(Topic ID: 158804)

SAVING 1963 STAR-JET - Saving working VERY RARE part-out destroyed EM


By Otaku

3 years ago



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#1 3 years ago

Today I picked up what some may call the "grail of EMs", Bally's 1963 "Star-Jet", sought after due to the low production run, possibly the best artwork on all of EMs (and also is very sought after due to this look, also modeled after The Jetsons, now considered "retro-futurism" (+ space, even better) in popular culture), and great gameplay including 3-ball multiball.

This game is so rare that some in the EM collector community (or even all of the pinball community) around the world have been looking for it for 20+ years to no avail. I feel kind of bad that I'm the one who got it after not even being alive for that long, but hey, I have the urge to save this game, the willpower, time, and will be bringing it to pinball shows like York and Allentown (not this year, of course) to share with others and that is what drives me to do this the most.

This game was partially working 4 days ago. Unfortunately, in that time, it was deemed that it would bring in more money if parted out. I don't think he knew what it could bring as a whole given the rarity, but what's done is done. The parts were cut from the ends of the harness (playfield and bottom control board 90% intact however), removed from the cabinet, and the cabinet was painted black with obscene words painted on it for whatever reason (I'm guessing attention), then smashed to bits while being recorded as it was thrown out. It does not seem like Mike from GRC is very happy with pinball anymore based on conversation and he is parting out/smashing many machines.

I quickly bought the remains of this poor machine before any of the parts were bought and sent off around the world shortly after the listing.

I will say that during this pickup he was nothing but kind and welcoming to me. It went very smooth. I have heard about Mike's and GRC's history however I cannot honestly say that it was a negative experience besides buying this game in pieces rather than in whole, but still. I was welcomed into the showroom to play a few games with Mike, and he also wasn't hard to work with at all and was very responsive to inquiries. I do not mean to be derogatory and like to maintain a neutral position with everybody and it looks like he does a lot of hard work but also this new fashion of destroying games/jukeboxes that are more than fixable simply just does not sit very well with me and it feels like that goes against everything and my friends here try to preserve. I do understand the business aspect of it though. Let's just say, I didn't pay the amount of money I paid for this being done but rather FOR Star-Jet. Wouldn't matter who sold it. I would hope if Mike sees this thread he understands where I am coming from. Enough of that talk and I do not want this to turn into a GRC thread.

There is a great thread for discussing the unfortunate destruction (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/one-less-star-jet) but I want this thread to be about fixing that!

I wasn't very happy with what was done BUT I set my feelings aside and did some proper business rather than just complaining about it. All of my pickups have been filled with joy and excitement as I knew I was going to share the passion of pinball preservation with fellow collectors as they passed on a machine to me but obviously this one felt a bit different, of course. Regardless, I'm glad I got it.

You can watch the video of it working then being destroyed here:

http://i.imgur.com/18Pfl4p.png
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http://i.imgur.com/uSmUMFz.png

[Video and snapshots above of video credit to Gameroom Collectibles/GRC, I do not own the footage, etc., etc.]

Let's begin this hard journey. This is going to take hours upon hours but I am ready. This thread will be updated accordingly as work is done. I am currently seeking out a new cabinet but until then I will try to get to the little odds and ends.

I picked up the machine today (you'll notice in the video the light board was thrown in the dumpster, Mike dug it out for me as per request as I wasn't gonna find another one of these):

star-jet_(resized).jpg

#2 3 years ago

You have youth and enthusiasm on your side. I will certainly keep my eyes open for a cabinet for you, and will lend my support any way that I can. I'm not very well versed on the workings of Bally machines though. Hey, a shout out to all you Bally guys! Chime in, and give this kid whatever help you can. Keep us updated, Otaku! Best of luck.

#3 3 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

You have youth and enthusiasm on your side. I will certainly keep my eyes open for a cabinet for you, and will lend my support any way that I can. I'm not very well versed on the workings of Bally machines though. Hey, a shout out to all you Bally guys! Chime in, and give this kid whatever help you can. Keep us updated, Otaku! Best of luck.

Thanks! This is my first Bally so I'm not too well versed either but a relay's a relay, and I've worked on friends' Bally EM machines before. Not a big Bally fan prior the solid state years whatsoever so all of my other machines are Williams and Gottlieb machines but would definitely pay for Bally solid-states (which are great, although I still think Williams was the SS king but that's another story of course), just not a fan of their EMs based on looks and play. However of course this machine is a MAJOR exception in both areas! Every manufacturer has an absolute gem from time to time for sure even if you sway away from a certain brand of machine. Looking forward to finally having a Bally machine in my game room for the sake of brand variety, let alone "this" one.

#4 3 years ago

Got the chance to take some pictures. Here is what I am starting with. (I also have about 20 flat rate boxes in my living room, not one piece was left behind luckily...) The lower playfield is a little rough (and has a carved mark across it?) but the upper playfield is actually quite nice. It did not deserve this. The pop bumpers are wrong but everything else looks complete. One plastic is cracked, missing a small piece, the others look good. I think the piece is around.

