(Topic ID: 33446)

Vid's Guide to Ultimate Playfield Restoration

By vid1900

7 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 (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 (7 years ago)

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#505 6 years ago


Is anybody good with colors? I am very solid with seeing colors, and shades and generally with knowing what mixes to create what. Hell, just to verify that I wasn't giving myself too much credit, I took a comprehensive online color test last night and came through with an insanely good score, despite being half asleep.

Here's the what: I am restoring my 1979 Gottlieb Totem. There is going to be a little playfield touch up, some back box touch up, and cabinet touch up.

I just bought an airbrush setup, and I have purchased the Createx Opaque Airbrush colors recommended by Vid in this tutorial. I have practiced with Frisket, spraying on wood, and doing some swirl designs in the Frisket to see how painting would actually be, and so far I am pretty damn happy. The issue is:

1) Does anybody recommend mixing something in with these paints? I know Createx sells a reducer, but the Blick near me didn't carry it. I can order it online, but is it necessary or should I just use the stuff straight?

2) Does anybody have a clue how to get to the purple color shown in this picture? The orange and yellow will be easy, but this purple is plaguing me. I get that generally red and blue make purple, and according to a little color wheel that I bought, a sort violet/red looks like it is on the right track - which means more red than blue...but I just can't seem to get there. It is wayyyyyyy too dark, so I added white, and it still too dark. This is not my first go at trying to get even in the ballpark of this color.


I am confident I can get the shade right, if I can even get near the proper spot on the color wheel.

Thanks, everyone!


#515 6 years ago

Thanks for the help on the paint you guys. I guess I will go buy some purple and start there.

As for the cables, I read some of what was said regarding removing them to remove the playfield, but here's what I did: I just marked each connector with a matching letter.

One connector gets a black sharpie "A" on it and the one that plugs into also gets an "A", then next, a "B" and so on.

If you want the letters gone later on, a little rubbing alcohol and the connectors are like new.

Good luck!


1 week later
#520 6 years ago

Thanks as always, Vid and others for the tips. I didn't go the house paint route, but rather just did a lot of messing around with the Createx until I got it right. I am not painting the whole cabinet over, because largely it is in really good condition. Some gauges needed wood-fill and some scratches here and there need work, so it will be more of a touch up job, than a do over.

My playfield doesn't need much painting, so most of the work will be on my cabinet. That purple color I was trying to figure out (pictures a few posts up), I finally nailed. My girl was very helpful (as Vid had suggested - women have the color thing down). I should note, I am very good at differentiating shades of colors and I have zero color-blindness, but still could not even figure out how to get close to that shade of purple. She looked at it for about five whole seconds and said "it looks almost all red, with only a tinge of blue in it."

By god, she was right! I finally had a chance to sit down this past weekend and sure enough - a nice sized puddle of red, one decent drip of blue got me near correct, and then several drips of white brought the whole thing down to the proper shade.

My next issue was this: when I tested the paint by brushing it on next to the color I was trying to match, it looked perfect. When I airbrushed it, I went too heavy on it, making it look like a darker, non-matching color. If you look at your older painted cabinets, the over-laying colors seem very, very thin...for instance I can see the black fleck through the purple in places. Keep in mind, this is the order - yellow, black fleck, orange and then purple. Through the orange and purple, I can still see the black flecks below. This tells you how thin the layers are. I started spraying lighter and one or two passes tops and boom...I am right on target.

Thanks again, guys!

1 month later
#570 6 years ago
Quoted from j_m_:

I realize that the quoted comments are a bit old, but I prefer to use the identification cable ties to label the connectors so that when you're done you can snip them back off, keeping your connectors classy and free from marker.

~ My comment regarding marking of connectors wasn't very long, so I must assume you read it. That being the case you would note how the sharpie wipes off completely with a rag and rubbing alcohol, leaving your connectors "classy and free from marker"...and free from identification cable ties. But, to each their own.

1 week later
#594 6 years ago

Hi Pin-Folk,

Looking for a couple additional tips.

I am doing cabinet touch-up, not a whole redo. I have taken all of Vid's tips and attempted to apply them. I assume if it's good enough for a playfield, it's good enough for a cabinet. I have a good airbrush, the Createx airbrush paints, a good compressor, frisket and a good X-acto with new blades.

The reason you can't lay frisket (right off the roll) onto your surface, trace the design, pull up the frisket, cut it and lay it back down is because it is too flimsy and it's hard to get it into the right design shape again. So, I followed the advice given by Master-Vid1900, which is to adhere the frisket and cut the pattern directly with a sharp X-acto knife. When I do this, I either press so lightly I leave frisket attached, which leads to a mistake in the pattern. When I press heavier, I cut lightly into the cabinet and the other paint, which is noticeable. Am I missing something? I have re-read these posts over and over again.

Secondly, when these cabinets were originally painted, they were done with big metal templates that were not pushed tight to the wood, hence you get that nice overspray look, which is common on cabinet art. You don't get that overspray with frisket and it is noticeable. Any way to fake that without making a big mess?

Thanks as always, everybody!

#603 6 years ago

Thanks Skill_Shot and thanks as always Vid. I guess I am doing it right, just not using up enough blades and seated might be the secret...standing is more of anxious gesture which produces anxious looking work.

Vid - do you have any tips on the overspray effect? Skill_shot offered the pennies trick, but that doesn't work with the Frisket approach. I know you are a stickler for the details, so I figure that you have figured that out.

Thanks again guys!

2 months later
#692 5 years ago

Just tossing my support in for Vid - He doesn't need to show you before and after pics and I am glad he is ignoring the jerks on here completely. More power to you Vid! Furthermore, what would pics prove? Anyone could download before and after pics from somewhere. Who cares?

