(Topic ID: 224987)

To Save a Sorcerer or How to spend $3,000 on a $1,200 machine


By uncivil_engineer

9 months ago



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  • 71 posts
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  • Latest reply 9 days ago by uncivil_engineer
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There are 71 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
26
#1 9 months ago

One of the first games I ever played as a kid was Sorcerer. For some reason, I always remembered the eyes in the back of the cabinet flashing at me. As a 10 year old in an arcade, this was both mesmerizing, and creepy.

Fast forward 30+ years: a good friend of mine brings home an entire container of termite eaten pinball machines. Among them is perhaps the most decrepit Sorcerer machines I have ever seen. You could practically put your hand through the cabinet, and the backbox has split at the hinges. The whole rotten mess was sitting outside it was so bad.

So I looked at it. All the boards were there, and except for the legs, the whole thing was complete. I was going to pass on this one when fate seemed to intervine: Planetary pinball announced the release of a new backglass (the backglass on this machine was peeling badly), and a friend ( cosmokramer ) of mine was just starting to build cabinets, and he committed to building to building me a new cabinet. So I decided to take the dive... I was going to save this Sorcerer.

Here is the starting point (those with weak stomachs should look away)....

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Lucky for me, unlike other games that came out of this shipment, the playfield has been spared the termites wrath. However, it doesn't mean the playfield was perfect. No, it has more than it's share of wear spots, and lifted inserts. For this restoration, I am going to hold off on the playfield until the very last, and hope I can locate either a new one, or at least one in better condition.
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I picked up the machine in early March of 2018, and stripped out the cabinet and took it to see CosmoKramer after the Golden State Pinball Festival in May, with the promise of a new cabinet in August.

#2 9 months ago

Pinball is our passion, for the initiated, a right of free time. Congrats on picking your girl and making her a Lady.

#3 9 months ago

So in August, cosmokramer came through for me in a big way. Sorcerer had a new home!

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One of the things I learned in past restorations is that old plywood just sucks up the paint. However, this one is all new wood!

I honestly don't plan on spending $3,000 restoring this, but knowing me, by the time I am done, I will have close to that amount into her. Lucky for me I at least have some parts on hand to start with. I had left over high build primer from my Funhouse pinball machine, so after filling a few holes with bondo, the primer went on the machine.

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I did make one mistake during the priming process. I though my primer would last a few hours in the pot of my HVLP spray gun. Nope! It set up in under 45 minutes....
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So I got to clean a lot of gunk out of my priming gun, but I got it working again, and was able to finish.

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#4 9 months ago

So this brings me to the main event... Cabinet color. I came across some oil based enamels at my local tractor supply I wanted to try out on this project.
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The stuff is priced about the same as water based acrylic paint, but is oil based. There is also a reducer and hardener available for the paint. The original was painted in oil based enamels, and the colors I will be using with the stencil are oil based enamels, so I though I would give this stuff a try.

According to the directions, you are supposed to mix this 8: 1 with the reducer. When I popped open the paint, it was nearly as thick as tar! To get it to flow, I ended up mixing it about 6: 1 with the reducer. When I sprayed it, the temperature in my shop was 90 degrees, and about 20% humidity. I did the head first as I wanted to start with a small batch. I sprayed this with my 1.4mm tip HVLP gun at about 45 psi.

The results were OK. The paint as expected took a long time to dry. Even at my high temperatures and low humidly, it took about 4 hours to dry to the touch.

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The finish was nice a glossy, but it did have a bit of orange peel in it. I blocked the sides of the head, so I know that if I had used the more expensive single stage auto paint, it would have been very shiny. At least the finished product will be very hard, and hopefully will take the stencil paint well.

13
#5 9 months ago

Ahh.. another idiot. We could be brothers.
I buy $500 junk and after spending $3000 have a awesome $2500 machine. Half the fun is the restore.
Favorited.

#6 9 months ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

One of the things I learned in past restorations is that old plywood just sucks up the paint.

