(Topic ID: 112137)

The Lord of the Rings LOTR Journey begins here members club

By skywalker

4 years ago

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  • Latest reply 20 hours ago by Kkuoppamaki
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3 key posts have been marked in this topic

Post #1907 Service bulletin noting lock down bar change Posted by Jarbyjibbo (2 years ago)

Post #4404 The Valinor Strategy Video Posted by CLEllison (3 months 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!

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#3581 9 months ago
Quoted from SDTMinSTL:

So I am reaching out to ask for some help. I have been chasing an issue I keep having with balls becoming magnetized. I have searched and searched on pinside and I have done the following

Trying to think through the problem for root cause, and I wondered how all balls could get magnetized after only a small amount of games. It usually takes a while...

Then I thought - where do the balls hang out a lot? The trough. Google search showed someone else with this problem recently. Some suggestions there, but I would go further and try to find out how the trough gets magnetized, if that is the case.



3 months later
#4230 5 months ago


Multi part question:

(1) I'm replacing rubbers and cleaning up as much as I can without a full playfield teardown. I note that the plastic behind the Gandalf switch, under the ring ramp, is bent upwards (see photo attached). Was it like that from the factory, in order to make ball mostly go towards pop bumpers and Barad Dur when it falls forward out of the ring magnet or off the top of the ramp on a weak shot? Or did a previous owner "mod" this in order to perform the aforementioned tasks?

I found some good playfield restoration pictures, but have not seen (or may have missed) a photo that shows how this plastic is supposed to go.

(2) The OCD part of me wants to just continue taking off all parts in order to do a really good cleaning. However, the practical part of me wants to take off just enough to get all new rubbers on, clean playfield surface and plastics/metals as best I can with naptha, use Novus 2 as best I can on available surface, wax, and put back together.

It looks like a challenging and time consuming task to remove enough to do a good playfield cleaning (and I've read that also on Pinside). Plus, I'd like to put LEDs in inserts sometime, and have not purchased LED OCD or researched in detail what bulbs to get, so it won't happen now.

My wife loves this game best of all, and I kind of want to minimize time down while we wait for her Willy Wonka LE. I've pretty much decided to let full teardown go, unless someone can advise otherwise...


IMG_2979 (resized).JPG

#4232 5 months ago
Quoted from Adaminski:

I've pretty much decided to let full teardown go, unless someone can advise otherwise...

Quoted from PapaKilo:

Yep the plastic is supposed to be angled like that to kick the ball towards the pops/tower.

Thanks papakilo !

Also, I went ahead and took off enough to do a decent cleaning and replace a few incandescent lights with new for now!!! Looks OK to put back together after cleaning...

IMG_2987 (resized).JPG
#4236 5 months ago
Quoted from snaroff:

Hi Adam,

Your plastic behind Gandalf looks good, however it looks like you might be missing another plastic protector (unless you removed it).

Here are a couple photos.

Thanks, snaroff that photo helps. I have the plastic in question and had already taken it off. It was not really affixed properly, so now I know how it's supposed to go.

#4249 5 months ago

The post in the photos below came off the left front of the sword ramp (player's perspective). It holds the right side of the Gimli VUK wire frame. See photo in post 4235 above https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-lord-of-the-rings-journey-begins-members-club/page/85#post-4989412 ). Note that the washer on my post does not come off - the top of the post has some metal flared out.

The manual shows no part like this. It shows 8 posts with 10-32 thread on the bottom and 6-32 thread on top (item 14 on page 69 of my manual). None of the other posts have the washer stuck on like this.

Can I just file off the top so I can remove the washer, then easily slip on the new Titan post sleeve? Or has somebody modded this because there are problems if the washer on top can go over the top of the post? To re-assemble, it is post with sleeve->washer->Gimli VUK wire form->washer->nylon lock nut.

I though that I had to get the post sleeve on as described here:

But even with further guidance from ltg I cannot get the post sleeve on.

Thanks for any further guidance.

IMG_2991 (resized).JPGIMG_2992 (resized).JPG
#4255 5 months ago
Quoted from PinZig:

Looks like that post has seen better days. The washer isn't supposed to be trapped on there by that lip. File the lip off and remove the washer, slip the sleeve on and you should be good to go.

