(Topic ID: 143963)

Poly vs. auto clear...


By Pinfactory2000

4 years ago



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  • 93 posts
  • 34 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Langless28
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 years ago

    I know auto clear is probably a better all around process for clear coating a playfield but for home use, what are the big benefits/drawbacks of 'just' using a poly...This is for a diamondplate PF.

    Thanks for the info.

    #2 4 years ago

    Pretender #1: Polyurethane

    Poly is what people think of when they think "clear protective finish".

    This "oil based" clear turns yellow as it ages, even if it claims non-yellowing formula.

    Some formulas dry fast, but don't actually get hard for months (even a month latter the "finger nail test" lets you leave a mark).

    After a few months of drying, it can be buffed to a medium shine.

    Because it's never get's very hard, ball trails and scratches quickly form.

    Vapors are very toxic.

    Do not use Oil Based Poly on a playfield!

    #3 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Pretender #1: Polyurethane
    Poly is what people think of when they think "clear protective finish".
    This "oil based" clear turns yellow as it ages, even if it claims non-yellowing formula.
    Some formulas dry fast, but don't actually get hard for months (even a month latter the "finger nail test" lets you leave a mark).
    After a few months of drying, it can be buffed to a medium shine.
    Because it's never get's very hard, ball trails and scratches quickly form.
    Vapors are very toxic.
    Do not use Oil Based Poly on a playfield!

    Good feedback. thanks

    Minwax Polycrylic seems to be a water based poly...Is that different than what you are talking about?

    #4 4 years ago

    I wouldnt use anything but a automotive clear. Might cost a bit more, and not a huge learning curve.

    #5 4 years ago

    I did an F-14 playfield a few years ago and did it with Varathane Diamond. It came out well and has held up but I don't think I'd go that route again.

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinfactory2000:

    Good feedback. thanks
    Minwax Polycrylic seems to be a water based poly...Is that different than what you are talking about?

    Water based poly is even worse than oil poly.

    Water based totally knocks down the playfield colors.

    Still turns yellow, but it stays softer and less glossy.

    It's super thin, so it takes 10 coats to equal the protection of a single coat of oil.

    Do not use Water Based Poly on a playfield!

    WaterBasedPoly.jpg

    #7 4 years ago
    Quoted from crlush:

    I wouldnt use anything but a automotive clear. Might cost a bit more, and not a huge learning curve.

    Poly can be put on in a small apartment with a brush. Auto clear requires a booth, respirator, gun, and compressor. Huge difference in startup cost.

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from dung:

    Poly can be put on in a small apartment with a brush.

    Eeeesh, with a brush????

    Still, it turns yellow, is soft, can't be fully polished out, and dulls the colors beneath it.

    Quoted from dung:

    Auto clear requires a booth, respirator, gun, and compressor. Huge difference in startup cost.

    Used Speedair compressor from Craigslist $100
    HF HVLP gun $10
    HF air hose $15
    Iso rated Respirator $28
    Tyvek suit $12
    100 nitrite gloves $7
    Roll of plastic to contain overspray or make booth $8

    #9 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Water based poly is even worse than oil poly.
    Water based totally knocks down the playfield colors.
    Still turns yellow, but it stays softer and less glossy.

    I've done a few water based poly (varathane, HVLP sprayed) and a after a four or five years, no yellowing and the colors look as good as before coating and still look as good. None of the machines have seen sun other than when being moved. I certainly agree, takes a lot of coats to get the desired results, and takes a very long time to fully cure/harden.

    Certainly auto clear is the better way to go, but based on what I know, that is more complicated and tricky to do for an amateur. By all accounts, that is pretty nasty stuff to work with.

    #10 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Eeeesh, with a brush????
    Still, it turns yellow, is soft, can't be fully polished out, and dulls the colors beneath it.

    Used Speedair compressor from Craigslist $100
    HF HVLP gun $10
    HF air hose $15
    Iso rated Respirator $28
    Tyvek suit $12
    100 nitrite gloves $7
    Roll of plastic to contain overspray or make booth $8

    I am not saying Poly is better in any way shape or form. Just that Auto is a larger investment to work with, You also need a place to do it which not everyone has.

