(Topic ID: 33446)

Vid's Guide to Ultimate Playfield Restoration

By vid1900

6 years ago

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Topic index (key posts)

142 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 20

Post #7 Playfield damage assessment. Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #8 Insert damage assessment. Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #34 How to sand your new inserts flat. Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #35 Cleaning old glue out of the insert holes. Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #38 Prime the insert with 3M Plastic Primer before gluing. Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #60 Repairing Insert Ghosting - fill, clean, remove bubbles, cover. Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #61 Repairing Insert Ghosting - clamp overnight. Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Post #76 Source for needles - https://www.dispensinglink.com/needles.html Posted by rancegt (6 years ago)

Post #84 Air brush information. Posted by vid1900 (6 years ago)

Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

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#3078 3 years ago

Hi Vid, Thanks in advance, again.

Eight Ball Deluxe (LE) factory mylar. I pulled up a section about 2x3 inches to see what was going to happen, and the paint is flaking off, so I want to keep the mylar.

Questions. 1. How to reglue that piece of mylar back down, can I reuse it? I did not cut it off.

2. Is there a method for clearing the playfield up to the mylar without covering the mylar with clear? Recommended?

3. Is mylar refinishable? i.e., sanding, buffing, cleaning up etc?

4. There is a line of missing paint across the playfield starting in the left outline (pics attached) that goes across the playfield. Is this a crack in the playfield?

I've pretty much decided I'm just going to wait for a CPR re-run, but that may be a while.

Pics: 1 to show the mylar I pulled up. 3 to show the "crack" across the playfield. 1. upper playfield, to show the condition of the non-protected portion.

Thanks for you inputs.






3 weeks later
#3167 3 years ago

I looked through the clearing sections, but didn't see what is best for use to mask off what you don't want cleared. I saw ear plugs for lamp holes... how about how to mask of single drop target holes? I'm clearing EBD with the drop targets in place. Just use masking tape? Easiest way to protect the hole between the target and the edge of the hole itself?


#3168 3 years ago

Printing water slide decal question. I think most of the posts here relate to black only. Are there setbacks to printing other colors and/or large areas on water slides and using them? other than the cost of printer ink? Haven't done much of this, but it seems with the photoshop editor you could repair a large portion of worn playfield with water slides, rather than painting.


#3172 3 years ago

Putting wiring harness back down, what is a good staple gun for the GI sockets? Those hard to get to spots are TIGHT for my staple gun... suggestions?

1 week later
#3188 2 years ago

Vid, what's your recommended sanding block and sand papers that fit the block for between clear coats?

I live in Alaska, pretty much everything I need I shop online as getting anything local is next to impossible and time/fuel consuming.

Thanks again in advance.

About to clear my first playfield! Boom!

2 weeks later
#3215 2 years ago

Flatten Playfield for clear question.

Once the edge pieces of wood are removed from the perimeter of the playfield, the playfield no longer wants to sit flat in a rotisserie. The middle sags. I'm assuming it's CRITICAL for the playfield to lay flat while the clear cures? For several weeks?

If I put the wood pieces on the bottom of the playfield to flatten it, I'm wondering about how to get the screw back out of the clear. Tape over screw heads?

Surely there's an easy solution to flatten the playfield in prep to clear, but I'm not thinking about it.

How long to leave the playfield perfectly flat to ensure the clear is dry/cured enough?


1 week later
#3282 2 years ago

How long to let cure? (2PAC)

I'm cleared, sanded, polished. About to dimple and start reassembly. How long before a pinball can be put on the surface? I've read some places they recommend 6-8 weeks?

I'll post pics when complete. This was not a restoration, more of a touch up, and a clear. But, small steps. I'm SIGNIFICANTLY more confident now.


#3284 2 years ago

Probably not the correct thread to post this, but in reassembly I'm fighting how to remove and reinstall the metal from this plastic to a new plastic. Is there a tool for this? Bally, EBD.


