Conglomerated Sling Post Remediation Efforts
Basically I am trying to combine all of the causes and remediation (bandaids) for the sling post playfield cracking issues. Nothing here should be considered an absolute suggestion nor a fix, we are simply trying to mitigate issues as best as possible until the manufacturer takes a stance.
***** The Situation *****
It appears as though the plastic sling posts that JJP used in a subset of POTC machines, across all models, had a sharp lip on the bottom which, possibly combined with an over tightening of the metal threaded standoff post caused the sharp edge of the plastic post to dig in to the clear coat and playfield causing ripples and eventual cracking.
JJP Sharp Lip On Sling Post
Sharp Lip Compared with Normal
This issue is most prominent on the sling posts, possibly due to the extra tension that the posts were screwed down with (users reporting these hard to unscrew) or possibly due to the abrupt motion the sling coils cause through normal operation. This motion, and possibly the ball hitting the posts or rubber, may cause the sling posts to move which could contribute to the slicing/cracking of the playfield.
This issue could extend to other similar, narrow plastic posts on the playfield and even metal or larger plastic star posts. While these other posts may not have a sharp edge the clear coat on the playfield seems soften or may be more prone to rippling and bunching around tightened down posts.
Other Posts In Question
Large Star Post Already Used In Game Puckering
Age of game, number of plays and model (SE, LE, CE) does not seem to matter. The issue has been seen across a variety of ages and models and even newer games with the manufacturer installed washers have started to see some issues (although with less instances and severity).
****** Manufacturing Changes? ******
Sometime during the manufacturing process of the POTC machines JJP apparently realized the issue (or due to being reported by pinside users) and made a series of changes to how these posts were installed. At some point the posts were either changed or fixed to not have the sharp lip on the bottom. As well, at some point, a combination of different washers were used on the bottom of the posts. Some users report narrow clear washers, some report larger metal washers, some report washers on 2 of the 3 posts. There does not seem to be any consistency except that this change was implemented somewhere near the middle of production. If you do have washers you are less likely to have issues with indentations, cracking and flaking of the playfield. Issues may appear later or be less severe but that does not mean you should ignore this situation.
JJP Installed Large Metal Washers on a CE
JJP Installed Narrow Clear Washer
****** Do I Need To Worry? ******
Long and short, yes. It seems like the playfields are susceptible to damage from pressure of items on the playfield. Even users who have put additional support under the posts have reported indentations from those support items after days of installation. Even if your playfield shows no signs of issue you should strongly consider some sort of remediation effort to protect your playfield.
****** What is JJP Doing About This? ******
Nothing, as far as we know. Several users have emailed or called to discuss the issue, sent images of their games and so far all responses have been of the "we are looking in to it" or "we'll get back to you" nature. In fact, one user reported this to Jack himself over 3 months ago and got, more or less, a non-response. If you haven't yet reported this issue you might consider emailing images of your playfield to Frank (Technical Support) at email@example.com
****** What Should I Do? ******
A combined effort of pinsiders has resulted in a few distinct and possibly beneficial changes that may preserve your playfield. These are NOT fixes, merely ways we have all shared to help preserve what we have as best we can until a resolution from JJP is had.
1. Check your sling posts. Unscrew the nuts holding the plastic on, take off the plastic and rubber and unscrew the posts. If they have a sharp edge on the bottom it is suggested you either sand off the sharp edge or replace the posts. You can try replacing them with the same size or many others are choosing to use a larger star post found commonly on many other games (https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/03-8319-13 ... or choose another color).
2. Add mylar. One helper that many have agreed on is to at least add some mylar under the posts. Mylar is a clear protection film used in the game other places already. You can order sheets (https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/66-MFT) or pre-cut pieces (https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/66-MAS or https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/66-MSC). Users are suggesting using a punch to cut out the pieces, cheap sets of punches are available. Scissors, knives, etc all work. Clean the playfield with some isopropyl alcohol on a microfiber cloth and apply the mylar over the post holes. One pinsider has created a pre-made set that you can order and apply (https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1170-pin-monk/02469-jjpotc-sling-post-mylar-ring-set)
Mylar circle installed under star post & clear washer
3. Add a washer. It seems as though any hard surface screwed into the playfield is causing indentations. Even with the slightest of pressure an outline can still be seen after a few days of installation. Maybe in combination with mylar the washers will make less, or no, indentation, results are still to be determined. Some have used PETG clear washers under the larger star posts (https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/31-34-GD) and have seen indentations. Another solution, which seems to be working well for others is a neoprene or rubber washer (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Hillman-2-Count-5-16-in-x-3-4-in-Neoprene-Standard-SAE-Fender-Washers/3012346).
CE with rubber washers installed under green star posts
SE with neoprene washers under clear star posts
Be aware that adding anything under the star/sling posts may cause the sling "hammer" to push outside of the rubber and will require the glass to be removed and reset. Possibly using a double post (https://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/03-8247-13) or shaving down the posts a bit may resolve this, not enough evidence at this point.
You may also need to adjust the sling switches to fire properly if you do anything to change the position of the rubber (for example, adding the larger star posts). General switch adjustment applies here (
Standard star post compared with double star post
Owners of TNA have reported similar issues on their games and have reportedly successfully used the neoprene washer solution.
TNA with neoprene washer
I spoke with Eric at Titan who is looking into producing a silicone washer that might give color options and even better protection.
4. Other things. Some have suggested, if you already have cracking of the playfield to paint on some clear coat to the affected area to prevent further flaking of the playfield. I can't comment on this and I haven't seen any data to support this but it seems like a plausible option.
5. Wait? - hopefully we'll hear from JJP and doing nothing might be an option if you don't want to change what the manufacturer did themselves.
****** What Else? ******
Well, as if this wasn't enough, it is possible that other posts on your playfield are also causing issues. There are a variety of other posts, some the same narrow plastic post, some larger star posts, some metal posts. JJP may have installed washers on one or more of these posts already, results are inconclusive. It is seen, however, that these other posts may also be showing signs of rippling of the playfield and possibly even some cracking like the sling posts are causing. It may very well be worth it to inspect other posts and decide if some method is appropriate to prevent damage from those.
****** What Are You Expecting To Happen? ******
No one has any idea. Some folks are suggesting replacement playfields are in order. Some think some fix or solution to the problem could be provided by JJP (perhaps a sticker). Others think that this isn't a huge problem and happens on other games. Personally, with others also agreeing, this kind of issue in this short amount of time with clear issues related to manufacturing that the manufacturer has passively admitted to by changing the manufacturing process to protect these areas seems to admit fault. I don't feel that my game should be less valuable due to a manufacturing defect which could very likely decrease resell value through no fault of my own. JJP has experienced similar issues to this in the past, most notably with the WOZ playfields and they had, in fact, produced decals to cover over the affected areas on the playfield.
The manufacturer of the playfields, Mirco, has been contacted (but has not responded) with a link to this thread so they are aware of the issues and can comment if they like. There is no indication where fault lies, I am not assessing blame other than to note that the manufacturer seems to have admitted to a defect with the games through their modifications and has not treated earlier customers properly. No notification has been made, no offer of resolution, no clear admittance, very little communication at all. I think that all most of the owners would like is some statement from JJP and a valid resolution offer. Playfields at cost may not make everyone whole, some are not able to install on their own and would take considerable cost or time to do this. However, a brand new playfield to sell with a game might make it valuable enough. Other manufacturers have been reported to send out fully populated playfields to owners with playfield clear coat rippling. It is possible JJP does not have parts enough to do this so remediation options may be limited.
*****Happy to add updates to this as people correct me and come up with new data.