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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#51 5 years ago

And just so everyone knows. no matter how well you reglue, reseat, and how you prep for clear. There is always a chance of insert ghosting. Ghosting is just something that is unavoidable. Until plastic and wood can expand and contract at the same rate. climate controlled environments minimizes this, but eventually it can happen. Don't think because you bulletproof a playfield, it can't happen. I've seen it happen within weeks, even on the high end restorations. Not much anyone can do about it.

#52 5 years ago
Quoted from GListOverflow:

I don't think good restorers need to worry one bit. Pin restoration is a ton of work, and people will still be more than happy to pay someone else to do it all for them.

No kidding. I don't have the patience working with clear coating. But, this is great info to be aware of. What I would like to know is how to do small PF touch up repairs and, specifically, blending the touch-up with the surrounding area.

#53 5 years ago

it's also good for people to see how much work is actually involved when doing a high end playfield restoration, and why the cost is so high.

#54 5 years ago

I thought "ghosting" meant the effect that LED's give to a ball. Are we talking about something different here?

#55 5 years ago

I was going to save this for the advanced section, but this next part will describe how to fix insert ghosting.

#56 5 years ago

you can fix it, but there's a 63% chance it will come back.

Ghosting is when you have an insert and air gets trapped under the clear. Usually caused from insert contracting and expanding, creating a gap under the clear. Air seeps in and creates a hazy ghost like effect along the edges. You can soak it in, and reseal it, but shifting, expanding, twisting the playfield, and banging on it, can make it rehappen. No one is immune. Only way to not have it happen, is to not have a clearcoated playfield.

#57 5 years ago

Not to derail the thread, but can you give a little more detail on how to glue the inserts you are not removing? Just apply with a brush under playfield?

Awesome job by the way, another excellent thread. You should write a book, the community could use another repair guide with this much detail.

#58 5 years ago

Insert Ghosting is where the clear coat has pulled away from the plastic and now you see the air gap between the back of the clear coat and the face of the insert.

(LED Ghosting is where small amounts of current that would never illuminate an incandescent bulb, actually causes a LED to become lit when it should be dark. So the "Special when Lit" always appears lit, or dimly lit.

LED Strobbing is where the GI LEDs rapidly flash and make the bulb look like its moving through a disco. )

G1.jpg

11
#59 5 years ago

The theory of fixing Insert Ghosting is that we need to "glue" the flap of clear coat back down to the insert face. There is going to be no place for a lot of solvent evaporation, so we need a "glue" that will cure without direct exposure to air. We also want this glue to have some flexibility to it so something brittle like epoxy is out. Pro restorers have found that Isocynate Clear coat is the perfect solution.

Lately, I've been using Diamond Plate for my top coats (I restored a game for a Dupont engineer who brought me a rather generous 5 gallons of the stuff), but it seems to be too "hot" for this kind of repair.

What does work nicely is PPG Shop Line JC661 clear. You mix it in 2 ratio with a fast topcoat hardener and it cures before it eats the old clear coat. Still, you should make a scan of that area of the playfield in case disaster strikes. You can then use the scan to make a decal (directions for this process are coming up later in this guide).

You need to neatly apply the clear under the flap, and for this you will need a syringe. The JC661 is too thick to be drawn up into an Insulin syringe, so you will have to get a big horse syringe.

Using an absolutely brand new Xacto blade, cut a slit around the damage, following the edge of the insert itself.

g2.jpg

#60 5 years ago

Be extra careful because the clear contains Cyanide, so you don't want to go injecting yourself with that.

Fill the gap under the flap with the clear.

Have a rag moistened with Acetone ready to clean up any spills. Use less than you think you need, it takes very little.

Press down the flap to push out any extra clear or air bubbles into the rag. Cover area with waxed paper.

g3.jpg

#61 5 years ago

On top of the wax paper, place a hard rubber block.

Under the playfield hold a piece of plywood.

Clamp together tightly overnight with a 12" C-clamp.

g4.jpg

#62 5 years ago

The next day, unclamp the rubber block.

CAREFULLY remove the wax paper in the same direction as the flap you cut.

If any bubbles got trapped under the flap, just open them with your Xacto and fill with a drop of clear when you spray your clear coat over the entire playfield.

G5.jpg

#63 5 years ago
Quoted from practicalsteve:

but can you give a little more detail on how to glue the inserts you are not removing? Just apply with a brush under playfield?

Yes, brush on epoxy from the side of the insert onto the wood.