The backglass is missing some paint but on solid colors (black-backed area) and has some touchups at the bottom but the actual lighted artwork seems to be holding up quite well. It will be getting coated soon. (The yellow on one of the windows is a part of my house showing through, not the glass)

Head has a spaghetti mess of a wiring harness cut out, kept it's shape of course. I went from "this won't work" to "this will work" to "this won't work" as I noticed some were cut from the base of where they separated from the rest rather than where they went to. If I need to recreate a wiring harness (or portions), I honestly do not mind as much as a pain in the ass it will be. Wiring is fun, or at least before I start...

This thing has not one but TWO giant relay banks in addition to the regular relays. Interesting.

Searching the internet (Pinside, IPSND, videos), looks like there's under 10-12 left in the world. Granted that probably doesn't include dead roached games in the barns of farms somewhere, but still. Low number, and that is even after many many people searching so you know anything to be found so far has been found.

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#5 3 years ago

I have dealt with Mike, and like you, was invited to play his games. He seemed to be a good guy, and treated us well. (we were there to buy a playfield glass).
He is not an EM guy, and I guess for him it is just business, but I cannot see them trashing a playable machine.
Anyway...what happened, happened.

I am glad you got it and are fixing it up. I am anxious for updates!

Good luck!

E.

#6 3 years ago

Wow, I do love that play field art. Spectacular! I wish you the best in your endeavors to save that pin.

#7 3 years ago

Otaku,

Need to make the best of the situation and get some good playfield and plastic scans / dimensions while you are in the restoration process. This would be an opportunity to get a start on repro playfields for those who find project games or want to invest in future builds. If you are willing to part with the playfield for a bit I'm willing to begin the process.

Rody

#8 3 years ago

Hi,

Good to see this game saved!
Seen the video - the cabinet was in bad shape and repainted with... questionable taste. So the cabinet itself was probably not a big loss. Losing the game would have.

I owned a Star Jet for a while. Your backglass looks in much better shape than mine! I had to buy a repro from Shay which turned out to be really nice.

Quoted from Otaku:

This game is so rare that some in the EM collector community (or even all of the pinball community) around the world have been looking for it for 20+ years to no avail.

Well, when I put a FS add two years ago, I cannot say I was overwhelmed by outrageous offers and counter offers...
Game was sold to a gentleman in England who does high end restorations. My game was is fair shape but far from CQ level.

Love the overall art package.

#9 3 years ago

While Mike may not be an EM guy, Ray Brackins (the tech & restorer) knows EM's quite well.
It is a shame that they trashed this game for parts, but really no different from TNT amusements throwing one off a roof!!
I wish Otaku lots of luck in the restoration.

#10 3 years ago

Best of luck in your endeavor - sounds like it'll be keeping you busy for a while! If I can help in any way, let me know.

#11 3 years ago

I knew exactly where to start. This was just getting annoying and needed to be killed off, so I did it.

At least that's the last of the "real" stupidity (the rest of the paint stuff was destroyed of course), didn't need a coin door kicking around with that on it. I misplaced my phone during the later times, there was actually a silver coat or two under the white as well so I got it pretty far down (not shown) and right now I'm letting the last "session" go for 24 hours.

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#12 3 years ago

Also, thanks for all of the nice comments folks.

Quoted from Rody:

Otaku,
Need to make the best of the situation and get some good playfield and plastic scans / dimensions while you are in the restoration process. This would be an opportunity to get a start on repro playfields for those who find project games or want to invest in future builds. If you are willing to part with the playfield for a bit I'm willing to begin the process.
Rody

I'll certainly keep it in mind, but just a lot going on right now including this. Would also hate for it to get damaged/lost in shipping. Thanks!

#13 3 years ago
Quoted from Otaku:

I'll certainly keep it in mind, but just a lot going on right now including this. Would also hate for it to get damaged/lost in shipping. Thanks!

Every large city has a Cruse scanner service for rent.

You don't even have to take the stuff off the back of the playfield

cruse_scanner_(resized).jpg

Here is a Medusa being scanned with the backside still populated:

#14 3 years ago
Quoted from jlm33:

Well, when I put a FS add two years ago, I cannot say I was overwhelmed by outrageous offers and counter offers...

Misread this or I would have responded before. That's a shame! I was just searching around here for Star-Jet posts and found quite a few that said things like that. Maybe not actively seeking then (or just exaggerated posts), I sure know that feeling with a few games.

Might be the location too.

Thanks for your response jlm!

I wonder what price could be put on a fully restored version of one of these? Just out of curiousity. Don't plan to sell for a very very long time (if that) and plan to restore accordingly.

