Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:47 am

142 days remaining

So I've eaten up more than a month so far and haven't made a ton of progress.
My plan was to get all 3 cabinets done while the weather is warm and then move on to the playfields as they can be done largely indoors.
At this pace I may not make my self-imposed challenge of completing all three machines before the new year, but it is Summer after all and there was some vacation time and lots of work-related travel mixed in these first few weeks. Hopefully things will settle down soon.

The Star Gazer cabinet had its challenges and I ended up having to perform a lot of unneccessary glue residue removal and some touch-ups. Still, it turned out very nice and the few imperfections actually help to give it a slightly more authentic look ;)

Here are a few photos I took today after putting the trim back on (I was short a few spiral nails though... can't find my stash).

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby redketchup » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:07 am

Look very good! Keep the good work and motivation...
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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:29 am

redketchup wrote:Look very good! Keep the good work and motivation...



Thanks!

I should also share this little trick. I decided to try something different this time around for polishing the metal trim.

I had a handheld belt sander that accepts 3" wide paper. Normally you can only buy 150 grit or more coarse from the local big box stores, but Amazon.ca had varying grits down to 400 so I grabbed a few different grades and tested out using the belt sander to re-grain the rails.
It seemed to work very well. Pro tip though... don't waste your time on super fine grits. This paper is meant for wood and the stainless steel just chews it up. I was fine using 150-180 grit for most of the work and then I dropped down to about 240 on the machine and then did the final pass by hand with one of those foam sanding blocks. If I was super anal and had a larger polishing wheel setup, I'm sure I could've gotten these gleaming, but I was happy with the grained look which wasn't too far off from the factory finish.

Below are some shots of my little setup and some early results; being careful to clamp down the pieces so I could work on half of it at a time.

Just one note. Don't expect miracles. If your rails are dented or have low areas (around nail holes) these will not sand evenly. You can try digging in the corner of the belt sander but I don't recommend that unless you are very comfortable with the tool. These little areas will need some hand work. I also took care to try and bang out as many low spots as possible by laying the rail down on the flat anvil end of my bench vice and hammering it from the back side.

The belt sander at coarse grit was awesome for removing most of the deeper scratches. The final finish is equivalent to what you would normally get by hand, but with a lot less work :)




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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Fifty » Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:09 am

Looks good Drano. I start with 150 grit to get the deep stuff out. Then move to 400, then 800, and recently I picked up some 1000 just to see if it made any difference. The 150 works great. I have to sand it dry. The 400 I prefer to use wet as I find it gives the best results. The 800 I also use wet. For the 1000 my tendency was to use it dry. Then I just give everything a soapy rinse and voila! I would say it comes out better than original. There is more of a gleam to the metal once I'm done. It isn't a mirror finish, but I'm doing this by hand. I can live with the results. It looks great.

I'll probably pass on the 1000 the next time I grain any metal guides. I don't find it was worth the effort. 400 is my go to grit. I'll be stocking up on it as I go through a shit ton of it. 150 will also be my new go to starter grit. It's great for getting out most of the wear on the guides and even little imperfections in the metal.

I have yet to try the side rails but if I ever do I'll definitely pick up a belt sander.


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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:18 am

1000 does seem a bit excessive on stainless steel. At that point you're really just buffing it.
I found the paper I got from amazon was just getting eaten up on the belt sander at anything past 240 so I just switched to hand work after that.
I'm sure I could've spent hours and hours on these rails alone, but that was not my goal. Unfortunately I have so many machines to get through and so little time to work on them that I stopped when it looked 'good enough'. If this was my only project I would probably go a little more nuts. Overall I'm pretty happy with the results.
What you're seeing in these pics (including the lockdown bar) was less than an hour of work.

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby OTTOgd » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:17 am

Fantastic information and motivation, as usual.

Thanks, Adriano!

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:52 am

I should also share this little bit of info in case anyone here has the same reaction between their paint and the vinyl stencils.
I know Pinball Pimp makes good stuff and I've never had issues with it when using my other paints like Molotow or Ironlak.

But, if the paint you've selected does have a reaction with the stencil, here is one way to clean it up.

Basically I just sprayed a ton of Goo Gone (not to be confused with Goof Off). This should not hurt your paint. Just make sure you've given it a couple of days to cure first.
I saturate the area with the glue residue and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then I work it through with a paper towel and constantly folding and switching sides so that it has some bite. If the glue isn't moving around you can try a microfiber cloth or one of those textured J cloth dish towels. If the glue isn't moving at all then the last resort is a magic eraser. You can re-apply the Goo Gone as required but don't go crazy. If you do end up using the magic eraser, do it evenly across the entire surface because it is slightly abrasive and can chnage the shine of the surface... and you don't want shiny and dull patches.
Lastly just wipe clean with a cleaner like an ammonia free Windex or even an orange wipe. It's not a nice thing to have to do, but the right products and tools will make it less painful if/when you have to deal with this type of nonsense.


