Steve Ritchie discusses Pinball Playfield "Dimpling"

(Topic ID: 214129)

Steve Ritchie discusses Pinball Playfield "Dimpling"


By StylesBitchly

5 months ago



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  • Latest reply 3 months ago by jellikit
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    #451 5 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I won't be buying Maiden in SPITE of the fact they chose to erase Paul Di' Anno from the equation.
    Bally could have rose from the dead and made it, but it still wouldn't interest me at all. I'll probably play it once for free somewhere though, but that's all the love I'm going to give it.
    Who's in charge of picking these game themes these days? Some old man that just woke up from a 30 year coma?
    Now bring on Judas Priest, would ya!!

    Rocking since 1961

    The worlds greatest band:

    #452 5 months ago

    A few things.
    All of my games show dimpling (easy to see on TZ and strangely enough behind the inlanes, how did that happen). Steel vs wood. There is no argument. Period.
    I saw a Star Wars at Start Bar in St. Louis and said to myself, holy crap that playfield is beat to hell. I am usually oblivious to cosmetics and love players machines but that even caught my eye.
    The CPR playfied I just put in my Bad Cats I thought I was seeing Fish eyes but it was dimpling as well. Again a shout out to CPR, the game looks great and plays so much better.

    Lastly, Vid. . . please tell me that the shadow on the garage door is of the guitar neck and not your . . . .

    pasted_image (resized).png

    #453 5 months ago
    Quoted from Swainer80:

    Lastly, Vid. . . please tell me that the shadow on the garage door is of the guitar neck and not your . . . .

    Where are you seeing a guitar neck?

    13
    #454 5 months ago
    Quoted from Swainer80:

    All of my games show dimpling (easy to see on TZ and strangely enough behind the inlanes, how did that happen)

    All OLD games show way more dimpling behind the inlanes because the center field has so many dimples, it's beaten flat.

    Behind the inlanes gets way less dimples, so each one stands out (like a new playfield).

    The game below has been in 16 hour a day use for 23 years. (click the image, and take it all in)

    The center of the playfield appears smooth with no dimples.

    The outlanes look like the moon surface.

    All it takes is 1,000,000+ plays to get that kind of playfield.

    This is what Steve is talking about.

    "Quit bitching and start playing, you lousy nubies!"

    66d1bbb6eb3b393e77c9538b0152c6f281c8e187 (resized).jpg
    -
    -
    -
    -

    Same thing here, after 24 years of play, the center is flawless, and the outlanes need A LOT more pounding before they'll look smooth:
    6f0b7c8927455660016fd678914293ec7a12798c (resized).jpg

    #455 5 months ago

    I couldn't even get through this entire thread. I made it to page 8 before the ignorance is was much for me to handle. Even if the hardness of the wood varies slightly between playfields it doesn't matter. The ball is harder than the wood. Its gonna dent. The size and depth of the dimple is going to vary by the force of the strike that caused it. This is why hammers are made of harder steel than nails, and why you use carbide to cut hard metals and diamond to cut carbide.

    People claim their games don't have dimples but either don't post pictures or post a picture from a beautiful angle that has no reflections to show the unevenness of the wood. Astounding. I have 12 games, from many different eras and makers, they all look wavey/dimpled under the right light and smooth under normal lighting. I noticed this and understood what was happening well before anyone was crying about "dimples".

    Even if you could get a harder clear coat, the wood underneath is going to dent and the clear will bend with it, or its going to crack, simple as that.

    #456 5 months ago

    The ultimate fun would be to take a brand new BM66 with it's super shiny playfield and bright GI lighting.

    Put it in a location that will get 100s of plays every day (like maybe, you know, an arcade).

    Then install a little cube GoPro and do a time lapse video.

    Pick an angle that will get plenty of ball drops.

    People could watch a live stream, or pick a speed and watch time lapse playback.

    You could watch the playfield go from a polished pristine glass-like surface, to the first day dimples, to dimples on top of dimples, to moonscape, to flatter moonscape, to ripple, to level, to "there is not a dimple on it".

