”

  • High Speed 166 votes
    14%
  • Firepower 123 votes
    10%
  • Silverball Mania 59 votes
    5%
  • Time Warp 29 votes
    2%
  • Mata Hari 50 votes
    4%
  • Blackout 89 votes
    7%
  • Tri-Zone 24 votes
    2%
  • Swords of Fury 68 votes
    6%
  • Space Station 65 votes
    5%
  • Fathom 59 votes
    5%
  • Pinbot 130 votes
    11%
  • Eight Ball Deluxe 116 votes
    10%
  • Strikes and Spares 52 votes
    4%
  • Kiss (Bally) 61 votes
    5%
  • Supersonic 44 votes
    4%
  • Grand Lizard 70 votes
    6%

(Multiple choice - 1205 votes by 719 Pinsiders)

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#2751 31 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

I have a rotisserie too but once you remove the rails there is nothing to support the middle of the playfield while you sand. It’s not good to flex the plywood that much.
The box supports the playfield fully on all four sides.

Yep, I understand what you’re saying and agree. I kept the plywood from flexing by supporting the middle of the playfield with a bottle jack. I should have grabbed a pic or captured it in my video to better show what I mean but I positioned it where it would contact the bottom/middle of the playfield without mashing anything. Without it, I totally agree there would have been a lot of flexing especially with the playfield side rails removed. One way or another, I agree it’s important to support and keep the plywood flat.

#2752 31 days ago

I just remembered I did have a pic of the bottle jack I used. Here’s how I supported my playfield on the rotisserie. It seemed to work fine for me:

CF4788D4-3579-4303-9310-E304EC59D18E (resized).jpegD894E23B-FB96-4AC5-BDD5-D2D6347E2D4E (resized).jpeg
#2753 31 days ago

Here is a pic of my Grand Lizard playfield on the PinDoc roto. Yes, placing a tiny bottle jack under the center of the PF provides all of the required support to perform the sanding.

pasted_image (resized).png
#2754 30 days ago
Quoted from Michel_K17:

Plug for BK2000.
In all seriousness, considering how happy I was with the HT on my original BK, I am willing to wait for the BK2000, but not more than 5 years, in which case I should start restoring my current playfield and clear coat while I still can.
Any thoughts on publishing an order list and timeframe?
Alternatively, is Outside Edge open to freelance artists contributing freely to their artwork department to accelerate their development? (not sure if this has been asked before)
to Charles_Kline ... You will love your BK once you are done.

I wish they would let us know whats in the future plans. What they can or wish to produce hard-tops for. What they already have art for etc. I would pay more attention to them if I knew that something I need is in the pipe-line.

#2755 29 days ago
Quoted from yellowghost:

I wish they would let us know whats in the future plans. What they can or wish to produce hard-tops for. What they already have art for etc. I would pay more attention to them if I knew that something I need is in the pipe-line.

But as soon as they do, it’s an endless thread about when when when. We enthusiasts are our own worst enemy.

#2756 29 days ago
Quoted from Aflacjack:

But as soon as they do, it’s an endless thread about when when when. We enthusiasts are our own worst enemy.

Totally agree. If they announced plans people would be all excited. But if things take a second longer than anticipated the mob would turn and start trashing everything. Very little upside for these hobby companies in sharing future plans unfortunately.

12
#2757 25 days ago

I've been working on a Black Knight that was left with the playfield exposed in a warehouse for at least 20 years. The art was all flaking off, perfect candidate for a hard top.

pasted_image (resized).png

pasted_image (resized).png

The art was all so loose and flaking that it all had to be removed for good adhesion of the HT.

pasted_image (resized).png

The ends of a few arrows were raised up, got those glued down before finishing sanding.

pasted_image (resized).png

pasted_image (resized).png

After a few coats of clear I inked around all inserts with black and then applied a few more clear coats to seal that in.

pasted_image (resized).png

Now to let it cure for 30 days and get started on the upper playfield.

10
#2758 23 days ago

Mine’s all done. Had a few gremlins and I’m still chasing the lower jet switch but it sure looks better than it did. Plays better than the worn out piece of garbage it was too (even if it is plastic )

1E91ADE5-E42F-47CB-AEB0-04BEDD3CCBA8 (resized).jpeg5769FA91-176B-4472-A3B5-C3D50E918C1B (resized).jpeg
#2759 21 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

I've been working on a Black Knight that was left with the playfield exposed in a warehouse for at least 20 years. The art was all flaking off, perfect candidate for a hard top.
[quoted image]
[quoted image]
The art was all so loose and flaking that it all had to be removed for good adhesion of the HT.
[quoted image]
The ends of a few arrows were raised up, got those glued down before finishing sanding.
[quoted image]
[quoted image]
After a few coats of clear I inked around all inserts with black and then applied a few more clear coats to seal that in.
[quoted image]
Now to let it cure for 30 days and get started on the upper playfield.

This is the type of game a hardtop makes better, the rest where people destroy good fields to put one on, not so much.

