Materials and tools required: Crescent wrench or socket wrenches, packing tape, box knife, packing plastic film (wide roll - Uhaul or Staples), two large closet or widescreen tv size cardboard boxes (U–Haul, need to have sides about 5 - 6 feet tall) a stool or table or strong leg (or helping hands).
- 1. Unplug machine.
2. Open the coin door and release the chrome lockdown bar by pulling the lever at the top edge of the door (usually to the left). The lockdownbar holds the front edge of the playfield glass down.
3. With the lockdown bar off, carefully slide out the glass. It may be a little sticky getting out, just wiggle it gently to loosen years of grime. Be careful not to bend it and put it down gently on some cardboard or carpet, or be very careful if putting its edge on concrete (the tempered glass shatters into cubes if you bang on the edge sharply).
4. Find and remove the balls. Usually they will be in the kickout trough just before the plunger lane, and if you reach in the coin door and to the right there will often be a movable solenoid plunger arm that you can push to eject the balls upwards one at a time by hand. [The problem with leaving the balls loose is that they will come out when tilted up and roll all around in the playfield and break more of the plastics. No worries if there are small bits like loose bulbs floating around.]
5. With the balls and any coin box taken out, you can slide the playfield glass back on, put the lockdown bar back on and pull the lever inside the coindoor to lock the bar in place.
6. Look inside the coindoor to see if the backglass/head keys are hanging on a hook there (if they are not already on your keychain). Close and lock the coindoor.
7. If the backglass back head box is not already folded, what you do is:
- a) check that the safety latch at the back of the backbox is holding the back box upright (don't open that latch quite yet). Use the backbox key to open a lever that then lets you lift the backglass up carefully and pull it forward slightly (and gently) to take it out of the machine. Be careful as the backglass scratches easily and is almost irreplaceable.
b) There is an insert board with lights and score displays on it, it has a latch that you can open to open it. Sometimes that latch is screwed down.
c) At the bottom inside of the back box, behind the insert board there are usually two (sometimes 4) bolts holding the head to the playfield. Check that the safety latch that holds the head box is on securely and/or keep a hand on the head box (you don't want it to come crashing down on you). Loosen and take out the bolts and put them in a zip lock baggy.
d) Close and latch the insert board and put a small screw in where there's a hole, or tighten the existing screws so that the latch won't come open easily in transport.
e) Put the backglass back in the machine carefully and lock it into place.
f) Put the backglass keys and the coindoor keys into the zip lock baggy.
g) Now, with hands in the backbox, you can undo the safety latch at the back and gently lower the head onto the playfield.
h) Take a piece of cardboard and slide it under the front edge of the now lowered backbox so that it protects the chrome siderails from being bumped in transport.
8. Take the packing plastic film roll and start an end under one edge of the back box (or get a helping hand). You want to wrap the head securely to the cabinet body, going around at least 6 times (just wrapping the head to the cabinet body in the folded down position). Not so tight that it indents into the side rails (although they often are already dented from being folded down for storage), but tight enough so that the plastic film "clings" and keeps the head from moving up and down at all (test by lifting).
9. Next, use a small socket wrench or screwdriver and remove the folding safety latch that is on the very back of the playfield cabinet (the hinged part). Important, if that is left on, it can scrape your floor when moving the pinball machine around on it's back. Put the parts from the latch and screws into your baggy. You will note that there should be four furniture gliders tacked on the back side of the playfield cabinet (this is how they come from the factory).
10. Next take a stool, low table, your knee or helping hands and lift the back end of the pinball off the ground so that you can unbolt the back legs. Watch your back! Put the loose bolts in your zip lock baggy.
11. Carefully (as it is heavy) with helping hands raise the back edge of the pinball machine off the stool and lower it gently to the ground, being careful not to catch fingers under the weight and bend legs to protect your back.
12. Now you can go to the front of the machine, grab the legs and lift the front up so that the pinball machine is standing upright on those furniture gliders. This gives you easy access to those front legs, and you can shift the machine around on the gliders as needed. If a glider is missing, be careful, the back end can be brutal to hardwood floors.
13. Unbolt the front legs, put the bolts in the baggy, put the four legs together and wrap them together with the plastic film.
14. Take the plastic film and do one or two wraps around the entire machine (not worrying too much about the coin door and back, but some over lap is nice. Just enough to protect the machine if the cardboard gets wet.
15. Now is a good time to move the playfield out of a basement or closer to your vehicle before doing any more wrapping.
16. If you can, unscrew the leg levellers from the bottom of the legs. Sometimes these get rusted stuck, and not to worry, you can leave them, it's just that the legs make a much tighter package if you can get these out. Don't forget to put the levellers into your parts baggy.
17. Take the legs, the baggy and anything else put a little padding around them and tape them securely into the right angle where the backbox meets the playfield cabinet. With the leg levellers off, the legs are usually just as wide as the backbox head. If they stick out a bit, it's not a problem, just a little harder to wrap in cardboard.
[Only for hardcore Dummies: At this point, especially if the machine is in pristine condition, I will do a little extra and put hard foam padding on the corners of the machine, or do a complete wrap in rigid insulation foam board. Call me obsessive.]
18. Next you take the cardboard and fashion and tape it around the whole cabinet leaving enough at top and bottom to fold and tape in place to cover the coin door (at the top) and the back end (at the bottom). You can leave the bottom end flaps sticking out on the ground until we are ready to lower the pinball machine. Tape down the top end flaps over the coin door, and around the sides and middle to secure the cardboard around the pinball machine.
19. Next wrap the entire pinball machine like a mummy (enough so that there are at least two layers of film around the whole thing, 3 or 4 layers even better). The top and bottom will be done when we lower the machine back to the ground, but it doesn't hurt to leave a little extra film top and bottom to fold over.
20. Usually at this point I tape my pre-prepared shipping labels (a large letter size label) and tape them to the plastic, one the head back box, and one on a side (to help indicate which ways is UP) and put a layer of film wrap on top to protect the label from rain.
21. Next, carefully lower the pinball machine so it is sitting cabinet bottom on the ground (like you play it, but without legs), and then you can fold and tape on the cardboard for the bottom end.
22. Do some final wraps of plastic film horizontally around the machine to finish off coverage for the coindoor and back end.
23. Now you are ready to transport the pinball machine to the shipping terminal.
24. Often what I do is stand it back up on end, dolly it out to the vehicle, put some cardboard down over the back bumper of my van or pick-up, and the tilt the coin door end down onto the bumper or tailgate, and then with helping hands from the back end, lift up and slide the machine on the cardboard into the vehicle.
25. At the terminal:
- a) Identify yourself and say you have a pre-booked shipment for receiving. They will usually direct you to park near a loading ramp near their receiving office.
b) You go into the receiving office first and book the cargo in using the pre-paid waybill number I will give you (and that will be on the shipping label).
c) They will give you directions to back up the loading ramp and send a receiver to help you get the pinball out of the vehicle.
d) Ask them for a pallet and tell them that you will need it wrapped to their pallet.
e) Once out of the vehicle, they usually take over. You can instruct them as to which ends of the pinball are safe to have down on the pallet.
f) Usually the safest is to have it laying on its long bottom edge (like you play it but without the legs), since it's not a tippy load then, and they will wrap it to a pallet that way.
g) Or it can be wrapped standing up on its back-end, but it's not usually as stable a load that way.
26. You're done. LOL. Go home and drink a beer to your excellent packing skills.
See, it's not that much trouble. Maybe one day I'll add pictures. Still interested in shipping? Copyright 2012 PinballIsNotDead.com