(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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#1849 4 years ago

Hi, Vid

I wanted to get your advice on re-painting two problem spots on my Jet Spin. First, there's this patch between the pops and the kickout hole:


I remember you wrote to paint the whole area, right to the edge, but how would you work around that black spatter graphic?
Next is this area between the flippers:


Probably paint each color in turn (blue, red, black, white) and then replace the "1000" with a decal?

#1851 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I'd scan it, paint the blue field, then apply a black decal of the splatter.

Cool. Would it be best to make a decal of the whole circle or just the part adjacent to the blue that gets re-painted (maybe one fourth of the whole spatter).

I should have mentioned that those four long scars across the "1000" are slightly indented (only perceptible to the touch - about the same relief as on a US quarter). Is it safe to put a decal on those? I'll need to put a light clearcoat on before painting - will that fill in the ridges?

Also, would you try to match the off-white color of the other bonus score backgrounds or re-paint and decal all ten to make them look consistent?


#1868 4 years ago

I'm having a hard time sourcing the 3M plastic primer - I've checked Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, Harbor Freight, True Value and Amazon but no one has it. Do you use AP596?

1 week later
#1884 4 years ago

I replaced the inserts in my Jet Spin this weekend and thought I'd show off my handiwork:


I'm a little nervous about the next steps and have some questions:

1. To replace the black outlines around the inserts, do you recommend decals or paint? If paint, do you have any tips for getting a perfect circle?

2. Any advice on removing the wire ball guides? Is it as easy as gently rocking them out with a pair of pliers?

1 week later
#1933 4 years ago

Today was painting day - I got an airbrush, a full set of Createx paints, a roll of frisket and a borrowed air compressor and got to work on the white fields under the plastics. The results were troubling.


I was able to clean up the edges and all the bleed with rubbing alcohol and Q-tips but it still looks bad. Luckily, most of it will be hidden, but I'm worried about moving on to the exposed areas in the center of the playfield. Have I passed a point of no return? Or can I cut my losses, put on the decals, wax it, repopulate and call myself done before I do any more damage?

#1937 4 years ago

I guess what I was asking was if I have to clearcoat the playfield now that I've painted, or if I can just give it a protective coat of wax.

#1962 4 years ago

Hi, Vid

After I got over my panic I was able to finish the painting and decalling on my Jet Spin. It's not CQ perfect, but it looks much better now. I've started gathering supplies for clearcoating and have a few questions in anticipation of that phase:

1. You recommend using PPG JC660 but your photo shows JC661. There's not a major difference between the two, right?
2. About how long does JH6680 medium hardener take to harden before I can sand and re-coat?
3. What are your thoughts on buffing with swirl remover? (sorry - I may have missed that post)
4. After the final clearcoat hardens, you recommend letting it cure for a few weeks - does it have to be level? The safest & most convenient place to store it is back in its cabinet on a 6.5-degree tilt.
5. Do you recommend drilling out the holes before or after the clear has fully cured?


#1966 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

No, it's dry in a few hours.

But it shrinks a little and "really" hardens over a few weeks.

Thanks - just to clarify, letting it cure on a tilt is okay? Sorry if that's a ridiculous question.

2 weeks later
#1992 4 years ago

Things were going great with the clear coating process... until the last coat.


This is what you call "fisheyes," yes? What would you recommend? Can I fill them in with an eyedropper or will I need to sand off that last layer?

#1994 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

That sucks!
But it is an easy fix.
Sand the "bowl" of the fisheye with 600 grit.
Drip in fresh clear, slightly overfilling the holes (the clear shrinks back as it dries).
Sand flush and buff.
Don't wait too long to fill the holes, because it will drive you crazy trying to buff two different hardness stages of the clear.
I've got a playfield in the booth now that has a repair of fresh clear and a field of 6 month old clear.
As I buff, I can **just** see the difference in sheen where the two meet - it makes my brain hurt...lol.

Thanks. I'll probably sand it back with 600 or 800? And when you say to buff, should I be using the medium cut and swirl remover (or maybe Novus 2) - and can I do that right away or do I need to wait for it to cure?

