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Pinball Rehab

pinball repair and restoration

Tutorials and Techniques

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Paint Masking
When touching up cabinets or playfields with an airbrush, LPHV or rattle can, half the battle is masking off the area you don't want to paint. There are several options available and depending on the task at hand you can pick the one that works best (see Image 1). Note: Although these solutions have light adhesive (other than static cling vinyl) they can still lift paint on older games, so be careful. Tools The first thing you need is an X-Acto knife or scalpel with a fresh blade (always use a new...
 
 
Matching Paint Colors
There's nothing worse than a game where someone did some touch-up paint and didn't match the paint color very well (see Image 3). While it does take a good eye to match paint colors there are also some tools and techniques available that will make your life easier. See Images 4 and 5 for an example of some touch-up paint I did on the scoop hole on a Data East Hook. General Advice Not to be sexist here, but women are generally much better at matching colors than guys are. ...
 
 
Editing Graphics with Vector Software
Once you've copied a pinball graphic using a camera or scanner (see references for how to do this) it's time to create a final graphic for publishing. While some will skip the editing step, you are going to get a much more professional looking product with a little editing work. For these examples I'm using CorelDraw X6. It has a very slick tool called PowerTRACE for easily converting bitmap images into vector files. Other vector problems like Adobe Illustrator have similar tools or there are free online services that will convert a bitmap graphic...
 
 
Editing Graphics with Bitmap Software
Once you've copied a pinball graphic using a camera or scanner (see references for how to do this) it's time to create a final graphic for publishing. While some will skip the editing step, you are going to get a much more professional looking product with a little work. For these examples I'm using Corel PaintShop Pro X5 (a bitmap, or raster, editing program). It has a very slick tool called Find All Edges which makes the process about 10 times faster than doing it manually (of course you do give up some accuracy). ...
 
 
Recreating Playfield or Cabinet Graphics
This article will walk you through duplicating cabinet or decal graphics using a camera or scanner. Both approaches can be used to create either decals, stencils or silkscreens. Although I should add that you can get a good VuPoint Magic Wand Scanner for under $100 and the scanner method will be more accurate than the camera method. For more info, see Restoring Cabinet Graphics - Overview, which covers the different types of pinball cabinet graphics and provides an overview of the restoration process. Links are then provided to individual articles (like this one) that...
 
 
Creating and Applying Vinyl Decals
This article covers using vinyl decals to repair cabinet graphics that are so severely mangled there is no choice but to cut away the damaged area. The same technique is appropriate when a portion of decal has been peeled off during moving, or some other such misadventure. Since the graphics in this case are dithered (small colored dots used to create the illusion of more colors used in the printing process) it's impossible to recreate the look with paint (see Image 2). When replacing graphics that have to be cut-out it's best to use...
 
 
Creating and Applying Water Slide Decals
You will find many cases where a water slide decal is the best way to repair pinball cabinet or playfield damage. This approach is appropriate where the substrate (playfield or cabinet decal) is in good physical condition and you want to minimize the thickness of the decal. For example, when the colors on a cabinet decal are faded. Although you could do this repair with a stencil or silk screen it would require one stencil for the red and one for the black. Plus I had a brand new wand scanner I'd purchased and...
 
 
Repairing Stripped Screw Holes in Plastic
I've always struggled with a good way to repair stripped screw holes in plastic ramps until watching the product video for the Plastex Repair Kit. The Plastex product is a two part plastic resin, consisting of a powder and liquid catalyst. All you have to do is enlarge the stripped hole slightly, apply some light oil to the screw, apply a ball of Plastex to the screw threads, place the screw in the stripped hole and clean up any excess plastic. The result is a nice strong joint since Plastex fuses with the...
 
 
Repairing Stripped Screw Holes in Wood
If you work on a pinball game for more than about five minutes you're going to find a stripped screw hole in either the cabinet or the playfield. All you need is some wood glue and a couple of toothpicks to fix this problem (bamboo skewers also work well). It is worth noting, this is the procedure that professional woodworkers use on stripped holes. All you need to do is dip the toothpick in the wood glue and push it into the screw hole until it hits bottom. Then do the same with a...
 
 
Cutting Playfield Mylar
Although you can buy mylar in precut shapes (i.e. - circles for the bumpers or half-circles for the kickers) it's really not that hard to cut it yourself. The most basic cutting solution would require an X-Acto knife, t-square (for cutting square pieces) and either circle templates (available at most craft shops) or a variety of cans for cutting various sizes of round mylar. Note: See the references for a link to an article on static cling vinyl which is removable. Since this seemed like an opportunity to buy tools (always a good...
 
 
 
12 results - showing 1 - 10 1 2