(Topic ID: 259228)

Playfield Protector downsides?


By Patrunkenphat7

80 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 36 posts
  • 25 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 79 days ago by Mr_Tantrum
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 80 days ago

    Hello Pinside,

    I recently played a machine on location with a playfield protector. It was my first time playing a game with one of these installed. The experience was quite positive - the game was probably faster than it would have been otherwise, but the playfield looked great and clear. To be fair I have no idea how recently they installed the protector.

    I’m making this post because prior to playing this game I’ve read a lot of negativity on Pinside regarding playfield protectors. People say stuff like “stop babying the game, just play it.” But if all protectors look and play like the one I saw I’m struggling to see the downsides other than the cost and installation. Now I’m considering getting a couple of these myself.

    Am I missing something with the downsides of playfield protectors? Or is it more of the fact that pinball purists / old school players hate the idea of being OCD about playfield wear because that’s “just part of pinball?”

    #2 80 days ago

    If you played it and like it, and think your machines need them then do it.

    #3 80 days ago

    I bought a Tron with one and the skill shot is almost impossible to make because the cliffy raises it up and ball rolls away from scoop. Part of it may be poor installation

    Also the spinning rubber disk leave black marks all over it that are hard to clean off.

    #4 80 days ago
    Quoted from RustyLizard:

    I bought a Tron with one and the skill shot is almost impossible to make because the cliffy raises it up and ball rolls away from scoop. Part of it may be poor installation
    Also the spinning rubber disk leave black marks all over it that are hard to clean off.

    This is the sort of info I was looking for, thank you!

    -1
    #6 80 days ago

    Thanks for the link. Man, so many aggressive comments in that discussion that aren’t helpful... Half the people arguing against them use a “grandma covering couch in plastic” analogy which is really freaking weird to me. I wonder if these people use protectors on their iPhone screens - that seems to be a much more reasonable comparison than grandma’s couch.

    Regardless, I’ve at least learned that this is a divisive issue in the community.

    #7 80 days ago

    I've mentioned this in other threads, and at the risk of being called nit-picky....I have one on my Old Chicago, which has no music/speech etc since it's an EM. I was struck by how quiet it makes the game because you can't hear the ball rolling around on the playfield. You launch the ball and as soon as it gets to the top of the shooter lane, nothing, which is just odd to me. It looks nice, and it's protecting the game, but it kinda takes something away just a tiny bit. As for game play, yes it plays fast, probably about the same as if I had a few good coats of wax on it. On some games, you may need to adjust rollover switches since you're effectively making the playfield a little taller.

    On a newer game, you can't hear the ball roll around anyways, so.......no biggee.

    One big plus, if it's going on an older game w sunken inserts or other playfield irregularities where fixing it would be a huge problem, boom, problem solved.

    One drawback to me was the price. l bought myself a sheet of plastic .030 thick, made myself a paper template, traced it onto the plastic and made my own protector for a Night Rider with badly sunken inserts. The plastic was 8' x 4', enough for 4 protectors and cost 30 bucks. Somewhere there's a time lapse Youtube vid of a guy doing it, I can't take credit for it.

    #8 80 days ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    One drawback to me was the price. l bought myself a sheet of plastic .030 thick, made myself a paper template, traced it onto the plastic and made my own protector for a Night Rider with badly sunken inserts. The plastic was 8' x 4', enough for 4 protectors and cost 30 bucks. Somewhere there's a time lapse Youtube vid of a guy doing it, I can't take credit for it.

    How did you cut it ? sharp knife?

    I have a store bought protector on my Diner. I have no complaints.

    #9 80 days ago

    PLayfield projectors?

    As far as I can tell zero downsides.

    #10 80 days ago

    i have one of these and also a brand new WK playfield for my Skyjump. I haven't installed neither yet and have been debating if I should use the protector when I get around to installing the PF. But I have heard complaints about coil dust and stuff getting under the PF Protector and being hard to remove once it does. Also, ive been worried that it would change the feel of the game too much, but that doesn't seem to be a issue with most people.

    My games dont even come close to the amount of plays it would take to put visible wear on a PF so I may just skip it..

