4/2/2017 – “Pull it down, tear it down”

I continue to enjoy listening to New Model Army, and as I was tearing down the playfield today, the song just kept running through my head.  Anyhow, back to pinball.

Hey, if I want to get this thing done by Pintastic, I better get my butt in gear.  Joe has been doing his part.  He has been working on rules, art, and even some toys for the playfield.  His pop bumper caps are spectacular.  (Ahhh, but I can’t show them to you because that would tell you what the retheme is, and if you search, you can figure it out, I’m not going to let the cat out of the box.)

This week, I started pondering the long lead items since it is about 3 months until Pintastic.  The longest lead item that I can think about is getting the vinyl artwork for the playfield printed out.  As of Friday, nothing was done on the playfield at all towards getting this retheme moving.  I decided this weekend was the time to tear down the playfield so I could get a good scan to Joe.  I’m going to be using the same process that I used on SharpeShooter 3 which is sand down to wood, apply white primer to the wood where I don’t want the wood to show through, vinyl overlay on the playfield, then finally three coats of auto clear.  I was happy with the results, and should be able to do a much better job this time since it is the second iteration.

On Saturday, I got a few hours to myself, so the tear down began.  Everything has to come off the top of the playfield so that I can get a good scan.  I’m using the HP4600 scanner that Joe actually bought for me a couple years back.  (It has gotten a ton of pinball use, and is a spectacular scanner for getting the job done.)  I just read that it is the same scanner that the Nightmare Before Christmas guy used to scan his playfield.  You really can’t beat the price at about $40.  (I did write up a blog post a while back of how to use it through virtual box and Windows XP if it needs to be supported on newer operating systems).

So basically the process is tear everything off the top of the playfield while taking a ton of pictures.  Every picture you take of the playfield will help you put it all back together so have your digital camera ready.

I tend to take a picture of the whole playfield, then remove the plastics, take another picture of the whole playfield, then zoom into sections of the playfield itself.  If you take enough pictures you can figure things out such as which posts are just screws, and which posts need to have the little nubbin on the top to hold a plastic.  It also helps to show you where all the rubbers should go (or maybe I should say where they were at before you started mucking with the game).

I break the playfield down into different sections, and put the hardware for each section in a plastic bag or a bin with a piece of paper marking where it is from.  If there are any difficult sections such as a gate piece of metal is above another piece of metal, I take individual pictures to highlight how it should go back together.  (When putting everything back together, I tend to print out the pictures so that I can quickly flip back and forth between them, or even have multiple pictures visible at once.  I just find that easier).

After removing everything from the top of the playfield, I go to the backside of the playfield and remove switches, targets, etc.  The screws that hold these in are also labeled individually in a bag.  The less things that are left as guess work, the better.

Last thing I did was remove the pop bumpers.  The pop bumpers where the only things that had to be desoldered.  When I get around to sanding the playfield, I will also have to remove the inline drop targets, but I can put that off for another day.

Since the playfield is now flat, scan row by row.  For this project, each row of the playfield was four individual scans (trying to overlap each of the scans about 30%).  In the end, I had five rows for the whole playfield.  Everything was scanned at 600 dpi.

Here is an example of an individual scan:

Full Size Scan

Dolly in all her glory

To stitch the scans together, I first stitch each of the rows individually.  I use the Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) which is free and does a fantastic job.  Stitching the rows one at a time instead of stitching the whole image reduces the chance that it will warp and rotate the images.  I actually lay down a yardstick to try and get the rows to be coherent.  At that point I had five rows, which I finally stitched into a single scan of the playfield.  That last step takes a good amount of time.

Here are the rows after initial stitching (reduced size):


Here is the whole playfield (reduced size):


Not forgetting the plastics, I also scanned all of those in so that I could send those to Joe.  Three of those plastics were a little bit large so that I needed to stitch two pictures together to form a single plastic.

Here are the plastics (reduced size):

At 600 dpi, Joe should easily be able to figure out where the inserts are and such.  OK, I’m tired of typing, so gotta end this thing now.

One response to “4/2/2017 – “Pull it down, tear it down”

  1. Poor Dolly she will be flat as a board. I must admit, I dont think I could find it in my heart to do that to her. 😉

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