petg.pngHey all, been getting a lot of PM requests on PETG washers...the how many, where, why etc questions.
To make it easier on me, thought I'd type up a little memo summary for reference. I'll add more to this if new updates happen or change.
Issue: Playfield pooling, chipping, art tearing
Cause: Clearcoat, loose posts, overtorqued posts, bent washers, metal washers, no washers, too small washers
Fix: Debateable but for me, the best solution is PETG. The runner up is Cliffy carbon. The only reason the Cliffy is ranked 2nd is that it is adhesive (most likely permanent, possibly tearing up art if removed, covers up existing surrounding art near damage, requires a metal washer on top of it for true protection. Whereas the clear PETG provides enough rigidness to stand alone, can see underlying art clearly, can be easily removed, can be easily cut and fabricated to fit.
Results: My results and pics have all held up 1000+ plays post fixing. I am not guaranteeing this for everyone as all the playfields seem to vary, but from others feedback, this seems to be the best method currently. I am providing this for those who wish to continue to play their game while preserving what is there without further damage and repairing what may already be. This isn't to debate pooling or why or why not we should have to fix our $$$ machines.
20 - 25 clear 3/4 inch PETG washers. They can be obtained from many sources but my goto has been Pinball Life https://www.pinballlife.com/clear-petg-fender-washers.html
You can also find colored ones from Titan pinball https://www.titanpinball.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=134&search=washerand use them in special areas...The upper playfield for example, I used a blue 3/4 inch for example.. See pic below
5 clear 7/8 inch PETG washers. Used sparingly on some areas to cover more art area or to fit flush against other machine washers, rails or posts to give extra rigidity.
Set of various metal washers. Should be standard in any pinball repair arsenal but here's a link if you don't have any:
amazon.com link »
Long skinny hex drivers (sold at most big box hardware stores in kits)
Long skinny phillips head driver to reach areas under ramps
Small wrenches to get into tight areas
Telescoping magnet tool for parts retrieval https://www.pinballlife.com/telescoping-magnet-tool.html
Vinyl Iron kit amazon.com link »
The Process and fix:
(***Disclaimer - any modifications done are solely at the discretion of the owner and I do not take responsibility for over ironing, or further damage to your playfield employing the methods below)
1. Unfortunately, there isn't a hard fast rule for preventing or stopping the pooling and chipping if left untouched. I'm just relaying my best possible solution fix that has held up for over 1000+ plays now after my applied fixes and still going strong with no spreading wear or new areas of pooling around new washers.
2. You can take a complete "protect it all" method straight out of the box or just protect the easier to tackle posts and employ a monitor fix methodology. I started seeing pooling at around 25 plays and started employing my techniques until around 250 plays. From that point I had no further damage and employed 29 new washers (and or larger metal replacements). Yes, you read that correctly 29. But, most are hidden from view and the clear PETG is the other advantage. You can cover large areas and multiple washers and it doesn't fill your playfield with unsightly washers. Here is a sample (some - not all of some of the problem areas I have had). https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipP4pdonoGuVuEIqsBgtvZatV44oSnM2201uhGO_RYpcWJqY59vya8bPQ5-JNP0WDw?key=TkVjVngyMWhISTJZN05Mb1huLUloNjZiZ0tzV2dR
a. Examine. What do you need to fix? Take a close look and document it all. Tackle the posts you can get to, save other areas for small projects. For example, you can combine removing the upper playfield to
Install cliffy scoop protectors
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-official-jjp-gnr-thread/page/150#post-6197148 https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-official-jjp-gnr-thread/page/171#post-6243689, and while you're at it, install all the PETG you can.
b. Document and record. Take pictures. Label if necessary. When disassembling ramp areas or a new part, I lay the parts out in a line as I remove them so that I can work backwards and forwards for various stages of assembly and clearly see what screws and washers go where and when. It's a simple technique but very helpful once you have a bunch of various screws and washers of different shapes and sizes.
c. Trial fit. Lay out your fixes first. Determine what you need. A couple clear washers? A clear and a metal? A larger metal? What fits what and where? I try to always butt up a washer against another surface if I can to give the washer support. See the pic below as an example. Notice the post on the left ...here is where I used a 7/8 washer that sits against the inlane guiderail spacer. More support, less risk of movement and stress.
d. Apply Iron fix technique. Yelobird and Buffalo pinball provided great step by steps and videos for this process.
Buffalo Pinball video
I allow my areas to cool to the touch after about 30 minutes and then apply the washers. I don't wait extended periods of time...maybe an hour max before reapplying the washers and this hasn't resulted in any mushy clear or repooling.
Some areas, I could not fit a 3/4 inch PETG so I upgraded those areas to a larger metal washer or cut a sliver off the PETG (they cut very well with scissors and do not fracture or crack..I also used a file on some to notch an area, the inlane washer near the AMP GNR lanes for example.
I also fabricated some of the clear PETG (cut slits, or cut portions of) to fit next to other metal posts or rails.
e. Hand assemble posts back in position. I use hand tools and the 2 finger and a thumb tightening rule, that way it's snug yet not cranked down. Remember, the longer the tool, the more torque applied with the same force. Do not over tighten!!!! Can't stress this enough The PETG allows minor flexing and you should be able to get a very snug tight rigid fit of your post without "cranking down the post". The washer then provides very little contact with the playfield and doesn't dig in like the smaller metal washers do. See the pic below, the black circle around the post shows you the point of direct contact the washer makes with the playfield.
f. Test fit your ball clearances. Most posts including the ones unprotected by a bumper will allow full clearance of the ball to the playfield without interference. But you always want to check to make sure.
g. Reassemble. Work slowly and backwards using the parts in reverse order that you have lined up, following your documentation and pics if necessary. Use the right tool for the right job. Don't force something if it's not correct. Use proper hex drivers and screw drivers for specific areas. The last thing you want is a stripped thread, or screw or nut that no longer functions or makes the issue worse. Worse yet, damaging areas or the playfield or assemblies trying to force something.
h. Protect while working. Use thick microfiber towels to protect the playfield from falling parts, and also to brace parts away from each other. Disassembling a ramp for example or partially removing the upper playfield. The towel can cushion and support the piece temporarily without scuffing or damaging other parts of the game.
Use a thick card (business card) or at least a sheet of paper under metal ramp flaps to protect playfield if you are moving the ramp without disassembling from playfield entirely. This will prevent wear and scratching while working
i. Inspect your work after every 10 plays. Keep an eye on areas you fixed and always look out for new areas and apply the fixes accordingly and soon.
j. You will eventually arrive at a custom stopping point for your machine that will result in no further damage or pooling and you can finally start to enjoy the machine again. Take your time and have "Patience" - yes pun intended.
Please let me know if this helped you and if there is anything you'd like me to add or change.
At the end of the day, remember, it's about playing the game, not inspecting every square inch with a microscope. Hopefully these fixes will allow your anger to fade over time and bring back the true enjoyment this game can give. This is my view from a player's perspective. Washer's and all!
Thanks a bunch and happy flipping!