There are dozens and dozens of bulb sockets on and under the playfield.
Some are for General Illumination (GI), which means that their bulbs
protrude above the playfield surface. Since these bulbs were
removed for playfield renovation, bits of dirt and flecks of Magic
Eraser have built up in them. Also over the years, corrosion
be seen on the electrical contacts inside the sockets.
from www.pbresource.com. However, after it arrived, I was
disapointed to realize that it only cleans the spring contact in the
middle of the socket, and not the insides of the barrel of the
socket. This is because there is little abrasiveness to the
of the stick, and there are no brushes to polish rust from an irregular
Example of a dirty bulb socket. The inside of the socket has
corrosion, and bits of Magic Eraser can be seen inside of it.
The sockets were cleaned with this modified Dremel tool in the handheld drill attachment for my bench
I looked for round small
brushes made for handheld drills, but could not find any. The
smallest would not fit inside the 1/4" barrel of the bulb
As a result, I decided to modify another tool for the job.
original tool is a 1/8"
Steel End Brush
purchased at Home Depot, which I spread out
ball pattern with a needle nose plier. The result was
excellent. I could use the drill attachment to polish the
and center spring with little effort. After a few minutes,
would both be shiny and rust-free. Before this treatment, I
get the bulbs to light intermittently by wiggling them in the
socket. Afterwards, they would burn slightly brighter, and
without flashing even when wiggled.
Example of a cleaned bulb socket. Although not readily
after buffing with
the steel brush, the inside of the socket and the spring are both
shiny. This is
followed up by a burst of air from a spray can to remove debris.
Using the rotisserie, I
can tip the
playfield vertical to spray the rust and dirt out with my compressed
air can. After cleaning, it can be noticed that the bulbs
brighter, and are not intermittent even when you wiggle them in their
The underside of the playfield during the bulb cleaning
Quite a chore! Note the grey oxidation
on the bulb sockets (cleaned off with the buffing tool), and the dark
bulb glass (washed off with alcohol).
I also swabbed all the inserts as they had a thin layer of
Where convenient, I also wiped the soot
off the bottom of the playfield. The playfield tester
it easy to
identify bad bulbs.
Finishing the clearcoat
After waiting three weeks for the clearcoat to dry, I sanded it with
1000 grit sandpaper, buffed it with my random orbit polisher and some
rubbing compound, polished with Novus 2, and then applied two layers of
The playfield after three weeks of drying. It is shiny, but
smooth. As usual, the freshly painted surface
has speckles of clear that feel rough to the touch.
After sanding, all the sheen is gone, but it is now smooooth.
After buffing with the rubbing compound, the Novus 2 and the paste wax,
the playfield surface is
This was my second
these targets, which are always damaged from years of use.
The first time
around, I used acrylics,
paint rubbed off after a few weeks of play. Also, my accuracy
poor and the results reflected that. After a few weeks of
trying to think of ways to improve the touchup, I settled on printing
circles that were drawn in Visio (which allows precise dimensioning)
onto sticker stock, and
then cutting them as templates. These were then applied to
target. I then handpainted the circles by hand and a
paintbrush. This time I used "Fusion
paint, which bonds to
Example of a worn target. The ball strikes over the years
removed the paint from the
two outer circles. Due to the rivet in the middle, the inner
circle is intact on all my targets.
The circle template after the unneeded circles were removed and then
applied to the target. It allowed me to ensure an accurate
edge on the circle. The inside edge is done free-hand.
The template consists of
circles. Each circle's diameter is 1/8" larger than the
previous. By cutting out the correct one very carefully with
sharp pair of scissors, a template results that can aid in the painting
The result of the touchups. Hopefully, I will do even better
Note the shine on that playfield.
The most important
lesson I learned
is to burnish the sticker stock down so that paint does not seep under
the edge. In a few cases, that was not done, and the outside
on some circles needed to be rubbed clean. Other than that,
results were allright, although it is possible to notice the touchups
if you look closely.
Reassembly of playfield
Two tools that I used a lot were my finger ratchet and the adapter for
my cordless drill.
This allowed me to remove and fasten screws very quickly and in tight
The lower part of the playfield with the two flippers, the ball saver
post and the other hardware. Everything has
been sanded, polished, and new wear items (sleeves) have been
replaced. Thanks to the playfield
was able to tweak everything and find problems from the comfort of the rotisserie
Touching up the apron
Due to the frequent ball strikes, the apron gets dinged and chipped a
lot. I found some Testor's Enamel (Gloss
) that is a good
match for the blue area.
Touched-up apron with the Testor's Enamel. The chips were
the angle closest to the camera
and along where the ball travels. The match is very good.
The one tricky part is
paint color seems to vary depending on how it is mixed. When
first bought the jar, there was some lighter colored pigment in the
bottom. When I initially applied a test patch without any
the result looked darker than the apron. When the settled substance was
mixed into the rest of the paint, the color was slightly lighter than
the apron (when painted onto the blue part). However, after
paint resettled after a few days, the color match was almost
perfect. So the lesson is that the paint should be mixed and
a sample applied to check the match. Incidently, IPA
was a good cleaning agent for the wet paint and brushes.
After a week of steady
work, all the
components have been reassembled onto the playfield. These
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The lower playfield. The left sling plastic was autographed
and John Grunsfeld
Of course all rubbers were replaced and bolts and plastics were
polished. All GI lamps were replaced with
cooler running #47 bulbs, but all lamp matrix bulbs were #44's.
The Shuttle toy is snowy white, and the bullseye targets are complete
This is not normally the case with unrenovated machines.
After swapping out the playfield in my machine, I only had to make some
minor adjustments, and all
systems worked great.
The slings and pops had been adjusted just right already, and I did not
need to work under the
playfield very much.
As soon as we turned on power, we were amazed how bright the playfield
sparkled and looked new.
The whole project took about three months. It was a lot of
work on the playfield.
Too bad that I am done. Next project: pinball