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Thread: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

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    MacGruber JACKSJE4's Avatar
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    Default Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine


    As many members of this site have discovered, there is a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to be enjoyed after completing your first Pachinko machine cleaning or restoration. Some members of this community even think that taking the machine apart, cleaning and reassembling it is more fun than actually playing it! This post was written with the beginner in mind, to help you get started with cleaning your vintage Pachinko machine, as well as share the collective tips and tricks from the pros on this site that have already completed many successful restorations and can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that occur.

    If you get stuck at any point during your cleaning process, just post your question or problem in a new thread, include pictures to help illustrate your dilemma, and the PachiTalk community will respond with the assistance you need. You can also use the search tool on the site to find additional tips and information regarding Pachinko restorations.


    Before you begin

    Select a good work area: You will need a clean and well organized work area to use while restoring your Pachinko machine. The work surface should be large enough to allow you to lay the Pachinko machine down on its front or back side while you work on it and still have room to set or stage any parts you remove for cleaning. You might also consider lining the work surface with a solid colored blanket or beach towel; this will help prevent damage and scratches to the machine, and will also help prevent small pieces (such as screws, pins, etc) from rolling away or onto the floor. You should also make sure that the floor around your work area is clean and clutter free, as this will make the task of finding dropped screws, nuts, washers, or E-clips a lot easier. I recommend keeping a good supply of the small Ziploc containers on-hand for holding the smaller parts you remove during the cleaning process. You can label them as needed and the lids snap on tight to help prevent anything from becoming lost during the cleaning process.

    Cleaning supplies: The next preparation step is to make sure that you have the right cleaning supplies on-hand before you get started. There are so many wonderful products on the market that will do the job, however the cost and availability can vary significantly depending on your geographic location. The following list represents some of the products used and endorsed by the members of this community. There are certainly many other products and home remedies that will accomplish the task, but these recommendations should get you started:



    General cleaning supplies:
    • Windex
    • 409 Cleaner
    • Simple Green
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Q-Tip swabs
    • Clean cotton rags, such as old T-shirts or towels
    • Old toothbrushes
    Plastic cleaners:
    Metal cleaners:
    • Blue Magic Metal Polish (available at most auto parts stores)
    • Brasso Metal Cleaner (available at most hardware stores)
    • Chrome Polish from Napa Auto Parts
    • Miracle Polishing Cloth (http://miraclecloth.com/)
    • Nevr-Dull Polish ( http://www.nevrdull.com/ )
    Rust removers:
    • CeramaBryte (Home Depot, Lowes)
    • CLR – Calcium, Lime, Rust remover (available at most hardware and grocery stores)
    • Steel wool (#1 for heavy rust and pitting, #00 or #000 for light rust)
    • Wad of Aluminum Foil and dab of water
    • Wire brushes
    Tools: Make sure you have the right tools on-hand before you begin. Most cleaning and restoration jobs can be completed with common hand tools that you probably already have. Here is a list of the basic hand tools that you should have ready:
    • Assortment of screw drivers, both slotted and Phillips head
    • Needle-nose pliers
    • Standard pliers
    • Wire cutters
    • Awl (or other strong, pointed tip tool made of metal)
    For the more challenging restorations, you might need some of the following power tools, like a tumbler or rotary tool, to get the metal parts clean and shiny again:
    The tumblers work very well at cleaning rust and tarnish from metal parts, but they take time to do the job. Just add crushed walnut shells (from bird isle of any pet supply store) to the tumbler with the metal parts, and they will emerge bright and sparkly after 1-2 days of tumbling. You can also use this method for cleaning any Pachinko balls that came with your machine.

    The rotary tool can be an effective and quick way to remove rust and tarnish, but extreme caution should be used. It can also quickly damage metal and plastic surfaces! Always test (or practice) in an inconspicuous place first. Use a wire brush attachment to remove rust and pitting from metal pieces, or the buffing wheel attachment on the brass pin heads in the play area. Never use the rotary tool on chrome surfaces, as it will leave marks that cannot be removed.


