Vid's Guide to Ultimate Playfield Restoration

(Topic ID: 33446)

Vid's Guide to Ultimate Playfield Restoration


By vid1900

5 years ago



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#901 4 years ago

Retrobrite will work, but it's overpriced and low in peroxide content. Use Salon Care 40. YouTube it. 12-13% peroxide and < $10 for a large bottle. The bonus? It's already in a shampoo paste form so you don't need to add Oxy Clean to it. Here is my white F-14 beacon after 8 hours in the sun w/ Salon Care 40

salon40.png;

#902 4 years ago

Vid, Maybe you can shed some light on where I went wrong.

I have a playfield that has very yellowed "white" areas that are under all the plastics. I have not airbrushed on a playfield before so I thought this would be a be a good time to start. I cleared the playfield using Auto clear and sanded the entire surface with 320 grit paper in preparation for the artwork. Here is what I did.

1. Layed Friskit out and traced around all the white areas. Even all the black circles around holes and lights.
2. Sprayed with undiluted Createx white yesterday.
spray.JPG
3. Used a heat gun(not sure how long to use it to make sure it is cure)
4. Needed 3 coats to completely cover so coats two and three were sprayed and dried the same.
5. Waited a little while and then tried to pull the Friskit off and the paint seemed rubbery and would stick to the mask in some places and start to lift from the playfield. I decided to stop and wait till today to pull the rest off.
lift.JPG
6. The paint was the same way and was sticking to the mask and lifting from the playfied. I even picked a corner of the paint up with my finger nail and was able to pull a 2 inch strip off before it stretched and broke.
pull.jpeg

This was not localized to one area. All painted areas were like this. So I took all the paint off mainly by just rubbing my fingers aggressively over the edge and "rolling" the paint off. I also was able to put a piece of tape on the paint and pull it off when taking the tape off. From the posts I have seen you are supposed to be able to paint multiple colors and mask over paint but obviously this would not have worked in this case even if I would have been able to get the mask off without lifting the paint.

So I guess these are my questions.
1. Did I not sand aggressively enough to give the paint a bite?
2. Did I put the paint on too thick and if so, how do you get coverage without doing so? Also is it better to spray 1 thicker coat or many really thin coats?
4. How hot do you need to get the paint and for how long (Heat gun vs Hair dryer). Friskit seems to be susceptible to shrinking with heat.
3. Did I not dry enough between coats which made the final product not able to cure due to the multiple coats?
5. How long before you remove the Friskit? When I mask a backbox with oil paint, I wait till it is completely dry and remove it and it comes off perfectly. Is there a difference in use between oil and acrylic? After 24 hours it also left some glue residue on the playfield that was easily cleaned with alcohol.

Did I make some other mistake that I am not thinking of?

The white area would have looked great so I am excited to get this figured out but right now the playfield looks exactly the same as it did 2 days ago and I have lost many hours and have several blisters on my fingers from taking the paint off. I don't want to do it again until I figure out what the crap went wrong.

Thanks for any input you have.

#903 4 years ago

1. Make white your last color, because it gets dirty fast.

2. Spray THIN coats, let them fully dry before adding another layer.

3. If you paint is rubbery, it is not dry.

4. A thin coat of paint dries in less than a minute with a hair dryer.

5. Make sure you clean your sanded, de-glossed playfield with Naphtha before you paint it.

6. If working with paint that is not fully dry, peel the Frisket away at a sharp "backwards" angle so you don't lift the paint edge.

7. I suspect your thick white paint layers would have taken a week+ to dry since they were so rubbery...

8. Be careful you don't get oils from your skin on the cleaned playfield.

Don't get discouraged, it was a learning experience.

#904 4 years ago

Well. It looks like it was just not fully dried paint. I did all the other stuff you mentioned as gas as cleaning and prep etc.

For a layer of paint. How many typical coats do you spray? And do you do them all at once? Spray heat spray heat etc?

Also, do you thin the paint at all?

Thanks so much for all the help you provide.

