F14 Tomcat Restore

Restoration/upgrades/fixes/fabrication of pins and vids
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Post by cap »

This is what was underneath that custom decal picturing the jet and the yellow flower (explosion).
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IMG_7604.JPG
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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And this is what the front looks like. This was the only semi-acceptable surface hiding behind the black paint.
IMG_7600.JPG
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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I just bought the cabinet decals
http://www.retrorefurbs.com/shop/f-14-t ... et-decals/
I found a 5% off coupon on the net. The total comes out to $299CAD on paypal plus possible customs fees.
Compare that to $293US total on planetarypinball.com
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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Yesterday I investigated which font was used on the insert decals.
I determined Helvetica Black is close enough.

Today I found out how to remove the side rails.
The nails are not very strong and they are easy to pull out partly with a dry wall knife like this
http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/ergon ... p.html#spc
pushed underneath the rail. Then regular pliers can pull on the nail.
No need to drill the nail head like others had to do or make a slit on the head and unscrew it.
I saw there is a bolt at each extremity too.

The backbox hinge is underneath the backbox on the F14 so it is not a problem for the side rail.

I also found out how to remove the flipper buttons by unscrewing the hex nut inside the cabinet.
My two flipper buttons are not identical. It bugs me now that I noticed.

I noticed the two leaf switch for the two flippers per button.
Press only part way and only one flipper is activated, hence the technique known as flipper staging.
I wish I could master this skill during multiball but it is very hard.

Finally, I started looking for a product to clear coat the playfield after I install the insert decals.
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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I found this site where I can download the decal sheets for free.
I could go to Staples or whatever to have them printed with a laser printer.
http://flipper-fan.de/html/download.html

Also considering to buy the laminated decals instead.
http://www.planetarypinball.com/mm5/mer ... F14-INS-LM
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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I removed the last piece of mylar on the upper playfield.
This time I made sure the mylar was completely frozen when pulling gently.
It took longer but the inserts are much better.

I removed the glue with Goo Gone as before, let it soak for 30min and then I used flour to remove it.
Very gentle on the playfield and especially the inserts.
The nice thing is it's obvious when there is still glue left because the flour will continue to stick to it.
The only drawback is It makes a mess. I don't mind since I'm depopulating my playfield soon to clear it.

Conclusion: works great, saves a little bit of time, still tedious but more enjoyable,
and most importantly, leaves the playfield in better condition.

Recommendation: use less flour if possible to avoid the mess, protect the targets with cardboard
to avoid flour dropping below the playfield.
IMG_7648.JPG
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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This morning I removed an insert because it was lifted above the playfield.
I thought it was unglued but after working on it, I think it was just lifted.
I used an exacto knife all around, like vid suggested.
This task took longer than I expected because I did not know how deep to go
and I wanted to avoid skid marks.
Then I used a ratchet socket with an extension to push it from underneath.
There is nothing special about the ratchet socket. What you want is a large surface area to push.
Don't force it. The insert will come out easily when you have done a good job with the exacto.
In all it took approximately 20 mins. With experience this could be done faster.
IMG_7659.JPG
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Post by jojob »

you can use heat gun,you remove all inserts?
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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jojob wrote:you can use heat gun,you remove all inserts?
I don't have a heat gun. I heard of that technique to remove mylar or cabinet decals, but never to remove inserts.
vid recommended the exacto, so that's what I tried.
This was just an experiment. Yes, I will need to remove all inserts to sand them well.
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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This week I depopulated the top of my playfield. I felt pretty good to reach that milestone.
Took me 13h. Yep, this is slow. I bet grandma's dog could do it faster.
I don't mind because what counts is how fast I can put it back together again later.
I made notes as I went along and took lots of photos.
I put the small parts in 70 ziplocs and stored the bigger parts in 3 boxes.
I had to buy a solder iron to unsolder some wires.
IMG_7755.JPG
I removed the legs of my machine to make it easier for one person to remove the playfield.
IMG_7770.JPG
I built a box to rest the playfield with all the mechanism still underneath.
IMG_7813.JPG
IMG_7811.JPG
Finally I started cleaning the playfield with alcool.
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Sparky
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Post by Sparky »

NICE!!!
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Sammy31
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Post by Sammy31 »

Good work. Nice to see someone saving a game.

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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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After I received my DMM, it took 2 min to find the problem with flasher 1: two broken resistor legs and a third busted resistor.
This repair will have to wait because I don't have the parts yet and I want to clearcoat my playfield first.
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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Sammy31 wrote:Good work. Nice to see someone saving a game.
The game played pretty good after the early easy tweeks.
I did a sloppy job removing the mylar the first time and that gave me a lot more work.
In the end, it's the new cabinet art that will bring back this game from purgatory.
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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Good job!!!Did you remove your mylar with heat gun or freeze method?
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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jojob wrote:Good job!!!Did you remove your mylar with heat gun or freeze method?
I used the freeze method.