    Where to start

    Pictures: Now that you have everything you will need, it’s time to get started. The first thing you should do is take digital pictures of the entire machine – LOTS of digital pictures from every angle and of each opening. Open doors and remove covers and take pictures. You might need these during the reassembly process to figure out where all of the parts and pieces came from. I recommend taking pictures during each step of the process and label them appropriately. It will save you lots of time and frustration.

    One section at a time: I have found that the disassembly stage is the easiest part of the restoration process, but can also be the most dangerous. It can be fun to take the machine completely apart and discover how it works and what makes it ‘tick’, but it makes the reassembly process more daunting and you also run the risk of forgetting where things go and losing some parts in the process (not to mention losing interest along the way). For that reason I recommend working on one section or area at a time because the disassembly will be quick, cleaning and polishing will be done in no time, and reassembly will look do-able. It’s always easier to reach smaller milestones than one monumental milestone!

    Consider starting with the front of the machine first. Pick a section or area to disassemble and clean first, such as the chrome frame, or the play field, or the ball launch tray assembly. Carefully remove the parts in the section, making sure you place all screws, clips, washers, etc in one of the Ziplock containers, and begin your cleaning process. Don’t forget to take picture as you disassemble each section. Once the cleaning is complete, reassemble that section then begin the next one.

    Depending on the model of machine you have, it may be necessary to remove more than one section at a time from the back of the machine. Some machines have integrated plastic panels, where others have many individual components. Regardless of your machine type, the cleaning and reassembly philosophy should remain the same – one section at a time. Use the pliers to remove any staples used to attach parts to the wood backboard. I like to use a pencil to lightly outline these pieces before I remove them, and use the awl to tap in starter holes for screws that I will use to refasten the part after cleaning. Make notes (or take pictures) to indicate the order in which you remove things from the back. You will need to reattach everything in the reverse order.


    Cleaning Tips

    There are many different approaches regarding how the machine parts should be cleaned. Some members on this site clean the machine parts in the dishwasher; others use a tub of warm soapy water and a scrub brush, while still others only use only plastic or metal cleaners and no water at all. The choice is yours on which method to use, however the end result should be the same: the cleaned parts should be free of any residue left behind by the cleaning process. Furthermore, any metal parts that serve as cams, hinges, pivot pins, or other moving parts should be polished with a metal cleaner to ensure that all tarnish has been removed and the moving parts will work freely without any friction. Once polished, the moving parts will work for years without the need for any lubrication. Wet lubricants, such as WD-40, should neverbe used on a Pachinko machine.




    Use caution when cleaning the cell/play field: The play filed (or cell) is a sheet of laminated paper attached to the wood backboard. The brass pins are then nailed through the laminate into the wood. Use of liquids on this area can cause water stains to appear under the laminate around the base of the nails. As a result, you should never spray any liquid or wet cleaner of any kind directly on the cell. There are several methods you can use to clean the cell without causing damage:
    • Cotton balls – lightly dampen the cotton balls with a gentle cleaner (409 or Simple Green) and rub them on the cell in between the nails to remove grime. The cotton balls are soft, but also have a little bit of abrasiveness to them to scrub the grime away. If your fingers are too big to get between all of the nails, you can use a slim piece of wood or a chop stick to push the cotton ball around.
    • Cotton rag – Use the same technique as above, but use a cotton rag, such as an old towel or T-shirt, instead of a cotton ball. You can wrap the rag round your finger, or wad it up and use the stick to push it between the nails. The cotton rag will leave less cotton fibers behind
    After all of the grime has been removed, it’s a good idea to wipe the cell down with a dry rag or cotton balls to remove any residue the cleaner left behind.

    Cleaning the Brass Pins: Use a metal cleaner and cotton rag to remove the tarnish from the brass pin heads, and then buff with a clean cloth. You can also use a buffing wheel on the rotary tool (at a slow speed), but be very careful to keep it away from all plastic ornaments. The spinning buffing wheel will melt the plastic if it comes into contact. To clean the stems of the brass pins, use a broad cotton shoelace from an athletic shoe, along with a dab of metal polish. Run the shoelace over the stem of the pin using a see-saw motion until the stem is clean.

    Cleaning Tulips, Win pockets and Centerpiece: Care should be taken when cleaning the win pockets, mechanical tulips and the centerpiece of the play field. The mechanics are delicate and can bend or break easily. Some of these components are easy to unfasten and remove for detailed cleaning, while others are not. Most can be cleaned without removal.