#15 3 years ago

I did a very extensive web search over a few hours and documented a list of known/found Star-Jet machines. If you know of any other machines than what is included (even if you/they wish to remain anonymous) please contact me! My final count was 24/25 around the world, and of course that is strictly an estimate backed up with sources. I would imagine it's a little hard to get from 1,050 to 24 so this list does not include any games in very private collections from those "disconnected" collectors if this title even exists in those collections, nor does it include games that would be stuffed in barns somewhere and lost in time.

http://wedgehead.net/pages/starjet.html

-------------------------------------------------------------------

There was one last layer of paint on my coin door before starting to see a shiny metal finish so I let it sit overnight with the stripping agent on it. I would assume this tough last layer was the darker factory paint (painted over with silver, then white, then vandalized by GRC), as although the shiny metal is nice the proper 60's Bally color was a painted dark gray which this door will be returned to.

The legs will match that color too, however mine are painted black. I will fix that as well, as well as doing the frame for the door which I excluded for now. Going to check on the door in about an hour once the sun slowly starts to come up.

#16 3 years ago

I have a Star-Jet and will be happy to help as I can. The coin door and legs are more of a hammertone grey.

See some pictures of my game here that show the door and the legs:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-show-us-your-em-pinball-machines/page/115#post-2989578

I can provide more pictures as needed. Good luck with the restoration!

#17 3 years ago
Quoted from aahgo:

I have a Star-Jet and will be happy to help as I can. The coin door and legs are more of a hammertone grey.
See some pictures of my game here that show the door and the legs:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/em-show-us-your-em-pinball-machines/page/115#post-2989578
I can provide more pictures as needed. Good luck with the restoration!

That's the post I have been using primarily to base this off of. Beautiful machine!

Do you think a later Bally cabinet would work, as I have a line on one (70's door, not the later mid-60's one)? The coin door looks so much taller than it really is on these (I was worried about that being too tall for the new cabinet but thinking about it, it should fit with some drilling modifications), with the frame and all looking big but in reality it's just really flat metal.

I'm also starting to think he forgot the lockdown assembly (not bar) unless it's apart of something else. I do seem to have *every* single other piece, literally nothing was left behind AFAIK. Still have more boxes to open, we'll see.

#18 3 years ago

I think you will have problems trying to make a later cabinet work. The Bally's from the early sixties have a lock down bar that has the coin slots in it. This means the cabinet has slots milled in it to accept the hardware to guide the coins into the coin chutes that are mounted on the inside of the cabinet. If you do a search on IPDB for Bally between '63-'65, you can see what these look like. Also the backbox heads might be different sizes. I would search out cabinets (or parts games) from multi-player Bally in those years. That will require the least amount of retrofitting and fiddling.

I have an electronic copy of the Bally parts manual from 1965 that shows the different parts for the games of that era. I will send it directly to your e-mail.

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from Otaku:

I wonder what price could be put on a fully restored version of one of these? Just out of curiousity. Don't plan to sell for a very very long time (if that) and plan to restore accordingly

You raised my curiosity so I wanted to find out. Game is listed as sold, with an asking price of 6,750 GBP - it was the most expensive game on the list.
http://www.pinballcreative.co.uk/product-category/games-for-sale/page/4/

I have not seen the game "in person" after a full restoration but based on the pictures I saw it was really a nice High end job.

Quoted from Otaku:

Do you think a later Bally cabinet would work, as I have a line on one (70's door, not the later mid-60's one)?

From what I recall, cabinet body is shorter. Dimensions would not fit.

#20 3 years ago

"If you know of any other machines than what is included (even if you/they wish to remain anonymous) please contact me!"

There is one in the St. Louis area that I know of.

#21 3 years ago

EM spaghetti. This game has a very very busy backbox. The harness felt very gross to work on, smelt bad, and couldn't really see the wire color details. Not anymore!

Tossed it in the wash on delicate, then to avoid corrosion I threw it in the dryer for a few minutes on the coldest setting (to not melt the very few rubber insulated high voltage wires) while checking on it and took it out while it was mostly dry but still lightly damp to the touch. Now drying fully in front of an air heater.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to be able to use this, but luckily no cuts/or hacks besides some cut short during removal. I am planning on extending these wires with new wire (and solder and shrink tubing) to reach where they need to go to. This is by far the most intimidating part of the project. Of course I am getting a schematic and even after washing and tumble drying it kept it's shape very well.

Don't worry, I'm not in the "spray EVERYTHING with a hose and simple green" club like some but as crazy as this probably sounds to the layman, it is perfectly fine if you are careful.

My coin door was also cleaned off earlier this morning, the stripping agent sure did it's job! Next step for that is to sand and paint to the correct darker gray color.

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#22 3 years ago

Hi Otaku,

Thanks for reaching out to me via PM, asking about my Bally Hay-Ride cabinet dimensions, and directing me to this thread. I replied to your PM, but just so the information is public knowledge, I figured I would include it here as well.

I measured my 1964 Bally "Hay-Ride" cabinet and across the front it is about 22" wide (a little less across the cab, a little more across the lockdown bar) by 13.5" tall. The back of the cabinet measures 18" to the top of the backbox neck and the whole cab is 52" long. Hope this helps!

I'll be following this restore thread closely! Kudos on tackling an ambitious restoration like this. Best of luck, and thank your parents for allowing you to use their washing machine for your wiring harness. Ha-ha! ...or wait. Do they know? (Maybe don't thank them.) *LOL*

Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics
www.ElephantEater.com

#23 3 years ago

Hope you are successful in your restore project.
I need to repaint my cabinet, as it is a solid kelly green.

