(Topic ID: 33446)

Vid's Guide to Ultimate Playfield Restoration

By vid1900

7 years ago

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  • 6,845 posts
  • 640 Pinsiders participating
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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 (7 years ago)

Post #8 Insert damage assessment. Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #34 How to sand your new inserts flat. Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #35 Cleaning old glue out of the insert holes. Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #38 Prime the insert with 3M Plastic Primer before gluing. Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #60 Repairing Insert Ghosting - fill, clean, remove bubbles, cover. Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #61 Repairing Insert Ghosting - clamp overnight. Posted by vid1900 (7 years ago)

Post #76 Source for needles - https://www.dispensinglink.com/needles.html Posted by rancegt (7 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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#4197 2 years ago

Hey Vid,

Not to sure if this is the correct thread to be asking this but.....When ball guides are re-grained (I assume that strips any protective coating off?) Are they supposed to get some sort of clear coat on them to protect them from rusting? Thanks Vid!!!

#4200 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Many of the Bally are steel, flashed with copper, then chromed. So if you are not careful, you will quickly burn through the chrome. Wax the chrome to protect it.
Most Williams are solid stainless steel, so although not as shiny as Chrome, you don't have to worry about taking the chrome off.

So for Williams stainless steel guides I wouldn't have to spray any sort of clear coat after re-graining them correct?

#4213 2 years ago

Hey Vid,

How about the pop bumper ring and rod? Do those have to be clear coated for protection against rust? I polished them to a mirror finish already, so just making sure I don't need to clear coat them. Thanks!

#4215 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

You can wax them to make them faster, if you want.
Don't clear coat them

That sounds good Vid! Thanks!

2 weeks later
#4239 2 years ago

Hey Vid,

Might be a bit off topic but I got a few questions. I'm doing a restoration of my IJ. I started tumbling all metal, tumbling, polishing and clear coating the coil brackets to protect them from corrosion, cleaning all coils, installing new parts everywhere, ect. I came across this coil bracket that has a piece of insulation. I removed it since it was in really bad shape. The manual has a part number for it. I tried several vendors with no luck. Is this insulation really necessary? Could I just use some Mylar instead?

I mentioned that I've been cleaning and clear coating metal brackets for protection. Should I spray some clear coat on the ball trough assembly? Is it in danger of getting corroded if I don't clear coat it? Seems to me that the balls will eventually remove the clear coat from the ball trough assembly and spread it all over the playfield. Also considering installing the ball trough protector seen in the pic. Thanks!

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2 weeks later
#4325 2 years ago

Hey Vid,

Been working on my rotisserie. Having a hard time getting the hole and thread just right, for the water faucet handle that secures the playfield so it doesn't move side to side. I don't have a drill press and Have been using a cordless drill. Is a drill press a must? Or can this be accurately done with the cordless drill? The tap and die set I'm using is from HF. Not sure if I'm making the holes just a tad wider by using a cordless drill or the HF tap and die set is just too cheap for this job. Thanks

#4327 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

It's hard to get an exact diameter hole with a hand held drill.
Hand held makes the holes larger, and that means the bolt will be loose.
Make a new hole with a real drill press (ask your neighbors, kid's shop teacher, father in law.....) , don't worry about the old hole.
If you live in a forest and have no one to ask to drill the hole for you, try hand drilling but with the next size smaller bit.

Great tip! What would be the next size down bit tho? Just to be sure.....Thanks Vid!

#4329 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Normally you use a #7 drill bit for 1/4-20 so size down maybe to your #10 bit and see how she goes.
If a #10 is too tight to tap, then try a 9 then an #8.
You can always drill a hole larger; drilling it smaller is the hard part.

LOL, Good one Vid!

#4331 2 years ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

You might as well add the instructions for removing a broken tap, that will be Korn's next question.
If your tap is flexing instead of cutting when you try to turn it STOP. It's way harder to extract a broken tap than it is to drill the hole a little bigger and try again.

Good advise sir. First time for me. I'll get it done and post pics

#4342 2 years ago

Hey Vid,

I got a brand new TZ Mirco Playfield set but plan to do the playfield swap at a later date. What is the best way to store the playfield? Do I have to install rails on it while it sits in storage? Thanks Vid!

1 month later
#4547 2 years ago

Hello Vid,

I'm about to start drilling out the clear out of the holes on my IJ restored playfield. I understand that most holes must be drilled about a 1/4" to get enough clear out for the screw, but what about the holes for the rails which are through and through? Do I drill all the way out the other end? How about cleaning the clear out of the lamp socket and sling shot holes? Thanks!

#4550 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Clamp the rails in place, then drill out the holes.
Put the screws in before you remove the clamps.

Great tip! How about for the staple shaped ball guides? My understanding is that those must be pounded in with a hammer. Do I drill those holes out? If so, all the way or about 1/4"? Thanks!

#4554 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Pre drill your pop nail holes, because if you hit the head of those nails into the clearcoat, it might chip.
You can grind out the bevel with a Dremel and a fine stone, or HAND TWIST a sharp, new drill bit to cut through the bevel.

By bevel, Do you mean the countersunk area (top of the playfield) for the pop bumper screws?

#4565 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

You can use an Alps printer than prints white ink, or you can use white waterslide decals.
On the original, the white is the base color and the dots where screened on top.
So you would paint the solid white field, then put the halftone dots of color waterslide on top to.

