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Pinball Playfield Polishing Tool


Staff member
Oct 5, 2012
South Wales
Playfield Polishing Tool

Used to polish Mylarâ„¢ covered surfaces on pinball playfields.​


3Mâ„¢ brand 2-Inch Diameter Sanding/Finishing Disc

Holder for Drills, model # 9101NA

Lambs wool polishing bonnet, such as Vermont

Americanâ„¢ model 16915 or equivalent

Cotton t-shirt material or thin terrycloth

Contact cement

Duct tape

Variable speed drill, ¼ chuck or larger.

Auto rubbing compound

Novusâ„¢ #1 and #2



Safety glasses or goggles


Disc Holder: To make the polisher easier to maneuver on the playfield, reduce the diameter to approximately 1.4â€. Use a lathe or chuck the holder in a drill, removing material with a file. Also, thin out the outer diameter to about .062†to make it more flexible, and round the outer edge.

Lamb’s wool: Use the disc holder to trace a circle on the back of the lamb’s wool polishing bonnet, the use a scissors to cut out the circle.

Cement: Apply contact cement to the back of the lamb’s wool circle and the flat surface of the disc holder, and allow it to dry. Then attach the lamb’s wool to the disc holder.

T-shirt: Cut a circle of cotton t-shirt material large enough to cover the lamb’s wool and come up the sides of the disc holder (about 5†dia.). Use a strip of duct tape to wrap around the material and hold it to the shank of the disc holder. Trim off excess t-shirt material with a scissors.


First Step: Rubbing Compound: Load up the polishing tool as you would a paintbrush. Use a finger or spreader stick to apply the compound to the t-shirt material, getting a supply down into the lamb’s wool. Not so much that the tool will fling out the compound, but enough so that you can polish for several minutes without drying out.

Hold the drill with one hand on the handle, your finger on the trigger. Use the other hand to steady the drill. Bend over the drill and use the weight of your upper body to stabilize and control the work. Trigger the drill, using the slowest speed you can. Touch the polishing tool to the Mylarâ„¢ and work in a small area, about 2x the size of the polishing tool. Use your weight and the trigger to control the polishing. You can tilt the tool slightly to put more pressure on one edge and get a better bite. Do not allow heat to build up to damaging levels. If you stray briefly onto non-Mylared areas of the playfield, it will not damage a playfield in good condition.

Keep the tool moist by stopping and applying more compound. Polish several minutes in one area- you will notice the friction begin to decrease as the Mylar™ gets smoother. Stop and wipe the area clean with a paper towel moistened with a little Novus 1™. Look at the reflection of an overhead lightbulb to determine how much you have polished the area. A clearer image of the bulb indicates that the surface is getting smoother. There may be a small amount of “swirl†marks at this stage; the next step should minimize these. Work carefully until you have a good feel for the process. If your tool gets ratty or goes flat, tear it apart and replace the lamb’s wool and the t-shirt material. Re-load with the rubbing compound.

Second Step: Novus 2™: Start with a fresh, clean piece of lamb’s wool and t-shirt material. Apply Novus 2™ to the tool just as you did with the polishing compound. Use the same technique as the rubbing compound and go over the entire Mylar surface again.

Third Step: Novus 1â„¢: Go over the Mylarâ„¢ area following the directions on the package, do not use the polishing tool.

Cleaning Clear Ramps


Electric buffer

Cotton buffing wheel

Novusâ„¢ #1 and #2

Cotton t-shirt

Paper towels

Safety glasses


Cleaning and preparation: Get off the gross amount of dirt using your favorite technique: some people use window cleaner and paper towels, some people use the dishwasher. It’s your choice. Remove any parts that can be caught by the buffing wheel, such as wiring and switches. Smooth out any decals so their edges are not lifted.​

Apply Novusâ„¢ 2: Use a paper towel to apply a generous amount of Novusâ„¢ 2 to a section of the ramp, top bottom and sides. Scrub it in good and allow it to start to dry.​

Buffing: Use the buffing wheel to clean off the Novusâ„¢ and polish the surface. Don’t add Novusâ„¢ to the wheel itself. Hold the work securely, working only below the wheel. When going over decal edges, brackets and the like, be sure to orient the ramp so that the wheel does not catch the edge and lift the decal or pull the ramp out of your hands. Don’t use a lot of pressure, which will slow the wheel down. Use the speed of the wheel to do the polishing. For ball tracks and scratches, you will need to apply more Novusâ„¢ and buff again. These steps can be repeated until you are satisfied.​

Final cleaning: Apply Novusâ„¢ 1 and buff with t-shirt material, following the directions on the package.
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