Steve Ritchie discusses Pinball Playfield "Dimpling"


By StylesBitchly

1 week ago


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  • Latest reply 2 hours ago by o-din
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    Topic index (key posts)

    6 key posts have been marked in this topic

    Post #34 Ancient playfield pic for comparison Posted by vid1900 (12 days ago)

    Post #100 Summary of Playfield hardness test with gauge by Procrastinator Posted by vireland (12 days ago)

    Post #117 Explanation of test method to determine wood hardness. Posted by swinks (12 days ago)

    Post #129 Comparing the size of dimples based on hardness. Posted by TimeBandit (12 days ago)

    Post #195 What is Maple plywood? How is it made? Posted by vid1900 (11 days ago)


    Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

    There are 509 posts in topic. You are on page 1 of 11.
    12
    #1 12 days ago

    For those of you concerned, watch and be enlightened.

    » YouTube video

    #2 12 days ago

    How much was he paid to say that? I have EM's with zero dimpling and over 40,000 plays. I'm also hard pressed to find any dimples on any of my WMS/Bally games. All my Sterns have dimpling though some more excessive then others. I've just learned to live with the fact that Stern's playfields dimple. I think the Pinball Wizard Mr. Steve Ritchie has just lost some street cred in my eyes. I can't believe Stern is resorting to this style of propaganda? They must think we are stupid?

    #3 12 days ago

    Interesting... I get small dimples on my new PPS repro playfield and I did wait over 6 months to play on it. It doesn't bother me at all. It's for playing pinball! But F-14 is a fast game and air balls are a fact of life.

    #4 12 days ago
    Quoted from StylesBitchly:

    But F-14 is a fast game and air balls are a fact of life

    Your F14 dimpling?

    #5 12 days ago

    The fact is new Stern playfields dimple far more then games made 20+ years ago. Something changed with the playfields, likely how long the wood is allowed to dry due to Sterns desire to put quantity over quality.

    15
    #6 12 days ago

    For all the smack talk, modern Stern playfields generally hold up very well. Many threads here document the life of a Stern game on location with tens of thousands of plays. They had a few hiccups in the past, but in general they are quite good. All modern games do have dimples. The shinier the clear coat the easier it is to see them. Even TNA has dimples.

    -32
    #7 12 days ago

    Steve is an arrogant ass.....

    #8 12 days ago
    Quoted from NinJaBooT:

    Your F14 dimpling?

    Not bad, but ya. I expected this. Like I said, F-14 balls are flying around really fast and air balls happen. It's to be expected. I installed a play field protector at first, but I removed it after a couple months. I hated it. Stuff gets under it too often and it just bugs me.

    26
    #9 12 days ago
    Quoted from NinJaBooT:

    How much was he paid to say that? I have EM's with zero dimpling and over 40,000 plays. I'm also hard pressed to find any dimples on any of my WMS/Bally games. All my Sterns have dimpling though some more excessive then others. I've just learned to live with the fact that Stern's playfields dimple. I think the Pinball Wizard Mr. Steve Ritchie has just lost some street cred in my eyes. I can't believe Stern is resorting to this style of propaganda? They must think we are stupid?

    How can you tell it has zero dimpling vs 100% dimpling with 40,000 plays.

    #10 12 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    The fact is new Stern playfields dimple far more then games made 20+ years ago

    That’s your objective opinion. Which is fine, and you get to own, but please don’t pass this off as fact.

    #11 12 days ago

    I'm guessing the main reason we are seeing more dimpling on modern playfields is because they are made with newer wood sourced from younger trees. It's simply not as hard as the older stuff.

    37
    #12 12 days ago

    The fact is that EMs didn’t have ramps, vuks, air balls , speed etc

    And dimples don’t matter anyhow

    13
    #13 12 days ago

    EMs have extremely slow ball speeds and almost never have a ball hop off the playfield. Of course you'd expect them to have less dimpling.

    William/Bally pins have noticeably slower ball speeds compared to modern STERNS and much less air balls resulting in less dimpling.

    STERN gamed have faster ball speeds and as a result usually more air balls which will result in more dimpling.

    I bet if you took a Williams playfield at the time of manufacture side by side with a good STERN playfield and repeatedly dropped pinballs from the same distance in various locations you'd get the same results.

    Ball speeds are faster on modern pins, air balls are more prevalent, which all means more abuse on the playfield surface. Personally, I prefer faster pinball and can live with some dimpling.

    16
    #14 12 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    The fact is new Stern playfields dimple far more then games made 20+ years ago. Something changed with the playfields, likely how long the wood is allowed to dry due to Sterns desire to put quantity over quality.

    Keep banging that drum

    26
    #15 12 days ago

    Maybe I'm in the minority, but dimpling does not bother me one bit, and I tend do be pretty picky about cosmetics.

    17
    #16 12 days ago

    just play pinball

    14
    #17 12 days ago

    I've been saying this for years. You can't bulletproof wood with clear those that do have bad results. A dimple is a success story, clear separating from inserts and scoops is failure due to bad prep or making clear to hard.

