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(Topic ID: 136843)

Xenon Restoration


By 85vett

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 80 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Breger1
  • Topic is favorited by 24 Pinsiders

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There are 80 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 5 years ago

It's time for another restoration. After finishing up my BOP restoration I got the itch to do another game but I don't have the $$$ or space for another game. So, to make a long story short a friend of mine found a Xenon that needs some work the he picked up for which I offered up my assistance to help restore it. We are going to tag team this restoration which should help things progress quicker too. Plan is to do this like my BOP and make it as nice as we possibly can without going to crazy but this will be a factory restoration vs a restomod (down to keeping incandescent lights in it).

This game will be taken to pinball shows for everyone to enjoy so I hope you all come and check it out and play it once it's completed. No garage/gameroom queen here

We will use this thread to show progress and document the things we do to the game. So without further a due I'll start off with some head pics as this is the first item on the list to restore.

For the head - I will be stripping it down completely and smoothing out all the rough spots in the cab. It will then get repainted and re-assembled. All boards will be cleaned up and working 100% (btw75 will be doing the fixing on them), all harnesses cleaned, all hardware disassembled and cleaned/tumbled, etc...

Overall the game isn't in terrible shape. Just not real nice to look at and has some minor play-ability issues. btw75 and I will get that all resolved.

Here are some starter pics:
Head as it started -
head.jpg

Boards in the game -
boards.jpg

Boards have been removed already -
boards out.jpg
bare head.jpg

Light and display board -
Backglass ligt panel.jpg
back of light board.jpg

#2 5 years ago

Following closely 85vett...I have one I need to start as well.

-scott

#3 5 years ago

Xenon is a classic. I had fun fixing up mine and putting in the new CPR playfield. Good luck with this one!

#4 5 years ago

Uhoh, looks like I've been slacking on my end. I guess it's time to get on the job!!! I'm really excited about this one, I really like the game and 85vett did an incredible job with his BOP so I look forward to the results. We have a new CPR playfield and plastics, and some awesome looking Pinball Pimp stencils. I'll post up some updates soon as I start working on the bottom cabinet.

#5 5 years ago

I like taking things apart. Hopefully that can be my job in the partnership.

IMG_20150827_214513.jpg

20150822_003400.jpg

#6 5 years ago

One of my all time favorites, keep the pictures of progress coming please.

#7 5 years ago

My brother and I just started a Xenon restore last week. We do not do cabinet work but ours is in good shape. We also do not have a reproduction Playfield but ours is pretty good for its age and plays. Just did a full Playfield Mylar removal.
I will be following this thread closely. . Keep the photos and tips coming.

#8 5 years ago

First tip - Don't do cabinet work. It really sucks I'm hopefully I can get the head smoothed out and primered by the end of next weekend. Going to give all the harnesses and boards a nice bath as well. All metal parts are in the tumbler as we speak too.

The one thing that seems to be the biggest PITA right now is all the staples that hold the lights in place. I swear there must have been over a 100 just on the backpanel light board alone. PF is going to be the same way so we might as well be prepared to spend some good quality time removing staples.

#9 5 years ago

Tip for staple removing:

I've found that it's much easier if you use one of those 'claw-like' staple pullers that are available at any office store for a buck or two. They reach under the staples and allow you to grab them without damaging the wires.

#10 5 years ago

Great thread! Look forward to seeing your progress! Couldn't have posted this at a better time, since I have a Xenon that I just started a partial restoration on yesterday.

#11 5 years ago

Good luck it's a tough work,but it worth it!

#12 5 years ago

I will be starting a Xenon restoration real soon too. I spent three solid days sorting out issues with it and its finally all working. I am going to lightly mod it, including all LED (already done) and some other custom light mods.
Im luck that my cabinet is nearly perfect so I am going to leave it as is. The only real work on this one will be the playfield....this one is thrashed. I picked up a spare blank playfield on ebay that I will be installing all new inserts, an overlay and clear coat. After that I plan on practicing touch up with an air brush on the original and see if I can bring it back to life.
I only have one question. How can you not LED that back box? This machine looks simply amazing with led. Good luck with the restore!

#13 5 years ago
Quoted from Riptor:

How can you not LED that back box? This machine looks simply amazing with led. Good luck with the restore!

We were thinking that led would not work well with the infinity lighting, but we could be pursuaded differently.

#14 5 years ago

I thought the same thing. I tried white led, looked ok. Switched to blue, looks and works great.

#15 5 years ago

I have one or 2 cpr xenon pf's available if anyone wants to restore theirs also.