His knowledge and assistance on here speaks for itself. Period. Love you, man! You are not only helping us in our pinball restorations, but making them genuinely fun. It's a learning experience and because of your help...I am learning this stuff.


Question - (and if I missed it somewhere, my apologies) I did the frisketing and airbrushing of white in the general illumination areas of my playfield and got them nice and bright. The frisket itself, combined with not 100% perfect cutting of the frisket has led to little bits and pieces of the black borders missing or slightly covered. Is there a good technique for getting these black, curved and straight lines going around the illumination white areas back in place without it looking sloppy?

Thanks everyone!

#696 5 years ago

Hi Altan,

Is that just paint on the insert or is it the insert itself that is cracked? Hard to tell from the picture. If the insert is cracked, obviously you need to replace it. If you are painting it black, I would airbrush it with black Createx. If you brush it (especially over a lit area on translucent plastic) you might very well see and be annoyed by the brush strokes.

That's just my two pennies worth.

#709 5 years ago

Hi Altan,

I am just getting into all of this painting myself. I would say go over it a couple times, but I don't know about "coats". When I think of a paint coat, I think of spray it, letting it dry, and spraying it again.

Certainly, there are times when coats are necessary, but in this case I would suspect a couple times back and forth, let it dry, check it and then blast it with your heat source should be fine.

#710 5 years ago

Thanks for the tip on the Xacto painting, Vid. I will have to do that, although the corners and curves are going to be tough to get proper with that method I have a feeling. I would have scanned it in and did it that way, if I hadn't at an earlier time painted those white areas and not did it as well as I am learning to do it now.

I decided to repaint those areas and it looks much better this time, but the lines were already messed up. I still may be able to decal them. I also had my first use of a little tiny bit of bondo on a chipped area....it formed in there nice, and now I must sand.

In regards to using sharp blades - Indeed it is the way to go, and to that end I show you a picture of these beauties. This was a new discovery (for me anyway) and they are fantastic XActo blades. The cost is about a buck or so more and well worth it.

XActo Blades.png

#714 5 years ago

So, I will be clearing my PF soon...and this conversation is the first I have heard of needing expensive gear just to protect myself from the clear.

Granted, it is presumable that hazardous clear coating may require protection, I am just surprised I have never noticed it being talked about before. So, even if I am completely outside, in my driveway performing this task, I need a mask and a bunch of cartridges to the tune of $100 or more? Seriously?

#716 5 years ago

Oh....I guess that makes more than good sense. Thank you, sir...as always.

I always think I know stuff, until I realize I don't know anything...

#725 5 years ago

Thanks for the updates and safety tips. I now feel I can proceed without worry.

Pafasa, be cautious, but don't be scared away. If you are part of this pinball restoration scene (and based on your status as pinball guru, you appear to be) you need to do these tasks to properly restore an old machine.

This news shouldn't frighten you, it should make you feel informed so that you can do these jobs in a proper and safe manner. I am glad I got a little backed up on other stuff and made this discovery before getting into these potentially dangerous aspects of the restoration. The lead paint thing would never have occurred to me.

So glad that this community is here so that these details get hashed out.

#727 5 years ago

Spray booth thing is very cool and I will probably be taking that instruction to heart. Vid says clearing in the driveway will open the surface up to airborne gunk. He's absolutely right, but then he hasn't seen the inside of my garage. Hehe. I think this spray booth system is definitely in order. Thanks for the tip.

#733 5 years ago
Quoted from Superchicken:

Here's a garage booth I built with 1"EMT tubing and fittings from here:

booth.jpg 131 KB

Very cool. I will be building some concoction in the realm of what you have built and the instructions from the other link. We are all sort of in a makeshift business here, aren't we? The work on the machines needs to be right, the tools we use to get those results...home made, baby!

#741 5 years ago
Quoted from MArmour:

Has anyone tried something like this rather than the frisket?
It is a heck of a lot cheaper.

That link is dead - no item shown or described.

Frisket is pretty darn cheap. I bought a fairly large roll of it for under $20.00. I could easily do three machines with it.

1 week later
#747 5 years ago
Quoted from MArmour:

Is this the stuff you guys use?
amazon.com link »
Or is there a cheaper one?

That is pretty much the stuff. You can buy wider, longer or smaller sized rolls or sheets. That's the one that I purchased. Just bought it at one my local art shops. Works great!

#748 5 years ago
Quoted from Bangagong85:

I've really been getting motivated by this whole thread, love all the info here.
I have virtually no experience with airbrushing, and when looking for some supplies to get started, found this.
ebay.com link » 2 Airbrush System Kit W 6 Primary Createx Paint Color Set Air Compressor Hobby
I'm thinking about picking this up, it's affordable and seems perfect for someone like me trying to learn how to do this. Just want to know if anyone has any thoughts or opinions on this kit. I will NOT be doing any kind of clear with that compressor so that's not an issue, I have another compressor, but I like the compact size and portability of this one.
Great info Vid, keep it coming.

DO NOT BUY THAT AIRBRUSH! TCPGLOBAL does have many good products and I largely give them credit for customer service, but I bought that airbrush and returned it. It is nearly worthless and you will rip out all of your hair before realizing it isn't your fault.

#752 5 years ago

Vid or any of you awesome folk with experience,

There are a couple of small areas on my machine that are too detailed to airbrush, so I purchased a nice hand-scanner and decided to go the water-slide decal route. I am already good with Photoshop, so fixing the art is a non-issue. I did three specific areas and then brought them to FedEx Office to have them color laser printed onto the decal material.

Obviously I will finish any touch-up airbrush painting before I add decals. Also, these are NOT insert decals, they are decals for the surface of the playfield. Can anyone give me a run down of the process for applying these, starting with how the playfield should be prepared?