    #11 4 years ago

    I started clearcoating playfields in 1981 before there was any talk about doing it. I was sitting on a boat-load of Bally blanks from Peach State Distributing. At first I used solvent-based polyurethane. The more coats you applied the yellow-er the white/light colors became. So I ruled that out. I was trying to find out what process Data East or Williams' Diamond Plate started using. I came to the conclusion that it was either Varathane or some automotive-based process. The beauty about clearcoating is that it hides all the flaws. It fills in all the cracks ('planking") and the touch-ups, etc. But when I finished the playfield looked as though someone poured water all over it. I thought to myself that pinball players or collectors would never accept this appearance. I surmised that everyone wanted it to look as close to original as possible. How wrong I was. If I were to do it again today I would definitely invest in the time, money and equipment to apply automotive clear. I wouldn't consider anything else.

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from rosh:

    Certainly auto clear is the better way to go, but based on what I know, that is more complicated and tricky to do for an amateur. By all accounts,

    Auto clear, aka 2PAC, is actually WAY easier than any other topcoat:

    1. In a few hours, it is totally cured. In 10 minutes you can apply a second coat and the whole playfield is done. The time you save vs. 10 coats of water based poly is enormous.

    2. All the cupped inserts or playfield dents are simply filled with an eyedropper. The cupped inserts are now reinforced by the 2PAC.

    3. The 2PAC is COMPLETELY CLEAR - there are 1x1" cubes of it at the dealer. Just try to make a 1x1" cube from water poly - it will be solid white.

    4. The 2PAC will not run down the playfield holes or slots when spraying the playfield flat on it's back - water poly runs like a duck's ass.

    5. There is nothing tricky about it, except that you have only 2 hours to empty your gun. Even if you forget and the gun is solid 2PAC, a new gun is only $9. The price of a disposable paint roller.

    6. Once you try 2PAC you will cringe every time you see your old posts defending water poly. No one ever goes back. Ever.

    #13 4 years ago
    Quoted from dung:

    You also need a place to do it which not everyone has.

    If my Triton V10 blew up in my van, and I did not have a place to pull the engine, would I take it apart piece by piece for 25 hours in my driveway?

    Would I then rebuild it in place with leaves falling, dust blowing, and the sprinkle of rain?

    Would I then go online and tell other people that they could rebuild their $5,000 engine in their dusty driveway?

    Of course not.

    I'd either find a friend with a chainfall/cherry picker and pull it; or I would pay a local garage to pull it.

    Just because I can't do it right at my house, does not mean that I should waste time doing it wrong and inferior .

    -

    #14 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Once you try 2PAC you will cringe every time you see your old posts defending water poly. No one ever goes back. Ever.

    I will give it serous consideration the next time I need to do a playfield. However, doubt I would "cringe" in the future when reading back, I'm not defending anything, per se, just sharing my experiences But I would happily say "I used to think . . . and now I . . ."

    btw, googling 2PAC, gives very different results then I expected.

    What are you thoughts on the these newer 2PAC spray cans for those without compressor/sprayers/etc?

    http://www.repaintsupply.com/spraymax-3680061-2k-urethane-clear-coat-aerosol-p3685.html

    #15 4 years ago
    Quoted from rosh:

    btw, googling 2PAC, gives very different results then I expected.

    The "thug" who attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied ballet dancing?

    Word.

    2pac.jpg

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from rosh:

    What are you thoughts on the these newer 2PAC spray cans for those without compressor/sprayers/etc?

    You want clear you can drip from an eyedropper to fill cupped inserts and the valley that surrounds some inserts.

    You still need a compressor to blow out all the holes and slots (@ $6 a can, canned air adds up fast).

    And you need a compressor to power the wet sander (do not electrocute yourself with a 110v sander).

    And @ $20 a can for the clear (that hardens if you don't use it all at once), you are only a few cans away from just buying a used compressor. Like this one for $60: chicago.craigslist.org link

    -4
    #17 4 years ago

    I've had good results with polys. When I'm resuscitating a beater the type of clear I lay down hardly matters if it eventually tints yellow. I also use...GASP!...a foam brush for application. When I'm refurbing a cheap game, there's absolutely no rational for using superior auto clear.