Quoted from Neal_W:

I checked Marco for lord of the rings posts. Is this it?


Quoted from LOTR_breath:

The threads on the top of that post are trashed. Just replace the post. I'm not sure if that washer even belongs there. The post that neal_w linked above does appear to be the correct post.

Yes, that is the post. I didn't realize it was so bad, or I would have ordered some with my last PBL order. I did order the upgraded left ring ramp post. That puppy isn't going to bend.

I'm cleaning, waxing, checking screws & connections, and replacing all rubbers in an attempt to get my LOTR ready to volunteer for our local pinball/arcade show (deadline 5/15 if I want other volunteers to pick it up), and my wife wants me to get the Precious back up and running. So, I'm going to try and make it work for now, and order some replacement hardware on my next order.

Thanks for the help!

#4257 5 months ago
Quoted from snaroff:

Hey Adam,

Since you have your machine pulled apart, you might want to inspect/protect the wires to the right of the sword ramp. After 15 years, the sword switch wires were cut and the ramp gate were beaten pretty badly.

Thanks for the heads-up. A previous owner took care of the sword ramp wires. I will reinforce the ramp gate wires with some shrink wrap.

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#4262 5 months ago
Quoted from Chappie101:

Speaking of the sword ramp, I recently picked up my LOTR and noticed sometimes when returning round the right orbit it looked like it changed direction and then went STDM. So I removed the glass today and took a closer look and I noticed there was an orange wire hanging in the orbit, does anyone know what this is supposed to be attached to (probably needs re-soldering)? But I'm not sure where. Maybe it's the orange wire from Adaminski picture above. Any help would be appreciated.

Yes, like snaroff , I expect that the orange wire is for the Aragorn sword ramp gate switch - the gate that is triggered upon entering the ramp. Re-solder to the bottom of the switch as in my photo. This is assuming that nobody randomly switched wire colors on a repair, and that the connector under the machine is plugged in correctly. Might be good to make connection without soldering (alligator clips are helpful), and use switch test mode in diagnostics. Dig down in menus until you find switch test grid. Manually move a couple switches so you can see how the switch test mode works, then move the ones in question.

When re-soldering, make sure you don't melt the switch.


#4301 4 months ago
Quoted from Daditude:

Zero way that is 20 or fewer plays. On the other hand, 5k is probably what it is worth...in fact...that may still be low for it.

That's similar to what I was going to say. If it plays OK, then $4500-$5000 would be a fair price. Some TLC would make it look much better. I think working LOTR won't go much lower as long as it's not trashed.

But, you could wait for a better one and not have to put as much work into it. And also pay $5500-$6000 (or more).

1 week later
#4342 4 months ago

I tore down a lot of my LOTR upper playfield a few weeks ago, put on all new Titan rubbers, cleaned & waxed the playfield, and had it working perfectly. Volunteered it last weekend for the NWPAS (http://www.nwpinballshow.com/) and had a lot of plays. It came back in mostly good shape.

One problem that has me baffled is the right ramp (Aragorn sword ramp) enter switch is not working. It just won't register by activating switch. My wife had trepidations about sending the precious to play with all it's pinball friends, and I want to make sure it gets repaired quickly! Please help me if you can. Below I detail troubleshooting I've done and ask questions. If everything is OK, then maybe it's just the switch.

I know there is no diode on this switch (above or below playfield). I have photo of it in working condition before my partial shop (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-lord-of-the-rings-journey-begins-members-club/page/86#post-4995619) and after (first photo below, with heat shrink).

If I unplug and plug in the switch below the playfield, the switch toggles as if it's been closed. I note that one of the wires on the harness side of the switch does not go back to the harness, yet I cannot find another severed orange wire (2nd photo below). Can someone look at their wiring and see if it is the same? The other 2 switch connections below the playfield at this location (rail ramp exit and right ramp made) have both wires going back to the harness.

Thanks for any help you can give.

