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Pinball Rehab

pinball repair and restoration

Fixing Insert Problems Fixing Insert Problems Hot

I was not happy with the peeling, fogged, and delaminating inserts on my Arabian Nights (see Image 1).  Most of the inserts were looking pretty bad.  Advice on the web usually mentions trying Krazy glue, Varathane, or just redoing the whole playfield with a full restoration.

I was not liking those options and noticed when I wiped the playfield with alcohol, the liquid seeped into the crevasses around the insert and made them look great, until the alcohol dried up.  Having work experience with UV curable resins, I tried the following method and it worked so well, I wanted to share. 

The resin used is Simoniz Fix It Pro Clear Coat pen applicator (UV activated) and the UV curing unit is used for nail polish.  It is a Red Carpet manicure light Pro 45 and goes for about $38 on Amazon. See Image 2.

Note: Some people have reported receiving the non-UV activated version when ordering from Amazon.  The correct product is available at Auto Zone, and other auto parts stores.

Note: This works on original playfields that have not be re-clearcoated.

  1. Set the playfield more or less level so the liquid resin does not run.  It is watery.
  2. Use a needle to clean out any open groove along the edge of the lifting insert where wax and dirt build up (see Image 3).
  3. Apply the UV resin in a bead along the edges of the insert where you see while lifting (see Image 4).  In moments, the resin will bleed into the insert where it is delaminating from the playfield.  Allow some time if needed.  The UV resin will NOT dry up unless there is bright UV light present.  If the resin does not fully soak into the lifting area, you can try to apply a little pressure to "work it in."
    You could also use a syringe with a needle to get to bubbles in the middle of the insert.
  4. Once you are satisfied with the results, wipe up the excess resin from the surface of the playfield so the insert is clean (see Image 5).  If you have a small chip on the insert, you can apply a drop of resin to fill the chip.
  5. Place the UV light source over the repair area and turn it on (see Image 6).  This model shuts off after 45 seconds. I gave it 4-5 doses of light to fully cure the resin where it seeped deeply into the insert.  You could also use sun light, but its not easy to get access to the sun with a pinball machine and these nail manicure lights are more powerful.
    Note: this model has an open base that shines UV light directly on the playfield.  Other models I looked at do not have an open base and would not work.
  6. Wipe the surface again with a cotton pad to remove any residue.  There will always be some liquid on the surface of the cured resin that needs to be wiped off.  You are finished and can move on to the next insert (see Image 7 and Image 8).  This is an extremely hard, clear, durable coating that should last for many years.  See Image 9 and Image 10 for another example.

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Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems
Fixing Insert Problems