(Topic ID: 247194)

Restoring a 1961 Flipper Parade!


By Pinball_Gizzard

4 months ago



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  • 40 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 50 days ago by Daditude
  • Topic is favorited by 13 Pinsiders

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#1 4 months ago

I picked up this Gottlieb Flipper Parade for a very cheap price and decided it would be a good candidate for my first true restoration. Luckily I have one of the best EM restoration people living about 5 minutes from me and he has graciously taken me under his wing so I can learn the ropes of EM restoration. I know this machine is not going to be worth a ton when I am done with it and I probably will only break even or maybe (hopefully) make a little on it after it's done but this is more about learning the process and bringing a poor neglected machine back from the grave.

A little background on the machine, I bought it from a nice local woman who has owned it for over 40 years. Her children used to play it all the time when they were younger and her grandchildren played it some too. About 10 years ago or so it fell out of favor with the kids (damn video games lol) and sat unused for quite a while. When they cleaned out the house the poor machine was moved onto the back porch where it sat for about a year. Luckily the porch was covered but the glass had broken long ago so the playfield was exposed to some of the elements and was VERY dirty when I got it. Her daughter posted the machine on a local for sale forum to help her mom sell it and I made a quick offer and snagged it the next day. The family was very nice and excited to hear it would be brought back to its former glory. They even asked if I would send pictures when it was all done.

As far as my plan, I am hoping to take it to the Texas Pinball Festival in March so others can experience it and see what people think.. I am using this as a test case to see if pinball restoration is something I would enjoy and possibly make a little money at to fund other pinball ventures (of course, what else would you do with the money?). So, the front hardware will all be sent off for blasting and chroming. The cab and head will be completely stripped, repaired and repainted (including period correct speckle pattern thanks to my expert friend). All hardware will be tumbled and polished (replaced as needed). I am going to try and see if I can get a set of new plastics for it although they may be hard to find. The plastics are there but quite faded and flaking pretty badly. All major mechanisms will be rebuilt and refurbished as needed. I am currently considering whether to do a full play field paint restoration, I have the air brushes and some painting experience with models and figures so I am thinking why not? Gotta start somewhere! Assuming I do the paint restoration I will either clear the play field myself or more likely see if I can get an automotive body shop near me to do it for not too much money. The back glass will be either replaced with a reproduction glass or possibly touched up by a local airbrush artist that has done work for my friend before. Not sure yet.

In the end I hope it will be a beautiful piece of art and I hope to restore it back to as new or near new condition. Wish me luck!! Pics of the machine as it was when I bought it are below.

#2 4 months ago
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#3 4 months ago

We disassembled the cab today and all the metal parts that would fit into my tumbler went in there for a good 48 hour tumble.

Other metal parts will be cleaned and regrained with a 3m rotary sander that attaches to my cordless drill.

Here’s a pic of a metal piece nearly done so you can see before and after.

I don’t know why but this work is so satisfying! I sometimes think of what environments these machines must have been in to accumulate this much crud. I have to believe the machine is happy to be getting finally cleaned!
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#4 4 months ago

Great game. Mine looked just as bad as yours. I did have to buy a replacement backglass. Game is easy to work on and the Add-a-Ball feature is my favorite. Those gobble holes will get ya though. Best of luck on the restore. Steve @PBR is your friend when it comes to old em's like this.

Ken

#5 4 months ago

After two days in the tumbler all the topside hardware is cleaned. I ordered new plastics and roto-target decals and will be placing a big order with PBR for the needed parts and rebuild kits.

Tonight I disassembled and sanded the bottom control board and put a coat of wipe on satin polyurethane on it. The mechanisms were just lightly cleaned, nothing too extreme here.

Hopefully tomorrow I can start tracing out the cab art for the stencil and then start stripping and filling the cab.

Some before and afters:
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#6 4 months ago

Looking good! Definitely following this thread, I love seeing these old gems brought back to life

#7 4 months ago

Here’s the current state of the playfield after some cleaning and a little work with Magic Eraser.

