(Topic ID: 77685)

Star Trek TNG Next Chapter (Full Restoration) Finished Pictures

By sc204

5 years ago

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  • 316 posts
  • 46 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by jazc4
  • Topic is favorited by 76 Pinsiders


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There are 316 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 7.
#1 5 years ago

This is my first pinball restore thread on Pinside and actually the first one I have done in almost 20 years. I have done many “build” threads on R/C airplanes in their appropriate forums and enjoy doing them. I find I learn from doing them and hopefully others will benefit from reading mine. There is a wealth of helpful information on Pinside and I have searched it and the web looking for specific information to answer questions to help my restoration. For some things I have tried several products or tested different methods and I will let you know what I found to work the best or at least well enough for me.

So how did I get involved in this project? Back in 1994 a good friend of mine, not a pinball person was visiting and decided that he needed a pinball machine in his home as well. At the time (and still now) I had a STTNG and a TAFG both of which I purchased NIB. He purchased a STTNG as well from Betsons in late 1994 and has had it ever since. It saw its share of use initially but has sat mostly un-played (and un -cleaned) for the last 10 years. The game was either a sample game or early production model. (Not a prototype). It has the original domed cannons (not aftermarket) and the plastic switch covers that are shown on the original game flyer. The chrome wireform on the arch is also a little different. Since it mostly was just taking up space for him and not being played I purchased it from him to fix it up. My purpose is to attempt a collector quality restore (or as close as I can come) and sell it or trade for a Twilight Zone which is the one other pin I would like in my collection. If that needs some work I will know if I can restore it as well.

#2 5 years ago

The Good and the bad. The playfield looked to be in excellent shape. It had Mylar covering most of the visible play areas. Not sure if it was factory applied for a sample game or put on by the distributer or operator if initially routed. The Mylar was clearly the precut version that was sold by Williams at the time. The only issue was a small amount of damage at the neutral zone. I wanted to clear coat the playfield but I didn’t want to do any color touch ups. The playfield looked like a good candidate for that.
The cabinet is in excellent condition. No fade and just a few small scratches could be found. There is some damage from the legs but that can be covered with leg protectors. The head however had typical scrapes on the top and bottom. Not sure if this occurred before he bought it or from him moving 2 times while owning it. The head would need repair and new decals. Interestingly the rear latch clip on the back of the head was pulled out with some damage to the pressed wood. When I picked up the machine from him I found that the wing bolts had not been installed in the head.  No clue how long that had been like that, but he is lucky the head didn’t come down onto the playfield. We found them in the base cabinet.
The legs and launch trigger would need repainting. Electronics seemed fine and luckily even though the batteries were expired by 10 years they did not leak. A quick test of the game showed that it seems to work OK. The mechanics and bottom of the playfield although showing some dirt, is cleaner than most. So all in all this looked like a good game to work on.

The original pictures here are not great quality. I switched cameras during the teardown.










#3 5 years ago

I didn't take a picture of the underside of the playfield while it was still installed but here is a picture of it during teardown so you can see how relatively clean it was.


#4 5 years ago

I am into this for a couple of weeks so far and have worked on the backbox and the playfield so far.

I started with the back box as I was going to need to fix the damage where the rear latch clip was pulled out, and fix the sides, repainting and replacing the decals. The original STTNG used decals on the head and silkscreen on the cabinet. So it should look stock with new decals.

The back of the head is pressed board so it is not nearly as strong as the ply used for the rest of the construction. In order to fix the damage I cut out the bad area with an oscillating tool and epoxied in a piece of aircraft ply. I think I used a piece of 3/8" ply. Filled in the area with a Bondo like material, I use a product called Metal Glaze by Evercoat. I used the same product to fill the scrapes on the sides top and bottom. A heat gun made easy work of removing the decals. After some spray can primer and sanding it is ready for final paint. (Hopefully today).

A search of the web lead me to 2 candidates for the black paint to use to come close to the original finish. Valspar Acrylic Enamel Semi Gloss Black and Rustoleum Painters Touch Satin Black. I bought both to test, actually I bought the Valspar product first and then the Rustoleum after trying the Valspar. Valspar may have changed its formulation since the post was made recommending it but I will never use it again. Lousy spray mechanism, causing drips down the side of the can, and more importantly the paint took forever to fully harden if it ever did. Leaning on it with your hand would leave an impression of your fingerprint even a week later, The Rustoleum product seems a whole lot better. Sprays easier and dries harder quicker.

rear back box damage.jpg

back damage repair 1.jpg

back damage repair 2.jpg

back damage repair 3.jpg

right upper damage.jpg

#5 5 years ago

A word about tearing down a pinball machine. Technology is awesome.
20 years ago when I did a full playfield teardown I used a Polaroid instant camera. Took about 50 pictures and sorted through them with the re-install. Things that needed labeling were done with tape and pen. Today I am using my IPAD to take pictures. A picture for every step in the teardown so I can just reverse it to put every thing back together. Pictures can be zoomed to see which wire color goes where. As far as labels, a digital label maker makes neat and long lasting labels. I placed a bunch of them on the wiring harness as I removed it. Should make putting it back in place easier and I can leave them to make it easier when fixing issues in the future.


