(Topic ID: 214129)

Steve Ritchie discusses Pinball Playfield "Dimpling"


By StylesBitchly

1 year ago



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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by jellikit
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    There are 714 posts in this topic. You are on page 4 of 15.
    #151 1 year ago

    I keep trying to get some feelers for Richlite. It is compressed paper. Don't laugh. Paper used to be wood. It works like wood. It is super hard. It does not warp.

    I worked with it when I was making aircraft form dies. I don't know what it costs. I don't know if the pinball industry knows about it and has rejected it. I don't know if the pinball industry even knows about it; I'm guessing pinball design engineers would know about it but maybe they don't.

    http://www.richlite.com/applications/commercial-countertops/

    #152 1 year ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    The only JJP playfields with all the layers are the mirco made ones, and they are made from softer Birch plywood.
    The other JJP playfields are made with the standard 5 ply Maple.
    Same with Stern, the German made playfields have the 13 birch plys:

    I've only really checked two of them my WOZ and the pirates they had on display (maybe it was that one, it was one of the jjp reveals). I just assumed they were all the same....
    I stand corrected.

    #153 1 year ago
    Quoted from cottonm4:

    I keep trying to get some feelers for Richlite. It is compressed paper. Don't laugh. Paper used to be wood. It works like wood. It is super hard. It does not warp.
    I worked with it when I was making aircraft form dies. I don't know what it costs. I don't know if the pinball industry knows about it and has rejected it. I don't know if the pinball industry even knows about it; I'm guessing pinball design engineers would know about it but maybe they don't.
    http://www.richlite.com/applications/commercial-countertops/

    That stuff looks cool.

    Bally tried to make some man made playfields and even some with acrylic top layers in the early 80s.

    #154 1 year ago

    Steve Ritchie!!! He designed my F-14!!
    Dimples? yes, hundreds of them......so?
    Have you ever seen a ball landed on shooter lane from Yagov?

    #155 1 year ago

    Each dimple is unique like a snowflake.

    You could say we are all dimples in this pinball machine called life

    Now we can close this thread

    #156 1 year ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    For fuck sakes. Can I get a "Pinside rating" on this thread? It's gotta be off the charts.

    Pretty fricken high.
    Or maybe I'm pretty fricken high.
    Wait... what was I saying?
    Ohhh doughnuts!

    #157 1 year ago

    I've never cared about dimpling, and common sense always told me if a big ass heavy ball is flying around, landing on wood.. which is softer than a steel ball, is going to leave a mark.

    I only care if the playfield isn't ghosting or chipping. Now that shit pisses me off

    #158 1 year 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?

    Dimpling is cheap playfields
    A quality plywood is night and day

    -1
    #159 1 year ago

    ...SM2K clear coat forum 3+ years and serving no dimples! "Goldie-lox syndrome" ...there's a million clear coat systems out there, but you got to find the one that works for pinball...and YOU did 3 years ago!!! Tested it myself, secret formula of Resins and Acrylics, took a 6' ball drop to leave a dimple in the clear coat! It's all I use to clear coat pfs now. Dimples exist in all factory playfields (except older varnished Gottlieb's it seems), if you look carefully for ball swirls you will see billions of them. But you don't have to add to them with a inferior soft clear coat system like whatever junk Stern is using now. lol

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-spraymax-2k-auto-clear-in-a-can-club

    #160 1 year ago

    I think it's time to bring back the plastic playfield!!! ....carbon fiber pf???

    maxresdefault (resized).jpg

    #161 1 year ago

    I think there is officially more dimpling threads than Iron Maiden threads now.

    #162 1 year ago
    Quoted from gmkalos:

    ...SM2K clear coat forum 3+ years and serving no dimples! "Goldie-lox syndrome" ...there's a million clear coat systems out there, but you got to find the one that works for pinball...and YOU did 3 years ago!!! Tested it myself, secret formula of Resins and Acrylics, took a 6' ball drop to leave a dimple in the clear coat! It's all I use to clear coat pfs now. Dimples exist in all factory playfields (except older varnished Gottlieb's it seems), if you look carefully for ball swirls you will see billions of them. But you don't have to add to them with a inferior soft clear coat system.
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-spraymax-2k-auto-clear-in-a-can-club

    #164 1 year ago
    Quoted from gmkalos:

    I think it's time to bring back the plastic playfield!!! ....carbon fiber pf???

    Had a Speakeasy once. That playfield was georgous. Green fiberglass from underside, never ever seen anything like it.

    #165 1 year ago

    I find dimples....attractive!

    BDB91177-0CD5-41E4-ADD4-97AA24611D08 (resized).png

    #166 1 year ago

    Is it possible to do a pin playfield like Slugfest?

    #167 1 year ago

    I have dimples on my ass! And it's made out of Michigan chocolate covered cherry and some bacon.

