"Flash" Part 2: A bare playfield (on the underside at least!).
Not a huge amount to report on the Flash rebuild this week. I completed the wiring harness removal, and ended up dumping a lot of good but smelly copper wire. I briefly thought about re-using the copper wire, but it stinks. Years of cigarette smoke and that strange, ozone smell which lives beneath the playfield of all pinballs. I spent a lot of time removing mechanisms after that, and cleaning (with a toothbrush!) the underside of the playfield. It looks a lot better, now. It's not factory condition by any means, but it's presentable.
I've bagged all of the hardware, and have started to do an audit of what's there and what isn't. Some parts are in stock, and I can rebuild those bits, but other parts will have to come from our suppliers. I'm expecting a couple of bulk shipments this week. No doubt we'll be re-selling the excess stuff we don't need. We have a lot of playfield rubbers in stock now, and we need to get them out onto the shop front. I also need to clean up a lot of metal which has gotten rusty and bent out of shape. I can do this a mech at a time, thankfully. I will probably replace the entire flipper units with more modern mechanisms. We sell the standard Williams flipper plate which replaced the old system used in Flash.
As the playfield solenoids are designed to run off a 28 volt supply, I can't use standard 50 volt flipper coils (like the FL-11630). Seeing as we are adding a custom line of solenoid and flipper coils to our store front in the next month or so, I will use our newer solenoids rather than "new-old stock" (or NOS) coils. We are looking forward to being able to offer a custom coil service where you can specify the wire size and the number of turns. If that 23-950 isn't quite strong enough, order a 23-920 from us and see if the increased current helps. Stay tuned for details on that service.
I didn't remove the GI (general illumination) lamps because they are stapled in place and they didn't get in the way of the cleanup effort. I will be replacing all of the GI bulbs with standard LEDs. I'm torn between using surface-mount white LEDs on custom PCB boards or using a standard, through-hole three colour LED. The surface-mount will give more kick, especially as a white light. But the through-hole LED will get closer to the playfield. I still need to clean the inserts and I will be looking to see whether I will just use (for example) a red LED for some of the red inserts, or try out a multi-colour LED and see how that works. I'll definitely do multi-colour on the clear or white inserts. Hopefully I won't incur the wrath of King Steve (of Ritchie) by changing the colours. My weak excuse is that they would have used multi-colour LEDs at the time, if they'd been available. Likewise, I won't try and recreate the background music for the game, favouring instead something more, uh, "modern". Pinball purists are no doubt assembling nearby with pitchforks and burning torches, as I type this. I like to think of this as "Flash reimagined", at least from a music and lighting perspective. I will not be changing an iota of the game play. Steve Ritchie, is after all, the "King of Flow" and who am I to suggest an improvement?
So, next steps now are to decide on the GI lighting and the game lighting. To remove all of the GI bulb holders and clean all of the inserts (from the underside at least - I'll focus on the playfield later on). With that, I can start to put some of the playfield mechanisms back in place. That will be fun! It would be great to see the flippers working properly, to say nothing of the pop bumpers.
As a side project, I have started construction on a wooden pintisserie. For those of you who don't know what a pintisserie is, think "Pinball Rotisserie" and you'll get the idea. It s a way of supporting the playfield while you work on it, without resting it down on the mechs or face-down on the pop bumpers. I've looked at a few varieties, and I came to the conclusion I'd prefer a wooden one over metal. The reason for this is I also want to include one or two storage compartments underneath, I want to attach a long power extension, and possibly even a power supply. I have also seen some interesting ideas for mounting a solder station on top of the pintisserie. I've started with the basic frame which is almost complete. I haven't decided on clamps just yet. I notice that some people use regular wood clamps but I like those fancy hold-downs. I'm not sure I can get them to fit, however.
All in all, it's been enjoyable work so far, but we are still at the early stages. I mused to myself last week, as I put "Part 1" into the title, where it would end. At what value of 'N' would I type "Part N: The Game Is Complete!" While I do have some thoughts on the subject, and N is a lot bigger than I'd like, I won't publicly say how long I think this is going to take, because forecasting things like this is an exact science. In that, as soon as you finish forecasting it, you're proven to be exactly wrong. What are your thoughts?