To give back, a quick report on the 2 other problems found after a high-play weekend:

1) Titan ramp post rubbers cannot handle a weekend of freeplay with thousands at the show (3rd photo below). Oh well, I'll replace them with harder basic black post rubbers. I would not even buy Titan post rubbers for home-only use. They won't last. I do like the Titan rubber rings so far.
2) Palantir switch got bashed so much the metal leafs behind it got stuck together. This was probably going to eventually happen, as we play a lot at home and my LOTR has upgraded (ie, higher power) flippers. This has been fixed.
IMG_3126 (resized).JPGIMG_3123 (resized).JPGIMG_3124 (resized).JPG

#4349 4 months ago
Quoted from Nihonmasa:

From what you say I would pronounce the switch dead and simply replace it.

Quoted from DumbAss:

For your information (and education) ... the switch in question is 25. It's labeled in the manual as "DOTS" = Diode On Terminal Strip. There is a diode. It's on the matrix and therefore has to have a diode.

Quoted from Neal_W:

Sounds like your switch is stuck closed or the actuator needs adjustment. It looks like the switch is wired to be normally open, but yours registers when connected.

Notice that your actuator is bent and mine is straight. I would start by checking that. You can also check the switch using a meter in continuity mode at the connector you mentioned.

Thanks for the feedback!

dumbass also helped me directly. Tested switch with multimeter and it is stuck closed. I think a friend has an appropriate replacement switch, which is great since Marco is currently sold out of direct replacement.

I have some extra Titan post rubbers that I will use to replace the battered ones for now, and order better ones, along with a couple switches.

#4352 4 months ago
Quoted from C_S_S:

Since you have extra, make sure you add a post rubber to the deflecting post beneath the play field behind the tower. You’ll need to trim it a bit but it’s worth it. Over time my orbits have gotten more reliable with stopping the ball during Ents mode as a result of this install.

Already done last month. There was a rubber on that pop-up post behind Orthanc, but it had worn down so much it wasn't working anymore. Thanks, and good reminder for anyone else.

#4362 4 months ago
Quoted from Adaminski:

One problem that has me baffled is the right ramp (Aragorn sword ramp) enter switch is not working. It just won't register by activating switch.

If I unplug and plug in the switch below the playfield, the switch toggles as if it's been closed. I note that one of the wires on the harness side of the switch does not go back to the harness, yet I cannot find another severed orange wire (2nd photo below). Can someone look at their wiring and see if it is the same? The other 2 switch connections below the playfield at this location (rail ramp exit and right ramp made) have both wires going back to the harness.

Quoted from Nihonmasa:

From what you say I would pronounce the switch dead and simply replace it.

Quoted from Neal_W:

Sounds like your switch is stuck closed or the actuator needs adjustment. Notice that your actuator is bent and mine is straight. I would start by checking that.

Quoted from Jarbyjibbo:

Not to state the obvious as it was already mentioned (but since you didn't mention that you tried adjusting the switch arm) are you 100% positive that it isn't just registering closed because your switch arm is bent in such a way as to always register as closed?

Quoted from Gogojohnnyquack:

Throw the old switch away but keep the metal actuator from it. You never know when it will come in handy. Also, you can order about any microswitch from Marco and simply move the metal actuator on the broken switch over to it.

Thanks again to everyone with the help. It was a dead switch, not the actuator. I had a new fork switch for the Gimli/Shire VUKs. I carefully removed the fork, put the actuator from dead "right ramp enter" on the new switch, soldered, put heat shrink tubing on, and successfully bench tested, reinstalled, and play tested.

I also put new post rubbers on the 4 beat-up ones, and fixed the Palantir leaf switch. Good to go!

The new fork actuator is carefully stored. Now to order some better post rubbers and extra microswitches.

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1 month later
#4554 85 days ago
Quoted from Jarbyjibbo:

The shaker mod I wasn't impressed with for all the trouble it was to put in on a non LE game. I barely notice it at all especially with an external sub attached (which seems to shake the game more than the actual shaker).

Interesting. I don't have a sub, and love the shaker on LOTR.

