Pinball Project: Cyclone Restoration

Cyclone Backglass Clown

The good folks at Make Magazine have asked me to write an article on pinball machine restoration. After a bit of research, I found a Cyclone that is in need of restoration.

Cyclone is an excellent pinball machine made in 1988 by Williams. Full details can be found in the Internet Pinball Database. At a time when every machine had to have multiball, Cyclone is single ball all the way. The game play is brilliant, with lots of really well done kitschy state fair style sound track.

Cyclone; Glass off, pre-restoration

If you zoom in to the picture on the right, you can see many of the items on the long list of tasks to be performed before this machine is fully restored. Fortunately, the machine basically works now. The only major failure is the 3rd player display doesn’t work.

Everything else is a matter of cleaning and replacing all of the consumables on the playfield. In particular, every piece of rubber will have to be replaced. No trivial matter as that means that the ramps and a large number of the playfield plastics will have to be removed.

Now, whenever diving into any machine for the first time. The very first thing to do is to visit the Marvin3m Pinball Repair Guides and determine what type of machine you have. In this case, Cyclone is a Williams System 11 based game.

Cyclone Pre-Maintenance

Beyond restoring the machine, there are a handful of upgrades that I would like to do. The playfield is in really good shape. Certainly good enough to be nearly fully restored with a new set of plastic decals and some paint repair pens. As such, I’m seriously considering stripping the playfield entirely (I already have to mostly strip the top side) and slapping on several layers of automative clear coat.

As well, I would like to upgrade the flippers to fliptronics II based technology. It is much less prone to catastrophic failure than the previous generation and easier to maintain. Of course, FII requires computer control and System 11 doesn’t have the controls. So, there’ll be a bit of hardware engineering to pull that off.

In any case, this is going to be a lot of fun….



5 Responses to “Pinball Project: Cyclone Restoration”

  1. Daniel Jalkut says:

    I used to love Cyclone! Between Cyclone and Taxi it’s a surprise I ever made it through college. Or maybe that’s precisely how I made it through!

    Good luck with this project and I look forward to seeing the final article. At least the “beta testing” will be a blast.

  2. Jack says:

    Thrills! Chills! Magic! Prizes!

    Cyclone ruled a portion of my world in 1989.

  3. shaggy says:

    Be sure to check out “Banzai Wars”, the new This Old Pinball restoration dvd video which covers Williams System 11 game restoration. It may be very helpful to your project, seeing that your game is a System 11 machine.

  4. Just Pachinkos says:

    How is the restoration going?

  5. Photo Restoration says:

    Sounds like a big project to take on… when do you expect to be finished? I’d like to see the results!

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