It's not an exact science, and even if you are a little sloppy, no one is going to see it.

You really want to stand the playfield up on its edge on your rotisserie for this. Do the left side of all the inserts, then turn the playfield 180* and do the right sides.

#64 5 years ago

Wow Vid you are a pinball master....thanks for your effort.

#65 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Yes, brush on epoxy from the side of the insert onto the wood.

It's not an exact science, and even if you are a little sloppy, no one is going to see it.

You really want to stand the playfield up on its edge on your rotisserie for this. Do the left side of all the inserts, then turn the playfield 180* and do the right sides.

Thank you sir!

#66 5 years ago

Im subscribing in on this thread for sure.

#67 5 years ago

Wish I had known about the ghosting fix 8 months ago. My attempt did not have the best results. Thanks for this info.

#68 5 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

I've seen it happen within weeks (ghosting), even on the high end restorations. Not much anyone can do about it.

I have it happening on a professionally restored AFM playfield. WPC-95 playfields are prone to this. Kind of stinks. I keep saying some day I'll fix it if I get the time.

#69 5 years ago

vid1900, any experience/comments about using water thin super glue (cyanoacrylate) for ghosting repair? I've used it on my RFM that is on location and it seems to be holding up after several weeks.

#70 5 years ago
Quoted from stangbat:

vid1900, any experience/comments about using water thin super glue (cyanoacrylate) for ghosting repair? I've used it on my RFM that is on location and it seems to be holding up after several weeks.

Take an old insert, put a dot of glue on the face and see if you can chip it off.

amazon.com link »

The above Plastic Surgery glue has solvents that let it glue Nylon and other plastics that Cyanos normally don't bond to.

Might be a good experiment.

#71 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Take an old insert, put a dot of glue on the face and see if you can chip it off.
amazon.com link »
The above Plastic Surgery glue has solvents that let it glue Nylon and other plastics that Cyanos normally don't bond to.
Might be a good experiment.

I bought a tube of this a few months ago while in a ace hardware. This stuff is awesome! It dries clear, quickly and holds like nothing ive ever used. Highly recommended.

#72 5 years ago

On my TZ playfield, I leveled the raised inserts with heat and pressure, then locked them in place from the back using the water thin super glue. So far it has held up over several months with no shifting or ghosting.

I believe the main reason inserts raise is due to heat from the incandescent bulbs. I've seen raised inserts where bulbs are on a long time during attract mode but right next to them where bulbs are not on as long, they are flush. The heat softens the glue, the thin plastic expands at a different rate than the wood, and the insert raises. Also, the large PCBs used for mounting the 555 bulbs trap heat under the insert, and it seems like inserts in this case are more prone to lifting. Single #44 bulbs under an insert have more ventilation.

Using LEDs should help prevent raising, and even if you use incandescents, since the game is not on all day as it was when on location, I doubt raising will be as much of an issue although it is certainly possible. Using epoxy as you detail, or locking in place with super glue will hopefully minimize chances of raising.

I'm not saying heat is the only factor for inserts raising, and I don't have any experimental evidence to back this up, but I think it is a primary cause.

#73 5 years ago

Some inserts rise up on brand new playfields even before the playfields are ever installed. Just some internal stress in the wood, or stress between the wood and clear coat.

I'd be curious if inserts would ever rise on a playfield made of MDF. That stuff is very stable, very dense.

#74 5 years ago

Fantastic work vid. Love seeing all these tips. With how extensive this kind of work is, will you also be covering how to fix a "playfield poke-through"? I've seen on some pins here on Pinside and out in the wild where someone probably used too long of a replacement screw for something and it ended up piercing the artwork on top.

I'm sure there is a fix for that.

#75 5 years ago

when trying to fix ghosting this way, you have to be very careful not to chip away parts of the original diamond plate. Putting an exacto to break the clear, sometimes will bust out a bigger piece. If the chipout works its way into the clear parts , your going to have a problem as the "fogging" of the diamondplate, won't be in that spot and noticable compared where it is.

Comparable, would be like having a new sterns insert in some parts, and the look of a WPC insert for the other half. New clearcoats are perfectly clear, where old clearcoat from B/W eras, were not and had a fog effect to them. You can't get the foggy clear anymore. Technology has advanced to far. Once you damage that original fog clear. It's a big process if you want to even it back out again. The lighter the insert, the less you'll notice the difference.

