(Topic ID: 154935)

Review: Atlantis Makrolon Playfield Protector


By MrWizzo

3 years ago



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  • 72 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by MeNaCeFiRe
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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There are 72 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 3 years ago

Ordered one directly from the manufacturer on ebay. Came in the estimated time frame from NL, about ten days. I was surprised at the box it came in, but it rolled out flat with no issue.

Rather than pull the balls guides out from the playfield as would be required since there are not slats cut in the protector but only holes at each guide's end, I cut out slats between each end hole for the guides, and that worked well.

Had to drill to holes for the two pins in the bagatelle. No problem there.

It installed easily. Removed and cleaned up the pop bumpers and removed the mylar. Nice to see the artwork around the skirts now.

The first adjective that comes to mind when you first play a ball on the protector is eerie. Complete silence. You do not hear the ball contacting the playfield.

Plays very well and fast on it.

BUT, there is a major problem with the Atlantis version. I cannot understand why they decided to accommodate the star rollovers with the unnecessarily large cutouts. These cutouts change the ball trajectory when encountered. The manufacturer needed to engineer the cutouts to be simply in the shape of the stars, and this would be a perfect product. Sensitivity of the switches underneath could be adjusted to take into account the higher height of the playfield surface. Maybe this was the reason for the current approach.

I tried placing mylar over the cutouts, but of course that looked lousy and did not help. Still cogitating over how to correct this problem. Yes, I know Wade is running playfields, but the artwork on mine is fine; cupped inserts were more the issue, and I already overpaid for the game, so I thought I would try a less expensive possible solution. Although I have used clear lacquer to fill in cupped inserts with good success on my C37 and Sing Along , I thought I would try the protector since available for Atlantis.

YMMV. For games without midfield cutouts, this must be a great product, but for Atlantis, it needs to be improved.

Dan

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#2 3 years ago

Will be interesting to see over time if the edges collect dirt (much as the original pop bumper mylars). Agree the center rollover cutouts seem poorly conceived.

#3 3 years ago

Thank you for the review.

I'm in a similar boat in that I was intrigued by the concept of leveling the playfield on my Atlantis but did not pull the trigger due to the requirement to pull the wire lane guides. I had thought about the solution you implemented and am glad it works well. The criticizm regarding the funky cutouts at the star rollovers sounds like, had you known, it may have swayed your opinion towards not buying it.

To me, Atlantis is my desert island game and, as such, I should just buy a Wade repro.

#4 3 years ago

Probably will collect dirt.

Thought the cutouts could a problem before buying, but tried anyway.

Dan

#5 3 years ago

I bought the same product and, although I 100% agree that the cutouts by the star rollovers are less than ideal, the game-play for the most part is great and isn't significantly affected. Yes, there are absolutely some balls that change trajectory (some in the player's favor, some not), which can be annoying at times, but overall it's a great product in my opinion.

I'm like you: my playfield art is in very good shape overall (especially after some tasteful touchups by me), but has cupped inserts. So I'd prefer to stay original if I can, and the PF protector is a good option.

I AM curious about drilling the holes for the pins (I haven't done that yet). Did you just use a regular drill bit? How large? I am thinking I'll need the holes a bit larger than the pins so the plastic doesn't "bind" against the pins and create tension in the plastic that shouldn't be there.

Regarding dirt, I haven't noticed an issue yet after a month of play. Granted, the PF was spotless when I assembled the game. About once a week, I take a can of compressed air and "dust" everything really well. No issues so far.

#6 3 years ago

I had already installed the pins, so when I laid the protector over the bagatelle, I pressed the protector onto each pin to get a visible indentation.

I used a bit a little bigger than the pins, supported the raised protector with one hand and used the bit in a dremel to cut the hole with gentle pressure.

I probably at some point will remove the protector and fill in the cupped inserts with clear lacquer.

Good tip about using compressed air.

Dan

#7 3 years ago

I have the same type of protector on 3 of my old Ballys. I like them so far. Strange the way they did the cutouts for the rollovers though. You are right, can't hear the ball roll.

#8 3 years ago

I'll try to post a video later this week of my Atlantis in action with the protector on it.

#9 3 years ago

The overlay company could not cut out the stars in the star rollovers because they are installed randomly at the factory.