Remember next time when ordering a cab:

The plywood you want is called MDO. Same plywood that pins are made of (I believe Whitewater was the first).

It's real plywood, but with pre-primed MDF faces.

No grain to sand, perfectly flat, no sealer to spray, no primer.

About $15 bucks more than normal good quality plywood, but saves hours in the shop.

https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/panel-products/mdf-mdo-panels/roseburg-3-4-x-4-x-8-mdo-plywood/1255058/p-1444452506069-c-13338.htm?tid=1865001686127139056&ipos=7

#7 9 months ago

Good luck. Always loved the art on this machine.

#8 9 months ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Remember next time when ordering a cab:
The plywood you want is called MDO. Same plywood that pins are made of (I believe Whitewater was the first).
It's real plywood, but with pre-primed MDF faces.
No grain to sand, perfectly flat, no sealer to spray, no primer.
About $15 bucks more than normal good quality plywood, but saves hours in the shop.
https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/panel-products/mdf-mdo-panels/roseburg-3-4-x-4-x-8-mdo-plywood/1255058/p-1444452506069-c-13338.htm?tid=1865001686127139056&ipos=7

Oh.... that looks nice having primered a few cabinets now, I will have to give this a try! Thanks.

1 week later
#9 9 months ago

Well progress has been made on the main body of the cabinet. The few nicks I found after priming were easily dealt with.

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#10 9 months ago

And then came the color. I learned a lot painting the head, so this time I thinned out the paint 4: 1 with the reducer, and it flowed a lot better. I still had some orange peel, and some wood grain showed through where I missed it while sanding the primer, but overall it looks pretty good. You can definitely see the difference in the coat between the back where I only did minimal sanding, and the front and sides where I tried to block it smooth.

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#11 9 months ago

I am still working on what color to use with the stencils. I painted a piece of plywood to use a test bed for the spray paints I hope to use with the stencil. I think I have found an burnt orange that will work, but I am still working on the yellow. My first attempts at using an 'almond' look too much like white. There is a 'tuscany yellow' that I am going to try next, hopefully it will be closer to the yellow on the cabinet.

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#12 9 months ago

I applaud your dedication and willingness to do what it takes to SAVE PINBALL!

#13 9 months ago

Very nice effort and skills presented! I have admired the Sorcerer for years and got to play one last year. This was a humbling experience, so now I really want one.....lol.

#14 9 months ago

I have a new respect for the guys who can stencil a pinball machines. I think it is about four times the work then putting a decal on a machine. Tonight was the first time I’ve ever tried to apply and paint on a stencil. I think the results were OK and I hope to get better with practice.22342AD9-FF69-48AB-84C2-D820830745CE (resized).jpeg

The first problem I had was getting the stencil packing to come off. There were a few areas around the head that I had wrinkles I could not get rid of. The more complex the pattern on the stencil is, the harder it is to pull the backing off without lifting the stencil.ED9DC696-85B1-429A-AEB9-8FB0B690CE8D (resized).jpeg

After I applied the paint,I waited about 10 minutes to let it set up a little. Then I remove the stencil. A little bit of paint did bleed off onto the black, but it was nothing I could not clean up with a Q-tip dipped in thinner. There are a few spots I may go back with an X-Acto knife after the paint sets up to scrape it back. I am hoping to make all my mistakes on the head, so the body will look much better.
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I will probably let this paint set up for a week or so before I add the orange.

#15 9 months ago

Did you make the cab yourself? If so will you share the plans?

#16 9 months ago

I bought my Sorcerer at auction for $170 back in 1997 and probably spent over $3500 to have it professionally restored.

#17 9 months ago

Chalkey

Quoted from Chalkey:

Did you make the cab yourself? If so will you share the plans?

Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

and a friend ( cosmokramer ) of mine was just starting to build cabinets, and he committed to building to building me a new cabinet.

-Mike

#19 8 months ago

I was hoping someone started making system X and classic bally / sterns :/

#20 8 months ago

How many coats of paint on the yellow?