    The best method for cleaning these parts is by using Q-tip swabs and rubbing alcohol or a light cleaner (409 or Simple Green). Use the lightly moistened Q-Tip to gently scrub away the grime, making sure to get down inside where the balls go, and then use a clean Q-tip to remove any residue the cleaner left behind. For metal parts, dab the Q-tip in a metal polish and follow the polish manufacturer’s directions.


    Hooking up the Lights

    Your Pachinko machine will work just fine without the lights, but the quick flash when you score a jackpot adds to the excitement. There is also a light to let you know when the upper jackpot hopper tray is empty.

    Before hooking up the lights, make sure that the micro-switches are aligned correctly and at are triggered when a jackpot is won, or when the upper jackpot hopper tray is empty. Each micro-switch has two contact points – one on each metal tab. These contact points should be clean and tarnish free. Clean with a jeweler’s emery cloth if tarnish is present. When the switch is tripped, the contact points must be able to touch freely.

    The lights on your vintage pachinko machine will function with electricity or by using a battery. The voltage on the vintage machines is based on the light bulb voltage, since that is the only thing powered. In the early parlours the voltage was 10v, which is not a common voltage for the modern world. However, by utilizing a 9v or a 12v battery, you can make the old bulbs work just fine. Since the bulbs only flash briefly when a jackpot is won, a single 9 volt battery will last a pretty long time. If you decide to connect the lights to electricity, be sure to use a 9 volt power adapter or “wall wart” for the connection. (Tip: use 7.5v bulbs for a brighter flash)

    The three pins on the wiring connection block are designed for one positive (hot), one negative (ground) and one switched to ground. The first two, hot and ground, are basically the only two you need to be concerned about. The third connection was used in the Pachinko parlours to notify the attendant when the jackpot hopper was empty. Refer to the attached wiring diagram for connecting the power. Some trial and error testing may be needed to get your lights working correctly.



    Reassembly and Testing

    On most vintage machines, the components on the back are fastened with staples or old flat head screws, which are typically destroyed during the disassembly process. These fasteners can be easily replaced with 4x1/2” screws that are available from any hardware store. As mentioned above, it is a good idea to “poke” some starter holes with an awl or other pointed tool before you remove the staples. If the components are attached with the old slotted screws, then the holes will already be in place.

    As you reassemble your machine, be sure to reference the pictures you took to make sure you are not overlooking any parts. Again, if you work on your Pachinko machine one section at a time, you chance of overlooking parts or ending up with “leftovers” will be significantly diminished.




    Once you have your machine cleaned and fully reassembled, it’s time to begin the testing and adjustment phase.
    • Load the top jackpot hopper on the back of the machine with 300-400 clean balls, and then drop one Pachinko ball into each tulip and win pocket in the play field to make sure it works and a jackpot is paid.
    • Inspect the play field and make note of any pins that appear to be out of alignment; use the needle-nose pliers to adjust them so that they are aligned properly and balls will pass through them (TIP: Wrap the teeth of the pliers with masking tape to prevent the brass pin from becoming scratched or damaged).
    • Load some balls in the front ball launch tray and make sure they travel to the ball launcher.
    • Play the machine for up to one hour and make sure that everything works as expected, jackpots pay out correctly, and that the machine does not jam.
    Finding replacement parts

    Some replacement parts for your Vintage Pachinko machine can be found at local hardware and specialty stores, while other parts are harder to find or may not be available at all. Below is a list of stores and vendors who sell parts that you may need during your machine cleaning project:

    Specialty hardware stores, such as TrueValue and ACE
    o Extension springs for ball launcher (6”x 5/16” diameter)
    o Screws (4 x ”)
    o Rounded E-clips (all sizes)
    o Tension clips
    o Rubber grommets (to hold lights)

    Radio Shack
    o Low voltage light bulbs
    o Micro-switches
    o 9 volt battery connecters
    o 9 volt battery holders
    o Low voltage light socket

    www.VintagePachinko.com
    o Wiring kits for lights
    o Replacement trays and other machine components
    o Repair manuals and restoration DVD’s
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jeff Jackson, Denver CO

    There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

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    Pachi Puro Moparformances's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, .......... /........ If your not going to stand behind our troops
    ...committed people can change the world. ............. /.................Please, Please stand in front of them
    .....Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has............./
    .........................................Margaret Mead

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    Fever Hunter GB_Jax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Nice work!

