Playfield Cleaning and Waxing

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By ChiroCop

4 years ago


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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by j_m_

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#1 4 years ago

I'm brand new to pinball and Pinside. I have a new Stern AC/DC BIB LE that I play atleast once a day. How often am I suppose to clean and wax the playfield ? I'm sure this has already been covered a hundred times, but if you could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Thanks again !!
- Kevin

-1
#2 4 years ago

Get some microfiber or terry cloth rags.

Head over to pinballlife.com and buy a couple bottles of Novus 1 and Novus 2. If you see a buildup of dirt on your playfield use #2 to take it off.

For all purpose cleaning / prevention use Novus 1. It's like windex for your playfield. It doesn't contain damaging solvents though.

If you're good about wiping it down every so often you might not ever need #2... But don't be afraid to use it if you need to. Just don't use #3 on your playfield... It's too abrasive.

You shouldn't need to worry about shopping it out for awhile. Because of the value you might not want it to be your first. Maybe pick up a cheaper B title with a little dirt to work on and learn.

Congrats on picking up a great game!

#3 4 years ago

I agree with what Rascal said. I would just add that you should keep the playfield waxed. And even more important make sure your shooter rubber and balls are always good!!!!!!

#4 4 years ago
Quoted from hawkeye11:

I would just add that you should keep the playfield waxed.

The only 'wax' Stern recommends is Novus 2. There's no need at all to put any other kind of wax, car or otherwise, on a new playfield. It will only make the game harder. Wax is for games at least 10 years old.

The first place dirt will show is in the inlanes and just above the flippers at the bottom of the slings. When you see ball trails in the inlanes or dirt above the flippers, it's time to clean. If you don't actually see any dirt, don't clean it.

#5 4 years ago

Well I like to give even newer pins a wax (Carnuba Paste no cleaners) about 2 or 3 times a year. Gives a nice shine and makes the surface a bit faster not to mention the extra layer of protection. That said, you really do not need to go overboard with waxing I think in a home use environment 2 to 4 times a year is more then sufficient. As always to each their own.

#6 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

The first place dirt will show is in the inlanes and just above the flippers at the bottom of the slings. When you see ball trails in the inlanes or dirt above the flippers, it's time to clean. If you don't actually see any dirt, don't clean it.

Yep watch them inlanes. To go a little further...you don't have to be super anal aboot cleaning and do it all the time like some people might say.
I've also never used any carnuba wax on any game I've owned.

#7 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

The only 'wax' Stern recommends is Novus 2. There's no need at all to put any other kind of wax, car or otherwise, on a new playfield. It will only make the game harder. Wax is for games at least 10 years old.

I for one don't take Sterns recomendations to heart. One of the reasons we have so many trashed playfields in the world is because of failure to wax. Plus old balls, jacked up shooter rods etc. Wax the new one!!!!!!

And how in the heck does it make it harder????? Too fast???

#8 4 years ago

Yes, wax your playfield !

Novus 2 is not a wax, it is an abrasive.

Don't use car wax that says "cleaner wax" on it, those "cleaner" solvents and abrasives are not doing your playfield any favors.

Use a hard, pure wax like Blitz that will actually build up a protective layer. Better the ball ride on the wax than on the playfield paint.

#9 4 years ago

I tired everything and found Collinite #885 to be the best ($19 on amazon). Not too hard or thin. Easy to apply, doesn't make a mess. Doesn't stink up the room. Apply once every 3-4 months. The can will last forever. I'd toss out the balls and change out the main flipper rubbers (1-1/2" x 1/2) around the same time too, but that's just me. I wouldn't bother cleaning them, just replace the pair for $1. I would clean the main flipper bats though. It takes a min. You can pick up some ultra shiney balls at pinballlife for a $1.50 a pop.

Pick up a pack of white polishing cloths from autozone or checker.
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/AutoZone-3-pcs-11-x-17-in-polishing-cloth/_/N-25zq?itemIdentifier=20959_0_0_

Fyi, unfortunately waxing the window is going to fog it up even more. It's something you can avoid. just saying.