I would imagine I can't place these down on smooth paint. But how should the surface be? How see through (or translucent) are these decals going to be? Will I see color and details through them once I apply them? I've got really high end (900dpi) decals made, they look awesome, and of course I could reprint them if necessary, but I really just want to get it right from the start.


#753 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I would not worry too much about that air brush.
If it does not work, you can get a completely serviceable one on sale at HF for $12 and just throw the TCP one away.

As I mentioned, I think that TCP One is horrifically bad. I purchased a cheap one for $14 from a local big box hardware chain, it's even a little maddening, but 1000 times better than that TCP airbrush. I meant to make it to Harbor Freight this weekend to just nab the one you keep talking about, but the weekend once again slipped away from me. Oh well.

2 weeks later
#764 5 years ago

For the life of me, I cannot cut frisket on my playfield without leaving a scratch through the existing paint.

I am using brand new blades, just like the ones I pictured in an earlier post. I am using the blade at only a slight angle, so as to not put the pointed tip directly into the playfield and yet I am still having problems.

This is creating a mental road block to me finishing this playfield. Ideas? Tips? How is this so easy for everyone?

Thanks, as always!

#766 5 years ago

Thanks Vid. I think relax is the key.

As far as blades, I am using the ones I bought that I pictured back a few posts. They are real XActo, in fact they are the high end with the sharpest cutting edge that is made of some alloy (I forget the details). They are the best blades I have ever had.

Anywho...thanks again, I will get my nerve up and give it another crack.

Additional question - if you have an area where it's not worn out or uneven, but it is just faded (in this case the black area in general is not quite as black as it once was, would you bother spraying that down with black? The shade of black doesn't change (at least to the human eye), it is just all slightly lower than a fresh black coat would be.

5 months later
#1265 5 years ago

I have a garage that goes partially under my house. I built the common paint booth that everyone seems to be building, PVC and the cheap plastic sheeting that Vid recommended. Wherever there is a seam, I used duct tape to seal it. It is built in front of window, where I have a box fan with furnace filters ventilating. It is sealed tight, minus the entrance (as I need to actually get in and out of it), but even that has overlapping plastic that hangs down.

Question -

I just started clearing today, actually on something other than pinball that needed clearing (good practice for my PF clearing I will be doing later in the week) and within minutes, we could smell the faint scent of the clear in the room that goes partially over the garage. This is the only place I can set this up and I am not sure what else I can do to keep the fumes more contained.

Ideas? Tricks? Thanks everyone!

1 week later
#1293 5 years ago

How long between the first coat of clear and the light sanding? Also, do I light sand before waterslide decals?

Thanks. Gonna do this today. I am excited.

#1294 5 years ago

I guess the post above mine answered my first question.

#1296 5 years ago

Hi Vid,

Thanks as always. To be clear though (no pun intended), from previous information in this thread, a thin layer of clear should be shot down before decal work, correct? If so, do I sand that layer after it hardens before I add the waterslides? I am using Shoplin JC660 and the fastest hardner, which I think is JH6670.

I will mildly sand or rough with 800 grit before I put the first layer of clear. Couple more touch up paints to do.

** ALSO - note to anyone getting waterslide work done at a commercial printer. One time I had really good luck at FedEx Office, the waterslide images came out perfect, couldn't have asked for better. The next time I went, they destroyed almost all of my waterslide sheets with images that didn't fuse to the paper worth a damn. I think the person you get to assist you really matters. Find the genius, who will be a lifer there. They might not be fun to go out and drink with, but they never makes mistakes on customer jobs and destroy $10 worth of waterslide. **

#1318 5 years ago

Hi guys,

This is something my brother brought up to me, and I hadn't thought about it before.

These home made paint booths that we all seem to be building (mine included) use box fans with furnace filters for ventilation. My brother pointed out to me that the electric motor, which is continually creating electrical arcs could inhale a volatile substance such as clear coat and cause a fire or explosion. Sure enough the clear coat cans themselves warn about using fans or ventilation systems with non-sealed motors.

How concerned should we all be?



#1333 5 years ago

Good point on the box fans, Vid. I generally don't concern myself with things like that that seem so tried and true, but I thought I would toss it out there.

Thanks, as always, for your endless information. I am not sure when you actually get to work on pins, you must spend 15 hours a day answering our questions and typing info into the forum.

#1356 5 years ago

Just filled my cupped inserts with 2pac and did my first coat of clear today. I am excited to have gotten this done...fear of doing all of this "stuff" and doing it right put me off of my restoration for probably a couple of months.

For those who are in the place I was in (worrying about getting it right)...you warm up to the process real quick. Setup and cleanup are mildly time consuming, but it already seems like old hat to me -- it was so simple.

Tomorrow - sanding, waterslide decals and coat #2.

How long after adding decals before I should hit it with coat #2?

Thanks everyone!

#1357 5 years ago

A question, which maybe destroys all of the hope I broadcast in my last message (hopefully not).

My first coat of clear has been drying for 6 hours or so. It doesn't look mirror shiny like the Bride of Pinbot pics above or some Funhouse ones posted recently. It looks evenly dimpled, like it has goose bumps (over all of it). Granted this is the first coat, but is that wrong or messed up?

I wet sanded and dry sanded thoroughly with 800 grit. I did two thorough wash-ups with Naptha before clearing. Then I filled my cupped inserts and a short while later shot clear at about 45psi. Went back and forth over the entire PF maybe twice.

#1361 5 years ago

Thanks guys. This go back to questions asked before about how much clear to lay down. I went back and forth a few times and thought it was too much, but it looks exactly like you are describing, Vid...not enough.

It will be about 24 hours on the nose before I can get another coat on, so presumably I have to sand, as Curbfeeler mentioned?