#2760 21 days ago

What do you guys typically do about the pop bumper screw head holes on the hardtop?

The Hard top has small hole that I'm thinking about leaving. If I ever need to replace the screws I could trim the hole larger at that point.

#2761 21 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

What do you guys typically do about the pop bumper screw head holes on the hardtop?
The Hard top has small hole that I'm thinking about leaving. If I ever need to replace the screws I could trim the hole larger at that point.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-hardtop-restoration-comet#post-4470156

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/future-spa-hardtop-install-vid-s-guide#post-5910342

#2763 21 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

Why not just leave them small? The screw/nails may never need to be replaced...

I guess you could put the nails in first, then put the hardtop on afterwards

But Ive had to repair so many broken pop nails in my lifetime, I just assume at some point they will fail (or kids will over-tighten them in some future service)

#2764 21 days ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I guess you could put the nails in first, then put the hardtop on afterwards
But Ive had to repair so many broken pop nails in my lifetime, I just assume at some point they will fail (or kids will over-tighten them in some future service)

Yep, I don’t plan on removing them, all three are in snugly.

E30C57F9-0492-409B-B294-94BE0C70C1D4 (resized).jpeg

#2765 20 days ago

Just caught up on the recent discussions with Playfield prep for a Hardtop, and I have received a lot of PMs asking me how I do mine. I have a slightly different perspective regarding PF prep, and I thought I would just share the methods to my madness. I am not going to claim that my way is better than the next guys, but it has worked very well for me.

SANDING.
I know some say you don’t have to sand the entire panel. I strongly disagree with this. I prefer to sand the PF down to bare wood because if you stick the Hardtop over old paint that is not bonded well, the paint can release, and then the Hardtop is going to loosen. Not good!

Sanding all the old paint off also ensures that the panel is perfectly flat and does not have low spots. When I do this, I use a pneumatic DA sander. I start with 80 grit disks and sand till all the art is gone. Then I switch to 120 grit and finish off with 220 grit. I do not believe there is any need to go finer than 220 grit.

This is the sander I use:
amazon.com link »
You can also use an electric sander, but I have found them to be a bit "bulkier" to use.

These are the Dura Gold Sanding disks I use:
amazon.com link »

POLISHING INSERTS.
First thing I do is wet-sand the inserts with 400 grit, and then finish with 1000 grit. Nothing fancy there.

After sanding, I use a 1000-watt flex-shaft Rotary Tool and 1” polishing pads to restore the inserts glassy finish. I have found that a larger high torque Rotary tool works best because you want to maintain a consistent and controllable RPM to avoid melting, or scarring the inserts. I have found that typical hand-held Rotary Tool ends up turning too fast and tends to bog down which leads to damaged inserts.

This is the 1000-watt Rotary tool I use:
amazon.com link »

The 1” polishing pads I use do a terrific job polishing the inserts back to a very shiny finish. I use Novus 3, with these pads, and then finish off with Novus 2. I have used many types of polishing pads, and these are far and away the best pads to use, as well as the safest. Also, these pads make VERY quick work of restoring the insert to a glass-like finish.

These are the 1” polishing pads I use:
amazon.com link »
Also, the included mandrel fits the 1000-watt Rotary tool mentioned above perfectly but does not fit hand-held Rotary Tools.

CLEARCOATING.
To ensure the Hardtop bonds to the PF panel the best it can, you MUST clearcoat the panel. I have performed tests to reach this very conclusion, and I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, it must be done.

Before clearcoating, I personally prefer to mask off all the inserts so that they don’t get any clear on them at all. It’s just my preference whether right or wrong, because I don’t want anything weird to happen during clearcoat application, or possibly down the road that would be considered undesirable. The insert masks I use are pre-cut on my Cricut Maker 3 to the exact shape of all the inserts, and then it’s just a quick peel-n-stick from there.

The Clearcoat I use is Watco Laqcquer Gloss Spray which is a very high-quality finish. It also sprays a nice wide pattern which greatly avoids runs. It’s a bit more expensive, but very worth it IMO.

This is the Watco clear that I use:
amazon.com link »

Lastly, I wipe the PF down with a quality paint-prep solvent to remove any contaminates, spray two coats of the Watco on the playfield, wait for it to dry, and then remove the insert masks. Now the Hardtop is ready to stick with total piece of mind.
pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png

#2766 20 days ago
Quoted from wrd1972:

Just caught up on the recent discussions with Playfield prep for a Hardtop, and I have received a lot of PMs asking me how I do mine. I have a slightly different perspective regarding PF prep, and I thought I would just share the methods to my madness. I am not going to claim that my way is better than the next guys, but it has worked very well for me.
SANDING.
I know some say you don’t have to sand the entire panel. I strongly disagree with this. I prefer to sand the PF down to bare wood because if you stick the Hardtop over old paint that is not bonded well, the paint can release, and then the Hardtop is going to loosen. Not good!
Sanding all the old paint off also ensures that the panel is perfectly flat and does not have low spots. When I do this, I use a pneumatic DA sander. I start with 80 grit disks and sand till all the art is gone. Then I switch to 120 grit and finish off with 220 grit. I do not believe there is any need to go finer than 220 grit.
This is the sander I use:
amazon.com link »
You can also use an electric sander, but I have found them to be a bit "bulkier" to use.
These are the Dura Gold Sanding disks I use:
amazon.com link »
POLISHING INSERTS.
First thing I do is wet-sand the inserts with 400 grit, and then finish with 1000 grit. Nothing fancy there.
After sanding, I use a 1000-watt flex-shaft Rotary Tool and 1” polishing pads to restore the inserts glassy finish. I have found that a larger high torque Rotary tool works best because you want to maintain a consistent and controllable RPM to avoid melting, or scarring the inserts. I have found that typical hand-held Rotary Tool ends up turning too fast and tends to bog down which leads to damaged inserts.
This is the 1000-watt Rotary tool I use:
amazon.com link »
The 1” polishing pads I use do a terrific job polishing the inserts back to a very shiny finish. I use Novus 3, with these pads, and then finish off with Novus 2. I have used many types of polishing pads, and these are far and away the best pads to use, as well as the safest. Also, these pads make VERY quick work of restoring the insert to a glass-like finish.
These are the 1” polishing pads I use:
amazon.com link »
Also, the included mandrel fits the 1000-watt Rotary tool mentioned above perfectly but does not fit hand-held Rotary Tools.
CLEARCOATING.
To ensure the Hardtop bonds to the PF panel the best it can, you MUST clearcoat the panel. I have performed tests to reach this very conclusion, and I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, it must be done.
Before clearcoating, I personally prefer to mask off all the inserts so that they don’t get any clear on them at all. It’s just my preference whether right or wrong, because I don’t want anything weird to happen during clearcoat application, or possibly down the road that would be considered undesirable. The insert masks I use are pre-cut on my Cricut Maker 3 to the exact shape of all the inserts, and then it’s just a quick peel-n-stick from there.
The Clearcoat I use is Watco Laqcquer Gloss Spray which is a very high-quality finish. It also sprays a nice wide pattern which greatly avoids runs. It’s a bit more expensive, but very worth it IMO.
This is the Watco clear that I use:
amazon.com link »
Lastly, I wipe the PF down with a quality paint-prep solvent to remove any contaminates, spray two coats of the Watco on the playfield, wait for it to dry, and then remove the insert masks. Now the Hardtop is ready to stick with total piece of mind.
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

I agree on the sanding of the entire playfield, in the case of my Black Knight the original art was so loose wiping it with a rag constantly lifted paint, that all had to go. The other issue is by only sanding sections you create minor valleys that are for sure going to telegraph into the hardtop.

#2767 19 days ago
Quoted from wrd1972:

Just caught up on the recent discussions with Playfield prep for a Hardtop, and I have received a lot of PMs asking me how I do mine. I have a slightly different perspective regarding PF prep, and I thought I would just share the methods to my madness. I am not going to claim that my way is better than the next guys, but it has worked very well for me.
SANDING.
I know some say you don’t have to sand the entire panel. I strongly disagree with this. I prefer to sand the PF down to bare wood because if you stick the Hardtop over old paint that is not bonded well, the paint can release, and then the Hardtop is going to loosen. Not good!
Sanding all the old paint off also ensures that the panel is perfectly flat and does not have low spots. When I do this, I use a pneumatic DA sander. I start with 80 grit disks and sand till all the art is gone. Then I switch to 120 grit and finish off with 220 grit. I do not believe there is any need to go finer than 220 grit.
This is the sander I use:
amazon.com link »
You can also use an electric sander, but I have found them to be a bit "bulkier" to use.
These are the Dura Gold Sanding disks I use:
amazon.com link »
POLISHING INSERTS.
First thing I do is wet-sand the inserts with 400 grit, and then finish with 1000 grit. Nothing fancy there.
After sanding, I use a 1000-watt flex-shaft Rotary Tool and 1” polishing pads to restore the inserts glassy finish. I have found that a larger high torque Rotary tool works best because you want to maintain a consistent and controllable RPM to avoid melting, or scarring the inserts. I have found that typical hand-held Rotary Tool ends up turning too fast and tends to bog down which leads to damaged inserts.
This is the 1000-watt Rotary tool I use:
amazon.com link »
The 1” polishing pads I use do a terrific job polishing the inserts back to a very shiny finish. I use Novus 3, with these pads, and then finish off with Novus 2. I have used many types of polishing pads, and these are far and away the best pads to use, as well as the safest. Also, these pads make VERY quick work of restoring the insert to a glass-like finish.
These are the 1” polishing pads I use:
amazon.com link »
Also, the included mandrel fits the 1000-watt Rotary tool mentioned above perfectly but does not fit hand-held Rotary Tools.
CLEARCOATING.
To ensure the Hardtop bonds to the PF panel the best it can, you MUST clearcoat the panel. I have performed tests to reach this very conclusion, and I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, it must be done.
Before clearcoating, I personally prefer to mask off all the inserts so that they don’t get any clear on them at all. It’s just my preference whether right or wrong, because I don’t want anything weird to happen during clearcoat application, or possibly down the road that would be considered undesirable. The insert masks I use are pre-cut on my Cricut Maker 3 to the exact shape of all the inserts, and then it’s just a quick peel-n-stick from there.
The Clearcoat I use is Watco Laqcquer Gloss Spray which is a very high-quality finish. It also sprays a nice wide pattern which greatly avoids runs. It’s a bit more expensive, but very worth it IMO.
This is the Watco clear that I use:
amazon.com link »
Lastly, I wipe the PF down with a quality paint-prep solvent to remove any contaminates, spray two coats of the Watco on the playfield, wait for it to dry, and then remove the insert masks. Now the Hardtop is ready to stick with total piece of mind.
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Thanks for all of the awesome info! But for someone who is just a hobbyist that will have a machine in his home not getting near the plays as a machine on location, would all of this work really be necessary? Sanding the playfield completely of all paint, resanding multiple times and then clear coating?

