(Topic ID: 261041)

What have I been sucked into?? A Black Hole Restoration


By Pinball_Gizzard

1 year ago

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  • Latest reply 6 days ago by Leveeger
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#1 1 year ago

This thread will document the restoration of my 1981 Gottlieb Black Hole. This will be my first full restoration, I have done cabinet restoration before but never a playfield.

I got the game in a trade with another local enthusiast. I believe he got the game as a package deal in a storage locker type buy. At any rate the game was rough when I got it but did have a new Rottendog MPU and power supply. The plan is to do a full restoration on the cabinet and playfields. This game will likely be a keeper for me for a while after I complete it but may be for sale sometime in the future.

Timeline for this restoration is probably 6 months or so.

Here are some before pics as I picked it up. The cabinet had significant damage to one of the rear corners and the front panel was loose on both sides. There was some minor water damage in the front right of the cabinet floor and the plywood on that side showed signs of water damage as well.

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#2 1 year ago

First order of business was getting the cabinet structurally stable. The playfields were removed and pipe clamps were used to temporarily brace the cabinet sides. Then the cabinet was stripped of all components.

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#3 1 year ago

The sides rails and all trim were removed. The metal trim was soaked in Evaporust and then regrained with a 3M sanding wheel.

While that was happening I tackled the major structural repair. Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of photos for this. The damage to the rear corner was cleaned and debris removed so the sides would clamp together properly. Then 2 part epoxy (a lot of it lol) was used to glue all corners. The entire cabinet was clamped tight and the epoxy allowed to cure.

The corners were all nailed through with a pneumatic air gun to aid the structural strength. A new front corner support was also fashioned as the one that had the water damage was a bit rotten. This new support was also epoxied and nailed in place.

After that the cabinet was stripped of the old paint. There were several areas of plywood delamination which were all glued and clamped together to repair.

Then the cabinet was sanded to 220 grit and Bondo was used to fill any major surface defects before priming. Two coats of Kilz primer were applied, sanding to 220 grit and refilling as needed in between coats.

I also found a pic of the side rails after Evaporust and regraining.
F7B61BE8-FC64-43BB-A690-A92A5EF4D645 (resized).jpeg7BA9D588-5482-49AD-940E-49FAB889A001 (resized).jpeg

#4 1 year ago

There is a strip of wood at the back of the playfield that is the rear glass support. This had a piece of trim on it so the paint was relatively unstained. This was used to match a new color. The closest I could get was Rustoleum 2X in Brilliant Blue. This paint only comes in gloss so all gloss paints are used throughout to keep the sheen consistent. Two coats were applied, hand sanding with 400 grit in between. Surface looked pretty decent! Here’s a before and after:

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#5 1 year ago

Next step was trying to replicate the factory white speckle paint. For this I used a wire brush (like the one you clean a grill with, also can use a welding brush). Dip the wire bristles in the white paint and use the handle of a hammer to tap the back of the brush while hovering over the surface. A hard tap seemed to give a finer speckle. The factory speckle on my Black Hole was a little coarser so I found lighter taps worked best.

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#6 1 year ago

The prior work was done over about 3 weeks or so. Currently I am in the process of applying Pinball Pimp stencils. I applied the black first, the sides were pretty easy. The front was more difficult due to the coin door hole. Pinball Pimp suggests cutting a wood panel to fill this hole but I decided to go without it. It came out ok but did have some wrinkles in the center which threw off the alignment on one side a little. Luckily this is a pretty basic art pattern so I don’t think it will matter much.

After the stencils were applied the speckling was sanded off in the areas to be painted with a medium grit sanding stick. This was done to give a little key for the black paint to stick to as well as to sand down the little bumps of paint left by the speckling process. Since the paint is all gloss I’m trying to get things as smooth as possible.

After the stencil was removed the paint was allowed to dry for about 20 minutes. Then any small defects were removed with a Q-Tip dipped in a little paint thinner. This worked pretty well for removing any unwanted black paint without removing the cured blue paint underneath.
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#7 1 year ago

The first side and front dried for 24 hours before the other side was tackled. It seemed to go a little better than the first, probably just due to me making less mistakes!

After the black dried for another 24 hours I took a deep breath and tackled the white on one side. This stencil was much more complex than the black due to the lettering. The stencil was applied and again the areas to be painted were all sanded down with the sanding stick.