    -c

    12
    #18 12 days ago

    Im not sure about dimples, but he could win a Roy Orbison look alike contest.

    #19 12 days ago

    Bullshit ! my fish tales and getaway have no dimpling where as my rrwoz and new pirates which I haven't got yet has major dimpling but the demo has, and my mates new strens all have dimpling .i work with 18 Mm ply everyday and you can get normal or hard wood my distributer says they're not using 100 year trees .i don't know what the reason is but the new pins definately have dimpling issues

    #20 12 days ago

    In December I picked up a TOM. The seller bought it from an arcade where it had been routed < a year. He had the purchase receipt. His kids apparently never got into it, so it sat for over 20 years in his house basically rarely played. He had a service guy clean it and change the batteries every 2 years. I'm pretty sure it still had the original rubbers and most of the original bulbs before I shopped it. The Playfield is pristine but has noticeable dimpling. In fact, it looks like my GP pro after about a year and a half.

    #21 12 days ago

    lol...

    If a man is going to lie his ass off to your face, he could at the very least take his sunglasses off.

    10
    #22 12 days ago

    This must be a serious concern for Stern If Steve Richie felt he had to address it in a video. If it's normal and not an issue why make it one by addressing it?
    The wood is softer and the clear coats are thicker and more shiny. Period. Your dimples will be deeper and more noticeable. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    #23 12 days ago

    I liked the shout out to Lloyd !

    #24 12 days ago

    It does appear that most pins get dimpling. I went ahead and put a playfield protector on my BM 66 and really like it. The magnet stays smooth as well.

    #25 12 days ago

    I think like everything in life its not just black or white. There are levels to dimpling that are normal and acceptable and we have seen some playfields that are a mushy mess. The internet tends to amplify everything. Normal dimpling gets blown out of proportion and they playfields that are a real problem have all the amplified people saying its normal. I dunno why these days everything is extreme to one side or the other.

    #26 12 days ago
    Quoted from NinJaBooT:

    Steve Ritchie has just lost some street cred in my eyes.

    I can pretty much guarantee that Steve doesn’t care about your opinion of his street creed.

    #27 12 days ago
    Quoted from oktobernv:

    Steve is an arrogant ass.....

    If the shoe fits.....

    21
    #28 12 days ago

    I'm waiting for Steve to tell us that cabinets coming apart is normal as well.

    #29 12 days ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    The fact is that EMs didn’t have ramps, vuks, air balls , speed etc
    And dimples don’t matter anyhow

    Please stop. You’re hurting many Pinsider’s heads.

    -8
    #30 12 days ago
    Quoted from Mike_J:

    I'm waiting for Steve to tell us that cabinets coming apart is normal as well.

    They are not, and he will not.

    #31 12 days ago
    Quoted from screaminr:

    Bullshit ! my fish tales and getaway have no dimpling where as my rrwoz and new pirates which I haven't got yet has major dimpling but the demo has, and my mates new strens all have dimpling .i work with 18 Mm ply everyday and you can get normal or hard wood my distributer says they're not using 100 year trees .i don't know what the reason is but the new pins definately have dimpling issues

    The Stern apologists will tell you that your FT and Getaway all have thousands of dimples that have just sort of smoothed out and blended together over the years. Balogna.

    Further, don't give any credence to what Ritchie says because in the next Youtube video that pops up right after the dimpling one, he completely poo-poos the idea of an Iron Maiden pin.

    #32 12 days ago
    Quoted from usandthem:

    The Stern apologists will tell you that your FT and Getaway all have thousands of dimples that have just sort of smoothed out and blended together over the years. Balogna.

    And Williams fanboys will tell you that their games were flawless in the 90’s, which is worse than balogna, it’s hammered horseshit.

    #33 12 days ago
    Quoted from Firebaall:

    lol...
    If a man is going to lie his ass off to your face, he could at the very least take his sunglasses off.

    Or at least if your going to be that guy that wears his shades all the time get a pair that fit your face. He looks like he is wearing womens or childrens

    16
    #34 12 days ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    The fact is that EMs didn’t have ramps

    That might be an **alternative fact** .....

    zzz image-4 (resized).jpg

    #35 12 days ago
    Quoted from usandthem:

    The Stern apologists will tell you that your FT and Getaway all have thousands of dimples that have just sort of smoothed out and blended together over the years. Balogna.

    That appears to be what happened with my original run MET pro. I noticed some dimples on it when I first got it and then the more that I played it, the more they blended together. The game had zero issues when I sold it.

    #36 12 days ago

    Thicker clear, bigger dimples. Pretty simple folks, the steel ball wins every time.

    17
    #37 12 days ago

    Complaining about a playfield dimple is like complaining about losing the finish on your shop grinding wheel.

    How hard is it to understand steel balls and wood?

    11
    #38 12 days ago

    No wood will ever win a toughness contest against a steel ball. We even see dimpling on metal magnets, and metal is much harder than any wood.

    #39 12 days ago
    Quoted from mschonbrun:

    That’s your objective opinion. Which is fine, and you get to own, but please don’t pass this off as fact.

