Restoring a Pinball Playfield w/a Mylar Overlay

I’ve been in the arcade hobby for many years, and have been plenty nervous about potentially wasting a chunk of money on first attempt restoration projects – this particular project was one of those times.

For pretty much all of my time restoring arcade machines, I’ve primarily dealt with video games (although I’ve owned several pinballs).  Since my Baby Pacman came with a junked extra playfield, I thought it would be cool to take a shot at restoring it with a mylar playfield overlay from phoenixarcade.com – I am extremely anal with my restorations, and won’t settle for anything less than perfection, even if it’s my first time attempting a specific thing.  I am by no means an expert in this particular area – what is written below is what worked for me.

WORDS OF WISDOM:  The key component (massive majority) of any restoration project is patience – do not cut corners – if something isn’t right, do it over if you can (while you still can).

– I started with this:
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”http://retrogamefix.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CAM00327.jpg”><img class=”wp-image-185 aligncenter” alt=”CAM00327″ src=”http://retrogamefix.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CAM00327-225×300.jpg” width=”158″ height=”210″ /></a></p>
The picture does not do this thing justice, as to how bad it actually was

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<ul>
<li>The first thing I did was stripped the playfield completely, and sanded the entire thing – starting with 60 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander, to 120, to 220, to 320, to 400, and eventually to 600.
<ul>
<li>Be sure to check your plastic inserts.  If they have cracks that are too deep to sand out, consider ordering and replacing them with new ones.</li>
</ul>
</li>
</ul>
<ul>
<li>The next thing I had to do was coat the sanded playfield with Gloss Polyurethane, I tried three different ways to apply it (since I don’t have the capability to use a sprayer) with an aerosol can, with a foam brush, and with the wipe on option. (Aerosol not included in pic)</li>
</ul>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”http://retrogamefix.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/poly.jpg”><img class=”size-thumbnail wp-image-184 aligncenter” alt=”poly” src=”http://retrogamefix.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/poly-150×150.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a></p>

<ul>
<li>the aerosol can kind of sucked – it just didn’t seem to coat as evenly as I would have liked.  After three light coats spaced as directed on the can, I was fairly disappointed, and decided to start over.  This was no big deal at all, and took me about an hour to re prep (well worth it)</li>
<li>the wipe on option looked to have been the perfect answer at first, until the time came to put on the second coat – It didn’t take at all, and essentially turned out as if I’d done nothing at all.</li>
<li>the answer was the can of poly, with the foam brush.  When applying the first coat, I was left with somewhat significant vertical lines – I went over the entire area about three more times with the wide part of the brush to thin out the coat, and was left with a perfect coat – line, and seam free.  I added two more coats, wet sanding with 600 grit sandpaper in between coats for good measure.  The result was exactly what I was looking for (can’t believe I didn’t take a pic)
<ul>
<li>it should also be noted, that the poly coat beautifully fills in any light scuffing on inserts from sanding – in other words, don’t worry about it after sanding.</li>
</ul>
</li>
<li>After letting the poly coats cure for a couple of days, I received my overlay, and immediately got to work.
<ul>
<li>lightly spray the playfield with mildly soapy water, or windex – you will most likely need to preposition the overlay since there’s not really a great way to line it up without doing so.</li>
<li>After positioning the overlay, use a flashlight underneath to check how your inserts line up, and double check to make sure everything is where it should be.</li>
<li>When you’re satisfied, use a squeegee, or something that won’t scuff the surface to gently push out the moisture from under the overlay from the center, to the edges of the playfield.</li>
</ul>
</li>
</ul>
Here’s what I came out with:
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=”http://retrogamefix.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CAM00385.jpg”><img class=”size-thumbnail wp-image-186 aligncenter” alt=”CAM00385″ src=”http://retrogamefix.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CAM00385-150×150.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a></p>
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I’m very happy with the result, and am tumbling all of my metal parts, while ordering new LEDs, drop target inserts, posts, and flipper bats to basically have a brand new looking playfield.  I’ll update with pics when it’s complete!

OVERALL: I love the mirrored quality of the mylar.  I plan on taking the other approach with the other playfield – touching up, and clear coating eventually for the experience.  Phoenixarcade.com always carries top quality stuff, and although the blue is very different, I prefer it, and it’ll look great with the new plastic posts that I’ve ordered from marcospecialties.com (search concentric fin blue)

Baby Pacman (part 2 of 3)

An updated look at the ongoing restore of this Baby Pacman machine – part 2 of 3

Steps taken since part 1
<ul>
<li>Completely disassembled and fixed previous owners primer job</li>
<li>repainted sides and inside after re-priming</li>
<li>added new old stock artwork</li>
<li>added playfield glass</li>
<li>fixed edge connector issues</li>
<li>fixed and installed burn free 13″ monitor</li>
</ul>