#2768 19 days ago
Quoted from ROMM:

Thanks for all of the awesome info! But for someone who is just a hobbyist that will have a machine in his home not getting near the plays as a machine on location, would all of this work really be necessary? Sanding the playfield completely of all paint, resanding multiple times and then clear coating?

only if you want your hardtop to stick and not look like shit.

#2769 19 days ago
Quoted from ROMM:

would all of this work really be necessary? Sanding the playfield completely of all paint, resanding multiple times and then clear coating?

Not really, no. I've done 8 hardtop installs now with half of them "going all the way" like that and the other half just sanding artwork off inserts, wet sanding the inserts, and putting down a layer of rattle can clear and letting it outgas for a week or so before laying down the hardtop. All those pins are still going strong, playing and looking like new, with the earlier ones being done about 3 years ago now.

You're going to get a lot people telling you that you absolutely have to do all that prep work and just as many people telling you that you don't. It's up to you. When in doubt, start with the instructions that Outside Edge includes with each hardtop.

Outside Edge Hardtop Install Instructions, Page 1 (resized).jpgOutside Edge Hardtop Install Instructions, Page 2 (resized).jpg
#2770 18 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

Yep, I don’t plan on removing them, all three are in snugly.
[quoted image]

For what it's worth my BK hardtop which I just laid down for the upper playfield - The holes were already sized correctly and did not need any widening for these nail screws. I purchased mine a month ago.
Planning to to lay down the lower PF this weekend and it's all downhill from there I hope!

#2771 18 days ago

Really wishing I had done things a bit differently and not opted to do two Mata Haris, now that I have a somewhat meh Gorgar (I didn't have it at the time) that would look a lot nicer with a hardtop.

Mata Hari #1 done aside from tweaking some things. PF #2 on the rotisserie... I've been dragging my feet. PF #3 (stripped) being cleaned and hanging on my basement wall. I really don't like the game but the art is so nice on MH. I'd much rather be doing a Gorgar hardtop right now

20220402_130121 (resized).jpg20220817_182236 (resized).jpg20220914_215839 (resized).jpg20220914_163508 (resized).jpg
#2772 18 days ago
Quoted from Mk1Mod0:

Please, please PLEASE take this somewhere else. The back and forth is by now waaaaaay beyond relevant.

Agreed, i come here to read to see what is going on with hardtops.
If you don't like hardtops and will never use one, i don't see the point in reading this thread at all.

Quoted from ROMM:

Thanks for all of the awesome info! But for someone who is just a hobbyist that will have a machine in his home not getting near the plays as a machine on location, would all of this work really be necessary? Sanding the playfield completely of all paint, resanding multiple times and then clear coating?

For me, common sense i believe suggests sanding the whole playfield, it was beat in the first place so you have to assume the rest of the paint will eventually want to come up.

What i don't understand is clear coating bare wood. Not sure why i would want to stick the playfield to yet another type of finish instead of just bare wood.

#2773 18 days ago
Quoted from ROMM:

Thanks for all of the awesome info! But for someone who is just a hobbyist that will have a machine in his home not getting near the plays as a machine on location, would all of this work really be necessary? Sanding the playfield completely of all paint, resanding multiple times and then clear coating?

For me, common sense i believe suggests sanding the whole playfield, it was beat in the first place so you have to assume the rest of the paint will eventually want to come up.
What i don't understand is clear coating bare wood. Not sure why i would want to stick the playfield to yet another type of finish instead of just bare wood.

#2774 18 days ago
Quoted from jcar302:

For me, common sense i believe suggests sanding the whole playfield, it was beat in the first place so you have to assume the rest of the paint will eventually want to come up.
What i don't understand is clear coating bare wood. Not sure why i would want to stick the playfield to yet another type of finish instead of just bare wood.

