(Topic ID: 29405)

Vid's Guide to Properly Shipping Playfields


By vid1900

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 39 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by vid1900
  • Topic is favorited by 61 Pinsiders

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    11
    #1 6 years ago

    Every time I get a playfield to restore, I tell the customer:

    No bubble wrap and no Styrofoam Peanuts; those products will not protect the corners of the playfield if UPS drops it off of a conveyer belt.

    Of course, every time I open a playfield box, it is wrapped with bubble wrap and one or more of the corners is damaged.

    In addation, bubble wrap often etches its bubble pattern on clear coat that is less that a year old. Probably some chemical reaction with the plasticizers that keep the wrap pliable.

    So here is the guide to properly shipping a playfield:

    #2 6 years ago

    Step one is to remove everything off the playfield.

    Next vacuum off all the dust and grit FROM BOTH SIDES. Even if the playfield is being sent off to be restored, you don't want any grit scratching up the silkscreen and causing more damage.

    We need to protect the entire outer edge, and for that we use Pipe Insulation Foam, or the Water Noodle Foam that kids club each other over the head with in a swimming pool.

    The Water Noodle Foam is $1 each at any dollar store, the Pipe Insulation Foam is $2 at Home Depot in the plumbing department.

    PF1.jpg 02-10-09pipeinsulation.jpg

    #3 6 years ago

    Next, zip tie the foam to the playfield. There are plenty of available holes to use.

    Don't even think about using tape!

    pf2.jpg

    #4 6 years ago

    Next we want to keep any dust, which could be abrasive, off of the playfield.

    We wrap the playfield with a layer of Stretch Wrap.

    Stretch Wrap is available at any Office Max or Harbor Freight store, or really any store that sells mailing supplies.

    Note that because it stretches, the Stretch Wrap is not touching the playfield at any point!

    pf3.jpg

    #5 6 years ago

    Most shipping companies state that you need 1.5" of padding if you want to collect on a damaged shipment. So to protect the face and back of the playfield, we are using 1.5" foam insulation.

    Note, do not use the white expanded polystyrene foam that breaks into a million little white balls. Only use the much stronger "Foam Board".

    Here you see the playfield sandwich wrapped in a final layer of Stretch Wrap:

    pf4.jpg

    #6 6 years ago

    Finally, slide the playfield into a 48x22x6" box. This is a standard box size, available at most packing stores (like the UPS Store).

    pf5.jpg

    #7 6 years ago

    So there you have it.

    When you get your playfield back from being clear coated or restored, don't leave it wrapped up.

    Immediately unwrap it and leave it where air can circulate around it. The clear coat can sometimes take 6 months to get to full hardness.

    To keep any playfield from warping, always put the rails back on. If you don't have the rails, cut some 2" wide strips of 3/4" plywood and make some.

    Plywood will warp on it's face, so remember to screw into the END GRAIN (the edge of the plywood where you can see the plys). Plywood never warps in the direction of the edge plys.

    One final note; if your playfield was clear coated, put the rails ON THE BACK SIDE, NEVER THE FRONT. You don't want the rails gluing themselves to the face of the playfield.

    #8 6 years ago

    I see a honeycomb pattern in the clear coat of my repro playfield. Is that really from the bubble wrap?

    #9 6 years ago
    Quoted from cichlid:

    I see a honeycomb pattern in the clear coat of my repro playfield. Is that really from the bubble wrap?

    Yep, it is.

    Once the clear coat is 6 months old, polish the pattern out with Novus2 and give it a good coat of Blitz wax.

    If the clear is too new, it might not polish out.

    #10 6 years ago

    I like your pipe insulation method.

    I've used that on backbox lips for years, so they don't dent siderails, and on straps when palleting games.

    I crate my playfields personally, but that's an additional expense in materials and shipping weight.

    #11 6 years ago
    Quoted from johnwartjr:

    I've used that on backbox lips for years, so they don't dent siderails, and on straps when palleting games.

    Yes, a great way to use up the scraps from the playfields

    Quoted from johnwartjr:

    I crate my playfields personally, but that's an additional expense in materials and shipping weight.

    Crating is the best solution no doubt, but probably too difficult for the average person.

    Probably the only choice for a populated playfield.

    #12 6 years ago

    I too like the crate. Luan and 1x4s.

    2 years later
    #13 3 years ago

    Wondering what Vid might suggest for pre-padding machines being picked up by STI. Kinda common sense, but still wondering. Carpet pad between bb and playfield, balls sealed in bag in coin box, etc.
    Finally bought my 1st new Stern and its being picked up today. I guess Michelle is gone, but Tamara assured me no forklift will be going anywhere near it.
    Still nervous....