#6 5 years ago

I decided to tear down the playfield next as I wanted to clear coat it and wanted it to harden for a bit before re-assembly.
Thanks to posts on Pinside I built the "standard" rotisserie from galvanized pipe. Instead of using metal angle to hold the playfield I used wood screwed together in an L. Some leftover 3/4" cabinet ply. This certainly made it much easier to work on the playfield. The last time I removed everything from a playfield I did it while still in the game. Repeatedly lifting the playfield to go from top to bottom as needed. This was much better.

STTNG has a few parts on the bottom of the playfield that will get in the way of mounting it to the rotisserie. I had to clamp the playfield to it using the back piece of wood first. Made the set up unbalanced.



In order to mount it easily to the rotisserie you will have to remove the rear diverter, bottom legs and front brackets, Ball trough, Catapult, Drop target, the 3 VUK, the subway, and a couple of lights. Then you can mount the playfield flat to the rotisserie.

#7 5 years ago

I took off parts top and bottom until they were all off. I took a few hundred pictures, at least one for each part I was removing. Unsoldered wires were labeled with the label maker to make re-assembly easier.
Half way through I thought I must be out of my mind for doing this. Still not sure









#8 5 years ago

One of the last things to come off the playfield were the pop bumpers. This left their mounting screws still in the playfield. After doing a search I found that they might have fins on then or course threads. I carefully tapped one out and saw that they were the ones with threads. Instead of risking tearing up the top of the playfield I turned them out. To do this I took 2 nuts and tightened them against each other on the threaded portion. Once real tight you can use them to twist out the screw. Once loose you can untighten them from each other remove then and then easily remove the screw. May not have been an issue tapping them out but I thought this way was safer.

#9 5 years ago

that just looks so daunting to me. i decided to rebuild my pop bumpers on mine and chickened out when i realized i'd have to cut and re-solder some wires. i can't even begin to imagine taking on this task! i'm in awe.

#10 5 years ago

This is what my personal one looks like right now - pf is out for cc

#11 5 years ago

Soldering is a simple skill to learn. Like many things the right equipment helps. A good soldering station goes a long way to making it an easy job. I do a lot of soldering on my model airplanes, batteries, connectors, new antennas on the receivers etc. I have been flying RC since the 80's so I bought a good soldering station a while ago. Don't let it stop you from trying your own rebuild or repairs. If it scares you, you can practice on some scrap wire first. Much cheaper then say practicing spraying clear

#12 5 years ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

This is what my personal one looks like right now - pf is out for cc

That is really funny. I haven't taken any pictures of the inside of the cabinet yet, still removing the components but it has the same wear on the wood rails on the sides. Same white and black paint on the back as well. The only difference is that my ground braids were stapled above those wood rails and were both damaged. I looked at it and thought why aren't they underneath the rails. Yours are, and I am sure they are in my personal STTNG just haven't looked yet. I cleared my playfield the other day and it really looks nice, I will post those pics shortly.

#13 5 years ago

I have a similar game right now, almost 90% coverage of mylar, I can't wait to take it off and have the PF clearcoated. Did you freeze the mylar off? How did it turn out??

#14 5 years ago
Quoted from CASTHOF:

I have a similar game right now, almost 90% coverage of mylar, I can't wait to take it off and have the PF clearcoated. Did you freeze the mylar off? How did it turn out??

Yes that was going to be my next post Mylar removal.

After doing some research it seemed like more people preferred the freeze method for Mylar removal than the heat gun, so I gave it a try. Using Dust off like cans of compressed air held upside down you spray a very cold spray onto the Mylar. Using a plastic "single edge razor" you can lift an edge then just spray at the portion to be released next and it should just fall free, no significant tension on the playfield at all if done correctly. I was able to remove the Mylar in full pieces. Of course all of the adhesive stays stuck to the playfield and not he Mylar.
Took 2 1/2 cans to do mine. Pretty cheap at Wal Mart.