The white was applied and I had to go a little heavier to get coverage vs the black. This made the stencil removal a bit harder. There were a few more mistakes on this one, there are two areas where I allowed the stencil to touch the still wet white paint. There were also more of the little strings of paint that sometimes happened during stencil removal. Lastly this stencil tended to be tougher to keep together during removal due to the skinny areas in the letters.

Overall it looks ok, I was able to correct the strings and a few bleed over spots with the paint thinner and Q-Tip technique.

I will have to do a couple areas again where the stencil touched the paint. Shouldn’t be too hard to tape them off, scuff the paint and lay down another coat though. For the next side I will get a second set of hands for stencil removal to avoid the paint defects.

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#8 1 year ago

Ok that brings me up to date. I’ll post updates as I go. I’m going to let the current paint dry overnight and then do the paint correction and touch ups tomorrow. Once that is done I will let everything cure for a few days before doing the white stencil on the other side.

Meanwhile I’m going to start going through the cabinet mechs to clean and restore those. I’ll also be placing my first order with Pinball Resource for parts.

#9 1 year ago

Looking good, nice work, thanks for sharing.

#10 1 year ago

Looks good ! What year is that Porsche back there ?

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from trilogybeer:

Looks good ! What year is that Porsche back there ?

1984 911 Carrera, good eye!

#12 1 year ago

Looking good!! Following

#13 1 year ago

Enjoyed reading your story thus far. Not just ok progress. Excellent as far as I am concerned. Keep up the enthusiasm and great work!!

Nice!!!

#14 1 year ago

Those side rails cleaned up much better than I thought thet would.
Looks great so far!

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from RCA1:

Those side rails cleaned up much better than I thought thet would.
Looks great so far!

Yeah, they're not perfect, if you look at them in a certain light you can see a little imperfection here and there. I'm debating taking a polishing wheel to them prior to installation.

#16 1 year ago

Paint touch ups on the left side were done today and I did the white stencil on the front.

I’m going to let this paint dry for several days before tackling the white on the right side.

Meanwhile I plan to start going through the cabinet components.
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#17 1 year ago

Cabinet looks great. Glad you liked my stencils!

PIMP

#18 1 year ago

Wow, the cabinet is looking incredible!!

#19 1 year ago

Beautiful work!!! This game tugs at my heart strings like no other... sure wish I could have my cab look like that!!!

#20 1 year ago

Thanks for all the encouragement!

The weather turned cold here in D/FW so I had to wait to stencil the other side. Today it got up to 55 degrees so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Same process as side 1, after the stencil was applied the areas to be painted were sanded with a sanding stick paying particular attention to the edges of the black stripes to make sure there was a minimal step off. Pinstriping type tape was then used to extend any of the edge graphics that didn't quite reach (the stencil is actually about 1/2 inch short for the cabinet size). Same 2x Rustoleum was used for the white.

I did have an issue with the white during painting, it seemed to have issues with not wanting to cover certain pinhead sized areas. I thought maybe it was that the can was getting low so I switched to a new can and it did better. I did, however, have some crackling issues in a few areas. I think this was either due to some weird reaction from the paint or that I had to put the paint on pretty thick this time to overcome the coverage issue.

Anyhow, the stencil was removed and the small bleed over areas were corrected with the Q-tip in paint thinner method. Plan will be to allow this to dry fully over at least 24 hours and then retape the areas that crackled, sand them and respray. Lesson learned here is not to use a can of paint that is less than 1/3 full, too much spatter and the paint doesn't come out as smoothly. In the future I'll spend the extra $3.50 to use a new can from the start!

Overall for my first stenciling job I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The Pinball Pimp stencils worked great.

Stencil applied prior to sanding:
8E37FC56-6F0B-4381-8ED9-EB4484B16E59 (resized).jpeg
Cabinet after stenciling and minor paint correction:
D3E37EE7-F7EB-4E34-B6D9-9BA13C1DD33C (resized).jpeg
Crackling effect that will be re-taped, sanded and resprayed to correct:
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#21 1 year ago

This week I have been restoring the coin door. This was my first coin door to tear apart. I took tons of pictures and it went back together without too much problem. I have a new center sticker coming as well as a new plastic coin slot insert. The prior owner drilled a hole in one of the inserts to install a coin switch button. I will be doing to bypass at the diode board instead to avoid hacking up the coin door.