#3295 2 years ago

Getting ready to remove the temp rails under the playfield, and put the real ones on top.

Any issues with the playfield bending in the process and cracking the clear? Or does the clear keep the playfield flat?

Will clamp and screw the rails on top so eventually the playfield will "bend" (hopefully perfectly straight) to the new position.

I'm probably over thinking as it's damn flat the way it is.


#3329 2 years ago

Drilling the wire form ball guide holes.

I understand using the brad bit for holes hidden under posts etc, but how do you get a good clean look AND protect the surrounding clear for wire form ball guides? The brad bit takes a lot of extra material with it, and therefore not a clean enough cut.

Thanks for any advice.

#3342 2 years ago
Quoted from kilmarnock1350:

Drilling the wire form ball guide holes.
I understand using the brad bit for holes hidden under posts etc, but how do you get a good clean look AND protect the surrounding clear for wire form ball guides? The brad bit takes a lot of extra material with it, and therefore not a clean enough cut.
Thanks for any advice.

Bump... Vid... thoughts?

#3348 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

colors without any fading effects

I haven't painted with an airbrush, just touch up by hand, but I'm looking into future airbrushing.

What type of "fading effects" can you do with certain guns?


2 months later
#3558 2 years ago

Hi! second clear coat process is starting (currently in tear down).

Any special considerations when clearing over a Diamond Plated playfield? Clean, sand with 600, and spray. Anything specific to DP that I should be aware of? (late system 11)

What's the best cleaning material to get those deep dirt and grime scars out of the DP before clear/touch up.

Thanks as always!

#3571 2 years ago


This is the sys 11 DP playfield I asked about a couple days ago.

My question is how the inserts are inserted and cleared from the factory. Many of the inserts have lifted slightly, usually just barely on one side, creating wear on the high side. The clear on top of the insert is uniform to the insert, i.e. no cracking around the edges.

Do I need to reglue these inserts?

My plan is to spray, then sand to level until it's level (build up), then WSD the inserts, then finish coat of clear.

If that is a bad idea, please let me know. This is a players game, private collection. Functional, playability is the goal.


IMG_9399 (resized).JPG

#3573 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Re-epoxy once it cools from the backside.

I reread that section. Thanks.

Just be clear, how long approximately do you hold the hair dryer? 10 secs/ side?

And, when applying epoxy, you're talking NOT to pull the insert out and rough up the edge, just press into place, and glue the bottom of the insert.

Preference on epoxy?

1 week later
#3612 2 years ago

I completely forgot to sand the Diamond Plate playfield before I cleared... as in, no 800 grit sanding to "give it the tooth"

What can I expect?

#3618 2 years ago

Very clean, with multiple cleaning with naphtha and some areas magic eraser to clean marks.

I got everything ready, was in a hurry, and forgot to scuff it.

Lesson learned for me.

#3627 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

The clear will start to lift off in high impact areas.

Is there anything I can do about the playfield now it's cleared. Several coats last night.

It is diamond plate. Worth sanding off and start again?

I cleaned it VERY well.

#3630 2 years ago
Quoted from Fytr:

I'm no expert but seems like a well played PF

It's a WELL broken in Diamond Plate Rollergames.

I'm going to just play. and hope.

4 weeks later
#3701 2 years ago

Vid, I've made great use of the rotisserie recipe you provided.

Any plans for a pinball dolley? something to easily move them around a house/flat surface?

#3712 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

but it would need to be welded

Fortunately I have a welder! Can't wait...

#3713 2 years ago

Ok... I've reassembled eight ball deluxe and for several months been playing.

The only thing I can't solve is the slings. I keep getting the coil to repeat fire, 3,4,5,6 times after the ball hits the rubber. I've adjusted and adjusted. I'm to the point where I think I have the wrong switches... i.e. too flimsy and they just bounce back and forth several times making contact. In order to correct it as is... I have to adjust the gap WAY too wide, which on gentler hits the sling never fires.