#24 3 years ago

We've got a '63 Cue-Tease and a '64 Bongo (the two player Ballys before and after Star-Jet.) if you need some Head dimensions, let me know. It may be easier to build a new one than source a replacement. It's pretty simple joinery.

Still hoping to find a Star-Jet of my own, had a few slip through my fingers, until then, best of luck bringing yours back. I'm slowly building a Dixieland myself, started with just a populated playfield I found at a yard sale while driving through Las Vegas years ago. I think I have most of the parts to get started on assembly, the problem is finding them all in my store room...

#25 3 years ago

Good luck with this project - hope you get it back together into a whole game again !

#26 3 years ago

Today I cleaned off the rest (did some a few days earlier) of the back panel with a magic eraser. I didn't really want to paint it although I am going for that kind of restoration, but I wanted to keep the original pencil and pen markings while also keeping the original paint on it. It is not in bad shape. This thing was DIRTY. Worked nicely! All of the original labels of the units & settings remained/remain intact on this piece of wood in pretty nice condition. There is even still the original piece of construction paper on a part of it which looks like it blocked a line of sockets from making a connection against something else once fully assembled. Cool!

The exposed thick 6 volt GI connection line had actually left many burn marks on the painted wood, interesting. They cleaned off but I guess this game was on a whole lot back in the day!

Pictures of this coming soon once I charge my phone and then soon it's time for re-assembly and soldering in the next few days! Still looking for a cabinet...

Probably going to build a head but don't really want to build the body so the playfield slides in and out like original.

#27 3 years ago

The title of this post should be "BARBARIC 1963". :O

Today:

- Wired in a new power cord (decided to rock a brand new brown 2-prong like the original (but heavier gauge and likely longer too), sorry for no 3-prong but I'll live)
- Desoldered old destroyed fuse holder
- Cleaned up a few things with solder

But more importantly... remove the thin mercury-filled vial that acts as one of the tilt switches. WTF? Yes, you read that right. (on the contrary, I do realize a lot of you probably won't be surprised) I desoldered this and wired back around it (not really needed in the home environment or anywhere these days anyways, tilt ball equivalent, which is also what replaced it later on, this game doesn't have one as it wasn't invented yet) and quickly got it out of my house and into a safe storage location elsewhere off-site in a padded carrying case.

I know some people are going to say "oh, that's completely fine" (lol) but having this thing bumped around and moved constantly as I work on it, in my own home, is not a good mix. Crazy! This would never pass today.

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#28 3 years ago

Depending on the age of your house (more to the point - your thermostats) you may still have mercury switches around.

(They're totally safe unless you're careless, clumsy, or really curious about what mercury tastes like.)

#29 3 years ago
Quoted from Beatnik-Filmstar:

Depending on the age of your house (more to the point - your thermostats) you may still have mercury switches around.
(They're totally safe unless you're careless, clumsy, or really curious about what mercury tastes like.)

Yeah, reading around more, it doesn't seem like such a big deal. Regardless, I think I'm going to leave it out (at least for now).

#30 3 years ago

What?!?
You never as a kid played with Mercury, rolling it around in your hand?

#31 3 years ago

Hey, I own one of these, so if you need any help with measurements or anything else, let me know. Won't be able to supply anything until later next week though. Also, this is a long shot, but Lloyd from Coinopwarehouse had a cabinet with playfield in the flea market section at Allentown a few years ago. He might remember what happened to it. I considered picking it up as it was before I got the one I have, but didn't have storage space at the time. By the way, I need a back box cover for mine if anybody has a spare, it's a harder to find size.

#32 3 years ago

One time I brought in a bit of mercury from an old thermostat into school to show to my class in science. The science teacher loved it, but the next period, some stupid child told my english teacher who promptly wrote me up, and I was almost suspended. I was in 8th grade. The only reason I didn't get suspended was because I wrote an essay to the teacher and principal about how common mercury is in things like tooth fillings, salmon, and other thermostats that they had HANGING ON THE WALLS AT SCHOOL. I should add that the school I went to was filled with a-holes.

Quoted from pinwiztom:

You never as a kid played with Mercury, rolling it around in your hand?

My grandfather was a chemist for Esso (now ExxonMobile), and he always had a big jar of the stuff on his workbench at home. My dad used to take it out and play with it when he was a kid.

Anyway, my 1963 Swing-Along has a mercury tilt in it. I left it in. I figured if it could survive 53+ years without breaking and being shipped from overseas (my game was a France export/re-import), it could survive being bumped around in my basement, but I totally respect why you've decided to remove it.

Also, Otaku, let me know if I can help in some way! I'd be glad to lend a hand. I'm not as useful as many others around these forums, but I love game saving threads like these.

#33 3 years ago

Schematic arrived a few days ago, got to work tonight a little! A long way to go but progress is progress.