LOTR (not LE) was our first pin in November, 2018, we played for awhile without shaker because the cord from shaker to backbox had become disconnected in the move. Once it was fixed and working, we all thought the shaker made the game much better. The feedback when you hit Balrog in FOTR multiball is great - get the rumble, and know you have to hit the ramp. We also liked the slight rumble when you collect fellowship members and during other parts of the game.

But, our LOTR came with upgraded ROM and shaker already installed by previous owner.

Someday, I'd like to get Pinsound and upgraded speakers, but don't feel the need for a sub. I've heard the different mixes, and would like to try them.

#4561 83 days ago
Quoted from Jarbyjibbo:

Sillyoldelf side art is the only way to go especially if you're a fan of the books imo. It's not called "Lord of the Valcanos".....

Quoted from ktownhero:

This is true from a pure art standpoint, but I think it's important to mention that the sillyoldelf side art is extremely difficult to install and really requires that the whole playfield be taken out.

I bought these:
SillyOldElf look just as good (maybe better), but many times they are listed as "Out of Stock." I ordered from Retro Refurbs on 4/24/19, they were shipped 5/3/19, and I received them 5/11/19.

I can confirm that the Retro Refurbs were also difficult to install on LOTR. The electrical connections from backbox to playfield are not as simple to remove (although I assume they are possible) as on a modern Stern. My wife helped me, but we did not take the entire LOTR playfield out. I'm pretty sure that we started at the front and worked toward the back, with playfield starting in vertical position. (It may be that it is easier to start at back - I'm unsure.) We went in sections, removing only several inches of the backing at a time. To get around the playfield in the vertical position we kept the backing on for about the last 1/3 (from back to vertical playfield), and bent/curled the decal between playfield and outer wall. Wish we had recorded the video.

For my Stern Star Wars, I removed all electrical connections, had someone help me take out the whole playfield, and then put inner art blades on:


Obligatory pictures:
IMG_3679 (resized).jpgIMG_3680 (resized).jpg

#4563 83 days ago
Quoted from Lazar:

We are excited to be a part of the club today. After a few games, we got a bunch of errors and none of the VUK are working. Anyone have an idea about the following switch errors:
1) Balrog hit
2) 4-ball trough #1 (left)
3) Balrog open
4) 4-ball trough #3
5) 4-ball trough #2

Here is some reading (from my bookmark list, including one of my posts) to get you started on Balrog and VUK switches (Gimli is same as Shire).I have not messed with trough issues.

Balrog switches:

If Balrog doesn't return correctly, or keeps trying to close, or goes back and forth, there is a board underneath that must have some solder reflowed:
There is a summary post somewhere on pinside showing the PCB - I think there is a similar problem with DE Jurassic dinosaur.

Balrog light:
While you've got the Balrog open, see if the LED conversion has been done. If not, get the 44 socket, install, and get the correct red LED lamp.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/balrog-led#post-4935441 (my summary from 2019)

Gimli fork switch:

#4578 82 days ago
Quoted from Lazar:

Thanks for the extensive thoughts on potential issues. After reading through all of it, I found fuse F8 to be blown. I replaced it and then it blew immediately upon restart. Any thoughts about what this might be? I appreciate the help.

@lotr_breath suggested bridge rectifier. I can't help with details on that.

However, one other thought - if the game is new to you, that means it travelled. Blown fuse can be from short circuit. MAybe a nut/washer wiggled loose, or was already sitting somewhere loose. I'd lift up the playfield and jiggle it back and forth, listening for anything, and look around.

This is a less likely cause than something else like bridge rectifier or other circuit element, but a possible cause, especially if they worked in a play test before moving the pin.

#4586 79 days ago
Quoted from drummermike:

I have had my LOTR for about 3 years now. Today I got to TABA for the first time. All I knew was the music was something I never heard before. I had just used my new digital level to set the pitch and tried a quick game. I hope to get to TABA again! And beyond.

We've had our LOTR for 8 months. My stepson and I have high scores (180-210 million), but my wife is the only one to start TABA (twice). She loves that music.

Full disclosure - we have our game set to 5 balls, with Special and Replay set to award extra balls. We do have the outlanes wide open (difficult).