My understanding on the clearcoat is two-fold:

It seals in any contaminants that MIGHT be in the wood and it shines up the inserts.

I didn't clearcoat my High Speed or the first Mata Hari and both came out great. My Space Shuttle and Eight Ball Deluxe were cleared and both were nice. Ymmv, do what makes you happy.

It's neither necessary to fully sand NOR to clear. Both are options if you choose to go that route. The 3M adhesive is extremely aggressive, it can hold up to many different situations on the playfield. The most important thing is to get it as clean as possible, fix any crumminess in the shooter lane if necessary, and to remove art from the inserts. Imo on all of this, of course.

#2775 18 days ago

I'm going to be doing a Flash. I'm stripping the pf down completely because I'll be replacing all the inserts and then I'll clear it before putting the hardtop on.

#2776 18 days ago
Quoted from ROMM:

Thanks for all of the awesome info! But for someone who is just a hobbyist that will have a machine in his home not getting near the plays as a machine on location, would all of this work really be necessary? Sanding the playfield completely of all paint, resanding multiple times and then clear coating?

Can you partially sand the PF, polish the inserts and stick the Hardtop and not encounter issues? Likely yes, but IMO, there is still some risk of the Hardtop POSSIBLY releasing, or POSSIBLY doing something weird due to loose paint, porosity, moisture, contamination, fibrous texture, open grain, expansion, and contraction...who the Hell knows? I used to be work in a wood-working shop when I was younger, and I can say firsthand that wood can do some pretty strange things, under certain conditions.

The absolute last thing I want to do is have to redo a Hardtop job for the very obvious reasons. Therefore, I am willing to spend the additional time, money, and effort to minimize any POSSIBLE risks, as much as possible. This is also especially the case since I restore pins for clients, and charge premiums for high-end quality work. BTW, I once removed a Hardtop because of an early adhesive quality issue, and it's no walk in the park. The adhesive is painfully difficult to remove, requires using solvents, and will even pull up the wood. In a couple of words - AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

As I mentioned before, I did an A-B comparison by sticking a 1" square piece of Hardtop with adhesive to clean bare wood, and also a 1" square to the clearcoated wood. The square stuck to the clearcoat was significantly more difficult to remove a day later compared to the square on the bare wood. So, the million-dollar question is, is the bond between the Hardtop and bare wood adequate for the intended outcome? It seems to be for many folks according to the comments here. But, is the bond stronger if the Hardtop is stuck to clearcoated wood? IMO and based on research, unquestionably yes, and by a considerable margin.

IMO, the clearcoat does a couple of things. It seals the wood to eliminate all porosity which is typical for Hardwoods such as Birch and Maple, and it also eliminates air and moisture from POSSIBLY reaching the adhesive bond. It also can cover up contaminants that could POSSIBLY cause an issue with the bond as well. Hardwood in general is composed of countless fibers, and it has an open grain that allows it to breathe and absorb the elements much more than say, softwoods. That said, I don't think it can be argued that the adhesive bond will indeed be better on a non-porous, non-fibrous, non-contaminated and totally dry surface, and this is what the clearcoat allows.

Maybe the clearcoat and complete sanding of the PF is overkill. Maybe it's a waste of time and resources. Maybe it's boiling the freaking ocean. Regardless, the extra attention gives me more piece of mind that weird shit won't occur that would end up costing me a lot of heartache, time, and money.

All of the above comments are merely my opinions on the subject, and again, I don't claim to be the end-all authority on this stuff. I just do what feels right and comfortable for my needs, and ultimately meets the objective.

At the end of the day, just do what you're comfortable with, use some common sense, and your job will likely turn out fine.

#2777 18 days ago

Follow the directions. If you want to go over the top… sand it, clear it, massage it, hey go for it. Obviously it’s pretty fool-proof and the people making these have done the thinking so we don’t have to.

Personally I just follow vid’s Comet hardtop thread. He’s never steered me wrong. But I assume the rest of you are just bullshitters like me.

#2778 18 days ago
Quoted from wrd1972:

Can you partially sand the PF, polish the inserts and stick the Hardtop and not encounter issues? Likely yes, but IMO, there is still some risk of the Hardtop POSSIBLY releasing, or POSSIBLY doing something weird due to loose paint, porosity, moisture, contamination, fibrous texture, open grain, expansion, and contraction...who the Hell knows? I used to be work in a wood-working shop when I was younger, and I can say firsthand that wood can do some pretty strange things, under certain conditions.
The absolute last thing I want to do is have to redo a Hardtop job for the very obvious reasons. Therefore, I am willing to spend the additional time, money, and effort to minimize any POSSIBLE risks, as much as possible. This is also especially the case since I restore pins for clients, and charge premiums for high-end quality work. BTW, I once removed a Hardtop because of an early adhesive quality issue, and it's no walk in the park. The adhesive is painfully difficult to remove, requires using solvents, and will even pull up the wood. In a couple of words - AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
As I mentioned before, I did an A-B comparison by sticking a 1" square piece of Hardtop with adhesive to clean bare wood, and also a 1" square to the clearcoated wood. The square stuck to the clearcoat was significantly more difficult to remove a day later compared to the square on the bare wood. So, the million-dollar question is, is the bond between the Hardtop and bare wood adequate for the intended outcome? It seems to be for many folks according to the comments here. But, is the bond stronger if the Hardtop is stuck to clearcoated wood? IMO and based on research, unquestionably yes, and by a considerable margin.
IMO, the clearcoat does a couple of things. It seals the wood to eliminate all porosity which is typical for Hardwoods such as Birch and Maple, and it also eliminates air and moisture from POSSIBLY reaching the adhesive bond. It also can cover up contaminants that could POSSIBLY cause an issue with the bond as well. Hardwood in general is composed of countless fibers, and it has an open grain that allows it to breathe and absorb the elements much more than say, softwoods. That said, I don't think it can be argued that the adhesive bond will indeed be better on a non-porous, non-fibrous, non-contaminated and totally dry surface, and this is what the clearcoat allows.
Maybe the clearcoat and complete sanding of the PF is overkill. Maybe it's a waste of time and resources. Maybe it's boiling the freaking ocean. Regardless, the extra attention gives me more piece of mind that weird shit won't occur that would end up costing me a lot of heartache, time, and money.
All of the above comments are merely my opinions on the subject, and again, I don't claim to be the end-all authority on this stuff. I just do what feels right and comfortable for my needs, and ultimately meets the objective.
At the end of the day, just do what you're comfortable with, use some common sense, and your job will likely turn out fine.

Can confirm, it's NOT fun.

Any I do will have art completely removed to give the absolute best chance possible for good adhesion. If it's overkill then fine. Still beats ever doing this again.

20201215_121120 (resized).jpg20201215_142608 (resized).jpg20201215_212821 (resized).jpg20210301_100425 (resized).jpg20220219_141227 (resized).jpg
#2779 18 days ago
Quoted from KSUWildcatFan:

Can confirm, it's NOT fun.

True Dat.

IMG_8812 (resized).JPGIMG_8813 (resized).JPGIMG_8746 (resized).jpgIMG_8747 (resized).jpgIMG_8754 (resized).JPGIMG_8755 (resized).jpgIMG_8641 (resized).JPG
#2780 18 days ago

What caused yours to fail?
Thx.

#2781 18 days ago
Quoted from Impzilla:

What caused yours to fail?
Thx.

Bad luck. Nothing either of us did wrong, just a defective hardtop which shouldn't happen again.

#2782 18 days ago

Yeah all of these pics of people having to remove their hardtops, hopefully it wasn’t because you didn’t completely sand the playfield down and completely clear!

#2783 18 days ago
Quoted from ROMM:

Yeah all of these pics of people having to remove their hardtops, hopefully it wasn’t because you didn’t completely sand the playfield down and completely clear!

Or did...

#2784 18 days ago

To my knowledge all the people who have had to remove a hardtop were from the batch were the ink issues were found (and Outside Edge seems to have taken care of them). Does anyone know of a failure due to poor surface prep or user error?

#2785 18 days ago
Quoted from Impzilla:

What caused yours to fail?

In early 2020, Outside Edge produced a batch of hardtops that started failing in the field (lifting/bubbles and damaged/flaked artwork in high impact areas, like around pop bumpers). I know it affected EBD and BK titles, perhaps more. I worked with OE on this over the phone and through email for about 2 to 3 weeks and convinced them I did all the proper prep work before laying down the hardtop. At that same time, they got more reports of the same type of failures spiking within 1 to 2 weeks time.

Their investigation turned up this: their ink manufacturer played around with the chemistry without telling OE, opting to use different (cheaper) materials. This resulted in several incidents of adhesion failure.

In the end, OE made good with all those affected by shipping them new hardtops with their original chemistry for ink and adhesion (I believe they also changed who they used to manufacture their ink as well). They claim that everything they make now is actually more durable than before that problem started. Having done two more hardtops since then, I'd say they're right.

#2786 17 days ago
Quoted from wrd1972:

Can you partially sand the PF, polish the inserts and stick the Hardtop and not encounter issues? Likely yes, but IMO, there is still some risk of the Hardtop POSSIBLY releasing, or POSSIBLY doing something weird due to loose paint, porosity, moisture, contamination, fibrous texture, open grain, expansion, and contraction...who the Hell knows? I used to be work in a wood-working shop when I was younger, and I can say firsthand that wood can do some pretty strange things, under certain conditions.
The absolute last thing I want to do is have to redo a Hardtop job for the very obvious reasons. Therefore, I am willing to spend the additional time, money, and effort to minimize any POSSIBLE risks, as much as possible. This is also especially the case since I restore pins for clients, and charge premiums for high-end quality work. BTW, I once removed a Hardtop because of an early adhesive quality issue, and it's no walk in the park. The adhesive is painfully difficult to remove, requires using solvents, and will even pull up the wood. In a couple of words - AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
As I mentioned before, I did an A-B comparison by sticking a 1" square piece of Hardtop with adhesive to clean bare wood, and also a 1" square to the clearcoated wood. The square stuck to the clearcoat was significantly more difficult to remove a day later compared to the square on the bare wood. So, the million-dollar question is, is the bond between the Hardtop and bare wood adequate for the intended outcome? It seems to be for many folks according to the comments here. But, is the bond stronger if the Hardtop is stuck to clearcoated wood? IMO and based on research, unquestionably yes, and by a considerable margin.
IMO, the clearcoat does a couple of things. It seals the wood to eliminate all porosity which is typical for Hardwoods such as Birch and Maple, and it also eliminates air and moisture from POSSIBLY reaching the adhesive bond. It also can cover up contaminants that could POSSIBLY cause an issue with the bond as well. Hardwood in general is composed of countless fibers, and it has an open grain that allows it to breathe and absorb the elements much more than say, softwoods. That said, I don't think it can be argued that the adhesive bond will indeed be better on a non-porous, non-fibrous, non-contaminated and totally dry surface, and this is what the clearcoat allows.
Maybe the clearcoat and complete sanding of the PF is overkill. Maybe it's a waste of time and resources. Maybe it's boiling the freaking ocean. Regardless, the extra attention gives me more piece of mind that weird shit won't occur that would end up costing me a lot of heartache, time, and money.
All of the above comments are merely my opinions on the subject, and again, I don't claim to be the end-all authority on this stuff. I just do what feels right and comfortable for my needs, and ultimately meets the objective.
At the end of the day, just do what you're comfortable with, use some common sense, and your job will likely turn out fine.

Thanks again for the comments. Your how-to post was really helpful with the links to the tools and materials. Really takes the guesswork out of it. I think the biggest issue for me (and many others I’m sure) is setting up a proper space for doing clear coat work. I have a 2 car enclosed garage with a car, a couple motorcycles, lawn equipment, etc. Not much room to work with.

#2787 17 days ago
Quoted from ROMM:

Thanks again for the comments. Your how-to post was really helpful with the links to the tools and materials. Really takes the guesswork out of it. I think the biggest issue for me (and many others I’m sure) is setting up a proper space for doing clear coat work. I have a 2 car enclosed garage with a car, a couple motorcycles, lawn equipment, etc. Not much room to work with.

I pay a buddy to do my clearcoating with proper automotive clear. My results were not good at all trying to rattle can. YMMV of course but my luck was not good, so I just farm that out from now on. Might be something to look around and see if you can dig up a local-ish resource to do the same for you.

#2788 17 days ago
Quoted from ROMM:

Thanks again for the comments. Your how-to post was really helpful with the links to the tools and materials. Really takes the guesswork out of it. I think the biggest issue for me (and many others I’m sure) is setting up a proper space for doing clear coat work. I have a 2 car enclosed garage with a car, a couple motorcycles, lawn equipment, etc. Not much room to work with.

You dont have to clear coat a playfield for a hardtop the same way you clear coat for a restoration, just get a can of 2X Rustoleum Gloss Clear, set up the playfield in your driveway or backyard and lay down a few light coats and then a nice medium coat focusing on any exposed wood like the apron area and shooter lane. Those areas are seen the rest is just being done for a nice surface for the adhesive to grab to, not cosmetic.

Spray a light mist in a left to right motion with slight overlap
wait 5 minutes
Spray a light mist in a up and down motion with slight overlap
Wait 5 minutes
Spray a slightly heavier coat in a left to right motion with slight overlap and then give the shooter lane a good sweep from the kick out up and round to the top of the arch to get that nice glassy sheen and youre good.

#2789 16 days ago
Quoted from jcar302:

For me, common sense i believe suggests sanding the whole playfield, it was beat in the first place so you have to assume the rest of the paint will eventually want to come up.
What i don't understand is clear coating bare wood. Not sure why i would want to stick the playfield to yet another type of finish instead of just bare wood.

This..

It seals in any contaminants that MIGHT be in the wood and it shines up the inserts.

#2790 14 days ago

Some final pics of my High Speed hardtop. I waxed it and played some games. Plays perfectly. Great product and will use again to bring back a beater.

12CB1760-9ED3-467A-9509-80027187AF17 (resized).jpeg169091DD-889F-47F3-945D-871C81514A61 (resized).jpeg62B35A9C-28C3-4515-BAB5-D7FCD4617487 (resized).jpeg9A95CBAE-1C46-4742-A752-565D38C1B2EF (resized).jpeg9FDD57BB-FFC2-4654-8809-D27C0CAFBEE8 (resized).jpegA9CCAEF3-160A-48C9-9A94-51F9F720CDEA (resized).jpegC61753D0-0B24-4942-9F60-778BFE4EF121 (resized).jpeg
#2791 14 days ago

Is 30 days off gassing duration after spraying lacquer sufficient? I'm looking forward to applying the Black Knight Hardtop, have to wait until at least October 12th for 30 days.