#1363 5 years ago

Vid and Curbfeeler:

Bingo. I gave that crap-layer of a clear a light, wet 800 grit block sand, naptha, and a new coat of clear. I laid it on nice and gooey and BAM - a shiny mirror finish.

Thanks for getting me back on track!

#1365 5 years ago

I am in the same boat as MT45. One coat of clear done. When can I sand and add decals? And then when can I hit it with the second coat after decals?

#1384 5 years ago

Hi guys,

I did my first coat of clear and I was sanding with 800 and just using the body of an electric sander as a sanding block, but I wasn't making much progress, so I went out and got a nice hard 3M sanding block and some 600 grit wet/dry paper and started sanding.

Don't worry about paint scratches, etc you might see in the picture, I am doing some replacement decal work. Mine concern was, in this first picture:


This insert was cracked, I couldn't find a suitable replacement (spent months trying), this was before I had the resources on Pinside for replacing insert art, etc and I had already re-sealed this insert into the machine. The clearcoat has sealed this so you can't even see the crack, and the surface is level and smooth, but this white bubbling occurred after the first coat of clear. I am not even concerned with the little bubbles scattered around the edges, but the big clusters of foamy white bubbling are ugly. Suggestions?

In this second picture, I have highlighted two small divots in the playfield. These divots are all over the playfield after the first coat of clear. 600 grit and the block aren't getting me anywhere fast on leveling these out and I want to know how to get them out before I shoot another coat, and how they got there in the first place, so it doesn't happen on subsequent coats of clear. Presumably they are air bubbles? If so, how does one prevent this?


I have the whole Vid PF restore/clearcoat printed out (thus far) and I don't think I missed anything, but I am flustered.

Thanks, as always, pin-geniuses.

1 week later
#1440 5 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!

#1443 5 years ago

Thanks, Vid.

#1444 5 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.

#1446 5 years ago

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

#1448 5 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.


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 5 years ago

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


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.

#1451 5 years ago

I will remember for next time. I am good with Photoshop, but this is new territory for me. Every single decal image I made (and there were a handful) I printed in grayscale on plain paper, cut them all out and repeated the process until they were all perfect fits.

But then decals. Damn decals! hehe

#1452 5 years ago

Fairly certain I am going to be banished from the world of pinball restoration with this one, but...

The decal nightmares continue, and this time it's all my fault. I was touching up white decal edges with a tiny, tiny brush and black createx, and managed in two instances to get some paint smeared on the decal.

Any possible way to get that cleaned off of a decal without wrecking it? I fear the answer, but had to ask.

My Pinball Restoration Members Card has already been sent back to world headquarters in Dubuque, Iowa.

Thank you.

#1454 5 years ago


Reconfigured some plastic sheeting, so I can vent the paint booth without having to open the garage door all the way. Have an electric oil radiator heater plugged in out there and it seems to be warming it and maintaining decent temp. It's been on for about six hours now.

I am not too keen on having it plugged into an outdoor type extension cord, but there is no other outlet and the garage floor is concrete and cool.

Will keep you posted on whether it is decent enough for clearing tomorrow evening (hopefully) or maybe Tuesday.

Got the painting touch up done and managed to pretty much clean up the smudged decal with Vid's tip.

#1456 5 years ago

Good tip, Caveman Joe. Thanks!

#1461 5 years ago


I sort of asked this before...but a little concerned tonight.

I was asking a few posts up about the temp thing, so I heated my garage for two days with an oil heater. It felt comfortable out there even in shorts. Because I didn't want the garage getting too cold during and after clearing, I built a plastic sheeting tent around the vent fan, down the whole garage length to the garage door, so I could have the door open a little less.

Now, after clearing my whole house smells faintly of that nasty clear smell.

Can the smell spread without the chemical spreading or is my house full of clear? My girl is pissed and concerned a bit for the pets.


#1462 5 years ago

Additionally, it just occurred to me that maybe my furnace, down near my garage is spreading the scent. Other times I have cleared it has been warmer, therefore, no heater.


#1469 5 years ago

Hi Vid,

Nope. Not clothes storage. I sprayed and then removed the clothes, left the garage, went upstairs and checked and instantly my house smelled of it, to the point of it inducing mild headaches. In fact it not only traveled to the ground floor (my garage is under my house) but all the way to the upstairs floor as well...almost instantly.

I had the garage door open about 1/3 the way and I had plastic sheeting like a tent running from the vent fan on the paint booth out to the door, so it would (hopefully) deposit the vapors to the door and help them exit without the door being all the way open.

For some reason my main basement room, which only shares one regular-sized door with the garage (the rest being brick walls) somehow smelled stronger than usual of that nasty clear scent. My furnace is right there and it was running, something which wasn't happening during previous clearing sessions, because it was warm enough that the heat wasn't on.

I am thinking, because of the speed at which it spread and the fact that it made it up two levels, that the furnace sucked in the scent and spit it out.

I, eventually, got the house aired out and it seems fine.

I know the scent is added, from reading your previous posts regarding the toxicity of this stuff, but my question is did my house get polluted or only pick up the scent? Rather, could the scent be travelling places where the substance itself is not?

Final question (I hope) on clearing the PF. I did two layers of clear, sanding after each, then decals, then last night's stinky smelling layer and still on this layer - I have random air bubbles here there and everywhere.

I let the clear sit in its container until it had settled, then I poured it into the HVLP tank and let it settle again. When I was done spraying -- air bubbles. Obviously I will sand them out, but my next coat is hopefully the final one for this PF and I can't see how it won't happen again. What do I do to prevent or rid myself of these? I certainly can't have them on the finished PF.

Thanks as always for indulging my clearing paranoia and PF stupidity.