#16 5 years ago
Quoted from kruzman:

I have one or 2 cpr xenon pf's available if anyone wants to restore theirs also.

PM sent.

#17 5 years ago

Got the backbox harness all nice and clean now and have the light panel smoothed out and re-painted. Will let it dry and then clear coat it next. Then the harness gets to go back on. Don't tell my daughter I'm using her bathroom as the drying rack

20150902_154751_resized.jpg

20150902_154718_resized.jpg

#18 5 years ago
Quoted from 85vett:

Got the backbox harness all nice and clean now and have the light panel smoothed out and re-painted. Will let it dry and then clear coat it next. Then the harness gets to go back on. Don't tell my daughter I'm using her bathroom as the drying rack
20150902_154751_resized.jpg

Never thought of this. I am in awe sir!

#19 5 years ago
Quoted from btw75:

We were thinking that led would not work well with the infinity lighting, but we could be pursuaded differently.

I personally prefer incandescent bulbs in Xenon except for in the pop bumpers where I like the way a warm white LED makes the caps look and doesn't blow out from getting banged around.

1 week later
#20 5 years ago

The light and score panel is now completed and reassembled. Just need to get my replacement paper warning pieces printed out and installed.

Next is on to the head of the cab. Time to sand, prime, fill, sand, repeat, then paint

Before: Can be seen at the top of the post.

After:
IMG_6347.jpg
IMG_6349.jpg

#21 5 years ago

Looks good, partner! I plan on doing more cab work this weekend, feel free to come over and inspect....

#22 5 years ago

More rough sanding for the cabinet. First, I'm disappointed that the operator scractched out the serial number, I would of liked to keep it - but this will get filled in I think.

Serial number obfuscation

Second, I did some rough cleaning of the bottom, but not sure what to do about this nasty metal piece. There is enough trim already broken off that I imagine I could remove the nails and slide it out, but would welcome some other thoughts.

Bottom shield

#23 5 years ago

The metal shield is on all of them. I think it was security the coin box. Both my Xenons have it.

#24 5 years ago
Quoted from BJM-Maxx:

The metal shield is on all of them. I think it was security the coin box. Both my Xenons have it.

Right, but I want it pretty! Thinking about just tring a wire wheel on a drill or an angle grinder to see if there is hope to at lease make it look nicer, if not new.

#25 5 years ago

They put the metal on the bottom side because people figured out you could kick that masonite board and the whole coin box would fall through.
Should be easy enough to fabricate a new one from sheet metal.

#26 5 years ago
Quoted from Riptor:

They put the metal on the bottom side because people figured out you could kick that masonite board and the whole coin box would fall through.
Should be easy enough to fabricate a new one from sheet metal.

Right, but the only "right way" to remove it seems to be to remove the entire front of the cabinet, which seems risky. At minimum, uncomfortable.

#27 5 years ago

Sand it, mask it off and paint it. It does not look to be in too bad of shape. That rust you see if from acid from hands reaching and feeling for the switch. A little ospho should take that surface rust right off. Never heard of ospho? Great stuff, check it out .
http://www.ospho.com/

#28 5 years ago
Quoted from btw75:

More rough sanding for the cabinet. First, I'm disappointed that the operator scractched out the serial number, I would of liked to keep it - but this will get filled in I think.

Ugh, those fun intentional damages to the cab. I think I've got the one they did to the head fixed up now. I'm on my 4th pass of filling, sanding, priming and sanding again. Think this may be the last pass before I can move on to paint.

#29 5 years ago
Quoted from btw75:

We were thinking that led would not work well with the infinity lighting, but we could be pursuaded differently.

Quoted from Riptor:

I thought the same thing. I tried white led, looked ok. Switched to blue, looks and works great.

Xenon is not a great example for infinity effect due to the amount of artwork/minimal mirroring on the inner glass. I'm sure they used the convex mirrors in the corners to compensate for this. LED works just as well as incandescents and I felt the Comet warm white 10mm bullet bulbs with the taller domes looked best.

Quoted from bobukcat:

I personally prefer incandescent bulbs in Xenon except for in the pop bumpers where I like the way a warm white LED makes the caps look and doesn't blow out from getting banged around.

The warm whites in the pops look fantastic. Comet retros in the inserts also look fantastic. I used retros in the GI when I did my playfield swap, but have since switched to clear sunlight and am happier.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/xenon-with-comet-leds-and-custom-upgrades

Xenon is a really dark machine. I'm surprised by how few GI bulbs it has. I would suggest using 44s if you're going to keep incandescents in the GI.