    #168 1 year ago

    Implying Steve Ritchie is a definitive materials mechanics expert on playfields is like saying I'm an electrical engineer because I've operated light switches all my life. No surprise here on his "expert" opinion - he knows what side of the bread is buttered. You can almost imagine Gary Stern behind the camera saying "cut and print" at the end of the video.

    #169 1 year ago
    Quoted from sudsy7:

    Implying Steve Ritchie is a definitive materials mechanics expert on playfields is like saying I'm an electrical engineer because I've operated light switches all my life. No surprise here on his "expert" opinion - he knows what side of the bread is buttered. You can almost imagine Gary Stern behind the camera saying "cut and print" at the end of the video.

    Steve has been in the pinball business his whole life, he probably knows more about playfields than what you think. Just because he doesn't work where they make them doesn't mean that he is totally clueless about them.

    #170 1 year ago
    Quoted from Who-Dey:

    Steve has been in the pinball business his whole life

    That's my point - I've been operating light switches my whole life!

    #171 1 year ago

    I made an earlier post, analyzing my current collection. Dimpling will happen when you play a pinball machine.
    I am most definitely a "Bally Williams guy". I do not think Stern is a problematic manufacturer. They get a bad rap all too often. That said, they run things like a business for which we are fortunate. They deserve a ton of support and thanks for keeping this hobby going over those dark years. I would love to play their machines, just don't care to buy one.

    Steve Ritchie is an icon in this industry and has contributed so much. No one can argue his success.

    That said, I found his choice of eye wear distracting The video attempts to post a factual message but comes across condescending, which is unfortunate.

    Pinside is chock full of "experts". Reminds me of the 10000 Navy Seals I have met, very few of which ever served in the military

    #172 1 year ago

    The high play stern games I've seen haven't flattened out. They have an orange peel look to them.

    #173 1 year ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Actually, the JJP that are made of birch are softer wood, than the ones made from Maple.
    But it does not matter which wood they are made from.
    You buy it like this on day 1:

    And it looks like this a few months later:

    Why? Because neither wood is harder than a steel ball.

    I saw a Stern thread wear the wood grain seen as in the WOZ pic was called planking

    #174 1 year ago

    Air balls probably have a lot to do with it. Some games are bad about air balls and some are not. In the end, no pin is going to be perfect after playing a few thousand times. Hard to ignore that some new games look pretty bad after a few hundred plays and some old games still look pretty flat. Whatever the reason, don't buy nib if it's a big concern. Buy well used and you will know exactly what you are getting.

    #175 1 year ago

    You think after all the shitty playfields Stern has put out, they'd look at something radically different for playfields instead of getting a blind man trying to tell you everything's ok...

    I'm waiting for my epoxy/ceramic hybrid, cured gorilla glass playfield.

    17
    #176 1 year ago

    Nobody gives a crap about my opinion on this, so feel free to ignore it.

    Steve, I have tons of respect for you, but in this case you are confabulating newbie reactions with the truth that Stern uses softer less expensive wood in some games. I don't think you are stupid, please grant me that same courtesy. If you needed it, I could probably compile a list of games where Stern used softer wood, and I'm betting I'd be pretty close to the "behind the scenes" view that you have of the actual playfield processes and materials used in them. There is no need to sweep it under the rug. All Stern needs to do is not use the softer cheaper wood and people will stop complaining. Will dimples always happen? Duh, of course they will. It's a steel ball. HOWEVER the actual dimple itself varies greatly in size and depth. Those little ones that smooth out, nobody should care. The craters that end up looking like the moon that will NEVER smooth out? Those are the ones people care about. Don't sell us out as you sell yourself out.

    #177 1 year ago

    Too many words in this thread, not enough pictures. I’m happy with all of my Sterns’ playfields. I’m sure if I shined a bright light on them and took pictures at just the right angle, I could make them look bad. The same could be said for most of our faces.

    #178 1 year ago
    Quoted from sudsy7:

    Implying Steve Ritchie is a definitive materials mechanics expert on playfields is like saying I'm an electrical engineer because I've operated light switches all my life.

    Sorry but its nothing like saying that at all.

    #179 1 year ago

    I have to wonder how much testing of other materials has been done for playfields,Seems like the previous poster mentioning carbon fiber or something like it could be a possible bulletproof alternative.I know purists in the hobby/industry will cringe at even the thought but just seems like a worthy thing to look at.

    #180 1 year ago
    Quoted from Brian541:

    Seems like the previous poster mentioning carbon fiber or something like it could be a possible bulletproof alternative.I know purists in the hobby/industry will cringe at even the thought but just seems like a worthy thing to look at.

    If the playfield is being covered in a clear coat, what difference would it actually make if the wood was replaced? Would there be any discernible difference in ball physics? I suspect not since the ball is still rolling on a clear coat.

