The Machine - Bride of Pinbot

I used to own a Pinbot, and this is the sequel to that machine.  The original condition of this one was poor, but the translite was new (as photographed above), and the playfield was partially protected by mylar, so I felt confident I could repaint the few wear spots.

The final results are shown below.

Playfield Restoration

I started by stripping all the parts from the top of the playfield.  For my own notes, I removed the parts in the following order (under playfield harnesses labelled with the letter and a number).  This list (in reverse order) will be used to reassemble the parts:
  1. Chrome Helmet (H)
  2. Left clear Ramp (R)
  3. Mini pf
  4. Skillshot value clear plastic
  5. Right clear ramp (A)
  6. Left head cover
  7. Left wire ramp (W)
  8. Playfield plastics
  9. Rubber rings
  10. Right wire ramp
  11. Lamp board for skillshot
  12. Skillshot assembly
I then removed all the posts and fastened them into a cardboard panel to save their locations.

All the parts were removed and those that bolted into the
playfield were fastened into a large plank of cardboard.

The playfield was extremely dirty, and I had to disolve a thick black layer with Novus 2.  I then removed the two pieces of mylar using freeze spray (took about 8 oz), and removed the glue with alcohol.  I then scrubbed the playfield with Magic Eraser to prepare for repainting.  This is because the areas that were not covered with mylar had wear marks.

The first task is to match up the colors.  The circled parts show the color samples.

The first task was to color match.  I did this by using all the similar colors in our collection of acrylic paints, and putting a spot of each onto a clear sheet.  After they were allowed to dry, I then wet them and the corresponding area on the playfield with Naphtha to simulate the effects of clearcoating.  At each mixing step, I refined the color blend by taking a picture of the candidate mix and the target area on the playfield.  This image was then opened in Photoshop, and I used the 'sample' tool to read the RGB value, using this information as a mixing guide.

These were the colors I used for the playfield :
  • Black : Delta Ceramcoat Black #02506
  • Orange : Deco Art Pumpkin Orange
  • Yellow : Delta Ceramcoat Bright Yellow #02027
  • Red : Crafters Edition Real Red #72007
  • White : Mix of Delta Ceramcoat Antique White #02001 and Grey
  • Light Blue : Crafters Edition Teal #72018 and Blue Heaven #02037
  • Grey : Mix of Delta Ceramcoat Antique White #02001 and Grey
The photo below shows how close the match is for the grey and blue.  This latter color is usually extremely hard to match for me.  The grey below the two small astronauts was repainted, and the area at the bottom of the inlane was painted blue.

Before (left) and after of the lower right area of the playfield.  Note the change in the color of the grey as it goes from above the sling to below.  This is because the area above was mylared.

An important painting technique is to thin the paint with Flow Improver and water.  This technique, that I first learned on F-14, produces repaints that are very thin and will not become bumpy and blobby when dry.  The result is perfectly flat like the original paint and will aid in its disappearance once the playfield has been clearcoated.  You can also paint on multiple layers without risk of height buildup.

Left is before, right is after.  Lettering has always been the most difficult for me to produce.  I think I did a good job on these tiny letters this time.  Note the closing of the gap in the words "Happiness" and "Joy", and also the clean lines on the concentric circles for the Bride's chest.  Most of these circles were completely repainted.

The left inlane is were a ball drops from the wire ramp.  As a result, it gets
beaten up pretty badly.  This area had a big ugly divot in the playfield, and wood was missing along the edge of the switch slot.

I repaired the missing wood in the left inlane with a new technique.  It consists of apply a small amount of epoxy into the depression, and then along the edge of the slot.  I then taped it over with a piece of masking tape that was stretched flat to form a mold.  This causes the top plane to be flat to the playfield surface.  Any extra will be pushed into the switch slot, so you need to try and judge how much epoxy to use.

Tape covering the epoxy to restore the missing wood.

Once the epoxy had cured I used a small abrasive wheel to clean up the edges of the switch slot.  After repainting, the results is seen two images below, and I think it looks quite good.

Top half of the playfield after repainting and clearcoating.

Bottom half of the playfield post-clearcoat.  Note the repaired left inlane.

My work area. You can see the cab behind me, and my electronics workbench
on my left.  The magnified lamp is fastened directly to my playfield
rotisserie, and allows me to clearly see any area of the playfield.

Making Playfield Plastics

Except for the mini-playfield, plastics for this machine are not available.  As a result, I decided this was a good project to try and make some to replace the missing/broken ones.

Original state of the chest plastics.  They were broken and the flasher domes
were missing.  Someone replaced them with pieces of red plastic.

The approach I decided to use was to print on white paper and glue these to Lexan pieces using 3M's 467MP adhesive transfer tape.  The most important thing to remember is to burnish (rub) them to press all the air out between the plastic and the paper. 

These were the plastics I made. 

