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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#1401 4 years ago

For the passenger inserts on my Taxi, I'm still trying to think of the best way to handle the combination of airbrushing, decals with white backing, decals with clear backing, and the possible use of white paint under the clear decals for the spots where they aren't over a clear insert.

One possible method involves putting decals down first, and then using frisket around them so I can spray grey up to the edge of them. Is frisket on decals a good idea? If not, then perhaps I can do all the decals I need, shoot a thin layer of clear (which would make it my second total layer) and then continue with applying the rest of the paint on the playfield.

#1402 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Fill the cracks with 2PAC .
The cracks in the clear coat of the shuttle can be scraped out with a razor, but you should scan the area first in case you slip and chip out the black ink. Or just scan, make a decal and scrape out the whole shuttle...

Me again with my BOP PF. I have started to clean up some inserts and it looks that even though I sand them like with new inserts some micro cracks are buried deeper in them.

Question 1: Should I worry about it? Like have the plastic degenerated from sunlight and tension in the wood and have it now become too fragile to accept? Do you have any experience from micro cracks like these bastards resulting in broken inserts?

Question 2: Most inserts are level with the wood but some, like in the pics in my earlier post, have these worn edges. When I slide my finger over them and inspect them I imagine the difference in level is maybe half a mm. At first I thought I should warm them and push them in/out but now I am thinking it would be best to not mess with them (like some earlier post in the thread stated, if they have not moved in 20+ years...) The clear will fill any minor "unlevelness" and if I secure them with some extra epoxy on the back I might be fine. Still new tension from new clear and all that...What do you think?

Thanks in advance!

#1403 4 years ago
Quoted from TheRingMaster:

Question 1: Should I worry about it? Like have the plastic degenerated from sunlight and tension in the wood and have it now become too fragile to accept? Do you have any experience from micro cracks like these bastards resulting in broken inserts?

If the micro cracks are in the plastic itself and not the clear coat, then that will give some charcter to the playfield.

If they are real cracks, then replace the insert or if inserts are unavailable, reinforce from behind.

Quoted from TheRingMaster:

2: Most inserts are level with the wood but some, like in the pics in my earlier post, have these worn edges. When I slide my finger over them and inspect them I imagine the difference in level is maybe half a mm. At first I thought I should warm them and push them in/out but now I am thinking it would be best to not mess with them (like some earlier post in the thread stated, if they have not moved in 20+ years...) The clear will fill any minor "unlevelness" and if I secure them with some extra epoxy on the back I might be fine. Still new tension from new clear and all that...What do you think?

.5mm of difference will be buried in the clear, but make sure you glue on the backs.

#1404 4 years ago

DON'T ACCEPT LAZY WORK!

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

So I've been working on the road and thus not accepting much restoration work. If it can't be done in my hotel room, I don't have time to do it. I've been telling most people to find other playfield restorers, until I finally get sick of my job and quit.

I've got the screens for the Silverball Mania cabinets, so a bunch of guys want me to restore their games. SBM is a super fun game with great sound (if you've never played it, imagine Space Invaders but 3x as fast because of the smaller playfield).

So a gent drops off his SBM playfield that he just had done by a rather well know restorer from the OH/MI area. I unwrap it, the back has been repainted with a thick coat of gray paint. This is good, as unsealed playfields tend to warp towards the cleared side.

I flip it over and the front has a strange, matte finish. Duller than you would even use on an old EM.

Vid: This is the finish you requested?
Guy: They said this was "true to the era", so that's what I got.
V: Really? Did they know this game is from 1978?
G: I guess so. They said they had done SBMs before.
V: OK, as long as you are happy with the finish, I'm happy too. It looks flat and ripple free.
G: Well....I mean....I would like it more shiny....
V: Did you tell them that?
G: I did not want to really question their choices....I mean, they are the experts.
V: You are the expert on what you want, if you are the customer. You paid them, right?
G: Yes, $1100 for touch up and clear.
V: Really??
G: Yeah, it's that super clear coat that does not get any dimples.
V: Alrighty then.

So I get out a high speed buffer and hit the area under the apron. I chose that spot in case this "super clear" can't be polished, or burns or...... peels off.

DULL-SHEEN.jpg

#1405 4 years ago

Seconds later we have a spot polished out to mirror finish.

Guy: Wow, that looks kick ass like that!
Vid: Yeah, I think it deserves to be fully polished out.
G: Fnck yeah it does. THAT is what I wanted in the first place!