The good news is that the black and red paint have held up really well and probably won’t need more than a little touch up. The yellow has fared the worst and will need to be completely redone. The white and peach colors will also be redone I think although the peach might be ok with just touch ups if I can match the color well enough. Not sure yet. The burgundy needs some work although I’m afraid that color might be tough to match...

Fun times ahead!
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#8 4 months ago

Tonight I pulled the board out of the back box and removed the backglass. Note the two mud dauber nests, lol. Also note there are two things conspicuously missing from the backboard...bells! Why someone would remove both bells I don’t know but they did. Luckily I have a source for replacements.

The scoring reels cleaned up very nicely with Novus 2 and elbow grease.

Also placed my order with Pinball Resource today for parts.

Not sure what to do with the backglass yet, a new one will run me $250-300 which I’m not excited about, there is a guy who can do some restoration on it for around $100; maybe that’s the way to go.

The next few days will be tracing out the stencils and then comes sanding off the old paint!
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#9 4 months ago

Flipper Parade a really good choice for a 1st time restoration, nice and simple game yet still a very fun player.

#10 4 months ago

Today was a turning point of sorts. I got the back box stencil traced out and then (gulp) sanded off the paint to prepare for repainting. As the Phantom says ... "Paaaast the point of no return...."

I got a couple small cracks in the back box which were glued and clamped overnight.

Tomorrow I plan to trace the stencils for the main cab and then sand that paint off. Then filler and sand, filler and sand, lol.

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#11 4 months ago

How are you doing your homemade stencil? I tried tracing my cabinet out onto tracing paper then transferring to cardboard but the cardboard would not lay flat and I ended up lightly drawing the pattern on the cab and using painters tape to recreate it. Looks like you have something workable going

#12 4 months ago

Use heavy glossy poster board.

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#13 4 months ago
Quoted from mark532011:

How are you doing your homemade stencil? I tried tracing my cabinet out onto tracing paper then transferring to cardboard but the cardboard would not lay flat and I ended up lightly drawing the pattern on the cab and using painters tape to recreate it. Looks like you have something workable going

It's a product called Oramask. amazon.com link »

My buddy put me on to it, he uses it with his restorations when there is no stencil available or the art is really simple like this.

Basically I laid it down, traced the stencil with sharpie and a straight edge and then peeled it off and reapplied the backing. Some of the old paint came off with it in places but I am hoping it will lay down smooth enough to make a nice edge. We'll see. If it doesn't work then when I do the cab I may do some initial light sanding to knock off the loose paint chips more and then lay it down.

The only issue is keeping your lines when you spray a color, you can just put some regular painters tape over the lines for the second color and then pull that off after it dries. Then just cut out the other area with your Xacto knife and mask off the rest, done.

#14 4 months ago

Error

#15 4 months ago

First coat of Rustoleum Heirloom White is on the back box. I did find a couple areas I need to go back and fill/sand but I’m going to let this first coat dry overnight and then work on it again tomorrow. Took a full can to do just the back box, I think I better buy more paint!
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#16 3 months ago

Played Flipper Parade at Pintastic and this summer and was lucky enough to find one for sale locally. Fast moving for an EM and I love the artwork. Enjoying your resto thread!

#17 3 months ago
Quoted from Frogman:

Played Flipper Parade at Pintastic and this summer and was lucky enough to find one for sale locally. Fast moving for an EM and I love the artwork. Enjoying your resto thread!