#4595 76 days ago
Quoted from PinWoofer:

re:Pinsound - Nice of you to make some suggestions to a fellow pinsider! PinWoofer has a turnkey powered audio kit that's had great reviews on LOTR.

Here is our website link:


We have been spoiled with great sound (source and speakers) on 2 more modern machines (from 2017 and 2018), so have been thinking about upgrading sound on our LOTR, which already has color DMD and shaker.

(BTW I strongly recommend upgrading to shaker, although that involves some extra work on LOTR.)

One route is better amplification and speakers, which seems to be the Pinwoofer way. The other route is better amplification, speakers, and source material, which seems to be the Pinsound way. Pinsound also offers 3 other community remixes for LOTR.

I can't say which is better, because it is up to the user. Some like the original sounds (an important point which I can understand), and just want better quality playback. Others may want better quality playback and to be able to incorporate better source material (ie, higher bit rate, better samples from the soundtrack).

PinWoofer is much more affordable.

I'm leaning to Pinsound someday, since I like the remixes. LOTR isn't leaving our house for a long time.

#4612 72 days ago
Quoted from auspin:

color screen owners with lotr, is there a general consensus the color dmd or the color lcd is better for this game? (as it renders)
Its similar price, will be my first color screen and not sure which way to go.

I think it depends on the lighting where the game is located. Read about the pros and cons of each - there is a decent write-up on one of the sites that sells both types of color screens.

If you have some windows without good light-blocking shades, plan to play during daylight, and want others besides the player to easily see the feedback on the screen, then I might lean toward color LED. Otherwise, color LCD looks nice and is more versatile (as mentioned, you can get the "LED look" with the LCD).

I never had to buy one. Our LOTR came with a color LED and we never thought to change it. I've seen LOTR with color LCD and they look nice. We do have windows in our walk-out basement, but I think an LCD would be fine there too, based on game location and our shades. In our room, I would lean to color LCD if I had to replace a dead color LED. If I had no color display, any color option would be the first upgrade (OK, color and upgraded flipper coils). The color graphics are way cool, and I find myself still watching them and smiling, especially during start of a mode or multiball.

I mentioned in another thread recently that even though I love LOTR, after several months it does not have that "one more game" feel. Playing a game of LOTR is now a long adventure, and taking the time to watch the cool color animations gives you a break before starting to flip again.


#4616 72 days ago
Quoted from Pin_Guy:

The last topics on this have me thoroughly confused on what two displays are being discussed as ColorDMD is the name of a manufacturer not a display type. They make both ColorLCD and ColorLED displays.

Fixed. Sorry for confusion.

#4634 70 days ago

Looking for a pointer to help - I'm sure it's been discussed, but my searches on Pinside and bookmarks aren't showing anything.

Yesterday, while my wife was playing, the sound started to go wonky. Screeching, static, and sometimes the callouts were high pitched (sped up, or like they had sucked in helium). This happened a lot during modes, but also all the time. So the music/callouts were mostly there, but garbled and distorted. Kept going for a couple games.

Turned off overnight, and played a test game this morning. All sound worked fine - no problems.

Online I found lots of problems with no sound or static at lower levels, but not this problem, although I feel like I've read about it before. Anyone have links to a discussion?

1) Is this something normally solved by a reboot?

2) Is this the start of further sound issues?

3) If so, will Pinsound solve it?

I've been looking for an excuse to install Pinsound, but with Wonka being delivered soon, I was hoping to delay Pinsound expense a little longer.


#4636 69 days ago
Quoted from Adaminski:

Yesterday, the LOTR sound started to go wonky. Screeching, static, and sometimes the callouts were high pitched (sped up, or like they had sucked in helium)....the music/callouts were mostly there, but garbled and distorted.

Quoted from hawknole:

Could be something is loose, check the back box

Thanks for the suggestion hawknole . I watched Pinsound Whitestar install video to see where sound connectors were located, and made sure they were all pushed in. I then checked all connectors in backbox. Most were not obviously loose, but a couple did tighten. I also checked the sound ROM, made sure it was seated well, and used compressed air to blow out any dust (it wasn't too dirty).

