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(Topic ID: 197910)

Sweet Hearts PF Restoration


By SilverWings

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 14 posts
  • 6 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by MikeO
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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#1 3 years ago

Howdy All - and welcome to my project. What we have here is an original Gottlieb Sweet Hearts playfield. Its pretty much in original condition showing no prior signs of resto work at all. Its probably in "average" condition for its age, the major issue is the significant wear around the pop bumpers and planking pretty much everywhere with a few cracks thrown in for good measure. And of course some shop monkey added a few extra screw holes to boot.

After some consideration and a few calls, I've decided to do this job myself. With the loads of PF resto information available here I feel confident this is a job I can do.

As you can see, the board is now stripped down and ready for inspection and cleaning. I'll start the cleanup tomorrow and see how she looks afterward. I plan on using only Simple Green, alcohol and Magic Eraser for the cleanup. Hopefully the shelf paper surrounding the pop bumpers releases with a bit of heat.

Anybody with experience, and good ideas feel free to chime in with your thoughts (please!). I will be keeping y'all updated with progress on a regular basis. In the meanwhile, I've been reading Vids guide to PF restoration (thank you Vid). Plus what other useful info I can find in the forum, which is substantial.

Cheers,

Bill.

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#2 3 years ago

Alright - I know y'all are watching so I'll post today's progress.

First I decided to take off the shelf paper that surrounded all the pop bumpers to see how bad it was underneath. A little heat applied with a heat gun did the trick. Some of the old top clear coat pulled off along with the shelf paper, which is no problem because the very next thing I did was give the entire board a thorough cleaning with ME and alcohol. This did indeed remove pretty much all of the old clear coat.

What this revealed is that I think I'm looking at a complete repaint of this PF. Better buy a nice airbrush! (Iwata NEO TRN-1 on order) Plus a fresh roll of frisket film and a good starter set of Createx paints.

Its important to note at this stage that my goal here is to retain as much of the "authentic" look of this PF as possible. I really want to stay away from spraying everything over with either solid colors or faux-wood looking artwork. So I'm busy working up strategies to either do laminate replacement where necessary, or taking some "artistic license" to the cruddy dark wood areas to freshen them up more to look like new(er) maple. We shall see!

The PF has a number of places that will require physical repair or rehab and this is my next step after the ME cleanup. Notably, one outside corner is basically crushed, the shooter lane is downright ugly and most of the screw holes have over the years been abused enough to raise wood up all around. Then there are the "extra" holes - added for pure enjoyment of course!

No worry. All of this will be repaired. The next series of posts will detail the board's physical repairs.

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On a more pleasant note, ALL of the inserts are in good shape. I'll take it!

#3 3 years ago

I'll be watching. Keep posting.

#4 3 years ago

Update: Fixed the crushed PF corner with WEST system epoxy. This was done by using a very thin hobby saw to cut apart the plywood's laminates so I could clamp the board's corner straight while the epoxy sets up. The corner was then taped off just with masking tape, and WEST was allowed to penetrate completely down into all the saw cuts. 1" thick aluminum blocks were then clamped on each side and allowed to set up. Result: a perfectly straight and square corner thats super strong. This is under the bottom apron area, so all I wanted was a good structural repair. Done...

Today: Went to the wood working store today and obtained some excellent 1/32" maple veneer strips 6x48". Also bought some 1-1/4 square steel tubing - explanation to follow. The Createx paint set and frisket paper also arrived today; the airbrush and some other accessories will be here tomorrow.

I'll begin with some experiments on laminate replacement. I have a Bridgeport CNC mill with the large 9x48 table. The mill works quite nicely as a CNC wood router, so with that I plan on simply milling off the bad wood areas and replacing them with the new maple veneer. The new veneer will have to be made to look appropriate to the rest of the wood on the PF, so there will be additional testing to see what I can use and later 2PAC over it. Perhaps a thin application of shellac will work - we will see.

The 1-1/4 square tubing is to be fixed down to the mill table, and give me a way to mount the PF and use clamps to keep it dead flat while routing off the bad areas. Then the new veneer insert pieces can be CNC'ed to precisely fit; they'll then be "aged" to an appropriate look and a quick thin coat of 2PAC applied. Final step will be to take each piece of veneer and using WEST system epoxy, flush it in with the board so as to be perfectly flat. The edges of these replacement areas will all be located under paint lines to the max extent possible.

