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(Topic ID: 273013)

Playfield clear question - too soft?


By Boslaw

3 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 35 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by Toads
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 3 months ago

    I just started my first playfield swap using a repro playfield. I waited 3 months from the day I received the playfield before I started populating.

    After hammering in my pop bumper shank screws, I noticed tiny scratches appearing in the clear all over (not near the bumpers at all). (see pics). That has me a bit concerned - if the playfield flexing is going to cause scratches to appear, I'm concerned about what might happen when a pinball hits the clear.

    Worse, when I hand tightened the first mechanism to the playfield, I noticed an impression was left behind (like when you touch polyurethane before it's dried, and you see your dull fingerprint). When I clamped the playfield to my rotisserie, I put socks under the clamps to protect the surface, when I checked under the clamps, I noticed impressions there as well.

    My question is, is this normal? Is the clear too soft? 3 months seems like a long time for the clear to cure and I believe my playfield was one of the last available in a run that was completed 3 months prior to when I received the playfield, so that's a full 6 months waiting time since the clear was applied.

    At this point I don't want to name the vendor who sold the playfield - I'd rather not bash anyone if what I'm experiencing is normal as the vendor assures me it is. I just don't want to ruin what was a beautiful playfield when I received it in the mail.

    I would greatly appreciate any thoughts from people with more experience than me.

    Thanks

    IMG_7292 (resized).jpegIMG_7295 (resized).jpeg
    #2 3 months ago

    Sure doesn't sound normal. Clear coat has to cure between coats. If it doesn't, then you get some version of what your experiencing. I would have a chat with the manufacture. Send him some pics and ask questions before you go any further.

    #3 3 months ago

    I'm not the expert here but I seem to recall people with experience doing playfield swaps saying that you shouldn't hammer t nuts in, you should try to draw them in. The reason they said to do that is for this very reason - cracks in the clear

    #4 3 months ago

    I did reach out to the manufacturer and sent the pics I attached here - he said this is normal. I'm looking for an unbiased opinion here.

    I did not hammer the t-nuts. I drew those in. I did have to hammer in the fin shank bumper screws and the wire forms (bash bars I think they're called?) I don't know any other way to get those into the playfield. I wasn't beating the crap out of them either - just hitting them enough to get them where they needed to be.

    I'm mostly concerned about the impressions being left by clamps and the mechanics - if that's what I'm seeing now, I can only imagine what a pinball will do.

    #5 3 months ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    repro playfield

    Which company? Which game title?

    #6 3 months ago

    Clear is very hard but a little flexible. Too much flex and it will crack or show hairline cracks. This shouldn't be a problem with a playfield under normal use. Hammering on it, or tightening screws too tight, could cause it to crack. On the other hand, when you describe clamping leaving impressions sounds like it is not cured. The cure is a chemical reaction with the clear and the catalyst (hardener). Doesn't need to "dry" between coats. If there is the proper proportion of hardener and clear when it is sprayed, it will begin to cure. It should be cured well beyond expectations after a few days. Sounds to me like the application wasn't done properly.

    #7 3 months ago

    Again - don't really want to name the company in public yet until I get some more feedback.

    Is there any "cure" if the clear hasn't cured yet (although it sounds like it should have cured by now given that I waited 3 months and received the playfield probably 3 months after it was cleared).

    #8 3 months ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    Is there any "cure" if the clear hasn't cured yet

    No.
    The clear you talking about would be an automotive 2 part clear coat. Manufacturers say the cure time could be 30-90 days, but that's before you start using chemicals or sealants on them. In reality, you take your car in for collision repair, they fix the dent, then in a matter of a couple hours they prime, paint, and clear coat. Only a matter of minutes between the prime, paint, and clear coats. Could be a couple hours longer if they are doing two colors, but my point is that after the clearcoat is applied it dries (cures) to the touch in maybe 20 minutes. In 24 hours it can be buffed out with an electric buffer-polisher. It's that hard in 24 hours to be able to withstand the polishing machine. Not sure how to quantify it, but I suppose it does get harder as the days go on. But I'm guessing the clear coat has achieved >95% of its ultimate hardness in 24 hours. So you pick up your car a day or so after they have painted your car and you tear off down the freeway at 80 mph. That's how hard it is. Basically cured.

    If after 90 days you are leaving impressions in your clearcoat, then I'd say it didn't cure properly, and there is nothing you can apply to make it cure more. Will your playfield be protected against bouncing and swirling balls? Hmmmm. Not sure.

    The worse part, you can't remove the clear and start over unless you sand it off. Not sure how you do that without ruining your paint.

    #9 3 months ago

    When clamping are the depression due to compressing the wood or just in the clear itself? Clamping down hard on any wood can cause a dent or low spot.

    #10 3 months ago

    ^^^^^
    Clear does not make the plywood any harder. Just makes the surface able to be polished.

    #11 3 months ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    I'm mostly concerned about the impressions being left by clamps and the mechanics....