But his elation quickly comes to a halt as we start to look at the polished area in the light. We can see that the old playfield planking has telegraphed through the clear coat. The playfield was never fully buffed out in order to hide the planking.

G: What causes that?
V: The clear needs to be block sanded to get rid of all that planking. This playfield is not done.
G: Why didn't they finish it?
V: I don't know. I'm a pinwrench, not a mind reader.

1PLANKING.jpg

#1406 4 years ago

Looking further into this playfield, I note that the touch ups are well done. Color matching is good, the wear at the top arch is expertly repaired, nice on all that.

Looking at the insert wear, we see that the paint is touched up, but the wear and chipping is not filled back in.

Of course, this means that the playfield will wear again in the same spots along the inserts, because the ball will continually fall into the valleys.

If you are going to clearcoat anyway, how hard can it be to drip some clear into those holes so they will be flush with the playfield?

On a playfield of this era, it might add 15 minutes to the job to do it right.

Look on the "A" insert under the "E" on the playfield for a hole that will chip again soon:

INSERT-WEAR.jpg

#1407 4 years ago

Of course, I saved the worst for last: The Shooter Lane.

This is so crappy, it's hard to even imagine someone took money for this kind of work.

You can see that some sanding of the high spots took place; but then they simply quit. Sealing in the dirt for all eternity.

There is even a split or void in the wood that has resulted in a hole!

Why not take 10 minutes and reinforce & fill in a hole like that? You can imagine that the clear will continue to chip around a loose sliver of wood fiber.

Vid: Did you see this shooter lane when you picked this up?
Guy: Yeah, I pointed that out as soon as I saw it.
V: And......
G: And they said that it was the best that could be done. That the one spot is simply a character in the wood; because wood is a natural material.
V: Of course wood has flaws, but mankind has been patching those flaws for 10,000 years.

This shooter lane is totally unacceptable.

It needs the crack and void filled in, it needs to be sanded back to bare wood (now made 25x harder because of the clear coat), and either cleaned up or painted to look presentable.

Click this pic, only if you have an empty stomach:

SHOOTER-LANE.jpg

#1408 4 years ago

If you are paying an "expert" for an "expert restoration", demand expert work.

Don't accept lazy work.

Don't be afraid to come right out and say that you expected a better finish.

It is true, that no restorer can fix everything, even if he/she had unlimited time, but this is sad work. Especially from someone who is always bragging about their technique, "no dimple" clearcoat and dedication.

The touch up work is very well done, but the job is far from finished.

#1409 4 years ago

Hey Vid, you may have missed my post earlier. Two questions about decals. First. If I had an air brushed area, and a non-airbrushed area, would you recomment laying a decal across the two? I'm trying to figure out my options for my Taxi playfield where the road grey meets the passengers over the clear inserts. The other option is to lay the decals on the currently-flat playfield and then frisket over them in order to lay down some grey right up to them. How do frisket and decals interact? I guess I can always apply new ones if they get peeled off. Or I can lay down the decals, shoot another layer of clear and then lay down some paint with the airbrush. Do you have any thoughts?

#1410 4 years ago
Quoted from UvulaBob:

If I had an air brushed area, and a non-airbrushed area, would you recomment laying a decal across the two?

I can't think of a physical reason why not.

Quoted from UvulaBob:

How do frisket and decals interact?

Frisket will pull off decals - so you will have to clear over the decals first.

#1411 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

DON'T ACCEPT LAZY WORK!

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

Enjoyed reading your "review" on the bad job.
Don't hold back if you get another case like this

#1412 4 years ago

Thanks Vid for continuing to post. I appreciate your dedication and love reading this guide.

#1413 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If the micro cracks are in the plastic itself and not the clear coat, then that will give some charcter to the playfield.
If they are real cracks, then replace the insert or if inserts are unavailable, reinforce from behind.

.5mm of difference will be buried in the clear, but make sure you glue on the backs.

Allright! Thanks for the reply, I am sanding off the inserts up to about 400 grit and it looks allright. Hard to tell what the micro cracks really are but it does not look that bad. Hopefully they will hold up a couple of more year (like 20 more at least =) ). Looking forward to shooting the first layer of clear. Still waiting for some inserts I ordered though and the sanding and prepping takes time.

#1414 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I can't think of a physical reason why not.

