(Topic ID: 43909)

Theatre of Magic Club

By Nilroc

6 years ago

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#584 4 years ago

I have an LED question here. I know that there are different companies selling different kits for TOM, but in the end they all seem to run about the same price, so that isn't the question. What I am wondering about is when I play pinball machines that have LED kits in them (like last week at 1-Up in Denver) when I look at the LEDs they look fine, but as I start playing and my eyes start moving to follow the ball, they seem to "flicker"...

Anyone know what that is all about? Will this be a problem for me with any kit that I get? I asked one vendor about their non-ghosting LEDs, and they lead me to believe that this is a different issue. I just don't want to drop $250-$300 on LEDs and have them flicker every time I want to play.

FYI that I've been a TOM owner since 1999, but haven't modded anything until recently. Years ago I bought the original manuals, extra trunk, full plastic set (plus the ones that were already broken). Then I did a DIY upgrade by adding an 8" powered woofer to the bottom of the cabinet. I just recently got some brass legs and protectors, I also am putting together my own trunk chain/lock kit (a lot cheaper using the same stuff that you pay $40 for online). I just ordered the super expensive saw and mirror kit (I remember when the saw kit was just $75). Next up is LEDs, then at some point I will look into getting the rails, lockdown, etc switched to "gold" and maybe a color DMD. I have a huge problem with my TOM though that I really should attend to at some point. It has been posted here and elsewhere in the past that the "A" in MAGIC popped up (prior to me buying it, so within the machine's first 4 years of its life) and the "A" is badly chipped away. The only solution I can think of would be to strip the whole playfield down and send it for repair/clearcoat, but DANG that will be expensive for an otherwise VERY clean playfield. Not to mention that the idea of tearing it down and not being able to put it back together for months seems daunting, even with photos, diagrams, videos, good labeling. But that is a different story, right now I want to get the LED thing figured out, so any help there would be great.

#587 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

I think that ToM is already LED ready, that's what I've been told by hobbyroms.

Yeah, I did a bit more looking and it does not seem that I would need non-ghosting LEDs per a few other posts around here about WPC-95 games not needing them. I am just wondering 1) Why do they sell $20 "upgrades" at Cointaker for non-ghosting LEDs for TOM if it isn't an issue, and 2) how do I handle the "flicker" problem that I see when playing a lot of LED upgraded games?

NOTE: This is NOT the bulb itself flickering per se as I can stare right at a pinball with full LED upgrades (usually newer is what I've seen WPC-95 or newer) and the bulbs go through their "attract" modes and I see no flicker if my eyes are "stationary" and just staring. It is when there is fast movement of my eyes that I catch a flicker more out of my peripheral vision and I track a fast moving ball that is in play.

I am in Exton, PA for work today and tomorrow. Heading to Pinball Gallery in Malvern, PA to play a few rounds. I wonder if they have any LED upgraded ones where I could ask them about it too. Maybe it is just a "me" thing...

#589 4 years ago
Quoted from Magicchiz:

Do your self a favor and get Hergs GI OCD. You can then turn back on the fading feature and WOW what a light Show.

Hey, quit trying to spend my money. LOL. That is a pretty cool set of products (LED ODC and GI OCD). Not sure what LEDs they are using with their Twilight Zone "Before" video, but yuck...

It is interesting though. I watched the before and after videos, and (as more evident from the Rolling Stones before/after), the original "before" didn't bother me, but when the "after" part of the video started, it was like my brain said "ahhhhh... Not so crazy any more." It was almost "soothing." I really like it but dang, another $300 for the pair. Eek.

#590 4 years ago

So a quick update on my LED "flicker" situation. I went to the Pinball Gallery in Malvern, PA. Nice couple running the place and lots of pins to play. I didn't start with any LED converted or stock (newer Sterns), but when I got to the LED ones, I tried to really diagnose what I was seeing. I bought an $8 wrist band for as much as I could play in an hour, and I was the only one there until about the end of my hour, so if I lost a ball trying to figure this thing out, it wasn't a big deal since most of the games were on FreePlay (minus my $8 of course).

Anyway, I found it that it isn't the LEDs that flicker, but it is the BALL that has some goofy strobing effect. I mentioned it to the two owners and one just said "it takes a bit of getting used to" and the other (his wife) said "it is because the lights are a bit dim in here." I was hoping that she would turn up the lights in the room for me to see if that was the problem, but she didn't. I took out my cell phone and turned on the flashlight app and (again since the games were on freeplay) I held the phone in one hand, shining it towards the main part of the playfield above the flipper area, and played one handed to at least get the ball bouncing around. It was a LOT better. So I don't know why it bothers me and not other people, but I think that the solution is to not play in dimly lit rooms, and if need be, add some lower playfield GI like what Stern puts in a number of their games like the one I've attached to this post.

The owner also told me that he finds Coin Taker LEDs much too bright and likes buying from Comet and Flipper Fidelity better. He said that he buys in bulk now and they all look nearly identical, but he has better life out of the Comet and F.F. ones as too many from C.T. have failed prematurely (slow dimming death). I just don't think that Comet of Flipper Fidelity sell "kits" though. I would have to figure it all out and hope for the best. I do see that a lot of people here like PinballBulbs too. Their kit comes with some extra LED strips to light up some dark areas, but they don't include any backbox flashers (although I don't remember if TOM has flashers or not as I am not at home) and are more money that CoinTaker (even before the Pinside discount)... So many choices.


#592 4 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

First, let me assure you, you're not the only person who experiences this, as I do as well. The ambient room lighting can increase or decrease the severity of it, as can the nature and brightness of the LEDs you use. The reason the issue seems elusive is that it tends to be a problem coming from the outer edge of the retina of your eye, which picks up greater light sensitivity than looking directly at something. For a certain subset of people, this distinction is even greater.
This is a process similar to the DLP color wheel rainbow effect, which again, only effects a certain subset of people. To quote wikipedia on this one:

So, bottom line, you're not alone. For what it's worth, what you're seeing is the LEDs flicker when your eye isn't directly looking at the LEDs. I had the same problem, and sorry about your pocketbook but my problem disappeared when I installed Herg's GI OCD.

I've used the CoinTaker LEDs without any issue. Sometimes I do have some problems getting the wire contacts on the CoinTaker LEDs to match with the bulb sockets, but some minor adjustments with a fingernail solves the problem. I use their Supers for just about everything, though frosted or retros for the GI strings on the playfield so it doesn't look like clown vomit. Note that I do not use the LED OCD, and I haven't had flickering problems since.

Yup. I see DLP color wheels and thus never used a DLP projector in my home theater and I always suspected it was the eye's ability to see light better in the peripheral vision vs. better color straight ahead.

So one question about the Herg's GI OCD vs LCD OCD, I would have thought that you would need both in order to provide the desired result. You are saying that I would *just* need the GI one? That is unexpected (but helpful $$$ wise).

I wonder if C.T. can swap out the GI lights for frosted or retros within their kit? I will have to ask them.

#594 4 years ago

So I installed the (expensive) tiger saw and marquee kit tonight. Everything works, but then I looks for kicks and see that I am running the 1.2 game ROM. I know that there are some bug fixes going to v 1.3x of the ROM and they can be found online for something like $13 shipped. Of course, then there is the 1.4h ROM. It needs the U22 security chip for $45 shipped, plus whatever it costs for a 1.4h chip (I can't seem to find any place to buy one).

I understand that the saw will spin at more times with the 1.4h ROM, but is it really worth the expense (even if I could find a 1.4h chip) over the 1.3x ROM? I mean, dang, this was a $300 shipped kit, and I am working on a $300 LED kit, I am just not sure that it is worth it...

Thoughts from the ToM owners here with the spinning saw?

#596 4 years ago

I think that I will grab the 1.3x ROM though. Just so that it is a bit more current for bug fixes. Heck, just today I experienced the "game is over, but the sligshots are still active" bug.

1 week later
#600 4 years ago

Agreed, remove it. Mine was sheared off at some point a LONG time ago and I never fixed it. Sure, the ball sometimes goes and gets stuck between the right post and the trunk, but it is rare, and when the machine does a "ball search" it knocks it loose without any damage to anything. I've seen people put a piece of sticky foam tape on the ramp back there to make it so that the ball can't get stuck there to begin with. I just haven't done that yet.

As for playfield restore, there are people that will fix such things, but plan on $1000 minimum (should touch up the whole playfield and clearcoat it) and you have to provide them with a completely stripped, top and bottom, playfield. Then be able to reassemble it 3 months later when it comes back and then you just hope that your notes, photos, videos, and memory are good enough to do it.

#601 4 years ago

Does anyone in the club have the ability to get a high resolution scan or image of the "A" in M.A.G.I.C. on the playfield?

I am prepping to get mine fixed, and I noticed that the decal set that I bought years ago doesn't exactly match (not just the color, but the blue "screening" part of it is different). I want to take the image into Photoshop and print a whole sheet of slightly different shades of the colors to get the best match, but I don't have a good source image. Shoot me a PM if you do and I will send you my email. Thank you so much!

#603 4 years ago

I found the part number for you jsa, 01-13892.1, only to discover that you posted elsewhere that you are looking for that part number.

Looks like Parts4Pinballs used to carry them, but they sold off their parts business and only sell new machines (interesting that they still use the "PARTS" 4 Pinballs name since they don't sell parts.

Other posts online going back over 3 years say that they were pretty much impossible to find back then too.

I wonder if someone would have to manufacture one for you. I don't have the tools to do so, but if you could find someone to cut out the general shape, it then comes down to a few bends, a curve, and an elongated hole for mounting.

#605 4 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

Does anyone in the club have the ability to get a high resolution scan or image of the "A" in M.A.G.I.C. on the playfield?
I am prepping to get mine fixed, and I noticed that the decal set that I bought years ago doesn't exactly match (not just the color, but the blue "screening" part of it is different). I want to take the image into Photoshop and print a whole sheet of slightly different shades of the colors to get the best match, but I don't have a good source image. Shoot me a PM if you do and I will send you my email. Thank you so much!

Quoted from jsa:

I scan mine for you but I don't have the equipment, sorry!

Heck, I would take a super steady high res (not cell phone) photo with a ruler for scale next to it as a starting point.

#611 4 years ago

Wow. I really need to get my "A" fixed. I just installed a gold motorized saw and marquee kit 2 weeks ago and ordered a set of inside "blades" for it that just shipped today, but I won't get until Christmas. Ordered a full LED kit from PinballBulbs last night, and tonight bit the bullet on a ColorDMD. I've had a spare trunk, full new plastics kit, and fixed all other broken items years ago. I have all original manuals and "promo keychain plastics," plus an original promo flyer and a pinball magazine that featured Theatre of Magic. I put an "auto" trunk eddy board onto my Christmas list since mine has gotten super finicky and I am tired of fiddling with it.

Future plans include replacing the external decals as the right side is dinged up on the side of the body and the backbox, so I will just get a full set and fill a drilled hole in the front before putting that decal on. And then making it "gold"... Lots more $$$ to invest, but made some huge $$$ progress this month. I really enjoy this game, and can't want to take it to the next level. That is why I am working on the "game experience" stuff first, and the cosmetics later. I always have people looking for less expensive things to get me for Christmas, so the laser decals are also on my Christmas list.

Anyway, I am just excited. I have been saving up money for a while to do this stuff to a pinball that I've owned since 1999.

#613 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

If you need anymore just PM me, the guy I bought them from bought up the factory on trunks and gave me 10. I would be more then happy to sell some.

Thanks. I still have that one I bought years ago. The one that came with the game got replaced when I bought it, so I picked up a spare way back then too. I replaced the broken plastics and then bought a full set, etc just so that the game looked nice and I still had parts before they got even more expensive.

Thanks again though.

#614 4 years ago

OK. So I tried to mess around with the photos of the "A" above that jsa was able to provide, and I am finding that they just aren't clear enough to make a nice original looking print for a decal.

Does anyone have the ability to scan the "A" in MAGIC vs. taking a photo of it?


#616 4 years ago

Yeah, just not quite crisp enough.

I have heard of some people on here using a VuPoint photo "wand" scanner (something like PDS-ST415-VP) since it can get into tighter spaces... That one runs about $50 in black from Target online, but I have no experience with a scanner like that.