Here is a NOS Gottlieb and you can see that the points of the stars are random in their direction.

The crosshairs are centered on the rollovers, ignore the black keylines:

rollover_(resized).jpg

#10 3 years ago

The cutout over the star is simply to keep the ball from getting stuck. Simple as that.

As for the pins, I used them to my advantage. I left them out until I got the protector in just the right place. At that point I drilled holes just big enough for the pins to fit through and pounded them back in place. Now the pins hold the protector and keep it from moving at all. When I put the protector on my Abra Ca Dabra, I noticed it could move back and forth a little, so I found a hidden spot under a plastic, drilled a tiny hole and used a small screw to secure the protector.

The fact that these protectors completely level cupped inserts makes them a God send for EMs. I really hope they do Target Alpha!

#11 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

The overlay company could not cut out the stars in the star rollovers because they are installed randomly at the factory.
Here is a NOS Gottlieb and you can see that the points of the stars are random in their direction.
The crosshairs are centered on the rollovers, ignore the black keylines:
rollover_(resized).jpg

Thanks,Vid. That makes perfect sense.

Dan

#12 3 years ago

Wonder if only a circular cutout close up to the edge of where the white star meets the playfield cutout would work.

#13 3 years ago

They could make the holes in the protector sheet round, then include adhesive star insert fill ins for you to align yourself.

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#14 3 years ago

This whole thread reminds me of Grandma's house in the 1970's.

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#15 3 years ago

Imagine what that rug would be worth today!

#16 3 years ago

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#17 3 years ago

By Christmas, if course!

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from MrWizzo:

Rather than pull the balls guides out from the playfield

Ball guides come out and go back in easy as pie. Just takes a pry bar and a piece of thick cardboard to protect the playfield. Even pressure and it slowly but surely comes out of the playfield with no damage. Gives a chance to run them through the tumbler too.

#19 3 years ago

Agreed. I do this to every game when I first get it so I can clean the PF with ME and alcohol, then do touchups, then wax. Then fully repopulate. If you do it slowly and carefully, I've had very, very few issues.

#20 3 years ago

Pinheads are always worried that a burr or a barbed end will cause a tearout.

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#21 3 years ago

I think this thread has a bromance brewing!

Surely others prefer to pull out the rails as well. Many will benefit from the tips you mention.

I prefer not to disrupt anything on EMs unless absolutely necessary. Each time the rail is removed, the hole probably enlarges, and the fit is not as tight. Admittedly this isn't a daily occurrence.

If for any reason I need to remove the protector, I can do so without disturbing the rails. Better design would have obviated removal of rails.

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

This whole thread reminds me of Grandma's house in the 1970's.

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Brought back memories!

Not only weren't you to not sit on the furniture, but you weren't even allowed in that room.

Sitting on those plastic covers without air conditioning in the summer was horrible. Had to go in there only because it was forbidden!

#23 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

They could make the holes in the protector sheet round, then include adhesive star insert fill ins for you to align yourself.
insert_(resized).jpg

Adhesive star fill ins would work. There is another way to make a fill-in but too complicated to talk about here.

The way I got around the rollover issue on the protector I made for my Big Game was to route out the holes for the rollovers with a palm router and then install new rollovers height-matched to the .030" thickness of the protector material. I had five rollovers to work and I'm very happy with the results. There was enough meat on the rollovers that raising them up .030" causes no problem. All I had to do was adjust the switches.

I also cut slots for the lane guides so I can remove the protector when I need to. All I have to do is remove the plastics and 4 or 5 posts and it will lift right off.

For anchoring, I have two tight fitting holes on the two posts for the upper inlanes. The rest of the protector is free and allows for any expansion for heat from the feature lights. It took several final fit and trims to get it trimmed so there was no interference in any way.

And, I also noticed, when I first started playing the pin with the protector in place that it was quiet. But that has changed. I probably have 25 playing hours on the game now and at some point in time I could hear the ball rolling like it was on wood.

The stuff is damn near unbreakable but it will scratch so if you use beat up balls you will eventually be sorry.

I am very happy, so far. It smooths out rough inserts. It takes the beating and saves your play field. And it plays fast!

If I were to order one I would specify for the holes for the rollovers to be cut to diameter and then remove my rollovers with a heat gun and install new rollovers tapped in to match-height. I would also require slots to be cut for the inlane guides for easy install.

