(Topic ID: 33446)

Vid's Guide to Ultimate Playfield Restoration


By vid1900

6 years ago



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#4851 2 years ago

vid1900, Just a ? Can you put to many coats of clear on a play field? I'm doing a F-14 and have a friend clearing it for me. I think we have 4 coats of clear on it so far. Need one more to make it glass. Photo is coat 2. Have put on insert decals and one more coat. I did not do a full paint restore so please don't judge. Started before they made a repo of it.
Thanks for your help.

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#4852 2 years ago
Quoted from Soapman:

Can you put to many coats of clear on a play field?

Yes, you can.

It won't get flatter by putting more on, each layer will make it crazier.

See the roller coaster you have with all that clear?

The next layer will be even worse.

1. Get some 200grit and knock that playfield back until it's dead flat. You can't hand sand, you are going to need a powered sander. Keep sanding through 400-600- 800grit.

2. See all those valleys around the inserts? Every layer is building them higher and higher.

3. Once you get the playfield back to flat, fill those valleys with 2pac from a glass eye dropper. Then sand the repairs flat.

4. Now you should have a completely flat playfield sanded to 800 grit.

5. Put one thin layer over this, sand that layer flat, and buff to mirror shine.

Read this on why you MUST sand between every layer:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guide-to-ultimate-playfield-restoration/page/20#post-1795975

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#4853 2 years ago

I'm going to try my hand at a playfield restoration thanks to all the great information Vid has documented in this threat.

I have a Pin Bot playfield on the way to serve as my first "victim". I can tell from the pictures I have of it that its going to need a lot of cleaning before I start the repairs.

I am concerned about the playfield having Black Mold on it. Is it possible to tell from this picture? The seller did not indicate it had this problem and all communication has been great with him.

Would you guys mind taking a look so I can prepare to deal with it if it does have Black Mold? My area of concern is the white/gray area near the rockets above Saturn.

Thanks a million for this thread!

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#4854 2 years ago
Quoted from Walamab:

My area of concern is the white/gray area near the rockets above Saturn.

It's not cleaning with naphta?

You can always wipe with a solution of bleach white to kill the mold. Perhaps?

#4855 2 years ago
Quoted from Walamab:

I am concerned about the playfield having Black Mold on it.

That looks like Mildew, rather than Black Mold.

Try Magic Eraser on another white area that would be covered by plastics. Don't practice on the most obvious area of the playfield.

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#4856 2 years ago

Hi Vid I love this thread thanks for helping everyone out.
OK let get to my questions.
I have my playfield stripped down .I have a couple of issues first I need to replace a couple of the insert decals as shown in pic 1.
I bought the full sheet of insert decals .so My first Q is after removing the decal do I just put the new one on and clear over it or treat it like a water slide and clear under and over?
2nd a lot of the inserts have minor chipping at the bottom pic 2. would you just touch up the key line? or since I have all the decals go ahead and replace all the worst ones?
3. why would someone put a nail in there (pic3) and should I just remove it?
4. to degloss the playfield to give the clear some bite what's the best (safest) way to do that 220 sandpaper? or steel wool? other?
sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance.
(overlooked from last page maybe)

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#4857 2 years ago
Quoted from tonycip:

I bought the full sheet of insert decals .so My first Q is after removing the decal do I just put the new one on and clear over it or treat it like a water slide and clear under and over?

Some decals are made to be cleared over, and some can't be.

Ask your seller (or look on your invoice) to see what ones you have.

Quoted from tonycip:

2nd a lot of the inserts have minor chipping at the bottom pic 2. would you just touch up the key line? or since I have all the decals go ahead and replace all the worst ones?

I'd probably just touch them up.

Sometimes the decals have a slightly different hue when illuminated, due to playfield fading.

Quoted from tonycip:

3. why would someone put a nail in there (pic3) and should I just remove it?

How did they get it in there would be a better question???

Quoted from tonycip:

4. to degloss the playfield to give the clear some bite what's the best (safest) way to do that 220 sandpaper? or steel wool? other?