A better option is the HP 4670 scanner, but they don't make them any more and they run around $120 on eBay for a used one. The HP 4600 scanner is really similar and a few less $$$, but still... These are recommended on a few pinball repair threads since they sit perfectly still right on the playfield for a clear and crisp image.

#619 4 years ago

That might just work. I will have to toss it into Photoshop to see. What scanner did you use? I am wondering if there is an even higher resolution option. The 400 DPI is nice, but I will have to zoom in on the letters to get them the correct size, and depending on the zoom, some details will get lost, even at 400 DPI.

#624 4 years ago

I was told that ghosting isn't a problem with ToM for 1.3 or 1.4H.

I am in the process of putting in a full kit from PinballBulbs and it is interesting what color (or lack of) LEDs they recommend for each spot. A lot of cool white bulbs where I thought that something like a yellow would have been sent. With that said, it is looking REALLY nice, and doesn't have the "Fruity Pebbles Vomit of Color" look.

I just have the backbox and inserts done though. I still have to do flashers, GI, and the included strip and spot lights.

One question for all of you, when going through individual bulb tests, I can't get the "Lamp in Cube" (#85 in the manual) to light with an LED or incandescent. Any ideas?

#633 4 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

Indeed, it's a beautiful machine from the photos. I took a shot with my camera to see that angle as well. Here two shots, the first to match yours:
Note the chain/lock mod. According to the previous owner, the chain was developed by someone in Europe, possibly Denmark. They were sold in the here in the United States by Pacific Coast Pinball in silver or gold. I haven't seen another chain like it, though if you have one, please post! In theory, they are almost exact replicas of the chain and lock shown on the side decals.

That chain and lock kit runs $50 plus $5 shipping. Of all of the chain/lock mods out there, I like the scale of this one best and have since I saw a picture of it elsewhere months ago (might have been yours). Anyway, here is the link to the online store to buy it.

Or you can make one yourself for $8 in brass chain from Home Depot/Lowes, and 12 of the brass locks from Etsy for $4.14 shipped and make it yourself.

I know about the cost of the chain because it is like 25 feet of the stuff (OK, maybe a little less, but it is a LOT of it with plenty left over) that I bought plus a $3.50 brass master lock like those other kits use and that is my current $11.50 lock and chain setup, but I always thought that even the small working Master padlock was too big. I think that I am going to order some faux padlocks from Etsy right now...

EDIT: Just noticed that the 12 for $2 (plus $2.14 shipping) are "hallow backed" instead of solid. But I found some solid ones that look like they are antiqued 30 of them for $5 plus $2.25 shipping. I will keep looking before I buy I guess just to make sure that I get the best looking option.

#636 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

Where did you get the drama faces on the open trap door buttons?

Not saying that it is the only source, but eBay has a set of them, plus others....

ebay.com link » Theatre Of Magic Pinball Machine Target Decal Set

PinballDecals has them too for the same price.

#640 4 years ago

Bah, who looks at the time anyway? Unless you turn it on for the display, you will never see it.

Oh, and mine is always incorrect too, fresh batteries or not.

#641 4 years ago

Thanks to JSA and PinWillie for their help with the M-A-G-I-C images.

JSA was first to offer to help, and did his best with a camera, and while not quite crisp enough, he ever so nicely put a ruler and caliper in his images so that I have exact measurements.

PinWillie cranked out a really nice scan (gotta love that HP 4670 scanner) today. It was put into a .RTF file that was 96.2MB in size. I couldn't find a way to "extract" the image and keep it anywhere near that size, but it came out to 22.5MB in the end and is very detailed. Not sure what happened to that 70+ MB difference in data, but I am super happy with the scan.

Now I get to play around with making a sheet of letters with different shades of color and play around with color matching before trying my hand at decals. I will find a closest matches and print all of those shade variations on to the decal sheets at FedEx office just to cover the color variations between my inkjet and their laser. Then I hope to get it all fixed while I am on vacation the week of Christmas and New Years. Won't that be nice!

Thanks again guys.

#658 4 years ago

Thanks again to other ToM owners for the tips on the light bulb in the "cube" as it says on the DMD when testing bulbs, not working.

In the end it was super easy to fix and I should have just looked closer before posting.

The issue was that one of the wires leading to the bulb socket had come out of the 2 pin molex connector under the playfield. Just a little lightwork with a needle nose pliers and it was working nicely. If it fails again, I will probably just put a small drop of hot glue in the end since that will blend in nicely with the molex connector and not look crappy. It did seem really solid though, so I doubt I will have to do anything more.

#659 4 years ago
Quoted from ASH-SWEDEN:

So, new to this forum. Bought a ToM a couple of weeks ago. Has some insert wear around metamorphosis and the captive ball but overall in OK playable condition. Paid the equivalent for 3k USD for it. Had to get an eddyfix from pinbits, works wonders btw, and need to get a nonreflective glass.
Now to my question, how do I protect the playfield from damage from the basement top going up and down? I can already se some wear there so would like to halt that process.
Also, could anybody recommend a place where I can buy a new insertsticker for metamorphosis and tiger saw/captive ball? Not looking to restore the machine, just cover the bad one up to prevent further wear.
On a sidenote I took away the subway ramp last weekend, you need to remove the throught like switchbank/lockswitches and loosen the whole part with the coils to get i t out safely, at least thats what I did.

Glad to hear that the auto-eddy from pinbits works. I have one on my Christmas list this year.

As for the decals, you can try Bay Area Amusements:
or ebay:
ebay.com link » Theatre Of Magic Pinball Machine Insert Decals

I'm not getting a lot of wear around the basement area, or at least not enough to be of concern, so I don't know if there are any fixes or not. To stop the wear, you would need to stop the top from slamming down onto the playfield, but you also need the top to be as flush as possible with the playfield, so it has to slam down, or at least be in direct contact. I would say that you could put in something to cushion the whole basement piece (that pops up with the top) from under the playfield, but again, it would probably cause the top flap to stick up...

#665 4 years ago

I have the mod (latest version) and the blade is gold and it spins pretty fast, thus the reason people don't always notice it spinning.

#668 4 years ago

Quick question for people that have torn down their playfield, or have any insight in to the easiest way to replace the bulbs in the 3 pop bumpers? It doesn't look like you can get to them from under the playfield, and there are a number of ramps and other pieces directly above them.

I am down to about 7 LEDs to put in, and 3 of them are for the pop bumpers. I was hoping to get the install done tonight, but when I got to them, I stopped for the night as I had some other things to get done. I would love to finish the GI install tomorrow night, but I am hoping not to have to remove the plastic and wire ramps all of the way if possible.

#687 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

How do I remove the rom and put the new 1.3 in?

Just realize that you will lose all game settings that you may have changed over time. Everything resets to factory defaults.

Not that it takes much to set things up again for things like free play, etc, but I just wanted to warn you since you have not replaced a ROM before. It is super easy, just take your time both when prying out the old one as well as when lining up the new one. Either way it will take you longer to grab a flat head screwdriver than to swap them.

#690 4 years ago

Wow. Shouldn't have been that tough, but you got 'er done. Yeah, I have about 6 more GI bulbs to switch to LED today (thanks for reminding me), and I am adding some spotlights to light up some dark spots. After swapping the inserts it was a nice improvement, then when I did the flashers and some of the GI, the DMD looked dull. Swapped it for a ColorDMD and it fits with the brighter, more vibrant LED colors very nicely.

#693 4 years ago

Yeah, I agree that the gap of the ColorDMD is annoying from the side. Straight on it looks good... Well, I guess since it is gapped back a little bit, so the new brighter LEDs (vs. incandescent) backbox lights shine down between the speaker panel and the ColorDMD as well.

So I agree that it needs a little tweaking. I was thinking some black foam tape on the back of the speaker panel, and then removing the spacer and tighting it down against the foam.

#696 4 years ago

Finally got all of my LEDs installed from PinballBulbs last night. Had all but 6 GI LEDs, the strip lights, and the spotlights done already. So now I have a problem. I am not 100% sure that this wasn't there before the LEDs, but it is there now.

Whenever I hit one, or both, of the flippers, ALL of the lights "flicker off" for a fraction of a second. Basically the same length of time that you hear the flipper solenoid "hit". Hold the flippers and everything is fine, it is just the initial "click" of the flipper and all of the playfield and backbox lights flash off for a split second.

Any ideas? Maybe this was happening with the incandecents and I just never noticed since they aren't "instant on/instant off" like LEDs...

#700 4 years ago
Quoted from mot:

So, you're talking about the general illumination and not the controlled lamps, right?
GI is powered by 6.3 V AC from the transformer secondary. If this was DC voltage, I was going to blame a capacitor or maybe bridge rectifier, but that's not applicable for AC.
Check the voltage at your wall to make sure it's close to 120 V.
Check the AC voltage at some of the GI sockets under normal conditions. This might be easiest with the lights in the backbox.
Check the GI connectors J120 and J121 for burning.

Yeah, it is ALL of the bulbs. Inserts, GI, backbox, all of them... If they are on and I hit the one or both flippers, they flash off, all of them, at the same time for that fraction of a second.

I will check the wall outlet power, the power at a socket, and connectors for any burning. I don't remember seeing any, but it is always worth a double check since I would be looking specifically for it.

One other thing that may be related now that I am thinking about it. The machine always had a "hum" that would get louder or softer depending on how many lights were on. During "attract" mode it is most noticeable since there are no other sounds. As the lights on the playfield do their different "patterns," the hum is quiet when hardly any bulbs are on, and it gets louder as more bulbs cycle on, and then back quiet as more bulbs turn back off. During some of the attract mode, it is almost like vrOOOmp vrOOOmp vrOOOmp where the OOO is the loudest, and it ramps up and down. Definitely a hum and not a buzz, and you can't hear it during gameplay.

This has happened since back when I got the machine in 1999.

#701 4 years ago

So, any ideas on what would cause this?

#704 4 years ago
Quoted from mot:

So, you're talking about the general illumination and not the controlled lamps, right?
GI is powered by 6.3 V AC from the transformer secondary. If this was DC voltage, I was going to blame a capacitor or maybe bridge rectifier, but that's not applicable for AC.
Check the voltage at your wall to make sure it's close to 120 V.
Check the AC voltage at some of the GI sockets under normal conditions. This might be easiest with the lights in the backbox.
Check the GI connectors J120 and J121 for burning.

Quoted from jsa:

I think he's saying it was happening before, but you couldn't see it. As mot suggests, you need to test the power levels at various points to troubleshoot where your voltage problem is. This is fairly common as the driver board gets old and the caps/etc. need replacing.

Voltage at both the outlet and surge protector is 119.3V
Voltage at a GI socket (picked a random one in the backbox) was 6.63V (so about 5.24% high)
Nothing burnt on J120, J121 (or any of the connectors for that matter).

#717 4 years ago

Yeah, I'm calling it as either he was really, REALLY lucky, or cheated himself. The absolute best that I've seen on our ToM since we bought it in 1999 was about 4.5 billion, if my memory is correct), but that is with 5 regular balls plus 4 buy-ins. Anything higher was during "testing" with the glass off.

#722 4 years ago

Well, let me apologize formally then. Never meant any hurt feelings, or apparent need for people to defend themselves. My mistake. I can own that...

#725 4 years ago
Quoted from Brian7588:

Working on some repairs and upgrades.


That is really similar to what I've done recently. LEDs, ColorDMD, trunk chain/lock, motorized saw, marquee... You've added speaker lights though. I just (finally) got up to ROM 1.3, upgraded my speakers, added a volume control to the backbox speakers, and for Christmas I got a 100Hz crossover for the upgraded woofer that is in the main body of the machine, an "auto-eddy board" for the trunk from PinBits, and some custom "blades" for the inside sides of the cabinet. Hopefully I will get most of that installed this week while I am on vacation from work.

#728 4 years ago
Quoted from gliebig:

My left outlane magnet fires fine but many times doesn't catch the ball. Sometimes when it does, the ball wobbles a lot and winds up draining anyway. Is there a way to adjust it somehow?
I put in the pinbits eddy board and a new magnet.

I don't have an answer for you, but wanted to at least let you know that you did the things that I would have started with. My understanding from a previous issue myself was that the magnet power is on or off, but it sounds like maybe the magnet isn't staying on long enough to stop the wobble before releasing.