#905 4 years ago
Quoted from Lonzo:

For a layer of paint. How many typical coats do you spray? And do you do them all at once? Spray heat spray heat etc?

Yellow seems to be the hardest to get coverage on, especially if I'm painting over black lettering; so that always gets two coats.

Most other colors cover in 1 or two coats. Black, blue, green.....those always are fine with a single.

Createx white has lots of pigment, so even that usually can cover in a single coat, unless there is lettering beneath it.

If I'm moving fast I heat and spray, but if I'm working on other playfields at the same time, I might just let it air dry.

Quoted from Lonzo:

Also, do you thin the paint at all?

If I get down to the last 1/4 of the bottle, I might have to thin it on an unpopular color (peach or turquoise ?), but colors that I use up quickly spray just fine at the consistency they come from the bottle.

Createx makes thinner, but in a pinch I've used ammonia and it works great.

Dropping a small glass marble in the bottle will make seldom used colors mix up very evenly without clumps.

#906 4 years ago

Great info.
Second attempt was much better but based on your feedback I need to practice on just the right ount of paint to put down each coat. I did the orange on the shooter lane since it was a pretty small amount and the only orange I needed to do. I think I did 5 coats because there was heavy ball marking (swirls) through the area. But there were probably extremely conservative because of what happened with the white. And a lot of heat between coats. Worked perfect though so I am learning. .

Only difference on these is I used Oramask and my vinyl cutter instead of Friskit.
You can see the heavy ball track on the lower left of the lower orange slice. The others probably didn't need as many coats.

image-446.jpg
image-579.jpg
image-702.jpg

#907 4 years ago

My biggest problem is keeping the gun clean. I had to take the fun apart after the third coat because no paint was flowing. Any tips?

#908 4 years ago
Quoted from Lonzo:

My biggest problem is keeping the gun clean. I had to take the fun apart after the third coat because no paint was flowing. Any tips?

Depends on what gun, and what clogged it.

Keep the cap on when not using it, even for a minute.

Nothing can help if you allowed dried flakes of paint to fall off the bottle into the brush.

If you have an "easy clean" gun like this, ball up a wet paper towel chunk and keep on the paint nozzle (in fact, in this style of gun, if it clogs you detach the handle and shoot a blast of air down the paint nozzle. You will fee it "bubble" in your hand, and then you know it is unclogged.)

image_13800.jpg

#909 4 years ago

I have a HF gun that pulls the paint through the gun. Pretty sure it's just the paint drying inside the gun. When I spray oil based paints I never have an issue. But they take forever to dry.

Do you recommend the type of gun In your picture?

#910 4 years ago
Quoted from Lonzo:

Do you recommend the type of gun In your picture?

It does look like a nice gun. What is it?

#911 4 years ago
Quoted from Lonzo:

I have a HF gun that pulls the paint through the gun. Pretty sure it's just the paint drying inside the gun. When I spray oil based paints I never have an issue. But they take forever to dry.

You can add Createx Retarder if you want slower drying in the gun and at the tip.

Quoted from Lonzo:

Do you recommend the type of gun In your picture?

Quoted from KoolFingers:

It does look like a nice gun. What is it?

You guys are going to laugh, because it's the $7.50 (after coupon) Harbor Freight "easy clean".

No paint goes through the gun, so unclogging is just shooting air back down the paint nozzle .

It comes with 5 of those jars, so some of them I have mixed up and permanently stored with popular colors like black, white, and "Gotlileb purple".

That gun is great for Frisketing, but it has no finesse for shading.

http://www.harborfreight.com/quick-change-airbrush-kit-93506.html

#912 4 years ago

STAR ROLLOVERS

========================================================
pbl_c-900_c-901.jpg

Star Rollovers get their own section because they present a giant time wasting problem to the restorer.

Anyone who has ever bought a CPR playfield, or has ever had a playfield restored by an amateur has had the problem where the white "star" of the rollover is sticky or won't install at all.

