Friday, 6 May 2016

Never: Poorman's pinball playfield clear coat

So being on a shoestring budget, and deciding that I do indeed need to protect the playfield in someway, my only option is off the shelf spray can clear coat.

I highlight my options and shop around locally and online, eventually picking out two to start. Both are by Rustoleum, Crystal Clear and Polyurethane Finish. These were both £7 for a 400ml can from Wilko so exactly in my price range and I know I can nip out and get more if I run out.

Testing products

I wanted to test ideally on a screenprinted surface luckily I have this old test print from an unused project. It's on mdf, which will make a difference to the finish, but it's really a test in the effects to the printed surface rather than the wooden surface.

I add a generous and as even as possible spray of each product one on the left and one on the right, leaving a gap down the middle to compare any colour changes etc.

It's immediately obvious that this spray is very potent and mask must be worn. It make the head slightly light even with a mask. Work in a well ventilated space, ideally outside, if you can.

Looks real nice and shiny when applied and wet, I only wish it could stay that way.


Now. This is a tough one. They look the same. It makes sense because they are the same brand, I limited myself there a bit perhaps. I'm happy enough with both and they were as expected really, not the thick glossy layer but more of a light seal.

I tried denting and chipping with a pinball, but they both hold up well. In the end it came down to the perhaps more even finish of the Crystal Clear, and one of it's intended uses is for painted surfaces, so by design, there was absolutely no chance of any discolouring or melting of the playfield print.

Lets spray the playfield 
You know when I said work outside if you can? Well I can't so I'm making sure the window is wide open and I have all doors closed.

I'm in a just get things done mood, so not worried about making mistakes like I thought I would. It's likely down to this job of protecting the playfield being something that is actually holding me up from getting on with assembly, which I know is going to be quite a task. Like everything it needed to be done yesterday!

Ok setup ready to go! 
Filling in these inserts with a pipette, as much as I can.
Spray o' clock.
Noticing some bubbles forming, do I pop them? Yes pop them if you can. 
It's bringing out the colours quite nicely 
Some effects of the untreated wood making this deckling effect. I'm not worried. I know I should be. 
Starting to see everything being sealed and coming together better.

Nice overview of the playfield. Again It would be nice to keep that sheen but know it ends up quite a matte effect.

Comparing to the original the playfield is glowing a bit more yellow. Won't tell till it's dry.
Really pleased with the overall coverage with a few coats
Just making sure there is as even coat as possible, I used the most part of two cans in the end. 
Don't touch it for a few days. I opted to do it over the weekend, hoping no one would be around to disturb it. 
And we're done. Walk away. Breathe. 
Leave it to dry. Check out the results after the weekend.

Yes. So that was a task. I didn't much like working with the clear coat spray in a confined space. If budget allows in future I'd get it done professionally with automotive clear coat.

Another thing off the long ever expanding list of things to do!

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