    IMO

    #18 4 years ago
    Quoted from cody_chunn:

    I've had good results with polys. When I'm resuscitating a beater the type of clear I lay down hardly matters if it eventually tints yellow. I also use...GASP!...a foam brush for application. When I'm refurbing a cheap game, there's absolutely no rational for using superior auto clear.
    IMO

    That does not make any sense.

    Why would you knowingly ruin that game for future generations????

    #19 4 years ago

    Because it's not ruined?

    #20 4 years ago

    I'm shopping out a Shadow. The clearcoat is intact, but getting thin. Normally I'd just wax it and play it, but I'm trying something new. I'm adding 3 layers of Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze, each layer 24 hours apart to let the previous layer cure. It's acrylic, and doesn't seem to affect the glossiness one way or the other. I'll still use Blitz wax as a final layer.

    I know Klasse HGSG isn't an option for sealing new paint, but it feels like the right thing to do for shoring up a weak existing clearcoat.

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from cody_chunn:

    Because it's not ruined?

    If you put on a coating that is going to turn amber, you have ruined the game.

    #22 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    If you put on a coating that is going to turn amber, you have ruined the game.

    Maybe (well, obviously) to you it does. However, it has no effect on a game's entertainment value. It will play better than the old, crack-riddled surface, will have better cosmetic appeal for play, and the old ink and touchups won't get chewed off immediately.

    Keep in mind these are beaters that have substantial wear on the playfield. Games under $1000...some well under. It simply is not fiscally sound to spend that much money on. Higher end games or new repro fields? Yes, I can see going with the good stuff.

    If you think going from this:

    https://img-f.pinside.com/201411/2011160/311313-i.jpg

    to this

    https://img-f.pinside.com/201411/2011160/311320-i.jpg

    is ruining this game because the clear may tint in the future, you are suffering from delusions. That game has been brought back from the brink of being parted out and is now cosmetically appealing for play. It will remain so with a tinted playfield. And someone got a nice game that wasn't overly expensive.

    That's a pin-win, pal.

    #23 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    If you put on a coating that is going to turn amber, you have ruined the game.

    Also, pre-diamond plate games were coated with poly, no? A lot of these older games are already amber. So, personally I don't think it is ruining the game to match this finish.

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from solarvalue:

    Also, pre-diamond plate games were coated with poly, no? A lot of these older games are already amber. So, personally I don't think it is ruining the game to match this finish.

    Lacquer I believe

    #25 4 years ago
    Quoted from metahugh:

    Lacquer I believe

    What is "lacquer" exactly?

    #26 4 years ago

    Nice restoration Cody, now buy yourself a better camera.

    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from solarvalue:

    Also, pre-diamond plate games were coated with poly, no?

    no

    #28 4 years ago

    If you want professional results 2PAC is the only way to go in my opinion

    #29 4 years ago
    Quoted from jrobinso99:

    If you want professional results 2PAC is the only way to go in my opinion

    And I agree with that. However, I'm a hobbyist, not a professional "restorationist". If I were going to clear a more valuable machine, sure, 2PAC might be the choice. But in NO WAY does a poly *ruin* a player quality game. That is just straight up absurd, irrational hyperbole. It makes the colors richer by filling in all the surface fissures, making them invisible (most noticeable with black and dark colors) like any clear will; it protects the remaining original inks and the touchup work done; it is easily applied with no need for respiration protection; it cleans up with water; it looks great. Not only does it NOT ruin a game, it makes it look and play better. That is a VAST improvement in cosmetic appeal and playability of a beater game.

    And I'm getting flack for that? WTH?

    #30 4 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    Nice restoration Cody, now buy yourself a better camera.

    Thanks, but no can do. Any extra money goes right into pinball parts. I already have a camera, even if it is an old POS.

    #31 4 years ago
    Quoted from cody_chunn:

    And someone got a nice game that wasn't overly expensive.

    A ruined game.

    Once they learn more about pins, I'm sure they will be delighted, lol.
    -

    You are forever stuck defending the reasons you have ruined those games because the people you sold them to will be pissed.

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    A ruined game.
    Once they learn more about pins, I'm sure they will be delighted, lol.
    -
    Call the Louvre and see if they want you to fill in all the cracks on the Mona Lisa with some poly that will turn yellow.

