(Topic ID: 282816)

Re-plating magic line knobs and coin door, nickel or chrome or zinc?


By alb0711

51 days ago



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  • 8 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 46 days ago by 29REO
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#1 51 days ago

I'm going to try my hand at re-plating the magic line knobs using one of the commercial kits. I've seen some success stories over on the pinball forums. But, I'm unsure about the type of plating currently on the machine. I thought everything was chrome but they could be nickel or zinc. Has anybody tried this on their bingo machines or had it commercially done? How did you keep the engraved arrows on the knobs intact? What did you use for highlighting them? I know there are easier ways to do this, but what the heck!

Thanks
Allen

IMG_0303 (resized).jpg
#2 51 days ago

For the price of the kit and the hassle of trying to do it, something that small, I would just send in. Probably cost the same and be professionally done.

#3 48 days ago
Quoted from alb0711:

I'm going to try my hand at re-plating the magic line knobs using one of the commercial kits. I've seen some success stories over on the pinball forums. But, I'm unsure about the type of plating currently on the machine. I thought everything was chrome but they could be nickel or zinc. Has anybody tried this on their bingo machines or had it commercially done? How did you keep the engraved arrows on the knobs intact? What did you use for highlighting them? I know there are easier ways to do this, but what the heck!
Thanks
Allen
[quoted image]

Allen,

I'm guessing that the original finish on these knobs was chrome. Nickel would have been too expensive, if modern economics hasn't changed from the 1950s. Zinc, I just don't know, all I can think of is screws from Home Depot, so I'll stick with chrome. Before you go to the expense of plating those knobs, have you tried some of the big bingo parts sellers? There is Joe Shope, who once told me he bought out the inventory of four different operators. I've bought a few bits from him over the years. You can find Joe with a google search. There also are a few sellers on eBay who appear to be operators clearing out their old stock. One guy from Seward, PA seems to have a lot of game parts. I can dig around and come up with his eBay name if you want to try him. As far as refreshing the red arrows, I'd get a bottle of hooker-red nail polish and fill in the engraved designs. You can remove the excess with alcohol after the polish has dried and it will look great. I think I did this once on one of my games.

#4 48 days ago

"Big Time" was made in 1954; don't know wht metal they used. Nick probably knows.
My "Big Time" also has formica on it, but I'm okay with it.

#5 48 days ago
Quoted from JKnPA:

Nick probably knows.

I don't, unfortunately. I'm definitely not a materials expert (but thanks for the confidence).

I have always heard/imagined that the 'shiny' metal on older games was nickel and then eventually stainless (depending on shape). Zinc would be for things that you don't touch (coin mechanism receiver). I don't know if chrome plating was actually used or not, but it would be interchangeable with nickel. If it was cheaper to use chrome (and I imagine it would be), then I definitely think BCB's advice makes sense. The nail polish idea would work well. Enamel paint is what will look best. And it's really easy to do - slather on, wipe off. Nail polish would also work well, again as BCB suggests.

If you intend to do your own plating, I would suggest that the control knobs themselves might not be the place to start. Any flat portion is ok, but the ridged areas will be a nightmare using the plating kits (in my opinion). Also, with those kits, prep to an insane degree - sand the area to be plated until the area is feathered into the remaining plating. Clean it well and then try to plate. The plating can take a few 'coats' to build up to where you want it to be.

Good luck, share the results.

#6 47 days ago

I really appreciate all the advice! I've got several machines mostly pinballs that need a part or two re-plated. I've read several success stories from pinball guys using the kits. It seems that at least on the pinball side chrome is more the exception then the rule. I just don't know how to tell one from the other. Maybe it doesn't matter as long as the part looks shiny and matches the other parts. Prep is going to be a bit of work, but I've got tools and time. Good idea to start with some of the simpler parts before the knobs. I want to re-plate the bolts for the lock bar and the bolts on the coin door. I'll probably start there and see how they turn out. My concern around the arrows on the knobs is the possibility that plating will cause them to raise up to the level of the knob itself and I'll loose the indentation for the paint.

I'm looking at small kits from Caswell. The price difference between zinc, chrome and nickel is negligible but it appears that some cover better then others. They have a chrome kit that is supposedly easier and probably good for a beginner, so chrome it is! The pinball parts I most want to plate appear to be chrome. The kits come with a nice how to book.

I'll post my progress along the way...

Thanks
Allen

#7 47 days ago

Allen, once you get it figured out you'll need to swing by my place again and give me a lesson.

#8 46 days ago

Allen, chrome is the right choice IMO. Chrome has a slightly different look than nickel so in some circumstances that would be a matter of preference. To my eye, chrome has a grey cast whereas nickel has a silver/white cast. You should familiarize yourself with the look of each to see if you prefer one over the other - you might. Chrome is very hard and will be much more durable than nickel. But if you should absolutely dig the look of nickel you could still do nickel with a clear powder coat. It would still take awhile to wear that out.
The parts to be replated will have to be stripped of their existing plating. And plating - like automotive paint - hides nothing and will only be as good as the surface preparation underneath. Good luck. I think it will be worthwhile.

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