I recently completed my very first playfield "PF" swap. It was a 1986 Williams High Speed. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/high-speed-restoration.
During my PF swap, I was fortunate enough to make *many* mistakes to learn from. In order to improve my experience for the next PF swap, I thought it would be prudent to document the mishaps, and recommend better courses of action by designing a better plan. This guide is that plan. To prepare for my first PF swap, I got a lot of good coaching from some very experienced people. To honor their time investment, I'd like to pass along many of their good ideas. I'm hoping to inspire a few people who are thinking about doing their first swap to actually take that next step. While there are many Pinsiders who have done many of these PF swaps who could write up a more comprehensive guide, I have never found one, and so I decided to write a complete guide to motivate and support someone doing their first swap. I hope that seeing a complete plan is helpful enough to motivate people who are "on the fence" to finally get started. For people who have already put a plan together for their first swap, they may get a few new ideas, or get good validation for their current plan.
For those of you who have done many PF swaps and have pointers to add, feel FREE to add them in the discussion below, and I'll certainly add them back into the fold as I go. If you know of a great resource for PF swaps, please add those references as well.
It could not have been possible for me to write this guide were it not for DOZENS of friendly Pinsiders who donated their time and patience in helping me complete my first successful swap. Thanks again!
One assumption I will make with this guide is that you've already shopped a few pins, and you are looking to step up to the next level. This means I am aiming more for a "general plan" level of detail. This is not a "Here are the 100 skills you need to properly shop a pin" type of guide. For example, I won't be going into every detail on how to clean up a faulty lamp socket or decide to replace it. That information would belong best in a shop guide, and there are dozens of great "shop job" and "restoration" threads on Pinside with tips on how to overcome the 100 small problems to making a game look and play great. This guide will stand on top of those skills and try to be a framework for the complete path. I keep a shop guide here, and try to complete most of this work pre-playfield swap: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/shop-job-master-checklist
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