(Topic ID: 22942)

Space Shuttle Repo Ramp Modification Guide.


By vid1900

6 years ago



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  • 45 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 52 days ago by mof
  • Topic is favorited by 21 Pinsiders

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shuttle.jpg
RoutedPlayfield-4.jpg
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ROUT-OUT.jpg
TOO-STEEP.jpg
REPRO-RAMP.jpg

#1 6 years ago

So as some of you know I've been slogging my way through a pile of Space Shuttle restorations and some of my customers needed the reproduction ramps that are for sale from Pinball Inc.

The original ramps from Williams are paper thin, really awful for the game that saved pinball. Almost always broken or with complete sections missing.

The new ramps are built like a brick shithouse - twice as thick as the original ones!

This is good news, because when you double the thickness of a material ... wait for it.... you get 8x the strength.

The bad news is that even though the repo ramps now come with steel flaps at the ramp entrances, they are so thick that there is no smooth transition for the ball to enter the ramps.

I could sand down the ramp entrances and make the weakest part of the ramp weaker, or....

REPRO-RAMP.jpg

#2 6 years ago

...or I could rout out some extra wood from beneath the ramps that no one will ever see.

TOO-STEEP.jpg

#3 6 years ago

Set your router bit to the same depth as the existing ramp hole.

Hold on tight when you power up the router, you don't want it flying across your playfield. Eye & hearing protection is needed for sure here.

Rout out about a 1/2" of wood matching the entrance profile of the ramp.

ROUT-OUT.jpg

#4 6 years ago

Now the ramps have a totally smooth transition for the ball, but you still get the very much improved ramp strength.

You can use the included steel flaps (recommended), or you can go back to the old chrome threshold if you want a 100% stock looking game.
=

Someone will certainly say that I've made these playfields now un original, but let's face reality.

I repaired and clear coated all these playfields, so they are no longer true collector quality anyway. They have been irreversibly altered, for the better, but certainly altered.

Some of the playfields were reproductions, and thus have no true collector value to them at all.

I can say that these games will play better than new (Space Shuttle had one of the worst factory clear coats ever, almost as bad as Comet and F-14), and the ramps will not be all tattered and torn in a year.

ROUTED-DETAIL.jpg

#5 6 years ago

Wish they had those reproduction ramps when I restored mine! lots of epoxy, mesh mud tape and spraypaint.. you're going to tell me they make repro shuttles now too eh? Cheaters!

Seriously though, looks like you've solved yet another problem. I'd be scared to death of turning that router on for the first dive though.. yikes!

#6 6 years ago
Quoted from mystic:

I'd be scared to death of turning that router on for the first dive though.. yikes!

It's such a light cut that there is no "grab" from the router at all.

If you were a routing novice, you could make a template (like I probably should have with all the playfields I did that day), or raise the bit and make a few very light passes, increasing the depth each time.

#7 6 years ago

Perfect timing for this thread, I didnt know you were working on a space shuttle also! My ramps are pretty beat up and in need of replacement...

#8 6 years ago

Oh man, don't tell me that I have to do this crap too...

My original ramp is still in pretty good condition, but I was gonna order the repros. I wondered about those stupid flaps scratching up the clear and how the ramp attaches at the bottom with the flap in the way... now this?

*add dremel routing kit to "crap I have to buy" list* >=(

#9 6 years ago

I have the routing kit, but where can I pick up the brass balls to drill into the PF?

-Wes

#10 6 years ago
Quoted from copperpot:

I have the routing kit, but where can I pick up the brass balls to drill into the PF?
-Wes

http://www.eballz.com/new/daballz.html

#11 6 years ago

@vid: Did you get the Shuttle toys from those folks too? They have that package deal and I was considering it since my shuttle it pretty beat up. Also, my shuttle is VERY close to the glass. Are you going to / have you encountered any issues with having to account for that with the extra thickness?

#12 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

So as some of you know I've been slogging my way through a pile of Space Shuttle restorations and some of my customers needed the reproduction ramps that are for sale @ Marco or Ebay.
The original ramps from Williams are paper thin, really awful for the game that saved pinball. Almost always broken or with complete sections missing.
The new ramps are built like a brick shithouse - twice as thick as the original ones!
This is good news, because when you double the thickness of a material ... wait for it.... you get 8x the strength.
The bad news is that even though the repo ramps now come with steel flaps at the ramp entrances, they are so thick that there is no smooth transition for the ball to enter the ramps.
I could sand down the ramp entrances and make the weakest part of the ramp weaker, or....

I have a box that has all the SS mechs in it from a game that was left out in the snow.
LMK if you need any of these parts.

#13 6 years ago
Quoted from tracelifter:

I have a box that has all the SS mechs in it from a game that was left out in the snow.
LMK if you need any of these parts.