    -

    Once Stern starts putting the full manuals in the game ROMs, a time lapse video could be included that would display on the LCD:

    New to NIB pinball? Watch this first.

    indkkkex (resized).jpg

    #457 5 months ago

    Can't believe this is 10 pages. Steve is an employee of a decent sized company. What he is known for is game design, but of course he makes appearances and statements. Sometimes they are geared as damage control. Unsurprising because even though it's not his primary position, keeping the production line rolling is in his interest.

    #458 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    -
    Once Stern starts putting the full manuals in the game ROMs, a time lapse video could be included that would display on the LCD:
    New to NIB pinball? Watch this first.

    Vid, you are brilliant!

    #459 5 months ago

    I would agree. Different points. Same person.

    #460 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    The ultimate fun would be to take a brand new BM66 with it's super shiny playfield and bright GI lighting.
    Put it in a location that will get 100s of plays every day (like maybe, you know, an arcade).
    Then install a little cube GoPro and do a time lapse video.
    Pick an angle that will get plenty of ball drops.
    People could watch a live stream, or pick a speed and watch time lapse playback.
    You could watch the playfield go from a polished pristine glass-like surface, to the first day dimples, to dimples on top of dimples, to moonscape, to flatter moonscape, to ripple, to

    This would be fun. The camera set up. If I had extra money I would do this just because today...

    I might be able to do this camera thing else where.

    #461 5 months ago

    Since dimpling is inevitable, does it matter how long you wait after a playfield is coearcoated before you play it? Would especially love to hear vid1900 thoughts

    10
    #462 5 months ago
    Quoted from spazzman90:

    Steve is an employee of a decent sized company. What he is known for is game design, but of course he makes appearances and statements. Sometimes they are geared as damage control.

    Since the 1970s, Steve has seen every brand new playfield at Atari, Williams, and Stern.

    And he has seen them in well lit rooms, with the glass off.

    So he knows what brand new playfields look like once a steel ball with a Rockwell Hardness of C60 starts slamming into the softer wood.

    NOBODY on Pinside has seen more brand new playfields than Ritchie.

    But no matter how much experience he has, there is always somebody on Pinside who knows better.

    Ritchie: Always protect your playfield with a coat of wax.
    Pinside: Never wax your games, it makes them too fast.

    Ritchie: Every playfield gets tons of dimples.
    Pinside: It's diseased wood. Stern cheaped out.

    Ritchie: That shot is made with a rolling backflip.
    Pinside: You can't make that shot. You just have to hope you get it at random.

    Ritchie: As a designer, I choose the rubber that gives the play I want.
    Pinside: Too bad Stern is too cheap to let Ritchie use white rubber.

    Pinside knows best.....

    #463 5 months ago
    Quoted from chubtoad13:

    Since dimpling is inevitable, does it matter how long you wait after a playfield is coearcoated before you play it? Would especially love to hear vid1900 thoughts

    Too many different formulations to give a blanket answer.

    The UV cure stuff is as hard as it's going to get in literally 15 seconds.

    The Catylist stuff could take 1 to 6 months (depending on formula) to max hardness.

    The Evaoporative stuff might increase in hardness for years.

    #464 5 months ago

    You guys still argue about his dimples?

    #465 5 months ago

    I would never argue that Steve knows best. I think there is just always going to be a wide range of variability in playfield wear based on all the different factors that apply. In my case, with three NIB Sterns, I have not seen anything to complain about. The least dimpled machine of those three is my Tron, which sat in its box for 3 years before I acquired it and set it up. It has 1300 plays, and I looked hard to find moon crater or orange peel looking dimples all over it. Instead, it's mostly smooth, especially at the lower part between the slingshots and flippers. I'm attaching a pic from mid playfield where you can see a handful of noticeable dimples in the light reflections, trying hard to show the largest one in the main light reflection. Maybe there's something to be said for curing time? Also, my Ghostbusters LE seems fine, but maybe the LEs get an additional clear coat layer? Thought I heard rumors to that effect.

    IMG_3670 (resized).JPG

    #466 5 months ago
    Quoted from splitskull:

    You guys still argue about his dimples?

    Pinheads

    #467 5 months ago

    Just wondering if the dimpling is the same over the inserts? Is the plastic insert with clear harder than the plywood with the clear? Would it dimple differently?Sorry if it’s been covered already.

    #468 5 months ago

    The inserts do not dimple.