One other thing to check is to make sure that the playfield is level from side to side (not the front to back angle) to make sure that there isn't some slight slope preventing it from releasing the ball correctly. My only other thought is to make sure that the magnet is lined up under the playfield in the right spot. I don't know if there is an adjustment or not for the magnet location (I am not at home and can't check), but I've heard stories of previous owners doing odd modifications (and not for the better) that really mess things up. Again, just stabbing in the dark here while waiting for someone else to chime in.

#733 4 years ago
Quoted from nibre:

I would really appreciate if somebody could post a list/scheme/overview for suitable leds (type and color) for all the TOM lamps (playfield, flashers, backbox,...).

I have a layout too that I could pass along. PM me your email address and then you can compare and contrast the layout I have with what german-pinball sends you.

#736 4 years ago
Quoted from RobertWinter:

In case anyone missed this in another thread, Mirco stated ToM playfields would be ready for this year's TPF if all goes well.

This would be SUPER exciting news. Of course, it will cost one heck of a pretty penny I am sure, but still super exciting, but just...


#739 4 years ago

I was actually surprised at how much I am actually *not* annoyed by the LED effects in my TOM. My full kit came from Pinball Bulbs. Not saying that I wouldn't see a benefit from the LED OCD or even the GI OCD, but at $150 a pop, I am not sure that it is worth it for me. At least not at this point. It isn't as bad as I thought. Time will tell and maybe it will become annoying later on, but for now it looks like it just makes things fade in/out better/smoother. I was worried that I would need it to combat other visual issues that I have with some pinball machines with LEDs in them. Again for me I thought that I would need to it prevent the game from being unplayable with LEDs, but I am not experiencing the negative issues, so the OCD boards will be more of an "icing on the cake" upgrade some day than a "fixing a playability problem" fix for me.

Great to hear that you are liking it.

#743 4 years ago

I believe that there is a setting to prevent GI dimming, but maybe that is just for the "attract mode." I know that I turned off some setting just before putting the LEDs in per recommendation of Pinball Bulbs (I believe)....

Maybe that is also why I am not noticing it.

Before the LED upgrade, I was told that I probably wouldn't need an LED OCD with ToM, but maybe a GI OCD instead. Figured I would put the LEDs in first and let it ride for a while to see if it was bothering me or anyone else.

I still have plenty of work and a bit more money to drop into my ToM before I would even look at it for me. Getting the new trunk opto board/Leon's board combo to prevent the trunk from shutting down mid-game due to double hits... Have to put in my inside side art. Need to take apart the trunk, clean and re-grease the gears. And I am still working on the graphics to get some good decals printed to fix my raised/chipped "A" in MAGIC.... Then there is the talk of reproduction ToM playfields possibly being available at the Texas Pinball Festival in March. Not that I have the extra cash AT ALL right now, this could be a once in a lifetime chance to get a "perfect" playfield. Of course, since I live in Iowa, travel would need to be arranged to make that happen, plus I can't imagine the amount of time it would take to do a playfield swap. Sooooo many wires, bolts, pieces, etc. I guess with a 2nd playfield at least I could set them side-by-side to do it (probably have to build 2 rotisseries)

That would do it for me for 2016. 2017 would be removing the external decals, patch the wood, and put new decals on, and then finish "golding" out the machine. Then it will be "perfect." A true collector grade machine (maybe with a few other touches like repainting the inside, etc. If the GI LEDs start bugging me by then, I will get a GI OCD.

#748 4 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

Hey all, different topic: Today, I installed "Leon's Fix," the board built by german-pinball. Just a refresher, there is a bug on Theatre of Magic where under certain conditions, if you hit the trunk at the wrong time, it causes the trunk to lock up until the game is power cycled (or you run a trunk test).
It was called Leon's Fix because Leon Borre (RIP) proposed that this software bug could be fixed with hardware, and suggested how it might be done. Years after his death, the community here started a thread on the topic:
After a ton of contributions and german-pinball (Ingo)'s excellent work, he shipped a hareware fix that installs beneath the trunk. The fix comes on it's own, or also combined with a high quality opto board for the trunk. I received mine today and installed it. The error is gone, and everything works perfectly! Here are photos.


Pretty freaking amazing.

I've been on the "paid" list for a few days now. Not sure when mine will ship. Did he send you a shipping notification or did it just show up one day? Can't wait to get it installed because we had a good 4 person game going this past weekend and the trunk took a double hit and stopped at about a 45 degree angle about 1/2 way through our "match." The game does a good job of not becoming totally crippled without a moving trunk, but still was much less enjoyable. Power cycle and it is fixed, but still. Ruined the games we had going.

#754 4 years ago
Quoted from gliebig:

Any mod to fix the ball going through the pops without hitting anything? Always seems to happen during straight jacket escape.

I had this "issue" for a long time too, and then just increased the playfield angle and now the ball hits more poppers...

1 week later
#780 4 years ago
Quoted from njgsx96:

I have a friend with a machine shop. if you can wait, he already said he would make a copy of mine. Figure I can get it to him next week, have some made up.

I agree with JSA, that would be cool.

1 week later
#795 4 years ago

Cool. Keep us posted.
Namsan, quick question. For the chandelier on your ramp, did you make that yourself or buy it as a kit? I've never seen it before. I mean, I've found the same chandelier online for like $9, but I am surprised that I haven't seen someone with a kit for that before. Seems like everyone likes to add toys to their ToM...

#797 4 years ago

Oops. Sorry. I fixed my post.

#799 4 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

You seriously are amazing. THANK YOU! Please tell your friend we're so grateful!

YAY! So glad that you found the part, well, I mean, had someone able to make one for you. That was an "impossible" part to find it seemed.

1 week later
#806 4 years ago
Quoted from KyleCat:

Can somebody help me? The connectors on my trap door latch came detached. I couldn't solder them back on, I tried laserbond and that didn't work at all, I have tried JB weld and that held for about 3 minutes even after letting it cure over night. Any ideas are good ideas and I haven't gotten my fix in about 2 weeks

I believe that it takes a welder, or buying a whole new assembly. I could be wrong though.

1 week later
#812 4 years ago

Finally got around to remaking my trunk chains. I had a previous design using the smallest "Master" brand brass padlock you can get, and it worked OK, but the lock was always so large, and the chain was held in place by the trunk screws.

New version sits snuggly in the trunk... The only thing holding it on is friction and the small little bumps/nubs around the gold part of the trunk. No more flopping chain! I mean who would use loose and floppy chain to lock up a magic trunk? I added some gold padlocks that are much closer to the right design, but I am still searching for slightly larger ones.

Total cost for a massive amount of chain (could probably make 3 of these and have some chain left over) and 20 little padlocks .... $12.25

I will keep my eyes open for larger padlocks so that they are the exact right size, but so far no luck.

Oh, and ignore the trunk damage. I have a real (as in REAL, not reproduction) replacement trunk all nicely stored away for the day that I (n)ever sell this machine. Trunk1_(resized).jpgTrunk2_(resized).jpg

#815 4 years ago

The chain came from Lowes I believe. The locks are just 13mm (15mm or 16mm would be better, but I could never find them) locks from, of all places, Etsy. I got 20 locks for like $3 shipped.

#818 4 years ago
Quoted from jsa:

Locks like that are basically charms for charm bracelets. Tons of Etsy crafts folk make and sell them, it's an entire international community. The good news is that you can search for them and find them fairly easily. I'm guessing mine came from a similar source. If only they said JOOS Lock Company on them!

Yup. Exactly. I Google searched something like "small gold padlock" and eventually got led to the charms on Etsy.

#819 3 years ago

Has anyone heard any more about Mirco from High Class Pinballs having a reproduction ToM playfield? I have sent him emails and PMs, monitored his threads about other playfields, followed any and all activity on the forums, and I never heard back or saw anything more posted about it.

#821 3 years ago

I agree. LOL

1 week later
#825 3 years ago

+1000 on the Leon's Fix board from Ingo. Easy to install and fixes this nasty gameplay bug.

1 week later
#838 3 years ago

Yeah, the SuperLube is a perfect product for this.

2 weeks later
#876 3 years ago

The ColorDMD is pretty darn sweet. I installed mine a couple of months ago, but yes, the price tag is a bit steep. It was a present to myself for some graphics side-work I have been doing for a while. Covered a number of upgrades to my ToM, but without that, as cool as it is, it would be hard to justify.

#879 3 years ago
Quoted from BrooklynDrug:

Hello theatre of magic owners!
I was wondering if there is a cliffy that exist for the trap door? I'm looking at a Tom right now and has a bit of wear there. I was wondering if a cliffy even existed for this. Thanks for any info guys. Thanks!

Per their website, no...
Scroll down to Theatre of Magic and it just shows ramp protectors. Yay Google Search. LOL (Actually, I had no idea what a "cliffy" was and had to look it up.)

2 months later
#960 3 years ago

I've got one of Ingo's combo boards and it works great. Well worth the wait, but I can understand how frustrating it can be playing TOM just to have the trunk get stuck and essentially not work, and since it is a key part of the gameplay, TOM loses a lot of its fun factor without a working trunk.

2 weeks later
#995 3 years ago

Speaking of "blades"....

I received last Christmas some "inner cabinet decals" for my TOM that look like the image below. I am anxious to get them (finally) installed, but honestly don't how the easiest way to do it. Since they are long decal strips, it seems like it will be really tricky to work around the playfield, but it scares me to death do a playfield removal for something like this. Any tips or ideas?


#999 3 years ago

So is it as simple as just disconnecting the cable bundles from the back box and lifting it out? (obviously taking into account any wire/cable management, glass out, etc)

Maybe I've been making a bigger deal out of this than it really is...

#1001 3 years ago

I am hoping to get this done today, but planning on taking the playfield out. I will let you know if it is something that (once I am done) could have been done without taking the playfield out and if so I will try to document it (with photos).

#1004 3 years ago
Quoted from gliebig:

I put sticker ones on without removing the playfield. Easy peasy.

Hmmm.... There is so little clearance in the back. Maybe if I messed with it more, but I ended up removing the playfield (cables and all)...

Oh well, it should make it easier at this point, and it allows me to do a little bit of touch-up to the top inside of the cabinet right above where the decal will go. Easier now than when the decal is there.

Problem is that I got side tracked all day with "honey-do" lists. I am off to hand paint some black, then let it sit overnight as we watch a movie.

#1006 3 years ago
Quoted from lyonsden:

Got my cab interior decals installed today. I did not take the play field out and use the wet method (Windex) to slide and position the decals. Worked out fine, but definitely not a lot of clearance to work them around.

Looks good.

I completely forgot about the spray method for decals. I hadn't heard about using Windex, just soapy water. I might have to look into the Windex option as I would think that it would evaporate faster without having to sit for a day or longer to "cure" into place.

How are you liking the Pinduino? I keep toying with adding it to my TOM.

#1013 3 years ago

Finally got my TOM back together after taking the playfield completely out last weekend to put the inside decals in.

I REALLY like how this turned out. As with others' photos here, things always look 10x better in person even....



#1016 3 years ago
Quoted from pintechev:

That is high. 5,500/6,000 depending on condition.

Agreed, while a lot of us that own a ToM are happy to see increasing prices, reality is more of the range mentioned by mschonbrun.

#1018 3 years ago

I just put down a deposit for the Pinduino from lyonsden! Can't wait to get it in a few weeks and get it installed. Outside of a few minor "toys" I want to add, that pretty much leaves me with making it all "gold" (minus the coin door, which I still think looks better in black in my opinion)... Crazy to think that just a few months back it was all stock (after owning it since 1998) and how far things have come lately...

#1020 3 years ago

So any tips for troubleshooting a switch issue with switch #15 in the shooter lane? Just noticed this after I removed my playfield to put in the inside decals. Actually, I didn't notice it right away, but did notice it shortly thereafter.

I checked the obvious for a detached wire, but they look good. I even unhooked one of the wires at the switch and "shorted" it out against the other 2 wires (that were connected to the other end of the switch) and it didn't register a change, so I am thinking that it isn't the switch itself.

I then checked the other end of the wires where they connect in the backbox. They seem to be seated fine, and are all in two small bundles of wires, so if the cables were backwards, I would have expected a lot more errors than this single switch. Plus, I had some good videos that I made when disconnecting everything so that I knew how to connect them up correctly.