You hold the unglued mylar up and shoot at the base. Only pull on the mylar if there is still frost on it. You lose all the effect of the previous spray if you let it thaw. You might have to wait a few seconds for the sprayed liquid to freeze. Only expect to pull at most 3 cm at a time. It works best if your strip is narrow. This way you can make sure the pulled strip is completely frozen and you did not forget a little area that might pull paint. The decal over an insert is very fragile. Try to make your next pull over an insert be exactly the area of the insert. Split your strip if necessary. This way you can make sure the insert is totally frozen.

It's very easy to pull on the mylar even when not frozen. Resist the temptation.
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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Tonight I removed all the arrows. The glue on these inserts is terrible. Just a little bit of heat with a hair dryer and you can push on them. It's a lot faster and there is less damage around the insert compared to the exacto method. Don't rush it though. Inserts are fragile.

Thanks to sparky for the hint.

EDIT: I just finished sanding all the arrows with 600 paper and then 1000 paper.
Tomorrow, I work on the other inserts.
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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I just got my new cabinet decals from retrorefurbs today.
They were shipped from Slovenia and took exactly 3 weeks to arrive.
The product looks good quality but the packaging is too weak.
The tube was slightly crushed during shipping and my decals have creases every 8 inches.
My heart was crushed too until I saw that post from retrorefurbs.
If that's true, everything will be fine.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic ... st-3681934
(or how to remove wrinkles from an old Baywatch babe!!!)
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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Summer is over. Time to revive this project.
I emptied the head and the cabinet is almost empty too.
I want to do the inside of the cabinet too because it is filthy and it stinks cigarette smoke.
The goal is to bondo, sand, and repaint the cabinet outdoors before it's too cold.
IMG_8068.JPG
IMG_8072.JPG
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Fifty
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Post by Fifty »

Nice work cap. Makes me want my F-14 back.

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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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Back in October, I fixed some planking.
IMG_8089.JPG
I sanded the cabinet.
IMG_8091.JPG
I applied multiple coats of bondo where needed and sanded again.
IMG_8204.JPG
I painted the cabinet black.
IMG_8207.JPG
Then I took a break. A long break.
I have to admit. Applying the decals looked like a daunting task.
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

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Fast-forward to February. I discovered more planking below the plunger.
My C clamps were too small. Instead, I applied some glue, I placed a hexagonal nut of the right size, a metal plate and a bunch of heavy books on top.
This fixed the planking but it left a depression. I filled it with plaster, applied primer and painted the area again.
Spray painting is nasty inside in winter but that was the only way this project could move forward.

I tried to follow the instructions in this youtube video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SCk4Hqk4Ek

I prepared a piece of cardboard as a place holder for the coin door.
This avoids the decal sagging in the middle when applying.
It was held by a telescopic squeegee.
IMG_8245.JPG
I practiced with the head before attacking the large cabinet sides.

Before applying a decal, I clean the surface with alcool.
IMG_8235.JPG
I used the wet method, because it is more forgiving.
I protected the underside against water spills when flattening the decal later.
You first have to peel about a foot of the protective paper. You make a cut and reapply the paper with 5mm overlap.
You then make sure the position is perfect. I used books as weights to make sure nothing moved.
You lift the decal and remove the slice of protective paper. Then you spray soapy water on the cabinet and on the sticky surface.
Just a very small amount of water, otherwise the decal has no grip and I felt that encouraged ripples.
I used a rubber roller and a squeegee I bought at the dollar store to flatten the decal.
IMG_8249.JPG
Then you flip around and start applying the decal from the middle in the other direction.
I lifted the unglued portion, peeled about 18inches, sprayed water on cabinet and decal, I repositioned the decal carefully, then I flattened the new section.
If you have a partner to hold the unglued edge of the decal, you can possibly peel the protective paper without lifting the whole decal.
Repeat in sections until the whole side is done.

Then I used a long metal ruler to cut the sides before the glue settles. You have to cut 2mm shorter.
That's because the decal should not want to lift if you slide your finger perpendicular to the edge.
That cut exposes the cabinet underneath so choose your paint color wisely.
Try to make a single cut. It works best if your blade is new.
IMG_8232.JPG
This is the end result. The cut outs that you see are for my pincab protectors.
These will go underneath the legs. Because the legs and pincab protectors do not touch the decal,
I expect it will never form ripples there. I bought the small protectors.
The large ones are meant to hide defects in your cabinet which is not my case.
IMG_8251.JPG
This was the first time I applied decals. Overall, I'm satisfied with the result.
Last edited by cap on Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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cap
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Post by cap »

When I originally received my decals, the packaging was lightly crushed and there were small dents every 10 inches.
retrorefurbs was claiming this did not matter.
I am glad to report they were right. Those dents do not appear at all after installation.
I would not accept a complete fold though, since it would likely remain.
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Azatotht
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Post by Azatotht »

Very nice, well done :-)
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Coitusmysterioso
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Re: F14 Tomcat Restore

Post by Coitusmysterioso »

Sweet.

I just picked up an F-14 as my first SS pin. LOVE this game and yours is looking GREAT!

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