    They can sometimes crack.

    Wood dimples because the ball crushes the hollow wood fibers.

    The clearcoat on the surface of the wood does not fill any of the hollow cells below the first few layers. So although the clear does a great job protecting from abrasion, it does little to prevent dimpling.

    lasdf (resized).jpg

    #469 5 months ago

    OK, I finally had my nightmare over this!

    #470 5 months ago

    Just had a Mad thought over this...
    Maybe playfields are different, and have more/less/NO! Dimples...
    That would mean you could get a "good" or maybe a "better" playfield batch or run.
    Hmmm? That would make some of these things better looking in the future, and some kinda worse....kinda like how you see some 80s/90s games beat up, and some were just maybe a "better" batch.
    (And/or had a better maintainence routine)
    That would almost make some games "collectible", ha, whatever that means?!

    #471 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Your entire post reads as pure nubie or pure bullshlt

    You should have been around when we had Williams and Bally making games; millions of ghosted inserts and chipped playfields.
    But like they taught us at the Bally school, "We only build them to last 3 years...."

    That adams family picture you show has seen 80,000 dollar.
    I have seen the same looking TAF's like that picture and they have played almost 100.000 game's !!!!!!!!
    If you play 100.000 game's on a modern playfiels you can't see what game it is anymore hahaha.
    Sorry for my bad english but i mean the wood was mutch harder and better before 2000.
    I never seen a bad playfield from a Data east after 92 most of them played 34.000 to 40.000 game's.
    And why chips the clear in the shooterlane like white spots, never seen this in the 90's.
    Now this day's they chip in less than 500 games!!!!!

    #472 5 months ago

    Here is a couple of pictures of the dimples in my pool table rails from "air balls ".Unfortunately wood loses out again.

    20180417_123625 (resized).jpg

    20180417_123554 (resized).jpg

    20180417_123347 (resized).jpg

    20180417_123334 (resized).jpg

    20180417_123316 (resized).jpg

    #473 5 months ago
    Quoted from king-pin:

    Here is a couple of pictures of the dimples in my pool table rails from "air balls ".Unfortunately wood loses out again.

    You should have let sit in the room for 10 years before playing it.

    #474 5 months ago
    Quoted from pinballcorpse:

    You should have let sit in the room for 10 years before playing it.

    And clear coated it with the old carcinogenic "good stuff".

    #475 5 months ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    Maybe playfields are different, and have more/less/NO! Dimples...
    That would mean you could get a "good" or maybe a "better" playfield batch or run.

    According to the experts on here, no matter how good a playfield you get, it is no match for a steel ball.

    They will all dimple and then all become glassy smooth after 1000s of plays.

    #476 5 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    According to the experts on here, no matter how good a playfield you get, it is no match for a steel ball. They will all dimple and then all become glassy smooth after 1000s of plays.

    I’m pretty sure nobody said “glassy smooth”. But it’s a scientific fact that all wood playfields eventually reach a point where the wood can’t compress any more, and all the dimples run together. Science beats snark.

    #477 5 months ago
    Quoted from pinballwil:

    Sorry for my bad english but i mean the wood was mutch harder and better before 2000.

    How was Hard Maple any harder before the year 2000?

    It was 1400 Janka then, and it's 1400 Janka now.

    #479 5 months ago

    Should not be too hard to reverse the global warming:

    STOP POLLUTION NOW!!!

    SAVE PINBALL FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

    #480 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Should not be too hard to reverse the global warming:
    STOP POLLUTION NOW!!!
    SAVE PINBALL FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

    Everyone I know that thinks it's a hoax doesn't know how to explain the basic carbon cycle. LOL!

    #481 5 months ago
    Quoted from StylesBitchly:

    Everyone I know that thinks it's a hoax doesn't know how to explain the basic carbon cycle. LOL!

    Go talk to China

    #482 5 months ago

    Yup, the superpowers will split the earth in two going after what's left. That's just the way it is.

    #483 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    How was Hard Maple any harder before the year 2000?
    It was 1400 Janka then, and it's 1400 Janka now.

    Maybe he's trying to say the composite playfield wood was harder due to the way the layers were composed. Playfields are not solid hard maple - the maple is a layer.