#1470 5 years ago
Quoted from Curbfeeler:

Attached garage and if not how far from your house?

Yes, under the house. It sits about 1/2 or a little more under a three season porch and the rest under an office in the back. It is composed of foundation walls -- brick on three sides, the main garage door on the fourth side, and one little 2'6 door that enters into the basement.

#1473 5 years ago

Not sure on the HE furnace thing, but it spread quick and to all floors, and the furnace was definitely kicking out heat...so it's my only explanation. The concern still being could I be getting the odor without being mass poisoned?

In regards to the bubbles. I can see them everywhere, but had the damndest time getting the camera to pick up on them. This is the best picture I got of them, but bubbles this size (tiny) are scattered randomly over the whole PF


#1481 5 years ago
Quoted from Curbfeeler:

Eek, didn't realize it was an attached garage. Well at least when your girl leaves you she won't take the pets (which you killed). Just kidding. Sounds like stack effect somehow pulled the fumes into the house. Warm air that is rising in the living space maybe pulled cold air out of the garage with fumes. Or could be what Vid says and the fresh air intake of your HE furnace pulled fumes from the outside. Do you have a buddy who is single with an unattached garage that likes craft beer a lot? Might be worth a change of venue.

I don't have the single friend with the garage and would prefer to not tear down and reset the whole paint booth. Not the biggest undertaking in the world, but... I will figure something out. Really don't think it's an HE furnace though. Nothing vents out the side of the house. But as I mentioned the main basement room, which the furnace is in, was really filled with the odor from the clear, and that hadn't happened previous times that I cleared. I think it took the vapor right out of the room and just threw it into the duct system.

Quoted from vid1900:

Pic is too crummy to see type of bubbles.
If they don't sand out, open them with an Xacto blade and fill 'em with clear.

My concern isn't getting rid of them, because I am sure I can sand them out or cut and fill, my concern is when do they stop? How do I prevent them?

Theoretically, one more clear coat and I am done with the coating process, but not if the bubbles appear again, which they have done every single layer so far.

#1483 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Were the bubbles there while you were spraying?
Did they appear latter as it was drying?
Do they only appear over one color?
Do they only appear over repaired areas, or factory areas?
If you spray over another item (like a lid from a popcorn tin) do they appear?

1) Yes, they appear during the spraying or are certainly visible immediately following
2) They appear over any color (no preferential treatment)
3) They appear over factory areas more so than repaired areas
4) I don't know about the other item -- I would have to toxicify my house again to find out.


#1485 5 years ago
Quoted from BJM-Maxx:

I would also vote for stack effect sucking air through the many crevices around doors and don't overlook the wall sills not being sealed to the concrete foundation or even a lack of vapour barrier. There are many possibilities.

Indeed. Thanks for the input.

#1492 5 years ago


Any idea on those bubbles?

#1496 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Don't mix in a plastic cup unless it's made for 2PAC.

That might be it. I've been using a plastic mixing cup that I did get from the auto paint supply shop, but it was given to me for mixing car paint, not necessarily 2pac.

I take it there's a special type for 2pac?


#1500 5 years ago
Quoted from Sheprd:

This experience may pay off for you in the long run. By putting the smelly fumes in your garage, and finding out that their is a natural path for those fumes to enter your living quarters, you now know that you are also getting the dangerous odorless fumes that may occur in our garage as well. Don't run your car in that garage to warm it up in the winter until you find and eliminate the air infiltration problem. Once you get the air leak problem solved, your heat bills will likely go down as well.

Good tip. Thanks, Mac. Luckily I don't even keep my car in there, because it is a smaller garage and full of stuff. Was lucky (I think) to have created enough space for my paint booth. I have decided I can't finish it out there this winter, but also that it has to be done (I want it completed in the next month or two). So, I am now trying to figure out where I might be able to rent out someone's paint booth for a weekend or two and complete it in the right environment.

#1512 5 years ago
Quoted from tezting:

There is like 1-5 craters pr. 1 cm2, they are about 1mm in width. When you say "fill craters with clear" you don't mean with drops right :-O I hope you mean a light coat? Or am I wrong?

image.jpg 134 KB

I don't want to speak for the man, but he has (just a page or so back) assisted me with the very same issue. What you need to do is cut the bubbles open with a sharp XActo blade and with an eye dropper (actually three eye droppers - one for the clear, one for the harder and one for mixing and applying) you fill those bubble craters. You should be doing this same procedure for leveling areas around inserts and whatnot, which are almost never level with the playfield and almost always have dugout areas around them on older machines.

#1517 5 years ago
Quoted from tezting:

I have them all over the playfield. I was just only able to get few of them on the photo by getting the right angle and light.
So doing it by "hand" would be impossible...

I have them all over the surface of my PF too, and did with the last coat as well. Look a few posts up where I state my concern that they will never end. Eventually, you get to your final coat and you can't have bubbles in that one because at some point you would like to be done clear-coating that particular play field. See what Vid's replies were to that - very helpful as always.

Most of mine, if not all, are very tiny and close to the surface. The little ones will sand out, the slightly bigger craters have to be filled by hand. It may be a pain in the ass, but never say it would be impossible to fill them. You may not a have a choice, and since you have invested quite a bit of time and expense into this project already, spending a few extra minutes or a couple of hours to get this part right is a must.

#1537 5 years ago

This bubble issue may be the same exact one I was asking about earlier. I don't think I ever shook the clear and no matter what I did I always let it set. But I certainly swirled it heavily, meaning once both parts were in my measuring container, I swirled the container to get a nice whirlpool going to mix it.

Is this a bad idea? If so, what is the appropriate way? My assumption (no need to get into cliche's about that word) is that the two parts should be mixed well or I would be spraying something that won't harden properly in all areas.