220 is too rough.

Try 800 or 1000 and degloss.

#4858 2 years ago

Vid, I am knocking down the mounds over my inserts after filling with clear and spraying my first lockdown coat. 500 grit is taking hours to take down the mounds sanding with the hand drywall sander. Can I use 220, or do you think that is a bit too aggressive?

#4859 2 years ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

Vid, I am knocking down the mounds over my inserts after filling with clear and spraying my first lockdown coat. 500 grit is taking hours to take down the mounds sanding with the hand drywall sander. Can I use 220, or do you think that is a bit too aggressive?

Use whatever it takes.

When sanding, if it takes more than 10 minutes, you need a lower grade.

#4860 2 years ago

First spray on the Firepower: No going back now.

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And here's something for fun: This was written on a plank with a single coat:

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Here they are with a coat on top of them after 5 minutes. I'll report back in a few days.

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#4861 2 years ago

Don't bother with the Sharpie. It will eventually fade/discolor horribly whether it reacts with the clear or not. They use a fugitive colorant. At best it will end up a puky brownish color down the road. Stick with products that use actual lightfast pigments.

#4862 2 years ago

Alex, you and I appear to be on parallel tracks...

#4863 2 years ago
Quoted from pinheadpierre:

Don't bother with the Sharpie. It will eventually fade/discolor horribly whether it reacts with the clear or not. They use a fugitive colorant. At best it will end up a puky brownish color down the road. Stick with products that use actual lightfast pigments.

Oh I know about sharpies. I wanted it to be the baseline for bad versus the acrylic markers I may use for lines. Molotow, which came recommended, and Elmer's painters acrylic markers - it got my attention because of the white marker in the pack.

In any case I'm going to watch that board closely and report back with the results over time.

Quoted from La_Porta:

Alex, you and I appear to be on parallel tracks...

We're parallel except for the bad job I'm doing. Parallel only in the sense that my railroad track is quite crooked. But I did see you post the other day and wondered if I was sleep posting again! I am cribbing off your work, believe me.

#4864 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

To make the playfield flat, we need to sand using a flat surface.
The larger the surface of the pad, the flatter the sanding result.
Once you get a bunch of playfields under your belt, you can use a pneumatic or electric sander, but for a beginner, you want a sanding pad made for drywall.
The fresh clearcoat dust will want to quickly clog your sandpaper, so have your air nozzle ready to blow out the dust from the pad.
You don't want to use any fine grit sandpaper for this knock down of the playfield surface. 400-500 grit will give you quick knockdown of hills, and less clogging on the pad.
The clearcoat dust is toxic, use a respirator mask, and don't track the dust through your house. Take your Tyvek suit off outside and shake it outside.
Note in this diagram how the playfield is flat, but the cupped insert still has a low center. Hand sand the dip, and fill with a few drops of clearcoat before you spray the next layer.

Ok.

To be super dee dooper clear on this: my first coat has now cured and features a few eye dropper-based mounded fills which protrude well above the rest of the flat surface of the clear coated playfield.

I can flat sand the entire table with 400 to 500 grit paper in this instance? That's not too harsh and abrasive for the first coat on the playfield?

#4865 2 years ago

I'm a moron who hits the quote button instead of the edit button.

#4866 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Try Magic Eraser on another white area that would be covered by plastics.

Thanks Vid!

I've started the clean up and this stuff hard to get off. I'm trying Naptha with a cotton cloth first. the rag gets completely dirty but It doesn't look much better on the playfield. I've ordered some 99% Iso Alcohol to use with the melamine sponge. maybe that will work better...like you recommended .

I have another question too. The "white" areas that I have gotten clean doesn't look white at all. They are more of a light beige/yellow. Frankly, it looks like a top coat/varnish of some sort has yellowed over time like plastics tend to do. I'm inclined to repaint it bright white but am concerned that, should someone want it when I'm done, it won't be an accurate restoration. are the areas that look "off-white" supposed to be bright white or am I just seeing the signs of the playfield's/exposure age?