Hey, thanks! I know it's been a week since my last update, I ran into a little snag with my paint work. Well, let's be honest, I screwed up lol. I made the mistake of not sanding out the surface to the proper grit before applying my first coat of white. The surface looked horrible! So I let it dry for a couple days and then started to try and sand it out. The problem is the 2x Rustoleum did not like being sanded that early and balled up on the sanding pad, marred the surface, etc. Ugh, what a mess! I ended up having to let the whole thing dry for 4-5 days. Then I went back in with 150 grit sand paper to get the surface corrected. It went better the second time but I still had balls of paint collecting on the sanding pad which I had to stop and scrape off of the pad with a flat head screw driver every minute or so. With that method I was able to get the paint smooth. I then applied bondo to the major surface defects (there were lots of dings, gouges and several names scratched into the surface) and sanded out to 400 grit. Once that was done I applied coat #2 of Heirloom White. There were still multiple small imperfections in the surface but it was MUCH better. Ken (pinhead52) gave me a tip and advised using Bondo glazing putty and a razor blade to fill those small areas. Worked great. Once the glazing putty was applied I sanded that again with 400 grit and applied coat #3. Now we were getting somewhere. Last step for the base coat was doing the silver speckle to match the original factory finish. This was accomplished with a spray can of silver and a special nozzle for the can. I practiced on a piece of cardboard to get the feel of how far to stand from the surface and how fast to move the can to get the right size and density of speckling. It's an art for sure. I think the speckling came out pretty well for my first try. It's a little dense in a couple areas but comparing it to my original photos I think I got pretty close and certainly good enough for this restoration. I'm not trying to get into a museum here!

Today after work I will be laying out and spraying the yellow stripes, that will probably take me a couple days to get them all sprayed and then the purple goes on.
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#18 3 months ago

Looks great! Way more original than my cabinet resto did

#19 3 months ago
Quoted from mark532011:

Looks great! Way more original than my cabinet resto did

Thanks!

#20 3 months ago

It is looking fantastic, Rick. I can't wait to see the finished product!

#21 3 months ago

What do you mean by special nozzle?

#22 3 months ago
Quoted from Silverstreak02:

What do you mean by special nozzle?

There are a few methods for speckling. Many people simply use a toothbrush. You can also get a special nozzle or create you own (both pictured below).

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#23 3 months ago

Some inspiration for you to keep going - mine wasn't a restore, just a refurb but turned out decent.

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#24 3 months ago

Hey that looks great!

#25 3 months ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

Hey, thanks! I know it's been a week since my last update, I ran into a little snag with my paint work. Well, let's be honest, I screwed up lol. I made the mistake of not sanding out the surface to the proper grit before applying my first coat of white. The surface looked horrible! So I let it dry for a couple days and then started to try and sand it out. The problem is the 2x Rustoleum did not like being sanded that early and balled up on the sanding pad, marred the surface, etc. Ugh, what a mess! I ended up having to let the whole thing dry for 4-5 days. Then I went back in with 150 grit sand paper to get the surface corrected. It went better the second time but I still had balls of paint collecting on the sanding pad which I had to stop and scrape off of the pad with a flat head screw driver every minute or so. With that method I was able to get the paint smooth. I then applied bondo to the major surface defects (there were lots of dings, gouges and several names scratched into the surface) and sanded out to 400 grit. Once that was done I applied coat #2 of Heirloom White. There were still multiple small imperfections in the surface but it was MUCH better. Ken (pinhead52) gave me a tip and advised using Bondo glazing putty and a razor blade to fill those small areas. Worked great. Once the glazing putty was applied I sanded that again with 400 grit and applied coat #3. Now we were getting somewhere. Last step for the base coat was doing the silver speckle to match the original factory finish. This was accomplished with a spray can of silver and a special nozzle for the can. I practiced on a piece of cardboard to get the feel of how far to stand from the surface and how fast to move the can to get the right size and density of speckling. It's an art for sure. I think the speckling came out pretty well for my first try. It's a little dense in a couple areas but comparing it to my original photos I think I got pretty close and certainly good enough for this restoration. I'm not trying to get into a museum here!
Today after work I will be laying out and spraying the yellow stripes, that will probably take me a couple days to get them all sprayed and then the purple goes on.
[quoted image]
[quoted image]

Very good speckle!

