(Topic ID: 252193)

Professor Pinball: Putting Spidey back into an SM

By lyonsden

2 years ago


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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Malenko
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#1 2 years ago

A buddy picked up a SM that looked like it had been unboxed, left in the same location for 11 years, and played. A lot.

Since I like refurbishing games and he was in no rush to get it back, he dropped it off at my place for me to work on it. As with many people here, I find working on games to be fun and relaxing. However, since I do have a full time job, this is something that I can work on here and there without any rush.

The goal here is to get the game into great playing shape, not do a full restore. That means cleaning everything, replacing all the moving parts (flippers, pops, slings, etc), all the rubber parts, and all the broken parts. Also, this needs to be a visually good looking game, so good lighting and other additions are going in.
Which is perfect as I have a lot of fun developing advanced lighting systems with the Pinduino and know that the owner will be a great person with whom to develop some new ideas. So this thread will document what gets done, have some before and after shots, and have a place to show off new Pinduino lighting setups.

Here is the very happy owner dropping the game off at my house. Overall, the game is very dirty, as a handful of switch errors, missing a ball, but otherwise looks to be in great shape.
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#2 2 years ago

First thing was the switch errors. The switch wire harness got caught in the slide rails in the cabinet at some point and two were torn apart. Easy fix and some zip ties will keep that bundle out of the way.
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#3 2 years ago

I like to work on one side at a time and from one end to the other. This lets me go through slowly, take inventory of what I'll need to order and what I have on hand, and keep my eye out for anything that will require a lot more work. Also, I like to clean as I go and see how things will look as I progress.

First up will be taking off the bottom parts, and cleaning them and the playfield.

Yep -- definitely a dirty game.

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#4 2 years ago

These bats are not worth saving. It isn't the back from the rubber, but the brown stains and patterning on the top. Since the owner wants the lower plastics replaced with the nice set from Back Alley: https://back-alley-creations.myshopify.com/collections/spiderman-pinball-mods/products/spider-man-plastic-sets, we thought it would be good to get matching colored bats. Black on the right, red on the left.

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#5 2 years ago

Only one bulb working on the lower playfield. Good thing as that means less heat damage and dirt on the plastics. My hope is that playfield grime help preserve it!

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#6 2 years ago

So with the bottom section disassembled, here is the first good set of before and after pics. This game is going to clean up real nice!

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#7 2 years ago

The clear is definitely scratched up from all the dirt still have the original balls (as far as I can tell). But, at least I can see what it will look like with some wax to help smooth out the haze. While the wax was drying, I was sending the owner pictures with different color white bulbs. Warm was too warm, cool was too cool, so sunlight as the clear winner.

here are warm and cool
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#8 2 years ago

Then cool (left) and sunlight (right)
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#9 2 years ago

Time to take the wax off and see how it looks. Definitely much better, but when compared to a region under the sling plastic that never had ball travel, the fuzz in the clear is visible. But for what will be an amazing playing game, this will be perfect.

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#10 2 years ago

The fun of cleaning parts, going slow, and making sure you get as much grime out as possible. Definitely time to break out the ultrasonic wash, q-tips, and red brillo bad for those metal parts.

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#11 2 years ago

End of the first night. The lower section looks amazing compared to how it was (and the middle/top sections will get there.)

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#13 2 years ago

Had some more time over the past couple of night to dig into this game. Next up was removing the ramps and taking note of other things that need fixing. The ramps on SM are particularly prone to breaking, but onf first look, these appeared to be in really good shape. However, as with the rest of the game, they were very dirty so it was hard to tell at first how bad the ball tracks were as well as how much grime had been ground into the ramps over time.

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#14 2 years ago

One thing I have learned from my years of refurbing and shopping games is take photos of everything you take off the game. What I think I'll remember in a week, I tend to completely forget in 5 minutes. Also, the fit of parts is easy when everything is assembled, but is usually a WTF when trying to put back together without photos.

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#15 2 years ago

Of course, on of my three helpers has to come by to make sure that I'm doing a good job. I think he mildly disapproves. The dogs, on the other hand, stay by my feet just in case one of the screws I drop is really a piece of food. So far, they have been greatly disappointed.