Here is the post to the one I made if anybody is interested.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/making-a-play-field-protector-for-my-stern-big-game

#24 3 years ago

Cotton,

You already arrived where my thinking was taking me.

I thought raising the star inserts could be a good approach but not with how the current cutouts are in the existing protector.

That led me to consider getting a blank sheet and making my own to allow for raising the star inserts.

But before I do that, I received unsolicitedly a PM from a parts manufacturer who has been following this thread. He has offered to send me his version of a protector for Atlantis at no cost to try and review.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just gonna take a little longer to get there.

Dan

#25 3 years ago

Any chance he wants two reviewers? I'd love to try a different one!

#26 3 years ago
Quoted from MrWizzo:

Cotton,
You already arrived where my thinking was taking me.
I thought raising the star inserts could be a good approach but not with how the current cutouts are in the existing protector.
That led me to consider getting a blank sheet and making my own to allow for raising the star inserts.
But before I do that, I received unsolicitedly a PM from a parts manufacturer who has been following this thread. He has offered to send me his version of a protector for Atlantis at no cost to try and review.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just gonna take a little longer to get there.
Dan

Mr. Wizzo, that would be great. You look like you know how to get around on a play field. Tell him to cut just a diameter for the roll overs without those flaky cut outs. And then get yourself some new roll overs and install to match-height. Tell him to cut slots for the inlane guide wires, too.

One item the sort of scares about the elongated cut out in the pic from the OP is that you now have 4 new impact points. Every time that ball crosses a roll over it is going to drop down and hit the play field. And then you might left with 4 new wear spots to deal with.

#27 3 years ago
Quoted from MrWizzo:

Rather than pull the balls guides out from the playfield as would be required since there are not slats cut in the protector but only holes at each guide's end, I cut out slats between each end hole for the guides, and that worked well.

I'm curious, could just a slit cut in the poly work as well? Instead of that 2 or 3MM gap you created. Does the poly flex enough?
Thanks for the review. That company only has a few EM titles.

#28 3 years ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

Mr. Wizzo, that would be great. You look like you know how to get around on a play field. Tell him to cut just a diameter for the roll overs without those flaky cut outs. And then get yourself some new roll overs and install to match-height. Tell him to cut slots for the inlane guide wires, too.
One item the sort of scares about the elongated cut out in the pic from the OP is that you now have 4 new impact points. Every time that ball crosses a roll over it is going to drop down and hit the play field. And then you might left with 4 new wear spots to deal with.

Appearances can be deceiving,
but that's why God gave us Vid!

I don't have a problem creating the openings for the rails. Gonna request if possible just the cutouts for the stars. Don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth as it was quite an unexpected and generous offer.

Absolutely agree with the potential for quick wear where the triangular cutouts are. I would put mylar there if I kept this version on the Playfield. Hope others have. Maybe someone will produce protectors for this protector

Quoted from Darcy:

I'm curious, could just a slit cut in the poly work as well? Instead of that 2 or 3MM gap you created. Does the poly flex enough?
Thanks for the review. That company only has a few EM titles.

It would flex enough. Thought about doing it that way, but decided cutting a gap between end points had a more finished look. YMMV.

#29 3 years ago
Quoted from goldenboy232:

Any chance he wants two reviewers? I'd love to try a different one!

Okay, but you would have to swear to never remove a guide rail again!!

Maybe he will reach out to you as well, but cannot speak for him.

#30 3 years ago
Quoted from Darcy:

I'm curious, could just a slit cut in the poly work as well? Instead of that 2 or 3MM gap you created. Does the poly flex enough?
Thanks for the review. That company only has a few EM titles.

You could do it with a slit. But you would have to cut the slit by hand with a razor knife. Slotting with a Dremal is much easier. And yes, the poly would flex enough that you could do it with a slit, but you will have to work harder to install and remove it. That is unnecessary labor, IMO.

You are not going to make the protector disappear. Anybody who takes a medium look at your machine will see the protector. Consider it a feature.

What I can tell you is that when you are playing a game, you won't even notice because your table will play so nicely. Cupped inserts are no longer a problem that diverts the ball. If the ball at the top of the table is heading for your flipper, it will reach your flipper. No more last second change in ball trajectory that sends the ball SDTM.

