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(Topic ID: 273609)

Which Clear Coat for EMs?


By wayinla

89 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 85 days ago by EMsInKC
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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    #1 89 days ago

    What do most people clear coat their em’s playfield with (if they do clear it)?

    What is used to be the most authentic?

    I’m clear coating a playfield that has a lot of white and was testing out my three clear coat possibilities on a white painted board. Varathane, Minwax Polycrylic and Spraymax 2k were sprayed side by side and the Varathane showed a LOT of yellowing, the polycrylic yellowed a little and the Spraymax was quite clear.

    #2 88 days ago

    I use 2k products. I worked in the auto refinishing business for many years and cellulose or acrylic 1 pack lacquers always faded any 'yellowed' over time whereas a 2k product remains completely clear for many years. Downside of the stuff is that it's highly toxic and you need to use adequate protection with it. I recently cleared an old scrap playfield with 2k clear just applying it with a brush (outdoors of course) and cross hatched it to avoid lines and it dried out well. Then I flatted it with some 1200 grit paper and polished it with some cutting compound. The results were pretty good and much easier than I thought it would be.

    #3 88 days ago

    You can’t just spray the 2k on? What do you use as adequate protection? Thanks. I need to get work on my Playfield because I feel like I notice it getting worse each day.

    #4 88 days ago

    It can be sprayed, yes. That is how it should be applied really. I only tried this method because it wanted to see if it was feasible.
    Really, if you are spraying the stuff then an air-fed mask should be worn, full skin covering and good ventilation in wherever you are using the product. 2k products ( in the UK anyway) contain isocynate, which I believe is cyanide based, hence you need to protect yourself!

    #5 88 days ago

    I forgot to add that 2k products gave a "pot life" of some 20 minutes on average, dependent on the air temps and if you use a fast or slow activator so dont mix it up until you are ready to apply it or you will get an awful cleaning job to do on your spray gun!

    #6 88 days ago

    When you sprayed the Varathane, did you use the water based as its not suppose to yellow?

    #7 88 days ago
    Quoted from flipit:

    When you sprayed the Varathane, did you use the water based as its not suppose to yellow?

    Ahh, I didn’t know there was a water based Varathane. Is it good for a playfield?

    #8 88 days ago

    I've done a couple playfields with Varathane (water based) about 10-15 years ago (for a while it was 'all the rage' - I think butterflygirl24 uses it as well) - there was a learning curve to it. Cliffy (passionforpinball) used to have a page talking about how best to clear PF's with the varathane - his advice was the best, because he recommended you follow what the can says to do!!

    A lot of people at the time were spraying a coat, waiting 24 hours between coats, and spraying another. This is great advice.... if you like cloudy, milky, playfields!! I did a few that way before seeking out a better way. The most successful was when I followed the can - between 45 min-2 hours for more coats. I think I did 4 coats on a Countdown PF - while it's not 'perfect' - it played well and has held up for at least a decade fine. It looks nice, just as good as original clear (which is lacquer on most older PF's)

    If you check on rec.games.pinball there's a LOT of discussion on results and how to do it. If I ever get back into clearing PF/or needing to clear I'll probably either get more varathane (I have some from 10 years ago, doubt it's any good....) or maybe buy all the safety equipment and shoot spraymax 2k. I no longer have a garage to work in though so I'll either have to shoot outside or use the shed (it's full of crap right now though).

    Some people have been successful using varathane out of a regular paint can and foam brushes to clear PF's as well. If you have a scrap playfield around it's a good thing to practice on.

    Found the cliffy link:
    http://passionforpinball.com/jjresto.htm

    #9 88 days ago
    Quoted from Classicpinballs:

    I forgot to add that 2k products gave a "pot life" of some 20 minutes on average, dependent on the air temps and if you use a fast or slow activator so dont mix it up until you are ready to apply it or you will get an awful cleaning job to do on your spray gun!

    I don't know what brand of clear you are using but most activated clear coats have a longer pot life. Usually most automotive clear coats have a pot life around 1.5-3 hours. Do you mean 'flash times'? The flash time of most clears are 5-15 minutes. You need to really look at the TDS sheet of the clear coat you are using. I use DC5335 and the pot life is 1.5-2 hours. The flash time is 5-10 min.