I've adjusted the rubber for tension. I've adjusted the switches. Both sides do this, but the right is noticeably worse.

This is the LAST thing to make this machine play perfect. And it's driving me nuts.

Do you have a recommendation for switches?

1 week later
#3727 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I don't think it's the switches.
I think you have the wrong rubber size.
Go down one size (if you think you need a 3", go to 2.75").

Wrong size provided in kit. Correct size fixed it.

I'm really tired of cheap pinball kits that don't have the parts you need.

Trend in this hobby...

Thanks vid.

2 weeks later
#3781 2 years ago
Quoted from PersonX99:

My question is...could I spray the clear while I am outside (in the cold)

I used spraymax at 60* and it was perfect. Autobody guys will say no less than 55*. I live in Alaska and did this just before winter. October ish. Looks beautiful.

2 months later
#4025 2 years ago

Would you even touch this playfield?

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#4028 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

It looks like a good restoration candidate.
Much better than most.

Can I see a pic of the "most"???

To me this is significant. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

1 week later
#4077 2 years ago

Stern NFL I'm contemplating on buying.

I'm not familiar with this era of Sterns, 2001. There is mylar over the majority of the playfield. In this pic there is insert damage under the mylar ( I believe it to be insert damage, or decal?)

Were there clear coats on this era of playfields? Would you expect the mylar lift to be difficult on this or fairly straight forward.

Not many of these machines made, and they are hard to come by.

Thanks Vid in advance for any info.

Stern NFL Bears - Left Slingshot Detail (resized).jpg

2 weeks later
#4101 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Yes, it's clearcoated.
Factory Mylar might come off easy, but some of that aftermarket stuff can be tough.
That pic makes the game look pretty nice, you might just leave the Mylar alone. No one is going to notice that little bit of ghosting on the insert.

I notice it in the pics, it sticks out. I'm assuming it would drive me nuts.

I also assume there's no way to fix it through the mylar?

#4108 2 years ago
Quoted from mrgregb123:

RE: Ghosting Inserts at Edges

Same as my NFL post #4077. Following. No Mylar on yours though! Much simpler!

1 week later
#4145 2 years ago

Why did Stern use Mylar on their early clear coated machines? Striker Xtreme, NFL, T3 that I know of? (2000-2003 ish)

Was the clear then less protective? Or maybe Mylar was the habit at the time?

Tommy (1994) came from factory cleared with no Mylar.

Just curious of the history/process.

#4150 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Even clear coated playfields need Mylar around high wear areas: Pops, tracks, .....

Which aftermarket mylars do you prefer for post clear coat?

Clean clear with naphtha before applying?

Pops, slings, ball drops... anywhere else? Full playfield?

Why didn't games such as Tommy and newer Stern games come with factory Mylar over the clear? Maybe I'm wrong but many games, especially late 80s/ early 90s diamond plates did not have Mylar over the clear.

Thanks for all the additional information.

#4151 2 years ago

Brand new Ghostbusters pinball in the box. Before playing, wax? Protector?

How to avoid having to come back to this thread for new Stern games with factory clear!

#4154 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

You will be VERY sorry if you apply Mylar to a playfield that has been stripped of wax with Naphtha.

Sorry as in the adhesive will not come off?

#4158 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

The adhesive will pull the paint off the playfield.

Last one on this subject I promise.

Even pull up 2PAC?

Same with playfield protector adhesive? Thanks Vid

1 month later
#4332 2 years ago


I've read the decal setting process and have done it several times with great success.

What I don't understand is if the clear that is sprayed over the decal is weaker than the clear that applied via tooth to the base clear.

Is there evidence that using decals can cause the clear to lift, separate etc over time/use in high impact areas. I used decals around the pop bumpers to recreate the rope on Eight Ball Deluxe. Have not had a problem yet. So it works...

Curious how the clear attaches to decals as well as it attaches to other clear.