    Whatever man, regardless of your opinion, the game is not ruined. It was ruined by 30 years of play. After the retouch and clear, it is spared being parted out and will play great. THAT'S HARDLY RUINED. THAT IS RESCUED. How can you not get that?

    -1
    #33 4 years ago

    You are forever stuck defending the reasons you have ruined those games because the people you sold them to will be pissed.

    #34 4 years ago

    Honestly, it's better to just say "Yeah, I boogered some games in the past with crappy repairs" than it is to try and defend crappy repairs.

    #35 4 years ago

    The paint touch-ups on that HG were nicely done, Cody.

    So Vid, what's the best way to seal new paint without going the full 2PAC route? Is it all or nothing? Asking for a friend.

    Thinking about this further, it seems the best "do no harm" approach is to install a playfield protector. That protects the paint, and you don't have to worry about future generations.

    #36 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Just because I can't do it right at my house, does not mean that I should waste time doing it wrong and inferior .

    Words to live by......

    #37 4 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    The paint touch-ups on that HG were nicely done, Cody.

    Thanks swampfire.

    Quoted from vid1900:

    Honestly, it's better to just say "Yeah, I boogered some games in the past with crappy repairs" than it is to try and defend crappy repairs.

    You still don't get it. That field was ruined when I got it. My retouch and clear made it cosmetically (and mechanically) appealing for play. And it is till being played by the owner. There is nothing to defend. I took a playfield headed for the landfill and made it a nice casual player's game. Your clear coat snobbery is baffling.

    #38 4 years ago

    Poly will yellow over time, its a fact. It will yellow very quickly if its exposed to sunlight. 2 part automotive clear is the only "right" way to do it. Anything less is a shortcut.
    If you do not have the place or equipment to do this type of work you would be well ahead of the game to pay someone else to do it. I have a black knight that someone cleared that looks like crap. If I had to guess they used a foam roller because you can see those tiny air bubbles that you tend to get from them rollers. Its a real shame because it was otherwise a decent playfield. Now its going to take hours of time to strip the old finish off and prep it correctly for some real clear.
    There are different ways to do many things. In some cases one may be just as good as the other. When it comes to clear coating a playfield there just is no substitute for a 2 part auto clear. Sure you can get decent results with poly but why take the risk of it turning yellow and the fact that it will not hold up to wear as well. The amount of work is the same for both products. If I take all the time to prep the playfield it only makes sense to use what will give the best results and protection.

    #39 4 years ago
    Quoted from Riptor:

    Poly will yellow over time, its a fact. It will yellow very quickly if its exposed to sunlight. 2 part automotive clear is the only "right" way to do it. Anything less is a shortcut.
    If you do not have the place or equipment to do this type of work you would be well ahead of the game to pay someone else to do it. I have a black knight that someone cleared that looks like crap. If I had to guess they used a foam roller because you can see those tiny air bubbles that you tend to get from them rollers. Its a real shame because it was otherwise a decent playfield. Now its going to take hours of time to strip the old finish off and prep it correctly for some real clear.
    There are different ways to do many things. In some cases one may be just as good as the other. When it comes to clear coating a playfield there just is no substitute for a 2 part auto clear. Sure you can get decent results with poly but why take the risk of it turning yellow and the fact that it will not hold up to wear as well. The amount of work is the same for both products. If I take all the time to prep the playfield it only makes sense to use what will give the best results and protection.

    Sometimes it doesn't make sense to spend $850+ on a playfield restore when the game is only worth that much to begin with. With a trashed game I think poly is fine, otherwise I would use auto clear 100%. I don't think Cody destroyed that HG, not at all.

    Not to mention there are many bad playfield restorers out there. It's hard to know who willl do a good job except for the true professionals.

    I am having flashbacks of the RGP days

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from cody_chunn:

    That field was ruined when I got it.

    No, that playfield was damaged when you got it.

    Now it's ruined.

    -

    True story:

    There was a new guy in our Mustang club that inherited a baby blue fastback 67 Stang. Original paint, 30K miles, original exhaust, his grandma's car.

    Although there were a few small scratches, and a little spot of rust on one door, we were all impressed by this vehicle.