Novus 2 for the playfield is bad advice imo, but I do recommend Nov 1 is for ramps and plastics. I'd stay away from #2 and #3 all together.
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#10 4 years ago

Don't be worried aboot using novus. Been going on forever and hasn't killed nay playfield I've seen (diamond plated + that is).

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Novus 2 is not a wax, it is an abrasive.

+ 1 million

I've only been in the hobby 6 months, and I can't count how many times i've had someone tell me to put novus 2 all over it, let it dry, and then buff it off like wax. It kills me to hear them think that its a wax, just because they polished a shiny surface into it.

#12 4 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

put novus 2 all over it, let it dry, and then buff it off like wax.

WTF?!

#13 4 years ago

Novus 2 is a polish. It is magical on dull playfields. Being a polish, it has MILD abrasive properties. I would not worry about damaging a playfield with it. I use it all the time on playfields new and old. The end result is always better than before application.

#14 4 years ago

Thanks for all the advice. What is the secret to waxing and cleaning the playfield? Do I have to take the playfield apart and remove all ramps and mechanisms? This could be a nightmare right?

#15 4 years ago

No, If you keep on top of the grime in the easily reached areas, the under ramp/inaccessable areas will stay clean longer. Run a lint-free rag through ball travel areas after cleaning, push it through with a thin wooden dowel or the like to pick up dust. I have been collecting for 10 years and never had to fully shop the same machine twice but then again, I only keep them for 5 or 6 years max so far.

#16 4 years ago

I thought it wasn't good to get water on the playfield, which is why I don't use Novus 1 for playfields....

Personally, I'd only use Novus 2 when it starts to get obviously dirty, as it is abrasive. Better to be on the safe side is my motto.

#17 4 years ago

Personally, I shop them when I first get them, which means completely taking everything off of the top side of the playfield, cleaning the playfield with magic eraser/alcohol, then novus 2 to polish a bit, then wax. All metal goes through the ultrasonic with a degreaser, then into the vibrating polisher. All plastic (that isnt painted) goes through the ultrasonic with just a general mild cleaner.

Painted plastic gets hand cleaned with a mild cleaner and novus 2/1 to polish them up.

I put it all back together with new rubber everywhere and new balls.

Adjust all the switches in the switch test, fix anything else that doesnt work, and then start playing :).

This way, if it starts getting dirty, I know that the dirt is laying down on a layer of wax and will be pretty easy to clean when the time comes, and I can just clean the open areas without taking everything off again.

#18 4 years ago
Quoted from ChiroCop:

Thanks for all the advice. What is the secret to waxing and cleaning the playfield? Do I have to take the playfield apart and remove all ramps and mechanisms? This could be a nightmare right?

Just do a spot clean

Pull the glass. Throw away the balls and the main flipper rubbers. Apply wax to the main areas, especially the center playfield, center drain, outlanes if possible without making a mess. Hit the upper section without tearing anything apart. Let the wax dry for a min or two. Wipe it off with a new polish cloth. Circular motion. Fold it up, use different sides. Clean the inside of the ramps with some nov 1 and a different polish cloth. Put new flipper rubbers on. Wipe oil off the new balls with some paper towels and re-install the balls. Put the glass back on. Hit it with some windex. Do it again in 3 to 4 months.

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Novus 2 is not a wax, it is an abrasive.

Novus 2 is referred to as a wax on Stern's website. It's the only cleaner/wax Stern recommends. Go look for yourself. It's an extremely mild abrasive. So mild, you can use it regularly on location machines. Which is what I do. The only games I wax are usually at least 20 years old.

Quoted from vid1900:

Use a hard, pure wax like Blitz that will actually build up a protective layer.

That wax is designed to protect an automotive finish against things like rain and snow. How exactly does it protect against a steel ball? If you wrote the company and asked them if their wax will protect against steel balls, do you think they'll say yes? The truth is that wax doesn't protect anything from a steel ball. The only reason operators use it is to speed up the game, thereby reducing ball times. Which equals more money.

Recommending first time buyers wax their new games is one of the biggest mistakes I see repeated over and over. Right up there with switching all games to white rubbers. Why make things harder for somebody that's just getting into the hobby?