As always, thanks.

#4346 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I use the Marco 22" wide roll.

Vid, do you put down full Mylar then cut out switch, sling, post, flipper, WHATEVER holes... or do you install Mylar in sections?

How do you use the 22" roll when installing?

#4349 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Are you going to Mylar the entire playfield, or are you just doing high wear sections?

Entire playfield for a couple pins, and high wear on others (depending on the state of where I stand with teardowns of different machines)

I have several projects to do.

#4365 2 years ago
Quoted from songofsixpence:

For those who have wondered about spot-clearing. I attempted this with a Kings of Steel. It is a decent player's game but the arch was absolutely roached

I scanned this area, then painted the bare wood black. The file I cleaned in photoshop, and printed with my Alps on a waterslide decal.

The end result I would say is... OK. Maybe 90% improved.
Masking the clear did leave an edge. Also I was afraid to buff this out, in that I would risk burning through the silk-screen in the masked areas.
It's better, but I don't know that I would do it again.

What's Alps?

#4380 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I've shot it in Florida, so that's probably 2000000% humidity after it rains every day.
If humidity was a big deal, they would have some kind of notice.

That's what I use too.

The whole idea of the OMNI line is that any idiot can shoot it (even me).
Either of those nozzles will be fine.
Other than my primer gun with it's 2mm nozzle, I don't worry about it.

Copy the Florida humidity comment. What about temp? 90* with 100% ok? I know below about 55-60* is just too cold for clear. (Florida panhandle myself).

#4393 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:


6. Since you need to clear coat over the decals, sand the whole playfield down to 1000 grit so the next layer of clear has some "tooth" to adhere to. Since you can't sand the decals, you need to do this BEFORE you install them.

Do you place the decal on sanded (1000 grit) area, or do you sand around where the decal goes?

Does the sanded area look different under (through) the decal... i.e. dull sanded finish vs shiny polished finish.

#4432 1 year ago
Quoted from shutyertrap:

white, lettering,

What color white did you use and how did you do the lettering?

Thanks. Looking good. Agree with Vid, use a planet scan to fill in the damaged area. Random helps.

Firepower forever!

3 months later
#4829 1 year ago

Best printer for printing yellow (and black) decals without breaking the bank?

Also, for the insert, better to remove and clean the hole/glue or just clamp and glue from behind?

Thanks for your input!

IMG_3231 (resized).JPG

IMG_3232 (resized).JPG

#4833 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If the insert is the proper height, then just epoxy from behind.

Vid I was referencing the large blue arrow insert that is lifted in all corners.


IMG_3232 (resized).JPG

1 week later
#4878 1 year 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

#4891 1 year 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?

1 week later
#4923 1 year ago

Really tough to see from the glare, but when I clamped the inserts and applied epoxy, I got epoxy on the insert flat.

It looks horrible now. The green insert is easy to find to replace, however the red arrow (non-jeweled) I have not been able to find a replacement.

I don't know if the epoxy can be sanded/polished off the backside. But now, this looks terrible.

Either -- a source for red non-jeweled inserts (I've looked at all the normal vendors)? or a safe way to remove the expoxy?


IMG_3522 (resized).JPG
IMG_3521 (resized).JPG

1 month later
#5296 1 year ago

Vid how much insert "movement" do you accept before you take the insert out and reglue the entire thing? ie, some looseness is acceptable and just reglue from the back without removing, or if the insert moves, always remove it and reglue?


1 month later
#5419 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:

You can also use Stainless Welding Rod from HD or any welding shop.

Vid any techniques for bending smooth long curves with the welding rod? The small tight curves are simple enough, but for guides with a good curve?

2 months later
#5588 1 year ago

Is there a file sharing / repository for insert decals etc?

Say, if one was looking for Black Knight decals... they’re available somewhere I’m sure?

Any leads appreciated.