#30 5 years ago

Any ghosting issues with the inserts? We want this to look as nice as possible but we also don't want any issues with strobing or ghosting. I know about ghostbuster lights but those even have issues in some of the older games thus the question.

#31 5 years ago

You will have strobing issues unless you use these adapters from Siegecraft on the lamp driver board. I didn't experience any issues with the backglass chasers which use the aux. lamp driver and no adapter.

http://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=44&controller=product&id_lang=1

They plug right in and you can use any LEDs with them. Great product.

#32 5 years ago

I am redoing a Xenon cabinet at the moment. It took me many tries to get the cabinet smooth. They used some garbage wood at the factory, the right side of the cabinet and the left side of the head obviously came from the same piece. It looked like the blade chattered badly when the veneer was cut for the top layer of the plywood. I ground it down with 40 grit but had to skim coat most of the side with body filler to get it smooth. In the end I lost the serial number. On the head I was able to keep a little bit of it.

The lighting makes the colours look funny but in real life the pop.

Xenon Cab 1.png

Your question about ghosting and LEDs the basic Bally lighting board will definitely flicker and ghost. The auxiliary lighting board on the score panel insert does not have that problem.

#33 5 years ago

I used blue comet LED on the infinity lights, they look great. Im using the xpin adapter to eliminate flickering on the playfield lamps.
http://xpinpinball.com/shop/product/xp-blyff
Such a great game, glad to see these are getting restored. I have a new playfield coming for mine.

#34 5 years ago

Took 5 passes but I think I have the head good enough for paint. Got the first coat on. Quite a bit of orange peel right now but that's easy enough to get rid of. Sucks not having a paint booth

This was the side with the serial number scratched out. Was about a 1/4 inch deep and about the size of a 4 inch by 4 inch square Pretty happy with how the edges came out as well. Not perfect but I'm honestly not going for perfect. I wanted to keep some of the history of the wood there without it looking bad so I left some of the very minor blems and fixed the big dents and chunks that were missing.

Hope the boss approves.

20150923_125439_resized.jpg

#35 5 years ago
Quoted from 85vett:

Took 5 passes but I think I have the head good enough for paint. Got the first coat on. Quite a bit of orange peel right now but that's easy enough to get rid of. Sucks not having a paint booth
This was the side with the serial number scratched out. Was about a 1/4 inch deep and about the size of a 4 inch by 4 inch square Pretty happy with how the edges came out as well. Not perfect but I'm honestly not going for perfect. I wanted to keep some of the history of the wood there without it looking bad so I left some of the very minor blems and fixed the big dents and chunks that were missing.
Hope the boss approves.
20150923_125439_resized.jpg

I had the exact same issues but I wet sanded with 400 and 600 grit. The final coat is really smooth.

#36 5 years ago
Quoted from 85vett:

Sucks not having a paint booth

We can set one up in the shop if you want!

Looks great

#37 5 years ago
Quoted from 85vett:

Hope the boss approves

lol.

Looks real good! Are you planning to bring it to TPF?

#38 5 years ago
Quoted from angryjeep:

lol.
Looks real good! Are you planning to bring it to TPF?

That's the plan. With the new tournament formats I may not go now. Still debating but either myself or BTW75 (his game, a.k.a "the boss") will most likely have it there.

Second coat applied. Will let this cure fully and will add a 3rd. May be able to add some color this weekend or next week.

Camera phone pics. Hope they post correctly.
20150923_182925.jpg
20150923_182946.jpg

#39 5 years ago

The rug really ties the backyard together.

#40 5 years ago
Quoted from 85vett:

That's the plan. With the new tournament formats I may not go now. Still debating but either myself or BTW75 (his game, a.k.a "the boss") will most likely have it there.

1) it will be at tpf
2) I'm not the boss, this is a partnership!

#41 5 years ago

Ugh..... looks like I get to start over. Same exact paint as the rest (new can) and I get blessed with a reaction.

The joys of painting.

20150924_184344.jpg

#42 5 years ago

booo. those DMD guys with their decals just have it way too easy.

#43 5 years ago
Quoted from 85vett:

Ugh..... looks like I get to start over. Same exact paint as the rest (new can) and I get blessed with a reaction.
The joys of painting.
20150924_184344.jpg

Did you spray that second coat within 48 hours of the first one? I did that, same thing but not so uniform over the whole surface. Just let it dry thoroughly and wet sand it flat again then put more paint on.

#44 5 years ago

Did you use enamel?
Should really invest in a proper compressor and gun setup and use automotive acrylics.

Enamel is for trucks and trailers, not pinballs.

