(Topic ID: 33446)

Vid's Guide to Ultimate Playfield Restoration

By vid1900

7 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 6,877 posts
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  • Latest reply 22 days ago by toasterman04
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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)

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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#358 6 years ago

What would a good "Starter kit" be for someone doing his first playfield restore?
I am wondering what items from Createx to get? I want to do some playfield touchups.


6 months later
#607 6 years ago

What's the best way to remove a broken post down in a hole?

#609 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

What kind of post?

This one is snapped off about 1/16" below the surface of the PF (near the B)
It barely affects gameplay, thank god, but some day I'd sure like to remove the post and get the hole filled in a bit, and plant a new post in there.

BH post.png

#612 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If it is a regular "wood screw post" you can drill it out from the rear with a "hollow screw extractor".
Don't drill all the way through to the face of the playfield. Just drill about 1/2 way through and then twist it out the rest of the way with a pair of needle nose Vise-grips.
You can backfill the hole with epoxy so it is strong enough to take the new post.

185112.jpg 12 KB

What's the best way to "line it up" from the back side?

6 months later
#1084 5 years ago

Vid, I have a Black Hole with the non-adhesive pop mylars. The wood is worn badly under each one. I removed them.

As you know Black Hole has a complex blue / light blue / black pattern covering the playfield. I'm not at the stage of learning restoration where I'm ready to re-paint on a PF yet. 1-2 years from now I'll dive in.

In your experience what is the best visual way to cover up the worn art under the pops before applying mylar in a simple matter that I can apply to all three pops? I was wondering if there is such thing as a black or blue mylar, so that I have plain coherent circles of "a color" under each pop.


#1086 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Lighting Gels are Polyester like Mylar, and they come in about 100 colors.
Hit up your local DJ Supply or Guitar Center and find a good match.

Interesting, are they normally adhesive on one side?
If not, what's the plan?

2 months later
#1425 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

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

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

3 months later
#1798 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If a back glass is good, no need to Triple Thick.
If it's flaking, then preserve it.

Do you have a tutorial up for backglass preservation?

2 weeks later
#1827 4 years ago
Quoted from iwantansi:

Doing a pf swap, just getting to the top side... Should i be doing something to the holes before i mallet these in? Havent yet got to screwing posts in... Anything i should be doing?
Note that this is a NOS pf with a clearcoat put on it

I found it a LOT easier to mallet them in AFTER taking a dremel to each end for 2 minutes, so that there's a little taper on each one. It was like night and day.

(Of course pre-drill the hole so that you aren't pounding into a clear-caked hole. I like my wire snug so I'm using a bit that's narrower than the piano wire.)


1 week later
#1836 4 years ago
Quoted from iwantansi:

Just a note - I bought this playfield already clearcoated - I do not know what kind of clear was used on it nor what was done to the PF prior to the clearcoat
I got some brad tipped drill bits after trying standard bits(out of a brand new set) and its still cracking my clearcoat, albeit not as bad.. see below
IMG_7789.jpg (Click image to enlarge)
IMG_7783.jpg (Click image to enlarge)
IMG_7784.JPG (Click image to enlarge)

Have you tried using a tapered reamer?
It worked well for me during my PF swap.

Something like this: (not sure if this is the precise one I bought)
amazon.com link »

1 month later
#1925 4 years ago


I've now got a few old PFs from the 80's with cupped inserts. Slow rolls, will sometimes catch on the edges of these cupped inserts, and really make the ball travel squirrelly.
I do not have the equipment to spray clear at my home.

I read your section on cupped inserts, and it sounds to me like the ideal approach is:

1. eye-drop the clear into the cupped inserts with a lil extra
2. sand the inserts back
3. clear whole PF

I was wondering is there a way to eye-drop the cupped inserts, and NOT sand, and NOT clear the entire PF ?

I am just wondering if there are any ways around sending the whole PF out fully unpopulated to be cleared for $375 at an auto-shop once I'm done with the eye-dropper. Reason is: 1. I don't want to un-populate the bottom-side if I don't have to, and 2. There are plenty of small touchups required topside, that I'm not ready to learn to do just yet.

Should I EXPECT the clear to run beyond the inserts, and require sanding, and then I'll likely want another layer on the whole PF?


1 month later
#1998 4 years ago

1. I'm looking for a tool summary for all suggested items in this thread. (perhaps one could be added to the OP after the TOC section?)

2. Today, I'm looking for a link to a suggested "3M plastic primer"


1 month later
#2142 4 years ago

Dear Vid,

I did my first insert re-glue last night. It turned out great. Thanks for your tips. I had a few questions along the way:

1. use case: insert is 50% glued in well, and 50% loose. It's mostly level, but I can make it unlevel with a push on one side. Is there a way to drip glue along the border and re-set it in place without removing it? (I PM'ed you and you suggested it's best to re-set the whole thing for best long term results.)

2. solution: remove and re-glue 100%

problem: there is a significant gap around the insert after removing it
question: how can we best fill that gap? I was thinking of layering the glue. So I did one layer, let it set half-way, then applied another layer, THEN installed the insert. Ideally I would have seen enough glue come up and get close to the top edge, but that didn't happen. I can imagine though -- that if I had gone OVER and had too much glue, I would have been in a much more upset situation.



1 month later
#2244 4 years ago

What's the best way to approach re-creating a hole that has "healed" up during a re-inking and clearing process? (with the goal of not harming the paint/clear)

I can approach the hole with a poker from the bottom side. I think we can see a TINY dot where the hole used to be. (a little off-center inside the bigger circle)



Parallel pic on the other side of the PF:

#2247 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If you fear the new clear cracking, warm the area with a hair dryer, use a BRAND NEW - brad tipped drill bit to cut through the clear coat, you can use a regular drill bit once the clear is cut.

bottom up through the hole?
or make the center point clear with the poker and go top down?

1 month later
#2400 4 years ago

Vid, what's your decision process between using mylar POP rings OR a full sheet with holes cut and edges cut to match the playfield layout.

I have a few new CPR playfields now that I want to do "best practices with" to last 50+ years...


1 year later
#3856 3 years ago

I'm looking to send out a few playfields to touchup and clear.

If a playfield is in great shape, and just needs some black keylines filled in, and a good clear -- but it has 4 pop-bumper mylar, what is the best approach? (I'm thinking Embryon) -- I mean to ask -- what are the options given that there's already a few mylar pop rings down (likely from factory)?


#3857 3 years ago


If a playfield has a clear (acrylic?) see-through portion to a lower playfield or toy with a gasket around it: (vector, black hole, fireball2) -- are those types of playfields clearcoat candidates? (I'm thinking Fireball 2)


#3862 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Remove the Mylar before you clear.

I was wondering if there's risk to removing the art underneath 4 pops, than perhaps that game is a better candidate for mylar overall? (To not create unneeded artwork restoration)


#3863 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Just remove the clear panel before you spray.

Ok thanks, I was concerned for leveling. If we build up the clear area, does that just mean we'll be raising up the middle piece a bit to match with the gaskets?


#3874 3 years ago

Both seem like reasonable considerations... I wonder what the manufacturer recommends?


#3878 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

tiny movements

I wonder if a write up is coming some day on metal ball guides and how they dig into playfields, or perhaps aprons digging into playfields...

Seems like there's often a lot of metal in direct contact with the playfield surface that can dig and cut...


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