Thoughts from the group and you Vid would be appreciated. I have a while before I'm going to be able to paint .

Thanks again!

#4867 2 years ago
Quoted from alexmogil:

Ok.
To be super dee dooper clear on this: my first coat has now cured and features a few eye dropper-based mounded fills which protrude well above the rest of the flat surface of the clear coated playfield.
I can flat sand the entire table with 400 to 500 grit paper in this instance? That's not too harsh and abrasive for the first coat on the playfield?

Carefully spot-sand the mounds with 500 until the are just a crunt-hair above the rest of the playfield, then give the whole playfield a deglossing with 1000.

Be gentle and keep your eyes open. You are only deglossing so the paint will stick.

#4868 2 years ago
Quoted from Walamab:

I have another question too. The "white" areas that I have gotten clean doesn't look white at all. They are more of a light beige/yellow. Frankly, it looks like a top coat/varnish of some sort has yellowed over time like plastics tend to do. I'm inclined to repaint it bright white but am concerned that, should someone want it when I'm done, it won't be an accurate restoration. are the areas that look "off-white" supposed to be bright white or am I just seeing the signs of the playfield's/exposure age?

That white **was** bright white 40 years ago, but now of course it has aged (and the lacquer coating on top of it has aged).

Years back, IBP did a re-run of EBD playfields and screened them in an off-white custard color.

Some people loved it "FINALLY, somebody does a reissue that understands how old games are supposed to look!".

Some people hated it "WTF, why would I buy a brand new playfield to have it look old????"

Pinball rule #1: You can't win! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha...............

#4869 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Carefully spot-sand the mounds with 500 until the are just a crunt-hair above the rest of the playfield, then give the whole playfield a deglossing with 1000.

Yeah, I learned this one the hard way by accidentally sanding off a tiny spot of the planet on the play field today. I was wondering how the heck to sand down those mounds with 220 on the big drywall sander. I guess Vid didn't mean to use that big thing over the huge mounds...

#4870 2 years ago
Quoted from alexmogil:

We're parallel except for the bad job I'm doing. Parallel only in the sense that my railroad track is quite crooked. But I did see you post the other day and wondered if I was sleep posting again! I am cribbing off your work, believe me.

Yours is coming out nicely as well. I see you have all new jeweled inserts, that was pretty ambitious. I screwed up a little tonight myself, a product of being a bit too ambitious I suppose, but nothing that can't be fixed I feel. Do you have your own dedicated thread for this?

#4871 2 years ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

Yours is coming out nicely as well. I see you have all new jeweled inserts, that was pretty ambitious. I screwed up a little tonight myself, a product of being a bit too ambitious I suppose, but nothing that can't be fixed I feel. Do you have your own dedicated thread for this?

I'm not that brave. I don't want to mess up so badly to have to end a restoration thread. I will post a completion thread if I make it.

Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying learning this stuff but I know why there are professionals that do this now. I'm thankful that someone is offering his insight and also staying to answer questions way after the fact. I can't think of any other hobby where someone offers valuable knowledge so freely.

And yeah I went with jeweled inserts - all of mine were cupped and dingy and I wanted to learn about installing inserts. I also discovered that Firepower's original design featured jeweled inserts and thought it would give it a slightly different look. I like it so far! I'm not going to go off the rails with originality, though - just try and get it close to how it used to look. The only thing I'm doing is adding some Reese Rails and maybe someday I'll install the drop targets.

Good luck with yours - it is looking great! The only piece of wisdom I can offer is: Take your time. It's hard to go backwards.

#4872 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Pinball rule #1: You can't win! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha...............

Thanks Vid. I can work with that . I like the bright white so that's what I'll go with.

#4874 2 years ago

Will be starting my F-14 clear coat following this thread. PF is NOS and has nice flat inserts. I will be putting the epoxy suggested on the back of inserts to give them a good hold. Then lightly sanding the pf with 800.

