5/31/2015, Wet sanding, it’s all good

At the end of last weekend I had a playfield with a good amount of brush strokes in the auto clear.  I was a little unhappy with it, and went to pinball league night on Monday night.  After talking to Chip, who has done a lot of auto clear on playfields, he talked me into trying to sand out the brush strokes.  On Tuesday night I went down and spent five or six sheets (each sheet is split into three sanding blocks worth) of 600 grit sandpaper trying to get it smooth.  The sandpaper clogged up quickly, but there was a lot of improvement, but I wasn’t happy.

The next night I decided to try wet sanding.  Wow, what a difference.  Instead of clogging the paper up, it made a “slurry” and kept the sandpaper working well.  When dry sanding, I was spending half my time changing the paper on the sanding block, or using a clogged piece of sandpaper.  As soon as I switched to wet sanding, it didn’t clog up at all.  Within 20 minutes, the playfield was much, much smoother.

I switched from the 600 grit sandpaper to 1200 grit sandpaper.  I added more circular motion when sanding.  Finally I switched over to 2000 grit sandpaper.  When starting to sand, the block offered some resistance.  As I kept sanding, it became easier and easier indicating that the playfield was getting much smoother.

The one downside to wet sanding is it is messy.  Very messy.  It is probably going to be a complete pain to clean it up, but the results and how fast the results occurred make it well worth the mess.

After sanding I used Novus #2, and finally Novus #1 for polishing.   Right now the playfield seems really shiny.  Not professional since I don’t own a buffer, but much better than I was expecting it to be.

Now the bad stuff for the weekend.  I continue to fight the cabinet.  After installing the glass guide on the side, I found out that the side rails don’t match up with the flipper buttons.  (They are about 1/4 inch high).  I ended up trying to use a sabre saw to shave the wood, but it did not give me a good straight cut.  I then switched over to a circular saw, and that did much better.  The only problem is that I needed to cut off a good amount of cabinet wood so that I could add back a piece of plywood with the channel cut into it.  Luckily all of this work is hidden under the side trim.  After working all day Saturday to get that correct, I was finally at the point where I could try and install the glass on Sunday.

I slid the glass up and found out that the lock down bar interfered with the glass.  Out comes the circular saw again, and a quarter inch gets shaved off the back of the cabinet.  Most of my cabinet problems are caused by the fact that I’m using random pinball parts from random pinball companies.  None of them were meant to work together.  It is only through some amount of  jury rigging that I can get it to work properly.  It is one of the challenges of this project that I wasn’t expecting it to take so long.


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