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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:32 am

131 days remaining

I know I said I would focus on cabinets while the weather was good, but I couldn't resist getting this Quicksilver playfield started.
Monkeybug was nice enough to give me this unpopulated example that was in better shape then mine. This will make for a much easier project as I can simply swap parts onto the finished playfield once completed.

I applied some freeze spray to delaminate the remaining Mylar from the playfield. To soften the glue that gets left behind I laid some pieces of paper towel over the glue and saturated it with goo gone. After about 20 minutes I simply scraped it away with a plastic razor.

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Afterwards I gave the playfield a good cleaning with some alcohol and magic eraser... plus a final cleaning with some naptha to get rid of any oil residues before clearcoating.
However, I decided to take just one more step before that. I wanted to fill in as much of the bare wood as possible with a sort of 'primer' layer before I clearcoat. This will make the next few layers go a bit faster. I was really lucky that the Liquitex Hookers Green I had was almost a perfect match right out of the tube.

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One of the biggest issues with most QS is the blown out area around the bonus inserts. And, like many Stern games of the era, this area of the playfield is just filled with numbers and text. This is nearly impossible to repair... but I had an idea. I scanned and recreated all the text (thanks Randy!) and then had it professionally printed into a custom rub-on transfer decal. I figured this will be the most accurate way to repair the text and not add thickness to the playfield finish with a decal. These decals with custom colour were not cheap, but I'm praying they will be worth every penny!


Transfer Decals.jpg



Here's the playfield now with all/most of the green damaged areas filled. It has been lightly sanded so the dull finish does not seem to match, but if I wet it, you can barely tell where the paint it.


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I have some inserts to re-set and then I will spray my first clear. Then I will try to level it a little until almost smooth and I'll airbrush some of this colour around the middle of the playfield. This will give me a much more uniform base to work on top of. And then the decals can go on!

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby HPR Pinball » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:24 am

It's nice to see this restoration :-)
I have the same repairs to do on my Quicksiler, you give me more inspiration !!
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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:24 pm

129 days remaining

Okay, so I've had a bit of a setback.
Last night I dropped the playfield back into the cabinet. Just because it would be easier to strip it from there and I didn't want to bust out the rotisserie into my already overflowing workshop.
I took plenty of photos and details as I removed components.

Once I had gotten tired and decided to stop for the night, I figured I would do a quick test on pulling up some of the clear vinyl that covers the entire playfield.
I don't know who did this, but it is obviously not factory and the soft material comes up very easily by hand. I had done a small patch when I first got the pin and it just peeled off beautifully. I had no worries about my ability to turn this into a stunning restoration.

Well, last night's testing shattered that dream. As I started to pull away the material from some of the higher wear areas, I could see that the artwork underneath had softened over years of being under the vinyl and little flecks of the paint were coming up no matter how gently it came off. After already having some challenges with this machine, last night was totally demoralizing.
My only resort now is to get a repro. So, a message was placed into Mr. Greatwich to remind him of my inquiry several months ago and (fingers crossed) he has a repro available for me.
It's money I wasn't looking to spend but, the bright side is, I will save myself a ton of work.

I guess we will move onto Seawitch and Quicksilver for the time being.


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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby HPR Pinball » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:59 pm

Did you try the freeze method, that will remove only the plastic and leave the glue (and the artwork) on the playfield.
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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby redketchup » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:30 pm

Here you go, some inspiration... I just finish my Quicksilver cab and putting back everything together!
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image.jpeg
Bally Centaur, Fathom, Stern Big Game, Filght 2000, Quicksilver, Catacomb, Iron maiden, Stargazer, Viper, Metallica Pro, Wurlitzer 700, 750e, Rockola 1428, seeburg HF 100R
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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:19 pm

HPR Pinball wrote:Did you try the freeze method, that will remove only the plastic and leave the glue (and the artwork) on the playfield.


Cold or heat. Nothing works.
This is not mylar.... it's just simple clear vinyl. It comes off by hand super easy but I think it has softened the artwork underneath. There is no glue residue.

redketchup wrote:Here you go, some inspiration... I just finish my Quicksilver cab and putting back everything together!


That looks great Gino!
Well done.

Maybe I'll just start another cabinet this weekend while I wait for the playfield business to be sorted out. Time for Seawitch! I'll save QS for last. Still not sure if I need to re-paint it. It's pretty nice except for the black frame around the head and that's easy to fix.

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:10 pm

New repro playfield has been purchased. Hopefully it arrives soon. It'll be nice to put one of these projects to bed.

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby redketchup » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:07 pm

Greatwich repro look really good!
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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:43 pm

redketchup wrote:Greatwich repro look really good!


Yup, it looks pretty nice. I may even be tempted to put one in Seawitch if he finishes them in time.

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:48 pm

121 days remaining

So I've decided to change gears for a little bit and started pulling apart Seawitch. With any luck and can start prepping the cab by the weekend.

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In other news, my SG playfield came from John Greatwich.
I'm super happy with the quality considering this is an inkjet printing process.
Here's a little teaser.