What happens is that the clear coat goes down into the slots making them too narrow allow the star blades to freely move. You sand, and you pick and then sand some more.... we are not going to be doing that on our own playfields.

#913 4 years ago

The best way to keep the clear out of the slots is to use some Protective Star Insert Plugs from a NOS playfield or replacement inserts. Don't throw these away, after a while you will have a good sized jar of them.

These fit snugly and keep all the clear out of the hole.

You use a #3 screwdriver to "rock" them out while the clear is still hardening.
248139-i-994.jpg

gtb-d11966c.jpg

#914 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

You can add Createx Retarder if you want slower drying in the gun and at the tip.

You guys are going to laugh, because it's the $7.50 (after coupon) Harbor Freight "easy clean".
No paint goes through the gun, so unclogging is just shooting air back down the paint nozzle .
It comes with 5 of those jars, so some of them I have mixed up and permanently stored with popular colors like black, white, and "Gotlileb purple".
That gun is great for Frisketing, but it has no finesse for shading.
http://www.harborfreight.com/quick-change-airbrush-kit-93506.html

lol That surprised the hell out of me. I'll be looking at them next time there. Thx

#915 4 years ago

If this is one of your first few rodeos, you can just use the old Star Inserts upsidedown to keep the clear from getting into the slots.

A tiny ball of "Blue-Tak" will keep the inserts from flying out while you spray your clear.

Again, as the clear is starting to harden, roll the insert around to make sure the slots are clean and the insert does not get glued in.

Star-insert.jpg

#916 4 years ago
Quoted from Anth:

How long did you wait before sanding, painting, and adding more coats? I have laid my initial coat down and next up is touch-up and filling in a low insert. The SprayMax website says it takes 12 hours to dry and the potlife of the can after activation is 48 hours. That puts me on a pretty tight schedule.

Don't try and use the same can twice. This is a multi-can job. Once I sprayed one and was done it was just discarded. They aren't that expensive, don't cheap out and try and rush things to save money, then discover your can is spitting funny, or runs out of clear in the middle, or you rushed the art to try and save $20 (or whatever it was, not that crazy though) and it doesn't look as good as if you'd taken your time.

Also that 48 hours is variable, under the right conditions it could be shorter, if you look some of their documentation says 24 hours in places too.

#917 4 years ago

Of course you have to get the white star out of the insert, without breaking the insert.

40 year old plastics can be brittle, so you need a gentile technique. It's not hard to do, but you have to do it carefully.

First, we need to get the switch out of the way.

Remove only one screw from the switch.

LEAF-SWITCH.jpg

#918 4 years ago

Swing the switch out of the way, exposing the Star Barb.

SWING-SWITCH.jpg

#919 4 years ago

Here is where you have to be careful.

The Barb is held in by thin plastic fingers.

You need to GENTLY press on the Barb, while rocking outwards in a 360* circle.

-

If the old stars are yellow and you are replacing them anyway, you can just cut the barb off with some SHARP end nip wire cutters.

PRESS-OUT.jpg

#920 4 years ago

The Star will drop out and now you can examine the plastic fingers of the insert.

Light it up with a flashlight from underneath and make sure nothing is cracked.

You want to replace the cracked insert now, not after you clearcoat!

EMPTY-INSERT.jpg

#921 4 years ago

Sand the top of the Star Insert with some 220 grit sandpaper before you clearcoat.

This will give some good "tooth" for the clear to hold onto, as the insert flexes slightly due to it's segmented/perforated nature.

#922 4 years ago

MAGIC ERASER

===========================================================================

PinPod emailed me a few weeks ago asking why Magic Eraser + Alcohol works great on some playfields, but seems to in a blink of an eye chew through the paint on others.

The answer is not a complex one, but first let's talk about what ME is.

ME is a Melamine Foam that was used in noise control for years. The fibrous foam is made up of the same Melamine that the Chinese were adding to dog food protein (killing 1000s of dogs in the USA).