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#16 2 years ago

You would think I'd remember where all these screws go. I mean, how hard can it be. I know I won't in a couple of days.

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#17 2 years ago

Another thing I've learned is to take pictures of where the wires run for the lights, switches, etc. Like screws, once the game is apart, nothing is obvious.

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#18 2 years ago

I often will point to a screw that is in an out of site spot to remember that I check it when reassembling.

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#19 2 years ago

Also, I take pictures of parts that come off in order to access screws, etc. The order of them in my photos helps me recreated the assembly steps. Like with screws and wires, the order of putting together is something I tend to forget in a week (or 5 minutes).

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#20 2 years ago

Same with any gymnastics that was required to get a part out. I can't count the number of times I could not figure out how to get a part back in that I knew I could get out and ended up taking a bunch of stuff back off.

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#21 2 years ago

Another ramp is off (but this photo is for recalling where the opto wires are running)

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#22 2 years ago

Look ma, no ramps!
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#23 2 years ago

Time to check out the pop area for damage from the back web slinger. Cool effect, but slamming a metal ball into an area filled with plastics, wood, and metal did not work well for these games. Overall, the damage isn't too bad. One pop metal ring is broken clean off its posts and one of the web roll over lane guides is smashed to pieces. Those will all be replaced.

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#24 2 years ago

Time to step back and assess what else needs repairs. Doc Ock magnet is mushroomed and has damaged the playfield. Some options for that:
1. Clean up and do nothing
2. Clean up and fill with wood filler
3. Do (2) and put a cliffy ring protector around the area to hide the damage
4. Do (2) and get a scan of the region to make a decal to put over that spod (and then put down (3))

Oh -- I guess the playfield could always be replaced. Anyone have a spare?

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#25 2 years ago

Back panel sticker has heat damage. Looks bad when the playfield is pulled out, but can't be seen when the playfield is in place. Not sure if this is worth replacing (this is to be a good players game, not a 110% better than factory restore.) Also, I'm going to take all those bulbs out and put down strips of addressable LEDs over that region for awesome lighting effects with the Pinduino.

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#26 2 years ago

It always amazing me as to the screws that work themselves loose. These are missing, but the plastics are in good shape.

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#27 2 years ago

These ramps are cleaning up really well! No cracks or breaks!

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#31 2 years ago
Quoted from shovelhed:

Great job so far, to help with the haze on the lower playfield the treasure cove playfield polisher kit would take the haze away.

Doesn't look to be in business anymore: https://treasurecovepinball.com/polishing-kit.htm

#38 2 years ago
Quoted from dos_reboot:

I think I have a spare back sticker. You can have it for free + shipping cost.

That is awesome of you! PM sent about details. Happy to pay shipping; happy to send you a Pinduino DIY kit (if you like that kind of stuff!)

#39 2 years ago
Quoted from bobukcat:

That is really shocking to me, were those the proper bulbs back there? Hard to believe that they'd do that kind of damage even if on 24/7 since it was brand new as the bulbs would eventually burn out.

I've never seen that kind of damage before, either. I haven't put new bulbs in to see if there is a problem with the current to those, but as I recall, they are on the same GI circuit as other bulbs on the playfield and all the GI comes from the same set of circuits on the power driver board. Another fun thing to dig into, but they will all be replaced with addressable LEDs anyway.

#41 2 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

Have you contacted Stern about this yet? [quoted image]

Ha! They told me it was out of warranty by 10 years. However, considering the age of the game and the number of games played (~50k balls according to the audits), I'm very impressed with the quality of Stern (at least back when this was made.) Great to work on a game that has a metal apron, playfield rails, etc. all stock and out of the box without having to pay an extra $2500 for the lux edition.

#42 2 years ago

More work on the ramps tonight. Shout out to zene10 for the Brillo pad on a drill. This is magic!

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#43 2 years ago

The last ramp cleaned up really well!

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#46 2 years ago

What a difference! Thanks again to zene10 for the polish and borrowing the orbital.