The bottom of the playfield never touched the ground after removal either. We layed the playfield on its side in a well protected area.

I am not saying that it didn't happen at the point of removal, just stating that I was super careful as to not have any problems. Without this switch working, you can't select what happens if you hit the trunk after launching the ball, so it is fairly important.

What else should I check?

#1022 3 years ago

I checked the connections (again) in the backbox, no change. I removed and tested all fuses, nothing failed. I got out my voltmeter and checked continuity. Two wires were traced back to the backbox (the green/brown? and the white with green "dashes") and had continuity. I also traced the white with the green spiraling stripe, and it goes to the left outlane switch (ultimately) and it tested good for continuity.

I also checked the connection for the wires for this switch to look for burns, and there is no evidence of any. At least visually.

I also tested the switch itself using the volt meter. When the switch is open (as in a "no ball present" situation), the outside two connections tone out good, and neither tone out to the middle (with the green wire). When I press down and close the switch ("ball present" situation) then the outside lose continuity instantly, and the one end that does NOT have any regular wires connected, tones out with the middle connection. I am attaching a picture of the shooter lane switch to show what I am talking about. I tested that previously mentioned outlane switch, and it reacted the same way as this one, with the same continuity changes when its switch was "open" as well as pressed. (Note: I took this while I was testing continuity, I've sense pushed the middle connected wire all of the way on.) The image shows where I get continuity "tone" with the voltmeter and when....

Next step would be desoldering switches and swapping the outlane for the shooter to see what happens, but it just seems odd that everything else seems to work according to the volt meter, but stranger things have happened.

Anyone have any other suggestions that I can try as well in case the switch-swap doesn't change anything?


#1025 3 years ago

Got my shooter lane switch fixed, but I am not 100% sure how...

I got out the soldering iron and swapped the shooter lane switch for an outlane switch (I grabbed the left one, which meant that I had to swap the switch brackets back, but no biggied). I resoldered the switches to their new locations, and I was still getting the error. I was about to give up for the night, and I decided to do other maintenance that I've been meaning to do for a while. I adjusted the sensativity of the two outlane eddy boards (just because, not that anything seemed wrong - my trunk eddy is an upgraded auto-eddy so nothing to do there). Still had the error on power up.

I also swapped out my cracked opto interrupter for the new metal one.

I then fired up the machine again, and was going to test the trunk locations, and woah... No switch error...

Not sure what "fixed" it, or if it will come back again. I powered it down and back up a couple more times, and no error still.

Odd, very odd.

Now my current problem is that in my testing of the cable bundles to the backbox, I removed the "motorized tiger saw and marque" circuit board, and I can't for the life of me remember where it plugs in to. I know about where, but not the exact location and I don't want to try trial and error.

Hopefully Google can help...

EDIT: And Google DID come through. Just line up the gap on the plugs on the circuit board with the gap between the pins for J206 and J208 on the controller board. Makes sense. Now to go play some pinball!

#1026 3 years ago
Quoted from FlippyD:

Lately my center ramp has been acting strange. Medium strength shots which would normally clear the ramp now seem to hit something and will either stop and roll back or barely make the ramp.
I checked and there's nothing actually stuck inside that area of the ramp. It seems like it's gripping on to the top ramp plastic.
I should probably just take off the top ramp and put it back to see if it makes a difference. Ramps are in great condition, so I dont think its dirt build up but maybe...

Hmm. I just looked and there seems to be a lot of clearance between the center ramp and where the right ramp goes over top of it. Maybe you could attach a photo of where yours is getting stuck???

#1029 3 years ago

That's pretty cool. I toyed with getting one of those light up aprons a few years back, but could never justify the price. $289 euros plus shipping....

From Pinball-Dreams. https://www.pinball-dreams.com/en/shop-en/illuminated-aprons.html

These pictures are from their website.

#1031 3 years ago
Quoted from jyeakley:

Yeah. Those are awesome looking, but crazy expensive for what it is...I think pinball decals has the exact same illuminated apron for $489 usd!!
The magnetic overlay I installed is only $40 plus shipping at Tilt and I think I like how it doesn't distract you from the game at all - just goes with everything else!

Yeah and the fact that it is magnetic also means that it won't rip off the stock/factory decals. Too bad that there isn't one that better matches my blades, but then again, maybe one that more matches the outside cabinet graphics (like yours) would be better anyway.

#1032 3 years ago

Anyone here ever replace the metal flaps on their ramps? I've got one that has gotten pretty rusty over the years. Figured that I might just replace all 3. They are just riveted on, right?

#1038 3 years ago

Yeah that is the kit that I was looking at. I just ordered it. Not sure if it comes with the rivets like the other kits, but the key is the flaps anyway. Worst case, I have a rivet gun and a variety of rivet sizes.

1 week later
#1041 3 years ago

Arranging for my ToM to get turned to "gold"... Not as cheap as I hoped, but I kind of knew it wouldn't be.
Not sure which will happen first, the "gold" parts getting back to me (after I rip out my wire forms, etc and ship them off, which will happen tonight/tomorrow) or me getting my Pinduino setup that has been backordered. Will be really some fun times in just a few weeks or so.

Not sure how easy it is to remove the wire form (brass ramp) on the right side as it looks like it goes "into" the playfield up near the top, but I guess I will find out.

#1044 3 years ago

Thanks for the feedback.

I actually had the right brass wireform ramp out last night before I saw your post just now. It was pretty straight forward. the end of the ramp goes "into" the playfield, something much be holding it there, flip up the playfield, find the two bolts, undo the nuts, bam... It is out.

Everything sent off to get plated.

Anyone know how durable the plating is for high touch areas like the lockdown bar where your hands rest?

Getting a lot of pieces plated, but that is my biggest concern.... wear from use.

#1046 3 years ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

Heavy powdercoat seems to be more durable than thin plating...but if struck just right it can chip.

Yeah, the plating is being done by the same place that did Mike Chestnut's work in the past, and people seemed to LOVE that, so hopefully it will hold up.

I know that Stern has been cranking out powdercoated metal on their pins for the last many years. Some looks obnoxious, but it is SUPER durable, but it is too "dull" and "blah" for trying to make it look like "gold."

#1048 3 years ago

Found out that Woody (who I mentioned above) clearcoats the brass plated stuff so that it doesn't tarnish. For home use, I am sure that this will be durable enough for a long, long time....

#1052 3 years ago
Quoted from dannunz:

We're can I buy the tiger saw mod for less than pinball decals prices?

Yeah, like jyeakley shows, you CAN find it cheaper, but not by much.

I still remember when you could get the motorized saw upgrade for like $75... I, too, waited way too long. I just got mine earlier this year and had to cough up the $270ish as well. I never found it cheaper than that unless you go full DIY.

1 week later
#1061 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

Quick question, after getting my TOM up again after 5 years in storage, I got everything working minus a bunch of bulbs that apparently burnt out. One issue I'm having is it doesn't consistently go up the right ramp. I'd say half the time it falls out the hole a little way up and it seems to kind of clunk up the ramp when it makes it instead of going smoothly. Is this normal or is it a level issue or something?

For the bulbs, are they all on one side, or random. If they are in a grouping, then there could be a whole string out...

Anyway, on to your ramp question, there should be a thin metal flap attached to the bottom of the "plastic" ramp that makes for a smooth transition from the playfield to the ramp. Make sure that is there. If the ball is "hopping" (you said clunking) up going up the ramp, it seems like that would be the culprit, and if so, it would be slowing the ball down enough to prevent getting around the ramp completely.

Just something to check.

If there wasn't a "hopping" up of the ball, I would say to check the playfield angle, or make sure that your flipper coils are the correct ones and working 100%.

#1081 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

Tonight it was making skill shots on its own. Ball sent to plunger and it awarded the shot. Is my sensor to sensitive at the trunk?

I've had mine think that the trunk was being "hit" all of the time. I got tired of adjusting the eddy sensor underneath the playfield, so I bought one that auto-calibrates itself. Fixed my problem.

I got it from here:

#1082 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

Can someone tell me which protector from pinball decals fits this Game. They list wpc 95 and wpc 93.

What type of protector are you talking about? I didn't readily see a playfield one on their site (plus that would be specific to each game), and the only thing that I could find that was wpc93 or wpc95 were flipper button protectors.

EDIT: I see now that you ARE looking for flipper protectors based off of your other post here:

When I look up WPC versions, it shows ToM as WPC-S which came before WPC95. I didn't see mention of WPC93 anywhere. (found info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_Pinball_Controller)

However, if I go to Flipper Fidelity, it lists ToM as a WPC93 game (http://flipperfidelity.com/sound/williams-bally-speaker-systems/williams-bally-complete-replacement-speaker-system-for-dcs-machines.html)

#1090 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

Actionpinball has it and yes it's worth it. Without it spins with captive ball hit. With it spins during Tiger saw and Tiger saw multiball. Sad that people have to pay so much for this mod. I don't know what happened to the Tom Callahan version. I guess that's pin logic. I have the prototype in my machine from Tom Callahan when he made it for the 1.4 rom and it's still working many years later.

Yeah, but isn't 1.4 known to have some (rare) multiball failure or something? I remember there being some reasons why people said not to go to 1.4... It would be nice to have the saw spin as designated by the 1.4 ROM though...

#1094 3 years ago

Nice. Thanks for the feedback guys.

#1095 3 years ago

So it dawned on me today... I am getting closer and closer to getting my ToM brassed pieces back which includes side rails of course. So I need to rip out the old side rails and put the new ones on... Not a problem there, however my cabinet decals could use replacement as they were dinged up back before I even got the machine. I don't want to have to remove the current rails, put the new ones on, and then at some point in the future pull the brassed ones back off just so that I can replace the cabinet decals.

So here is my question...

Where is a good place to get a quality set of ToM cabinet decals in the U.S. without spending "big bucks" as in I would like to keep it as far under $300 as possible.

I know that there are some on eBay from Mr. Pinball, but he is out of Australia, so I am spending like $45 just in shipping ($268 total). Planetary Pinball could get me a set for $303 shipped to my door. I am sure that there are others as well, but I have no idea if any of these are good quality or not, let alone what is the best bang for the buck as well.

Anyone have experience with a cabinet decal set for ToM?

Or is it not worth the hassle for a few dings on the cabinet? I was reading a thread here about someone with a REALLY messed up T2 cabinet, and a lot of people said that even that wasn't worth the re-decal....

Plus, it isn't like I am looking to spend more money. Brassing all of the key pieces (buying new legs, rails, hinges in the cost) is like $800 plus shipping, plus I just got my Pinduino kit, so I really am not eager to spend another $300 if it isn't worth it.

Honestly, the casual person probably doesn't even notice the dings. I just know that they are there. They are all just "decal deep" snags/dings. Nothing down into the wood....

#1099 3 years ago

I am attaching 4 photos, all from the right hand side of the machine and right hand side of the backbox. This side has the most damage which happened during our move about 6 years ago. Zero damage happened about 15 years ago when we moved 3 hours away, but we move 2 hours away and it got dinged up. Made me mad at the time, but it was due to a touch of carelessness from my father-in-law, but he busted his butt to help us move, so I couldn't complain.

20160911_221626 (resized).jpg

20160911_221640 (resized).jpg

20160911_221643 (resized).jpg

20160911_221654 (resized).jpg

#1101 3 years ago
Quoted from BioBa:

The damage is quite noticeable. To be honest before I would re-brass my ramps I would rather redecal. In particular when considering resale value. When buying a machine value is very much placed on items that take many hours to fix (playfield, cabinet decals and to some extend back box electronincs). Ramps are an easy fix and anybody can do it (mabe not cheap but easy). Decals are hard and time consuming and ultimately much more expensive. So if you have the time buy some new decals and really bling up your TOM.
BTW also thumbs up for Mr.Pinball decals.

And that is why I brought it up... I was looking for a good source of a quality reproduction of cabinet decals, was asked for photos, and we went from there. the brass plating order is already out with Woody (he's had the stuff for a couple of weeks now). So now I need to look into the best way to remove the current cabinet art. The biggest problem that I have is that I don't have a good way to get this machine out of my basement (to work on it in the garage) and then back into the basement (which is fully finished)...

#1103 3 years ago

Ha. Let me run right out and drop $500+ on the new sander.

Looks amazing though....

