Here is part 2 of this ongoing playfield restoration series. I’m guessing this will be a trilogy, but who knows.
I forgot to mention before that I’ve been using this article on PinballMagic.com as a guide.
I finally had everything removed from the playfield…with the exception of the roll over switches (I think that’s what they’re called).
I left these in because I’m lazy. I found a good way to keep them below the playfield, and it only cost me 50 cents:
The drop targets stuck up every so slightly, but I decided to leave them and just sand over their tops. They are worn out, and you can get replacements. They looked complicated to remove so I figured it would be best to remove them right before I’m ready to replace them.
The playfield had a mylar protective layer in the center. I had heard that some people used a heat gun and paint scraper to get these off. I was reluctant to put heat on it so as to not loosen the glue holding in the clear plastic inserts. I figured maybe I would try to sand it off, which didn’t work very well. This pic was taken when I gave up on that approach.
The areas on the right that are down to bare wood are just outside the area covered by the mylar. I opted to use my fingernails to pick at the edge and pull it off. It actually worked pretty good. Here is a shot of some of it in the process of removal:
The area below the mylar was super shiny from the adhesive, but didn’t feel very sticky. This sort of reminded me of peeling skin after a bad sun burn (I know, gross!).
After picking at it for a good while, I got all of the mylar off. I hit it with my orbital sander using 60 grit sandpaper. The adhesive started to collect in areas and turned into the consistency of bubblegum. At this point, I figured it would be best to remove as much of that gunk as possible. I did so with Goof Off. I sprayed it right on the playfield, and let it sit for a minute or so. Then I went at it with one of my favorite tools…a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This did a good job of getting the adhesive off, but it was time consuming and the fumes were getting me pretty goofy (hence the name “Goof Off”).
After getting the glue off, I was able to make good progress on sanding off the old art…
…so close…and finally:
I made sure that I sanded right over the plastic inserts until they were flush. Some of them were slightly raised.
In part 1 from yesterday, I posted a pic of an area that some dumb ass drove a drywall screw through. I finished the day yesterday gluing that back in place. Here is that area after sanding:
It’s not perfect, but much better. I wanted to use wood putty on this in case it was visible but forgot to buy some. I opted for Bondo because I had it in the house and the playfield overlay should hide the area. Here it is after I finished bondo-ing (new verb) and sanding it.
After that, I hit the whole thing again with 120 grit and again with 220. The article said to use 400 and 600, but there was no way 400 would have stripped the paint off easily. I’m guessing maybe they are assuming you should know that. I couldn’t find 400 or 600 grit for my sander (I’m guessing they don’t make it?), so I used a sanding block and hand sanded it down with 400 grit. In the article, they then put polyurethane on it. I didn’t like the look of the plastic overlays, so I opted to hit it with 600 grit first.
Next, I blew off all the dust with the air nozzle on my compressor. I followed that up by wiping it down with a tack cloth, then cleaning it with Naptha and a rag.
At this point, I was ready to hit it with polyurethane. I bought Minwax “clear gloss” polyurethane in a can. It was too cold in the garage to do this part…I was afraid it wouldn’t dry right. I also didn’t want to fill the house with fumes. I opted to spray it in the garage and then bring it inside to dry. I had to do this carefully so as to not make a mess of the wet surface. I put handles on each side of the box so I could carry it easily into the house while wet.
The article recommends 3 coats of Poly, sanding in between with 600 grit sandpaper. The can says to recoat within 2 hours. If you can’t get the next coat on in that amount of time, it says you have to wait 72 hours! This is probably to prevent it from wrinkling. I found this out the hard way with Rustoleum awhile back.
I did the first coat at 6pm EST, and as of 9pm its still a tiny bit tacky. I’m guessing I’ll have to wait until Wednesday night now before I can get back to this which really bites!