    Sorry for that. When I see modern Stern playfields dimple to the point of marbling and worse then games I own that are 20+ years old I think something has changed in the playfield making process.

    #40 12 days ago

    Is there any general knowledge about how many plays it takes for dimpling to level out? I guess it varies based on the game and ball behavior, but broad estimate?

    I've read all the thoughts about how dimpling is normal and it sounds reasonable, but some of the objective evidence I have doesn't seem to add up. I bought a new Stern Trek in '16 and it has obvious dimpling, but still far from leveling out. I also recently bought a documented HUO LoTR. In general, signs of wear are almost nil, although there is a little divot at the inlane drop from the habitrail. It has no signs of dimpling and playfield looks completely flat. I also have a low-use RBION, again with almost no general wear, but I can see some minor dimpling, but more like minor waviness, no discrete dimples here or there.

    It's not that the dimpling bothers me, I just like a good mystery, and I can't reconcile the explanations with what I've objectively observed.

    #41 12 days ago
    Quoted from Nevus:

    Complaining about a playfield dimple is like complaining about loosing the finish on your shop grinding wheel.
    How hard is it to understand steel balls and wood?

    Obviously a bit too hard

    Put a PF protector on it. The worst idea for pinball ever imo.

    The chromium sphere is meant to roll around on wood and make it look like Vids pic eventually!

    #42 12 days ago
    Quoted from JJHLH:

    No wood will ever win a toughness contest against a steel ball. We see dimpling on metal magnets all the time and metal is much harder than any wood.

    Exactly right.

    Every wood playfield will have dimples. And eventually there are so many dimples that the wood sort of evens back out (at least to our eyes). That is a fact.

    Now as for the quality of wood in some older (Bally/Williams) games vs some newer (Stern), I have seen plenty of evidence that some of the older stuff is better. But I don't necessarily think that is 100% the fault of Stern, probably has more to do with their suppliers and the wood industry these days. But bad clear coat work resulting in early ghosting, chipped inserts, etc. is Stern's fault for sure.

    #43 12 days ago

    This falls into the category around "deciding to care" or not. My BM66 dimpled fairly quickly compared to my old classics. At first, because I wasn't used to it, I was worried about it. After watching how they occur, I've decided I don't care. If one day I want to re-clear my playfield, great, but right now, it's so much fun, who cares? It looks great, plays great, and no one walking up to my machine even notices it.

    When I restore a pinball machine, I do have OCD and at the point I declare victory (Finished!) I want it to look pristine. But then, the next moment, I want my family and friends to play the shit out of it. If it ended up with dimples from that point, fine.

    Designing and building a pinball machine that gets my teenagers excited to play is an impressive feat. I'll take the dimples.

    #44 12 days ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    I'm guessing the main reason we are seeing more dimpling on modern playfields is because they are made with newer wood sourced from younger trees. It's simply not as hard as the older stuff.

    Read the whole thread and you are correct. Its just not playfields. Its all wood. Mass timber falls in Canada and China imported for all construction. Wood these days sucks, compared to 20-30 years ago. 2x4's, 4x4's, plywood, its all "New growth wood", compared to timber of old that was 100 year old plus trees. Old tree, stronger wood. Young trees, soft wood. That is a fact.

    #45 12 days ago

    Maybe it’s toxic Chinese Lumber Liquidator wood?

    18
    #46 12 days ago

    Maple is not an old growth wood, lol.

    Maple trees don't live to be 3000 years old.

    It comes from syrup farms. When the trees are too old (100-125 years), they are cleared and a new crop grown. It's been that way since the 1700s.

    That's why Maple plywood does not come from Europe. They don't have the correct climate to mass produce maple syrup.

    Maple for guitar necks, bowling ally, and pinball machines comes from Canada and the NE USA.

    #47 12 days ago

    The stern fan boys are becoming agitated. Please, consider their feelings.

    My new CGC manufactured AFMr has extensive dimpling.
    The MMr I have from stern’s factory has very little dimpling.
    Both play great.

    My WoZ has some minor dimpling.

    But...my older Williams and Bally have little to no dimpling.

    Make of that what you will.

    /shrug

    27
    #48 12 days ago

    I don't have a problem with what Mr. Ritchie said but how he said it. Is it really necessary to be so condescending? Believe me I get it, I owned a retail establishment for years and am used to stupid questions. Treating your customers like idiots is rarely a good idea.

    #49 12 days ago

    From where I stand the earth looks pretty level.
    Therefore the earth must be flat.

    This thread is dumb....

    #50 12 days ago
    Quoted from Flowst:

    The stern fan boys are becoming agitated. Please, consider their feelings.
    My new CGC manufactured AFMr has extensive dimpling.
    The MMr I have from stern’s factory has very little dimpling.
    Both play great.
    My WoZ has some minor dimpling.
    But...my older Williams and Bally have little to no dimpling.
    Make of that what you will.
    /shrug

    That is super interesting since both playfields are made at Chicago Gaming, the MMr was originally assembled at Stern but the playfield is sourced from the same place. Must be some variability in the wood they are using.

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