Pinball Rehab

pinball repair and restoration

Playfield Parts

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Re-Graining Ball Guides
The stainless steel ball guides on most pinball games are grained rather than polished. Over time the pinball will wear away the grain and leave shiny ball tracks (see Image 2). Here's an easy method for returning them to their factory look. All you need is a couple of 4 inch abrasive balls; one medium (180 grit) and one fine (400 grit). Harbor Freight sells them for $10 and they will last through multiple games (see Image 1 and ignore the blue nylon drill brush, it didn't work as well as the abrasive...
Refinishing Electroplated Parts
Many pinball games include metal parts that have been electroplated to increase rust resistance. Image 1 shows three electroplated assemblies from a Data East Hook pinball. These parts were originally electroplated using zinc yellow (zinc plating with a yellow chromate coating) and although it's a little difficult to see in the photo the result is a mottled gold color with hints of red, green and occasionally blue. While in most cases the parts are not visible until the machine is opened up, I always clean them when doing a full restoration. Normally chemical cleaners...
Polishing Metal Scoops
The scoop pictured in image 1 shows the normal wear and tear, and ball tracks, that you would expect on a decade old pinball game. While I normally use a bench polisher for metal ramps and guides, for scoops and other odd shaped pieces of metal a Dremel tool works better. The only other tools you need are a couple of buffing wheels and Ryobi yellow and white buffing compounds (see image 2), which are available at Home Depot. The yellow compound is for removing scratches and the white compound is for polishing. I...
3 results - showing 1 - 3