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Pinball Rehab

pinball repair and restoration

Ramps and Plastics

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Whitening Yellowed ABS Plastics
Rather than replace or paint those old yellowed ABS plastics on your game, there is another solution. Using a simplified version of the Retr0Bright technique you can make them look like new. In Images 1 and 2 you can see a typical yellowed shuttle craft from Star Trek the Next Generation. Get a zip lock bag, fill it with 3% hydrogen peroxide and a spoon full of Oxiclean. Mix until the Oxiclean dissolves. Put your part in, make sure it is fully submerged and put it out in the sun (see Image...
 
 
Recreating Plastics
There are times when your only choice is to recreate a plastic for you pinball. If no replacement parts are available you have no other choice for heavily damaged or yellowed plastics. In my case I've got two yellowed plastics from a Bran Stoker's Dracula that need to be replaced (see Image 1). Nothing too dramatic needed as far as tools for this project (see Image 2). You'll need a Dremel tool with a cylindrical high speed cutter and a buffing wheel, some white rouge (buffing compound), a coping saw with a fine blade,...
 
 
Repairing Cracked Plastics
Cracked plastics are a common problem on pinball games and the type of crack you're dealing with will determine the type of approach to use. If the two plastic pieces have broken cleanly and fit perfectly back together, use a low viscosity super glue. In other cases where you don't have a good fit and need to fill a gap you'll want to use a gel product (see references). The first thing to do on any crack is to clean the area with a toothbrush and your preferred plastic cleaning product (Novus 1, Mean Green,...
 
 
Re-Graining Metal Ramps
On some games the stainless steel metal ramps are grained rather than polished. While there's a quick and easy method for ball guides using an abrasive ball (see this article), this approach won't work on a u-shaped ramp. Instead you can typicall do the bottom part of the u-shape using a nylon or wire abrasive wheel (I prefer the nylon). The wheel should be held perpendicular to the ramp and rotate in the same direction as the grain. Start out with a medium grit like 180, if necessary, and move on to a...
 
 
Cleaning and Polishing Plastics
For basic cleaning of playfield plastics I use Mean Green, which you can get at Dollar Tree (for a dollar in case you're not good with math). It's not as good a cleaner as Simple Green, but it's safe on plastics and since I spray it on heavily to flush off dirt and grit, the cheaper the better. It's important to flush the grit off of the plastics using a heavy amount of cleaner. That black stuff is actually very small granules of metal that will scratch the plastic if not washed off before...
 
 
Repairing Broken Ramp Mounting Tab
This procedure works great for replacing (as compared to reattaching) a broken mounting tab on a ramp or plastic. The product I'm using, Plastex (see references) is a two part resin kit consisting of a powder and a liquid that when mixed together turn magically into plastic. The kit also includes a molding bar, which is hard at room temperature and pliable at 170 degrees, for replicating the replacement part from a sample. A video included in the package thoroughly explains the techniques used to recreate your part. This product has been used for years...
 
 
Replacing Ramp Decals
With a couple of cheap tools and some adhesive tape it's easy to migrate your ramp decals to a new ramp. In Image 1 in the Image Gallery you can see the original ramp from a Hook pinball with a large chunk missing. Sidenote: The right ramp was in the same condition and upon looking closer I found someone had installed over-powered flipper coils. Brilliant! Along with an X-Acto or sharp knife you will need a bray (used to roll out ink) or a wallpaper seam roller. You can use a plastic...
 
 
Making Ramp Flaps
There's nothing worse than a rusty looking ramp flap and it's not always easy to locate a replacement. The good news is that with the right tools, a new ramp flap is pretty easy to make. All you need is some blue spring steel (available at Pinrestore.com) and a Hand Punch Set (see references). See Image 1. After removing the original ramp, use it as a template to cut out a new ramp from the blue spring steel. There are several solutions for cutting spring steel. A grinder with a cut-off...
 
 
 
8 results - showing 1 - 8