Wanna learn how to clean and maintain your pinball machine? Then keep on reading.
How to Clean a Pinball Machine
One of the questions we get pretty often is about how to clean a pinball machine. Cleaning your pinball isn’t a big deal. Really cleaning your pinball machine should be performed every couple months. This will help prolong the life and luster of your pinball.
If you have gotten yourself a brand new pinball machine, cleaning will be much simpler. For the most part, using a soft bristle brush on a small shop vacuum will be enough. You should be sure to get all the corners and not to leave any dust. A crevice tool can be a huge help here too.
Once you’ve gotten the majority of dust out, it’s time to really start cleaning. If your pinball machine isn’t very dirty, a product like windex is usually good enough. Spray some cleaner on a cloth and start wiping everything you can reach. Remember not to spray the cleaner on your machine; always spray on the towel.
Continue this maintenance every month or two and you will hardly have to worry about much on your pinball machine.
How to Maintain a Pinball Machine
While new pinball machines are awesome, some people prefer to collect old machines. Some people like the nostalgia, others like the price tag. Old pinballs may have seen some use, but they can shine up very nicely. There are important things to consider when thinking about how to maintain a pinball machine.
Again, the first thing to do is give your pinball a nice cleaning. Spray some cleaner on your rag and give the pinball a nice once over. If you’ve got a really dirty pinball machine, we recommend removing all plastics and rubbers from your machine as well. And as a word of caution, If you’ve got planking, a water based cleaner should be avoided. It can make the wood swell and crack.
For dirty plastics, a product like ZEP heavy duty degreaser does wonders. It cleans up old pinball plastics without a problem. Use the degreaser to clean your pinball plastics, then use plain water to remove the degreaser. For any pinball plastics you don’t want to put in the sink, Novus is a great product to help polish plastics and your playfield.
*CAUTION* ZEP is a great product, but do not use it on any silk screened or otherwise printed on sections. It is a strong solvent and can take paint or other designs off. Remember, when in doubt, always test an inconspicuous area first!
For most pinball playfields, Novus 2 is the product we recommend people use. Using Novus is the best thing for a pinball. It helps polish the top coat. It also removes ball marks and small scuffs.
Novus 2 is the only product we recommend to people who do not want to worry about damaging their pinball. There are other methods to remove deeper scratches or cracks in your pinball machine topcoat. These methods are much more advanced and risk ruining the finish if you’re not careful. We will not discuss those methods here because of that reason.
Cleaning your Pinball with the Right Products
Once you’ve got your pinball plastics off the playfield, you can start cleaning with Novus 2. Be careful not to use the other Novus products. One is too abrasive for use on the playfield, and the other is not abrasive enough.
Here, you’ll be putting Novus on a clean towel or rag. Just wipe down the pinball machine playfield with Novus on a towel. Go little by little. Start at one end and work your way to the other end. We usually start at near the ball trough. This way you can focus on the ball lanes and make sure you get out as much dirt as you can.
Really work the Novus into the playfield. You’ll know you’re done if your cloth comes back without dirt. Once your pinball is nice and clean, it’s time to start reassembling it.
Put your plastics back in place. Since you have the plastics off anyway, it’s a great time to replace the pinball rubbers. We recommend replacing all the rubbers on your pinball machine. There’s no sense cutting corners at this point.
At this point, it’s a great idea to check all your light bulbs. Make sure all bulbs are working since this is the easiest time to replace them. If you have LED bulbs in your pinball machine, you most likely won’t have to replace anything. If not, this is a great time to upgrade your pinball lighting.
Reassemble your Pinball
With plastics back in place you can start screwing everything down. Just remember to be gentle. Your pinball machine is meant to last a lifetime. That doesn’t mean you have to strip bolts or crack plastics by over tightening things! Treat your pinball gently and it will play for years or decades.
- Keep the playfield clean. If you see dust getting in corners or underneath slingshots, vacuum it. Go over it with a soft cloth. Wax it.
- Have shiny balls. Rusted or pitted balls destroy your playfield !! Replace them with new ones, they’re much cheaper then a new playfield !
- If you buy a pinball machine, the best thing you can do is to clean everything on it. ‘Shop it’: remove everything from the playfield, clean everything, replace light bulbs, put new rubber on it, adjust switches, wax your playfield, … Yes this takes time, you will spend at least 2 days, but it will be worth it. Your game will play much better, and now the dirt is out of all those little corners which you couldn’t reach otherwise, it will stay much cleaner when you play it.
- If you remove everything from a playfield, take pictures, put everything in little bags, take notes, .. be sure you know where everything went so you can assemble everything again. If you don’t dare to shop a pin yourself, find someone who does it for you.
- Use a hard car wax. This is what protects your playfield for wear and makes it shine.
- Buy new rubbers for your game ! If you’ve got a game with rubbers of 10 or more years old: put new rubbers on it. They don’t cost a lot and do make a big difference. The game will come back alive.
- Avoid humidity
- Avoid direct sunlight, excessive heat or temperature changes !!
Pinball Adventures is a North American manufacturing company producing fresh and unique Pinball machines. Our goal is to create to the highest standards, and spark the same joy we found as gamers when we rolled our first quarter into that coin slot so many years ago. Stemming from a lifelong passion, Pinball Adventures is created by gamers, for gamers. We strive to bring high quality, innovative, and captivating experiences for all to enjoy.
Visit our website at pinballadventures.com and also check out our new Instagram page for more updates https://www.instagram.com/pinballadventures/
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