Another search and an easy way to remove the adhesive came up. Spray on Goo Gone, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then take some flour and rub off the adhesive using your fingers. The flour makes it ball up and it will no longer be gooey. As a side effect the flour is a little abrasive and cleaned a lot of the dirt off oc the playfield by the time I was done


#15 5 years ago

That's great thanks! I was really worried about it lifting any of the artwork off the playfield. I absolutely hate how the mylar makes the blacks on the playfield look grey, sooo ugly. But the plus side, I sure do have a minty playfield under the mylar.

#16 5 years ago

Adding a few threads to my favourites today, excellent stuff.

#17 5 years ago
Quoted from CASTHOF:

That's great thanks! I was really worried about it lifting any of the artwork off the playfield. I absolutely hate how the mylar makes the blacks on the playfield look grey, sooo ugly. But the plus side, I sure do have a minty playfield under the mylar.

Just spray from the Mylar side at the interface of the Mylar where it is still stuck and where it is free. As you pull up if you hit it right it basically just peels free with no effort.

#18 5 years ago
Quoted from Sly_Old_Devil:

Adding a few threads to my favourites today, excellent stuff.

Thank you I appreciate it.

#19 5 years ago

Check this out -

romulan1.JPG borg1.JPG cannon1.JPG
#20 5 years ago

Those are pretty cool I really like the Romulan warbird.

#21 5 years ago

Ok Mylar is off, there are some Blind nuts (T-nuts) that need to be removed from the bottom of the playfield in order to fully clean and sand it. The ones in the recesses can be left in place.


I pull them out using a little jig I made from a piece of 3/4" PVC pipe and a piece of ply as well as the appropriate sized cap head screw.




I wrote a little more detail on this in the following thread. http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/tip-to-remove-t-nuts-blind-nuts

#22 5 years ago

I had one area of damage on the bottom of the playfield that needed repair. The area where one of the bottom leg/supports screwed into was lifted, probably from putting sideways pressure on the leg. I repaired it using 2 part epoxy and sanding it flat.


After cleaning and sanding the entire bottom of the playfield I sealed it with 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic Satin clear brushed on. This should help keep the carbon from working its way back into the wood.


#23 5 years ago

Nice tool for the T-nuts

#24 5 years ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Nice tool for the T-nuts

Thank you, idea came from my airplane hobby.

#25 5 years ago

Now that the back of the playfield was finished it was time to tackle the clear coat
I wanted to get this done early in the process so it would sit for a few weeks before starting the rebuild. I would finish painting the head and the inside and back of the cabinet while it continued to harden.

Tip of the day: Clear coating is not that hard to do. With that said if you have a friend that owns a body shop and will do it for say $100, jump at the chance.

If you have playfield repairs and want to tackle them then do some research and read threads like Vids playfield repair. Fixing inserts, touching up paint is something I did not want to get into at this point. Luckily with the game seeing little use lately and being covered by Mylar it I didn't have any significant issues. The biggest issues were little grooves at the ends of the ramp metal flaps and at the edges of the Mylar. As long as they were clean the clear would help fill these and with each coat get closer to being level.

Playfield prep involves cleaning all of the ball tracks and dirt and then a light wet sanding. I used 600 grit wet by hand. You want to provide something for the clear to stick to. You could sand even finer if you want. Obviously be careful over inserts and any irregularities in the playfield as you do not want to sand into the color and give yourself more work then needed.

If you haven't sprayed clear before make yourself a test piece. Just a 1 foot square piece of wood finely sanded will work. Mix up 2 oz of clear and see if you can apply a nice coat. Go to Youtube and watch the Pindude videos, watch some of the auto body videos on clear coating to get a good idea of how it is done. It is not Rocket science.

If you are using a compressor you have to have water traps and filters in the line. A contaminated air supply will make any work look like crap. One of the first times I was testing a clear over a painted finish I just needed a small amount and drew up the clear and hardener with plastic syringes. The sprayed on clear coat looked like the surface of the moon due to contaminants presumably from lubricants used in the syringe.

I personally no longer spray my clears with a compressor. I use a turbine style HVLP system made by Accuspray. Think of it like a central vacuum motor blowing high volume low pressure air through the system. Mine is a 2 stage unit. No concerns for oil or water in the air supply. I have 2 different gun setups one for clear coats and one with a larger orifice to spray latex paint on doors and decorative moldings. I do not spray clear often and this is the first playfield I have done. Mostly it is for sections of model airplanes that get paint like the cowl on this one

plane 1.jpg

The Accuspray unit I have looks something like this


#26 5 years ago

Most people have had success and recommended the DuPont Chroma Clear 4 clear coat. Specifically 7776S which is a quick drying clear made for spot or panel repairs not for painting a whole car. The nice thing about it is it is dust free in 8 to 10 minutes. Even with that I had a good amount of dust fall into the finish. I used 7775S activator. Just pick the right one for your temperature. Many people recommend adding Fisheye reducer. I did not. I would read up on it and decide for yourself. "Probably" can't hurt though. Cost about $70 a quart. I have used cheaper 4 clears in the past which look great just don't know how they will hold up to a steel ball hitting it constantly. So for extra $30 I figured be safe and use a proven product for our purpose.

