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Pinball Machine Dimensions

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Besides pinball weight, the other thing that a lot of people have questions on is pinball machine dimensions, i.e. how wide, long, and deep a pinball machine is.  The main problem is usually the doorways, some heads don’t fit through smaller doorways.  Here’s a summary of standard head widths for DMD games:

Stern: 27 5/8″

Williams:  28 3/4″

Both should fit through your standard 32″ doorway, but when going through smaller doorways you may have to remove the door in order get them through.

The length usually isn’t an issue as the game can be tipped up on it’s back (without legs on) for moving.  Most games are around 56″ long and 76″ to 80″ high (depending on how high the leg levelers are set at and how long the legs are).

One thing to note is that Gottlieb system 3 DMD games are slightly taller when the head is folded down than Stern or Williams games.  This is sometimes important when hauling the game in a smaller SUV (it may be too tall to fit).

 

Corvette Neon Sign

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Corvette Neon Sign all lit up

Being a Corvette owner myself (1972 C3 Blue Corvette) I’ve always wanted to have a Corvette neon sign in my basement.  This Christmas I finally acquired one and it’s pretty awesome:

Corvette Neon Sign all lit up

Around the same time, I was also able to finally reaquire my old Corvette pinball machine that I owned for a couple years before lack of space forced me to sell it.  If you’re looking for an underrated game from the 90’s, Corvette is one of the best ones you’ll find. Good flow and shots, good rules, lots of combos, etc.  Here’s a picture of the neon turned on above the pinball machine.

Corvette neon sign Corvette pinball machine

So where can you acquire this neon sign?  I got mine off ebay for around $300.  The one thing you have to be careful of is that some of the signs are slightly different even though they look the same.  Some might be slightly smaller or missing a little neon that others have.  Mine is 24″ is 24″ for reference.

How to clean a pinball machine

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If you’ve owned a pinball machine for any length of time, you’ll eventually notice that the game seems to be playing slower and the playfield is looking kind of dirty.  What happens is dust from solenoids and rubbers in the game start to cling to the playfield and the ball kind of just grounds the dirt in.  Luckily, it’s pretty easy to clean a pinball machine.  If you have a 90’s or newer game, you need Novus 2 to clean it up, pictured below:

Novus 2 pinball cleaner
The #1 pinball cleaner for newer games, Novus 2

It can be used to clean the playfield or plastics, it’s good for both.  If your game is older than 1990, then things get a little more interesting.  Depending on your playfield, people use:

  • Novus 1 (easier on playfield, not as abrasive)
  • Novus 2 (this is typically what I use to start, although if the playfield is in bad shape it may not be the best
  • Magic Eraser + 90% or better alcohol (be careful, it can act like sandpaper if used too hard)

On earlier games, going slow and carefully is the rule for sure.

Below are a couple before and after pictures on X-Men pinball.

X-Men pinball machine before cleaning
X-Men pinball machine before cleaning
X-Men pinball machine after cleaning
X-Men pinball machine after cleaning

Besides dirt on the playfield, the other two common things that can happen are rubber rings breaking and lights burning out.  Rubbers are typically various size of rings all the way from tiny circles up to 4″ circles.  White or black is typically used, with white being bouncier.  Most modern games come with black installed for one reason or another, it doesn’t show dirt as bad but at the same time it produces more dirt than white rubber.

I typically by my rubber at Pinball Life in bulk here:

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=486

Most pinball light bulbs are size 44 or 555 bulbs.  44 have a small round base, and 555 have a wedge base.  These bulbs are typically cheap, at around a $1 a box if you buy them at the correct place.  I’d recommend Pinball Life for bulbs too, with 44’s being found here:

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=1680

and 555’s being found here:

http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=31

If you have bulbs burning out, it’s pretty likely have you incandescent bulbs like the ones I linked above.  A lot of newer games or restored games have LED’s in place of incandescent bulbs due to brighter light, less heat, and longer life.  Some people don’t like them because sometimes they’re a little too bright and sometimes they ruin some lighting effects, but for the most part I like them a lot better than incandescent bulbs.

Btw, here’s the cleaning rag at the end, lot of dirt, eh?

Cleaning paper towel afterwards
Cleaning paper towel afterwards

How to clean your Chexx Bubble Hockey

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Novus 2 and Pledge, used to clean Chexx and other bubble hockey machines

If you buy a chexx bubble hockey, at some point it’s going to get dirty from all the playing or collect some dust on top of the bubble.  Nothing plays better than a clean bubble hockey!  In order to fix this, you’re going to need some cleaning supplies like these:

Novus 2 and Pledge, used to clean Chexx and other bubble hockey machines
Novus 2 and Pledge, used to clean Chexx and other bubble hockey machines

Novus 2 is used to clean the clear bubble over the table.  It’s great at taking out fine scratches and other marks, but won’t help with really deep scratches.  It’s also good at cleaning a lot of other arcade things like pinball machines, but that’s another story.  You can buy it at Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/NOVUS-Plastic-Fine-Scratch-Remover/dp/B002UD0GGS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481171787&sr=8-1&keywords=novus+2

For the playfield, the best thing to use is Pledge.  It cleans the surface plus makes it slick for the puck to slide on, making the gameplay a lot faster.  You can get pledge about anywhere, but if you want to order it online, you can get it Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Pledge-Lemon-Clean-Furniture-Spray/dp/B000LUTVYA/ref=sr_1_4_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1481171889&sr=1-4&keywords=pledge

Hopefully this helps the first time your game gets dirty!

Will this pinball machine fit in my vehicle?

