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Refinishing Stainless Steel Pinball Parts


Staff member
Oct 5, 2012
South Wales
Welding Broken Lockbars

Check the Yellow Pages under “WELDINGâ€

Ask if they can do TIG (rhymes with pig) welding of Stainless Steel

Align the parts properly- bring along another lockbar for comparison

They should plug weld the bottom bracket to the top lockbar with 347 Alloy Wire

Fill any holes from the top in the lockbar with weld

Grinding the Weld Smooth

Use an angle grinder and flexible grinding disc

Don’t gouge the surface

Regraining Stainless Steel Parts- Lockbars, Doors, Side Rails and Ramps

Use a random orbit (also called a Dual-action or D/A) sander

Obtain sanding discs in 60, 150, 220, 400, 600, 800, 100 and 1200 grit

Hardware stores will have 60-220;

Clamp Lockbars in a vise with a wood block to reach the sides and ends

Coin Doors: protect the hinge w/ 2 layers of duct tape, place on a non-skid work surface

Ramps: work on a non-skid surface, use sandpaper only if deeply grooved

Start with the coarsest grit disc that removes scratches and damage and work up, don’t skip grits.

Sand in a straight line following the original grain direction only, don’t go side-to-side

After the 1200 grit you will have nearly a mirror surface

Obtain Scotcbrite pads from the paint store in Fine, Medium and Coarse

Cut a piece of Scotchbrite and wrap it around a wood block

Start with Fine and grain the piece- one direction only, in a straight line

Repeat with Medium and the Coarse (if necessary) until your grain looks like an original piece

Coin door trim pieces and ramps may only need to be regrained with the Scotchbrite, not sanded

Repairing a Lockbar with Adhesive

Obtain 3M Panel Bonding Adhesive # 8115 ($40); requires special applicator ($75)

An alternative is JB WELD- available at hardware stores and auto parts stores ($4)

Clean off the old beer seal, grind down any bumps from the old spot welds for a good, close fit

Roughen the mating surfaces with 60 grit sandpaper, then clean with a non-oily solvent (lacquer thinner, alcohol)

Mix the adhesive and spread it out on one of the parts, put the parts together

Use a scale (ruler) and a second good lockbar to be sure the parts are accurately aligned

Lightly clamp the parts together- leave set for at least 24 hours

Sand and regrain the top surface if desired

Replace the beer seal with a more easily compressed piece of weather-stripping

Fit the repaired lockbar to the game, adjusting the latch mechanism to put a minimum pull on the repaired lockbar
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