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#4875 2 years ago

Vid, question from my SBM restore:

Quoted from Atari_Daze:

Finally was able to finish masking off the PF in order to paint the black layer. HOWEVER, when I went to remove the Oramask stencils and reveal my paint job, in multiple places, the Oramask removed clearcoat. I had applied the Oramask pieces over a period of weeks and wonder if that has something to do with it removing clear in places. The "lockdown" coat of clear had multiple weeks to cure before I ever put the first piece of mask on so I'm not really sure what happened. I did not get pics of this but would guess someone has experienced this?

I've taken the steps to repair this damage, is there a suggested amount of time to let the new lockdown layer of 2PAC cure before applying more masking in order to airbrush new paint layers to prevent future issues as mentioned in my post above?

#4876 2 years ago
Quoted from Walamab:

Try Magic Eraser

I started the cleanup of the Pinbot playfield with ME + 99% Iso Alcohol. This stuff is working VERY well. Colors are still vibrant under the grime. I'm hopeful this will end up being a beautiful restoration .

Thanks a million for this thread Vid and answering the myriad of questions we all seem to come up with.

#4877 2 years ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

Vid, question from my SBM restore:

I've taken the steps to repair this damage, is there a suggested amount of time to let the new lockdown layer of 2PAC cure before applying more masking in order to airbrush new paint layers to prevent future issues as mentioned in my post above?

Whenever it stops stinking, it's ~90% cured.

Put your nose up to it and see.

#4878 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Paint yellow, then decal laser printed black decal over the top.

Ok, one more time... not sure what you meant.

I understand paint yellow... do I also repaint the white and then decal just the black over those two colors?? That's a difficult white to get right.

IMG_3231 (resized).JPG

#4879 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Whenever it stops stinking, it's ~90% cured.

So we are talking only hours ( maybe 24), not days or weeks?

The data sheet mentions it can be taped in 4 hrs so I presume that means I can mask with gerbermask and should be ok?

If the Gerbermask pulls clear off like the oracal 813, what could that indicate?

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#4880 2 years ago

Vid, things have been coming along pretty well with my Firepower. Got the first coat of clear down, and sanded the filled inserts almost flat. A few things I did kind of bass ackwards: used the flat sander to take down the inserts and inadvertently reduced the clear around them to nothing, exposing the surface again. I assume that isn't too big of an issue since I will be clearing over it again...but the inserts (some of them) are still ever so SLIGHTLY higher than the surface. Better to try and cut them down a bit now by hand, or just do the extra clear layer and then sand them down?

Also, after the next coat of clear, I'll be doing the decals. Reading through your guide a few times now, it would appear that I should leave the surface clear, lay down the decals, then sand everything around the decals for the next layer to stick to. If I remember, you said to NOT sand under where the decals will be because of decals adhering better to a glossy surface.

As an aside, I just started mixing and using my Createx to repair the play field...you are so right, this stuff is so easy to mix, match, and put down. It's a blessing!

#4881 2 years ago
Quoted from kilmarnock1350:

Ok, one more time... not sure what you meant.

I understand paint yellow... do I also repaint the white and then decal just the black over those two colors?? That's a difficult white to get right.

Sorry about my explanation.

Yes, paint your colors, then decal black over them.

Practice matching your white. It might need yellow brown or red added.

Match outside in daylight, or better yet, have your woman match it. Women have WAY better color perception.

#4882 2 years ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

So we are talking only hours ( maybe 24), not days or weeks?

The data sheet mentions it can be taped in 4 hrs so I presume that means I can mask with gerbermask and should be ok?

4 hours is probably in a shop with nice heat and precise measurement of the ratio, and super thin coats.

Probably means 8 hours for us amateurs, lol.

Quoted from Atari_Daze:

If the Gerbermask pulls clear off like the oracal 813, what could that indicate?

Need a rougher sand for **tooth** or you are pulling up rather than back against the mask.

An old painters trick is to warm the mask with a hair dryer, so it peels nicely.

#4883 2 years ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

used the flat sander to take down the inserts and inadvertently reduced the clear around them to nothing, exposing the surface again.

No big deal, the next layer will blend it all together.