Yeah, I figured playfield and backbox removal was a must just to be able to move things around and not get everything clogged up with dust or get damaged. I also knew that there would be sanding, filling, priming, painting all before new decals being added. I built a really large subwoofer for my home theater about 2 years ago and went through the massive job of making the cabinet for that smooth enough for a piano gloss finish. This will need to use a lot of that previous experience.

I am starting to wonder if it would actually be manageable once all of that extra weight is removed (will have to rely on my wife to help is all).

Thanks for the links. I will start going through those.

#1105 3 years ago

So I looked closer at my ToM cabinet art and while I expected the main cabinet body to be decal, I thought that the sides of the backbox would be screenprinted like a lot of others, but it too seems like it is a decal of some sort. Not sure if that is good or bad, but just an unexpected observation.

I think that I will order a set of decals in the next couple of days and get them coming. I mean my ToM is out of commission right now anyway waiting for all of the brass bits and pieces, and I am going to be removing the ramps to put on the pinduino upgrade (still sitting in the box from lyonsden). I am heading out in the early morning to Dallas and hope to have time to work on the machine on Saturday and Sunday. Maybe I will convince my wife to help me remove the playfield (I already had it out a month or so ago to put on inside cabinet art decals, so it isn't so bad) and then really be able to go to town on the machine for the next few months (I still have other responsibilities to do before snow flies here in Iowa), plus I want to do it all right. I think that I might actually have to work on the cabinet itself first so that I can work in the garage without it getting below freezing... Wow do I hate to even think about that in mid-September already.

1 week later
#1110 3 years ago

Welcome back to the club!

#1114 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

I'm having a bit of an issue with the right orbit on my ToM. It almost never makes it all the way around the orbit. It seems for what ever reason to bounce off of the red star post attached to the vanish gate and either bouncing back to the pops or landing in vanish. Could this be a leveling issue? From what I can tell it seems to be bouncing off of the guide rail and into the red star post. I know there is enough clearance between the star post and the guide to move freely just not sure what's causing it to ricochet in that direction. Is this a common issue? Any ideas on what to adjust?

You might have to remove the ramps and plastic bits above that area to get a good view of what is going on. A small imperfection, piece of "crap" on the playfield, bent piece of metal or bent post, etc. The problem is that you can almost never get a really good view of everything that it happening in that area due to all of the piece mounted above it.

#1117 3 years ago
Quoted from mwong168:

Someone just posted up their NextGen TOM cab decals for sale here for $200usd shipped within continental US.

Bummer. I already ordered a fresh set from Mr Pinball in Australia... Paid about $265 after factoring in the exchange rate.

Thanks for thinking of me though.

EDIT: Actually, looking at some of that sellers posts, it sounds like he sold his ToM about 2 years ago, so who knows what condition the decal set is in. Could have been sitting in the cardboard tube in his garage for 2 Pennsylvania winters and summers... Or even longer since he wouldn't have bought the decals right before selling the machine.

#1118 3 years ago

OK. I was tearing into my ToM tonight for 2 reasons, 1) to get the ramps out so that I can clean and polish them and add the Pinduino kit to them, 2) to start getting everything out of the cabinet so that I can get ready to remove the cabinet decals.

Anyway, I was taking a lot of photos and some videos, and forgot to check something.

There is a plastic piece that had been broken forever on my ToM, and now that the ramps are out, I can more easily replace it.

Anyway, I just noticed that the yellow "dome" on the old broken plastic sticks down underneath the plastic, and on the new replacement piece it sticks out of the top of the plastic (see picture below). Which one is right? Dome up above or down below this plastic? I am thinking that this new part is wrong and I will need to drill out the rivets and re-rivet it as, if my memory is correct, the left ramp sits pretty much right on top of this plastic, thus the dome, like shown below, would be in the way.

So dome up, or dome down?


ToM-Part (resized).jpg

#1120 3 years ago
Quoted from meSz:

Dome down or the ramp that goes over it will not sit correctly!

That is what I thought. This piece just didn't look right. I will drill out the rivets tonight and put new ones on. At least it isn't a hard fix. Just want to get some of this cleanup work done before taking the playfield out of the cabinet, so that when I am ready to reassemble it goes back together a lot quicker and easier.

Thanks for checking.

#1122 3 years ago

Well, after taking the plastic ramps out last night to clean and polish and then to install the Pinduino (which won't happen for a little while), I once again removed the playfield. ALL ramps and wireforms are out (some getting fresh brass plating, and the plastic ones for the above mentioned work) so it is a bit barren. Nice thing about having the ramps out is that I can also more easily replace the dirty and falling apart rubber bits, and give the playfield a nice cleaning.

I also removed the backbox and the main hardware off of the cabinet. I need to remove some more bolts and the legs, but I am hoping to start removing the current damaged decals tomorrow. I want to get that process moving along so that it is ready for when they finally ship and get here from Australia. Hopefully I didn't jump the gun too much by starting this now as I won't be wanting to reassemble everything until the new decals are on. I know that I've got a good amount of work ahead of me getting the cabinet outside clean, repaired, and prepped for the new decals, but I still think that I will easily be done before the decals arrive.

Needless to say, my wife is NOT happy about this being torn apart.

backboxoff (resized).jpg

cabinetempty (resized).jpg

playfieldout (resized).jpg

#1123 3 years ago

Wow is it a good amount of work to strip off the old decals. Took about 15-20 minutes to get the feel for it with the first side on the backbox. Then 15 for the 2nd side. The front of the cabinet really did not want to let loose, mainly where the legs, coin door, plunger were (basically everything that applied additional pressure to the decal). That took a solid 20 minutes. The first side rail came off next. About 10 minutes for the first one, and then literally less than 5 minutes for the second. Then I started on one of the sides. Took a solid 40 minutes if not a little longer.

I am using a cheap-o heat gun from Harbor Freight and a new putty knife, and it is working pretty well. The low setting is what I used until I got to the side of the cabinet, where I tried it on the high setting. It definately allowed for faster removal when done right, but would melt the decal really fast if not careful. Lesson learned that melting the decal is not good either. I am not sure if I could get good enough at doing it with the heat gun on high to make it any faster than using it on low. Low and slow vs. high and fast...until it melts...and then it is slow.

I still have the other side of the cabinet to do yet and then need to get as much of the remaining adhesive off. So far the cabinet is in a lot better shape than I thought it would be. I don't think that there will be any massive repairs needed to the cabinet.

#1124 3 years ago

Hopefully you aren't all getting bored by this, but at least it is some activity....

Here are some photos from tonight after using the heat gun and putty knife to remove all of the decals. I did notice that one of the cabinet seams is just starting to split a little, but nothing some preventative wood glue and clamping can't resolve.

Anyway, just some pics.
Ramps removed the other night, waiting for a good clean and polish.
ramps (resized).jpg
Notice the remaining adhesive residue on the side of the cabinet. It is all like this, but it was expected.
side-glue (resized).jpg
There is also a plastic grocery bag with all of the decal bits that came off the cab.
origdecals (resized).jpg
And lastly an image of the naked cabinet and backbox.
nakedpinball (resized).jpg

#1131 3 years ago

Just FYI for anyone that ever decides to do a re-decal....
Heat gun + putty knife for getting the old decal off
This leaves what looks like a pretty clean wood surface with a little bit of decal adhesive left.... LIES LIES LIES!!!
There is a LOT more adhesive left than you would imagine.

I tried a razor blade and some mineral spirits... Meh... Lots of scraping, and never quite clean.
I tried Goof Off Gel... More Meh... It didn't seem to do anything really.
Bought a big metal container of professional strength Goof Off from Home Depot (about $15) and WOW... The adhesive comes off quickly with this stuff and a plastic putty/scraper. It took off adhesive where the mineral spirits/razor blade left it behind. Comes off quickly too.

I removed the adhesive from the backbox and one side of the cabinet, plus sanded all of those. I put some bondo and glazing putty on to those just to get the bigger "dings" a layer while I went back to actually working.

About to go do the other side and the front of the cabinet. Hope to have everything down to the first sanding and at least 1 layer of Bondo before I move on to other things tonight.

#1133 3 years ago

Yeah, a nice day outside, garage door open, and a large box fan helped a lot. I actually feel more impacted by the Bondo and primer fumes than I did with the Goof Off. Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been very nice (too cold) to really air things out without attracting bugs and slowing down the drying/curing processes... I've opted to wear my respirator that handles the tiny particles from paint and fumes nicely...

#1134 3 years ago

I know, here I go spamming everyone with photos...

Anyway, after I got the adhesive off of the cabinet, I sanded the sucker down. I found only a few items that needed a touch of filler. One was a bit bigger on the back of the cabinet where the plywood on the left side, right at the edge with the back, was loose and flimsy. I got rid of the loose part, filled it with Bondo, sanded, filled again, sanded again, etc. Looking back, I probably could have just put some wood glue in there, and taped the flimsy part down to hold it in, but oh well. It is smooth now.

So I've got pictures after the adhesive was removed and some of the holes filled. I also have photos of the primer stage. The primer was still drying, so it looks blotchy, but it wasn't.... At least not until I did a wet sand over it and primed it again.

Last night I put a coat of gloss on the cabinet and backbox, and tonight I did another coat. I wet sanded between the two coats, and may do a super fine wet sand after the current coat of gloss hardens... Not sure about a 3rd coat or not. Probably overkill.

One thing that I am really looking forward to, oddly enough, is on the backbox. The forward facing "edge" around the translite, DMD, and speakers was never smooth. It was a straight cut from the factory, but you could see the "layers" of the plywood. Looked tacky in my opinion... Not any more. Nice and smooth.

I might post a picture of the gloss finish after it cures, but for now, here are the adhesive free, patched, sanded, and primed photos...

20160926_204302 (resized).jpg
20160926_204310 (resized).jpg
20160927_223818 (resized).jpg
20160927_223830 (resized).jpg
20160927_223834 (resized).jpg

Oh, and the decals still aren't here from Australia, and no update since last week on my brass pieces yet. They made it to Woody on August 29, and he assures me that they are in the works. Obviously I've got some work ahead of me before I have to have them, but it would be nice to be able to at least put the new legs on when I do finally get the decals. LOL Honestly though, I just want things right, and not rushed.

I did get a gold shooter rod from Pinball Center, and it was a mess. The rod itself was fine, but the gold knob (black plastic ball with gold paint on it) had 2 small specs where the black showed through, and worse was a large pain run on about 1/5 of the entire ball (actually quite large).

Their best offer to me was to send me a replacement with my next order... Considering that I ordered everything that I needed to from them when I ordered the shooter rod, I won't be getting anything from them as a replacement... I guess I will have to sand it down, but some gold paint, paint and clear-coat it myself. Cheaper than ordering some random part and paying shipping from Germany just to get it replaced.

#1137 3 years ago

Yes, they were protected with plastic and tape during the painting process. Holes were covered on the inside during the original decal adhesive removal to prevent it running in. Actually worked pretty well with just good painters tape (bot blocking the holes and for taping plastic over the electronics.

All painting was done yesterday. I still have a big box fan and heater in the area to "bake" the paint.... Ok, maybe not bake it, but with our overnights as cool as they have been, I wanted plenty of airflow and solid temps above 75F in the area. The cabinet and backbox will be making their way back into the basement. No decals from Australia yet, so re-assembly is coming to a complete halt.

I am traveling to New York for work on Monday, so maybe the decals will show up while I am gone, then I can get those applied on Friday when I get home. Once they are on, I can finish cleaning the playfield. I decided that since the ramps are out (still not cleaned yet) and the wireforms are hitting week 5+ of being out getting re-brassed, that I might as well take out all of the plastics, and REALLY clean the playfield, and put new rubber on everything.

That would be a full day project (for me) on Friday if the decals make it. Then I can get the ramps cleaned up, and flame polished, and when my wife gets home from work, she could help me put the playfield back in. Saturday will be shot with 2 out of town marching band competitions for my daughter. I would then probably reconnect the backbox and all of the wiring. If the brass pieces aren't here yet, then I would just lightly attach the original black backbox hinges just to give me some level of stability while I continue to wait for the brass to come.

So yeah, that all is going to depend on if the decals make it first and foremost, and then need the brass pieces to make it shortly after that.

I can't wait to see everything done, but wow has this all been a long process already, and now I just continue to wait....