#1996 4 years ago

Update: Scored, filled, set, knocked back and sanded evenly with a sequence of papers, ending up at 2000 grit. The results are pretty good, I think. I'll let it rest in its cabinet for about three weeks before buffing and polishing. I'm excited to get that high-gloss finish back.


5 months later
#2526 4 years ago

I thought I'd share a success story - this is the second playfield I've refinished using info from Vid's thread. I can't say it's perfect, but it's better than my first attempt and I'm pleased with the results. I can't wait to get her up and running. Thanks Vid!




3 months later
#2825 4 years ago

I'm debating if I want to take on this machine as a restoration project. Bally's original top coat is flaking off the inserts - how does one fix something like this? Would the old stuff need to come off or can it just be cleared over and sanded level?


3 months later
#3129 3 years ago

Hi, Vid

I'm nearly done disassembling my Flash playfield and need some guidance.

1. I want to remove the top-mounted flipper screws, fill the holes with Bondo, sand it flat and install new flipper assemblies like you recommend, but what's the best way to remove the screws? I can't get them to move from the underside and there's no screwdriver slot on the top.

2. The same system was used on the pop bumpers. Should I remove these screws or just leave them in, and fill the divots with 2PAC?



#3131 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

There are 2 "fins" that keep the screws from simply unscrewing, so even if there was a drive slot, they would not unscrew.
Gently tap them out from the backside with a hammer.


Thanks! How about the pop bumper screws? if I take them out and fill the holes, I won't be able to mount the pop coil brackets in the same place - the new screws will go into the Bondo, rather than the wood. What do you suggest?

#3133 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Don't fill the holes for the pop bumper screws, you need them to put the pop bumpers back in.

So leave the screws in and clear over them?

1 month later
#3367 3 years ago
Quoted from brenna98:

I'm wondering what this could be and how to fix it.
The clear just in front of these targets seems to be cracking underneath the top coat of clear.
The top still feels very smooth. Any suggestions?

This happened to me in front of the kickout on my Jet Spin - when the ball hits the targets it jumps up slightly and hits the playfield with force, causing that damage. I don't know how to fix it, but I put a patch of Mylar over that spot to stop further damage.

#3394 3 years ago
Quoted from Silverstreak02:

What type eye dropper is everyone using to transport the clear into inserts? I see several choices on Amazon.

I got two for $3.50 at Walgreens.

#3396 3 years ago
Quoted from Silverstreak02:

Are they plastic, glass or the pipettes? I'm placing an order on Amazon for clear and want to include these.

Glass, with rubber bulbs - far less reactive and easier to clean than plastic.

#3399 3 years ago
Quoted from lb1:

I got the same and they did not seem to fully clean with mineral spirits. Next I will try these disposable ones amazon.com link ยป

Lacquer thinner worked pretty well for me.

#3413 3 years ago

Vid, I'm heartbroken - please help!

The bottom of this "I" insert came unseated and the clearcoat over it is cracked. I've re-glued the insert, so it's now solid, but what needs to be done about the clearcoat? It doesn't look too bad, so I hope I can just put a Mylar patch over it, but I'm afraid you'll tell me that I need to rough it up, drop some clearcoat, sand it flat, polish, buff and wax. I'm concerned that it will look worse than when I started.


3 weeks later
#3466 3 years ago
Quoted from Gusphan:

Sooo, don't use Novus 2? Just use Naptha occasionally to strip the wax and make the playfield smooth?

Novus is an abrasive plastic polish - great for ramps and posts but it will wear away the finish on your playfield.

2 years later
#6027 1 year ago

Apologies in advance for the long post.

Background: I've clearcoated three playfields in my garage using Omni 161, but I've never been entirely happy with the results, due to the limitations of my equipment and environment. Plus, even though I take lots of precautions, I get nervous about having aggressive carcinogens leaking into my house from the garage and decided it's not worth the risk to my health. Plus, the one supplier in town who will sell me Omni 161 is a pain to work with and I don't want to deal with them.

About a year ago I bought a 1966 Williams Hot Line in decent shape, but with a little paint flaking on the playfield and now I think I want to touch it up and lock it down with a clearcoat, so I've been going to auto body shops in the area to see if they'll spray it for me. The first nine I visited refused to even entertain the idea of spraying something other than a car, but my local Maaco shop said "no problem." We talked a bit about it and there are a few questions and concerns:

1. They use Sherwin-Williams products rather than PPG, so is there a S/W analog to Omni 161 with the same properties that you'd recommend?