Will it get dirt under it? Yes. Just lift it off and vacuum the play field. No biggie.

Will it grind dirt into the play field? I don't know. I have not been using it long enough, but I don't think it will be a problem. Especially, if you clean and vacuum your play field once in a while.

Does it get dimples? No. I have not done a legitimate hardness test, but my SWAG method tells me it is harder than play field wood with clear coat.

And, in my opinion, anybody who tells you that it does not play fast does not know what they are talking about.

#31 3 years ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

You could do it with a slit. But you would have to cut the slit by hand with a razor knife.

Will it get dirt under it? Yes. Just lift it off and vacuum the play field. No biggie.

And, in my opinion, anybody who tells you that it does not play fast does not know what they are talking about.

I cut mine with a razor and straight edge, and you can see at the left out lanes where I went and cut long and scratched the protector. New blade and more patience next time.

Gottlieb EMs have a bumper body wider than the skirt making removal of the pop bumper necessary, so cleaning on these games not so easy. What I did was make a cut at twelve o'clock on each of the bumper cutouts about 1.5 inches long. You cannot see them when you play, and they stay flat not affecting the roll of the ball. This allows you to get the extra diameter needed to get the protector off the bumpers by separating the cut and sliding the opening around the top edge of the bumper body. I did this as a quick attempt to put it in place and later tore apart the bumpers, which needed cleaning anyway.

Very fast. Plays great for sure.

#32 3 years ago

Since there is a designer monitoring this thread, I will add a suggestion. I would change the hole size around the pop bumpers. Right now it is just barely bigger than the switch platter. If the protector is not perfectly centered the pop bumper switch can hang up. So I would either make the hole an extra few millimeters bigger or make it much smaller so the switch is on top of the protector.

#33 3 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

Since there is a designer monitoring this thread, I will add a suggestion. I would change the hole size around the pop bumpers. Right now it is just barely bigger than the switch platter. If the protector is not perfectly centered the pop bumper switch can hang up. So I would either make the hole an extra few millimeters bigger or make it much smaller so the switch is on top of the protector.

I would also change the gap along the edge of the drop-targets as it's currently JUST the wrong size that occasionally the ball gets stuck there. Doesn't happen often, but once is too much in my opinion. Either bring the playfield protector all the way to the very edge of the wood, or else make the gap a couple of mm wider.

#34 3 years ago
Quoted from MrWizzo:

I don't have a problem creating the openings for the rails. Gonna request if possible just the cutouts for the stars. Don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth as it was quite an unexpected and generous offer.

I understand. It is a generous offer. However, if the supplier wants to make an impact, he needs to know what is needed to make his protector a success in the marketplace. And I am going to guess that most people will not want to remove parts what were intended to be permanent. OTOH, as you have shown, they can be cut manually if one is so inclined.

BTW: You can cut .030 Macrolon/Lexan/poly with a pair of scissors along any straight line.

#35 3 years ago
Quoted from goldenboy232:

I would also change the gap along the edge of the drop-targets as it's currently JUST the wrong size that occasionally the ball gets stuck there. Doesn't happen often, but once is too much in my opinion. Either bring the playfield protector all the way to the very edge of the wood, or else make the gap a couple of mm wider.

Yes. That is the way I made mine. I ran the protector all the way to the edge of the wood. There is no reason not to. Pulling it back away from the drops is the wrong way to go.

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

Since there is a designer monitoring this thread, I will add a suggestion. I would change the hole size around the pop bumpers. Right now it is just barely bigger than the switch platter. If the protector is not perfectly centered the pop bumper switch can hang up. So I would either make the hole an extra few millimeters bigger or make it much smaller so the switch is on top of the protector.

Is there any way you can make some .030" thick shims to raise your pop bumpers? I did that with mine to compensate for the thickness on the protector.

#37 3 years ago

I got some pics of the new design, and here is what I notice.

The shooter lane piece looks full length.

There are cutouts for all the rails.

The two middle center rail cutouts seem a little longer to accommodate the two pins.

The rollover cutouts are simply circles. Don't know the diameter yet to allow raising the inserts. Should receive it in about a week and will let all know.