Couldn't decide which set to start on (not that it matters), and really wanted to open another package, so since player 2's reels were still packed up and during the decision the song "It Takes Two" (to make things go RIGHT...) popped into my head for like the first time ever, I made my choice... (Of course still a little to go on this one, I know it's not finished, I didn't miss anything, hah)

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(Not my type of music by the way LOL)

4 months later
#34 2 years ago

This project is obviously on hold due to budget but still will be continuing. My cousin's new husband (we're all pretty close) works at a carpentry shop and said he would be able to build a pinball cabinet to specific dimensions. Great!

All the rest of this soldering is going to drive me wild. I found an original schematic though, so that helps. Every single piece and plug in the head was cut from the harness. Wish I could just find a bodyless early 60's Bally.

#35 2 years ago

Looming in the shadows... (Backglass is far enough back from the rest of the stuff, don't worry, it was just a weird angle)

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#36 2 years ago

Good luck on this ambitious restoration, Otaku. Great to meet you in person this past weekend at the York show. Maybe one day this gem will be brought to a public venue. In the meantime, all the best as you power through this project.

#37 2 years ago
Quoted from RyanClaytor:

Good luck on this ambitious restoration, Otaku. Great to meet you in person this past weekend at the York show. Maybe one day this gem will be brought to a public venue. In the meantime, all the best as you power through this project.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm shooting for Pinfest 2017 and onwards! (Meaning it will definitely will make a stop at York)

Great meeting you as well!

#38 2 years ago

Before making a new lower cabinet, you may first want to try contacting "too-many-pins" on here. He did have a Bally Grand Tour that he was parting out. Not certain if the cab is still around though. The head would not match, but the cab should be the same style (Grand Tour is 5 pins after Star-Jet.

Likewise, if you need any pics, LMK. We've had 2 Star Jets pass through here over the years. We have pics from one, not certain about the other. http://jtamusements.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_45&products_id=674

Jim @ JT Amusements

#39 2 years ago

You are doing good work sir, saving this gem from the dumpster!

#40 2 years ago
Quoted from Gott_Lieb:

Before making a new lower cabinet, you may first want to try contacting "too-many-pins" on here. He did have a Bally Grand Tour that he was parting out. Not certain if the cab is still around though. The head would not match, but the cab should be the same style (Grand Tour is 5 pins after Star-Jet.

That is indeed the same lower cabinet, the cutoff is with Trio (November '65), or for multiplayer cabinets to get the matching head, with Discotek from September of '65.

Thanks for posting! I sent him a PM, fingers crossed for a miracle.

#41 2 years ago

Made myself a guideline that I will fill out when preparing to rewire the head. All this time rewiring the head with new wire was discarded as a "crazy" option and I was going to try and work with the original hacked harness (cut from everything, just a big bunch of shaped wire now you can hold with your hands in the air completely disattached from everything).

Just recently I realized how reasonable doing it new would be with a simple guide and just going point to point without worrying about routing wires the proper way or any of that. Granted, they will be long enough to eventually be tied up neatly but I was making it way more complicated in my head than it needed to be, and grouping things together (like going score reel to score reel on the old harness), but if you do it one wire at a time it almost seems like child's play and almost entertaining, with a TV show or movie on in the background or something like that. I don't know why this didn't click in my head until now, it doesn't really seem that difficult, as in I feel I could do it in a day or two (or three). The old harness was cut a little too short in spots and the colors were faded away making it difficult to tell what goes where.

I kind of baffled myself, hah. Now I'm actually excited again and ready to continue using this method. I don't know what I was thinking before, but that giant harness sure is daunting. I guess I thought I'd have to do it by vision or something (nearly impossible) if I were to remake the entire thing, but I even have a schematic now, so away we go! I'm confused and happy right now, lol. It all seems so simple now even though the process will still be pretty advanced.

Here is my new spreadsheet that I'm going to fill out using the schematic, then use the completed version to wire together my backbox:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16LEf_oQKRQf4g0GZTqhHQVSpZUm1YRymo3-xD80XHMg/edit#gid=0

It's kind of funny now, yes there is a lot of wires to solder from one point to another, but after that, the really hard part is pretty much done! My little ephinany has revealed a wondrous path to continue this restoration, I was starting to think it would never get done.

Of course the jones plug paths are not all and I'll need to wire the interconnections (i.e. ones score reels to match unit, 10 point relay to reel and bell, etc.) and other things that don't start at/pass through the female jones plugs. I got there in time that the playfield & bottom board weren't hacked yet by GRC nor were the male jones plugs cut off, so that end of things was already pretty much done. Granted, I'll still have to shop it out and do some repairs of old operator hacks (likely), but that's nothing compared to rewiring the entire playfield. I am incredibly grateful I don't have to rewire that bottom board. That may have been where I drew the line! Lots of stuff down there!

Here is a complete original Bally Star-Jet backbox (credit to IPDB, machine noted as early production):

image-45 (resized).jpg

#42 2 years ago

And as I recently advised to RyanClaytor (and I always do to others), I will be replacing the female jones plugs from the get-go with Gottlieb ones before beginning on this. Here's hoping I can find some good matches pretty soon!