#21 8 months ago
Quoted from wolffcub:

How many coats of paint on the yellow?

I put it on in about three passes. You can’t wait for the paint to dry before you remove the stencil or it will tear along the edges.

#22 8 months ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

I put it on in about three passes. You can’t wait for the paint to dry before you remove the stencil or it will tear along the edges.

I have never had that issue with painting other things with stencils. About 4-6 single light coats and let them dry between applications will stop you from getting a raised edge.

#23 8 months ago

I may have laid the paint on too thick as I was trying to put down yellow over black.

#24 8 months ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

I may have laid the paint on too thick as I was trying to put down yellow over black.

#25 8 months ago

You have to go super thin coats so you don’t get any raised edges. Raised edges don’t look so great.

#26 8 months ago

Yellow over black is tough.
Maybe a very light coat of white primer and then this paint.....flat is the thinnest coat.
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After the artworks, sand lightly around the raised edges and seal it with semi gloss clearcoats.

#27 8 months ago

I am upside down on every machine I restore.
Beautiful work here.

#28 8 months ago

Any colour over a black base should have a single or double coat of white first. Without it the colours never pop and usually look muddy.

#29 8 months ago
Quoted from wolffcub:

Any colour over a black base should have a single or double coat of white first. Without it the colours never pop and usually look muddy.

One thing I learned working with neon colors on playfields, is that I tend to get the worst raised edges when I have to use two layers of paint. Most neon colors I have used are transparent paints applied over an opaque base color.

So I was really trying to avoid a dual paint setup. So much so that I choose my colors based on how they looked with a black base.9F628456-9B8B-4B53-827E-22824525951E (resized).jpeg

One think I found doing this is cheap spray paint goes on very thin. I got more color in fewer passes using rustoleum in all cases.

#30 8 months ago

Ok, I took on the left side of the head this morning, and the results were much better. I really took my time taking the backing off the stencil, and I had a lot less problems with it pulling up.
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After reading through the suggestions, I decided to put the paint on in 5 lighter coats with about 7 minutes between coats. The raised edges were not as bad as the right side, but there were some. I pulled the stencil off after about 10 minutes, and had only minor tearing around some of the heavier edges.
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I am really liking this color. The color is a dark yellow that with the black under it almost looks tan (Rustoleum Tuscan Sun). It is pretty close to the stock color.

#31 8 months ago

More progress today. One thing I discovered is that some rustoleum paint dries fast! I had issues with edges tearing for the first time.

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#32 8 months ago

That looks incredible....very nice job!

1 week later
#33 8 months ago

So I finished the stencil painting on the cabinet today.

The head was a lot easier to paint compared to the cabinet. I tried painting the cabinet in the upright position, but what I found is that it was a lot easier for the paint to run. I found the best way to paint was with the surface flat, and then turn it upright to remove the stencil.

The paint job is far from perfect. I keep having to remind myself that it looks miles better than the original cabinet.
It could best be described as a '5 foot' paint job. Meaning it perhaps looks best from 5 feet away.... There are a few minor runs I may try to sand down after the paint cures, and recoat them with my airbrush.

I have come to a couple of conclusions after working with the spray paint and old school enamel on this one.

1. It is pretty difficult to get uniform coverage from spray paint without putting too much paint on. My best coats were the last couple I put on. The volume of paint coming out of the spray can varies as the paint runs out.

2. Don't expect a show quality paint job from cheap paint. I think I spent a total of $70 on the paint for this cabinet, and it shows. One reasons so many people use automotive paint is that is lays down better, dries quicker, and overall gives a better finish.

3. Cabinet stenciling is wayyy harder than applying a decal.

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Just a reminder, this is the 'before' picture.
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#34 8 months ago

Great work so far! Sorcerer is one of my favorites. Following your progress.

3 weeks later
#35 7 months ago

Im excited to see the work put in and if you ever sell this labor of love I'll be game to spend the money you're asking!!