It has about the same abrasiveness as 1200 grit sandpaper, but its fibrous nature lets it "dig deep" into small cracks and ball swirl.

ME.jpg

mcme.jpg

#923 4 years ago

Magic Eraser + Alcohol works best when the cracks and ball swirl is in the top coat of the playfield AND when the top coat is Alcohol Soluble.

Here we have the usual cracks in the top coat of the playfield. The playfield top coat is Alcohol Soluble ( tested under the apron).

Using ME + 96% Isopropyl Alcohol (don't use the 50-75% Alcohol, or all that water can raise the grain of the wood), we wet the top coat with a light, quick scrub. Wait 30 seconds for the top coat to soften, and return to give the area a gentle scrubbing.

CRACKS.jpg

#924 4 years ago

A few seconds of scrubbing, and wow, all the topcoat has been cleaned off, revealing the beautiful virgin paint beneath.

CLEANED.jpg

#925 4 years ago

This is the old top coat, dissolved and cleaned off the playfield.

Use a paper towel and wipe off any dissolved topcoat/melamine slop before the alcohol evaporates. Otherwise the topcoat hardens again and is a mess to clean up.

OLD-TOPCOAT.jpg

WIPE-UP.jpg

#926 4 years ago

Here the top coat has been worn off through years of ball travel.

The Magic Eraser seemed to be cleaning out the swirls in the yellow paint at first, but 2 strokes latter, the Eraser had chewed all the way through. It happens in seconds, no matter how careful or experienced you are, lol.

If the Magic Eraser shows ANY paint color at all - STOP, there is almost nothing left for you to sand.

SCRUB-THROUGH.jpg

#927 4 years ago

Once we remove the top coat, we HAVE to clear coat the playfield.

Without the protective top coat, any wear, or ball swirl will be occurring into the paint itself.

Trying to remove ball swirl from paint, often results in exposing the white primer below.

So if you have an old game you want to "clean up" but not clear coat - don't automatically reach for the Magic Eraser.

Let the old top coat do it's job, and leave it alone.

#928 4 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Don't try and use the same can twice. This is a multi-can job. Once I sprayed one and was done it was just discarded. They aren't that expensive, don't cheap out and try and rush things to save money, then discover your can is spitting funny, or runs out of clear in the middle, or you rushed the art to try and save $20 (or whatever it was, not that crazy though) and it doesn't look as good as if you'd taken your time.
Also that 48 hours is variable, under the right conditions it could be shorter, if you look some of their documentation says 24 hours in places too.

Yeah, I realized that there's really not much paint in one of those cans anyway. One heavy coat will empty it. I'm glad I bought two. I did successfully use the first can twice though. Once I get this thing polished up I will post some pics. Thanks for the response.

#929 4 years ago

Did I miss the section on kick-out hole repair, or is that a future topic?

BTW - thanks for all the tips and effort you are putting into this.

Cheers,

#930 4 years ago
Quoted from LongJohns:

Did I miss the section on kick-out hole repair, or is that a future topic?
BTW - thanks for all the tips and effort you are putting into this.
Cheers,

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-ultimate-playfield-restoration/page/10

One day I'll have to do a Table of Contents, lol

#931 4 years ago

Has anyone tried to 2 part clear coat over that Molotow paint marker? I'm considering using it for touch-up black.

#932 4 years ago
Quoted from thedefog:

Has anyone tried to 2 part clear coat over that Molotow paint marker? I'm considering using it for touch-up black.

I'd test it on a piece of white painted wood, so you can easily see any bleed

#933 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I'd test it on a piece of white painted wood, so you can easily see any bleed

Good idea. Will do. I have a recently activated can of that 2-part iso clear. I'll use the Molotow pen on it, then clear over it thickly and in thin passes and see what happens. I'll post results. I won't be able to do it till Sunday night though. Finally scored a Centaur, going to pick it up Sunday. 6 hr round trip.

-1
#934 4 years ago

Looking forward to the results, both instantly and in a week's time.

#935 4 years ago

Vid, couple of questions.