    #14 3 years ago

    It's kind of a Catch 22.

    If STI wants to see the game before they take and wrap it, then you won't have time to pack it securely. STI looks it over for 1 second, puts moving blankets over the game, then wraps it in stretch wrap. That's their "professional packing".

    You can do a MUCH better job packing yourself, but then STI might argue that they never saw the condition of the game - so take lots of pictures!

    I leave it up to the client if they want STI looking at the game and STI wrapping it, or better packing with me wrapping it.

    -

    If there is anyplace likely to get damaged, it the corners of the game.

    I steal these heavy duty fiberboard corner protectors from work, and run them along all the edges of the game:

    http://www.uline.com/BL_8402/Heavy-Duty-Edge-Protectors

    L_shaped_cardboard_corner_cardboard_corners_protective.jpg

    I like these to go on top of the L protectors for the 8 corners of the backbox:

    carton-corner-protectors_PDT00196.jpg

    Plastic banding is good to keep all the L protectors in place before you stretch wrap. It comes in a kit with a tensioning tool and locking clips:

    http://www.uline.com/BL_2752/Uline-Poly-Strapping-Kits

    HD_2752_T05.jpg

    Put the clips on the bottom, so if the game gets banged around, the clips won't imprint themselves into the visible parts of the cab.

    #15 3 years ago

    Many thanks Tall Man.
    This is valuable info for us all.

    1 week later
    #16 3 years ago

    What shipping service is the best to use?

    I see a lot of PFs on Ebay with about $25 shipping, but if I check USPS or Fedex, it is about double that. UPS doesn't seem to have a very cooperative site for estimates.

    Thanks.

    1 month later
    #17 3 years ago

    I need to ship out a PF next week and thought to myself, "I wonder if Vid has a guide for that?"

    Thanks for the tips!

    #18 3 years ago
    Quoted from newmantjn:

    What shipping service is the best to use?
    I see a lot of PFs on Ebay with about $25 shipping, but if I check USPS or Fedex, it is about double that. UPS doesn't seem to have a very cooperative site for estimates.
    Thanks.

    $28 at USPS last time I shipped.

    Maybe $25 is some corporate discount?

    6 months later
    #19 3 years ago

    Thought I'd chime in and update the thread with my first PF shipping experience, mostly related to cost. Packed it per the guide with pipe foam, zip ties, and plastic wrapped. Found a box with 3" clearance all around and filled with packing peanuts. Took it to UPS and was quoted $72 for Ground shipping. Granted this was going from Utah to Connecticut but I would think anyone shipping a PF more than 2 states away is going to have a surprise in store. Apparently, this is being attributed to the newer UPS "Dimensional weight" charging. Just something to keep in mind when agreeing to a price "shipped" beforehand and expecting it to be ~$30.

    My first experience with this was when I ordered a box with a ramp set in it, and was charged $27.50 to ship a ~4 lb. box. Just because it was a little larger than usual. Quote from the vendor: "UPS recently started charging dimensional weight for all Ground packages, which unfortunately has increased the rates when shipping large and oversize packages."

    YMMV...

    #20 3 years ago

    Did you get your quote from "UPS" or a "UPS Store" ?

    BIG difference in pricing between the real UPS and the fake UPS Store aka "Mail Boxes Incorporated"......

    #21 3 years ago

    Is the local "UPS Store" that being the whole name and with the UPS logo actually owned by UPS?

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from Cheddar:

    Is the local "UPS Store" that being the whole name and with the UPS logo actually owned by UPS?

    No.

    The "UPS Store" is actually Mail Boxes Incorporated.

    It is NOT owned by UPS and has higher prices, ESPECIALLY on insurance.

    #23 3 years ago

    Well hells bells, I don't know. It was a UPS Store! https://centerville-ut-6519.theupsstorelocal.com/ You tell me. No extra insurance.

    #24 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    No.
    The "UPS Store" is actually Mail Boxes Incorporated.
    It is NOT owned by UPS and has higher prices, ESPECIALLY on insurance.

    I asked a UPS location how much more the "UPS Stores" charge for shipping, and was immediately told "at least 50% more". Never use a UPS Store...

    #25 3 years ago

    BTW - the same guy at the UPS location provided this sage advice when I asked about marking the box "FRAGILE":

    "Our conveyors and sorting machines can't read".

    Pack it like it's going to war....

    #26 3 years ago

    The place by us runs 55%-60% more than ups....at least it was 9 months ago when I was comparing...