There may be more improvements that my eye is not picking up as slight increase to bumper cutouts and edge on target section.

I believe we have a better mousetrap!

Many thanks to you know who you are

#38 3 years ago

I definitely don't like the cut outs for the rails. It is worth the tiny bit of effort not too have those slots there.

Will be interesting to see if the ball gets caught on the rollovers without moving them up.

As I mentioned above, I used the lack of holes for the two pins to my advantage by drilling tiny pin holes that helped hold the protector in place. This leads me to another suggestion. If I were making these, I'd have two places on each playfield where the protector has a tab that extends under a plastic and has a small hole. This would allow a small hidden wood screw to secure the protector once it is put in the exact correct position. Otherwise the protector can move when raising the playfield, etc.

#39 3 years ago

I just put one on my Bally Lost World. I don't like the cut out for the roll over. The fit over the in lane switches nee to be cut a little. There is an area near the spinner I don't like. Now I have to look at the one I bought for Flash too see how they cut out 5 rollovers(the game is in storage) It does look and play great if you overlook the problems. Joe

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#40 3 years ago

It looks like they took a really wide cut around that one post on the left in the first and third picture. Based mostly on the last picture, it looks like the whole protector needs to be slid a little bit downward toward the flippers?

This brings me back to the concept of securing the protector so it can't slide around. Here is a picture of my Abra Ca Dabra. For some reason they ran the protector all the way underneath the center plastic at the top of the playfield. I used that to my advantage by drilling a small hole through the protector and securing the protector with a screw that is hidden from view from the player vantage point. Now it doesn't move when I raise and lower the playfield. All the switches stay centered.

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#41 3 years ago

I'll move it around tomorrow. I'm going to cut pieces of mylar to hold it in place. Joe

#42 3 years ago

Joe,

Did I buy your flip a card at York a couple years ago?

Dan

#43 3 years ago

No' I never went to York. See ya at Allentown, Joe

#44 3 years ago

I put the protector in Flash to see what it looks like. I left the film on so it doesn't get scratched. Not happy with it at all. I'll send them an e-mail over the weekend.

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#45 3 years ago
Quoted from joe2012:

Not happy with it at all.

Can you explain what you are not happy about? Looks great in the picture.

#46 3 years ago
Quoted from joe2012:

I put the protector in Flash to see what it looks like. I left the film on so it doesn't get scratched. Not happy with it at all. I'll send them an e-mail over the weekend.

SAM_1808_(resized).JPGSAM_1807_(resized).JPGSAM_1806_(resized).JPGSAM_1805_(resized).JPG

I don't blame you for not liking it. The way the manufacturer is cutting out around the rollovers is substandard. Having said that, the only way to make it correctly would be for the MFR to require you to remove and reset the rollovers to match the height of the protector. Some people could do that and others would blow it and then blame the MFR. No easy solution here.

The lower part of the play field where the MFR has cut out for the chrome rods below the flippers concerns me less. Yeah, they could be a little tighter but if they were too tight then variations in play fields might cause clearance problems.

#47 3 years ago
Quoted from John_I:

Can you explain what you are not happy about? Looks great in the picture.

The way they cut around the rollovers sucks. The ball will make contact with the playfield and it looks like a slow rolling ball could get stuck.
I guess I'll bet putting some mylar down and cutting the rollovers out. Also the shooterlane is too short. Joe

#48 3 years ago
Quoted from joe2012:

The way they cut around the rollovers sucks.

Rollovers are always a problem as cottonm4 mentioned. They left it that way so the ball will not get stuck, so I would put some mylar down first and go with it.

Quoted from joe2012:

Also the shooterlane is too short.

You don't want the shooter lane to come all the way down because the ball can get stuck on it as it exits the trough. I cut the shooter lane section short with scissors on both of my games to prevent this from happening. I suspect the manufacturer learned this lesson and has started making them shorter to begin with. There is no artwork to protect in the shooter lane anyway.

#49 3 years ago

You won't see the line on the roll overs on the left side ( because of the black paint) but you will see it on the 3 right side ones. I
still think they should of made the holes the right way. I put strips of mylar on the shooter lane pc. If I don't like it I'll cut it off.
Thanks Joe

2 weeks later
#50 3 years ago

Here are some pic's of Lost World with the game on. Joe

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