    #484 5 months ago
    Quoted from vireland:

    Maybe he's trying to say the composite playfield wood was harder due to the way the layers were composed. Playfields are not solid hard maple - the maple is a layer.

    Each layer is the same thickness and the same Hard Maple as they have been for 60 years.

    The only playfields that are different are the German ones, and those are made of thinner layers of Birch.

    #485 5 months ago

    let's look at this from another point of view

    what was the world's population circa 1980 vs now? (4.6B vs 7.6B)

    how does that translate to how much in the way of goods that are produced and consumed? my thought is that the average age of all of these [hard] wood products are a lot younger today vs when they were harvested back in the 1970s and 1980s simply due to increased demand for the raw materials

    I can't believe that a hardwood tree's wood doesn't become harder over time as the tree has time to mature. by harvesting the product earlier, the resulting lumber and veneer is ultimately going to be softer and more susceptible to denting/dimpling/gouging and what have you simply due to this fact

    I don't think that it has anything to due with changes in the chemical make-up of the clear coats, given that my last NIB machine sat for over a year before the first game was played, giving the playfield wood ample time to dry and the clear coat to cure

    #486 5 months ago

    All you need to justify your beliefs is some evidence to support them. How old are trees being used to make plywood today compared to trees 30 years ago? What is the difference in hardness between the wood from those trees?

    #487 5 months ago

    Jesus Christ, the blasted wood is the same they’re just not dried in the mill for the same amount of time! 75% of the wood mills energy cost is for drying/curing the wood. It’s the same reason we have decals instead of screen printing, metal heads, on/off button in the head and pegs instead of service rails.

    #488 5 months ago

    I didn't realize that the on/off button in the head and the pegs were contributing factors to the playfield dimpling. thanks for pointing that out

    do you work in a wood mill or know someone that can verify your claim? if you've indisputable proof, I'll shut up. if not, take a xanax and calm down

    #489 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    How was Hard Maple any harder before the year 2000?
    It was 1400 Janka then, and it's 1400 Janka now.

    Well see, there's the problem, Stern's playfields are too "Janka-y".

    #490 5 months ago
    Quoted from j_m_:

    I can't believe that a hardwood tree's wood doesn't become harder over time as the tree has time to mature. by harvesting the product earlier, the resulting lumber and veneer is ultimately going to be softer and more susceptible to denting/dimpling/gouging and what have you simply due to this fact

    You are thinking of Old Growth wood that's thousands of years old.

    Hard Maple is a crop.

    It's grown, tapped for sap, and when it gets to be 100-125 years old and it's sap quality decreases, they cut it down and plant new trees.

    If you go to a syrup farm, the will have a few big maples around the barn with rusty metal buckets hanging from them - a great, rustic show for the tourists.

    But if you sneak out on the farm itself, you see hundreds of acres of younger trees with rubber tubing draining the sap.

    No romantic horse drawn wagons emptying buckets of syrup, lol

    DSC_0885 (resized).jpg

    #491 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    You are thinking of Old Growth wood that's thousands of years old.
    Hard Maple is a crop.
    It's grown, tapped for sap, and when it gets to be 100-125 years old and it's sap quality decreases, they cut it down and plant new trees.
    If you go to a syrup farm, the will have a few big maples around the barn with rusty metal buckets hanging from them - a great, rustic show for the tourists.
    But if you sneak out on the farm itself, you see hundreds of acres of younger trees with rubber tubing draining the sap.
    No romantic horse drawn wagons emptying buckets of syrup, lol

    You're giving facts to the "soft wood religion" they will never accept them.

    #492 5 months ago
    Quoted from Marvin:

    You're giving facts to the "soft wood religion" they will never accept them.

    What?
    Since when do people not listed to reason?