Incidentally, I am using Shopline JC660 and the fastest hardener.

#1547 5 years ago

Lee, you seem very tuned in the technical aspect of the product, but I would tend not to argue with the man who has been using said product for this very specific use for some time now and with a great deal of success.

When it comes down to it, in this forum, it only matters how the 2pac works for clearing a playfield -- with glue variances, material variances, paint variances and decals.

#1566 5 years ago
Quoted from LEE:

I am not arguing, I am trying to be helpful. I have worked using automotive paint for a living for the last 20 years and have attended numerous workshops at paint manufacturers technical training facilities. Something that most people that paint probably never get a chance to do. I also clearcoated my 1st PF around 16 years ago.
Just trying to be helpful.

Awesome. And noted. I wasn't slamming you, I was simply saying the amount of useful, detailed and highly functional advice Vid has given out regarding pinball repair, and directly in regard to how 2pac works (for this purpose), I just don't feel like there is much to argue about.

That being said -- everyone on here is helping and/or getting help, so in the end all comments are appreciated.

7 months later
#2165 4 years ago

Hey everyone,

It is good to be back on here. It has been awhile. Before I pose this question, I realize it is more of a subjective thing possibly, but...

Last fall (here in the Northland) it was getting, arguably, too cold to be clearing or working with decals. In a stupid rush to try and get the playfield done for winter, so I could work on reassembly of it inside...I laid down several decals, which were the perfect size when I had them made and I did a "final" layer of clear over the top of them. It was dumb and I should have slapped myself for buying into the rushed feeling that was running through me.

The decals laid down fine, but were no longer the right size, shrunk by the water mixed with air that was too cold, no doubt. The clear looks okay, but has little bubbles that need to be sanded out anyway.

My concern is that I might be getting to thick with the clear. I did 2ish layers of clear, sanding between layers before I laid down the decals, now I have to sand and lay down another layer. IF I want to replace the decals (they aren't horrible, but they aren't great either), how fair down do I need to sand for the old ones to not show up? Is there a different sanding method I should use or just the standard between layer sanding laid out in this guide? How do I know if I am overdoing it on the thickness of my clear? Do I need more than one final clear layer over decals?

Any input would help. This is a weird situation born out of sheer stupidity on my part.

Thanks, everyone.

#2167 4 years ago

Here I am, the lazy asker-of-assistance. I can get some pics, but a little tired tonight to go down and snap them. Let's just say one of them is the greeen 5000 points arrow (on Totem) and the decal misses the wide end of the arrow by at least an 1/8th inch, maybe 3/16th.

How poor they may or may not look is the subjective part. The sanding, the thickness of the clear, the making them look right on a redo is more or less what I need assistance on. Thanks, AM.

#2174 4 years ago

Clearly summer is a slow period around these parts. Hehe.

Suggestions? Anybody?

#2179 4 years ago

Okay, I can get some pics up.

I guess the reason I didn't think pics were important is I wasn't really asking a question about something subjective like - would you (general you) redo these based on how they look. I was more or less asking with the amount of clear laid down previously + decals + a new layer of clear over them, is it feasible to redo decals or should I let it slide?

I will get pics up tonight or tomorrow though. Thanks!

#2180 4 years ago

Okay here are two pictures of primary focus.

07-23-2015 Decal Closeup 01.png
On this one you can see the Extra Ball and Yellow 5000 area don't meet the framework of the original

07-23-2015 Decal Closeup 02.png
And here you can see the green inside of the 5000 points arrow doesn't meet the back edge of the arrow

There are a couple more little examples of this, but this primarily what I was referring to.

Thanks, as always

#2184 4 years ago

Thanks, Vid.

How many layers of clear are realistically possible?

3 weeks later
#2271 4 years ago

Spent nearly two hours sanding today (as per my questions that were answered on p. 44). I got all of the bumps out, have a couple of spots where I will have to drop clear in to level things out. Tomorrow, per Vid's advice, I will lightly spray gray over my bad decals from late last fall and reapply them. Looking forward to getting these poorly applied decals corrected and get the final coat of clear on right this time.

Then I can brad bit my holes, re-populate the playfield and finally do my cabinet. The following link I posted in a Pinside thread regarding stencils. I realize this is a PF thread, but since I am merely offering a link to a post I made elsewhere, maybe when people get done with their PFs and are ready to do some cab work, they can pop on over to this thread and be inspired.


Response #60, about halfway down the page.

Thanks for everyone's help so far, especially Vid. You are making this elusive craft doable for everyone who is willing to put in a little time. I am sure I speak for most of the people in here when I say I don't know where we would be without Vid, Pinside and many other contributors. There is a lack of this information available online, and some of the info that is out there is shoddy garbage. This forum rules!

#2287 4 years ago
Quoted from Pinterest:

You mix shellac in a white base of createx paint? That's how you color match paint to touch up the repaired holes in the playfield?

I can't speak for Vid, but having just read your post and his response, I think he was referring to your mention of matching the color of the exposed wood areas. Which would have nothing to do with paint areas or areas around repaired holes.

#2321 4 years ago


You suggested, a few posts back, that when reapplying decals to fix a previously made decal mistake, that I paint light gray or white over the area before applying the new decals. How long after I paint and heat cure the areas before I can sand for tooth and apply the new decals?


#2326 4 years ago

Thanks, Vid.

#2338 4 years ago

Nice work, Leckylove!

Here are the results of my replacing bad decal work. First I painted light gray as Vid suggested, cured it then reapplied new decals. These came out pretty fantastic!

Just the green 5000 arrow

Both the Extra Ball curve and the 5000 add bonus arrow

The words "Add Bonus" and the little triangular symbol

The decals are still very wet in these pictures hence what looks like uneven paint color and white spots. I think they turned out very nicely.