The only thing I can think of is if the airburshed paint creates enough of a "curb" that the decal ends up not making 100% contact with the surface. Maybe knocking the edges down with some fine-grain sandpaper would help. But then I'm applying the decal directly over paint, which is something you caution against. Ugh. Why is it so difficult for me to figure out how to approach this?

#1415 4 years ago

Of course, take the edge off the paint and then put your layer of clear down.

Put your decal on the clear.

#1416 4 years ago

Thanks for all the info one can find here on this subject. I am currently studying procedures for my project but have seemed to hit a roadblock.
I have yet to find anything that addresses the screened areas on a playfield and the process for touching up those areas. Are there screen applicators to apply screen airbrushing?

#1417 4 years ago
Quoted from karmalord:

Are there screen applicators to apply screen airbrushing?

You might be able to find old metal halftone screens used back when people drew ad copy and comics by hand, but nowadays, we use a paint program like Photoshop.

Quoted from karmalord:

I have yet to find anything that addresses the screened areas on a playfield and the process for touching up those areas.

You can scan "good dots" or you can recreate them in Photoshop.

#1418 4 years ago

Here I have a scan from a NOS playfield of clean halftone dots.

Untitled-1.jpg
#1419 4 years ago

Now I open it in Photoshop because I want to print just the black dots.

I don't want to print any of the colors, just black, so I go to IMAGE>ADJUSTMENTS>BLACK & WHITE.

In the menu of BLACK & WHITE, I pull they CYAN (blue) fader all the way to the LEFT, removing all the blue information of the background.

I hit OK, so now I have just the black dots without the blue background.

Now when I print this on clear decal, I will have just the dots to apply over my freshly painted blue background.

black-white.jpg
#1420 4 years ago

So I would Frisket and paint the entire damaged section the solid background color.

painted.jpg
#1421 4 years ago

Now with the decal applied, the area is repaired.

decal applied.jpg
#1422 4 years ago

Now if we did not have a clean scan, we would create our own halftone dots.

First create a gradient with the GRADIENT TOOL

grad-2.jpg
#1423 4 years ago

Then we would go to FILTER>PIXELATE>COLOR HALFTONE

The menu will ask for the Max Radius (that is the size of the dots), and Channels 1-4 (make 0 for black & white).

Experiment with both the Gradient and the Max Radius until you find the match for the damaged area.

Print on clear waterslide and apply.

(the jpg compression made a grid pattern into this pic, but you get the idea, lol)

pix-halftone.jpg

#1424 4 years ago

You can also print whole sheets of halftone decals and just manually cut and match.

half bulk.jpg
#1425 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

You can also print whole sheets of halftone decals and just manually cut and match.

Man, that image is tripping my eyes out. ^^
-mof

#1426 4 years ago

Wow,never expected such a fast and full detailed response!
I believe it is important to know however and this is a great solution.
However,I wouldn't have guessed a decal on the playfield would be the solution as the edges would hinder ball movement,or it is assumed clear coating would follow to correct any unevenness?

#1427 4 years ago
Quoted from karmalord:

However,I wouldn't have guessed a decal on the playfield would be the solution as the edges would hinder ball movement,or it is assumed clear coating would follow to correct any unevenness?

You use clear, waterslide decals.

They are super thin.

You clear over them.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-ultimate-playfield-restoration/page/6#post-888283

#1428 4 years ago

Great, thanks for the valuable info on this subject!

#1429 4 years ago

Ok vid, have you ever "reconditioned" a pf versus rehabbing one? In other words, I have a decent playfield that I just want to play on without further deteriorating it's condition, although I would like to touch-up some areas that need a bit of attention.

If I touch-up areas around the inserts with glossy black paint, it'll stand out like the proverbial "sore thumb" from the other, duller blacks on the pf. Should I use a matte black instead - and does creatix paint make matte products?

I am also hoping to re-paint areas of decals on inserts that have worn away a bit, but again, don't want it to be "shiny new noticeable" versus the unpainted portions of the insert decals. The areas touched-up WILL be getting mylar placed over them.

Thanks..........!!

#1430 4 years ago

Hi vid1900 and friends,

I've been reading through this thread for a while, a lot of great information to read through.

I am attempting to fix a couple areas on a Mushroom World playfield and was hoping for some advice.

The first area is down by the flippers. Looks like at one point the underside flipper mechs were screwed in using too big of screws and they came through topside.