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#47 2 years ago

Plastics are getting the sonic treatment. Green goblin’s first bath in 10 years, but he insisted on keeping his ass filthy. He likes it that way.
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#48 2 years ago

The cleaning continues. Under the dirt, the playfield looks amazing. After more conversations with the owner, we decided to replace the GI with addressable LEDs. That will let me develop code that changes all the GI color based on game play. Which, for a game like SM, will be amazing.

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#49 2 years ago

Removed the doc ock magnet core. Definitely and to back it out up and through the playfield. This is what mushrooming means to a magnet core.

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#52 2 years ago
Quoted from shovelhed:

Been following your thread, I cant wait to see how the lighting turns out. Please shoot a video when your done.
Harley D.

Definitely! I'll make sure to take lots of photos of the installation, document how to do it, and make the code open source and available for anyone that wants to put in in their games.

#53 2 years ago
Quoted from DugFreez:

Don't forget about this bad boy. It is the sworn enemy of the top web slinger. More are broken than not, even if owners don't know it or they deny it.
Good luck on the restore. The before and after pics should be very rewarding for you.[quoted image]

Amazingly, this one looks good. Two of the lane dividers and two metal pop rings are toast, so this area saw some action.

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#55 2 years ago
Quoted from DugFreez:

Good.....but still broken.
I also label this as the most misread plastic in all of pinball. 90% of the people will say theirs is NOT broken, but if you look.....90% ARE broken. Here is one that isn't broke (with a protector below it). My original one broke on the 2nd game and then another big chunk come off a bit later. $170 later (for a new plastic set) and I was back in business with a new custom cut protector.
Such a popularly broke plastic that the Stern released Spider Man promo video even shows it broken.[quoted image][quoted image]

Ah! Now I see the broken place. Thanks for the info and careful eye!

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#56 2 years ago

Shooter lane ramp is looking much better. Thanks again, Brillo pad on a drill!

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#57 2 years ago

Started working on replacing the GI with addressable LEDs. These bulbs are great as they are a perfect fit for the existing holes. First step is taking out all the GI and then the flipper mechs to access the sockets under them.

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#58 2 years ago

Then you just run the string around the playfield and pop bulbs into every place they fit. You can add more than was originally there.

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#59 2 years ago

I finished laying out the addressable LEDs for the GI and wrote some code to demo the lighting effects. I think it is going to look great and I can't wait to get the game back together and finish this code.

#60 2 years ago

Did some cleaning and protecting of the shooter lane. Looking much better than before, and the cliffy does a good job of covering the previous wear.

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#61 2 years ago

Also received the back alley plastics. Damn -- these look great compared to the originals.

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#62 2 years ago

Slings are cleaned with new sleeves, plunger, and linkage. Contacts cleaned and looking good.

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#63 2 years ago

Going after the pops. Shopping these are a unique kind of fun.

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#64 2 years ago

Pops done and bottoms rebuild. Game is cleaning up very, very well.

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#65 2 years ago

Cleaned up around the doc ock hole, cleaned up rails, and added a Cliffy. Also replaced the blue rubber pads.
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#67 2 years ago

Finished cleaning the final area of the top of the playfield: Sandman. Blue rubbers replaced, Cliffy added, and ball guides cleaned up.

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#68 2 years ago

As I reassemble the game, I’m adding addressable LEDs to the Doc Ock web slinger and all the ramps. This is going to have an awesome light show when I’m finished!

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#69 2 years ago

With so many sets of addressable LEDs, including replacement of the GI, cable management is important. Never spare zip ties — lots to keep wrapped up and out of the moving mechanisms.

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#70 2 years ago

Getting the shooter rail protected.

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#71 2 years ago

All ramps back on the game!

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#72 2 years ago

Shaker installed.

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#73 2 years ago

Filled the magnet damage. Used DAP plastic wood and sanded lightly with red Brillo pad and magic eraser, then added a carbon fiber Cliffy to cover. Never heard back on a scan of the area to make a decal, and feel that it would be difficult to make one that aligns perfectly with the artwork in that region. Overall, came out great. Nearly none of the damage is visible!

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3 weeks later
#75 1 year ago

Finished the lighting and programming the light show. I am VERY happy with how this turned out!

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