    Sure enough, one day he drives it onto the field painted cop-stop-red. Fuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkk we all gasped.

    Vid: Dude why????
    Mustang Ruiner: You know, it had scratches....and it was starting to rust out.....
    Vid: That's not even a Ford color.
    Mustang Ruiner: I know, I had to choose a color that my buddy could get from his work.
    Vid: You probably just dropped the value of your car about $20,000
    Mustang Ruiner: C'mon. You know I got this thing for free, right?

    You are that guy.

    #41 4 years ago

    There are a lot of strong opinions in this thread.

    Isn't the Bally/Williams "Diamond Plate" clear coat Varathane - which is a water based polyurethane?
    What does Stern currently use? Isn't it still the same clear coat that B/W used? It sure doesn't seem like it's auto clear.

    #42 4 years ago
    Quoted from T7:

    Isn't the Bally/Williams "Diamond Plate" clear coat Varathane - which is a water based polyurethane?

    No.

    It was an adaptation of DuPont's Imron clear used on trucks.

    #43 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    You are that guy.

    LOL - If pinball machines are collectibles like Ford Mustangs - what does that mean for people modding games, replacing screen printed art with decals, moving to LEDs, etc. and the entire MMr vs Original debate?

    Obviously an "Original MM" is (or will be) worth the most by a large margin (just like this Mustang example) - if people actually understand what a collectible is. The question is - do people view pinball machines as TRUE collectibles, or do they just want a nice game to play?

    #44 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    No.
    It was an adaptation of DuPont's Imron

    There were many, many posts for years on RGP claiming that DiamondPlate was Varathane. So you're saying that everybody was wrong for all those years? I don't know, I'm just saying that's what the consensus was for like 15 years.

    #45 4 years ago
    Quoted from T7:

    If pinball machines are collectibles like Ford Mustangs - what does that mean for people modding games, replacing screen printed art with decals, moving to LEDs, etc.

    Just like with cars, REVERSIBLE mods are begrudgingly accepted.

    But there is a special place in hell for people who take 30+ year old cars and cut holes in hoods for giant scoops, cut holes doors for speakers, bolt crazy fins on the trunks, repaint them at home with strange colors , and cut big display stereo heads into the dash.

    #46 4 years ago
    Quoted from T7:

    There were many, many posts for years on RGP claiming that DiamondPlate was Varathane. So you're saying that everybody was wrong for all those years? I don't know, I'm just saying that's what the consensus was for like 15 years.

    Was-not-Varathane.

    #47 4 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    So Vid, what's the best way to seal new paint without going the full 2PAC route? Is it all or nothing? Asking for a friend.

    If you need to protect a playfield repaint on a game and it's not worth $20 of 2PAC, then just use a patch of Mylar.

    Wax over the section that is to receive the Mylar, so the Mylar can be easily removed latter.

    This repair is REVERSIBLE, so latter generations can remove the Mylar and do a proper restore.

    You can see TNT Amusements do these kind of repairs in their videos all the time.

    Another good tip is to run the Mylar all the way to another feature on the playfield. Make the seam run along a color change, or under a plastic. Makes it hard to see the seam once the glass is installed.

    -2
    #48 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    No, that playfield was damaged when you got it.
    Now it's ruined.
    -
    True story:
    There was a new guy in our Mustang club that inherited a baby blue fastback 67 Stang. Original paint, 30K miles, original exhaust, his grandma's car.
    Although there were a few small scratches, and a little spot of rust on one door, we were all impressed by this vehicle.
    Sure enough, one day he drives it onto the field painted cop-stop-red. Fuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkk we all gasped.
    Vid: Dude why????
    Mustang Ruiner: You know, it had scratches....and it was starting to rust out.....
    Vid: That's not even a Ford color.
    Mustang Ruiner: I know, I had to choose a color that my buddy could get from his work.
    Vid: You probably just dropped the value of your car about $20,000
    Mustang Ruiner: C'mon. You know I got this thing for free, right?
    You are that guy.

    That is not even a valid analogy.

    11
    #49 4 years ago

    24christ-span-articleLarge-v3.jpg

    #50 4 years ago

    Hey Vid - can you tell us what you think about the crystal clear epoxy? http://eastcoastresin.com/

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