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Archive for the ‘Restorations’ Category

It’s the 30th Anniversary of Robotron, the perfect time to revive a pair of cabinets. (Robotron restoration pt 1)

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

robotron arcade game

I’ve been hanging on to this old Robotron cabinet forever. I inherited the cab when a good friend moved out of state and didn’t want to take it with him. It was a project that I figured I’d get around to one day, well one day ended up being almost ten years, yikes! It wasn’t until another collector suggested that I restore his cabinet at the same time that I got motivated. He’d cover materials and I’d finally get the project underway, so what the heck. I prefer to restore multiples of the same cabinet anyway, it makes for efficient use of time and materials. The cool thing is that this restoration project coincides with the 30th anniversary of Eugene Jarvis’ classic Williams arcade game. I’ll have to do a good job! Insert token to continue…

Midway SAMI step rebuild

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Midway’s SAMI, or Surface to Air Missile Interceptor, is an electro-mechanical game from 1970. It’s also one of my recent acquisitions. The game has received a lot of coverage recently, with at least two nice examples showing up on eBay and an EM game feature in the July issue of GameRoom magazine. I couldn’t be happier with my example, but it does have a few issues, including a missing step. You can see the step (or platform) pictured in the promotional flyer below.

SAMI flyer

Due to its massive size and height, a missing step makes this game pretty tough for little kids to play. I would need to recreate the step so my boys could enjoy the game and with Fall quickly approaching I wanted to get this done ASAP! I had nothing to start with other than some basic dimensions from the void at the front of the cabinet, but a request for help out to fellow collectors yielded great results. (more…)

Stern Berzerk Upright ~ I

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

It has been quite a while since I’ve had any time to post, but for good reason. I have been working on projects galore, including a game I purchased at one of the Milwaukee Super Auctions way back in December of 2006 (or perhaps January 2007). Berzerk! This classic arcade game brings back a lot of memories for me as I loved playing it as a kid. It was easy to understand, had great robot voices and high scores were pretty rare so I even got my initials on the game from time to time. I inspected the cabinet at auction and while it was working, it was obvious that a fast paint job was done to polish it up for auction. I had been on the lookout for a Berzerk UR and since I hadn’t seen one come up in a long time, I decided to pull the trigger. There was a little bidding back and forth, but I ended up winning. It fit nicely in the back of my 4 runner.

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I didn’t have any other projects at the time and decided that I would do a cap kit, clean it up and even re-stencil the side art. I got started by stripping the cabinet and taking lots of pictures for future reference. Taking lots of pics during a tear down is a great idea no matter what game you’re working on. If you end up having to shelve the project you can always refer back to the pictures. The game had a Willis control panel overlay on it and a crackled original underneath. Little did I know that would lead to another whole project…

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After a complete tear down I started sanding down the side and repairing the hidden damage with bondo. The wood must have sat in water for awhile because the plywood had taken on the soft, brittle quality. A pain to repair with bondo. I only managed to do a first coat on one side before I got the golden egg dropped in my lap. A warehouse raid and bulk buy 5 minutes from my old house. Bezerk would have to wait, but stay tuned!

Look out parts, there’s a new tool in town!

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Sometimes the right tool can make all the difference when working on an arcade game restoration project. For me it was a good air compressor to run my shop tools. I have a sand blasting cabinet and painting equipment that both require a stable air supply and while I’ve been getting by with a little 13 gallon portable tank, it was really time for an upgrade. I wanted something with plenty of capacity, and good PSI, which meant an upright compressor. Those big compressors can be pricey, $1k or more, which was more than I could afford to spend. I needed to find a good balance between price and performance. I sold off some projects to generate cash, did my research and then patiently waited for a sale. Thanks to a tip from Troy (takeman), this is what I ended up with.

air compressor

An 80 gallon, single stage air compressor by Industrial Air, from Farm and Fleet. Industrial Air is just a store brand made by a well known major manufacturer, so I was happy. I opened up a store account and got an additional 10% off the sale price and several months interest free. Out the door this was just under $700, a good price. For another $20 I rented a uhaul trailer and took the 450lb monster home.