    Maybe this can be made a Sticky.
    Do you know how many directions 500 steel balls can go on a tile floor...
    Yellow tulips are evil.

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    Winnipeg Pachinko Correspondent dishpan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Nicely done. Thanks for taking the time.
    If you haven't grown up by age 50 ... you don't have to!



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    Hyah! rubberratt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    I couldn't pay attention long enough to read the whole thing I will read it later

    DAMN this lack of con..cen.. tra

    I like turkey
    Last edited by rubberratt; 11-07-2009 at 11:35 PM.

    せぶん戦闘機 せぶん

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    Gibisans - Japan West compirate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Squirrel!

    人生は恐れなければ、とても素晴らしいものなんだよ。
    人生に必要なもの。それは勇気と想像力、そして少しのお金だ。

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    Ensign Newton owennewton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by compirate View Post
    Squirrel!
    what? where?
    the

    LLTR

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    Super Turtle BigBearSteve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by compirate View Post
    Squirrel!
    Tree Rat!!
    My favorite color is Ham

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    MacGruber JACKSJE4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by rubberratt View Post
    I couldn't pay attention long enough to read the whole thing I will read it later
    I know it's a lot of info for a post, but I thought some would find it useful, print it out and use it as a guide. I kind of wish I had something like this to use when I tore apart my first Pachinko and cleaned it. It would have saved me a lot of time and frustration.

    I thought that I could save someone else the trouble.

    Jeff
    Jeff Jackson, Denver CO

    There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

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    Pachi Puro pinball wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    well said !!i also think this post needs to be made a sticky.

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    Ensign Newton owennewton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    the

    LLTR

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    Chicken Fried Steak takethecastle57's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    I've been using this to clean and polish my machines (Metal, Wood , Plastic ) With great results since the late 70's .



    Miracle Polishing And Cleaning Cloth . The original Miracle Cloth which has proven to out clean and polish any other product.

    Good topic .
    When things don't go right the 1st time , Step back ,Take a break and come back renewed. RGS

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    Stuey - The RADministrator MrGneiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Great post JACKSJE4!!


    This thread feels sticky to me!!




    "Blowing smoke rings at the moon."

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    Blind Shooter victor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    thank you, i'll be doing my wiring , i hope it works out, the info is really you posted is very helpful thanks
    ______________________________________________________
    Quote Originally Posted by victor View Post
    thank you, i'll be doing my wiring , i hope it works out, the info is really you posted is very helpful thanks
    the info is really helpful, sorry about the type o just to show you how much i know...
    Last edited by victor; 11-08-2009 at 09:49 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    PachiTalk Hostess dattia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Wonderful!
    Dawn

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    Fever Hunter NJ_Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Great stuff - thanks. This is what Victor was looking for last week and now we all have it for reference.

    I'm sure everyone appreciates the time and effort it takes to put something like this together!

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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Excellent post - Thank you for taking the time.

    This will be of great value to those beginning a restoration project.

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    Tokie Owens The57metlady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    OH Fuzzy Pickles! I wish I would have read this BEFORE I Cleaned it yesterday! ARGGG! I sprayed WD-40 stuff on my joints! but otherwise I did not RESTORE it I just SPIFFED it up & got the spiders evicted as well as the mud dawbers

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    Tokie Owens Dylan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    I stumbled upon this awhile ago and tried it out on parts on my cell and backing and found it works wonderfully. It wont get off the real ground in dirt but for all the dust that seems to persist on play fields and the dirt that fills the hard to reach spots on the back it works wonders.

    ThinkGeek :: Cyber Clean Electronics Cleaning Putty

    Now don't hold me to this but I believe any similar substance would do the trick. Silly putty may work just as well.


    As always,
    Dylan

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    Fever Hunter MrFixit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips for Cleaning Your Vintage Pachinko Machine

    Squirrel!!!

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