#26 3 months ago

Cabinet is painted. I think I'm going to end up putting some satin poly over it all to correct the sheen differences in the white spray. Otherwise I'm pretty happy with it! Thanks to Pinhead52 for his help with the stenciling on the head!
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#27 3 months ago

Looking really good, love the colors. Get it put together so we can fix and play it

#28 3 months ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

Cabinet is painted. I think I'm going to end up putting some satin poly over it all to correct the sheen differences in the white spray. Otherwise I'm pretty happy with it! Thanks to Pinhead52 for his help with the stenciling on the head!
[quoted image]

Nice job!!

2 weeks later
#30 3 months ago

Funny you should ask!

Yes there is an update. I took a bit of a break from Flipper Parade to get an F-14 project I bought vacuumed out and get the rat poop/urine soaked areas taken care of because it was smelling up my garage! After that I took an epic journey to pick up a LOTR I purchased.

Got back to Flipper Parade last weekend. My friend Pinhead52 was kind enough to let me bring it to his garage and we got the cabinet hardware reinstalled. Shiny new chrome parts!

I also got the basic solder repairs done so everything is hooked up again (I think).

I plugged it in last night and got it to light up and the stepper motor in the cabinet turns but won’t stop turning. Not sure if there’s a short somewhere or what. But, no fuses blew and no fires were started so that’s a plus. Pinhead52 is going to come over sometime in the next few days and help me sort through the schematic and see if we can get it to start a game. If I can get it to where it looks like it will flip I can then start on the playfield.

Here are some pics of it’s current state:

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#31 3 months ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

Funny you should ask!
Yes there is an update. I took a bit of a break from Flipper Parade to get an F-14 project I bought vacuumed out and get the rat poop/urine soaked areas taken care of because it was smelling up my garage! After that I took an epic journey to pick up a LOTR I purchased.
Got back to Flipper Parade last weekend. My friend Pinhead52 was kind enough to let me bring it to his garage and we got the cabinet hardware reinstalled. Shiny new chrome parts!
I also got the basic solder repairs done so everything is hooked up again (I think).
I plugged it in last night and got it to light up and the stepper motor in the cabinet turns but won’t stop turning. Not sure if there’s a short somewhere or what. But, no fuses blew and no fires were started so that’s a plus. Pinhead52 is going to come over sometime in the next few days and help me sort through the schematic and see if we can get it to start a game. If I can get it to where it looks like it will flip I can then start on the playfield.
Here are some pics of it’s current state:[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

It is really starting to come together beautifully!

#32 3 months ago

I spent an hour putting paddles to the game and we got it into the playing state. Hit the start relay, game struggles to reset, manually invoke the D reset relay then step the balls to play stepper to 5 (control bank resets) and we are ready for game play, Lots of cold solder joints to fix, gummy reels, a score motor that sounds like its on its last legs but hey we had flippers flipping

Todo:
1. strip score motor and see if clean up and lub will save it.
2. fix the cold solder on the control bank
3. Clean up the reels, get them stepping better
4. Clean and service the roto...
4. Figure out why the ball in play unit is not getting the step up pulses
5. Figure out why the D relay doesnt trip (need the reels reseting)

Just helping @pinball_gizzard tackle this game

#33 3 months ago
Quoted from pinhead52:

I spent an hour putting paddles to the game and we got it into the playing state. Hit the start relay, game struggles to reset, manually invoke the D reset relay then step the balls to play stepper to 5 (control bank resets) and we are ready for game play, Lots of cold solder joints to fix, gummy reels, a score motor that sounds like its on its last legs but hey we had flippers flipping
Todo:
1. strip score motor and see if clean up and lub will save it.
2. fix the cold solder on the control bank
3. Clean up the reels, get them stepping better
4. Clean and service the roto...
4. Figure out why the ball in play unit is not getting the step up pulses
5. Figure out why the D relay doesnt trip (need the reels reseting)
Just helping @pinball_gizzard tackle this game

Awesome work gents!!

#34 89 days ago

Some progress was made this morning. The main relay bank in the cabinet was cleaned and a few more wires were found loose and resoldered. The stepper in the head was cleaned and oiled and works much better now. I still have to disassemble the stepper in the cabinet to try and oil the motor bearings so it hopefully won't sound like a wounded cat anymore.