For those holes I was thinking toothpicks and wood glue with maybe a little bondo on top. But there is also a little pinhole under the mylar, as well as a little dirt under the mylar, and I wasn't sure what the best way to approach that area would be.

I was thinking of scoring a small section of the mylar with like an exacto knife, and removing that section to fix it, but I don't know.

The other area I wanted to fix is up by the pop bumpers. I circled a couple of areas in the picture below showing some kind of hardened raised resin that I have not been able to remove yet.

I was wondering if anyone has come across this anywhere, and what a good solution to remove it might be like either sanding or using some kind of chemical.

Any tips would be appreciated! thanks.

IMG_20141107_130944_867.jpg IMG_20141107_131003_646.jpg
#1431 4 years ago
Quoted from Pinball_Nate:

Ok vid, have you ever "reconditioned" a pf versus rehabbing one? In other words, I have a decent playfield that I just want to play on without further deteriorating it's condition, although I would like to touch-up some areas that need a bit of attention.

If I touch-up areas around the inserts with glossy black paint, it'll stand out like the proverbial "sore thumb" from the other, duller blacks on the pf. Should I use a matte black instead - and does creatix paint make matte products?

I am also hoping to re-paint areas of decals on inserts that have worn away a bit, but again, don't want it to be "shiny new noticeable" versus the unpainted portions of the insert decals. The areas touched-up WILL be getting mylar placed over them.

Thanks..........!!

Once you put Mylar over your repairs, it won't matter if the orig paint was gloss or matte.

Createx is matte when it dries, but glossy after the clearcoat (or Mylar).

#1432 4 years ago
Quoted from goldiewag:

The other area I wanted to fix is up by the pop bumpers. I circled a couple of areas in the picture below showing some kind of hardened raised resin that I have not been able to remove yet.

Take some better, close up pictures of the resin.

Was it used to repair the area, or did something melt?

Sheesh.

Quoted from goldiewag:

For those holes I was thinking toothpicks and wood glue with maybe a little bondo on top. But there is also a little pinhole under the mylar, as well as a little dirt under the mylar, and I wasn't sure what the best way to approach that area would be.

Id first scan this area, so I have my backup artwork.

Then see if using a hair dryer or freezing, see if you can get that Mylar up.

Id fill the holes with epoxy and top with Bondo because it feathers so well.

#1433 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Id first scan this area

Is there a currently available scanner that you would suggest? I know people liked the old HP that you could set on top of things but it has been discontinued for a long time. I also do not have the space or resources for the one that will scan an entire playfield.

#1434 4 years ago

That old HP is still the best, you can find them on eBay and Craigslist - they made a zillion of those things.

If not, find your local Cruse Scanner (every big city has a few) and pay $80 to get it scanned.

#1435 4 years ago

So if you finish buffing and you still see sanding marks or swirls, is there a way to roughly gauge from what stage of sanding they're from. Such as 320, 400, 600, 800 etc etc. It would be nice to not go any courser than I need to go when re-sanding the finish.

Is there a trick to spot previous sanding scratches in the current sanding layer. I find it tough to tell when I can move on to the next grade, obviously leaving scratches behind.

#1436 4 years ago
Quoted from jasonsmith:

So if you finish buffing and you still see sanding marks or swirls, is there a way to roughly gauge from what stage of sanding they're from. Such as 320, 400, 600, 800 etc etc. It would be nice to not go any courser than I need to go when re-sanding the finish.

Experience will soon give you "the eye", but if you were buffing, I'd try 1500 and then 2000 to tackle any strays. Try to sand at right angles to the scratch if it's a long one.

Quoted from jasonsmith:

Is there a trick to spot previous sanding scratches in the current sanding layer. I find it tough to tell when I can move on to the next grade, obviously leaving scratches behind.

If hand sanding, sand each grade in the opposite direction. Any scratches "going the wrong way" are the previous grade. (like cleaning windows, outside gets up and down streaks, inside gets side to side).

If power sanding, use a flashlight and magnifier and make sure the new sanded grade looks uniform.

#1437 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If hand sanding, sand each grade in the opposite direction. Any scratches "going the wrong way" are the previous grade.

Awesome advice, thank you.

#1438 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Once you put Mylar over your repairs, it won't matter if the orig paint was gloss or matte.
Createx is matte when it dries, but glossy after the clearcoat (or Mylar).

Thanks! That's what I needed to know.

#1439 4 years ago

Thanks a lot Vid for this thread.