I plan on replacing basically ALL of the natural wood surface on this board (areas that aren't painted over). That includes the entire shooter lane, the upper apron area; the entire pop bumper area; all the rollover ovals, and (this will be the hard part) the entire lower board area that surrounds the King and Queen figure, under the flippers, and the lower ball return area.

This will be done by first scanning the entire board in good resolution. I have special software here that can use the scanned image to generate cut lines for the CNC mill to use. That will then make possible very very accurate cuts for removal of the old wood. Same program will be used to make the new veneer inserts.

Stand by for more.... in a couple weeks. With pictures, of course

#5 3 years ago

Looking good, and good luck. Such a wonderful game. Definitely one of my favorite wedge heads. I'll be checking out your progress. Take your time!.

#6 3 years ago

From your photos I assume the reason you are replacing the wood laminate is due to the excessive wear?

Man, that machine has some mileage! Good luck!

Curious, how much Magic Eraser/alcohol have you done to the wood areas with the bad wear spots?

I had much better success than I expected by getting really aggressive on such types of wear on my second Sinbad playfield. Just a thought as you might be able to get most of the wear cleaned up and only need to apply some clear coat to fill in holes? Long shot perhaps, but could save you some steps.

#7 3 years ago
Quoted from quinntopia:

From your photos I assume the reason you are replacing the wood laminate is due to the excessive wear?
Man, that machine has some mileage! Good luck!
Curious, how much Magic Eraser/alcohol have you done to the wood areas with the bad wear spots?
I had much better success than I expected by getting really aggressive on such types of wear on my second Sinbad playfield. Just a thought as you might be able to get most of the wear cleaned up and only need to apply some clear coat to fill in holes? Long shot perhaps, but could save you some steps.

Yeah, pretty much the whole reason I'm wanting to replace the top laminate is due to wear. Its very bad as you can see - way to deep to sand out. I know it could be filled with a bunch of 2PAC applications and sanding, but really I think it will be much easier to just rout off the bad areas and replace them. I want this board to basically look brand new.

As far as using the ME and alcohol: I scrubbed in a few inconspicuous areas until I saw paint beginning to rub off - and basically went as far to that extreme as possible everywhere. There were some areas where the planking was greatly diminished; others where what looked like impossible staining just went away completely. And in general all the colors brightened up everywhere. As you say - there were major areas where the board cleaned up so well its essentially nearly ready for clear coat which surprised me. So yes, it cleaned up tremendously, but still the heavy wear areas didn't get any better. The last pic in the post I did above is the PF after all the ME/alcohol cleanup - still lots of wear and tear visible.

Thanks for your reply - and stay tuned!

- Bill

#8 3 years ago

Keep the progress coming. So following as methinks that once you get these techniques down and done you can do mine in half the time!

#9 3 years ago

Zaphod - will do! I'm out on a little east coast vacation at the moment, but will resume the PF work and forum updates here when I get back. I do have one more good shot of the PF after the Magic Eraser / alcohol cleanup:

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4 weeks later
#10 3 years ago

Been a while since the last update here, but here's the reason why: the PF has been clamped into a jig for straightening the last several weeks. It IS working, just a slow process. The center of the PF was bowed downward about 1/8 inch I guess due to the weight of all the hardware clamped underneath. In the jig as you see now, the clamp placed through the gobble hole is bending the PF in the *opposite* direction, due to the way its shimmed in the fixture. I check it every few days and progress is being made.

Once this is done - and I think it will be soon - I'll start the process of routing off the areas around the pops and the entire shooter lane and upper arch area. These will all be replaced with new laminate...

Here's a shot of the PF in the fixture:

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4 months later
#11 2 years ago

Bumping for an update????

#12 2 years ago

Update: The good news is that I've gotten a couple new pins in-house: C37, a Sunshine and *another* SweetHearts (this one much better than the first). The C37 was near mint, but did need a little playfield work. In fact I just posted about that a few minutes ago:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/playfield-repair-with-acrylic-and-lacquer-centigrade-37#post-4271135

On the Sweet Hearts front, I did make some significant progress. A friend has access to a 30 watt Epilog laser. This thing cuts the .020 maple laminate without making any burn marks and has a near zero kerf width ... how the heck?!

I just finished up the C37 which looks simply amazing. Next will be to refinish Sweet Hearts #2 and then I'll get back to working on the laminate replacement addressed here in this thread.

#13 2 years ago

Thanks

Quoted from SilverWings:

This thing cuts the .020 maple laminate without making any burn marks and has a near zero kerf width

Dang!

1 week later
#14 2 years ago

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