Also, do not knock out any insert, unless you are holding a brand new one in your hand. Many inserts shatter and spidercrack when you try to remove them. And many are impossible to find. So unless you have that insert on hand. I would advise not screwing with them.

#76 5 years ago

I happen to work extensively with adhesives and epoxies as a part of my day job. Here's the source I use for needles. They have a needle for almost everything, including brush tips that would be useful for inserts. They also have syringes with plungers. Make sure you use syringes with a luer lock, or thicker material will pop the needle off the end. You can also search "dispenser needles" on Amazon or Ebay.

If you are doing a lot of work with high detail, I highly recommend a pneumatic dispenser which can be found used on Ebay for reasonable prices. This allows perfect control over the amount of adhesive you apply.

http://www.dispensinglink.com/dispense_needles.htm

12
#77 5 years ago

I like this thread.Refreshing to see some decent info presented.So much sub par work out there and poor advice frequently presented this is much more on the level.

Christopher Hutchins

#78 5 years ago
Quoted from High_End_Pins:

I like this thread.Refreshing to see some decent info presented.So much sub par work out there and poor advice frequently presented this is much more on the level.
Christopher Hutchins

Between this and your recent videos its keeping me entertained. It's nice to see good info being presented to everyone.

#79 5 years ago

Have to agree there, your videos are awesome chris. Im lucky to have stangbat near me. Thanks vid. Such great info here.

#80 5 years ago

Vid, and Christopher - thanks for all the contributions and insight. It's clear now more than ever how much labor is required to get it done right. I also learned recently how even NOS playfields are far from flawless (thanks for the Gorgar pf work Christopher - wonderful work considering what I handed you).

For those that are willing to invest the time, either by labor of love or budgetary constraints, great results are obtainable by following the steps and precautions outlined here. And for those that are willing to farm the work out to a top-end pro this thread helps justify the expense.

Brian

#81 5 years ago
Quoted from Whridlsoncestood:

Between this and your recent videos its keeping me entertained. It's nice to see good info being presented to everyone.

Is there a link to the videos referenced?

1 week later
#82 5 years ago

I agree with Captain Neo to a certain extent. Nobody starts out as a master restorer. And nobody is going to pay a master 4 figures to restore most games. If we didn't have different levels of restoration then 90% of pins would never get restored at all. That's why nearly all of the master restorations are from the same pool of 15 or so titles. They are the only ones with a market value that makes this sort of expense worthwhile.

All beaten up pins deserve restoration love. The only question is how much is reasonable given the market value and play quality of a given game.

4 weeks later
17
#83 5 years ago

I'm going to break up the logical order of things because I got a few emails about paint and Frisket over the weekend. Rather than email everyone separately, I'll cover them here....

Let's start with paint for playfield restoration.

We NEVER use Sharpie pen, Paint Pen, or those little bottles of Testors enamel that you have left over from your Dungeons & Dragons days - EVER.

All of the above will run into the final Clear Coat, making a smeary mess (for you or the poor sucker that buys the game after you and tries to have it restored).

We don't want to use those cheap $1 acrylics from the craft store, because they fade so quickly, making our repairs more apparent over the years.

We don't want to use cheap paints because they don't contain enough pigment to cover in a single coat (especially expensive pigments like Red). Add a little thinner so you can run it through the airbrush, and you find there is almost nothing there.

We don't want paints that dry substantially darker than they look when wet.

We don't want paints that become darker when they are clear coated.

We don't want a paint that permanently sets until heated. This gives us an "out" if we spill, mix the wrong color, or simply make a mistake.

So what paint can we use? Createx air brush colors.

http://www.createxcolors.com/products.html

1. It's already good to go in your airbrush, no thinning is necessary (unless you are doing shading)

2. It covers in a single coat.

3. No waiting for it to dry. If you like your work, you hit it with a heat gun (use a hair dryer if this is your first time - safer), and go on to the next color. Tape will not lift it. This saves you hours of time.

4. It does not react with auto clear coat.

5. It dries the color you mixed it.

6. It is almost the exact same shade when clearcoated.

7. The colors mix properly. Many cheap paints just turn brown when mixed (blue + yellow = brown).

8. It's fade resistant.

9. It sets so fast with heat that even when using white, old colors do not telegraph through the new paint.

Yes, it's $4 a bottle, not .99 cents, but once you try it, you won't ever go back to cheap paint again.

Createx_Opaque-Set_5803-00.jpg

11
#84 5 years ago

Now I just said the word that scares the beginners - Air Brush.