    #11 80 days ago
    Quoted from Patrunkenphat7:

    I wonder if these people use protectors on their iPhone screens - that seems to be a much more reasonable comparison than grandma’s couch.

    It actually isn't. In fact It would be hard to find an anology worse than a cell p...er sorry, iPhongument.

    #12 80 days ago
    Quoted from branlon8:

    How did you cut it ? sharp knife?
    I have a store bought protector on my Diner. I have no complaints.

    Yep, fresh blade on a razor knife, and some good scissors. For the larger holes or radiuses where you want a nice clean edge, like at the slingshots, a drill with a Forstner bit. The other holes, a regular drill bit. You could use regular bits for the whole thing really - it's only plastic, easy to sand any edges smooth.

    #13 80 days ago
    Quoted from RustyLizard:

    I bought a Tron with one and the skill shot is almost impossible to make because the cliffy raises it up and ball rolls away from scoop. Part of it may be poor installation
    Also the spinning rubber disk leave black marks all over it that are hard to clean off.

    There is another scoop protector for Tron with a "track" to allow for the skill shot.

    https://www.pinballlife.com/tron-cliffy-scoop-protector.html

    Also, I have a Guardians that the previous owner installed a Playfield protector from day 1 and it's great. Playfield is pristine and visually you don't notice it. The game plays a little differently, but more like "freshly waxed" than anything else.

    If you never play the pin without one, you probably won't notice a difference. You adjust like any play.

    Last night in league I played Twilight Zone, Space Shuttle, Creature, Theatre and Meteor. None have protectors. All all play different.

    I will say I wouldn't have installed one in the first place though.

    #14 80 days ago

    I have installed a few of these now, and I have yet to find a downside to them.
    I have had to alter a few spots, but not many.

    #15 80 days ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    It actually isn't. In fact It would be hard to find an anology worse than a cell p...er sorry, iPhongument.

    So just to confirm - you are saying that comparing pinball playfield protectors to grandma covering her furniture in plastic is a better comparison than a screen protector on a phone?

    I’ve seen the grandma furniture comment at least a dozen times, and it is bizarre...

    #16 80 days ago
    Quoted from Patrunkenphat7:

    So just to confirm - you are saying that comparing pinball playfield protectors to grandma covering her furniture in plastic is a better comparison than a screen protector on a phone?

    The way I see it they are both horrible comparisons, but at least grandmas furniture is humorous so I give it the nod.

    #17 80 days ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    The way I see it they are both horrible comparisons, but at least grandmas furniture is humorous so I give it the nod.

    Lol ok that’s fair.

    #18 80 days ago

    I'm sure stern doesn't approve of playfield protectors. It would mean their playfields would actually hold up...

    #19 80 days ago
    Quoted from Droptargets:

    I'm sure stern doesn't approve of playfield protectors. It would mean their playfields would actually hold up...

    Now we just need node board protectors and these Spike games can last

    #20 79 days ago
    Quoted from Patrunkenphat7:

    Hello Pinside,
    I recently played a machine on location with a playfield protector. It was my first time playing a game with one of these installed. The experience was quite positive - the game was probably faster than it would have been otherwise, but the playfield looked great and clear. To be fair I have no idea how recently they installed the protector.
    I’m making this post because prior to playing this game I’ve read a lot of negativity on Pinside regarding playfield protectors. People say stuff like “stop babying the game, just play it.” But if all protectors look and play like the one I saw I’m struggling to see the downsides other than the cost and installation. Now I’m considering getting a couple of these myself.
    Am I missing something with the downsides of playfield protectors? Or is it more of the fact that pinball purists / old school players hate the idea of being OCD about playfield wear because that’s “just part of pinball?”

    The negativity on Pinside is something you can do nothing about. Look for genuine Pinsiders and there are plenty. We have been fitting playfield protectors on every game since early 2016.

    Negatives:

    You have to pull your game apart to fit the protector. Old game you have to clean as much coil dust out of the game as you can, takes a fair bit of time. Take plenty of photos and make sure you put the game back together correctly, most people do not. Use a little bit of Naptha to clean the playfield (old game or new game) and the bottom of the playfield protector. This helps with any residual wax or polish on the playfield.

    You have to re adjust some of the mechs (drop targets mostly) and switches to make sure they sit where they are supposed to, otherwise the ball could hop or not operate the mech or switch properly.