Coin door before:
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Coin door after:
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#22 1 year ago

Small setback today. I had taped off the "B" in Black Hole because a piece of stencil had touched the paint during removal and marred it. So I masked it off and sanded it smooth. Sprayed on a top coat of the same white and to my chagrin a small wrinkle formed right in the center of the upper part of the B. Soooo frustrating!

I think my error was I tried to top coat it after 24 hours, can says to wait 48 for it to fully cure. I've done 24 hour recoats with 2X Rustoleum before without issue but I guess this time it bit me a little.

So, the cab will be left to dry until Wednesday, I'll remask the part of the B that has the wrinkle, sand it and top coat it once more. Hopefully next time I won't have an issue.

Meanwhile I'm going to start on the main cabinet bottom board. That's the last big item to get restored before I can reassemble the lower cabinet.

#23 1 year ago

Got my first order in from Pinball Resource! Unfortunately it’s still too cold to paint so I will be finishing the work on the transformer and such this weekend. If it warms up enough I will finish the paint correction.

I did get the new parts into the coin door and made up some custom coin slot inserts as well.

image (resized).jpg
#24 1 year ago

Beautiful coin door restoration. Where did you source the Black Hole inserts for above the slots?

#25 1 year ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

Beautiful coin door restoration. Where did you source the Black Hole inserts for above the slots?

I made them in Photoshop. If you’d like the file I’ll be happy to send it to you.

#26 1 year ago

Things are looking great!

#27 1 year ago

Looks awesome! Looking forward to following your work!!

#28 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

I made them in Photoshop. If you’d like the file I’ll be happy to send it to you.

Those are awesome.

#29 1 year ago

This is turning out quite nicely!

#30 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

I made them in Photoshop. If you’d like the file I’ll be happy to send it to you.

Very kind of you. I still have the original 2x25 on my machine, which I like! Was just admiring your work!

#31 1 year ago

Looking great! Definitely following.

#32 1 year ago

Finally warmed up enough to do some more paint correction. Hopefully I can get the cabinet done and start reinstalling components this week.

I’ve been working on cleaning and restoring the main transformer board this week. Here’s a before and after:

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#33 1 year ago

I'm excited to say the lower cabinet is now all back together! I got the main paint correction done last weekend before it turned cold again. This week has been spent finishing the restoration (or refurbishment? Not sure which this qualifies as) of the cabinet components. Once I got the cabinet back up on shiny new legs things started going faster. Luckily everything went back in pretty well and without issue. New bits include: complete shooter rod assembly, flipper button switches, flipper and credit buttons with clear backing plates (so I can eventually light them), legs and bolts and new main fuse holder. All fuses were gone through and replaced with correct amp fuses (several were wrong). Last thing to do is rebuild the ground cables that connect to the coin door, hope to do that this week. Then the lockbar receiver will go on.

Plan now is to move the cabinet over to a corner and cover it with a sheet or something to keep the dust out of it. Next up is the backbox!
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#34 1 year ago

Hi,

Could ya tell us what is the blue color you used for the cabinet?

Thx

#35 1 year ago
Quoted from Leveeger:

Hi,
Could ya tell us what is the blue color you used for the cabinet?
Thx

Rustoleum 2X "Brilliant Blue"

#36 1 year ago

Just a quick update. The cabinet has been moved over to a out of the way spot and I have stripped the backbox. The bottom panel was a little loose so I am giving it the old epoxy and pipe clamp treatment. I'll be stripping it and filling major voids over the next few days.

I have also removed the backglasses and am in the process of sealing down a couple small paint flakes with triple thick. Once that is done I will be removing the blue film and replacing it (the original is crackled and flaking). I'll be using triple thick over the main backglass as well and then do a little touch up here and there.

I'll post some pics as I go.

#37 1 year ago

To think what you have there once looked like it was dragged out of a pond. Fantastic/admirable work so far.

#38 1 year ago

Looks great! Commenting so I can follow along. I also have a playfield that could use a few touchups here and there so I'm curious to see what you do with it.

#39 1 year ago

Thanks again for all the kind words guys! I got the backbox stripped today, hopefully that’s the last time I have to deal with blue paint dust!!

Now in the process of filling major defects in the backbox, it’s not as bad as the cab was so hopefully should go faster. After that is done I plan to prime with spray can Kilz and then sand smooth prior to the first coat of blue, same process as the cab. The Kilz is a bit more expensive but it sands REALLY nicely.

