(Topic ID: 171701)

Repro or NOS playfield install for pros only?


By mtbpinball

3 years ago



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  • 31 posts
  • 23 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Frax
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 3 years ago

    I have bought a couple of games over the years that came with a nos or repro playfield not installed yet. Is this a job for the pros? These playfields sell out quickly-but I don't know but one person that has put one in. I'm sure it must be a 40 hr job to do it. Just asking skill level involved. Thanks, Matt

    #2 3 years ago

    I have been contemplating doing it myself. I had asked a pro some years back about the swap and was told it was in the $1k range then. I'm sure it depends on the complexity of the game.

    #3 3 years ago

    Amateurs can do them too. I did. But the pros have the experience. If you're ok with taking pictures, patience, and have most of the tools I'd suggest you go for it. It's a great learning experience and many posts here of playfield swaps.

    What machine are you looking to do? Agree there's more complexity depending on the game.

    #4 3 years ago

    The first playfield swap I ever did was on a TZ. It took around 42 hours but was not difficult at all.

    The next one I did was a TAF and that one took about 36 hours.

    Just time consuming but nothing difficult about it. The satisfaction of doing it myself was amazing!

    Roger

    #5 3 years ago

    I have done two and both worked out great. Take lots of pictures and take your time. In the end it will be very rewarding.

    #6 3 years ago

    I asked this very same question 9 months ago, and ended up doing my first restoration and playfield swap. Details of my project are chronicled here

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/afm-playfield-swap-difficulty-level-for-a-noob

    It's definitely within the realm of possibility as long as you do your diligence, take your time, read a lot (this forum is a fantastic reference), ask questions, etc.

    It was a great learning experience, and quite rewarding... However, multiply your budget estimate by two, and your time estimate by three.

    I'm glad I did it, as I now feel extremely comfortable with most basic skills, repairs, and basic electrical and mechanical aspects of the hobby (and a lot of great tools), but not sure I will take on a project of this magnitude anytime again soon.

    #7 3 years ago

    I'd love to try doing a swap but have to find a good playfield first! Who's got a nice IJA they want to sell??

    #8 3 years ago
    Quoted from fiberdude120:

    I have done two and both worked out great. Take lots of pictures and take your time. In the end it will be very rewarding.

    Have not done a playfield swap yet but will be going for it at some point.

    I don't have much skill or experience and recently took on a fish tales restore. I agree with fiberdude, it's do-able if you have the time, space, and patience. From my brief experience with the fish tales restore, take as many pictures as you can and save them in one location. I used my phone and took pictures of literally everything so I can always reference something if I'm not sure during the reassembly. Biggest thing for me is patience. If you don't have the right tool or not sure how to go about something take the time and research it. I've learned so much just from reading through the forum posts in my down time.

    #9 3 years ago

    I have done 2 swaps, and 2 full tear downs , I consider myself amateur. Totally doable, take literally a hundred pictures or more. Even take some video looking at various things at all angles, go slow so you can pause. Make a dedicated space... Have fun!

    #10 3 years ago

    It's not that hard, just take a lot of pictures. Just completed a TOTAN, took around 35 hrs. My WWH2O is next.

    #11 3 years ago

    I have a guy I would recommend in the DC area. If you do it your self just go slow, take your time and as others said, lots of pictures and video.

    #12 3 years ago

    I had heard it was difficult sometimes with dimple locations or drop targets lining up and working properly. My games to do this on are Funhouse and Centaur. Both have had a lot of helpful posts. The person I know that did these swaps it was all ways on older Bally games with NOS playfields.

    #13 3 years ago

    In case it wasn't clear, take a LOT of pictures. I took 1035 photos, and it still wasn't enough... And agree about video or taking pics from different angles.

    SmartSelectImage_2016-10-22-12-27-22 (resized).png

    #14 3 years ago

    I've done two now. And I'm no pro. I find I enjoy as much as playing now. Whirlwind was my first and almost done my wh20. As said take video and lots of pics.

    #15 3 years ago

    I dread the day I have to do one, even on a simple EM. (They can get pretty ridiculous) Not my strong suit.