#36 7 months ago

Just so you know there is a company that makes a playfield overlay for Sorcerer. All you have to do is remove everything from the topside of the playfield, sand it down, and then apply the new overlay. There are videos of Todd Tuckey doing a BOP on youtube. It's amazing that these overlays are being made to save pinball. Anyway that will make your Sorcerer brand new.

#37 7 months ago

Very nice progress

#38 7 months ago

Looking good!

#39 7 months ago

Update:

Well I have put a hold on this project for the moment. I have a Funhouse I would really like to get done so I can focus my full attention on Sorcerer. I also need to save up some funds for the rails and legs. I was going to buy them last week, but then my computer had to go and eat it's own video card.

I am also hoping during my wait that CPR will move forward with a playfield. I understand there are overlays out there, but I have experience with the vendor who sells them. It was not a good one, and I have (like so many other) been banned for life from buying from him.

#40 7 months ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

CPR will move forward with a playfield

I hope this happens soon too. Been on the CPR wait list for a while.

2 weeks later
#41 7 months ago

Dudes Mirco is making them!

#42 7 months ago
Quoted from Chalkey:

Dudes Mirco is making them!

Unless you have better information that I do, I was under the impression he was considering it, but had not committed to doing a run yet. He even admitted he didn't have a good playfield to scan yet.

#43 7 months ago

The playfield is already on the way to me. I cannot promise that it is ready this year as I have some other projects same time but I will have it early next year for sure.

Regards,mirco

#44 7 months ago
Quoted from Highclasspinball:

The playfield is already on the way to me. I cannot promise that it is ready this year as I have some other projects same time but I will have it early next year for sure.
Regards,mirco

Well here it is straight from the horses mouth... Im looking forward to seeing the new playfields.

#45 6 months ago

Excellent to know Mirco highclasspinball is going to do this one. I am picking up a beaten up Sorcerer this week and look forward to restoring it. Following progress here.

#46 6 months ago

I really wish CPR would step up and let us all know when or if they plan on running Sorcerer and approx when. I'd rather stick with them, but if they can't/won't at least say for sure they are running it then it puts me in a bad spot on this playfield. I've literally been waiting with my game torn apart for over 5 years now to get this thing back together.

#47 6 months ago

While I appreciate Mirco's efforts on the behalf of Sorcerer owners everywhere, I have had fate intervene on my playfield situation. Yesterday a box arrived from Canada with one very nicely restored Sorcerer playfield.

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Yes, this is the very last Sorcerer playfield that John Greatwich restored. He was kind enough to sell it to me for my restoration. While it may not look as good as the upcoming Mirco playfield, I think it will go very well with my new cabinet.

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So now at last the new legs and rails are on order from Pinball Life, and as soon as I get Funhouse wrapped up, Sorcerer will be the next on on the rotisserie.

There is still one piece of the restoration puzzle I need for this game: New plastics. I am hoping CPR or Mirco will come through soon with new reproductions. At least the plastics will be something that can easily be added later if they are not available in time for me to finish this restoration.

#48 6 months ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

While I appreciate Mirco's efforts on the behalf of Sorcerer owners everywhere, I have had fate intervene on my playfield situation. Yesterday a box arrived from Canada with one very nicely restored Sorcerer playfield.
[quoted image]
Yes, this is the very last Sorcerer playfield that John Greatwich restored. He was kind enough to sell it to me for my restoration. While it may not look as good as the upcoming Mirco playfield, I think it will go very well with my new cabinet.
[quoted image]
So now at last the new legs and rails are on order from Pinball Life, and as soon as I get Funhouse wrapped up, Sorcerer will be the next on on the rotisserie.
There is still one piece of the restoration puzzle I need for this game: New plastics. I am hoping CPR or Mirco will come through soon with new reproductions. At least the plastics will be something that can easily be added later if they are not available in time for me to finish this restoration.

Congrats Alan...thats a big step

#49 6 months ago

Looking good! A restored playfield is going to be an awesome edition to your project.

#50 6 months ago

That is looking sooooo good! I have a thrashed Sorcerer that will need everything you’re doing. Watching this thread attentively.

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