Don't worry, you can get a perfectly serviceable brush for $12 at Harbor Freight.

You could try to thin out paint and manually brush it on, then try to sand it flat to remove the brush strokes, then touch it up again - but you are not going to do that. Your time and your playfield is more valuable than that.

You have spent $200 on LED lights for your game, you can certainly buy yourself an airbrush.

Now if you "get good" at this airbrush stuff, you can certainly buy a $200 Iwata brush, but I'm telling you that there is no playfield I could not restore with the HF one. I sometimes have 4 HF brushes filled with different colors at once, so I can keep my pace up. Spray, heat set, and on to the next color - that is how he pros do it.

You can use a regular shop air compressor (like a Pancake or 120 gallon garage monster), a dedicated "air brush" compressor, or even just canned airbrush air.

If you use a regular shop air compressor, put a simple water separator on the front of the air line to catch the moisture.

Don't ever drip oil into the hose you are going to use for painting. If you have already done this for your other air tools, buy a dedicated painting air hose.

http://www.harborfreight.com/deluxe-airbrush-kit-95810.html On sale all the time for $12.

image_11957.jpg

#85 5 years ago

PAINT-1.jpgYou always read somebody asking "What color paint matches the blue on XXXXX game?".

And the real answer is "The one you mix yourself".

Even if you had a can of the actual Williams paint, your playfield has faded in the last 30 years.

Even if you knew what the color mix was at the time, those colors were mixed by eye at the silkscreener, and thus varied from batch to batch.

Even if someone found a match "Blood Moon #666" for their XXXXX game, it would not match yours, because different games have seen different amounts of UV light.

Now many people have tried to mix their own paint and found it did not create the color they thought it would, or it just turned brown. That is because cheap paints don't have the pure pigments and binders that mix well with others.

Good quality paints mix beautifully, creating the results you expect.

Mix paint in a clear container that you can set on the playfield to match it up. Try to use natural light, not a yellow incandescent lamp. Use a flat container, so you are not looking down the neck of a bottle.

Women have much better color vision than men. Don't be afraid to ask your wife to match colors for you. It will involve her in your hobby and make her feel important that she has a skill you don't. Let her do the actual mixing, don't just ask if a sample is a match.

10
#86 5 years ago

Mix up a little more paint than you think you need.

You will lose some in the air brush or you may have an unexpected touch up latter.

Store small amounts in contact lens cases (5 for $1 at the dollar store), or little "artists" jars.

Step by step matching:

1. Take a drop of your mixed paint and put it on the playfield and see where you are at. Adjust lighter, darker, greener, whatever and place another drop.

2. If drop looks good, spread it out a little and let it air dry. Still the right color? Excellent. No good? Wash off with damp cloth (remember, it's not permanent until you heat set it).

3. Once you have a good dry match, take some Naphtha on a rag and wipe it over the playfield and the paint sample. Does the color still match while wet with Naphtha? If yes, you are ready to paint! If not, adjust slightly until you get it right. The Naphtha give us a temporary "clear coat" to check our work.

PAINT-2.jpg

#87 5 years ago

Loving this! Keep it coming Vid.. I'm thinking of doing one for powder coating using an eastwood powder coating machine or one from harbor freight for small parts.

11
#88 5 years ago

The two hardest colors to match are Bright Orange and Gray.

On many Bally games, use standard orange and add a few drops of florescent orange. It's amazing how a tiny amount of the florescent fixes it.

On Williams game with hard to match Gray, a drop of yellow or purple will usually make a frustrating match suddenly lock on.

Practice while seated. If you get frustrated, wrap it up for the evening. "Fresh eyes" tomorrow will often get it on the first try.

If you were out in bright sunlight, give your eyes 20 minutes to adapt to the color tone indoors.

14
#89 5 years ago

What the hell is a Frisket?

If you are not from an art or auto background, it probably sounds like something you should have tried before you got married. But nothing is more important in restoring playfields than your roll of Frisket.

Frisket is a roll of masking plastic:

1. It cuts super cleanly, so you don't get raggity paint lines.

2. It is clear, so you can see what you are cutting (It is available in opaque, for what reason, I don't know).

3. It is self adhesive yet does not leave any glue behind.

4. Although it is "low tack" and normally does not lift paint, it totally keeps paint from seeping under the edge. Much better than blue painter's tape or green "frog" tape in that regard.