1. If you had a choice would you use water slide decal or get vinyl printed for a large section in the middle of the playfield. I have the art done and ready to go with all the colors matched to my printer so water slide is ready to go. I could see a problem with color matching getting vinyl printed especially for colors that are on the decal are close to the original color on the playfield.

2. I bought a set of printed insert decals from a well known source. I planned on putting them on wet to make sure there are no air bubbles and placement in perfect. I know your recommend decal solution with water slide but what solution do you recommend for this? Vinyl application or decal application or something else?

3. Do you prefer to paint insert text or use thin vinyl? I have used vinyl and have had great results but sometimes it takes two sessions of clear (shoot, sand and shoot) to get it perfectly smooth. I have insert text that needs to go down before my decal. It is hidden by the decal until the light turns on and then the window lights up and the black text is shown from underneath. I am a little concerned that there might be a slight elevation change in the clear after I spray and not sure if that will show up when I place the decal.

Thanks

#936 4 years ago
Quoted from Lonzo:

1. If you had a choice would you use water slide decal or get vinyl printed for a large section in the middle of the playfield. I have the art done and ready to go with all the colors matched to my printer so water slide is ready to go. I could see a problem with color matching getting vinyl printed especially for colors that are on the decal are close to the original color on the playfield.

Vinyl tends to shrink over the years, so it's dicey unless you have good experience with both the material and the clearcoat and how they interact over time.

Orange and yellow seem to be undersaturated on vinyl, too.

Quoted from Lonzo:

2. I bought a set of printed insert decals from a well known source. I planned on putting them on wet to make sure there are no air bubbles and placement in perfect. I know your recommend decal solution with water slide but what solution do you recommend for this? Vinyl application or decal application or something else?

Best to use whatever the manufacturer of the decals recommends. You don't want to find out about some strange chemical interaction 6 months later.

Quoted from Lonzo:

Do you prefer to paint insert text or use thin vinyl? I have used vinyl and have had great results but sometimes it takes two sessions of clear (shoot, sand and shoot) to get it perfectly smooth.

I use waterslide decals for inserts. Super thin and clear.

I sometimes use vinyl for stencils, but its too thick for most of my work to be buried in the clearcoat.

About 10 years ago there used to be vinyl overlays that covered the whole playfield. You could see by the edges that they shrank over time.

#937 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Looking forward to the results, both instantly and in a week's time.

Didn't get a chance to do it yesterday because the weather sucked. I'll be able to go outside later today though after work and test it out.

#938 4 years ago
Quoted from thedefog:

Didn't get a chance to do it yesterday because the weather sucked. I'll be able to go outside later today though after work and test it out.

Again, crap weather. Thunderstorms and torrential downpours here in NJ, so I couldn't test the Molotow marker. I may just give the marker a go on the Comet restoration I'm doing regardless, as it is coming out a little rough around the edges anyway due to all the wear and gouges that were on that trashed playfield. It has been a good learning experience though, and I really got a handle on my airbrushing and frisketing/x-acto skills. I'd recommend anyone trying this for the first time to find some junker playfield to practice on before doing it for real on a loved machine.

#939 4 years ago
Quoted from thedefog:

it is coming out a little rough around the edges anyway due to all the wear and gouges that were on that trashed playfield.

Fill all the wear and gouges with clearcoat, before you start painting.

You want to start with a nice, smooth surface.

#940 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Fill all the wear and gouges with clearcoat, before you start painting.
You want to start with a nice, smooth surface.

My problem is that I didn't take down some of the areas I filled well enough to make it perfectly flat and smooth. I'm probably being overly critical, as I'm comparing what I've done so far with people like you that have been doing it for a long time and are experts. You gotta start somewhere though.

#941 4 years ago
Quoted from thedefog:

My problem is that I didn't take down some of the areas I filled well enough to make it perfectly flat and smooth.

Either sand it flat, or shoot another thin layer of clear.

You can drip clearcoat from an eyedropper to fill in holes, too.