    #10 88 days ago

    I've had good results with water based Varathane. I like it because I can use it to fill sunken inserts gradually with a brush then finish it off with a rattle can. It's relatively safe to use at home compared to some of the alternatives and has held up well to home use.

    Beware though that you need to let it cure for probably longer than you think. My first attempt turned out fine but yellowed some I think because I waxed it too soon. The next time I let it dry for several weeks before waxing and it stayed clear.

    /Mark

    #11 88 days ago
    Quoted from Tommy-dog:

    I don't know what brand of clear you are using but most activated clear coats have a longer pot life. Usually most automotive clear coats have a pot life around 1.5-3 hours. Do you mean 'flash times'? The flash time of most clears are 5-15 minutes. You need to really look at the TDS sheet of the clear coat you are using. I use DC5335 and the pot life is 1.5-2 hours. The flash time is 5-10 min.

    Generally, I use Glasurit or Max Meyer lacquer and a very fast activator as I'm air drying. In a low bake oven, I'd use a slower one to let it flow out before baking.
    If spraying, yes, I'd allow a 10 minute or so flash too. But I have found using a fast activator for air dry work, 20 or 30 minutes on a warm day is about there or it starts to gel in the mixing pot. Maybe if its thinned it might well last a lot longer and give the times you describe, I dont know.

    #12 88 days ago

    Check out the Spraymax 2K thread, TONS of good info on there. That's what I used on my Alladins Castle, came out great.

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    #13 88 days ago

    2pac is the way to go. Others just aren’t as durable and lack the ability to bring out full color saturation to the degree that 2pac does. If it’s authenticity to the technology of the era you’re after, forget it. You can’t get whatever exact lacquer was used on your particular game and even if you could, you wouldn’t want to use it because it wouldn’t last as long and would yellow excessively over time.

    #14 88 days ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    2pac is the way to go. Others just aren’t as durable and lack the ability to bring out full color saturation to the degree that 2pac does. If it’s authenticity to the technology of the era you’re after, forget it. You can’t get whatever exact lacquer was used on your particular game and even if you could, you wouldn’t want to use it because it wouldn’t last as long and would yellow excessively over time.

    I've used Minwax polycrylic water based for years and have not had durability issues, or any yellowing. Lots of people simply don't have the equipment to spray auto clear safely. You can spray polycrylic in the basement and there's basically no fumes at all.

    The problem with the auto clear is the gloss. I guess you can sand it down some to knock the gloss out but EM playfield simply didn't shine like what you see quite often when people use auto clear. It's hard and durable, sure, but for a lot of us the problems just aren't worth it.

    #15 88 days ago

    On my white test board sprayed with the oil Varathane, Polycrylic and Spraymax 2k:

    - 2k was the most brilliant
    - Polycrylic was less brilliant, slightly warm, easy on the eyes.
    - Varathane was almost a dingy yellow.

    If thinking of their looks in terms of lighting:

    - 2k was like white LEDs
    - Polycrylic like slightly warm white LEDs
    - Varathane like old incandescents

    If the 2k and Polycrylic weren’t side by side the differences wouldn’t be so apparent.

    #16 88 days ago

    Are you spraying polycrylic from the can or brushing it on (or something else)? Are you using water based? Semi/Matte/or Gloss? Sorry for all of the questions - I'm thinking of taking this route for the safety factor. The playfield I'm doing it on is a high production/low value pin that was previously trashed so no need to spend a ton of $ on it.

    #17 88 days ago
    Quoted from Tommy-dog:

    I use DC5335

    I also use 5335 clear on playfields also, this is BASF's high line glamour clear.

    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    The problem with the auto clear is the gloss. I guess you can sand it down some to knock the gloss out but EM playfield simply didn't shine like what you see quite often when people use auto clear

    I add SM09 to the clear coat for em playfields; it's a flattening additive so the gloss will more resemble the original lacquer finish but with the durability of a 2k product.

    As a side note for safety I'm spraying in an automotive heated down draft paint booth.

    #18 88 days ago
    Quoted from Boslaw:

    Are you spraying polycrylic from the can or brushing it on (or something else)? Are you using water based? Semi/Matte/or Gloss? Sorry for all of the questions - I'm thinking of taking this route for the safety factor. The playfield I'm doing it on is a high production/low value pin that was previously trashed so no need to spend a ton of $ on it.

