(Topic ID: 205751)

Space Shuttle hard top installation - Durability test


By fattdirk

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 48 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by fattdirk
  • Topic is favorited by 14 Pinsiders

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#1 1 year ago

So I'm going to document the installation of a hard top on my Space Shuttle. This isn't going to be a typical restoration as this game is for route. This means that I'm going to be installing the hard top, replacing coil sleeves, cleaning and adjusting mechs and that's about it. I'm not going to mess with the cabinet nor bother with a new ramp or plastics at this time. If the hard top holds up to the abuse of being on location then when she gets retired to my gameroom she'll get the full treatment.

I'll document the game thru it's life on route also. Check out this ugly pig.

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#2 1 year ago

Ok top side almost fully torn down. Am too tired to finish tonight so have a few more things to remove from the top like the lane switches and the trough. Will finish it up tomorrow. I layed the hard top onto the playfield and it appears it's going to be a great fit. This playfield is beat. The change is going to be amazing.

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#3 1 year ago

And yet somebody will still give you grief for ruining a perfectly fine playfield.

#4 1 year ago
Quoted from megalo17:

And yet somebody will still give you grief for ruining a perfectly fine playfield.

I don't know - this playfield might be acceptably bad.

#5 1 year ago

Playfield sanded with 60 then 150 then 220. Inserts polished with novus 3 and 2. Sprayed 1 light coat of crystal clear on the inserts.

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#6 1 year ago

fattdirk - awesome progess! Looks great! Out of curiosity, what kind of clear coat are you planning to put on before you put on the hardtop?

#7 1 year ago
Quoted from Sideways:

fattdirk - awesome proess! Looks great! Out of curiosity, what kind of clear coat are you planning to put on before you put on the hardtop?

I used krylon crystal clear but wasnt very happy with the results. It didn't lay flat even after I really sanded, wiped the pf down with naptha a ton of times and tack clothed everything. I ended up putting on three light coats just to get the inserts acceptably clear. If I were to do it again I'd spend the time and polish the inserts with high grit sandpaper instead. Lesson learned.
I've had good luck with crystal clear in the past sealing waterslide decals and touch ups and never had an issue with it bubbling up. I think either it was an old can or the surface was contaminated like there was just deep layers of silicone in the wood that didn't come out with sanding and naptha.

I ended up installing the hardtop last night. Another caution is to make sure to use pretty robust tape to hold the overlay on the playfield. I used masking tape and it tore while laying it down. It ended up screwing up my registration pretty bad.
I got kinda mad and just tore up the whole thing and laid it down freehand and it came out amazing. I can't believe how durable this thing is. Ended up looking pretty good.

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#8 1 year ago

Looks great, nice recovery.

#9 1 year ago

I am liking the looks of these new hardtops. Definitely a faster process for fixing an old PF. Not that taking the time to paint all the different colors and adding new decals is bad. But it is time consuming! Also seems to have a different look from hardtop to clear coat. I am waiting for F-14, as i am clear coating a NOS for my resto/custom. Will deffinitly buy the hardtop for the old PF and do this. Great job!

#10 1 year ago

Thanks I'm actually pretty satisfied with it. It's going to look great once it's installed. Sometimes I have to realize I'm going for much better than it was vs perfection otherwise I'll always be disappointed since I just don't possess the necessary skill level to perfect it. I have to be patient now as I'm waiting on new rubbers from pinball life and new LEDs from comet. The game actually came with an LED kit from cointaker and I had it installed but it used blue bulbs in the GI and was hideous in my opinion. It made it almost impossible to see the ball. I'm assuming the previous owner who provided the LED kit probably specified it to be that way. I"m going to replace the majority of the blue bulbs with white.

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from heni1977:

I am liking the looks of these new hardtops. Definitely a faster process for fixing an old PF. Not that taking the time to paint all the different colors and adding new decals is bad. But it is time consuming! Also seems to have a different look from hardtop to clear coat. I am waiting for F-14, as i am clear coating a NOS for my resto/custom. Will deffinitly buy the hardtop for the old PF and do this. Great job!

The hartop was 100x easier than doing a PF swap or restoration. I think it's a great option. I'm curious as to how the durability is going to be. It seems pretty durable but the surface itself smudges which I'm wondering if it's going to be an issue on route. I need to reach out and find out what is recommended for surface care as they don't recommend using any novus on it. I'm not sure if you are supposed to wax it like a standard playfied or not. I'll continue posting pictures as I put the game back together but I'm at a stand still until I get the additional parts in.

#12 1 year ago

Yes definitely interested in how it does on route. I have also wondered how the hardtop would be cleaned/waxed. I am following as this will be of great interest i think to anyone who plans on doing this to there PF!

#13 1 year ago

I'm confused. What's a "hardtop"? Is it the same as an overlay?