    Sometimes the protector sticks to the playfield giving you the impression there is moisture under the protector. The is no moisture, this mainly happens on new playfields as they are so smooth and so is the protector. It is just a vacuum holding the protector down. Sometimes this causes the protector to look like it is not installed properly, it may lift in other areas. Easy fix, just lift the protector with your fingers and let it lay back down. Some machines do this more than others.

    The protector does not protect against pooling and chipping of the pooling.

    If you do not like doing regular maintenance, do not put one in. I would not put a protector on a sited game.

    While you are at it, put some shooter lane Cliffys in.

    There are plenty of opinions on Pinside. The only one that counts for you is yours.

    #21 79 days ago
    Quoted from pinballaddicted:

    The negativity on Pinside is something you can do nothing about. Look for genuine Pinsiders and there are plenty. We have been fitting playfield protectors on every game since early 2016.
    Negatives:
    You have to pull your game apart to fit the protector. Old game you have to clean as much coil dust out of the game as you can, takes a fair bit of time. Take plenty of photos and make sure you put the game back together correctly, most people do not. Use a little bit of Naptha to clean the playfield (old game or new game) and the bottom of the playfield protector. This helps with any residual wax or polish on the playfield.
    You have to re adjust some of the mechs (drop targets mostly) and switches to make sure they sit where they are supposed to, otherwise the ball could hop or not operate the mech or switch properly.
    Sometimes the protector sticks to the playfield giving you the impression there is moisture under the protector. The is no moisture, this mainly happens on new playfields as they are so smooth and so is the protector. It is just a vacuum holding the protector down. Sometimes this causes the protector to look like it is not installed properly, it may lift in other areas. Easy fix, just lift the protector with your fingers and let it lay back down. Some machines do this more than others.
    The protector does not protect against pooling and chipping of the pooling.
    If you do not like doing regular maintenance, do not put one in. I would not put a protector on a sited game.
    While you are at it, put some shooter lane Cliffys in.
    There are plenty of opinions on Pinside. The only one that counts for you is yours.

    This is fantastic information, thank you!

    Could you please explain the additional maintenance you recommend after installation that is above and beyond typical maintenance? Will I regularly need to remove the protector to clean underneath, and if so, do you have any idea how often I should do this (in terms of number of games)? Thanks again.

    #22 79 days ago

    I have one coming in for my T2 that has a really nice playfield but some of the inserts are slightly raised. I am hesitant to try and level them as they are not really bad, but I am afraid the paint will start to chip on them. I plan on do it by a real good cleaning on the playfield before installing the protector.

    #23 79 days ago
    Quoted from Patrunkenphat7:

    This is fantastic information, thank you!
    Could you please explain the additional maintenance you recommend after installation that is above and beyond typical maintenance? Will I regularly need to remove the protector to clean underneath, and if so, do you have any idea how often I should do this (in terms of number of games)? Thanks again.

    Pleasure to provide the info. That is what Pinside is all about, helping each other. Please remember we are very fussy and like to keep our games looking and playing as new as possible. I can only explain what we do, and things we have tried. Everybody is different and you may find better ways of doing things. We have most of our games (16) set up at 7 degree pitch, 3 balls, out lanes all the way open. We have fitted approx. 30 protectors over the last few years and are happiest with the ones from playfieldprotectors.com.

    We clean and service all our games approx. every 300 plays. Some of the shorter ball time games we do at 350 games and the longer playing ones 250. The only thing extra we do each time is vacuum inside the cabinet, top of coinbox, carefully around the flipper shafts and bottom of the playfield and the top of the playfield around slings, pop bumpers etc etc. Then check to make sure the protector is flat around the entire playfield. Takes an extra 10 minutes each service. That is it, easy as. We then clean with Novus no1 as you would do a normal playfield. If the scratches start annoying you, you can polish them all out with Novus No2 (put a little bit on a rag and rub away), beware, this makes the game play like lightening.

    We took one protector off an ASLE @ 3000 plays just because I wanted to see what was underneath and all the rumblings on Pinside. Playfield still looked the same as the day we got the machine, brand new! Game was 2 1/2 years old. Not a mark or scratch on it. We have never removed any other protector from any machine. Not one complaint selling the machines either, in fact buyers love that the protector has been fitted from new. Never had a customer ask us to take one off either.