#1139 3 years ago

So it looks like the decals were last seen in Chicago... That was on 09/28 (5 days ago) and considering that Chicago is a 4 hour drive from my house, I would have thought that it would have been here by now. Then again, it is in the hands of the US Postal Service, so who knows. I am in White Plains, NY until late Thursday night, so as long as they are delivered by the time I get home, I will be good.

#1141 3 years ago

Yeah, I think that the holdup is that Chicago is where it entered the US, so we are also dealing with Customs most likely... FedEx and UPS would show the whole Customs interaction, but USPS makes no mention of it (again, since their "tracking" isn't the best)...

#1145 3 years ago

So the sad part about all of this is that my TOM is going to look SOOOO nice, except one thing... One glaring thing... I've brought it up here in the past, but am really stuck.

So the big positives:
Cabinet holes and damage repaired and new decals.
"Gold-ed" a lot
Color DMD
LEDs (and not the "fruity pebbles" look)
Upgraded speakers/cabinet woofer
Inside cabinet decals
Plus a lot of behind the scenes goodies like auto-eddy sensors, Leon's fix opto board, cleaned trunk gearbox, etc, etc, etc.

Sounds great, right? But I am STILL stuck with that annoying raised (and chipped up) "A" in M-A-G-I-C right in the middle of the playfield.

I was SOOOOO close to getting a usable high quality scan of the M-A-G-I-C area of the playfield. Everything seemed to be looking good for working up some replica decals to just fix the 'A' and have it match the original M, G, I, and C... I got the scans, and the file was huge, but the because the letters can't be lit up while scanning, the image was almost like the difference between a photo of anything on a nice bright sunny day vs. taking a picture as it is starting to get dark... The image just wasn't crisp.

Sending the playfield out to get repaired really starts to get expensive. Heck, WITHOUT damage like this, it seems like general playfield work runs around the $1000 range. Plus that would mean another 3 months or longer without the machine (and ALL of the massive work it takes to strip the top/bottom and more importantly, be able to put it all back together when done).

There is no reproduction playfield (despite rumors of one earlier this year), which would still be pricey, but at least the downtime would be minimal, and you could set up a system where you just transfer things from one playfield to the other (less chance of screwing things up or forgetting where things go).

Thus I was thinking that if I had a nice, clean, crisp, and correctly sized scan of the "A", I could set up a page of decals that others use for restorations where the colors of the A are all slightly different shades of blue, red, yellow, so that I get something that matches and just cut out that one single "A" from the whole sheet. I have to level the insert anyway, so I would take it out, sand off the existing remnants of the "A" then polish it, put on the decal, spray some protective clear on it, and put it back in the machine. It would look a lot better, and play better too (it has been chipped off enough that it doesn't really impact the play at all).

But, alas, I don't know anyone who is able to do a good scan. I've had people try sending photos, and those were good quality, but they weren't generally straight up from the "A" (maybe hand-held camera at a slight angle) so the images turn out a bit oblong.

I toyed with buying another set of playfield insert decals for like $55 or whatever off of eBay, but then the only way to get it to match would be to replace all 5 letters in M-A-G-I-C. I bought a set way back in early 2000ish, but one of the other letters is missing the red part on it. Seriously, how do they make a set of decals, and the one that I would need is missing one of 4 colors (the other colors being blue, yellow, and black).

So I have no idea what I want to do. I really can't afford to put any serious money into this machine after the recent items, but it almost seems like the more I improve things, the more that the "A" stands out.

Here is an old picture from a few years back in 2012. It is slightly worse than this now... I also attached the image from back then showing the missing red on the I on the decal sheet as well.

Just not sure how to cost (and time) effectively make this better....

toma (resized).jpg

tomdecals (resized).jpg

#1149 3 years ago

So I reached out to the USPS via their website "inquiry" form asking for a status on my decals from Australia. They basically gave me a lame, although probably true, response of "we can't control the customs process. It can take up to 6 weeks for them to release it to the postal service for delivery."

Yeah, I know that the customs people do what they want to do and when they want to do it, but I was hoping for something new.

Sounds like Friday won't be the day to apply the decals. I will spend the time cleaning and polishing the ramps and get the Pinduino installs on to the ramps. All needs to be done, but I was hoping for something significant towards getting the machine back together, like the cabinet decals.

Oh well.

#1152 3 years ago

People around here used to recommend an HP 4600 or 4670 scanner. Sort of a unique device and no longer made, so it is pricey. Oh and I think that it requires Windows XP too. Eek.

Some have resorted to VuPoint Magic Wand Scanners, which are a lot cheaper, but I am never real fond of moving the scanner over an area by hand. Maybe for such a small area it would work without getting distorted...

#1154 3 years ago
Quoted from meSz:

Looking for LED ideas for the backglass! Found a few post on Pinside but they were older so looking for input on what the best LEDs to use for the backglass! Also, if you can advise as to the colors used! Pictures would be great as well!

A lot of people put in some colored LEDs, but if not careful, they look like "fruity pebbles" and are WAY too vibrant.

I went for a more natural look and just put in white LEDs. They are brighter than the stock incandescent bulbs, and you can use with warm or cool white for a slight variation without getting clown colors.

That is the problem with LEDs is that they are so good at vibrant colors when some times you want something a little more muted (less colorful)...

#1162 3 years ago

Oh crud. Of all of the brass work I am getting done, I never even thought about the spirit ring itself.

Maybe in the future I will get that done too. Right now, I just want my cabinet decals to clear customs (been 10 days in customs in Chicago), and for my brass work that I sent out 6 weeks ago to get done... I miss my TOM.

#1165 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

Unfortunately mike had a motorcycle accident and is no longer with us, Chris at pinballplating.com is working with Mikes family and handling the plating now.

Actually, Mike's business seems to have been split between Chris and Ron (Woody76) at http://pinballplatingandmore.com/.

Both of them follow the same process that Mike did, and actually use the same place to do the physical plating process, and people here have had great success with both of them.

I went with Ron because his pricing on almost everything was a few bucks cheaper than Chris. Chris did have one item that was cheaper. If you are getting just a couple of things done, then pick whomever you want. I went with Woody because I had so many items getting done so a few bucks on every piece started to add up.

Again, Chris does great work too. Maybe his prices were negotiable, I never tried to negotiate. Maybe going with Woody and his slightly lower pricing per piece is why I don't have them yet (he is too busy). LOL

I only mention this for those wondering about where to get things plated around here now that Mike is gone. Get quotes. They may vary from day to day.

#1169 3 years ago

Comet Pinball is sort of the "standard" in where to get LEDs...

I did a kit from http://www.pinballbulbs.com/ and really like it. It adds a few nice extras (some LED strips, spotlights, etc), but isn't over the top in color... Looks way better than regular bulbs obviously, but again, not the crazy "fruity pebbles" (I know, I used that term before) look.

Comet can hook you up with whatever you want too and again I've only heard good stuff from them.

#1173 3 years ago
Quoted from jyeakley:

I can't stress enough the importance of the LED and GI OCD products. They keep the game classy and keep the light show the way it was intended with incandescent bulbs. The dimming for example when you go to the basement is a huge reason in itself to get the GI OCD.
One of the best mods you can get IMO.

Yeah, they have been on my backburner list for a while now. My TOM isn't nearly as bad as the videos on the LEDOCD website show for other machines. Those are terrible. So it hasn't been a high priority for me, and at almost $300 for the set, it might never make it to a high enough priority. LOL

I don't think that most people who are casual players would really notice, thus the product name of "OCD" is soooo appropriate. Only those with OCD (or a bad machine like that Twilight Zone on their website) would get a big enough benefit to make it a hands down "must have." Heck, I have been known to be a perfectionist, and it really isn't that bad on my TOM...

Here is the link to the YouTube video from their website. If my machine did this, I would have bought the OCD products a long time ago.

#1180 3 years ago

Nope. I've never seen the OCD boards in action in person. I am, however, someone who can see DLP rainbows, and can even see different frequency rates in fluorescent light bulbs even. Wrong refresh rates in monitors, TVs, projectors, everything is visable to me, yet I am just not seeing the horrific examples like what I linked above, and I think that YouTube videos must not be truly capturing what these boards are capable of as I just don't see a massive improvement. Improvement, yes, massive, no. Again, I will chalk that up to YouTube and the difficulty of capturing the effect.

Even so, it is still on my list, just set for some great distance down the road. Right now I am up to my ears in costs on this machine, and still have it torn apart and unplayable for 7 weeks now already, just to find out that Woody is now telling me 1-2 more weeks for the brass work, and as mentioned the decals are still stuck in customs. I just want to get the machine back into playable condition (which will be the nicest it has ever looked, and then look again at the OCD boards. To me, getting that "A" fixed on my playfield is a higher priority visually, but I've been unable to do that (lacking the good image to replicate) or afford it (paying for a full playfield restore/clearcoat) for about 18 years, so who knows. Maybe the OCD boards will be next. I just wish that they weren't so expensive...

#1182 3 years ago

Well, Mirco is promising TOM playfield repros are coming soon (again).... We'll see if that actually happens.

This was posted today:

#1183 3 years ago

So I got my replacement gold shooter rod ball from Pinball Center in Germany. The first ball has MAJOR runs in the gold paint, well this one isn't much better. There was a note inside stating, in their best English, "Better as this not possible. Tx Marco" so I knew that I was not going to be happy.

I am temped to take the worst of the two, strip off the gold paint, and try doing it myself. I bet that I can make one with zero runs. I will then clearcoat it with automotive clearcoat for protection and be better off.

Of course, I never seem to get time to do anything with the pinball machine, so this will get back-burnered for a while so that I can get working on important items like ramps, and some paint touchup on the coin door (not bad enough to justify a full paint strip and respray)...

#1185 3 years ago

Well, technically nail polish could be considered a type of paint.... LOL

No, I get your point. I would still want to clear coat over it. I wonder if I could find some gold automotive paint since it is designed to be pretty hard when covered in automotive clear coat. I mean, the knob itself is plastic. I have a special automotive spray primer for when painting on plastics (like bumpers, mirror housings, etc). So I technically have everything but the gold paint. It would seem silly to mix up the gold for the HVLP sprayer to do one gold knob, but it could be done...

Or, I could try nail polish. I would just be concerned about an even coat....

#1186 3 years ago

So I finally got some time tonight to work on the ramps. I removed the rivets for the ramp flaps first. I also fixed that one plastic with the yellow dome upside down by getting those rivets off, flipping it, and re-rivetting it in the correct position.

For the ramps, I gave them a damp cloth wipe down, then a good scrub with Novus 2 using a Mr Clean Magic Erasers. Then a sudsy water wash, a rinse, and then a lot of blown air from my air compressor.

Once dry I jumped right into flame polishing. Works really well and is easier than I thought, then again I was being pretty cautious so maybe that is why I didn't melt or burn anything.

On the ramps are a couple of auxiliary clear pieces mounted to them. Two of these were pretty yellowed, so I replaced them with new ones from a full plastic set that I bought a few years back. I also noticed just how yellowed the larger plastic that covers the captive ball was, so I replaced that as well. Of course I cleaned under thst area and replaced 2 old and somewhat hard black rubber rings while I was at it.

So finally some progress. I should have taken a picture of one of the ramps done and the other not done, but I was excited about getting them done that I didn't.

I did take a picture of the new vs old plastic piece above the captive ball. It is hidden pretty well during the game, but I might as well replace it while I had a few minutes.

20161012_192510 (resized).jpg

#1188 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

Just gave my ToM the brass treatment last night. Love it it looks amazing

Looks nice.

I like how you kept the coin door black. In my opinion that looks the nicest with the cabinet art (sorry guys that spent $500 for a brassed coin door. If you like it then great.)

What all did you do and where did you get them done? Obvious ones are legs, bolts, levelers, lockdown, siderails, and backbox hinges. Anything else?

#1190 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

Also did the spirit ring, wireform ramps and apron guard rail and shooter housing. I had it done by Ron Woodard of pinballplatingandmore.com who took over for mike chestnut. The prices are reasonable and are up on his site I think total it was all about $700ish

When did you send your stuff to him and when did you get them back?

He is working up my pieces, but it has been a while (he has had my wireforms and such since the end of August)...

I completely forgot about the Spirit Ring. Makes me wonder if I should see about adding it now, or just wait and at least get my machine working...