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

Novus 2 is referred to as a wax on Stern's website.

Stern's website can't be wrong? Because wherever they refer to it as a wax is incorrect.

#21 4 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Stern's website can't be wrong? Because wherever they refer to it as a wax is incorrect.

I think you're missing the point. It's the only product they recommend for cleaning or 'protecting' a playfield. Again, look for yourself. Don't believe me.

Telling people to not use Novus because it's an abrasive is ridiculous. Toothpaste is more abrasive than Novus. A steel ball is way, way more abrasive than Novus. Might as well tell them to remove all the balls after they wax it too. Then you can really keep that game looking like new. Just start a game and pretend a ball is in play.

#22 4 years ago

Seriously a new person with an ACDC machine does not need to bust out the Carnuba. Frankly most people don't. If makes some people happy to do it to their games and that's awesome, but it is not needed.

This has become so semantical aboot what a wax really is and yada yada. Yes it is not wax, it's a plastics polisher, as it states on the front. Just get over it. You're "waxing" the machine, or playing "frisbee," "using a kleenex," whatever.

#23 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

That wax is designed to protect an automotive finish against things like rain and snow. How exactly does it protect against a steel ball? If you wrote the company and asked them if their wax will protect against steel balls, do you think they'll say yes? The truth is that wax doesn't protect anything from a steel ball.

I do wax my pins (part of the "detailer" in me more than anything) but what you say here is obviously the truth.

Wax has a hard enough time protecting auto finishes from rain and snow. In fact, wax often fails in that regard. It doesn't have a chance of holding up to a steel ball rolling over it repeatedly.

#24 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

Novus 2 is referred to as a wax on Stern's website.

They are wrong.

http://www.novuspolish.com/pdf/NOVUSPlasticPolish2MSDS.pdf

#25 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

That wax is designed to protect an automotive finish against things like rain and snow. How exactly does it protect against a steel ball?

A real wax (not a silicone water beading product) builds up a protective layer.

That layer takes the wear and tear rather than the pinball paint. That layer also protects the lower clearcoat and paint from oxidation and fade.

I've routed and serviced games for 30+ years. Games that are consistently waxed still have nice looking playfields. Games that are just wiped down or polished with Novus will be much more worn, even with the exact number of plays.

Quoted from phishrace:

Telling people to not use Novus because it's an abrasive is ridiculous.

I don't think anyone here is saying that at all.

Everyone is telling you that Novus is not a wax, it is an abrasive polish. It does not protect the playfield. It is the last step BEFORE waxing.

#26 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

Telling people to not use Novus because it's an abrasive is ridiculous.

I agree, so I don't see your point. I even specifically say that I use it in my post above.

#27 4 years ago

Ron Ashby, king of all wood refinishers, says this in Wood magazine:

""Wax is the wear and tear, abrasion layer of fine wood furniture," says Ron Ashby,
a professional woodworker, refinisher, lecturer, and owner of Wood Finish Supply in Mendocino, California. "superficial scratches, dings, and dents should happen to the wax layer-not the finish you slaved over.""

http://www.woodfinishsupply.com/MagWaxArticle.html

#28 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

They are wrong.

Quoted from phishrace:

I think you're missing the point. It's the only product they recommend for cleaning or 'protecting' a playfield. Again, look for yourself. Don't believe me.

Quoted from vid1900:

I've routed and serviced games for 30+ years.

That's impressive. As a regular location player (and operator), I thank you.

Quoted from vid1900:

Games that are consistently waxed still have nice looking playfields. Games that are just wiped down or polished with Novus will be much more worn, even with the exact number of plays.

I haven't operated games nearly as long as you, but could it be possible that the games stayed looking better because regular wax keeps ball times down? Shorter ball times will keep your playfield looking better than any wax will. Wax significantly reduces ball times.

I adjust ball times on my location game by using settings, not wax. They're set up hard, but always clean and predictable. I get regular compliments from my customers. They know that my games will play consistently every time they play them. They don't go from floaty one day to slippery fast the next day.