    The playfield protector does not completely protect all games from dimpling. Some games are bad for dimpling and some are not. GBLE is a good example, bucket loads of air balls. Our GBLE playfield has some small dimples under the protector in the usual 2 spots in between the stand ups and the cross over ramp. The balls hits the stand ups and bounces on to the ramp then falls on to the playfield. I think Stranger Things is going to be similar, with all the air balls bouncing off the flower thingy.

    Good Luck!

    #24 79 days ago

    I like playfield protectors as a product. One my Mousin' Around though the ball encountering the protector in the shooter lane sometimes make the ball do a tiny jump and it gets hung up at the gate, not proceeding around to the upper rollovers. I've tried trimming it back a bit, but still don't have it perfect.

    OTOH I love how the protectors change the gameplay on any machine with insert cupping!

    #25 79 days ago

    For DIY there is thinner material available for very cheap. Order a few sheets at a time and they come shipped flat instead of rolled. I do not recommend a knife and especially not a drill for DIY. For long cuts, use a good set of scissors. For holes and other cuts use a punch set and high quality wood chisel set. Line it up, use a decent backing (piece of metal or plastic cutting board) and whack with a hammer and the cut is nice and neat. I've made a few protectors that look like they were cut by laser.

    amazon.com link »

    amazon.com link »

    amazon.com link »

    I basically only use them on old games with cupped inserts. This is the magic fix for cupped inserts!

    #26 79 days ago

    No downside on a nib Stern. Might protect from huge craters after 200 plays.

    #27 79 days ago

    I’ve seen playfield protectors on location that trapped a ton of dirt underneath. Sounds like a nightmare to deal with. Might not be an issue in a home environment though.

    #28 79 days ago

    Love mine on my No Good Gofers. No issues even with the height difference of the spinning disc.

    #29 79 days ago

    Not a newer machine but just tossing it out there. I took a Captain Fantastic in on trade that was restored with a playfield protector on it. Looked great and the game played very well. Sold the machine the following week to someone who purchased it for their 1st machine. After three week one of the pop bumpers locked on and fried the pop coil. He changed the coil and it happen again. Being he is 200 miles away I tried to guide him thru checking the pop switch and the relay for that pop bumper. He was intimidated with trying so I had someone do a service call. Turns out the plastic playfield protector somehow caught the pop skirt in the down position causing the pop to stay locked on. I never installed one so I not sure why it happened. Other wise I like the look of it and the machine played very well.

    #30 79 days ago

    They are ugly and play like shit. I’d rather sit on grandmas couch bareback than wrap it up and save it for someone else to wear out.

    #31 79 days ago

    #grandmascouch #elvirascouch

    #32 79 days ago

    I’ve installed several now, the only negative I have found is with the use of cliffys. If you feel the need to use a cliffy with the protector then use a brand new razor blade and cut the protector so it does not sit on the cliffy. On some games for me cliffys impact the play for me, for example on my data east JP the scoop became a bit awkward but now with the protector it has given it a level feel and improved shot since there is no more lip due to cliffy. To me these are a no brainer upgrade, especially for routed games.

    #33 79 days ago

    For like a cliffy around a scoop do you just cut the protector back so it mates right up to the cliffy? Or just dont use the cliffy?

    #34 79 days ago
    Quoted from slghokie:

    For like a cliffy around a scoop do you just cut the protector back so it mates right up to the cliffy? Or just dont use the cliffy?I cut it so there is a very small gap between the protector and cliffy. Before either are installed I use the cliffy as a stencil

    #35 79 days ago

    Tried one out on paragon. Stripped the playfield and it would not line up. Won’t be buying anymore.

    #36 79 days ago

    For me, a full playfield protector is like the clear plastic on my grandma's couch. What is the purpose - I guess to add longevity but along the way you have to endure it. For me, I'd rather equate to how most people view classic cars - they buy them to enjoy their original beauty and design, and drive them as original as possible with a grin on their face the whole time. Sure, over time things will wear and possibly damage, but then you always have the rewarding experience of repair and restoration.

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