Where is everyone getting new rails now that Reese Rails is gone?

#2792 14 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

Is 30 days off gassing duration after spraying lacquer sufficient? I'm looking forward to applying the Black Knight Hardtop, have to wait until at least October 12th for 30 days.

That whole 30 day thing is a myth. However, if you're using a garbage lacquer like Deft, it will stay soft for months. Wood finishing is my business. As a professional wood finisher & instructor, in my opinion a better option that nobody has mentioned in this thread is vinyl sealer. Spray your playfield with a few coats of vinyl sealer, wait a couple days, sand level with 320 grit, clean with naphtha & apply your hardtop. Vinyl sealer is a lacquer-based commercial wood sealer/adhesion promoter. Mohawk Finishing Products offers it in aerosol cans if you don't have a spray system. Plain nitrocellulose lacquer or acrylic lacquer will work in lieu of vinyl sealer or lacquer sanding sealer, but they're not ideal. Vinyl sealer bonds better to the inserts as well.

#2793 14 days ago
Quoted from Pin-Bob:

That whole 30 day thing is a myth. However, if you're using a garbage lacquer like Deft, it will stay soft for months. Wood finishing is my business. As a professional wood finisher & instructor, in my opinion a better option that nobody has mentioned in this thread is vinyl sealer. Spray your playfield with a few coats of vinyl sealer, wait a couple days, sand level with 320 grit, clean with naphtha & apply your hardtop. Vinyl sealer is a lacquer-based commercial wood sealer/adhesion promoter. Mohawk Finishing Products offers it in aerosol cans if you don't have a spray system. Plain nitrocellulose lacquer or acrylic lacquer will work in lieu of vinyl sealer or lacquer sanding sealer, but they're not ideal. Vinyl sealer bonds better to the inserts as well.

Where were you when I asked in Post #2727 https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/official-hardtops-thread/page/55#post-7106138

#2794 13 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

Is 30 days off gassing duration after spraying lacquer sufficient? I'm looking forward to applying the Black Knight Hardtop, have to wait until at least October 12th for 30 days.
Where is everyone getting new rails now that Reese Rails is gone?

Any other thoughts on the 30 day?

Or the rail question...

#2795 13 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

Any other thoughts on the 30 day?
Or the rail question...

Any lacquer that takes 30 days to outgas is some pretty shitty lacquer IMO. When I use the Watco (attached), it is completely try to the touch in less than a half hour, and I am sticking the Hardtop 48 hours later with piece of mind.

When I did my BK over-the-top restoration, I cut new walls from a single piece of White Oak that I picked up from Lowes. If you have access to a table saw, you can easily do this in 20 minutes. I then applied a nice medium-dark stain with a tad of red, and then topped them with clear-polyurethane for durability. The finished result is absolutely stunning compared to the cheap printed paper that came on the original cheap wood walls.

pasted_image (resized).png

#2796 13 days ago
Quoted from wrd1972:

Any lacquer that takes 30 days to outgas is some pretty shitty lacquer IMO. When I use the Watco (attached), it is completely try to the touch in less than a half hour, and I am sticking the Hardtop 48 hours later with piece of mind.
When I did my BK over-the-top restoration, I cut new walls from a single piece of White Oak that I picked up from Lowes. If you have access to a table saw, you can easily do this in 20 minutes. I then applied a nice medium-dark stain with a tad of red, and then topped them with clear-polyurethane for durability. The finished result is absolutely stunning compared to the cheap printed paper that came on the original cheap wood walls.
[quoted image]

I'm not saying my lacquer takes 30 days to outgas (why is everyone so hostel with their responses?) Just going off recommendations in this thread and others that the clear coat should be allowed to outgas for 30 days to prevent any clouding or other reaction with the insert windows.

#2797 13 days ago
Quoted from Charles_Kline:

I'm not saying my lacquer takes 30 days to outgas (why is everyone so hostel with their responses?) Just going off recommendations in this thread and others that the clear coat should be allowed to outgas for 30 days to prevent any clouding or other reaction with the insert windows.

No hostility intended.
I am simply speaking to the "30 days" as he asked.

Oh, and like I mentioned a while back. I dont allow the clear to cover the inserts because they are all masked off. I prefer to not take any chances with inserts at all.

pasted_image (resized).png
#2798 9 days ago
Screenshot_20220923-213853 (resized).png
#2799 9 days ago

I’ve seen a lot of sunken inserts, but what about areas under overtightened posts? Should I fill with plastic wood and sand flush?

DB0F8849-CE39-4A62-9A81-0A1D43E3F4E8 (resized).jpeg
#2800 9 days ago
Quoted from Pinash:

I’ve seen a lot of sunken inserts, but what about areas under overtightened posts? Should I fill with plastic wood and sand flush?
[quoted image]

Personally I wouldn’t worry about that. The hardtop will cover that and isn’t pliable enough to matter. I might be wrong, just my opinion.

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