    Quoted from Boslaw:

    Again - don't really want to name the company in public yet until I get some more feedback.

    I have a CPR PF I let sit for around 3 months and I think every single item I placed on the PF and tightened down made an indentation. Of course I mostly used an electric screwdriver to tighten posts and dont baby them much.
    Rotisserie clamps made indents for sure also.

    #12 3 months ago

    I screwed up a clearcoat once by applying it too thick and not keeping it at proper curing temperature long enough. It behaves exactly as you are describing. I ultimately babied it with high (80-90 degree temperatures) for a couple weeks. It finally cured. I would use my nose and fingernail to test progress. Initially, it would really smell like fresh clear when the playfield was warmed, and I could dent it easily with my fingernail. Gradually, the smell decreased and my fingernail had a harder time leaving a mark until it finally stopped smelling and was hard.

    #13 3 months ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    Again - don't really want to name the company in public yet until I get some more feedback.
    Is there any "cure" if the clear hasn't cured yet (although it sounds like it should have cured by now given that I waited 3 months and received the playfield probably 3 months after it was cleared).

    Full sunshine exposition: many hours per day and many days in a row.

    It normally takes two months for a clearcoated car to have a very solid layer of clear. Car manufacturers speed up the process by baking the chassis.

    Yves

    #14 3 months ago
    Quoted from Arcane:

    Full sunshine exposition: many hours per day and many days in a row.
    It normally takes two months for a clearcoated car to have a very solid layer of clear. Car manufacturers speed up the process by baking the chassis.
    Yves

    This was exactly my thinking that led me to the solution I posted above. The difference here is that we’re talking about a piece of painted plywood rather than a metal and plastic car body. Keep an eye on the playfield as you warm it in the sun that it doesn’t get so hot that it warps or delaminates. I had the playfield rails gently screwed on to help keep it flat.

    #15 3 months ago

    Thanks all. The compression marks I'm seeing are in the clear only (not in the wood). I'm not screwing anything down with enough force to dent the wood. I just checked this morning and I can very easily put fingernail dents in the clear, which does not seem right after months of cure time. I'm going back to the vendor one more time to get his comment. Depending on what he says, I'll report back.

    IMG_7297 (resized).jpeg

    #16 3 months ago
    Quoted from PinballManiac40:

    Which company? Which game title?

    It's a Bride of Pinbot, from Germany (not Mirco).

    #17 3 months ago

    Well Davi, as I stated in my original post I was trying not to out the vendor in case you all told me that this was normal for a repro. I don't want to ruin any vendor's name if I'm just too much of a newbie to know what's normal.

    That being said, the vendor is telling me that this (fingernail denting) is normal. That is surprising to me because others on this forum are telling me different.

    He has offered to refund me if I return the playfield but that doesn't really do me any good because I've already sunk a ton of time and money into this machine (new decals, parts, etc.) and it's all wasted if I don't have a playfield to attach.

    So, I guess I'm either stuck with this playfield regardless of how badly it's going to dent, or I'm stuck with a beautiful cabinet and lots of new bling but a crappy old playfield.

    #18 3 months ago

    A playfield with multiple coats of auto clear takes at least 6 months to cure.

    #19 3 months ago

    My mirco WW playfield took about 6 months to harden up and stop out gassing. Does yours give off any odor? Maybe put it out in the sun for a few days.

    #20 3 months ago

    no odor coming from the playfield

    #21 3 months ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    Well Davi, as I stated in my original post I was trying not to out the vendor in case you all told me that this was normal for a repro. I don't want to ruin any vendor's name if I'm just too much of a newbie to know what's normal.
    That being said, the vendor is telling me that this (fingernail denting) is normal. That is surprising to me because others on this forum are telling me different.
    He has offered to refund me if I return the playfield but that doesn't really do me any good because I've already sunk a ton of time and money into this machine (new decals, parts, etc.) and it's all wasted if I don't have a playfield to attach.
    So, I guess I'm either stuck with this playfield regardless of how badly it's going to dent, or I'm stuck with a beautiful cabinet and lots of new bling but a crappy old playfield.

    If the vendor has a good customer care, there is no risk to mention the name. If the reputation is bad, doesn't matter.
    My suggestion is to contact other BoP playfield customers in the maker's thread. Hopefully they have experience about the behavior of the clearcoat after 3-6 months.

    #22 3 months ago

    Also, it has been 6 months (3 months after completion in his shop + 3 months in my house)

    #23 3 months ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    Also, it has been 6 months (3 months after completion in his shop + 3 months in my house)

    Same PF installed, no issues as you are describing.

    #24 3 months ago
    Quoted from Dallas_Pin:

    Same PF installed, no issues as you are describing.

    How long did you wait after receiving yours before you started populating the playfield?

    #25 3 months ago

    1) I did my own clear coat on one play field. It took almost a year to completely harden up to where I felt it was safe to proceed.

    2) Another CC I did, I placed the play field in the sun to cure. That helped for a way faster curing rate. However, I noticed that my inserts seemed like they were raising from the play field due too heat expansion so I stopped the sun cure. But by then, the play field was cured. It was a play field with a lot of black so it got real hot in the sun.