2 weeks later
#2350 4 years ago
Quoted from Steve-in-CT:

I'm finally getting around to working on a neglected Black Knight I bought, here are a few ball swirl pictures from both playfields.
The people that owned it lost the keys and kept playing it with rusty pitted balls until thankfully a power supply issue stopped the damage. My question to you all is how do I proceed? I know it'll never be a CQ game, but I would like it to look presentable next to my Black Knight 2000. What's the first step?


I think - first of all, that this could be a really beautiful machine. Nothing indicates that this machine is not a candidate for full restoration (at least not in those pictures). You probably need to start from the beginning of this forum topic and take it all in, slowly, in order. Which starts with -- are you will to go all the way on this? It sounds to me like you are. If so, do you have a rotisserie yet? If not, I would say build that -- it is invaluable.


That's a great machine. I am excited to see what you do with it over time.

#2358 4 years ago

Hi all,

So a question that certainly has been answered before, but here it goes...

I just redid my decal work last week and then yesterday (Saturday) did a new coat of clear. Once again I got little minute bubbles in it everywhere. Maybe when I look at it later they will be gone, but based on previous experience they won't be. I know I have to sand one more time because of some little pits I filled, but I would really like my next coat of clear to be my last.

If I get bubbles again, I am screwed. How do I clear without getting these? My compressor and gun setup is the exact spec of what Vid recommended in this forum. I am using the exact 2pac recommended as well. So why do I keep getting these tiny bubbles everywhere and what can be done to prevent them?


#2361 4 years ago

Hi Tezting and Vid,

Thanks for the quick replies.

Quoted from vid1900:

Are they craters or bubbles trapped inside the clear?
Do they instantly appear, or pop up a few minutes after clearing?

They are not craters, they are tiny, tiny bubbles trapped in the clear. I would say the bubbles appear instantly.

Quoted from vid1900:

Is the playfield and the clear the exact same temp? Or are you bringing the playfield from the hot garage and the clear from the cool basement?

My garage is under my house, attached to the basement. The clear was in the basement, but I brought it out to the garage a solid hour before i did anything with it.

Quoted from vid1900:

Are you stirring in tons of bubbles, or are you careful while mixing the 2PAC? You can let the 2PAC sit for 10 minutes while bubbles rise to the top.

I am mixing the portions of clear and hardener in one of those plastic automotive measuring/mixing quart containers, then pouring it into the reservoir on the gun and shaking it pretty well, which I understand creates bubbles. But I let it sit about 30 mins after shaking it up before spraying. I thought that would be long enough.

Don't know if that information sheds more light or not?


#2364 4 years ago

Sounds like the answer I need. Gonna go to town on that right now, will report back with results. As always, thanks everyone!

#2375 4 years ago

Looking good, Golden Oreos...on its way to stardom!

1 week later
#2419 4 years ago

Hi All,

I am a bit at wit's end with my clear-coating procedure. I clearcoated last season, too late in the year (too cold) and ended up with bubbles in my "final" coat of clear. So, when I finally got the chance to get back into it this summer, I sanded out all the bubbles and gave it another go. Again, bubbles.

A couple weeks ago, I posted my dilemma in here and Vid as well as some others said I was shaking the clear and leaving too many bubbles in it when I mixed it up. I thought I was letting it settle enough, but that made good sense.

I sanded the playfield down again -- all bubbles out, all little divots filled. Hands down the best sanding job I have done thus far (practice makes perfect, right?). I sanded all the filled spots and got everything nice and level.

I decided to start fresh, with some new equipment -- new HF HVLP gun and stand to make mixing easier, new pressure gauge and adjuster, new water/oil filter at the gun. I mixed my clear, very deliberately stirred the mix and got all bubbles out and then let it sit for about fifteen minutes. Gave the PF one more naptha treatment and then slowly and evenly with the pressure at the gun set between 40 and 50, laid down a nice layer of clear. BAM -- the same damn bubbles across my entire PF again.

I am doing EVERYTHING by the book as laid out in here, all of my equipment is the suggested equipment, I have two oil/water filters - one at the compressor, one at the gun, I am using the JC660 clearcoat and it's matching hardener as recommended. I am in a paintbooth - there is no wind and there are no foreign contaminates.

WHAT IN GOD'S NAME AM I DOING WRONG? I am, once again running out of days in which to do this before cold weather, I am getting very sick of sanding this over and over and over, and I just end up with the same results. Here are some closeup pictures of the bubbles which cover my entire PF.

Thanks in advance for everyone's time and assistance!




#2424 4 years ago
Quoted from ckcsm:

Looks like fish eyes, this is a surface contamination problem. There is a product to use called "fisheye elimator". I'm not sure who's paint booth you are using, but I would ask them prior to using it as this may cause future painting to use it also as this stuff is like spraying airborn silicone.
Are the "air bubbles in the same area as when you clear coated prior?

Hi, thanks for the replies so far. In regards to the above question -- the bubbles are all over the PF, not just singled out to certain areas. And this is the 4th layer of clear, so nothing that was on the PF to start with should be causing a reaction with the clear at this point.

Also, I am by no means an expert, but from what I have seen regarding fish-eyes, I don't believe that is what these are. These simply seem like bubbles to me. Annoying bastard bubbles from hell.