Quoted from La_Porta:

Better to try and cut them down a bit now by hand, or just do the extra clear layer and then sand them down?

Spray another layer, then block sand it all to one level.

There is a little bit of black art to the whole clearcoat thing. It sounds like you almost have it.

#4884 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

or you are pulling up rather than back against the mask.

I think you nailed it, as I look back on my first try, i think i was indeed pulling up! Damn this learning curve, but many thanks to all your posts and replies.

#4885 2 years ago

Thanks for the clear sanding tips. My next question is that I am still trying to understand what is the best way to go about doing the decals. Let’s assume for argument sake I just laid down a layer of fresh clear after doing my paint touch ups. From what I understand, I should then lay down all the decals, and once they are set, sand the entire table flat again EXCEPT right over the decals. Then, I should spray a mist coat of clear, wait about 15 minutes, then spray a full coat after. Is this correct?

#4886 2 years ago
Quoted from La_Porta:

Thanks for the clear sanding tips. My next question is that I am still trying to understand what is the best way to go about doing the decals. Let’s assume for argument sake I just laid down a layer of fresh clear after doing my paint touch ups. From what I understand, I should then lay down all the decals, and once they are set, sand the entire table flat again EXCEPT right over the decals. Then, I should spray a mist coat of clear, wait about 15 minutes, then spray a full coat after. Is this correct?

Assuming the playfield has dried past the **no sanding needed recoat time** , then sand the playfield except the places that decals will be applied. Sand as close as possible to the decals without damaging them.

Apply decals, allow to dry, mist coat over them.

#4887 2 years ago

Here we go!

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#4888 2 years ago

Is my shooter lane bad off, or does it look reasonably acceptable?

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#4889 2 years ago

Fix that green filler and you are in good shape

#4890 2 years ago

Thanks, plan to soon. Appreciate all of your help.

#4891 2 years ago

Vid, didn’t you have a “how to build wire guide?”

I could only find the ball guide thread about wall style, not wire guides.

If not, what do you make wire form guides and ramps from?

I’ve read piano wire?

#4892 2 years ago

Inserts dried over night. Now sanding lightly with 800 and keeping the sand paper as free of sand dust as possible with air hose.

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#4893 2 years ago

Waiting now! To wet sand

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#4894 2 years ago
Quoted from kilmarnock1350:

If not, what do you make wire form guides from?
I’ve read piano wire?

You can use Stainless Steel welding rod too, available at any large hardware store or welding shop.

#4895 2 years ago

The time between laying down a coat and needing to sand before another varied between products, I know, and varies with temperature, etc...but any relative time for the SprayMax 2K? Roughly 12 hr? Temperature around here is anywhere between 50-70 degrees F this year...unusually warm.

http://usa.spraymax.com/fileadmin/download/spraymax/spraymax_tmb/TMB033_US.pdf

#4896 2 years ago

First coat was light. Vid, should I do a second coat and then t-up key lines and low spots? I am worried I will go through insert lettering.
Is there a good way without air brushing to do the key lines?

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#4897 2 years ago

Tips on touching up the grey areas of the monitors?

I was thinking of painting the entire area except the inserts grey then printing the black areas on a clear water slide.

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#4898 2 years ago
Quoted from heni1977:

First coat was light. Vid, should I do a second coat and then t-up key lines and low spots? I am worried I will go through insert lettering.
Is there a good way without air brushing to do the key lines?

Those inserts still have valleys around them, so drip and fill, sand flat, then decal any keylines that need need more than a "here and there" touch up.

#4899 2 years ago
Quoted from kcZ:

Tips on touching up the grey areas of the monitors?

I was thinking of painting the entire area except the inserts grey then printing the black areas on a clear water slide.

Grey is the hardest color to match, so try not mess with it unless you need too.

Looks like only Stampede needs a decal, the rest look easy fix.

#4900 2 years ago

Any hints for dialing in this teal on my time warp? I seem to miss it with adding white m. It got too light so added more drops of blue back. This is wiped with naphtha FYI too.

IMG_6241 (resized).JPG

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