Also, before it's brought up, I am going to try and use cloth covered wire however it honestly wouldn't bug me as much as it would some (which is a lot I've heard!) to use modern rubber insulated wire through-out, for this rebuild. Does anybody know what gauge typical EM wire is for the normal 30~ volts?

1 month later
#43 2 years ago
Quoted from Otaku:

This game was partially working 4 days ago. Unfortunately, in that time, it was deemed that it would bring in more money if parted out... the cabinet was painted black with obscene words painted on it for whatever reason (I'm guessing attention), then smashed to bits while being recorded as it was thrown out... he is parting out/smashing many machines.

I'm not sure I fully understand after watching the videos of him and TNT Amusement when they trashed so many machines... I get they cost money and many are in that "Lost Cause" realm. But they should at least offer to sell them because there a tons of guys like you or I, who'd love to grab one of these roasted bad boys and work on them. This month I jumped into the pinball hobby by picking up a very rough Drop-A-Card. But nothing a coat of paint and thorough cleaning can't fix! If it works then that's good enough in my book! A beater is perfect man-cave quality.
I really just don't understand... sure some parts are worth good money, but it's nominal at best considering the added effort involved in gutting and parting when you could just find someone else who wants to deal with the whole project all together!
It seems more-so that they don't want these cheapo machines passing around and would rather keep the cost of entry high to pad those profit margins.

Quoted from Otaku:

EM spaghetti... Tossed it in the wash on delicate, then to avoid corrosion I threw it in the dryer for a few minutes on the coldest setting (to not melt the very few rubber insulated high voltage wires) while checking on it and took it out while it was mostly dry but still lightly damp to the touch. Now drying fully in front of an air heater.
Don't worry, I'm not in the "spray EVERYTHING with a hose and simple green" club like some but as crazy as this probably sounds to the layman, it is perfectly fine if you are careful.

Now THIS is my kind of resto! "If it gets the job done!" that's awesome and almost a shame mine is all together... not sure how to clean the thick armor of dust off the wires when they're already set up. (Any tips?) And what's the simple green refer to? I'm quite a newbie unfortunately!

Quoted from Otaku:

Today I cleaned off the rest (did some a few days earlier) of the back panel with a magic eraser. I didn't really want to paint it although I am going for that kind of restoration, but I wanted to keep the original pencil and pen markings while also keeping the original paint on it. It is not in bad shape. This thing was DIRTY. Worked nicely! All of the original labels of the units & settings remained/remain intact on this piece of wood in pretty nice condition. There is even still the original piece of construction paper on a part of it which looks like it blocked a line of sockets from making a connection against something else once fully assembled. Cool!

Same question applies if this is a good route to clean a filthy machine? Basically the one I acquired was only on location for a few years and has spend several decades rusting out in some warehouse. Hardly any wear but in a cocoon of dust.

Quoted from Otaku:

The title of this post should be "BARBARIC 1963". :O
...remove the thin mercury-filled vial that acts as one of the tilt switches. WTF? Yes, you read that right. (on the contrary, I do realize a lot of you probably won't be surprised)... quickly got it out of my house and into a safe storage location elsewhere off-site in a padded carrying case.
I know some people are going to say "oh, that's completely fine" (lol) but having this thing bumped around and moved constantly as I work on it, in my own home, is not a good mix. Crazy! This would never pass today.

I am one of those people! I previously dabbled with chemistry and almost became a science major. I enjoy messing with chemicals and elements. Mercury is one of the most fascinating and captures most peoples attention with how unique and otherworldly it's properties! The dangerous form is Organic Mercury or methylmercury. It can be absorbed through skin, and will combine with other substances very readily. It can be inhaled as vapors and can poison you pretty quickly... However contrary to all the buzz, Elemental mercury is very stable and doesn't react with 99% of our environment. That's the one found in most of those older devices and also what used to be used as medicine as it can be ingested and will likely pass completely through you without any harm (most likely, but strong advised against) That's also the reason all of the folks from back in the day, up till whenever mercury became so widely scrutinized, aren't dying in droves from poisoning, because elemental mercury is relatively harmless! (It vaporizes much slower than other forms but it's still best to avoid inhaling the vapors)
I like to keep the stuff because it's so interesting and wondrous to look at, as well as it's many uses in old equipment. If you really don't want the tilt mech. I'd be interested in it!

Quoted from Otaku:

My cousin's new husband (we're all pretty close) works at a carpentry shop and said he would be able to build a pinball cabinet to specific dimensions. Great!

That's quite the break! I was musing about taking this route because the idea of preserving and salvaging games with wrecked cabinets is very alluring except for figuring out how to fabricate a new cabinet! If I come across any games in such a state I'll be sure to keep you in mind!

#44 2 years ago

Picking up an empty bottom cabinet in a few days!

#45 2 years ago

Today in less than an hour I'm blasting-off to Falls Church, Virginia to pick up an empty cabinet then staying with a family member down in Fredericksburg, Virginia overnight to ease the trip. (Even though it's quite a bit further down) Doing this because the next day I am picking up another machine and definitely do not want to make the trip down and back in the rush hour traffic which is the only time they can meet - I'd much rather just do it one way rather than two!