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Black Knight Pinball Machine in a home arcade

This question comes up all the time, I’ve got this SUV and will this pinball machine fit into it?  Well luckily, the owners of a lot of these vehicles have pooled their information together onto a wiki page here:

http://pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Vehicles_for_Moving_Pinball_Machines

It’s a great resource to figure out whether that game will fit.  If your game isn’t on the list, you might try posting on the pinside forum to see if anyone there might know.  My last pinball hauler was a Toyota Sienna, and you could easily fit two pinball machines in it by taking out the second and third rows.  The first game would go in sideways through the sliding doors (or in through the back and rotated) and then the second game would be rotated.  If the games had removable heads, you could actually fit three pinball machines in the back, which I did twice in it.

Usually the general rule is:

minivans can hold 2, maybe 3 games

large suv’s can hold 1

a small suv can hold 1 if they’re not too short in the back and if the machine isn’t a taller one like Gottlieb system 3

A trailer is a good option if you’ve got a hitch, usually those can hold quite a few.

PAC-MAN arcade LED clock

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pacman ghosts moving through

I just picked this up today, it’s probably the coolest arcade clock I’ve seen, a pacman clock.  Pictures are definitely better than words in this case:

pacman clock normal time
pacman clock normal time
pacman ghosts moving through
pacman ghosts moving through
pacman clock with ghosts to be eaten
pacman clock with ghosts to be eaten

It’s pretty sweet the way the ghosts chase pacman across the screen and then he chases them back the other way.  The clock is actually on sale right now at Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/PAC-MAN-Premium-LED-Desk-Clock/dp/B0161ZWIIO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480567196&sr=8-1&keywords=pacman+clock

Hard to imagine a more ‘game room’ clock than this one.

 

Common Chexx Bubble Hockey parts

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Original Chexx Bubble Hockey USA Goalie

One of the things I had problems with when I was fixing up my original Chexx was trying to track down all the parts I needed from ICE’s website, which isn’t exactly the easiest to navigate.  I’ve tried to make a list below of the common chexx bubble hockey parts that you might need to try and help out some.

Dome Bolt

http://www.icegame.com/p-24449-516-18-x-34-bshcsdome-bolt.aspx

NHL ICE and decal kit

http://www.icegame.com/p-33813-nhl-playerstd-ice-decal-kit-mustlist-2-teams.aspx

Hockey Goal Net

http://www.icegame.com/p-24264-chutenet.aspx

Bubble Hockey Dome

http://www.icegame.com/p-24263-asy-dome-chexx.aspx

Gear Box

http://www.icegame.com/p-24301-asy-gear-box-super-chexx.aspx

Goal Puck

http://www.icegame.com/p-24303-puck.aspx

Chexx Hockey Rod Grip

http://www.icegame.com/p-24311-grip-ck-rod.aspx

New side decal

http://www.icegame.com/p-25390-decal-cabinet-sc-new-style.aspx

There are some other packages you can pick that have different groups of items, but the ones I listed above are the most common.  I bought a new dome, new ice, players, grips, and puck for my game.  If I had to do it again, I’d buy all the stuff all over again, totally worth it to make the game look like new again.

How to replace your Chexx bubble hockey players

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Starting Russian bubble hockey Chexx player

If you own your game for a while or buy it used, eventually you’ll have to replace a player on your game.  I’ve assembled a step by step guide below to try and help you replace those players should you need to.

First step is to remove the top screws and expose the players so they can be handled.  Once you have that done, it’s time to start removing the old player.  You start that by grabbing the player and turning him until you the square edges are parallel with the edges of the slot.  Follow the captions and pictures below to install your new player.

 

Chexx Bubble hockey up close, you can see the square part of the base.
Chexx Bubble hockey up close, you can see the square part of the base.
Russian chexx player almost out of it's hole
Russian chexx player almost out of it’s hole
Putting new Chicago Blackhawk chexx player into hole
Putting new Chicago Blackhawk chexx player into hole
Chicago Blackhawk chexx player halfway into its place
Chicago Blackhawk chexx player halfway into its place
Blackhawk Chexx player finally installed into its position
Blackhawk Chexx player finally installed into its position
Chicago Blackhawks Chexx player finally replaced
Chicago Blackhawks Chexx player finally replaced

Hopefully by now you’ve got your new player installed.  You can repeat this procedure for the other 10 players if you’re replacing all the players.  I’ll try and post up some pictures of replacing the goalie here pretty soon too, hopefully this guide helped you replace your chexx player.

 

How to build a game room

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Pinball machine lineup in the game room

I just posted up a new guide on how to build a game room:

How to Build A Game Room

Since it wasn’t a normal post and in the guides section, wanted to make sure that people knew it was there now.  I’ll be adding more to it over time, but hopefully there’s enough there now to help people think through things.

As usual, if you have any questions, you can email me.  Thanks

Kid’s playroom under the stairs in the game room

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Playroom under the stairs with the lights off
Playroom under the stairs with the lights off

When I was looking at model houses about 10 years ago, one of the houses we went to had something I’d never seen before, a playhouse under the stairs, complete with it’s own light switch.  Big enough for kids to go in and out but not big enough for out of shape adults, it’s been a hit with visiting kids.  Here’s a picture with the lights on:

Playroom under stairs with lights on
Playroom under stairs, lights on

Here’s the picture of the inside:

Inside the playroom under the stairs
Inside the playroom under the stairs

The opening is 13.5″ inches wide, fyi.  I highly recommend the cardboard bricks as well for the room, as they can be used to block the opening, which kids really seem to like.