#14 1 year ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

I'm confused. What's a "hardtop"? Is it the same as an overlay?

http://www.pinballgifts.com/store/p75/Pinball_Playfield_Hardtop.html

Kinda yeah, kinda not. It's an overlay with a very strong and durable clear coat. They are doing good work with these.

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

I'm confused. What's a "hardtop"? Is it the same as an overlay?

It's like an overlay printed onto a playfield protector is how i would describe it. Looks like a high gloss clearcoated PF after it's installed.

#16 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

Another caution is to make sure to use pretty robust tape to hold the overlay on the playfield. I used masking tape and it tore while laying it down. It ended up screwing up my registration pretty bad.
I got kinda mad and just tore up the whole thing and laid it down freehand and it came out amazing. I can't believe how durable this thing is. Ended up looking pretty good.

I ended up using quick grip clamps instead of tape and would recommend the same for everyone else.

#17 1 year ago
Quoted from AMBoggs:

I ended up using quick grip clamps instead of tape and would recommend the same for everyone else.

I agree. Should probably suggest that to outside edge as an install tip for the instruction sheet.

#18 1 year ago

The space shuttle hard top we put on the school machine has about 500 plays so far and still looks the same as when we put it on... so far so good . Will be interesting to see how it holds up on route.

#19 1 year ago

I think it's going to hold up great. I just want to document it.

#20 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

I used krylon crystal clear but wasnt very happy with the results. It didn't lay flat even after I really sanded, wiped the pf down with naptha a ton of times and tack clothed everything. I ended up putting on three light coats just to get the inserts acceptably clear. If I were to do it again I'd spend the time and polish the inserts with high grit sandpaper instead. Lesson learned.
I've had good luck with crystal clear in the past sealing waterslide decals and touch ups and never had an issue with it bubbling up. I think either it was an old can or the surface was contaminated like there was just deep layers of silicone in the wood that didn't come out with sanding and naptha.
I ended up installing the hardtop last night. Another caution is to make sure to use pretty robust tape to hold the overlay on the playfield. I used masking tape and it tore while laying it down. It ended up screwing up my registration pretty bad.
I got kinda mad and just tore up the whole thing and laid it down freehand and it came out amazing. I can't believe how durable this thing is. Ended up looking pretty good.

fattdirk - thanks so much for sharing! I'll make sure I use some quick grip clamps instead of just masking tape. As for the clear coat I've used Polycrylic in the past, and I was happy with it, but it takes weeks to cure before anything. On my next project I'm planning to use some sort of auto clear coat; seems to be what everyone here says is best.

Either way your pinball play field looks beautiful! Nice save, and I love the look of the hardtop. Thanks again for sharing, and Happy New Year!

#21 1 year ago

Nice, congrats. I'm interested to see how it does on route!

#22 1 year ago

Love this. Thanks for posting as I'm interested in this product

#23 1 year ago
Quoted from Sideways:

As for the clear coat I've used Polycrylic in the past, and I was happy with it, but it takes weeks to cure before anything.

Please make sure and document your results. I've never had an issue with crystal clear before. I'm wondering if it was expired. I pulled it off the shelf in the garage. I like the crystal clear because it drives in 30 mins which is nice.

Doesn't look like we're going to have any updates until next week. Won't be able to fuss with it Sat or Sun due to obligations.

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#24 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

Please make sure and document your results. I've never had an issue with crystal clear before. I'm wondering if it was expired. I pulled it off the shelf in the garage. I like the crystal clear because it drives in 30 mins which is nice.
Doesn't look like we're going to have any updates until next week. Won't be able to fuss with it Sat or Sun due to obligations.

Sure, no problem; I'll document it eventually. Did it a few years back, but here's a picture of my finished clear coat when I used Polycrylic. I'm just hesitating on whether I should use Polycrylic again or go the harder route with Auto Clear. You can see I'm currently documenting my overlay project here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/new-overlay-project-on-flash-gordon#post-4140912

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#25 1 year ago

That looks sweet. Is there any reason you're leaning towards clearing the inserts vs sanding? I used clear because I thought it would save time. If I was going to do it again I would've sanded them. I believe in the other hard top thread it was mentioned that there could be potential outgassing issues with auto clear. I'm not sure how long it takes to fully cure.

#26 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

That looks sweet. Is there any reason you're leaning towards clearing the inserts vs sanding? I used clear because I thought it would save time. If I was going to do it again I would've sanded them. I believe in the other hard top thread it was mentioned that there could be potential outgassing issues with auto clear. I'm not sure how long it takes to fully cure.

Thanks! Not sure if I understand your question, but on my current project I'm actually replacing the inserts entirely.... so once I have the new inserts glued in, then I'll be clear coating the play field before I put the new overlay on. I wouldn't want to just sand the playfield, and then put the overlay on. The reason I wanted to clear coat before the overlay is so that the wood is sealed in along with the inserts. Plus then I can use water/soap to position the overlay if needed (which is VERY scary, but once I have it positioned, then I would use a squeegee to squeeze the water/soap out).