#2428 4 years ago
Quoted from Radius118:

They look like solvent pop to me. This occurs when the activator is not the right temp for the humidity and ambient temp and/or the clear is too thick. What happens is the clear on top begins to skin over and set up before the deeper solvents have evaporated.
Best practice is to make sure your spraying conditions match your activator, stir do not shake. You can apply immediately after mixing. Wait approx 15 minutes before your second heavier coat. Do not let the clear sit around for 15 minutes before spraying. As soon as you mix the clear and activator the process starts and the clock starts ticking. You want the clear to set up on the playfield not in the gun! Your practice of waiting before spraying is likely contributing to your problem.
It is OK to use a higher temp activator in cooler conditions as this will help prevent solvent pop. It just takes longer to cure. For example if your activator is supposed to be used in temps from 70-90 degrees and you spray at 60 then that will work. But if your activator is for colder temps like 60-70 and you spray at 80 that's a bad thing.
Fish eyes typically create a "pit" in the clear with no top. Your pictures look like an actual bubble.

Thanks for the insight. One question regarding the "leaving it in the gun for 15 mins" issue. Theoretically, one might spray their playfield and then use up the clear left in the reservoir on something else that needs spraying. Heck, I have done that in the past myself...and that is usually at least 15 mins later. What is the total set time? And yes, I am using the fast hardener -- the 6670.

#2430 4 years ago

Thanks again.

This would be thick coat of clear sprayed onto a freshly sanded/cleaned PF. I do not use anything to heat it or cure it faster. Something in your above info is probably my issue. Should I lay down a really light coat first and then wait a few minutes and lay down a thicker one? Or is laying down the thick coat on the sanded PF a better way to go?

I am going to try again this weekend and really want it finished this time.

#2433 4 years ago
Quoted from SteveinTexas:

I use the medium and fast hardener products you used also. I did not realize that you had used the fast hardener on your playfield . I understood that Vid used it for inserts etc when it needed to go off quickly so not to destroy them for playfields he used the medium hardener as the norm. This summer when I was spraying outside I found the fast hardener to cure in the gun very quickly and I had to use in the first 5 minutes of putting in the gun. The medium would last 30 mins before any setting If I remember.

Thanks for the tip. It might be the fast hardener problem. Crap...now I have to go and spend more on hardener.

Quoted from mayuh:

Hi vid,
I have a White Water playfield here from a friend's machine. When I agreed to do the wear, I haven't seen the other damage. No I'm scared as f*ck... Is this playfield saveable or just one to hang on the wall? Every single insert has wear, is raised or lower, someone also mentioned water damage... What would you do?
I'd say, reseat the rosen inserts, fill the broken DP covered inserts with clear, do the main wear spots, and call it a day... tune the rest to play awesome and forget about the aesthetics...

Totally repairable. It doesn't even seem to be in that bad of shape. No paragraph can tell you what to do, but this guide certainly can. Start from the beginning if you have never done it before. Good luck!

#2438 4 years ago

- I probably won't have time to get the medium hardener, I will be stuck using the fast stuff. The temp will be around 60-65.

- Wet sand after the final coat is done? Won't that leave the final finish dulled once again?

- As far as doing the reverse side of the PF, I started working on this machine way before I knew of this forum. The mechanical side of my PF was moldy and everything was rusting. I repaired or replaced every component and meticulously removed all of the mold, sanded and repainted the whole thing and put all of the parts back down, including all of the wire bundles being re-stapled, etc. I had no plans on restoring the game side of the PF or even that it needed it. So my PF is covered in parts on the opposite side. Namely, all of them.

Any other tips before the weekend much obliged.

#2440 4 years ago

The parts supplies stores that carry that stuff are open day time hours only during the week. No weekends. I have zero opportunity to get the medium.

What's the buffing process? If it involves a buffer, I am also without. Pardon my language, but...shit.

#2465 4 years ago

Good to have you back Vid! When you leave, it is quiet and without notice and when you return it is a page of wild catch up. hehe

#2473 4 years ago

WHAT IN GOD'S NAME AM I DOING WRONG? I am, once again running out of days in which to do this before cold weather, I am getting very sick of sanding this over and over and over, and I just end up with the same results. Here are some closeup pictures of the bubbles which cover my entire PF.

VID1900 said:
Could be a few things:
Playfield and 2PAC are not the same temp.
Shop or spraybooth are contaminated with silicone (like from "fisheye eliminator")
Gasket is missing from some part of the gun.
Too thick of a layer of clear and the solvent could not escape.

I have never used fisheye eliminator, but I do sand in the same booth I clear in (not immediately following, of course) -- could that be it?
Gun is new and I don't think it's missing any parts
Playfield and 2pac are in the same room and are the same temp
Too thick might be the cause. I do look at each successive pass of the sprayer, and it doesn't seem thick...then suddenly it's very thick.

Also, while you were away -- it was mentioned that the fast hardener might be too fast and that I will keep getting these results if I don't switch to the medium speed hardener. Your thoughts on this?

Thanks as always!

#2475 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

But all that being said, I'd like you to try a different fix, and take pictures.
Take a brand new 1/16 or 1/8" drill bit, clean it with Lacquer Thinner, then with Naphtha.
Open up the bubbles just by turning the bit by hand.
Only do the bubbles that will be seen. Skip bubbles under the pop skirts or plastics.
Vacuum up any dust.
Using a fine glass eyedropper, SLOWLY fill the bubble holes with 2PAC. Use a clean straight pin to remove any bubbles you inject by going too fast.
Allow to dry a few weeks. If you rush, the repairs won't polish at the same rate as the rest of the playfield.
Sand flat.
Buff to mirror.
Wax and put your game back together.

Going to be following this drill and fill procedure to a "T" this week, Mr. Vid. I have read the whole forum thirty times, but any final tips on the flat sand and buff? I believe I got some waviness to my previous sand, which was done wet with 800 grit on the recommended drywall block. Also, what is the buffing procedure? Does it involve expensive buffing equipment or can it be done with something less complicated / less expensive?


PS - Just re-watched Phantasm II, and for the all the time I have been posting here I am not sure why the silver ball gag & pinball did not connect for me. Oh well.

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