(Picture not mine)
17670945105_15ce5f4d96_o (resized).jpg

The cabinet is from a 1974 Bally Ro Go - which has a cabinet that's 3" deeper, but the angle/slope of the top of the cabinet was preserved in the design throughout the years. (meaning that the front of Ro Go is like 19.25", while the front of Star Jet is 16.25", and the rear dimension matches up to this "+3" equation as well) I'll just need to cut the cabinet down to size - likely from the middle, to preserve both the top angle and the leg holes. I think my plan of action is certainly disassembling it to do this. I'm going to do some bondo work anyways, so screwing the cabinet back together is an option - unless somebody believes I have any chance of doing it "whole".

Then after that it's a whole lot of biscuiting work and I will likely add some internal reinforcements (joints connecting the two halves, and if needed, replacing joints that connect the corners to each other) - then some bondo to seal the deal cosmetically. After that it should be as solid as whatever kind of aircraft a "Star-Jet" is!

Any recommendations are appreciated. Yes, I could just leave it as is, but there's certainly no fun or correctness in that! Needless to say, I'll be doing a whole ton of thinking before I jump into this, no worries.

Off I go! "Virginia is for lovers" is the state's slogan, and I'm in love with this game! Makin' it happen!

e203f4cb68ed0a1d83e038809df1a549770105c0 (resized).jpg

#46 2 years ago

Hmm, this guy seems to do it whole. That seems like the MUCH better option as long as the cabinet holds its four sides together, which I believe it is sturdy enough to do so through the process. I never thought of using a table saw. If I can source one of those, that would likely be a better idea than anything else I had in mind so far.

I have a close cousin in the woodworking profession, going to see what he thinks and if he can be any assistance in this endeavor. Anyways, off to VA I go!

#47 2 years ago
Quoted from Otaku:

Hmm, this guy seems to do it whole. That seems like the MUCH better option as long as the cabinet holds its four sides together, which I believe it is sturdy enough to do so through the process. I never thought of using a table saw. If I can source one of those, that would likely be a better idea than anything else I had in mind so far.
I have a close cousin in the woodworking profession, going to see what he thinks and if he can be any assistance in this endeavor. Anyways, off to VA I go!
» YouTube video

Sounds like quite the challenge, good luck! I'm excited to see how it goes

#48 2 years ago

I somehow managed to delete a nice version of this I had almost ready to post, what a pain in the ass! Oh well, here goes again:

463 (and a little more) miles and 2 whole days later, I have found a suitable body cabinet for my Star-Jet project! (with some small modifications done it will be 100% accurate)

I made my way down to pinsider rkahr's house as he had an empty 1974 Bally Ro Go body cabinet he was looking to get rid of for free, he had found it in a metal recycling dumpster near his house (what a coincidence in this niche hobby!), and luckily it appears it didn't get wet. It hasn't rained much recently and it must have been just thrown out before he grabbed it as it's still very very solid and dry. It definitely has some ugliness to it and is a little beat up, but considering I was obviously going to go through it with sanding and bondo of course that is perfectly fine! (and a little preferred)

As I was saying, I made my way down (about 2 and a half hours of a drive) to his house and found it waiting safely on the porch for me as promised, incase he wasn't home. Luckily I got there a bit later than we had worked out (and I let him know this far in advance) so luckily he was home and of course I took the opportunity to get a tour of the workshop (not shown, I figured I would respectfully leave that private, it was very cool) and the arcade! (r-kahr-cade anybody?):

Screenshot_3797 (resized).png
IMG_5989 (resized).JPG
IMG_5986 (resized).JPG
IMG_5987 (resized).JPG
IMG_5990 (resized).JPG
IMG_5991 (resized).JPG

Even got a keepsake and free souvenir from the Skee-Ball machine!:

IMG_5988 (resized).JPG

After that and saying goodbye, we loaded the cabinet up and I got on my way South to Fredericksburg to stay with family overnight as I planned for the next day:

IMG_6001 (resized).JPG
IMG_6029 (resized).JPG

I arrived safely after about an hour or so, maybe an hour and a half, to some welcoming old friends I haven't seen in a while:

IMG_6036 (resized).JPG

At this point I remembered I had asked them (the family I was staying with) a few months ago if a guy could drop off an empty Donkey Kong cabaret cabinet at their house for me to get next time I stopped by down there since he lived around 10 minutes from their house. Thankfully they said yes - what nice people. They kept it in their garage then eventually their basement. Not my absolute proudest question to have asked but I know I'm not the first around here to ask a similar favor! It will be a great restoration piece. Incase nobody knew, I have a collection of 14 arcade machines as well which I have too taught myself to repair and fix. They came first before I was bit by the pinball bug a few months later, and then it was slowly overrun by pinball a few months later - but I still love them too and regularly involve myself in them! They of course are not "different" hobbies from each other, it really is one big all-inclusive coin-op/pinball/arcade hobby, even at pinball shows you can frequently see a few arcade machines make an appearance.