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The guys at Farm and Fleet used a fork lift to put the compressor in the trailer, how exactly would I get it out? Well, I removed the annoying chains that keep the trailer gate from opening all the way and then I used my trusty plywood ramp. I made this specifically for uhaul trailers and it has made moving games in and out a lot easier. It works for compressors too. Surprisingly I was able to simply slide the whole skid down the ramp to the driveway without too much effort. I then slowly dragged the whole skid into the back room of my garage where it would be permanently mounted.

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With the compressor parked in the garage, it was time to sketch out a rough layout and buy pipe and fittings. People tend to forget that besides the compressor you’ll need lots of black pipe, fittings, filters, regulators, flexible hose, shut off valves, etc. You will easily add a couple hundred bucks of cost on top of the price of the unit itself. Next time I’ll discuss the layout and installation.

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Tough to keep up with projects

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

After almost 10 years of collecting and restoring classic arcade games, I’ve figured out the most important collecting rule to live by. Limit your projects! Why? Typically you can only get to one or two major restoration projects per season in the Midwest, with perhaps another handful of minor fixes during the winter months. Of course there are always exceptions, but family, work, and normal everyday life consumes a lot of time leaving very little for projects. If you’re a new collector, try to avoid the “buy everything I can get my hands on” phase of collecting. You’ll just end up with a garage, basement or even living room full of junk!

Tim B garage

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some nice games in this garage, but wouldn’t it be a little nicer with just one or two project games and lots of space to work on them? Or maybe even a spot to park the car? I think so. Of course you’d have to grab that Major Havoc that was left at the curb, but until that really happens, stop grabbing projects and focus your energy. Restore those games and thin out the project list. Projects always come up, even more now that the arcade market is depressed. I’ve got to run, I have some games to work on! (special thanks to Tim B for the unauthorized use of his garage photo)

G07 monitor chassis wash

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

This topic has been given a lot of coverage in the various newsgroups and arcade collecting forums. I’ve done lots of research and read all the comments I could find. I’m also lucky enough to have a good friend that knows a great deal about electronics and was kind enough to share the pros and potential cons of bathing them. After talking with him I decided to give it a go.

G07 chassis

I neglected to take a couple of before pictures to show the nasty grime covering these three G07 chassis, but we’ve all seen similar parts. Any arcade pcb’s that have been sitting around in a warehouse for 20 plus years are bound to be covered with crud. Makes it hard to see what you’re working on when trying to do repairs and sometimes a standard cleaning just doesn’t do the trick. So into the dishwasher they go! (more…)

Reactor artwork ~ good stuff

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

I’ve been working on a Reactor restoration for a friend, a very patient friend, because I think it was about an eternity ago that I started the project. I plan to wrap it up this winter and thought I would share some pictures of the artwork before it all gets applied. It’s very nice stuff. (more…)

Mad Planets control panel rebuild

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

During our very successful game party last year, my Mad Planets decided to malfunction. The fire button died and made the game impossible to play. I’ve been delaying the repairs because of my schedule (more…)

Removing mylar from a pinball machine playfield

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I’m not a huge pin head, but I do appreciate a good game of pinball and I enjoy reading about collector efforts to restore them. Recently on RGP, ( Hugh posted a cool little video about removing mylar from a pinball machine playfield. I’ve got a Firepower pin in the garage that is going to need some similar attention very soon, so I thought it was worth sharing this video and archiving it for my future reference 🙂 Enjoy and thanks for sharing Hugh.

Removing Mylar from a playfield with freeze spray

There are a lot of opinions on the best way to remove mylar from a playfield, so I encourage you to do your homework before doing this yourself. Start by searching the RGP Google group archives and perhaps read the tutorials on the marvin3m site. Take your time and have fun.

Wizard of Wor Mini restoration @ COSP

Monday, April 20th, 2009

CoinOpSpace is running an arcade game restoration contest with prizes from some of the best vendors in the business, so I’m motivated to dust off those long neglected projects and get moving on the restorations! My first entry into the contest will be my Wizard of Wor mini’s. Yep, two of them.

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To learn more about the contest or even to submit your own entry, visit CoinOpSpace. To follow my Wizard of Wor restoration progress, you can check out my WoW blog on COSP. I hope to have both machines up and running very soon.