Quoted from vid1900:

Ron Ashby, king of all wood refinishers, says this in Wood magazine:

He talking about furniture. There's no mention of impacts from steel balls. Regardless, the home use only games talked about here don't need anywhere near the protection a location machine needs.

Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

I agree, so I don't see your point. I even specifically say that I use it in my post above.

That wasn't directed at you. See below.

Quoted from vid1900:

Novus 2 is not a wax, it is an abrasive.

#29 4 years ago

Wax protects from abrasion (think of what the bottoms of your skis would look like if you did not wax them).

Don't use it if you don't want to, but please don't tell others not to use it. Their games in another 30 years will thank you for your silence.

#30 4 years ago

TZ is 19 years and looking great...hope the next 10 years aren't the death of it.

#31 4 years ago

I know you want the last word, so I'll give you that.

My last word will be that Williams says in their manuals to use "Playfield Wax" "or any Carnauba Based Wax". It also says "avoid excessive use of water or abrasive cleaners because they tend to damage the playfield surface".

Remember, when using abrasives to take out scratches, you are removing all the material until you are at the level of the bottom of the scratch.

#32 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I know you want the last word...

No, not really. I will say this though. Most all of the games bought new these days (especially the LE's) will be lucky to get 1/10 of the plays per year as a location game would get 10 years ago. They don't need to overly protected. Simple as that.

There are MM's with over 100K plays currently on location in the Portland area. I know the operators that have them out there. Those games need to be protected. Not brand new HUO Stern's.

#33 4 years ago

True I can't comment on newer Sterns much when it comes to PF wear. My RBION looks real sharp and i gave it a Treasure Coving when I got it. I know I have heard maybe the PF these days aren;t what they used to be? Don;t really know but I've heard people complaining...of course complaining aboot Stern isn't too hard to hear.

#34 4 years ago

I use a quick Novus 1, followed up by a light Novus 2, then wax in the most heavy use areas ( the ones I can reach) My DE SW played so fast this week that it messed up the ramp switch and put a ball into the bottom of the cabinet. I guess off the ramp somehow. Waxing does help and a little Novus to clean up ball tracks and in between pop bumpers can't hurt too much. Home use only, I would use some Novus 1 if I saw tracks and wax it every so often. My games get a ton of use and I have to clean them every few days. I think that for most people light cleaning should be fine for a new game. I would be more concerned with ball drops off the ramps and ball kick out areas. Those do much more harm than general playfield play/wear. Games will get dirty and wear if you are playing them. That just means you are having fun with them! As intended.

Since ACDC has the clear coat over the lower playfield, you might want to wax that more often and be careful about using an abrasive on it. I don't think there is a way to remove that window without putting in a new playfield. I would say Novus 1 and wax on the window and no Novus 2. That's just my opinion.

#35 4 years ago

I've played my new pin about 500 times since I bought it two months ago. I inspected the playfield up close with a flashlight, and so far it's holding up well with no cleaning or waxing. It appears as though the main flipper rubbers are taking all the punishment. They are light pink, so dirt shows up well. The flipper rubber surface that makes contact w/ the ball is completely black and starting to show excessive wear. I ordered new flipper rubbers, but where is all this dirt/oil coming from? I wiped the silver balls down with a cotton rag before I placed them in the playfield. Anyway, I just want to let you guys know up front how much I appreciate your imput on my questions. I've read all of your responses several times. Thanks again !!

- Kevin

#36 4 years ago

By the way, if I use Novus 1 to clean an area of the playfield, due I immediately have to follow up with Novus 2 or wax ? Just thinking that if I strip away the residual wax on the playfield w/ Novus 1, I would have to re-apply wax to replace what I stripped away, correct ??

- Kevin

#37 4 years ago

Novus 1 has alcohol in it, so it will remove wax. It's not a high percentage of alcohol, but it's still there.

#38 4 years ago

This novus 2 talk reminds me of a local Elvis table at a chuck e cheese. On the table you can clearly see swirls of Novus 2 in every place that the ball hasn't rolled on. I was wondering who the hell would care enough about the table to buy Novus 2 but then not care enough to wipe the novus off? Reading Stern's table maintenance guidelines I can see how that happened.