    If I do use use it, I’ll use gloss Polycrylic in spray cans.

    I do like the low risk of using the water based Polycrylic. Judging from my test board I thought the quality of it was great and it was easy to use. It yellowed just slightly and I think the gloss isn’t as brilliant as the 2k. This might be better for an EM.

    #19 88 days ago

    Minwax Ultimate (gloss) is very clear, doesn’t yellow and it’s water based. Get an Earlex Spray System for a great portable hvlp results, much better than the results you get with spray cans.

    #20 88 days ago

    I use the same Autoclear i've been using for 14 years. Many customers send me EMs' and woodrails and love the results. No yellowing, and evens out the cupped inserts to the point where it plays like new.

    #21 88 days ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    Check out the Spraymax 2K thread, TONS of good info on there. That's what I used on my Alladins Castle, came out great.
    [quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

    That is beautiful!

    #22 87 days ago

    Oil based varathane is not the one to use... Yellows as you noted. Use water based.

    #23 86 days ago

    Wayinla, PM me your phone number and I'll reach out with some tips on playfiled clear coating. Been doing it for 25 plus years and 100 plus games.

    #24 86 days ago

    I have to disagree with approaches that attempt to knock down the gloss for an EM. I remember what they looked like new. They were glossy and well saturated. The trouble is that the lacquer finishes held neither their clarity or gloss for very long. It is also important to consider the available technology at the time. They used industrial lacquer. Cars in the EM era were also painted with lacquer, albeit likely higher quality than was used for pins. I have done several EMs, one with lacquer and the rest with 2pac. The 2pac wins hands down in my book. Water based finishes are what they are: user friendly alternatives which offer less color saturation and somewhat lower gloss as a tradeoff.

    #25 86 days ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    I have to disagree with approaches that attempt to knock down the gloss for an EM. I remember what they looked like new. They were glossy and well saturated. The trouble is that the lacquer finishes held neither their clarity or gloss for very long. It is also important to consider the available technology at the time. They used industrial lacquer. Cars in the EM era were also painted with lacquer, albeit likely higher quality than was used for pins. I have done several EMs, one with lacquer and the rest with 2pac. The 2pac wins hands down in my book. Water based finishes are what they are: user friendly alternatives which offer less color saturation and somewhat lower gloss as a tradeoff.

    exactly. They looked like fresh clearcoated playfields and nice and flat when they were new.

    #26 85 days ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    I have to disagree with approaches that attempt to knock down the gloss for an EM. I remember what they looked like new. They were glossy and well saturated. The trouble is that the lacquer finishes held neither their clarity or gloss for very long. It is also important to consider the available technology at the time. They used industrial lacquer. Cars in the EM era were also painted with lacquer, albeit likely higher quality than was used for pins. I have done several EMs, one with lacquer and the rest with 2pac. The 2pac wins hands down in my book. Water based finishes are what they are: user friendly alternatives which offer less color saturation and somewhat lower gloss as a tradeoff.

    Pinheadpierre, this is revealing info about what the pins looked like when they were new. Thanks! Great info from the kind folks here in the forum!

    So, from what I’ve read and researched, I’ve decided to go with the Spraymax 2k gloss. I would like to think that the early pinball manufacturers would have used 2pac or similar if they had the technology.

    I’ve constructed an air flowed mask using a full face swim mask with the snorkel connected to a 20 foot hose and then to a fan. It supplies fresh air to the mask and will vent out anything else. Inexpensive and it works.

    #27 85 days ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    I have to disagree with approaches that attempt to knock down the gloss for an EM. I remember what they looked like new. They were glossy and well saturated. The trouble is that the lacquer finishes held neither their clarity or gloss for very long. It is also important to consider the available technology at the time. They used industrial lacquer. Cars in the EM era were also painted with lacquer, albeit likely higher quality than was used for pins. I have done several EMs, one with lacquer and the rest with 2pac. The 2pac wins hands down in my book. Water based finishes are what they are: user friendly alternatives which offer less color saturation and somewhat lower gloss as a tradeoff.

    So do I and they didn't look like auto clear.

    I've had games with auto clear and there is really no difference in color saturation. But your game do what you want.

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