I need pop bumper caps if they're in good condition, and the bullseye targets... mine are missing all the paint pratcially. I tried repainting the lines but it got beat off the target by the ball. =\

#14 6 years ago
Quoted from navajas:

@vid: Did you get the Shuttle toys from those folks too? They have that package deal and I was considering it since my shuttle it pretty beat up.

Save ALL the hardware from your old shuttle, nothing but decals is included - even though the pictures imply otherwise.

Some of the ramps came from Marco, some from ebay, both clearly came off the same mold.

Quoted from navajas:

Also, my shuttle is VERY close to the glass. Are you going to / have you encountered any issues with having to account for that with the extra thickness?

No, an extra 2 mm is not going to make the Shuttle hit the glass. If it does on yours, then the wrong posts have been swapped somewhere along the way. I can measure the 4 posts that hold it up for you if you find yours are crazy.

#15 6 years ago

No caps, they were broken and I tossed anything that was junk.
Here is what I have.

Space_S_Parts_002.jpg

#16 6 years ago

Poop. I've got all new plastics. There was a guy looking for the plastic that goes over the pop bumpers the other day though.....

Also, those red drop targets...those things are a PITA to find. I got lucky and got a box full of them (and some NOS ones!!) in a bulk box of parts, but up until that point, I had a very hard time finding some for backup/replacement.

*edit* Whoops, he was looking for left slingshot...don't see it in the box.

http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/need-space-shuttle-pieces

#17 6 years ago
Quoted from justjoe:

Perfect timing for this thread, I didnt know you were working on a Space Shuttle also!

Yes, the shop is full of them.

Next comes Sliverball Mania or Comet and I'll do all those at once too.

(Oh, I do have a last F14 to do that I picked up today for Mrwizzo that I'm slipping in the line up.)

#18 6 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

I wondered about those stupid flaps scratching up the clear and how the ramp attaches at the bottom with the flap in the way... now this?

You can put a piece of blue masking tape or Mylar on the underside of the flaps while you fit everything = that will keep the steel from scratching the clear.

#19 6 years ago
Quoted from tracelifter:

No caps, they were broken and I tossed anything that was junk.
Here is what I have.

Parts are sold.

#20 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

You can put a piece of blue masking tape on the underside of the flaps while you fit everything = that will keep the steel from scratching the clear.

Was talking about during normal play, but that's a good idea, and I'll be doing that.

#21 6 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

Was talking about during normal play, but that's a good idea, and I'll be doing that.

With 3 screws anchoring each ramp entrance ( 5 if you pull the 2 top rivets ) there should be no "play" to allow the clear to become scratched.

8 months later
#22 6 years ago

vid ... my ramps are about 1/8" off the "perfect alignment" did you ever run into this.

#23 6 years ago
Quoted from Spudgunman:

vid ... my ramps are about 1/8" off the "perfect alignment" did you ever run into this.

In what direction is the alignment off?

Does the ramp match the old one?

Pics?

#24 6 years ago

See left (center ramp)

image.jpg

#25 6 years ago

Hold the new ramp next to the old and make sure you have all the ramp you paid for (meaning make sure your ramp is not deformed).

Install the other posts that secure the ramp and see where you are at. This will probably force the ramp into a better position.

From the photo, the left ramp needs to come forward. Looks like you will probably have to persuade it forward and drill some new pilot holes.

If you have any other metal flaps from other games around, you might be able to use a longer one to bridge the gap as a last resort.

Like always, don't count on the CPR dimples being in the right place. You will find that some of the wire ball guide holes are missing altogether.

#26 6 years ago

so the left ramp needs to move left, I assume you havent seen this.. and yes your recommendations of the posts will likely help.. I am just holding this here with my hand.. just cut router slots for it.

All the ramp is there, the orginal ramp vs this one I can see the difference .. but not much I can do other then screw it down and hope for the best I guess.. thanks vid.

#27 6 years ago

Just don't screw it down (and thus enlarge the dimples), until you put the posts in and see where they guide you.

#28 6 years ago

you said ...enlarge the dimples

1 month later
#29 6 years ago

Mine is worse.....

20130609_112104.jpg 20130609_112046.jpg

#30 6 years ago

WOW, way off...any solution to this?

#31 6 years ago

Gotta bump

7 months later
#32 5 years ago

Routed my playfield today. I was more scared than I needed to be - even though I've never used a wood router before, it was a piece of cake.

The fit of my new reproduction ramp is off a bit too - the two ramp entrances need to be forced apart. I think it should be okay when all screwed in place, but I'll only be able to tell for sure when the playfield is all back together again...

RoutedPlayfield-2.jpg RoutedPlayfield-3.jpg RoutedPlayfield-4.jpg
3 months later
#33 5 years ago

Finally got it installed for real! It's a really tight fit for sure, I had to ever-so-slightly bend some of the metal posts to get it to fit, too... Also, my Shuttle toy's nose was too low and the ball would sometimes just barely nick it. I propped it up a hair using some small foam blocks under the wings.