    #27 3 years ago

    Well, nice to know. There's about 10 UPS Stores between my place and the nearest UPS location 35 miles away. I guess you pay extra to have the brown truck take it from there to the terminal? Ridiculous. But like I said, and was explained to me. UPS has recently changed the way they charge for oversize packages. Weight doesn't matter anymore, at least not the same way it used too. FWIW, the post office was twice that on their online estimator. $169.

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from Leeb18509:

    I guess you pay extra to have the brown truck take it from there to the terminal? Ridiculous.

    You are paying more to keep a retail location open.

    Rent is more because of the nice location, dopey employees, extended hours, packing services.....paying for all that convenience.

    #29 3 years ago

    So let's update the guide to clarify. Don't use a "UPS store" to ship something via UPS. Duh! Take it to the nearest "UPS Customer Center" as listed on the UPS locator, which like I said, is a 40 mile round trip so it never occurred to me.

    I'm pretty curious how much the quote would've been if I had taken the package up there. I'd like to try it just for fun.

    ***Update: It would not have made one bit of difference. The quoted rate was identical online, over the phone, at the UPS store and at the UPS customer center. ***

    #30 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    You are paying more to keep a retail location open.

    Sorry to break the bad news, but I did an experiment and called the UPS 800 number. Gave all the package information and chose drop off at a UPS Customer Center vs. drop off at a UPS store and the rate was the same. $72. Looks like the party's over. Maybe you can go one state away for $25-$30 but not 4 or 5 Zones like I had to.

    #31 3 years ago
    Quoted from Leeb18509:

    Sorry to break the bad news, but I did an experiment and called the UPS 800 number. Gave all the package information and chose drop off at a UPS Customer Center vs. drop off at a UPS store and the rate was the same. $72. Looks like the party's over. Maybe you can go one state away for $25-$30 but not 4 or 5 Zones like I had to.

    Then you're lucky. Each UPS store is independently owned (or so I was told). They can set their own rates.

    #32 3 years ago

    I tried to make the worse-case coast to coast scenario , Brooklyn NY to Los Angeles CA, residential, and got $38 for 4 day, UPS Ground.

    I'm guessing it could be your location. I once tried to UPS some parts to rural AZ and UPS told me they did not service that area at all and that I probably had to go with USPS.

    ups_(resized).jpg

    #33 3 years ago

    Well my box was 49" x 27" x 5". 14lbs. Try that one. There's a big difference as my "billable weight" was 40lbs. because of the newer Dimensional Weight scaling. https://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/packaging/dim_weight.html I could send it to Denver for about $38, but not Connecticut. Trust me big Kahuna, I'm not a moron.

    Capture_(resized).PNG

    #34 3 years ago

    And here's some info from a well known pinball vendor for when you tell me my box was too big.

    "The UPS rates change based on the dimensional size of the package. We are not sure how other vendors are shipping similar items, however, we have over 15 years experience with packing and shipping and know that you need a minimum of 2" worth of protection around each side of the item in the box to honor an insurance claim."

    #35 3 years ago
    Quoted from Leeb18509:

    Well my box was 49" x 27" x 5". 14lbs. Try that one. There's a big difference as my "billable weight" was 40lbs. because of the newer Dimensional Weight scaling. https://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/packaging/dim_weight.html I could send it to Denver for about $38, but not Connecticut. Trust me big Kahuna, I'm not a moron.

    I just left the dimensions and weight from the last playfield I shipped in a standard CPR box.

    You are right, making the box 5" deep makes it $60 !!!

    ups2_(resized).jpg

    #36 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    If there is anyplace likely to get damaged, it the corners of the game.
    I steal these heavy duty fiberboard corner protectors from work, and run them along all the edges of the game:
    http://www.uline.com/BL_8402/Heavy-Duty-Edge-Protectors

    Thanks for this post. I ran by ULine and picked up a case each of the 12" and 24" protectors. They charged me a $25 pick-up fee, and shipping would have been only $32 - I could have saved an hour of my life.

    Looking forward to using these when I move my games for shows.

    #37 3 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    They charged me a $25 pick-up fee

    I've never heard of a pick-up fee, that's insane!

    Glad you got yourself some protection, it will be worth it.

    #38 3 years ago

    One sheet of 1/4" luan plywood and a couple of 2x2s or 2x3s cut to size make a fine playfield shipping crate. It's sturdier than a box, not subject to excess dimensional charges, and allows room for rigid foam on front, back, and sides of the playfield. Also makes it damn near impossible for a shipping company to bend/break the playfield. And it's not as heavy as you might think.

    #39 3 years ago

    We are all going to have to strive to make all the boxes under 5" thick!

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