#942 4 years ago

Vid.
Anything wrong with shooting an area of the playfield with auto clear witb an airbrush to get it ready for decal application etc if you plan to clear the entire playfield later? I need to paint and decal but obviously I can't do them on top each other.

#943 4 years ago

Just make sure that your airbrush does not melt from the heat of the clear, or the solvents to clean it afterwards.

#944 4 years ago

Vid-

Wondering if this thread will cover what to do with the areas under posts that have "sunken" and bit into the surface and how best to deal with these.

Completely sand flat and fill?

#945 4 years ago
Quoted from Robotoes:

Wondering if this thread will cover what to do with the areas under posts that have "sunken" and bit into the surface and how best to deal with these.

Two schools of though here, and I think you will understand the logic behind both of them:

1. Since the ball never rolls into the post depression, why mess with making it totally flat? It will not affect ball travel at all.

2. It only takes a half hour to fill every depression on the playfield, and since I'm hanging this on the wall, I want it dead flat - even in normally unseen areas.

Note that if you DO leave the depression unfilled, you still have to rough up the depression between each coat of clear by hand with some sandpaper, otherwise when you tighten the post down, the clear could separate between layers.

#946 4 years ago

You nailed my concern w/r/t not damaging the clear if not filling.

So I should let each layer dry, sand the post depressions free of that coat of clear, then continue with additional coats?

If I'm going to repaint 90% of the playfield anyway, do you think it's more worthwhile to just fill them and be done? Maybe stuff the screw holes with a little dowel to keep the clear out, and then remove prior to drying?

On a similar note - what do you do with screw holes that no longer have bite? Enlarge with a tap?

#947 4 years ago
Quoted from Robotoes:

So I should let each layer dry, sand the post depressions free of that coat of clear, then continue with additional coats?

Nope, let the coat dry, then with some 400 grit, de-gloss the depression.

Quoted from Robotoes:

Maybe stuff the screw holes with a little dowel to keep the clear out, and then remove prior to drying?

The post holes won't fill with clear by spraying.

The clear usually walls up around holes rather than filling them.

Even if a the hole somehow filled with clear, you would just drill out a pilot hole before putting the screw back in.

Quoted from Robotoes:

what do you do with screw holes that no longer have bite? Enlarge with a tap?

Put a drop of wood glue in the hole, tap in a wooden shish kabob skewer, break off flush with the playfield.

#948 4 years ago

Thanks for your input! Will tuck this away for when I move the machine in question to the shop in the next couple weeks.

#949 4 years ago

FLATTENING THE PLAYFIELD BETWEEN COATS:

========================================

Everyone has the idea in their head that each coat of clear "fills in" or "levels off" dips and depressions in the playfield, but that is not true at all.

There is a cohesion tension that breaks up the surface tension of the clearcoat and causes it to wall up around holes and slots.

You need to sand down this build up between EVERY coat of clear.

Also, little dips in the playfield around pop bumper nails, sunken inserts and fisheyes will not just fill in by spraying over them. You need to de-gloss these areas, and fill them using an eyedropper with 2PAC.

-

Here we have the first coat of clear on a playfield.

I've gently sanded it with some 800 grit paper on a sanding pad to show any low spots. The sanding pad is flat so it really makes the low spots evident. If you sanded by hand, the sandpaper would just follow the contour of the playfield, never showing how uneven it is.

Note the insert that "felt" flat to my hand before clearcoating, now shows it is sunken and needs to be filled. I'll rough it up with sandpaper by hand, and fill it with an eyedropper.

Note the build up of clear around the drop target slot. This I'll sand back to flat before the next coat of clear.

IMG_9441.jpg

Here again we see some shiny low spots around the pop bumper nails and just a random dent in the field. You can see that the tip of the 3rd arrow insert has a low spot in front of it too.

IMG_9442.jpg

#950 4 years ago

When you fill with an eye dropper do you mean fill and let dry and sand before the next coat or do you mean fill to add clear and then spray the rest of the playfield immediately?

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