#5592 1 year ago

What causes this discoloration in the center of the inserts? It's not a scratch (on the top side) as it doesn't "fill" with naphtha. So a assume no amount of sanding will remove it.

Is it stress?

Thanks for any info?

IMG_4446 (resized).JPG

IMG_4447 (resized).JPG

1 month later
#5685 1 year ago

Haven’t located any used (aged) inserts for this.

I need 4 3/4” inserts. New ones are too WHITE. Is there a way to age the new ones with an effect somehow?

0E7892D4-9FA2-4F70-ADD1-1BF2533B0AD8 (resized).jpeg

#5689 1 year ago

I still say, there should be a repository.

Who has Bally KISS playfield scans?

Yes, I know, you know who removed them. Period .

#5703 1 year ago

I know there's some smart printer folks here. Here's my frustration. Just bough a new Canon MF632Cdw laser printer. It prints great. EXCEPT.... The colors are completely different than the original scan.

Not as noticeable in the picture but the (what is supposed to be) white in the checker pattern is MUCH darker than the original in real life. The picture difference doesn't show this well.

The green is a completely different color of green.

I've ran the auto adjust twice, where the printer prints a rainbow then scans it to determine the difference between original and product.

Is my expectations of scanning/color matching to much? I know it would be impossible to be exact, but this isn't even close.


printer test original (resized).jpg

printer test print out (resized).jpg

#5705 1 year ago
Quoted from Coyote:

Make sure you have the correct color profiles installed for printer and screen.

Sorry, I don't know what you mean... How do I do this?

If you can, PM me instead so we don't clog up Vid's thread (any more)

Thank you for any and all input!

2 months later
#5880 10 months ago

This faded Bally (NGS) grey is IMPOSSIBLE to match. Spent all afternoon and not even close.

I saw the earlier post about adding purple... still didn't help.

IMAG0003 (resized).JPG
2 weeks later
#5930 9 months ago

I've had this "flaking" issue on a couple lately, and I'm not if it it's something I'm doing wrong, or if it's the condition of the playfield itself.

In this example I'm in the process of leveling the playfield, clear, sand, clear, sand etc.

IMG_5262 (resized).JPGIMG_5263 (resized).JPGIMG_5264 (resized).JPG
1 month later
#6001 8 months ago

Any idea why this WSD cured like this? I’ve never had this problem before... (film didn’t “dissolve”)

E00A5FA5-AF37-426C-B6E5-0B76797EFC3E (resized).jpeg

#6005 8 months ago

Well it’s stuck down now for sure.

Going to dig it out and start over.

3 weeks later
#6076 7 months ago

I'm about to give up on this playfield. Every time I put clear down I get a new problem.

Now, this WSD (the circular checkerboard pattern, and green circle) has been cleared over with several light coats. Sanded between each. I put down a fairly good coat of clear and it bubbled up. About 1 inch or so total affected area. Could this decal "suck" air in from the holes in the playfield for the pops?

I already know the wood on this game is suspect, as I've had significant flaking around many of the edges/holes etc.

Does a thicker coat of 2PAC have too much heat at times for weak paint/wood?


IMG_5667 (resized).JPGIMG_5668 (resized).JPG
#6080 7 months ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I'm not even sure what I'm looking at.

Fair enough!

Here you go.

Bally NGS. The original art around pops was heavily damaged from mylar removal. I recreated the art in photoshop, printed on white waterslides and put them down. Several very light coats of 2PAC as I always do.... however, after a couple of heavier coats, I got this bubble underneath.

I haven't cut it yet to see if it pulled the original art from the playfield. I sanded between each coat and this was sandwiched between layers of clear.

I don't know why/how I got this bubble?

Is is at all common with WS decals?


IMG_5670 (resized).JPGIMG_5671 (resized).JPGIMG_5672 (resized).JPGIMG_5673 (resized).JPG
#6083 7 months ago

What grit do you sand the area before a decal for tooth?