#1192 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

I got my wireforms through Chris Royalty at horrid arcade/pinballplating.com he had them on hand but a little more $ I ended up getting the rest of the stuff from Ron both guys have their stuff done at the same shop

Right. I got quotes from both of them for the work. Just wondering how long did it take Ron for you. It has almost been 7 weeks since he had my parts in hand. I know that he was working up general parts to take to Expo, but just wondering.

#1195 3 years ago
Quoted from jyeakley:

I got a bunch of stuff done by Ron when he first announced - it took about 3 weeks. I imagine his backlog has grown since then and with all the shows recently, not surprising it is taking a bit longer. Be patient, it is worth it...7 weeks is a long time. Have you followed up with him at all? He is a super nice guy.

Yeah, I had been asking for updates almost weekly. The reason being is that he would tell me almost weekly "I should have your stuff done this week." The week would go by, still nothing, so I would email again, and get the same response, "Should be done this week."

This past Monday he changed it to "Should be in the next week or two." I assume because he was building stock for Expo in Chicago and he heading there on Wednesday, but still...

Again, if you have read any of my other recent posts, getting the brass plating done right now is a moot point to some degree because my cabinet decals are still sitting in customs in Chicago with no signs of leaving any time soon (took 2 days from Australia to Chicago, and now has been there in customs for over 2 weeks).

I need to get the decals on before reassembling everything, I just don't want my parts and pieces that I sent Ron to go missing... I know how these things can go... The longer something sits, the more likely something gets lost in the mix.

He stuff looks amazing in the pictures though. It will be really nice when I do have them, it just seems like it has been an extra long process.

#1196 3 years ago
Quoted from meSz:

Yeah if you would let me know what colors you used where and the LEDs you used would appreciate it!!

I had bought one of the Spirit Rings that someone, I forget who, made. It's one piece and plated!

I found some guy who goes by the name tzpb93 talking about having some of these 5 years ago:

I revived that old post to see if I get a response.

Not sure how else to get in touch with the guy, but that one is so much nicer than the stock welded ones that came stock with the game...

#1199 3 years ago
Quoted from meSz:

Yeah if you go to the below URL you can scroll through the 4 pictures he has on photobucket. Shows the finished product as well as before it's plated. Like I said, all on piece and really nice!

Yup. Did that, tried to find a way to contact him via Photobucket, but that isn't possible it seems, so I am at a standstill.
I did also send a private message via that google thread of the rec.games.pinball newsgroup, but who knows if that will actually get to the guy.

Still not sure if it is worth the approx $100 price tag, but dang it does look really nice without the weld marks of the stock ones.

FYI that Chris doesn't currently have any ready to go. I guess 3 other guys got to his stock before I did, so he has to still clean up and plate theirs. Probably still worth the wait than trying to get into the mix of stuff that Woody is going to have from Expo.

#1201 3 years ago
Quoted from meSz:

Sit tight, I gave another Pinsider the email address and he has emailed already asking if these are still available or if more can be made! Hopefully more to come!

Yeah, prior to seeing the final product, I was thinking about breaking out the Dremel and smoothing things out, but the weld marks are sooooo deep that it would look just as bad.

On a bad note, the link to the photos on Photobucket have now disappeared. They were there literally a couple of hours ago, and now the whole album is gone. Not looking good...

#1202 3 years ago

And, I got a response back. Here is what I got back just minutes ago:

Sorry but I no longer make or sell these.
Tc Greg


That said, it looks like Tc Greg is a member here under the name bballfan...

1 week later
#1206 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

Has anybody added spotlights to ToM? I'm thinking about adding two right above the slings above the front star post on them but I am concerned with how it will look/mount where the ramp is attached

I have spotlights on my TOM. Came as part of an LED kit. Really helps to light up the middle of the playfield which ends up dark if your lights in your house/room are dim.

#1207 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

It's amazing how much a little gold adhesive moulding on the backbox makes such a big difference. I think it really ties the whole brass trim package together.

I am not a huge fan of adding plastic molding to the backbox, and I spend a chunk of time getting my backbox edges looking nice when I repaired my cabinet for new decals, but I am not totally put off by it either. Something that I probably wouldn't do, but it doesn't bother me on other people's machines either.

#1210 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

Where are you spots mounted?

I have 3 spotlights, two are mounted that same as lyonsden, the 3rd is installed differently. I am not at home, and my TOM is in pieces waiting on new decals and brass plating, but I will found a picture of the playfield (ok, virtual playfield) and marked where the 3rd one was. I have since removed it anyway as it was hard to get it pointing at the playfield without pointing at the player.

I also added general LED lighting up above the top of the playfield and "down the drain" which also helps a lot too.

pf1 (resized) (resized).jpg

#1212 3 years ago

So all about the same time, my brass plating ships, and my decals finally make it through U.S. Customs.

So far, I only have the front decal on. It is probably the most complicated to get "just right" and yet it is the first one that needs to be done on the main cabinet part (since the sides line up with it).

The brass plated pieces came yesterday (well, all but some ramp flaps and some missing leg levelers). It was a bit of a mixed bag. Lots of little dust bits in the plating (most likely actually in the clear coat) and some distinct variance in color. Flat items were a "yellow gold" color, and things like wireforms and the shooter housing were more of a "copper gold". I talked to Ron (Woody) and am sending 4 pieces back to get fixed. Sounds like the layer that goes on under the brass is a copper layer, so if the brass gets too polished, it starts to wear off and the copper starts showing through.

So lots of work to do, but I will still be waiting on some of the brass pieces for a while again. Hopefully not 8.5 weeks like last time.

It will look great when it is finally done.

#1213 3 years ago

Who here uses leg protectors for their Theatre of Magic?

With my fresh decal set going on, I think that I want to use leg protectors, however I bought some "gold" ones, but they are more of a butterscotch than gold.

I thought about getting some clear ones...

I could just get some felt and line the top parts of the legs themselves and you would never see them, but I wasn't sure if that would be good enough or not.

Or there are even metal ones, I guess.

Any thoughts?

EDIT: I found the thread (and many others) linked below. Sounds like the PinCab style plastic ones (like the ones I bought already) are more for painted/silkscreened cabinets, or decaled ones with existing leg damage. I should NOT use those on a newly decal'd machine. People seem to say use the metal ones for sure, and if in doubt, add a layer of felt between those and the legs to prevent the legs themselves from getting scratched.

Discussion about it:

So I guess I should buy some metal ones...

#1215 3 years ago

Yup. Sounds like I need to install them (bolt just the protectors on) then cut the decal around the protector (1 or 2mm away from the protector), remove the protector, remove that decal part that is under the protector, put the protector back on, drill pilot holes, insert the 2 holding screws, install the legs.

Optional would be some felt on the metal protector to protect the newly plated legs from scratches too, even if they are on the inside.

#1221 3 years ago

I was told that entrance ramps were tricky. Not sure why since they are solid flat surfaces (vs. other oddball pieces), but I don't know the ins and outs of plating. That said, I too am getting mine done. Ron is working on making mine perfect. Super nice guy.

As for LEDs, Comet is a super popular place to go. For me I just went with a kit. Found PinballBulbs with a Black Friday deal last year. The nice part of their upper level kits is that you get some spotlights, which a comparison picture a few posts back by Drew. You also get some general cabinet illumination (not on the playfield) for the ball drain and above the top of the playfield. Really helps to light up those dark spots. Just another option.

#1223 3 years ago

My flaps went into the mail yesterday from Ron. He said that they can be tricky to plate because you can get build up on the edges. He had the plating guy fix them, which is great service to do before sending things out. He even brassed my rivets for me. Should be here early this coming week, but I am traveling to Denver on Wednesday, so I probably won't have time to do anything with all of it. Plus I still have 4 other pieces with Ron getting perfected.

Heck, I still need to get my decals done. Hopefully I will get some more of that done today. Nice weather outside, so I need to do some yard work. Heading out to do that right after the Michigan game...

#1224 3 years ago

After buying a "gold" shooter rod kit from Pinball Center and having big runs/flaws in the gold, and them sending a replacement that was just as bad, but in different ways, I am trying my hand at painting a gold shooter rod.

Not 100% sure that it will turn out, but I took the worst of the two (the one with chips in the gold) and used some of my professional strength Goof Off to get the finish off and the ball back to black plastic.

I then cleaned it, and put automotive grade adhesion promoting primer on it.

After a few coats, I put on a couple of light layers of gold paint.

It is nice and even coverage, but I am not sure that it will look like it will nicely match my plated brass. I am going to try an automotive clearcoat after it all cures overnight. Wondering if that will make it even nicer looking.

I had the Goof Off, primer, paint, and clear coat already, so this experiment is only costing me a little time.

20161029_182627 (resized).jpg
20161029_183356 (resized).jpg

#1225 3 years ago

So despite the spray paint can showing a metallic brass/gold color on the lid, it just turned out more "gold paint" look than I had hoped. Still better than using a gray shooter rod ball with a bunch of brass, but not what I wanted. Don't waste your time on it.

As for the decal work. It is coming along slowly. I had the whole past weekend open to do whatever I wanted, so it was a lot of catching up on some car repairs, yard work, etc. I did manage to get the decals on the backbox. SOOOO much nicer looking now.

Here is a before and after picture. The new decal looks even better in person and is super clean. This picture was after trimming, but before I touched up where the razor blade scuffed off some of the paint. That was easily fixed.

Sorry for the crappy images. I am at work and when I tried to resize things to make them more manageable, I only had MS Paint which trashed the potential image quality a bit, but you see the improvement over the messed up original.

Here is the old, dinged up decal.
Old (resized).jpg

And the new one.
New (resized).jpg

#1228 3 years ago

Yeah, I was trying to avoid the $75 for a brass ball, but might have to look at it in the future.

#1234 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

I just installed the prototype 3D translight in my ToM and I can't even begin to describe how incredible it looks in person and the effect is next to impossible to capture in a pic/vid but I tried anyhow you can kind of see it if you look at the overlap of the saw blade and the window on the left. Here's the link if you want to check it out. Also the Colordmd will hopefully arrive tomorrow I can't wait
» YouTube video

You will love the ColorDMD. Theatre of Magic was made for a more colorful DMD. My wife was a skeptic until I added mine last spring. It just seems to natural that most people don't even know that it is an upgrade, which in my opinion is a compliment because it fits the theme and isn't obnoxious.

#1235 3 years ago
Quoted from lyonsden:

Can you buy these and epoxy a shooter rod into them?
ebay.com link » Polished Brass Ball Cabinet Drawer Pull Knob 1 Pair By Pld

The funny thing is that those look just like what I bought from Pinball Center. I would be somewhat surprised if they fit on a shooter rod without drilling the hole bigger. Maybe I will ask the seller for more info about the "hole"size as the shooter rod that I got with the gold ball is threaded too, so at least epoxy would have something to stick to. That said, the ideal situation if they aren't very durable would be to buy a bunch of them and just replace them as they wear off...

#1242 3 years ago

$200 for the 3D translite (unless you win one), but the TOM one isn't for sale yet.

#1245 3 years ago

Does anyone know a good way to remove the magnet from the Spirit Ring? I am getting the spirit ring swapped out for a freshly brass plated one, but don't see a good way to pry this out. The only thing that I came across was using a screwdriver and slowly prying around the magnet, but there doesn't seem to be a good spot to get between the black glue that they used and the thin plastic "disc" that is on the top/bottom of the magnet. I don't want to pry on the magnet coil itself for fear of damaging the coil.

I really don't want to have to buy a new magnet for $35 if I can salvage this one.

Any ideas?

UPDATE: It dawned on me. I bought a heat gun for taking off my cabinet decals. Let me try that... Sure enough, I got the magnet out without issue. Still took a little bit. Took off the decal on the top first and then screwed it down (upside down) to my work bench and applied head from underneath. That way I could see the magnet and the glue.

Next question, does anyone know what kind of glue to use to mount it back into the new plated ring?

#1250 3 years ago

Yeah, that is what I got originally. The ball had major runs in the "paint" or clear coat". It was bad enough that they sent me another ball for free (from Germany for those that don't know). It had a smaller, but still noticeable, "run" in it and even worse it had a couple of spots (literally) where there was no gold at all and you could see the black from the plastic ball underneath. They included a hand written note in the box for the 2nd one saying that it is "not possible to make them any better than this." Highly disappointing...