    #493 5 months ago
    Quoted from j_m_:

    I didn't realize that the on/off button in the head and the pegs were contributing factors to the playfield dimpling. thanks for pointing that out
    do you work in a wood mill or know someone that can verify your claim? if you've indisputable proof, I'll shut up. if not, take a xanax and calm down

    Indisputable proof? How about opening your eyes and looking at a Stern playfield vs a Bally/Williams? How about using common sense? How about logic? Of course The Bally/Willams pf dimple too but not not like the modern Sterns, If they moved a power switch to save a couple of bucks what makes you think sourcing a cheaper grade wood is a bridge too far? But hey maybe it's easier to be a robot, now let's repeat the mantra after me "Steel vs. Wood.....steel always wins'

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/02/plywood-industry-plea-for-help-rejected/4288667/

    https://jayscustomcreations.com/2015/03/10515/

    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/basics/choose_the_right_plywood
    Excerpt below:

    Wherever plywood is made, the trees used for core material are fast-growing and have little or no value as solid wood or as face veneer. Depending on the quality consciousness of the manufacturer, these cores can vary tremendously. The biggest problem is variation in thickness, but uneven or incorrect moisture content can also cause sheets that are warped, bowed or twisted. Poorly manufactured plywood also has a tendency to split or delaminate, especially when nails or screws are driven into the edges.

    #494 5 months ago
    Quoted from kvan99:

    If they moved a power switch to save a couple of bucks what makes you think sourcing a cheaper grade wood is a bridge too far?

    They moved the power switch to conform to the new UL regulations.

    All high voltages are now confined only to the backbox, making testing and UL certification much safer/faster.

    Quoted from kvan99:

    Wherever plywood is made, the trees used for core material are fast-growing and have little or no value as solid wood or as face veneer.

    That quote is for Veneer Plywood, a VERY different product.

    -

    Pinball playfields are made of a ply called Lumber Core.

    The internal layers are made of the same species of wood as the face.

    The face layers are THICK allowing sanding to level the inserts with the face.

    #495 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    They moved the power switch to conform to the new UL regulations.
    All high voltages are now confined only to the backbox, making testing and UL certification much safer/faster.

    That quote is for Veneer Plywood, a VERY different product.
    -
    Pinball playfields are made of a ply called Lumber Core.
    The internal layers are made of the same species of wood as the face.
    The face layers are THICK allowing sanding to level the inserts with the face.

    Yes Vid, I know the reason but you left out the part where it saves them money to approve only the backbox vs both the cabinet and backbox. Also, the quote doesn't change the fact cheap foreign plywood have proliferated the market, some of which don't even have a grade stamp on them. They have undercut American and Canadian plywood prices by 50%. Lastly, the quote talks about the issue of.moisture content which I pointed to in my original post.

    #496 5 months ago
    Quoted from kvan99:

    I know the reason but you left out the part where it saves them money to approve only the backbox vs both the cabinet and backbox.

    If you've ever had something UL approved, you know that UL needs a few samples and totally destroys them.

    They even drop the product upside down to see if that occurrence causes high voltage leakage.

    Sending a few backboxes for certification makes A LOT more sense, than sending complete games - and the process goes much quicker.

    #497 5 months ago
    Quoted from kvan99:

    Also, the quote doesn't change the fact cheap foreign plywood have proliferated the market, some of which don't even have a grade stamp on them. They have undercut American and Canadian plywood prices by 50%.

    There is NO foreign made Hard Maple lumber core plywood. None.

    Hard Maple is only grown commercially in North America.

    Europe and Asia do not have the proper climate for large scale syrup production.

    #498 5 months ago
    Quoted from kvan99:

    Lastly, the quote talks about the issue of.moisture content which I pointed to in my original post.

    Hard Maple plywood is glued up at 9% moisture, otherwise it will delaminate.

    #499 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    There is NO foreign made Hard Maple lumber core plywood. None.
    Hard Maple is only grown commercially in North America.
    Europe and Asia do not have the proper climate for large scale syrup production.

    Is that right?

    https://www.made-in-china.com/products-search/hot-china-products/Lumber_Core_Plywood.html

    #500 5 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Hard Maple plywood is glued up at 9% moisture, otherwise it will delaminate.

    I believe its supposed to be at 9% but how do you know it is? Chicago gaming only buys from one mill? CG only buys from one brand? How is it that the ghosting and clear cracking are now solved? Is it because Stern changed their practices? AS pf clear looks like glass now...why? But hey that’s not possible because they’ve been doing the same exact thing since the 1980s.
    So again you can say and tell me how it was or how it’s supposed be but you got pages and pages of pinside topics that point to something being changed.

    Steel vs. wood....steel always wins. Steel vs. wood......

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