2. To prepare a car, they usually give the surface some tooth by sanding with a low-grit sandpaper and asked about doing that to the playfield. Is that necessary? Would a Magic Eraser scuff it up enough to let the clear stick without damaging the art?

3. Before clearcoating, they pre-treat cars with a cleaner that contains a bit of thinner. They're afraid it might thin and smear the artwork. Is that a danger for the original Williams printing or the Createx airbrush paints? What about waterslide decals? Would it be better to bring a can of naphtha and ask them to use that?


#6036 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I've never seen it.
Hopefully someone else here has some experience with it.

Quoted from JodyG:

I've had great luck so far with Dupont Chroma Clear if you guys have trouble finding PPG in your local vicinity. Runs about $110/quart with the added fast activator around my area.

Here are Sherwin-Williams' options for clearcoats:


I definitely don't want matte finish and I'm thinking that force-dry treatment involving high heat would be bad for the wood. Perhaps the best from these choices would be:

CC920 Speed Plus

CC930 Speed Plus

1100755 Elegance

Some of these are described as "high solids" urethane clearcoat. Is that a good thing for playfield application? Any thoughts on these or other S-W clearcoat options?

#6040 1 year ago
Quoted from Lonzo:

I have been using SW Finish One for years and have had great results.

Doing some quick online research, it looks like Finish One is a 2PAC system. Do you use FC710 with FH611 fast hardener? The spec sheet says it air dries in 4 to 6 hours.

How many coats to you typically use?

How do you find it reacts with waterslide decals? (Omni161 will sometimes melt them right off.)

#6050 1 year ago

Say, Vid...

The restoration has begun on my Hot Line! But how does one remove these rollover buttons? It looks like it requires some sort of three-prong phillips-headed screwdriver.

20180922_111657_resized (resized).jpg

P.S. I've already bought replacement buttons that include screws for a standard flat screwdriver.

P.P.S. Sorry about the blurry photo.

#6052 1 year ago
Quoted from vec-tor:

Those buttons are pressings... Carefully wiggle each fastener out.
They are valuable!

Oh! Coolio. Thanks!

#6056 1 year ago

I've placed old star rollovers upside down in their holes when spraying clearcoat, but I've never dealt with this style of rollover button. Would I need to do the same with these to keep them from getting gummed up?

20180923_172506 (resized).jpg

#6058 1 year ago

I have replacement buttons already, so that's not a problem. But I should cover the OUTER rings that are level with the playfield? I thought the issue would be with the sunken inner rings.

3 weeks later
#6123 1 year ago

Remember that there's no such thing as "light red." Adding white (like you would to lighten blue, green or orange, for example) turns red into pink. I find that Gottlieb reds are really a reddish orange - mostly red with a little yellow.

Trying to match a light blue recently, I discovered that it was really a grayish teal, requiring mostly blue and white but also some green and a small amount of black to dull it slightly.

#6135 1 year ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

For swirls like that it's ME time...so if you're scared of Novus 2 you might want to just live with it

Totally agree - Magic eraser with 90% alcohol will get out the ball swirls. Scrub small areas at a time.
Along with the dirt, it's also taking off some of the topcoat, so consider clear coating to protect the paint from wearing out.

1 week later
#6156 1 year ago

Hey, Vid

It's been two weeks since my final clear coat and I know you recommend letting it cure for about six before proceeding. I'm wondering if it's safe to do a final sand and polish now, but then wait to repopulate.

It's not that I'm impatient, I just want to be efficient with my time.

#6158 1 year ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

2 to 6 weeks before reassembly, is the rule.
You are waiting for clearcoat die-back or shrinkage to occur.
Sometimes it takes a year or more depending on the clearcoat applied as well as the conditions it was applied under.
If after 4 to 6 weeks there is no change, you should be good to go and finish it up.

Thanks, Reno. What am I looking for, to know if shrinkage has occurred?

1 month later
#6244 1 year ago

This is my third restoration using Vid's guides. I'm definitely getting better at it.

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