Sadly, the sound problems now seem to come and go every game. Examples in the YouTube videos below. Anyone else seen problems like this, and know how to fix them (or a link to the post/discussion on Pinside)? If PinSound is the answer, I'll get on their wait list, as PinSound+ is out of stock, with expected builds by the end of this month.

This video has squeaky and static sound for first ~10 sec, then OK sound for ~11 seconds.:

This video has bad sound at 10-14 seconds:

1 week later
#4678 60 days ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

Another question, where do most people have their out lane posts set? Mine is set on the hardest hole which is apparently how it came from the factory but I am considering moving to the middle hole in a home environment.

Sorry I couldn't help on POTD switch issue. Hope you are able to solve it.


I am firmly in the camp of "put them where ever the hell you want!"

No shame if you close them down. Have fun with the machine in your own home. And don't be afraid to talk about good games you've had, or that "1 shot away from DTR.". Don't worry about the purists who complain that you're using 5 balls or have your outlanes closed down, or whatever.

Unless you're trying to practice for tournaments. Than make your game wicked.

For the record, we've got LOTR with outlanes wide open (they came that way), and 5 balls. My wife enjoys it that way, and when she's playing pinball, I'm happy!

Our Stern Star Wars LE has outlanes closed down, and 3 balls.

Our Beatles has outlanes closed down, and 3 balls. Keeping default of 3 maximum extra balls for now, but that may change. I've gotten to Taxman multiball, but it is hard.

Just my $0.25.

1 week later
#4739 49 days ago
Quoted from Gogojohnnyquack:


Yup. Although I might have reflowed the solder just in case, because, you know, soldering is fun.

(Disclaimer - no I wouldn't if reseating worked. I guess it's not that hard to take the screws out again in a few thousand games after the shaker and normal use have their way with the machine.)

#4759 44 days ago

Received notification that my PinSound+ board and headphone station shipped yesterday. Since they offered sale price and free standard shipping to entice us to buy while stock was on back-order, I paid for upgraded shipping. Hope to see it in a little over a week, and that it solves my screwed up sound boards.

Also ordered PinWoofer powered super kit. Once I get sound PinSound+ installed and working, I'll install the PinWoofer. Looking forward to the full audio experience!

I think I need to get the one ring speaker cover and lights. Those look sweet.

#4760 44 days ago
Quoted from auspin:

I accidentally snapped the end off one of bolts for the slingshot.
I've had a look on a few websites but can't find the actual part / part number I need.

Quoted from chubtoad13:

I would take the broken one to a hardware store. Even if they don’t have a Phillips head you can get a replacement that will work until you can find the exact one. It looks like 8/32 or 10/32 thread 2” long, stainless steel.

chubtoad13 has the correct advice. It is an 8-32 screw. Get a nice wide pan head screw and a strong washer for underneath. Get a couple lengths, noting that the other screw mount for the slings must be a little longer (see photo). It doesn't have to be stainless, but make sure it's strong, since this screw sees a lot of stress over time. I just cover up the extra length with small rubber rings. Also, get a couple new 8-32 nylon lock nuts, so that they screw on easily and remain snug.

Finally, at the bottom of the sling is an 8-32 x 1/4 T-Nut (probably 1/4" shaft):

This looks OK in your picture, but I've needed to replace a couple on older machines. These may be available at a good hardware store, but not always. Next time ordering from one of our main pinball suppliers, you may want to get some just in case.

8-32 screws are the most common ones used to put handles and knobs on drawers and cupboards in the US.

IMG_4058 (resized).jpeg

#4763 44 days ago
Quoted from Pin_Guy:

Lazy and don't want to pull it out of your playfield to measure it? measure length on topside of playfield (1.5") and add .5" for the playfield, you need a 2" 6-32 screw.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man...

My advice was fine, and even noted that you should get a couple lengths. I know mine are too long.

BTW, I checked the screws on my machine before posting and they are 8-32. The previous owner was someone that I trust and knows a lot - if he upgraded 6-32 to 8-32, I'll go with it. OP may want to get both, I guess.

Yeah, my long screws look ugly. They work, stop air balls from hitting the figures, and were what I had available and let me get back to playing the game.

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