I’m sure I’m taking a lot longer to do this than some but tackling it in stages has helped me out a lot. On my last restoration attempt I got discouraged with the huge pile of parts and had trouble remembering where everything went. This time I am doing each component separately and really making sure I use ziploc bags and lots of labels and pics to make sure it all stays sorted.

With any luck the blue should go on this weekend.

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#40 1 year ago

The backbox hinges were really rusty so I did the best I could. My original plan was to buy new ones but I can’t find reproductions anywhere! So, I gave them a soak in Evaporust and wire wheeled them as clean as I could. Then I gave them a coat of silver rustoleum. If I find some better hinges at a swap meet I will probably just swap these out.

2CC89F9F-FB87-4ACA-8E56-0E4CDA155CDB (resized).jpeg
#41 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

I’m sure I’m taking a lot longer to do this than some but tackling it in stages has helped me out a lot.

You should always take as long as you need and never rush anything. Posting pictures of every step of the way may feel excessive but trust me, we're all watching with bated breath.

1 week later
#42 1 year ago

This week was slow progress as I have to get two other machines ready for TPF. I was able to get the backbox stripped and filled. Then primed with Kilz spray and two coats of the 2X Rustoleum. After that was all dry it was speckled. This will sit for a week or so before stenciling to make sure the paint is fully cured and won’t pull up off the surface when the stencils are pulled.

image (resized).jpgimage (resized).jpg
#43 1 year ago

I also picked up a project which I am going to use as a guinea pig for playfield restoration before trying my hand on the Black Hole. Presenting Jumping Jack!

image (resized).jpg
#44 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

This week was slow progress as I have to get two other machines ready for TPF. I was able to get the backbox stripped and filled. Then primed with Kilz spray and two coats of the 2X Rustoleum. After that was all dry it was speckled. This will sit for a week or so before stenciling to make sure the paint is fully cured and won’t pull up off the surface when the stencils are pulled.[quoted image][quoted image]

That back box looks mint. Well done.

#45 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

I also picked up a project which I am going to use as a guinea pig for playfield restoration before trying my hand on the Black Hole. Presenting Jumping Jack![quoted image]

Nice, just bought one of these as well. I'm excited to see you restore this too!

#46 1 year ago

This game is a toss up for which is the bigger fight having a good game once it works or fixing a broken one. I bought mine working just needed tlc which it got some then played it a lot and it broke again just got parts last month and have yet to get back to it. But from what I've seen so far yours will probably look better then mine when done.

2 weeks later
#47 1 year ago

Guess who’s back?!? With all the coronavirus mess my pinball restoration has been going slowly but it is still progressing. This weekend I got the backbox starting to go back together and got it mounted back onto the cabinet. Next is remounting the light panel and getting the inner and outer backglasses reinstalled. Sorry for the poor photo, I moved the cab over in the garage to make room for the playfield tear down and resto.

image (resized).jpg
1 week later
#48 1 year ago

Have to admit, I'm pretty excited today. I started the paint work today with my airbrush. I matched the color as best I could with a custom mix and taped everything off. I have frisket but I actually didn't end up using it for this, I used my Tamiya masking tape for scale models which I have had good success with on plastic models in the past. Sprayed the green color with my Iwata Neo Airbrush. After pulling the tape back I am pretty pleased! I did not cut out each letter so I will have to do some detail work with a fine brush in that area but I think that shouldn't be too tough. Going to let this cure overnight and perhaps try to do the yellow later this week.

Before:
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After:
92215850_508200863197322_6726966010231914496_n (resized).jpg

#49 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinball_Gizzard:

Have to admit, I'm pretty excited today. I started the paint work today with my airbrush. I matched the color as best I could with a custom mix and taped everything off. I have frisket but I actually didn't end up using it for this, I used my Tamiya masking tape for scale models which I have had good success with on plastic models in the past. Sprayed the green color with my Iwata Neo Airbrush. After pulling the tape back I am pretty pleased! I did not cut out each letter so I will have to do some detail work with a fine brush in that area but I think that shouldn't be too tough. Going to let this cure overnight and perhaps try to do the yellow later this week.
Before:
[quoted image]
After:
[quoted image]

Looks great!

#50 1 year ago

Paint work continues. Decided to tape off and spray the yellow today. Came out pretty decent, yellow is always hard to get to cover. After having to hand detail each letter in green I learned a lesson and cut out each letter in frisket for the yellow. Much better.

Going to try and tackle pink tomorrow, going to be a major PITA.
63229F86-6D17-43BB-9431-4FB3323D3B39 (resized).jpeg

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