Before spraying clean the playfield with a prep agent to remove fingerprints etc. Many use naphtha which is what I used. Tack rag and spray. DuPont calls for 2 medium wet coats with a 3-5 minute flash time in between. This is what I did and it worked out fine. The nice thing is that your playfield should be flat and therefore you shouldn't get any runs Of course if you spray it sitting vertically you will have less dust settle into it.

If you want to save your marriage do not spray it where the fumes can reach the other family members. Also you NEED to wear at least a charcoal filter respirator when you spray this stuff. It is toxic. I use a 3M version and use new cartridges if the I haven't used it in a while. Cost about $40. When the weather is warm I spray in the garage with a box fan sitting under the partially open door. Right now in the northeast it is too cold to spray in the garage. I have a well sealed room in my basement with sliding glass doors and an exhaust fan to the outside. I spray when no when is home just in case and it works OK for me. Just don't stand by the exhaust when I am spraying

The clear is pretty cool, in 2 hours it is hard to the touch and can even be buffed out already. My plan was for 3 coats total. I sprayed the 2 coats in the morning and sanded it with 1200 grit paper in the evening and then recoated with a single wet coat the next morning. DuPont recommends sanding with 1200 to 1500 if after 24 hours to recoat. If recoating before 24 hours I guess it is not needed. Our purpose for sanding is to better level the clear before the final coat.

Here is an picture after the second coat. Notice that I do have some orange peal that can be sanded flat prior to the final coat.


After sanding with 1200 wet it looks like this


And after the final coat it looks like this


Next will be final sanding and polishing.

#27 5 years ago

I'm pretty jealous! I wish I could do all this myself instead of waiting 3-5 months.... Condos don't work well for paint booths!

#28 5 years ago

Thanks for the tips on the clear. I can't wait to see how it looks assembled with those custom painted ships!

#29 5 years ago


#30 5 years ago
Quoted from Renegade:

Thanks for the tips on the clear. I can't wait to see how it looks assembled with those custom painted ships!

Those ships are mine - sorry for distracting from the thread

#31 5 years ago

looks great!~

#33 5 years ago
Quoted from sc204:

My purpose is to attempt a collector quality restore (or as close as I can come) and sell it or trade for a Twilight Zone which is the one other pin I would like in my collection. If that needs some work I will know if I can restore it as well.

If you truly get it to QC then it's going to be worth WAY more than any nice condition TZ.

They aren't that far apart in similar condition.

#34 5 years ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Those ships are mine - sorry for distracting from the thread

No issues they are pretty cool. If I ever do any significant customizing to my HUO game I might consider a custom paint job like that. Probably way above my creative skills though I was real happy with the Halmark Klingon ship as a replacement.

#35 5 years ago

One of the nice things about this "snap dry" clear coat is that it can be polished pretty quickly. I did mine the next day. DuPont recommends sanding to 1500 grit or finer and to use a finishing compound not a medium or coarse compound. Follow this with a finishing polish (swirl remover). Again I would look at videos online before doing it for the first time.
Of course if you are real good with the spraygun and don't get any dust falling into the finish then you are already done.

I had some dust and some orange peel that still needed to be removed. I went straight to 2000 grit wet sanding and it worked fine. If you have more orange peel then start with a coarser grit and work your way up. I would prefer to put in a little more time with the finer grit to avoid taking off too much clear and to have less chances of missing some of the coarser scratches. One of the auto finishing videos I looked at recommended sanding in one direction and then 90 degrees to that for each grit. I have also heard sand in one direction and then 90 degrees to that with the next grit.

You can use rubbing compounds by hand but a buffer makes quicker work of it. I picked up a 5" random orbital version at Harbor Freight, under $20 Added 3 foam backing pads about $5 each. I had to add some self stick Velcro to the butter to stick the foam pads to it. The foam pads already have a Velcro backing.



For compounds I used what I had which I have used before on a different manufacturers clear coat.
Initial compound was Novus 3, second step Finness It II by 3M and the final polish was Novus 2.

If you do it right by the time you hit the final step the reflections start to look like a mirror.


