Playfield Overhaul
Dennis Amero

Sometime in 2004, I sent Dennis Amero an extra lido playfield that I had. He needed to replace a warped and water damaged one in his game. The playfield I sent was a little warped in the lower left corner due to the arch warping.

Before sending it, I removed all the hardware from the top surface except the lamp sockets, and also took off the top and bottom arches and sent him ones in better condition from another spare playfield.

Below is a picture of what dennis got. The wooden ball runway bar is attached in this picture since I shipped it like that, but it easily comes off.

playfield beginning
typical dirty playfield

Looks like mine!

The top and bottom arches are simply nailed to the surface of the playfield, and they can be pried off. When you do that, you'll see what the original color of the wooden surface was, as well as the unfaded/unobscured ink colors. Removing just the ball runway bar will also uncover a small strip of original ink.

If your playfield is like this one, you won't be surprised by the contrast between the original ink and the dirty surface. If your playfield surface if fairly clean, though, you may find that it is still buried under years of old wax. This wax will yellow and dull the playfield, so we want to remove it. On this playfield, The dirt is embedded within the layers of wax, and it's a lot tougher than you might expect.

Stripping the playfield

Getting a playfield stripped down is pretty easy on a bingo.

  • remove the springs from around the edge of the playfield, and all the rubber from the posts (if you are going to replace the rubber).
  • unscrew/remove all the plastic posts (hope you have a power screwdriver/drill)
  • remove the metal cap from the ball gate switch at the top of the runway, then unsolder the wires from the switch. These wires go through a hole in the top arch.
  • pry off the top/bottom arches
  • use pliers to remove the metal pins (the ones that look like headless nails)
  • The curly rebound springs and the metal posts for the edge springs are pounded out from the bottom of the playfield using a punch or a nail with the point cut off. The holes for those posts go all the way through the playfield. If possible, try and press down on the wood above and below the post on the playfield surface to minimize the chances of the wood splitting. This usually requires two people, though. You normally have to remove the shutter board to access a few of the posts. If you don't have another playfield around, take a picture or otherwise record how to orient the curly rebound spring posts. The "twist" on them determines the shape of the rebound surface.

The rest of the information on the playfield overhaul is from dennis. Any comments I added are in italics.

Removing Rebound Spring Posts
"If possible, try and press down on the wood above and below the post on the playfield surface to minimize the chances of the wood splitting. This usually requires two people, though."

Boy, I sure found out how right that was. I did a little damage when trying to remove my first one. Not too bad, though. I did a micro-glue job and it's fine now. But I had to figure out something to get me through the rest of the job.

rebound spring removal
Beach Time
A simple tool...

I went to the local hardware and got a bunch of 1.5" nylon spacers with inside diameters as close to the thickness of the posts as possible (around 3/16"). Then I had to take a hacksaw (a moto-tool would probably be easier) and make a funny little angle cut along the length of each one so they would slip down past the curly springs over the posts, winding up flat on the playfield surface.

rebound spring removal
Beach Time
Here's what one of them looks like in place. I slid another spacer over the other post pictured here, and 2 more on a rebound spring on the opposite side of the playfield. With the arches off, all I had to do was flip the board over and allow the spacers to act as 'legs' for it to stand on. They did a great job holding the wood in place while I tapped out the posts with a punch from the underside. I do suggest using some fine grade sandpaper to clean up and slightly widen the hacksaw cuts. The spacers need to slide on fairly easily - if they're too tight, the springs will pop off the posts (or worse, break).

intro | arches | surface | results