5. It withstands heat well enough to not shrink when we are setting a layer of paint.

If you can use tracing paper, you can use Frisket.

IMG_6491.jpg

#90 5 years ago

Cut a section of Frisket and lay it over the area to be airbrushed.

Run you finger along the outline where you will be cutting. You don't have to really press the rest of the frisket down.

Using a BRAND NEW Xacto blade, trace the outline of your soon to be painted areas. Don't press too hard, you should not be feeling the surface of the playfield as you work.

Use a metal straightedge to guide you along straight lines - giant time saver.

If you are cutting a circle for Keylining, you can use a circle template to again save time.

Cut exactly on your line. You don't have to worry about bleed.

Lift the Frisket film from any place you want to get painted. See how cleanly it lifts? Press any air bubbles out that forms as you remove the pieces.

I used "oil paper" here for masking, but you can use Kraft paper or whatever you have.

Make up a bunch of masking papers with one leading edge with masking tape applied.

You will be reusing them as you move to the next area of the playfield, so make them large enough for the biggest section.

FRISK-2.jpg circle-template.jpg

#91 5 years ago

that circle template is all well and good, but it sucks. I have that exact same one, and most of the time, the circles are a goofy size and are in between 2 of the sizes on the stencil. I think once out of about the 200 playfields i've done, has that stencil actually matched up.

#92 5 years ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

that circle template is all well and good, but it sucks. I have that exact same one, and most of the time, the circles are a goofy size and are in between 2 of the sizes on the stencil. I think once out of about the 200 playfields i've done, has that stencil actually matched up.

I've got a set of 10 circle templates, so if the regular sizes don't fit, the metric sizes usually do.

If you do a lot of work, get a stainless steel set made in the UK.

#93 5 years ago

I still think "vid1900" needs his own sticky thread on Pinside... How bout ita Robin!? Thanks for all the guides vid you are doing a thing for the pinball community.

#94 5 years ago

Now lay down your color.

Practice by shooting a little on the masking paper. If you set the gun down without the cap over the nozzle for more than a few minutes, it may throw a glob out, known as a "booger".

Don't wait for the booger to dry and then sand it out, just wipe the area clean with a rag and spray the entire area again. You are going to like using Createx paint, believe me.

Shooting on the paper lets you be sure that if any boogers are going to fly, it won't be into your work.

Catch the light on the wet paint and make sure your coat is even. If it all looks good, hit it with the heat gun and set the paint.

Now you can change colors, or even put another layer of the same color without waiting around.

Note in this picture how the Frisket that was pressed down onto the playfield has stayed perfectly attached without shrinking from the heat gun- while the area not pressed down has wrinkled. It's good stuff!

FRISK-3.jpg

#95 5 years ago

Although there are times when you are blending different colors at once, normally it only makes sense to do all the same color at the same time.

Cut out all your Frisket at the same time.

Then move your masking papers around in an orderly fashion, from zone to zone.

Don't waste time masking off the whole playfield with little windows and miles of tape. Just move your masking scraps around. Once the paint is heat set, you don't have to worry about the tape or Frisket lifting the paint.

Do all your colors from light to dark, but save white until the end so it does not get dirty. The Createx paint is flat finish, so the white can soil easily.

Often, once you think you are done, you will find black areas that still need touch up. Be careful you don't get the black on the new white paint!

#96 5 years ago

A pinhead named Butch Peel recommended this book on paint matching. I haven't received my copy yet but I've seen his touch-ups and they're very good.

amazon.com link »

#97 5 years ago
Quoted from rancegt:

A pinhead named Butch Peel recommended this book on paint matching. I haven't received my copy yet but I've seen his touch-ups and they're very good.
amazon.com link »

Interesting looking book.

Please post your opinion on it once you have a chance to read it.

#98 5 years ago

This thread is nothing short of awesome. Thank you very much for taking the time to gather up all the information and present it so dunderheads like me can understand it.

It serves as both a warning to people who really don't understand the scope of these restorations and as a nice guide on how to do it properly.

I had no idea how difficult it all was before reading this thread.

#99 5 years ago

I wish there was a way to favorite a thread (besides adding to browser favorites, which I just did). Thanks a ton for the tips and guidance.

#100 5 years ago

Rab >> you can 'favorite' threads on Pinside.

Just go to the top of the thread and look on the right hand side. You can click where it says "add to favorites"

Then you are able to click on "your favorites" to bring up a list of all saved threads.

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