Saturday, April 25, 2015

Job 6: Clearing the Playfield

In preparation for the next steps in this restoration, I'd need to clear the playfield, removing everything until I'm left with a flat surface.  Here's where we stand:

It was mostly a matter of going under the playfield and unscrewing the mechanical pieces from the bottom. I then secured them, along with their corresponding screws, to the underside with tape or zip ties. Then I covered the holes with more tape.

The pop bumpers required some special care. Here's what they look like from below:

I removed the coil and still had to unsolder these two wires, which connect to the light socket, in order to remove the top mechanism.

Here's what the playfield looks like sans targets and rollovers:

Finally, I needed to remove the wire ball guides and nails. A gentle pull with a pair of pliers and they came right out. I made sure to number and label each one so I can put them back correctly later.

Here's what the playfield looks like totally stripped:

Flat and ready for painting!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Job 5: Replacing Inserts

Every one of the 21 inserts on this machine are concave and/or discolored thanks to the heat of the bulbs over time and it really affected the path of the ball. In fact, a light plunge to the top would sometimes get stuck on one of the top inserts.

. The first job was to remove the old plastic discs. First, I traced the edges with an X-acto knife and then, with the heat of a hairdryer to weaken the glue and a little pressure from behind, I popped each one out.

Here are some of the old inserts. You can see that three of the red ones are a lot more faded than the fourth.

The new inserts needed to be worked over with various grades of sandpaper and the edges needed to be roughed up to better accept the new glue.

A coat of plastic primer on the edge of each new insert and strong epoxy inside the holes and each one found its new place.

Beautiful! Here's a look at the whole playfield with all-new inserts:


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Job 4: Initial Cleaning

The next step in the process is to clean up the playfield and see what it looks like all shined up. This machine had years of accumulated dust to deal with, as you can see with my fingerprints, after I removed the apron.  No need to do a complete teardown, but I did remove all of the plastics, rubber, and bulbs.

I set those parts aside in their relative places, to make it easier to re-assemble later.

Here are some of the old rubber bands. As you can see, it was a mix of black and white and all had lost their bounce over the years.

These are some "before" close-up photos:

You can see streaks of brown grime on the surface, especially in that first photo.

I started by wiping the playfield down with 90% alcohol on a cotton cloth, gave it a polish with Novus 2 and hit the deep dirty spots with alcohol on a Magic Eraser. Here are the "after" photos:

Much better, but not perfect. There's quite a bit of planking and ball swirls, which are especially visible on the white and yellow bits.  That might take some re-painting.  But overall, I'm happy with the results.

I re-assembled the playfield just to get everything back in one piece but, since I knew that I'd be taking it apart again before long, I didn't tighten anything too far or add in the bulbs or rubber bands.  Next, it's time to order some new parts!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Job 3: Adjusting the Transformer

While the cabinet mechs were removed and easy to access during the re-finishing process, I took the opportunity to make an adjustment to the transformer.

These machines leave the factory with the main power line (the upper red wire) set to the "normal" lower-voltage output node on the transformer.  So I clipped it and re-soldered the wire to the "high" output node.

This should give the pop bumpers and kicker some extra power and maybe spin the wheel a little faster.  A simple adjustment that will make the game quicker and more fun!