I didn't get any good pictures of it yet, but here's what a complete one looks like, I will build mine to look like this and even better one of these days (cabaret machines are miniature machines (often called "minis") officially released alongside of the original standup machines and cocktail/sitdown tables, this one being released back in 1981 alongside of the other two variants of Donkey Kong machines (upright and cocktail)), it stands about 4-5 feet tall, here is a picture I found online as stated:

Y1AtADYl (resized).jpg

I got some good sleep on a comfy couch, then the next day I loaded that up, then made my way up to Leesburg, Virginia to pick up a 1969 Gottlieb Skipper in beautiful condition for a great price, thankfully the guy held it for me for around two weeks since we both had a very tight schedule (he could only meet Mondays and Wednesdays after 5, so I did by no means string him along, and also offered him his asking price straight-away as it was fair for both of us), this lovely looking machine will be a great addition to my collection! I was even pretty surprised when I walked in the door at the condition of the things like the coin door and the apron, and the inside of the game is untouched and BEAUTIFUL. All original wiring with no hacks always looks gorgeous! Some may say around this game looks a little empty but I have a very open mind and LOVE LOVE LOVE stuff like this, and I enjoy straying away from the usually collected machines. I still have a ball, no pun intended! This machine has some cool features and will be fun to also have some multiplayer "matches" on! Now speaking generally, I love the late 60's small-flipper 4-digit Gottlieb games for so many different reasons. They have my heart, but I'm sure you can say that about a lot of eras of machines. These are truly special in my opinion though and I'm glad they don't carry the same popularity as the early 60's games or the late 70's games because I always end up getting them for great prices since I'm a deal seeker, and I believe they are the coolest of the three eras (rat trap reel, 4 digit decagon reel, and 5 digit decagon reel is what I separate them by in my head) because they still carry that 60's artwork while looking great in modern times, unlike the early 60's Gottlieb games, which in my opinion have cool 60's artwork but admittedly are not always very attractive in all corners, usually just "historically cool" - not artwork I would hang up in my kitchen, per se. But that's just my opinion! The later 60's Gottlieb games designed by different artists after Roy Parker passed away have a modern sleekness to them and genuinely eye-pleasing art basically. Thankfully something that Star-Jet has as well, of course! That alone makes it a grail for most people and is why it can have such a hefty price tag! Space race art is definitely a very cool thing loved by most, and combine that with retro-futurism and you have a true gem on your hands!

Some of my favorite pinball art of all time is done by both Art Stenholm (first) and Gordon Morison (second), both mainly from the late 60's and 70's, and Skipper is no exception, being the work of Mr. Art Stenholm himself way back before its release by Gottlieb in November of 1969.

These 60's small-flipper Gottlieb 4-player machines are pretty appealing to me - there aren't many of these early late 60's four player Gottlieb machines out there (2-player games of the time are more commonly seen) with only 4 decagon reels per player and even less with this unique reel arrangement (placement on the backglass) - this was Gottlieb seeming to only tiptoe in the water for making the 4-player machines just like they had done in the woodrail era and the earlier metal-rail era while still primarily making single-player games and two-player games, before finally seeming to kick it into high gear in the 70's and release many 4-player titles and variants. This title had no two-player variant catered towards operators with less money (and having a different title), like many machines had. (i.e. Magnotron and Duotron, or Airport and College Queens if you want to be era-specific)

So I loaded up my brand new-to-me machine in the now-full minivan and headed towards home with my seat moved a little forward to fit everything in:

IMG_6225 (resized).JPG

(And what a beautiful machine it was, was repainted but tastefully with the sides of the body and head painted to try and match the original with a fresh take on the front of the head, and the original paint is underneath he said. I have never seen an original backglass so nice before (or at least rarely of course), amazing, looks even better in person! Definitely an amazing art 'package' by Art Stenholm for this machine.):

IMG_6350 (resized).PNG

I arrived home at around 9 or 10 PM with the mile marker ending off at 462.7 miles, which is a little short as I went to get gas before I reset it after leaving home towards Virginia.

All in two days' work!

IMG_6295 (resized).JPG

Now I wait here at home in Shillington, PA before the machines make yet another long but not-as-long-and-much-more-routine trip (they stay in the van) this weekend up to Union, NJ to my grandma's house/"my second home" where all my games (usually) live and get worked on in my space! So so so excited! What a fantastic pickup I have and adventure I got to have!

Thanks for tuning in and stick around for MORE!

#49 2 years ago

Man, I wish I joined this group a while back. I have a cabinet that would have fit
your needs perfectly. Best of luck.. (T)

#50 2 years ago
Quoted from Mopar:

Man, I wish I joined this group a while back. I have a cabinet that would have fit
your needs perfectly. Best of luck.. (T)

I guess it is true - they said every time you make an effort to go out of your way to do something one finally and immediately pops up without fail. Weird, it almost happened to a T.

I sent you a PM anyways! Very curious.

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