It was the second one that I did my paint job on the other day, so I still have the first one from them. As I noted above, I am not happy with how the paint looked, well, like gold paint vs. the metallic shiny look on the lid of the can.

#1251 3 years ago
Quoted from GreenMachine19:

Some restore pics just added Reese Rails. I polish every piece of visible metal ( I'm addicted to it). Nearly complete just have to finish the trunk. Adding the Ingo board. All new cool sleeves , cointaker leds etc. made a repair to the trunk base bracket adding reinforcement since mine was broken.

Agreed, looking great. Your efforts will be worth it.

#1256 3 years ago
Quoted from caker137:

This guy figured it out. Fiberglass. I have followed his lead and had virtually no wear after several years.

Since I have been working on fixing all sorts of things with my TOM, I was thinking that it was about time to put in the new trunk that I bought a few years ago. I came across some other posts about people using super strong tape (like Gorilla Tape), foam tape, and the above mentioned fiberglass.

It seems like the fiberglass was the longest lasting, but I never looked into where to get the supplies to do it.

I looked online at places like Lowes, and you can get the 4oz fiberglass, but then need the polyester resin and hardener. It comes to about $30 plus tax.

Amazon sells a kit from "Ding All" but it only does a small 4-6" square area, and not enough for a full trunk. It runs $16.

There is a 3M product that has all of the key pieces, but it doesn't say the fiberglass weight is (since the guy from the link above used 2 layers of 4oz). I found out elsewhere that there is 3 sqft of fiberglass material with the kit though... This kit also runs just around $16 via Amazon (about $22 or so at your local auto parts store). https://amzn.com/B000BO9NOO

So anyone with fiberglassing experience, do you think that this 3M kit would work. caker137, what did you use and where did you get the components?

#1257 3 years ago

On a different note, the decals are all (finally) installed and the cabinet is back up on its new brass legs.

I even managed to get the playfield back in the cabinet, although it is a long way from being done.

What you don't see is the set of metal leg brackets that are installed and then I covered those with a layer of black felt so that the legs themselves aren't touching the metal brackets, and nothing is touching the new decals (I cut around the brackets about 2mm, removed the brackets, and then removed that part of the decal. I then put the brackets back on and attached them with the screws provided.)
535-0599-00 (resized).jpg

Here are some pictures of the cabinet decals installed.

front (resized).jpg
left (resized).jpg
right (resized).jpg
edgecloseup (resized).jpg
pfbackin (resized).jpg

#1262 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

Thanks for the heads up I'm canceling my order before it ships. What I think I'm going to try is taking a spare shooter rod I have here and remove the knob on it. Then thread the shooter rod to fit one of these polished brass ball handles from McMaster-Carr (probably 1-3/8) I'll probably hit the ball with clear too.

Probably a good (or at least better) idea...

So which 1-3/8" works with a standard threaded shooter rod?

1 3/8" Diameter BRASS
1/4"-20 5/8" 60215K61 $9.32
5/16"-18 5/8" 60215K63 $9.32
5/16"-24 5/8" 60215K64 $9.32
3/8"-16 5/8" 60215K65 $9.32
3/8"-24 5/8" 60215K66 $9.32
7/16"-20 5/8" 60215K67 $9.32
1/2"-13 5/8" 60215K68 $9.32
1/2"-20 5/8" 60215K69 $9.32

#1265 3 years ago

Sooooo... What one did you get and what hoops did you have to go through to put it all together?

#1268 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

I had to thread the rod to match the ball knob. I'm thinking about making a batch of them up for folks if they want. So far it plays great and the extra weight makes it feel more solid for sure. It's raw brass so I'm debating on clearing it but not sure if it would be worth it or not or how easily it will tarnish

It looks so much nicer than the stock grey one, and I bet the weight feels nice.

I'd be in the market for one. I can clear coat it myself.

#1269 3 years ago
Quoted from JasonJoe:

Hi there just got my hands on a TOM which is in good condition but need to do some work on the flippers which are a little week and need to also check the EOS switch but happy with the machine.

Looks like you got one in nice condition with a few nice mods.

Check the flipper solenoids. When I bought my TOM, the previous owner had replaced the solenoids with weaker ones for whatever reason. It was really hard to make ramp shots unless hit perfectly. Once I put in the correct ones (I don't know what ones off the top of my head), the game really came to life.

#1270 3 years ago

Getting closer. I did take the time last night to straighten out a large plastic that had some harsh buckle in it, cleaned the playfield, and even waxed it. While I was working on it, I decided that it was time to clean the subway underneath. It was SOOOO dirty, that I thought that it was made with smoked plastic. Now it is super clean. I actually thought about flame polishing it, but that seemed silly for a subway piece.

TOM-Subway (resized).jpg

I put the glass on to keep dust out. Hoping to get the Pinduino pieces installed tonight on to the plastic ramps, plus the brass ramp flaps, and get those back in. Then it will be connecting all of the electronic connections over the next few days while I wait for the last of my brass pieces to come back from Woody.
TOM-Status (resized).jpg

#1271 3 years ago

For those of you that have replaced ramp flaps, any tips on using tubular rivets? I have the ramp flap kit from pinbits that came with the "Pressless rivets" but I am having the darnedest time getting it to work. I am thinking that it is because I had the rivets brassed (and I assume that they were clear coated, but the washers and "rivet clips" were not plated) and they are just a little thicker than the rivet clips are designed for.

I can eventually get a clip on, but it is loose and just slides back off.

I am going to try sanding off the clear and brass from the part that you can't see, but I just didn't know if someone else has done something easier?

I only have 6 rivets total to do, so I don't want to spend a lot on a press or something. I was thinking of a rivet "round over" tool or whatever you call them, but I can only seem to find them online and I don't want to wait for shipping. Wasn't sure if a craft store would have something that would work? Just looking for ideas as these "pressless" ones aren't working.

Any thoughts?

#1272 3 years ago
Quoted from nickbuol:

For those of you that have replaced ramp flaps, any tips on using tubular rivets? I have the ramp flap kit from pinbits that came with the "Pressless rivets" but I am having the darnedest time getting it to work. I am thinking that it is because I had the rivets brassed (and I assume that they were clear coated, but the washers and "rivet clips" were not plated) and they are just a little thicker than the rivet clips are designed for.
I can eventually get a clip on, but it is loose and just slides back off.
I am going to try sanding off the clear and brass from the part that you can't see, but I just didn't know if someone else has done something easier?
I only have 6 rivets total to do, so I don't want to spend a lot on a press or something. I was thinking of a rivet "round over" tool or whatever you call them, but I can only seem to find them online and I don't want to wait for shipping. Wasn't sure if a craft store would have something that would work? Just looking for ideas as these "pressless" ones aren't working.
Any thoughts?

Well, after a lot of time spent trying to find semi-tubular rivet clinching tools that weren't expensive, and even looking for hand rolling tools for rivets, I decided to grab my Dremel with a fine grit sandpaper wheel. I started at a slow speed and with a light touch. It really didn't seem to be doing much, and was tricky to do because of the small size of the rivets. Then I decided to do something different. I had been using a 2x4 under the ramp (flipped upside down) and I could see that the rivet heads were going into the wood.

I simply switched out the 2x4 with a piece of metal (an 18" metal level that I got from my dad some 15 years ago). Using the pressless rivets, everything worked with just a few taps. It was so easy. I can't believe how many hours of time I wasted looking things up online (how to videos as well as tool buying research) as well as going to 4 different stores locally today without any good luck. I did find a "star" rivet tool at Hobby Lobby, but that isn't what I wanted. Instead of just getting these ramps done tonight just after midnight (keep in mind that I also worked on this last night from about midnight until just after 3am), I would have the ramps installed now, and moved on to a lot of other work. Oh well. The 2 plastic ramps are done. I will just need to do the metal entrance ramp after it comes back from getting the brass plating fixed by Woody.

My goal for Sunday (keeping in mind that I have a few other projects to work on too) will be to get the ramps installed, including getting the wiring all snugged down with new zip ties, and hopefully all of the electrical connections completed. That will just leave the 4 pieces that Woody is fixing (entrance ramp, right wireform, apron wireform, and shooter housing) to install, connecting up the Pinduino (everything is installed but the circuit board and wire connections to the circuit board), and the coindoor. I plan to do some touch up paint work on the coindoor. It isn't bad at all, so not worth stripping it down and starting over on the finish.

I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel to getting this back to playable condition. I can't believe that I took out the wireforms and such to send off to plating back in mid-August. It has been almost 3 months now, but the cabinet looks great with the decal and cabinet repair, the brass pieces on the machine look great, the new rubbers are nice, and the playfield is the cleanest it has ever been since I bought it in 1998. I waxed it twice too for good measure. In the end, I think that it will make my TOM a really nice specimen. I know that more people are doing the same types of things that I am doing, but it isn't a competition and different people have different levels that they want to take their machine.

#1274 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

What do you guys use to remove the nuts holding the flipper buttons in? I used a pair of pliers getting them off as I couldn't find a wrench that would fit, but now no matter what I do, one of the flipper buttons is loose and I'd like to get it tightened properly.

I have a large assortment of tools, so your mileage may vary, but I used a wrench. You could also use a socket if you had one large enough and removed the button circuitry to get it out of the way.

I guess you could try a pair of needle nose pliers.

#1276 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

Do you know what size the nut is?

I went down with my sockets and checked just now.

1/4" to get the 2 screws that hold the flipper circuit boards in place, and then a 15/16" socket for the nut.

This is a pretty big socket usually for use with a 1/2" size ratchet, but just buy the socket, and no ratchet or anything. You don't want to crank down on the metal nut of a plastic button. A secure hand tightening is all that is needed.

#1278 3 years ago

No problem. The tricky part with a wrench is that you have to get "into" the recess of the button hole to get the nut snug. A socket really does well. I know that I said that I used a wrench, which I did, but when I tried the socket just now, I got the first one more snug like I wanted, so I just too the extra 90 seconds and used the socket on the other side. Works really well and better than the wrench since the socket should also go into that recess for better grip.

The socket will cost you about $2-$5 is all.

#1281 3 years ago

Not much update the last 2 days (for those that care). Yesterday morning, I used some Gorilla brand super glue and glued the magnet back into the Spirit Ring that I just got back from Chris Royalty (got on his list for a swap out well after sending my other 4 parts back off to Ron for re-plating, and got it back quick since it was just a swap out). I then put the spirit ring on to the wireform that it attaches to, but can't go any further as I am still waiting for the larger wireform since they connect to each other.

Tonight I decided to put some fiberglass on the inside of my spare trunk that I've had for several years. The trunk had a wad of newspaper in it and over time was "puffed out" so I got out the heat gun, warmed up the sides, and reformed it back to square before putting in 2 layers of fiberglass and 3 layers of resin. I am going to let this cure overnight, even though it says that it only needs 2 hours.

Circling back to last night. I got the pinduino pieces installs on the plastic ramps, and the ramps installed in the game. I know that I planned on doing that this past weekend but, well, life happened and other things took priority. I can't wait to see the Pinduino in action... Oh, by the way, did you see that Lyonsden has a kit ready to go? Hit him up and buy it already!

#1289 3 years ago
Quoted from Robl45:

So if pinbits doesn't have these anymore, is the only thing that you can do is adjust these constantly? I've adjusted all 3 sensors per instructions, turn till lit them turn back until light turns off. I've checked them and make sure they are registering and same thing everytime. The trunk registers most of the time but has a bad habit of not registering the skill shot some times and the outlanes miss the ball probably half the time. You'd assume there would be compensation for that in the software but Nope.

Mine was actually failing, and no matter how much tinkering around with it I did, it would work about 20% of the time. That makes the game not playable, so instead of buying a replacement similar to the original style, I bought the auto-eddy. If they aren't available, you could contact them and ask when more will be produced and for sale, or just buy a replacement "stock style" for now.

#1290 3 years ago

Does anyone know what this part is? I found it with my other "tear down" pieces from my TOM, but it was in a ziplock by itself and the bag wasn't labeled. Everything else had labels and was marked with the parts inside the bag, plus where in the playfield they went.

I even went back through my photos and videos to try to find where I removed it and couldn't find it.

I was about to clean and polish it when I realized that I had no idea where it went.

TOM-Metal_Piece (resized).jpg