    #181 1 year ago
    Quoted from Brian541:

    I have to wonder how much testing of other materials has been done for playfields,Seems like the previous poster mentioning carbon fiber or something like it could be a possible bulletproof alternative.I know purists in the hobby/industry will cringe at even the thought but just seems like a worthy thing to look at.

    if it ain't broke don't fix it

    13
    #182 1 year ago
    Quoted from Brian541:

    the previous poster mentioning carbon fiber or something like it could be a possible bulletproof alternative.

    3/4" thick CF is $621 a square foot (that's if you order 10,000 feet), so a playfield size piece would cost $4,661

    Then add the fact of how fast it chews up the CNC router bits.

    Then add that it conducts electricity

    Then add that a playfield size sheet would weigh 50lbs

    By the time an actual playfield was produced, it might be cheaper to buy a 2nd game.

    #183 1 year ago

    Playfield vary in hardness because wood varies.
    I'm sure sometimes Stern gets a great batch, sometimes it's not so great, but acceptable. They will have more of either because they get more playfields than anyone. Same seems true in the B/W days.
    It's been this way for decades, and why would Stern want to spend more money or even worry about it, it still is acceptable for 95%+ of their customers?
    They are too busy pumping out games to worry about the complainers that "Aren't Buying!"
    As for Steve and the video, first off, he is quite often wearing shades. I think it's his "high speed" look, who cares?
    Also, he gave you the answer, don't play your games, just rub it with a diaper.
    He's a nice guy that has done amazing things for pinball his entire career, to see people disrespecting that fact over this is just a snapshot of the internet, I guess.
    But I'm sure he don't care, and that makes him even cooler, with or without shades.

    #184 1 year ago

    It would be very interesting to see what they could build with alternate materials. Obviously there would be no need for 3/4" carbon fibre. I think of my first snowboard in the 80's compared to today and the changes are incredible. Hopefully with new manufactures in a few years we will start to see some innovation.

    #185 1 year ago

    All these FAKE NEWS...

    #186 1 year ago

    I should clarify that my PPS F-14 repro play field only gets very small dimples, as would be expected. If your new Sterns are getting big dimples then I see your point.

    #188 1 year ago

    Quoted for truth!

    People would not be talking non-stop about Stern's shoddy materials due to cost cutting... if they didn't have shoddy materials due to cost cutting.

    Some games have been better than others, yes. But the pool of buyers willing to play that lottery keeps getting smaller, as their competition keep putting out games that at least appear more interesting to me as a hobbyist.

    Stern has chopped so many costs while raising prices for them to have this "gosh, you don't just understand what you are buying" perspective is just plain garbage. Your company is putting out a product that in some cases has been really sub-par, all while moving to a less repairable and reliable (but cheaper to manufacture of course!) architecture.

    After a certain point the chickens come home to roost, and you see vids like this pop up.

    Yes, some hobbyists take it to another extreme when it comes to pickyness, but if orders are slowing down, maybe its at least in part due to your current reputation for quality?

    After re-watching this vid, I honestly can give Steve a pass on this. Assuming good intent, he seems to be talking about normal dimpling. And normal dimpling is (guess what!) normal. But some of the playfields we have seen from stern in the last few years have been anything but "normal" (or if they are the new normal, Stern can keep them, they have no business shipping that garbage to customers and claiming "Normal wear and tear").

    Quoted from DaveH:

    Nobody gives a crap about my opinion on this, so feel free to ignore it.
    Steve, I have tons of respect for you, but in this case you are confabulating newbie reactions with the truth that Stern uses softer less expensive wood in some games. I don't think you are stupid, please grant me that same courtesy. If you needed it, I could probably compile a list of games where Stern used softer wood, and I'm betting I'd be pretty close to the "behind the scenes" view that you have of the actual playfield processes and materials used in them. There is no need to sweep it under the rug. All Stern needs to do is not use the softer cheaper wood and people will stop complaining. Will dimples always happen? Duh, of course they will. It's a steel ball. HOWEVER the actual dimple itself varies greatly in size and depth. Those little ones that smooth out, nobody should care. The craters that end up looking like the moon that will NEVER smooth out? Those are the ones people care about. Don't sell us out as you sell yourself out.

    #189 1 year ago
    Quoted from sudsy7:

    That's my point - I've been operating light switches my whole life!

    You'd have a good point if you designed and assembled light switches.

    #190 1 year ago

    These threads are great for figuring out who the real a-holes here are.

    When I first got into the hobby I was amazed when I got an AFM and then an MM and both were dimpled on literally 100% of the playfield. Funny thing is they could still be buffed to be shiny as hell using a Treasure Cove kit.

    As soon as I hear someone saying a particular playfield dimples more than another, I get a laugh. It's always a hater/fanboy making the statement. Of course EMs don't get dimpled; the ball never lifts off the playfield! I had a WOZ here for three years and it almost never got played; even still it was covered with dimples.

