I was originally considering using auto clear on the cabinet and the playfield, but after reading all the warnings, I decided it would be easier to simply polycrylic the cabinet. Polycrylic is not nearly as hard, but I can also work on it in the basement without killing the family with the fumes. (When you read the warnings on the auto-clear it causes things like blindness, permanent lung damage, etc. You need to use swim goggles and a respirator when applying it even with a brush. If attempting it yourself, read every warning that you can find and take it into consideration. Auto clear is scary, scary stuff and don’t use without the proper precautions.)
So it is time to polycrylic the cabinet. I did a quick test on a piece of the clear vinyl that I had leftover from the cabinet. I used 400 grit sandpaper, 600 grit sandpaper, and no-sandpaper to rough up the surface. The polycrylic stuck to all the surfaces really well, so that didn’t seem to be an issue. With the 400 grit sandpaper, I could still see small scratches from the sandpaper after the first coat. (I tried to take a picture, but the scratches are so minor that I couldn’t get a clear enough picture). The 600 grit sandpaper worked the best. The surface without sanding worked well (i.e. good adhesion), but I felt that the polycrylic coat was really thin.
With this information in hand, I decided to start sanding using 600 grit. As soon as I rubbed the sanding block across the side of the backbox, I noticed that the printing was coming off the overlay. I assumed the overlay was layered as follows: vinyl, printing, glue. It turns out it is printing, vinyl, glue. It completely makes sense because that would be easier for them to manufacture, and they wouldn’t need to do a separate step to add glue to the vinyl. They would simply buy it in a big roll. With that additional information, sanding was not a possibility, and now the sides must be clearcoated to protect the printing. Not much of an issue, but something that must be considered.
That took up most of my Saturday, so I was blocking out my whole Sunday to put on the playfield overlay. Attaching that overlay should only take 15 minutes, but I wanted to make sure that I was not rushed in any way. When Sunday rolls around, I get everything set up, and start putting down the overlay. Within 5 minutes, I realize that the overlay is not printed in 1:1 ratio with the file I sent. The center stuff lines up well, but they have stretched the art in both directions. I went back and reverified everything and insured that the file I sent them was 100% correct. I now have a trouble ticket open trying to figure out what went wrong with the printing. Strangely, the overlay is really the last thing that I don’t have completely under my control. I’m not sure what the resolution is going to be at this point. Here is a picture of the issue:
Not 1:1 print
After being in a very disappointed mood for the next couple of hours, I decided I had to keep getting stuff done. I sent in a trouble ticket for the overlay. That’s as much as I could do on a Sunday with that issue.
Next up were side rails/legs. There is some surface rust on them which needed to be cleaned off. I tried the old coke/aluminum foil method and it work like a dream. I was completely surprised…and in a good way. I can definitely see how this would not work if it was more than just surface rust, but for those times when there is a small amount of surface rust, it works wonderfully. Here is the link to the pinside thread talking about it.
Last up, I worked on the speaker panel some more. A couple more days and it should be finished. I’m gluing the fake leather to the plywood, and so I do one small section, clamp it, and let it sit for a couple hours. I repeat that with the next small section. It doesn’t take that long, but there is a lot of waiting for it to dry.