You can change the size of the dots a number of ways. You can even scale a scan of the dots.

Color laser can do that no problem.
The original screens were nothing high-rez, certainly under 300

Is there anything you don't know?

1 week later
#4589 2 years ago


What is mostly used or recommended to secure the playfield to the perforated angle iron? Some C-clamps? Thanks

#4591 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I like the "quick clamps" because the already have a rubber grip to keep the playfield from getting dented.
Get a short set, so you don't have giant clamp bars sticking up when you flip the playfield over.

Awesome info Vid! Thanks

#4592 2 years ago


So I took a trip to Lowe's and Home Depot looking for some quality Brad point drill bits to clean the holes in my freshly restored IJ. I was surprised when all I could find was one little pack of 6 drill bits but they were in the larger size. Way too big for the tiny holes in the playfield. I took a trip to HF and found a set with all kind of sizes but wasn't sure about the quality? Is there a website where I can order them? What are the most commonly used sizes? Thanks!

1 week later
#4609 2 years ago


I found a post you made regarding pre-drilling holes. The whole point of pre drilling is to remove clear around the hole so the screw doesn't touch the clear.

A brad drill bit has wings that enable the bit to cut a clean hole through the clear a little bigger than the hole itself. If it safe to assume that if I was to drill past the clear, I would damage the top of the hole with the drill bit wings? If so, what is the safest way to prevent drilling past the clear? Thanks!

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#4615 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Just turn the bit by hand, you won't go too far.
Don't use that bit for anything other than playfields, because if it gets dull, it won't cut without chipping.


Will this also work on clear that has fully hardened?

Also, regarding the screws that "hold" the T-nuts (pictured), Is there really a "need" for them to "hold" the T-nut once the corresponding screw (motor) is installed in the T-nut? I figure the motor screw will hold the T-nut and not let it spin?

In one of the T-nuts I installed, the hole for the screw is barely visible. Do I really need to install the screw to hold the T-nut or can I get away with not installing it? Thanks Vid!

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#4620 2 years ago


Is it recommended to wax a clear coated playfield before starting the assembly? Thanks

#4642 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Just turn the bit by hand, you won't go too far.
Don't use that bit for anything other than playfields, because if it gets dull, it won't cut without chipping.


Hoping you can provide some advice. I'm having such a difficult time doing this step. I bought brand new brad drill bits from Lee Valley.

I Started turning the bit by hand, like you suggested, but found that All I was doing was making a nice circle (drill bit wings) around the hole but not actually removing any clear. This is my first playfield and I'm a bit lost here. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!

#4648 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

All you need is the circle.
The cracking finish from the screw, won't be able to telegraph past the point where you cut through the clear.
So it sounds like you are doing it right.

Feel much better now! Thanks!

#4655 2 years ago

Hello Vid,

Is there a way to install the back panel and still secure the playfield with the clamps with a rotisserie like mine? I have perforated angle iron holding the playfield.

Bigger clamps? Do I wait till the end to install it? Thanks!

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#4658 2 years ago

What I meant was After installing the rear panel, How do you secure the playfield with the clamps? Without the rear panel installed, it's easy to clamp the playfield down but once the rear panel is installed, it will surely be in the way. I hope that made sense. Should I secure the playfield by placing the clamp on top of the rear panel? I don't really like the idea though....Thanks

#4660 2 years ago


Actually I'm referring to this rear panel in the pic below. As soon as I install it, there is no way to confidently clamp and secure the playfield to the angle iron anymore because it will get in the way. The black side rails also get in the way. All the pictures I've seen of this style rotisserie always show the playfield without the rear panel installed. I would rather install the rear panel now rather than wait until I got more stuff installed on the playfield. Do you suggest I clamp and secure the playfield from the top of the rear panel? I just don't think securing it that way is a safe option?

What do you suggest? Thanks!

IMG_2016 (resized).PNG

#4662 2 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Try to find an existing hole in the back panel or playfield that you can use to secure it to the rotisserie .
You can sometimes screw two "L" brackets to the playfield, then run bolts through them to the angle iron.

Great tip! I'll see what I can come up with. If push comes to shove, I'll secure it by clamping down on the black side rails I guess. Thanks Vid!

#4671 2 years ago
Quoted from tomds:

I know this has come up a few times, but I'm having real trouble removing the staple style rails in the playfield. I've tried applying a bit of heat, but I can't get them to budge. I need them out to repaint the playfiled, but I don't want to cause any more damage in the mean time. Any further advice would be much appreciated.

When I removed mine, I placed a book (or at least part of it) under the rail, and placed a screwdriver between the book and the rail to push up on the rail. I slowly worked my way up little by little from both sides. The thicker the book, the better.

3 weeks later
#4732 2 years ago


Do you recommend adding mylar to high traffic areas such as pop bumpers, slings and ramp ball drops on a clear coated playfield? I plan on not playing the game for at least 3 months (or more if necessary) so the clear gets rock hard.


3 weeks later
#4843 2 years ago


I picked up a really nice NBA FB playfield recently. My plans are to follow your guide and restore it. It's a really nice playfield. Problem is that I got no rails for it. What do you recommend I use as temporary rails? Is there a possibility of playfield warping? Thanks!

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