    3) If you are extremely careful, you might be able to use an industrial heat gun to apply some heat for a faster cure. Your hair drier will not supply enough heat to be worthwhile.

    4) Placing the play field in an old flat screen TV box and putting it in the sun might give you enough heat without direct sunlight.

    The other part of the cure problem is our demand for glass smooth multi-layered clear coats. A couple of coats of clear is all that is needed for superior game play. It may not look as pretty, but thinner and less coats are less likely to start chipping.

    #26 3 months ago
    Quoted from Dallas_Pin:

    Same PF installed, no issues as you are describing.

    Same here. I got on of the first repo PF's years back. Installed it that same weekend I got it. Took me about a month to complete the restoration. It dimpled just like most of the current PF's are doing but a fingernail wouldn't have caused any damage. The clamp damage I would see as normal as it's really not a great idea to clamp wood without some sort of media between it and the clamp at least.

    The only thing I had would be slight indentions from where post were installed if I screwed them in real tight. Does look like the clear is a bit soft on your game. Maybe contact one of the PF restorers/clearcoaters on this site and ask their opinion in PM. CaptainNeo is just one person that comes to mind.

    #27 3 months ago

    Two component low bake automotive series clearcoats, if baked according to the manufacturers datasheet, are considered fully cured after 72 hours. Some chemical reactions will continue after this, but they have essentially no effect on the paint properties. Probably after 6 hours you would not really notice that they are not cured. Most car manufacturers use one component clear coats on the sheet metal body, these are cured at a higher temperature than the two component systems and are “fully cured” even earlier after baking. There is no way that an auto manufacturer could allow longer durations before the clear is hard because the painted parts would be damaged during assembly. I’m not sure where some of these statements are coming that a paint requires months before being cured. If the clear is still soft after a few days then it was processed incorrectly. Possible reasons are wrong paint to hardener ratio, poor mixing, curing temperature too low, curing time too short, layer thickness too high, etc.

    Now I will say I have no idea what clearcoat products are used on playfields, how they are processed and how thick they are, but I would be surprised if, for instance, the furniture industry accepts significantly different clearcoat performance than automotive. From where I’m sitting, the scenario you described is unacceptable.

    #28 3 months ago

    Resolution- vendor has agreed to accept a return and swap with a new playfield. He insists that they are all the same, but several others here have said that they couldn't dent theirs with fingernails, so I'm hopeful that the one I got just had a problem.

    I hate to have to go through the removal, waiting, and repopulation again, but I don't think I could have asked for or expected better customer service from Buthamburg. The next one I receive will get baked in the summer sun before I restart.

    #29 3 months ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    vendor has agreed to accept a return and swap with a new playfield.

    Hella good customer service!! Great company and people for sure!

    #30 3 months ago
    Quoted from branlon8:

    Two component low bake automotive series clearcoats, if baked according to the manufacturers datasheet, are considered fully cured after 72 hours. Some chemical reactions will continue after this, but they have essentially no effect on the paint properties. Probably after 6 hours you would not really notice that they are not cured. Most car manufacturers use one component clear coats on the sheet metal body, these are cured at a higher temperature than the two component systems and are “fully cured” even earlier after baking. There is no way that an auto manufacturer could allow longer durations before the clear is hard because the painted parts would be damaged during assembly. I’m not sure where some of these statements are coming that a paint requires months before being cured. If the clear is still soft after a few days then it was processed incorrectly. Possible reasons are wrong paint to hardener ratio, poor mixing, curing temperature too low, curing time too short, layer thickness too high, etc.
    Now I will say I have no idea what clearcoat products are used on playfields, how they are processed and how thick they are, but I would be surprised if, for instance, the furniture industry accepts significantly different clearcoat performance than automotive. From where I’m sitting, the scenario you described is unacceptable.

    Playfields take longer because you can’t bake them like automotive parts. Painted plywood with glued in plastic inserts are waaaay more finicky and fragile.

    #31 3 months ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    Is there any "cure"

    Yes. Stop hoping reproduction playfields will be any good.

    #32 3 months ago
    Quoted from Dallas_Pin:

    Hella good customer service!! Great company and people for sure!

    Get your new playfield, send it to Ron Kruzman for re-clear. Done, no issues!

    #33 3 months ago
    Quoted from Jrotten:

    Get your new playfield, send it to Ron Kruzman for re-clear. Done, no issues!

    Too much work, time, & monies. eXpecially for a BOP which has got to have one of the smallest usable PFs ever?

    #34 3 months ago
    Quoted from Jrotten:

    Get your new playfield, send it to Ron Kruzman for re-clear. Done, no issues!

    Unrelated to this thread, but yes; he and I have some things in play.

    #35 3 months ago

    I guesss when one manufacturer says it's normal(Stern)
    Others can just jump on the bandwagon.
    I feel for you man, that's a bummer.

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