I started by printing a color wheel with components similar to the original plastics.  Then, I selected areas that matched, and used those RGB values in my redraw of the plastics.  The artwork was then printed on a color laser on plain white paper.  This seems to have the same kind of light transmission as the original plastics.  The artwork was drawn a little larger with a thin line just outside the original dimensions. I then glued the paper using 467MP transfer adhesive to Lexan pieces. They are then cut to size with a pair of tin snips.  Finally, the pieces are then ground with my bench grinder for a clear crisp edge.

Comparison to the orginal plastic.  Note the protector installed
under the new plastic.

I had no idea how the chest plastics are configured with the flashers, so this is what
I decided to do.  Originally, the flasher bulb was located inside the hole of the
playfield through which the wires pass.  This makes them much more visible.

The chest plastics installed with the flashers.  Compare to this.

The original inlane plastics have no artwork, but are just plain grey with the names of the designers.  I decide to make new ones with custom artwork.  The right one has an astronaut playing pinball, and the left one has the Hubble Space Telescope.

The new sling and inlane plastics installed.

Cabinet work

The cab had a few dings, and the red was faded.  This is quite common for cabinets of this age.  The first thing I needed to do was find a match for the purple color.  Using the Magic  Pallette color mixing chart, I could see that the closest match was Dioxazine Purple.  I looked through my wife's stock and found this color along with some other purples. 

The five purples in my wife's collection of paints.  Left most is #1.

I put a dot of each one of these onto a clear plastic sheet and once it was dry, shot a picture to see which color was the closest.  It turns out that none were very good (as can be seen below), so I decided to lighten #4 by mixing it with #1.  The result were very close, and you can hardly see the spot.  It is inside the red circle below.

Test spot of paints.  The bottom (lightest) one is #1 and the rest
are in the order as lined up in the previous image.  The
circled color was a blend of #1 and #4.

Without the flash, the color is exactly right.  The bright flash reveals a small difference due the difference in the surface gloss of the two locations.  Afterwards, I brushed some clear gloss onto the touchup spot and that made it even more invisible.

The two colors used were "Crafters Edition" brand, "#72027 Lilac Purple", and "#72024 Purple".

The cab had some dings in the purple, and the red and yellow were faded.

The match in the purple was very close.  The red and yellow were
added with translucent ink from Sharpie pens.  I also painted the
outer corners as these are often dinged and show exposed wood.

Backbox damage

The top right corner had a chunk missing.

The top right corner of the backbox was missing.  After thinking about it a bit, I decided to make a right angle form with two blocks of teflon as a mold.

The teflon mold clamped onto the corner of the backbox.

I realized that special measures were needed to prevent air pockets in the repair.  This was done by placing the mold below the area of damage.  By placing constant pressure onto the blocks, I could ensure no epoxy would leak out the bottom edge.  I then slid the mold up slowly, while filling the void gradually to prevent air pockets and to ensure complete 'wetting' of the wood.  Once it was slid to the top and full of epoxy, I clamped it down for curing.

The repair work quite well.  It was flat and flush with the
surface without sanding.

As I suspected, the side color of the head was the most difficult to mix.  I used "DecoArt Americana Pansy Lavender" and "FolkArt Red Violet #636" to get close to the purple.  I then added "FolkArt Blue Ribbon #719" to make it more blue.  Finally, I used a few drops of flat black to dull the color and reduce the saturation.  Once dry, I applied some satin finish clear to get the right surface reflection.  The match is almost invisible with the naked eye, and shows up a little with flash exposures.

Under the bar

An area that usually escapes my notice is the lockdown bar mechanism.  However on this pin it was so bad that it was clear I needed to clean it up.

Cleanup of the area under the lockdown bar (left=before).
Note the custom score cards from

I used a brass wire cup brush in my electric drill to polish this area to a shine, and one of my pin buddies (Tom in Nova) gave me a sheet of "shop out" stickers.  I then painted the edge of the cab flat black and installed the hardware back in.  The result is so nice that I will be going back to my other pins to do the same.



  • 10/09/10 - Machine purchased from Bob Johnson.
  • 10/11/10 - Playfield completely stripped of parts and ready for mylar removal.
  • 10/13/10 - Cab repainted.
  • 10/19/10 - Playfield cleaned and repainting done.  Clearcoating starts.
  • 10/22/10 - Last clearcoat layer applied.  Yield is two coats per Varathane can.
  • 10/30/10 - New plastics made and installed.
  • 11/6/10 - All parts except helmet installed and lockdown bar mechanism done.
  • 11/7/10 - Corner in backbox fixed.
  • 11/9/10 - Installed new helmet, and playfield restoration is done at one month mark.
  • 11/20/10 - Touched up coin door, painted legs, and finished painting scuffs on the head.
  • 5/30/11 - Traded BOP for a rare Earthshaker with the sinking Institute from Rob Jones.

Main Pinball Page

Back Home