#39 4 years ago
Quoted from BallPtPenTheif:

This novus 2 talk reminds me of a local Elvis table at a chuck e cheese. On the table you can clearly see swirls of Novus 2 in every place that the ball hasn't rolled on. I was wondering who the hell would care enough about the table to buy Novus 2 but then not care enough to wipe the novus off? Reading Stern's table maintenance guidelines I can see how that happened.

That's why it's important for people to note that it's an abrasive, not a wax. Any trace of it left on a playfield will do nothing but speed up its wear.

#40 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

That wax is designed to protect an automotive finish against things like rain and snow. How exactly does it protect against a steel ball? If you wrote the company and asked them if their wax will protect against steel balls, do you think they'll say yes? The truth is that wax doesn't protect anything from a steel ball. The only reason operators use it is to speed up the game, thereby reducing ball times. Which equals more money.

and how does it make a game faster, it removes friction. less friction-less wear.

#41 4 years ago

Why are people using 1, then 2 to finish? I thought 1 should be used to remove the residue that 2 leaves behind.

#42 4 years ago
Quoted from calvin12:

and how does it make a game faster, it removes friction. less friction-less wear.

Again, you're missing the point. The vast majority of the HUO games being bought these days will be lucky to get 5k plays in the next 10 years. They don't need to be overly protected. Why should someone who's new to the hobby make their brand new game harder when they'll never see wear on the game whether they 'protect' it or not? Protecting your investment isn't good excuse. If your game doesn't get much play, stick to what the manufacturer recommends (Novus) and enjoy the game. Not some slathered up slippery version of it.

And btw, that waxed up slippery playfield will lead to a lot more broken plastics than one cleaned with Novus alone.

#43 4 years ago
Quoted from Rascal_H:

Why are people using 1, then 2 to finish? I thought 1 should be used to remove the residue that 2 leaves behind.

Both will leave a residue, although if applied properly (not too much, clean micro-fiber cloth) neither should leave visual residue. If you want to remove all traces of residue on your playfield (visible or otherwise), you need to use alcohol or something similar. Any alcohol (and the small amount of water that comes with it) left on the playfield will quickly evaporate.

I only use Novus 2 on my location machines unless they're 20+ years old and need wax to make the game fun again (play slow). If you feel your game needs wax, you should reapply it after you use any Novus.

#44 4 years ago

Waxing does not harm anything. It adds shine makes the playfield slicker and adds a degree of protection. Sometimes people prefer to wax and clearly some do not. It's all good.

#45 4 years ago
Quoted from phishrace:

Why should someone who's new to the hobby make their brand new game harder

First, most of us are not new to pinball.

Second, wax does not make the game harder. If you are talking about Williams, Bally or Gottlieb, waxing the playfield is recommended by the manufacturer. Thus, with a waxed surface, you are playing the game as the designer intended it to be played.

Third, if you enter any tournaments, you better get used to how a game is supposed to feel, because everyone waxes their playfields.

#46 4 years ago

I just checked my Mystery Castle manual and the Alvin G company also specifies that the playfield be waxed with Carnauba Wax (pg 6-2).

So if you want to experience the game as it was designed, better get it waxed up - nice and slick...

#47 4 years ago

What about using some type of goo be gone product, will that mess up the clear coat?

#48 4 years ago

I saw on a separate webpage a review of cleaning the surfaces..
Someone mentioned Simple Green as an initial cleaner..

Is this safe for the pf and the ramps/clear plastic trails.

Also what is best for polishing/keeping the brass habitrails polished and clean?

#49 4 years ago

I waxed my Earthshaker shortly after I got it and it was a nightmare.For about a week the playfield was so slick the balls would slide under the slings and get stuck inside them. Im not waxing it anymore.

#50 4 years ago
Quoted from jhanley:

I waxed my Earthshaker shortly after I got it and it was a nightmare.For about a week the playfield was so slick the balls would slide under the slings and get stuck inside them. Im not waxing it anymore.

I have never seen nor heard of something like this happening because of wax. Are you sure it was the wax?

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