Anyway, thanks vid for this ramp modification guide! Don't think I would have been able to fit this if I hadn't routed out the playfield as you suggested.

shuttle.jpg
1 year later
#34 3 years ago

I am fitting a repro ramp onto my space shuttle because the original was cracking at both entrances and because a ball took a solid bite out of the main entrance. The cracking seems due to sheer age / thin plastic, but the big bite seems mostly due to the fact that the left post does not fully protect the ramp. A ball careening upwards right to left at the entrance can hit the font edge of the plastic pretty hard. Does anyone have suggestions to protect the vulnerable edge of the ramp entrance?

20160508_225033_(resized).jpg

20160508_225110_(resized).jpg

#35 3 years ago

As everyone mentioned the repro ramp is a very tight fit, but I'm happy to report it is possible without playfield modifications (no routing of the playfield!). My tight spots were as follows:

1. Ramp entrances. As the ramp is very thick, there is plenty of room to grind an angle in the plastic under the ramp flaps enough to sit flat on the playfield without sacrificing ramp stabiliy.

2. Pop bumper. I used a Dremel to cut the ramp to fit around the pop bumper, like the original. There is almost no risk to doing this, should have come better cut from the factory.

3. Spinner entrance. I used a Dremel to grind a bigger entrance to get the ramp to fit over the spinner assembly. Lots of trial and error, but not difficult.

4. I had to replace a star post at the left ramp entrance with a thin post to get the ramp to fit there... The playfield holes were all placed correctly and no good way to drill new holes, but just another side effect of the thicker ramp.

Other than that it basically much fit in the old positions with a little forceful bending in a couple spots, so I'm really happy the only mods required were on the ramp itself.

#36 3 years ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

Does anyone have suggestions to protect the vulnerable edge of the ramp entrance?

You could put a dowel in the post hole and then redrill it over a little bit.

Or find a Cliffy that's pretty close and bend it into a good position.

#37 3 years ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

Does anyone have suggestions to protect the vulnerable edge of the ramp entrance?

You could use the original yellow rubber on the posts which are wider and would deflect more shots away from the edge.

#38 3 years ago
Quoted from Baiter:

You could use the original yellow rubber on the posts which are wider and would deflect more shots away from the edge.

I put the old yellow back on but it too still leaves a bunch of the edge exposed. (It had the original rubber size on when the original ramp got a bite taken out of it.)

Quoted from vid1900:

You could put a dowel in the post hole and then redrill it over a little bit.
Or find a Cliffy that's pretty close and bend it into a good position.

Thanks Vid, I thought you would have a good idea. I am planning on tearing this machine down to touch up and clear coat the playfield after PAGG this week. I think I will go the dowel route and paint over the modification as part of the "time to save the playfield from friction doom" treatment next week. Or...maybe Cliffy will be at PAGG for some custom ideas....

1 year later
#39 2 years ago

Does anyone know if the replacement ramps are still available, and if so who has some?

#40 2 years ago
Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

Does anyone know if the replacement ramps are still available, and if so who has some?

No longer available, unfortunately.

When Freeplay40 gets his larger machine, there will be a new run, hopefully in clear blue.

#41 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

No longer available, unfortunately.
When Freeplay40 gets his larger machine, there will be a new run, hopefully in clear blue.

Thanks, Vid!

By the way, I'm going to replace the legs. Do you think the correct non-ribbed ones are sturdy enough for location play? Or best to get the incorrect ribbed ones for more rigidity?

#42 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

No longer available, unfortunately.
When Freeplay40 gets his larger machine, there will be a new run, hopefully in clear blue.

I'll settle for black, that fit right, and has the correct entrance style. Still haven't installed mine since its designed wrong.

#43 2 years ago
Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

By the way, I'm going to replace the legs. Do you think the correct non-ribbed ones are sturdy enough for location play? Or best to get the incorrect ribbed ones for more rigidity?

I had a ton of non-ribbed ones on location for many years.

Totally fine.

2 years later
#44 52 days ago
Quoted from vid1900:

So as some of you know I've been slogging my way through a pile of Space Shuttle restorations and some of my customers needed the reproduction ramps that are for sale from Pinball Inc.
The original ramps from Williams are paper thin, really awful for the game that saved pinball. Almost always broken or with complete sections missing.
The new ramps are built like a brick shithouse - twice as thick as the original ones!
This is good news, because when you double the thickness of a material ... wait for it.... you get 8x the strength.
The bad news is that even though the repo ramps now come with steel flaps at the ramp entrances, they are so thick that there is no smooth transition for the ball to enter the ramps.
I could sand down the ramp entrances and make the weakest part of the ramp weaker, or....
[quoted image]

I am in need of 2 Space Shuttle Ramps, do you have any left, or could make me 2
Thank You
John

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