So this is the tricky part. I like to sand with something for tooth otherwise I’m afraid the clear won’t adhere around the decal well. I usually use 6-800 grit. Maybe I used too rough.

It was stuck down good for 2-3 coats of clear BEFORE this bubble appeared.

2 weeks later
#6128 7 months ago

White vs clear Waterslides - is the white material made of something different than the clear material? Does it adhere as well? The way I understand the process is the decal material is "eaten" by the clear during the cure leaving only the ink. After pulling of a WSD that bubbled I found there was still WSD material not just the remaining ink from the WSD.

In order to preserve ink color on the WSD (My Canon inkjet color fades as soon as you put it in water, even on 100% settings) i've sprayed a very light coat of clear onto the decal and let that coat cure before soaking in the water.

I'm wondering if this method does not allow the decal material to cure into the clear as well.

All thoughts are appreciated!

1 week later
#6149 6 months ago

Filling VERY deeply cupped inserts -

Is there a depth that you recommend to be the max with one cure of clear? ie... fill half way up then sand and top off? I've had great success in the past with filling, however this Grand Prix has by far the worst cupped inserts I've seen.

Thoughts? Thanks.

1 month later
#6223 5 months ago

Best way to frisket this area to spray the white? How to leave all the circle/arrow inserts covered? Will small frisket circles stay in place?


4667ECFF-EB23-4FDD-A6BF-72952C09489E (resized).png
2 weeks later
#6276 4 months ago

Installing full Mylar.

What’s the trick? It never looks perfect! Almost like tiny (and sometimes not so tiny) bubbles. Really shows through.

Also, do you cut out every switch/lamp/spinner etc hole after the Mylar is down?

Any tricks you have are greatly appreciated!

A154932E-86B3-4EEE-ACFD-C7E3808FE6FA (resized).jpeg
#6279 4 months ago
Quoted from vid1900:

GENTLY warm up your playfield over a 12 hour period

How do you warm it to 85? Space heater in a garage?

That’s quite warm.

1 month later
#6398 3 months ago

Sanding personal protection.

Lately I’ve had serious sinus problems. For the last several months I’ve has sinus infections, inability to breathe though the nose, and I’m actually having surgery Tuesday to correct the problems.

I think this is a shop-related problem. I’m wondering about the dust from sanding the clear.

I’ve never worn PPE while sanding. I always do while spraying, and I think it’s possible the fine dust of the clear after sanding is giving me problems.

Wet sanding I would assume would be safer as it creates a slurry mess, however many times I use a green scrubbie to scratch the surface in prep for the next spray.

Wondering what everyone’s thoughts are here!

#6401 3 months ago

I get bubbles quite often when filling inserts. The bubble or bubbles do not appear when filling and for the first 20-30 minutes after filling.

They appear hours later or the next day once it’s cured. It’s up at the surface and almost always no longer a bubble, it’s a crater, what’s left of the bubble as it cures.

Humidity? Something else? Thanks for your thoughts.

80051088-B160-4877-8B7F-6694B9B3A21E (resized).jpeg
1 week later
#6448 78 days ago

Trying to find blue inserts, and everybody that has them in stock there a different color between the round and the arrow inserts.

Doing a BK hard top, and the original inserts are horribly faded, and a couple missing.

In order to match colors, I ordered all new starburst inserts. All other colors are good except the blue.

Anybody have a source that has these? Pinball life, Marco, PBR do not. They all have the light blue round and darker blue arrow.


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#6452 78 days ago
Quoted from vid1900:

You can get Dye for polyester clothing and just dye those inserts any shade you want

I'm assuming you use the "soak in boiling water dye/mix" technique?

If I dye the insert and match the color, then sand the dye flat to the top of the playfield (after clamping/epoxy), sanding will remove that dye color... I assume.


1 week later
#6479 66 days ago

I’m trying to understand the need to sand original art off on a hard top install.

If you put down a layer of clear, does it really matter? As long as it’s flat.

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