Monday, October 11, 2010

The humble coin door

It's great to see businesses trying a little harder in this economy. If I was hungry for an Italian sub (as I often am), this guy definitely would have gotten my $6.95:

I think it's actually "Giggity", but he tried to get my attention. I respect that. Maybe he was avoiding trademark infringement...

Coin doors don't get much consideration, even from most pinball collectors. The lights are low and the games are on free play, so we don't give them as love as other parts of the game. I more or less accepted this, until I found that Marco had new coin door "skins" for old Bally games. I just bought a Centaur with a beat-up door, so I thought I'd give it a try.

For those short on time, here's the "reveal shot":

If I'd just done the visible part of the door, this would have been a 3-hour job, tops. But the old door had coke or beer all over it:

The worst of it came off with Simple Green, but I decided since I had it apart, I might as well do a full-on restoration. Forget chemicals; all I needed to make these parts shine was a wire wheel, a drill and a lot of patience. The smaller parts went into my Berry tumbler.

I took about 50 pictures as I took it apart, and I'm glad I did. Putting it back together with clean parts was kind of fun, like assembling a puzzle I'd created. 

My other 80's Ballys probably won't get this much love, but I'll definitely replace the beat up old coin door skins. You can do this without removing too many bolts; you can tell which ones if you look closely at the picture above. 

The first time I reassembled the door I left out this little part (in the center of the picture):

I realized that it's important, because it braces the door so that it doesn't warp when you install the lock and tighten it down. So, I had to back up a few steps.

Happy restoring!


  1. I got some good questions from a friend:

    ** "how much does it cost ?"

    I embedded a link to Marco Specialties; they're the only ones who have them I think. They're $79 for one, $69 each for 3.

    ** "about cleaning metal with a wire wheel - what type, how long, .. ?"

    I've got two wire wheels. The small, stiff one is good for cutting through the crud. The larger, softer one is good for finishing up. I also found "The Must for Rust" helps if you've got a really nasty part.

    ** "do you only use wire brushes or also sandpaper ?"

    I use a rotary sander with 100 grit paper on the flat parts. This is definitely a time-saver (over the wire wheel). You could also use a stationary sander for the exposed faces.


  2. I'm disassembling my coin door today and the "little thing to brace the door" just fell out. So I didn't know where to put it back. Now I do! Thanks!