#45 5 years ago
Quoted from Sinbad:

Did you use enamel?
Should really invest in a proper compressor and gun setup and use automotive acrylics.
Enamel is for trucks and trailers, not pinballs.

I'm using the paint that was recommended to me by the pinball stencil company. They advised it's best to use Rustoleum professional paint and gave the paint codes. I used automotive on my BOP restore.

Quoted from BJM-Maxx:

Did you spray that second coat within 48 hours of the first one? I did that, same thing but not so uniform over the whole surface. Just let it dry thoroughly and wet sand it flat again then put more paint on.

I guess I did. Was about 36 hours after the second coat was applied. I'm so used to the rule of within 1 hour or after 24 hours I didn't notice this stuff does require 48 hours

#46 5 years ago
Quoted from 85vett:

I'm using the paint that was recommended to me by the pinball stencil company. They advised it's best to use Rustoleum professional paint and gave the paint codes. I used automotive on my BOP restore.

I guess I did. Was about 36 hours after the second coat was applied. I'm so used to the rule of within 1 hour or after 24 hours I didn't notice this stuff does require 48 hours

The cabinet picture I posted above was done with Rustoleum paint spray cans. I used Semi-gloss black and gloss red and blue. The semi-gloss requires excellent surface prep or everything shows. You can always scale back to satin black to obscure minor flaws.

I had the first set of Xenon stencils from Jeff after he first offered them. I had exactly what you had happen, happen to me too. After it dries hard it shrinks down a bit in height. I wet sanded with 400 grit then 600. I topped it with more primer then sanded that, then did more black. I was really not looking forward to resanding down to bare wood again. If you wet sand then pay close attention to your coverage with the black you can get a really impressive finish. I use a trouble light in one hand slightly below the paint can so I can see the coverage as it goes on. I do my first coat then go sit outside the garage for ~10 minutes, then I do my second coat.

One note: The paint seems pretty tough after 24 hours, you can even wet sand it. Doing that removes the top cured skin, so leave the sanded job for 48 hours or you risk wrinkling it again. I learned the hard way. So start your sanding the next day, wait two days, then recoat.

When you get to the stencil stage, do not use a quick drying paint, it will pull off in strings and ruin the job. I used more Rustoleum rust paint that says 2-4 hours before you can touch it which makes a big difference (Rustoleums Tremclad brand in Canada). I do two coats a few minutes apart then start pulling the stencil while wet. Have a knife handy, you don't want to stretch the stencil too much as it snaps back and then lays into your fresh paint. I have a small container with Naptha in it and Q-Tips ready once the stencil is off. Get up really close and wipe off the little strings of paint that inevitably happen. You can do major improvements but only while the paint is wet.

After it all dries hard, you can use a bit of Novus two to clean off the smudges on the black paint left by the Naptha.

Not sure you were looking for all that advice but I finally finished up my cabinet last night with red on the head. For the cabinet sides, given how long it takes to pull that large stencil and the shortish working time for clean up, I only do one side at a time now.

#47 5 years ago
Quoted from BJM-Maxx:

The paint seems pretty tough after 24 hours, you can even wet sand it. Doing that removes the top cured skin, so leave the sanded job for 48 hours or you risk wrinkling it again. I learned the hard way. So start your sanding the next day, wait two days, then recoat.

Thanks for the advise and this is exactly what I did. I was doing my final base coat so I wet sanded it down to get things nice and smooth. I painted only a couple hours after wet sanding it down. Sounds like we use the same tech. Do two coats, wet sand and then do the final coat. My first coat is always a tack coat that is fairly light. I wait 15-20 mins then come back with more of a coverage coat that is thicker. Let things dry and wet sand to a smooth finish. Apply a third coat. Let dry and move to clear. I'll be sure to give it more time after wet sanding now.

#48 5 years ago

Great title for a restore project. I look forward to your progress.

#49 5 years ago
Quoted from angryjeep:

The rug really ties the backyard together.

Glad you like it We replaced the rug in our living room and my wife suggest we throw it away. I figured I'd spruce up the back porch a bit so put it there instead.

1 week later
#50 5 years ago

Some progress pics to post as I've finished the backglass portion. Still working on the rest of the head.

Before:
IMG_6295.jpg

After:
Without mirror panel installed. All the cab edges cleaned up where pieces were missing or damage was present.
IMG_6364.jpg
With mirror panel installed
IMG_6365.jpg

Backglass before:
some browning and discoloration. Not to mention more of that glue that was spilled on the head of the cab.
IMG_6299.jpg

Backglass after:
Brightened up and all glue residue removed. Shiny hardware too.
IMG_6362.jpg

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