Author Topic: What's the truth about cleaning a playfield??  (Read 377 times)

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Offline andypinboy

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What's the truth about cleaning a playfield??
« on: February 10, 2015, 04:43:07 PM »
Very new to pin ownership - jumped in with a Shadow & a Demolition Man. Love them both. The Shadow came from a good home, obviously kept clean etc. The Demo Man not so much - although it's not terrible - but it does have a grimy playfield which I hope to strip the bits off, clean well & then mylar (no wax or clearcoating for me at this stage).

I have read 50 posts & seem to have about 10 different answers on how to "properly" & "safely" clean a playfield. For example, Magic Eraser with isopropyl because Novus 2 is too abrasive. Novus 1. Novus 2. Windex. WTF?

I just want to know what's a damn good product to clean the playfield with while keeping as much of it's original clearcoat/protection as possible. Hope you guys can help??

Cheers, Andrew.
I enjoy Porsche, Gibson LPs, Bally-Williams & learning about pinball maintenance & restoration.

Offline robm

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Re:
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 04:47:27 PM »
Nifti is great to get rid of grime. Then shellite. Then shellite plus magic eraser for stubborn marks. Then shellite with a white rag to make sure you have got it all.

Putting mylar back on is a backwards step I reckon. Regular cleaning and polish with novus 2 will keep it clean amd protected.  The mylar will never shine up as much as the playfield polished by itself

Offline MartyJ

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Re: What's the truth about cleaning a playfield??
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 04:59:34 PM »
Andrew,

All depends on what era the machine playfield is, and what condition its in.

Magic erasers strip layers of clear / paint off.  So if the playfield is worn, you can make it worse.

Shadow and Demo man are both 'Diamond plate' which effectively is form of 2pac clear coat (basically automotive clear).

Now, as playfields were made by different manufacturers back in the day, screened and cleared by different manufacturers in the day, the levels & amounts of clear vary.  Some even used a different clear to Diamond plate...

Interesting read on the history here :----> http://www.flippers.be/pinball_playfields.html

Everyone has different methods, different products they swear by so its a bit like saying who makes the best beer or pizza.

For me, I have cleaned a few DMD (Williams / Bally) over the years.  It all comes down to what you start with and experience.

Any playfield clean begins with a full teardown of all topside components.  These are cleaned by hand, polished, tumbled etc.

All underside components are also removed and cleaned.  I always replace coil sleeves and other consumables at the same time.

Now, I generally clean the black grime / dirt with nifty on a rag.  Never spray directly on artwork or the playfield.

If the playfield is dull (the same as the duco on a car) it may need to be cut and polished.  Many use the 'Treasure Cove kits' purchased from overseas which do a great job of this (albeit messy).  A quick pure carnubra (non liquid) wax and polish and you're done.

If the playfield still has some shine to it, a wax is all I give it.

Novus is effectively a cutting agent, which does a good job.  The treasure cove kits I believe are a more automotive grade product, which have been developed / modified for pinball playfields.

Novus is - as far as I know, a product designed to cut and polish plastics and similar products.


« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 05:01:37 PM by MartyJ »

Offline oldskool1969

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Re: What's the truth about cleaning a playfield??
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2015, 05:04:25 PM »
Trial and error Dude. I completely strip the upper play field ( if you are comfortable doing that)I clean with spray and wipe initially if very dirty. Followed up by Novus 2 on general in ground dirt then if really bad shellite and Magic eraser, not too hard though. When satisfied I then use a finishing wax like mills wax, I love this stuff, most don't.

With out getting into it, on a restore I also use treasure cove pinball polishing system, excellent product and can also polish Mylar so it is very nice and slick. I only use carnauba wax provided after this polishing method.

Plastics I use windex . Flipper bars I soak in oomph( Orange oil) or just replace.

The more you do the more you will find your own groove.

The journey is half the fun.

Also have tumblers and ultra sonic cleaners, that's yet another story.
If it isn't broke, it isn't pinball.

Offline andypinboy

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Re: What's the truth about cleaning a playfield??
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 05:53:10 PM »
Thanks very much to all for the info - & sorry it's such a noob question - but there's so much debate on the net about (for example) whether novus 2 should ever see a playfield - while others swear by it, & it alone. From there the list of good & bad products grow until I was lost in a wealth of information (& misinformation). I'll start with the Nifti sprayed onto a cloth & see how that goes getting the worst grime off Demo Man (might leave it on Wesley Snipes).  I''m also rethinking the mylar given the support for waxing.
I enjoy Porsche, Gibson LPs, Bally-Williams & learning about pinball maintenance & restoration.

Offline Retropin

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Re: What's the truth about cleaning a playfield??
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2015, 06:16:19 PM »
I always keep it simple.
All products used to clean.. well.. anything will have the same base ingredients that makes them effective.
I only use meths or sugar soap to clean a playfield. Magic Eraser is good as its super absorbant but you have to remember that if the solution you are using to clean hasn't reached the inground dirt yet, then theres no point in rubbing with anything cos it aint going to do jack..
Once the solution has reached the dirt you are trying to lift the Magic Eraser sucks it out.. like...magic!

Generally though, I use a soft absorbent cloth and the 2 liquids mentioned above.
Once done, a coat of cabinet makers wax will give a layer of protection.
Effective and simple..

Offline Homepin

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Re: What's the truth about cleaning a playfield??
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2015, 06:43:09 PM »
For home use there is no need for mylar or contact.

Use light cleaner and use it once every second month should be more than enough.

10 minutes every 200 games would be more than adequate IMO.
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