Is there a way to repair this kind of lifted insert artwork ? I read about the UV-curing resin, the thing is here the edges are lifted and seem "cured" this way (the machine as been "baked" from what I guess, the main ramp is melted on itself):

IMG_20141109_164731.jpg
IMG_20141109_164740.jpg
IMG_20141109_164750.jpg

Should I apply heat and bend them before adding resin ? Should I break the lifted edges and glue them with resin ?

#1440 4 years ago

Hi guys,

Big stupid weather related question.

I want to lay down a coat of clear or maybe two (my final coats) today. I have been trying to get all of this done before it's too late and I am stuck unable to work on my machine all winter.

It's going to be 39 degrees here today for a high. I couldn't find any information on the JC660 product sheet for temperatures of spraying 2pac. I realize colder equals longer cure time, but would I have bad results spraying in my garage at 39 degrees?

I really need to get this done before 39 becomes -9.

Thanks as always!

#1441 4 years ago
Quoted from Rossz:

Is there a way to repair this kind of lifted insert artwork ?

Yep:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-ultimate-playfield-restoration/page/2

That is a combo of "insert wear" and the start of "ghosting" you have there.

I'd heat it up and press them back flush with the playfield, then glue them so they don't pop up again in a few weeks.

Then follow the Ghosting repair and you should be all set.

#1442 4 years ago
Quoted from MinnPin:

Big stupid weather related question.

I want to lay down a coat of clear or maybe two (my final coats) today. I have been trying to get all of this done before it's too late and I am stuck unable to work on my machine all winter.

It's going to be 39 degrees here today for a high. I couldn't find any information on the JC660 product sheet for temperatures of spraying 2pac. I realize colder equals longer cure time, but would I have bad results spraying in my garage at 39 degrees?

I really need to get this done before 39 becomes -9.

You risk hazing if you spray in the cold.

You need a hanging garage heater that can maintain 60 for a week or so. You also need the playfield and 2PAC to be at the same, steady temp, just like when painting cars.

#1443 4 years ago

Thanks, Vid.

#1444 4 years ago

Can't really afford a hanging garage heater, plus...small garage, no place to hang. I might put a floor heater down for a few hours....the playfield is already out there and the 2pac supplies I keep inside in the work room, so...I hope that will be enough

If not, just tell me no. If I don't get this done now, I fear it sits for the whole winter. It doesn't appears as if it is getting any warmer any time soon.

#1445 4 years ago

The clear wont catalyze if it's not warm enough, and unless you have some IR lamps, it needs to stay warm for a few days.

I'm going to just say no, rather than you create a hazy mess than can't be undone.

#1446 4 years ago

Fair enough.....and yikes. If this thing sits another winter without completion I might rip my hair straight out.

#1447 4 years ago

Someone you know has a $300 heated garage, just ask around.

BRT045.jpg
#1448 4 years ago

Okay, I put one of those electric oil radiators out there on high. It gets nice n' toasty...so I will see if I can clearcoat in a couple of days. Meanwhile it might get warm enough for me to do light black touch up to cover the white edges of the decals.

Man, I had decal nightmares. I didn't change the scaling and outfit that printed them didn't either, but somehow the actual water-slides aren't exactly proper sizes, even though my black and white mock-ups I did on paper, lined up perfectly.

And...

I cannot, even with a brand new ultra-sharp, craft scissor, get those decals to cut without flaking off a white edge. I did cut them and make them work, but as I said I now have to do some very fine touch-up work.

Thanks for all of the advice and tips as always. I will see if I can get that garage toasty enough and report back, just in case there are some other cold climate types out there in the same pinch.

#1449 4 years ago

Ooops...Just caught your picture post there, Vid. If this doesn't work, I will check around.

Thanks.

If I have to move the paintbooth somewhere for a day or two and reassemble it I will. I spent too long fearing doing all of this massive PF restore stuff. Now that I am actually doing it, I will be damned if winter is getting in the way.

#1450 4 years ago
Quoted from MinnPin:

Man, I had decal nightmares. I didn't change the scaling and outfit that printed them didn't either, but somehow the actual water-slides aren't exactly proper sizes, even though my black and white mock-ups I did on paper, lined up perfectly.

A good trick is to scan at 300dpi, then in Photoshop create a new transparent project also at 300ppi and drop in the scan, print directly from PS or .PDF at 100% resolution. This gives PS the least chance for mucking things up, lol

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