    #16 3 years ago
    Quoted from mtbpinball:

    I had heard it was difficult sometimes with dimple locations or drop targets lining up and working properly. My games to do this on are Funhouse and Centaur. Both have had a lot of helpful posts. The person I know that did these swaps it was all ways on older Bally games with NOS playfields.

    Funhouse was my first. It's more involved than others I've done but very doable. For the most part, dimples are generally close and you generally want to test one first and see how the others line up and still have the appropriate item work as designed. Sometimes you won't be able to tell until the game is back together and playing but in my experience, it's not often to have these issues.

    There's lots of documented FH playfield swaps. I'm not familiar with Centuar but I'm sure others here can share how that one is for a first swap.

    #17 3 years ago

    I've done 6 or 7 and I don't know how you guys can do it under 40 hours! Hats off to you guys.

    #18 3 years ago

    I've done 3 swaps so far. My first was Funhouse, did it over a 3 day weekend. That was just a quick swap and I didn't spend anytime rebuilding or polishing anything. Since then I've learned to rebuild and clean/polish everything which takes considerably more time but worth it.

    I have a few new playfields that are on my list to swap out, I enjoy the work as well as a pin when its been restored.

    #19 3 years ago

    Take some pictures make notes....tag wire connectors with lables. I have swapped 5 and each one gets easier. 40 to 60 hours is normal ...gi is where you spend lots of time. Good thing is pinballlife now carries ground braid wire. Have fun with it. Rebuilding one can be addictive.

    #20 3 years ago

    You will want one of these for sure, just used my new one on some replacement light sockets & now I don't know how I copuld do without it.
    ebay.com link » Unicatch Us2238ln Air Stapler Tool Long Nose Includes Staples

    #21 3 years ago

    I know one of the first things you do is make up a parts list and it should be a long one. Everything plastic on top of the playfield gets replaced. Flipper rebuild kit should also be considered. I pay to have mine done and it is worth it. I've had two done with two more scheduled.

    #22 3 years ago

    The time involved depends on what else you do. You can just swap over pretty quick but you will end up replacing parts, upgrading and rebuilding almost everything. I did a CPR black knight and changed, cleaned and replaced EVERYTHING. When I was done I had to adjust 2 or 3 switches and that's about it. It just depends on how much detail you put into it. Go ahead you will be glad you did and will want to do another.

    #23 3 years ago

    It's not difficult, particularly if you can do a "hot swap" - just moving the parts from the old straight over to the new.

    Biggest thing is having the right tools. A cordless electric screw driver is your best friend.

    #24 3 years ago

    I've done probably a dozen or so swaps and I will say it depends"

    A basic swap, just transferring from one PF to another, isn't really difficult as long as you have some things:
    1) Patience.
    2) Lots of pictures
    3) Manual to the game
    4) Decent tools

    If you take pictures, take a lot. If you think you've taken a lot, take more. Reassembly is just essentially the opposite of disassembly.
    You need the right tools. I have a friend who thought they could do it with pretty much a screwdriver and pair of pliers. And the game manual usually has assembly drawings of the mechs, so instead of trying to figure out where that oddball spring goes you can easily look.

    Time depends. Depends on your schedule, the game, your experience, and if you're doing a swap or a restore. AFM is one of the easiest swaps out there. I've knocked AFM swaps out in 20 hours or less. But if you're rebuilding all mechs, polishing parts, repinning connectors, upgrading assemblies, etc, that same swap can take 2 or 3x.

    So it just depends.

    #25 3 years ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    You will want one of these for sure, just used my new one on some replacement light sockets & now I don't know how I copuld do without it.
    ebay.com link » Unicatch Us2238ln Air Stapler Tool Long Nose Includes Staples

    I bought this as probably doing my first swap.

    What I didn't know was that it needs compressed air to work.

    Is there a cheap compressor that will work with it as most compressors are more than the gun!

    #26 3 years ago

    One of those little pancake compressors should work fine. The stapler is supposed to be used at 70 to 100 psi & does not take much volume. I found about 75psi worked good for the 3/8" staples on a back box.