There are many products that will work. If I didn't have anything at all I would probably use 3M products.

#36 5 years ago

Here are some images after polishing


You can see the reflection of a Highhat light in this one.



I love the way the camera changes the purple to blue and back again in the video


#37 5 years ago

Nice work

#38 5 years ago

Before I continue (it will be slower as I had already been working on it for a couple of weeks before I started the thread ) I wanted to mention 2 things.

1) Before sanding the top of the playfield you have to deal with the little mounds that are created from the wood screws that you remove. You could just sand them down but you will be left with larger areas without paint. To deal with those you can use a round headed punch to press them back down and indent even indent them slightly into the surface. The problem I ran into was finding them. None of the local well stocked hardware stores carried them. I also couldn't find them on line because I didn't know what they were called. And round head punches or ball head punches didn't get me very far.
Vid to the rescue in his playfield restore thread. They are called Doming (or Dapping punches). I purchased a whole set on Amazon for under $40. I have even found a use or two for the smaller ones.

IMG_0334 (2).JPG

#39 5 years ago

2) This one deserves a post by itself. I mentioned that I learned a lot on the forum from reading other threads. I just came across Bryan Kelly's IJ restore thread and have to recommend it to anyone doing a restore or even basic cleanup of a game. He is truly a professional at restoration and the thread shows his methods as well as tools and products (cleaners etc. ) that he uses. Awesome thread and I haven't even finished it yet. Shows that many things that I thought were a good idea like using painted oak for the side rails has already been thought of and done by minds better than mine


Should be a sticky under restoration.

#40 5 years ago

I did get the back box painted the other day. Letting it dry well before applying the side art or putting it back together. Still waiting for the new ground braid anyway
Pictures are not great as the light was low in this area. I will get more when I start working on it again.
One thing that always bugged me about this era Williams and Bally's games was the exposed edge of the plywood around the head. Didn't they ever hear of edge banding? How much extra could that have cost the cabinet guy. Older games had real wood frames
So at least this is something that can easily be taken care of with sanding, primer, more sanding and final paint.




#41 5 years ago

While the head and playfield continue to dry I wanted to get the main cabinet cleaned up. The inside was a little dirty and there are a bunch of scratches on the sides. Plan is to paint the entire inside. Bottom an off white, and sides black. Just like with the tear down of the other parts, I took multiple pictures and documented each part removal with a picture to make the reassembly easier.

You can see the broken ground braid with "repair" on the left. Also the long wood blocks on either side that support the playfield when standing are gouged up.



The main artwork is still in very good condition with just a few fine scratches on the left side. I am going to try to keep it intact.


I love how clean the rear screen is


A better picture of the side wood block damage.


#42 5 years ago

The bottom was a little dirty and needed to be cleaned up. A little magic eraser, a "little" sanding and a 3 coats of Minwax Polyacrylic to protect it and make it easier to clean in the future.



#43 5 years ago

On to the inside. In order to protect the side artwork I covered the sides with heavy paper. I found I was frequently turning the cabinet onto its side and didn't want to scratch the artwork. So far I have only filled and sanded one side of the cabinet. 3 sides and the bottom still to go
I did repair the wood piece that was gouged. I will probably cover it with a thin piece of nylon or similar when complete to help prevent the gouging in the future. For large gouges I used Evercoat Metal Glaze a 2 part Bondo like material and for smaller holes scratches 3M spot putty. I use a combination of my cheap random orbital sander and hand sanding when needed. Mostly I initially use 120 grit but will sand again with 220 grit before spraying primer. Each time you sand an area you tend to find something else that needs filling. The one side is almost finished. Once I spray primer, no doubt other areas will show that need a little spot putty. I want to make the side area that shows above the playfield near perfect. I can be a little less anal for the lower portions.



#44 5 years ago

That's a great looking cab! I am converting my IJ to a STTNG cabinet soon, my STTNG cabinet has seen better days lol

#45 5 years ago

And what happened to the rest of your IJ

#46 5 years ago

Doug Huse lol

#47 5 years ago

Lets see who gets done first...

I have to finish the pf for my Diner before I put STTNG back together. Just got the pf back from cc today.


#48 5 years ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Lets see who gets done first...
I have to finish the pf for my Diner before I put STTNG back together. Just got the pf back from cc today.

Who CC'ed your PF? Looks nice!

#49 5 years ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Lets see who gets done first...
I have to finish the pf for my Diner before I put STTNG back together. Just got the pf back from cc today.

Nice clean job. I would guess you will get done first

#50 5 years ago
Quoted from CASTHOF:

Who CC'ed your PF? Looks nice!

Local guy that I use

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