#27 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

It's like an overlay printed onto a playfield protector is how i would describe it. Looks like a high gloss clearcoated PF after it's installed.

It's a special plastic thats been reverse printed on the back side. All the printing is on the back of it.

#28 1 year ago

Made some decent progress today. My pinball life order came in a day early so I got my new rubbers and coil sleeves. I ran the posts thru the ultra sonic, rebuilt the pops, started repopulating the underside of the playfield. I had to quit with the topside build since I haven't receive my Come order yet and can't fathom reinstalling the hideous blue leds in the GI. Hopefully the LEDS come in tomorrow. Otherwise I'll probably finish replacing the rest of the coil sleeves and run the rest of the posts thru the ultra sonic.

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#30 1 year ago

Looking Good! Is it just me or do the lines look sharper than the original PF's? I know I felt this way when I saw the machine they had set up at Chicago expo this year.

#31 1 year ago

Looks good Matt.

We did change recommendations on installation. The last two prototypes I aligned the top and held it in place with clamps.

#32 1 year ago

Great thread...thanks for sharing...

#33 1 year ago
Quoted from heni1977:

Looking Good! Is it just me or do the lines look sharper than the original PF's? I know I felt this way when I saw the machine they had set up at Chicago expo this year.

Hard to tell with the dirty lens on my camera. I guess when you're a few gins deep it looks clear. I'll have to clean the lens and get better pics. It does look fantastic. I have another playfield I can hold up next to it for some pics if you'd like.

#34 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

Hard to tell with the dirty lens on my camera.

Ask Marvin to borrow his potato.

#35 1 year ago
Quoted from Skypilot:

Ask Marvin to borrow his potato.

I think his technique is to pick his nose and rub it on the lens before taking any sale pictures. mjpinballs

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#36 1 year ago

She's coming along!!

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#37 1 year ago

And BOOM! Still need to tweak it a bit. All the switches need adjusted due to additional thickness if the overlay. The outhole kicker has too much play and isn't working right. Otherwise the game plays like a dream. I highly recommend picking one of these up.

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#38 1 year ago

fattdirk Way to go!!! I love everything you’ve done to it!! Thanks for sharing and documenting everything.

I’ll keep an eye out for a space shuttle machine and hopefully be a proud owner of one someday. Thanks again, and will definitely have this page bookmarked for future references. Cheers man!

#39 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

And BOOM! Still need to tweak it a bit. All the switches need adjusted due to additional thickness if the overlay. The outhole kicker has too much play and isn't working right. Otherwise the game plays like a dream. I highly recommend picking one of these up.

Beautiful.

#40 1 year ago

Wow. I've been eyeing this product since I read about it a while ago. I don't currently have one of the games that they are being made for, but if I pick one up at some point that is beat, the playfield won't be a concern. Looks phenomenal. Congratulations on a job well done.

2 weeks later
#41 1 year ago

question for you...when you sanded the playfield, what did you do to protect the underside from the dust/ Did you plug the bulb holes and switch slots etc with anything?

#42 1 year ago
Quoted from tominator:

question for you...when you sanded the playfield, what did you do to protect the underside from the dust/ Did you plug the bulb holes and switch slots etc with anything?

I didn't do anything. Not sure what you would be worried about as far as dust. I just sanded it, wiped it with naptha and a tack cloth.

#43 1 year ago

Get some foam behind those targets.

mof

#44 1 year ago

You could also lower you air pressure and blow the dust away or a vacuum with panty hose on it so you don't scrap the pf.
Then wipe with naptha.

2 months later
#45 1 year ago
Quoted from fattdirk:

And BOOM! Still need to tweak it a bit. All the switches need adjusted due to additional thickness if the overlay. The outhole kicker has too much play and isn't working right. Otherwise the game plays like a dream. I highly recommend picking one of these up.

How is this holding up on route? Do they have any sort of guarantee? I'm tempted to grab one for my BK.

Thanks!

#46 1 year ago
Quoted from mcluvin:

How is this holding up on route? Do they have any sort of guarantee? I'm tempted to grab one for my BK.
Thanks!

I played this machine last week at the bar and the playfield plays great and looks amazing. I wanted to check this out after the announcement of the Mata Hari hardtop. I haven't seen one in person until this one and I'm sold!

#47 1 year ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

I played this machine last week at the bar and the playfield plays great and looks amazing. I wanted to check this out after the announcement of the Mata Hari hardtop. I haven't seen one in person until this one and I'm sold!

That's good to hear. If they hold up well, I bet they sell a bunch.

1 month later
#48 1 year ago

Just saw this so I apologize for the delayed reply. The game has a few thousand plays now and is holding up great. It looks brand new. I get compliments on how good it looks and plays. I wouldn't hesitate buying one at all. I'll have to snap some pics this weekend when I'm there to show everyone.

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