    Something like this would work fine @ about $60
    http://www.harborfreight.com/3-gal-13-hp-100-psi-oilless-pancake-air-compressor-60637.html

    #27 3 years ago

    Having done numerous machines ranging from straight swaps to complete playfield strip and restores, I can say it mostly depends on the machine.

    AFM no problems, whereas something like TZ is more involved particularly if you want to do it properly by cleaning the wiring loom and assemblies and not just hot swapping the parts from one playfield to another.

    Essential tool - a decent collection of music to listen to as the monotony of the task compounded with silence will otherwise drive you round the twist!

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from dasvis:

    One of those little pancake compressors should work fine. The stapler is supposed to be used at 70 to 100 psi & does not take much volume. I found about 75psi worked good for the 3/8" staples on a back box.
    Something like this would work fine @ about $60
    http://www.harborfreight.com/3-gal-13-hp-100-psi-oilless-pancake-air-compressor-60637.html

    Agree; that's a good one. I use a simple HF one for the house as I got tired of running a hose from the 80 gallon 2 stage on the garage. Way overkill for a stapler. This is the one I use in the house for all pneumatic needs: http://m.harborfreight.com/6-gal-15-hp-150-psi-professional-air-compressor-62380.html

    #29 3 years ago

    Double post

    #30 3 years ago

    Another playfield swap amateur chiming in here. The very first project I undertook in pinball was a complete restoration of my TZ, including a playfield swap. I still plan to document the whole endeavour in a thread one of these days. I can confirm the previous posts: If you have the time, take lots of pictures, have decent tools, and read up on stuff you're unsure about, swapping your playfield yourself is a very rewarding experience. The two necessities I think are worth stressing additionally are space, and organizational skills.

    If you have the space to lay-out the components that you're taking off the old playfield for instance, thereby creating a sort of live exploded view, putting things back gets easier. For example, if you have to take off ramps, plastics and posts to get to the pop bumpers that you'd like to swap over to the new field, it helps to keep that ramp, its underlying plastic, and all the posts in their spatial relation to each other when they're off the old playfield. That way you won't mix up posts that might be slightly different lengths, which would for instance change the angle of your ramp when you put it on your new playfield. If you don't have the space, placing all the components that belong to one sub-assembly in its own zip-lock bag can also help preserve an overview of what goes where. But of course, pictures help whichever method you choose to keep organized.

    I'd say give it a shot! It takes a lot of time, and a lot of money and space, but the knowledge you'll acquire is most definitely worth it! And hey, if you screw something up, just take it off the new playfield, check your pictures of the old situation carefully, and reassemble.

    #31 3 years ago
    Quoted from cogito:

    If you have the space to lay-out the components that you're taking off the old playfield for instance, thereby creating a sort of live exploded view, putting things back gets easier.

    This is by far my preferred method to do swaps. I frequently use my other games as "parts storage" with a towel on the glass to protect it from scratching, and just lay everything out. Kind of hard to do on Sterns and other DMD games with steeper glass inclines in the cabinet. Having an EM or early solid state helps in that department.

    I've also done the drop-it-all-in-the-cabinet-while-still-on-the-harness type of swap.... that was extremely difficult. It kept me from having to resolder everything, sure, but also, just the sheer weight of all those mechs and everything still being attached to the harness made it VERY difficult to get the first few things attached and anchored to the re-cleared playfield...I didn't have any help at all. Had I had another set of hands, it would've been infinitely easier, but I did the entire job inside the game aside from putting the mounting brackets on the playfield!

    The last swap I did, and what I've been doing for tearing down games for cleaning, is to use 5-15 ziploc freezer bags and everything gets bagged and tagged as to what part of the playfield it goes to. Just gets all tossed in there and then reassembled bag by bag in reverse along with literally, like was said above, 500-1000 pictures is not uncommon. Screws, posts, brackets all in the bag. This is kind of a combination of laziness and knowledge working together to get things done quickly, but you REALLY have to know your parts, have the pictures, and screw types etc etc, or it can get confusing and out of hand. The more you segregate into separate bags, the more hassle it is, but you also reduce the risk of mixing up parts from other sections of the game.

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