    #191 1 year ago

    Here's a couple of pics, need more at different angles / lighting, of a GOTG that has been on free play for the past 4 days, nearly 50 hours of gameplay time, at PAX East 2018. I've seen people playing this game constantly the entire weekend. The playfield is dimpled all over but no where near as bad as some other modern Sterns I've seen. It's possible that the severely dimpled games I saw were the ones made by FUN when Stern started using them. The dimples on this game are no where near as deep as the ones I saw during the early FUN days.

    I'll try and get some pics of the Star Wars and Ghostbusters that are also here.

    Overall this playfield looks very good considering it's likely seen over 1k+ plays in 4 day, far more then the typical home game will ever see.

    20180408_154200 (resized).jpg
    20180408_153933 (resized).jpg

    #192 1 year ago
    Quoted from roffels:

    You'd have a good point if you designed and assembled light switches.

    You'd have a good counterpoint if Steve Ritchie had anything to do with engineering or building playfields, but he only places ramps and toys on top of them.

    #193 1 year ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    These threads are great for figuring out who the real a-holes here are.
    When I first got into the hobby I was amazed when I got an AFM and then an MM and both were dimpled on literally 100% of the playfield. Funny thing is they could still be buffed to be shiny as hell using a Treasure Cove kit.
    As soon as I hear someone saying a particular playfield dimples more than another, I get a laugh. It's always a hater/fanboy making the statement. Of course EMs don't get dimpled; the ball never lifts off the playfield! I had a WOZ here for three years and it almost never got played; even still it was covered with dimples.

    As prices have risen so have expectations in regards to quality and consistency. Questioning quality and consistency for $5k-$10k+ toys doesn't make someone an a-hole.

    #194 1 year ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    For fuck sakes. Can I get a "Pinside rating" on this thread? It's gotta be off the charts.

    Aboot 90.

    #195 1 year ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    I could probably compile a list of games where Stern used softer wood

    There is no softer Hard Maple that you can buy, anywhere.

    The plywood used for pinball machines is called "lumber core". That means that all 5 layers are made of hardwood Maple (not like the junk at Lowes where there is a paper thin veneer of Maple, with Spruce/pine/fir layers beneath).

    Maple is graded by appearance. The absence of knots, or mineral staining makes it higher grade.

    Hard Maple only comes in one hardness (Hard Maple is the same wood as Sugar Maple or Rock Maple)

    There are other species of Maple (Black Maple or Red Maple) but those cost more money.

    Homework:

    Show me anywhere on earth that you can buy Hard Maple lumber core plywood with softer hardness gradings at cheaper prices.

    #196 1 year ago

    There's dimpling, there's major dimpling, and then there's cratering.

    The latter is a new phenomenon, the middle case is becoming more and more common. This is not normal for pinball. Certainly wasn't in the past, and shouldn't be acceptable now.

    This was argued about nearly 2 years ago when it started getting really bad with GB. Most people denied it back then, but I think most realise it's now a real thing.

    Explanation back then is the same now. It's young wood that hasn't been aged (dried) nearly long enough. Hence also some of the terrible 'ribbing' that's been seen lately.

    If you accept this - like other cost cutting - ultimately you will be sorry, because the cost cutting will get worse and so will the end product. Imagine if there hadn't been some push back against the appalling playfield and cabinet quality that Sterns have sometimes displayed recently.

    If you're a fan of Stern who for some reason wants them to 'win' and others to fail, or at least not gain market share, you're also shooting yourself in the foot. The fact is, there is competition now. If Stern (or CGC - who have also been suspect re: pfs) are given a pass, eventually it will get bad enough that people won't want to touch them, and even if they improve things, they won't be able to shake the reputation. IMO they came perilously close to this already.

    You think we'd have seen a better featured, more complete Iron Maiden (certainly the best Spike era package) if people hadn't been so vocal and dissatisfied, and there wasn't competition? No chance. We'd have seen a pile of crap. Would they have hired all the new talent, at no doubt considerable cost? No chance.

    #197 1 year ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    As prices have rised so have expectations in regards to quality and consistency. Questioning quality and consistency for $5k-$10k+ toys doesn't make someone an a-hole.

    Yes, and people who simply can't get something through their heads are not necessarily a-holes either.

    #198 1 year ago
    Quoted from sudsy7:

    You'd have a good counterpoint if Steve Ritchie had anything to do with engineering or building playfields, but he only places ramps and toys on top of them.

    That's all a designer does?

    #200 1 year ago

    I agree with him about the dimpling- not that big of a deal, i never cared about it at all, what i did care about was my gb playfield that was bridged left to right like a banana and stern just couldnt seem to send a flat one, it took 3 times to get it right. You think gb is hard? Try playing when both out lanes are whirlpools.

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