IMG-20160830-WA0008.jpeg

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby HPR Pinball » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:47 am

Classic Stern all the way !!! :-)
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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:55 pm

108 days remaining

Ughhhhhh.... I'm almost down into double digits on my timeline and not one game complete :FP:

Summer has been hard (translate that to: I've been having too much fun to work on my projects). But, to be fair, I have been rebuilding a small extension on the back of our house and doing other things. But enough about my excuses. I've tried to get back into these projects as much as possible. Here are some photos to show you where I'm at.

So, firstly, I got the repro playfield from John Greatwich on the rotisserie. There's some good and bad to going this route.

Cons: Art was scanned, not redrawn in vector, so there is some pixelation; particularly around scoop text by the flippers. Also, the blue is not nearly as dark/rich as the original.
Pros: The clearcoat is top notch, inserts are correct and it's a helluva lot better than my crappy original!

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I also took my Seawitch playfield out and, while doing that I tried swapping the aprons with SG. I think they actually look better reversed. I will probably put the Blue/Yellow one on Seawitch and Blue/Blue on SG.

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Last night I took all the solenoids off the back of SG in preparation for the parts swap. It's amazing how much fun a game with just 10 solenoids can be. Compared to Fathom, this machine is like working on a Model T Ford.

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Seawitch cabinet is now fully empty and I will be stripping and repairing that this weekend (fingers crossed).

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Lastly, I finally received my new repro glass for Quicksilver.
Colour is great. Masking is different but works the same from the front. The black detail is a little bit less than the original silkscreen... especially where there are a lot of dots. And, the only major difference, the "credit" text had to be done on a black strip instead of on a clear window. I will need to raise my displays by about 1/4" to compensate.


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Almost forgot!
I've been working with Bob Langelius for a few months on getting new targets made up for classic Stern.
He already made translucent ones for Bally games like Medusa (behind the Olympus drop targets). Once we confirmed that the Stern target faces were physically identical, he agreed to make up some opaque ones in yellow, white and red. Maybe more colours to come.

He kindly shipped me the first batch direct from China. I grabbed a bunch for some of the local collectors with classic Stern.
If you need any of these just google Bob. He's easy to find.

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Last edited by Drano on Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby redketchup » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:58 pm

I will have make the glass without the credit and put a reverse die-cut white decal inside...
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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:04 pm

redketchup wrote:I will have make the glass without the credit and put a reverse die-cut white decal inside...


I don't think the black bar looks bad. If the display is raised a little, the area around the numbers would be black anyway. At least that is how they should look if everything is properly aligned.
The way I have it now, the number is being cut off... which is obviously not the right way to do it ;) This is easy to adjust though.

To be honest, I think Stern made a bigger error in judgement by placing the "credit" text inside the window and the "Ball in Play" text under the window. Why not do both the same way?

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby redketchup » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:19 pm

Does he have solid blue target?
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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:08 pm

redketchup wrote:Does he have solid blue target?



Not yet, but he said he is willing to make them if there is enough demand.

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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Drano » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:15 am

90 days remaining

Well, I think I have to accept the fact that I won't complete these projects in the timeframe I had hoped, especially not with the remaining 2 playfields requiring restoration and clearcoat.
Still, I'll continue to plug away and see how far I can get.

I've been putting in some hours almost every night. I'm feeling a bit under the weather so tonight is a good time to take a break and catch up on my posts.

With the SeaWitch cab totally stripped I needed to get working on the paint. I decided that I wanted to have an easier time of the prep this time around so I decided to try a chemical stripper first before moving to the sander. I've used this stuff on other projects and it works great. The end product was a very clean cab ready for a light sand, some filler and primer.


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The rest of the week was spent starting to re-assemble the Star Gazer playfield. Progress has been very slow. Normally a playfield such as this can be put together in 2-3 nights but I spent some time taking apart all of the mechs. The worst part however, has been that a ton of the posts and hardware were in the wrong place. Not sure if it was an OP or a previous owner, but several things were just not right. It would take me hours each night scouring for online pics of other SG and asking friends for shots of their games. Eventually I got to a pretty happy place where I was confident that it was at least 95% accurate. I also take a lot of time to adjust switches, ball guides and just make sure that things are as close to dialed in as I can. I used to rush through these swaps and then spend days fiddling around with tweaks. By taking more care on the front end I should get a lot closer to a plug-n-play playfield once I'm done.
Just the spinners alone too an hour to tweak. I adjust switches to just barely make contact and twist them so the connector arm doesn't come in contact with the hole in the playfield. All brackets are straightened and a little Teflon grease is added where the spinner wire meets the brackets. All of these things reduce friction and perfectly balance each spinner so they just go on forever.

I'm just about at the stage of being able to re-grain and polish up the metal rails and test fit my plastics. Hopefully this will be fairly complete by the weekend.
I had some brand new oak rails made by TaylorVA on Pinside so I'm expecting those soon too.


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Re: Dr.NO and the STERN 'sisters'

Postby Jays » Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:43 am

I am amazed! Continue the good work.....



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