I was able to get it to properly reset once but haven't been able to since. There still seems to be an issue with the reset sequence where it is not pulling in the correct relays to reset. I am going to have to take a class in how to read an EM pinball schematic and figure out where the issue is.

It was quite exciting to see it reset and be playable with a coin up though!

The goal is to get it fully operational and then start working on playfield cosmetics.

#35 88 days ago

It's ALIVE!!!

I spent this afternoon resoldering all the wires on the main reset relay bank. I did find one more wire that had an obviously cracked solder joint but also went through all the other wires as well and reheated those/added fresh solder.

I reinstalled the cabinet board and fired it up. Nothing. Nothing at all. Multi meter tells me I have 120 volts to the transformer but nothing after that. Hrm, that's weird. So I contact my friend Pinhead52 who graciously agrees to pop over and take a look. We take a look at everything and I discover that I forgot to connect the Jones plug from the coin door to the tilt board. DOH! Reconnect that and PRESTO! Game resets as it should, goes to 5 balls left to play and is live. Scoring motor is nice and quiet and seems to be working well.

There are still some things to do like cleaning the contacts for the balls to play lights, cleaning and lubricating the roto target mechanism and there are several playfield switches that only register intermittently. All the playfield switches will be gone through and cleaned.

Now the burning question is do I take the time to do the paint restoration on the playfield or get it playing and leave it? Pinhead52 says to get it playing and leave the playfield alone which is probably the sensible thing to do. It does seem a shame to put a highly worn playfield into that freshly restored cabinet though!

#36 88 days ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

It's ALIVE!!!
I spent this afternoon resoldering all the wires on the main reset relay bank. I did find one more wire that had an obviously cracked solder joint but also went through all the other wires as well and reheated those/added fresh solder.
I reinstalled the cabinet board and fired it up. Nothing. Nothing at all. Multi meter tells me I have 120 volts to the transformer but nothing after that. Hrm, that's weird. So I contact my friend Pinhead52 who graciously agrees to pop over and take a look. We take a look at everything and I discover that I forgot to connect the Jones plug from the coin door to the tilt board. DOH! Reconnect that and PRESTO! Game resets as it should, goes to 5 balls left to play and is live. Scoring motor is nice and quiet and seems to be working well.
There are still some things to do like cleaning the contacts for the balls to play lights, cleaning and lubricating the roto target mechanism and there are several playfield switches that only register intermittently. All the playfield switches will be gone through and cleaned.
Now the burning question is do I take the time to do the paint restoration on the playfield or get it playing and leave it? Pinhead52 says to get it playing and leave the playfield alone which is probably the sensible thing to do. It does seem a shame to put a highly worn playfield into that freshly restored cabinet though!

Would it be worth the practice on the playfield? I'm not sure you won't get a better chance...unless you want to try your hand at my space invaders!
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#37 88 days ago

Wow! That Space Invaders has seen some play!

That's my thoughts exactly. I have to depopulate the playfield anyway to do the deep cleaning and rebuilding of the pops so I think I am going to take the opportunity to learn a little about playfield restoration. I know I won't get my money and time back out of it whenever I sell the machine but honestly this is probably about as good of a machine to learn on as it gets. It's a simple playfield without too many pieces and the art is pretty basic as well.

As they say in Jurassic Park, "Hold on to ya butts!"...

3 weeks later
#39 65 days ago

Unfortunately no, life has gotten in the way of pinball restoration for a couple weeks. Also it’s tough to motivate myself to go work in my garage when it’s still triple digits outside!

I did decide that I’m going to build a box to house the playfield for the paintwork. From looking at the backside of the playfield it looks like the GI wiring is also used as a general ground of sorts because there are several areas where metal brackets and such are soldered to the GI wire. So, instead of trying to desolder these components to get the underside of the playfield flat I’ll just build a box. Plan is to do that this weekend and then get the pop bumpers removed from the topside. Once that is done I can remove the wood rails and start the paint correction.

2 weeks later
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