One Very Beat PIN-BOT

PIN-BOT: Backglass & Playfield

I recently acquired a new pinball machine. Got it in unrestored condition for a decent price; low enough that I could make my money back and then some by parting it out. Don’t want to do that, though, as it is always sad to see something of limited production be destroyed.

Specifically, a Williams PIN-BOT. PIN-BOT was a very popular– 12,001 units made– pinball machine manufactured in 1986.

As always, the Internet Pinball Database has a complete set of information, manuals, ROM images, and pictures of PIN-BOT. Love that site.

Now, this particular PIN-BOT is a rather odd machine, when it comes to unrestored pinball machines.

Notably, the machine is beat to hell. Detailed pictures of exactly what I mean on the click through. It is missing the arch assembly entirely (the purplish plastic thing normally found on top).

The playfield has quite a few bare spots — heavy wear — and it is obvious that mylar was put onto the playfield after a number of spots had already worn through.

However, just about every lamp works. And all of the mechanics work just fine. Sure, it needs a flipper rebuild, but that is too be expected!

Hell, even the plastics are in good shape. The only plastic with damage is the spiral ramp and that was quite competently repaired! I have never seen a PIN-BOT with an intact spiral ramp.

Finally, all of the displays work and the ground-fault noise is present, but minimal. A couple of new capacitors and the audio should be clear as a bell. Beyond that, there are a couple of switches out, but that is it for electrical faults.

Once I replace all rubber rings, do a flipper rebuild, and fix a few switches, there is nothing about this machine that should negatively impact play. And a great machine this is!!

Of course, nothing beyond these photos will happen until post WWDC.

PIN-BOT: Color Grid (And Major Playfield Wear)

The playfield has some major bare spots up near the ball lock mechanism and color grid.

If you look carefully, you can see that mylar was placed over the color grid part of the wear after it was already worn. The wear then continued in the bare patch in the upper left. This is the worst of the wear on the machine.


PIN-BOT: Upper Right Main Playfield

Clearly, this is a machine that saw a huge amount of play on route somewhere. Evidence in the form of serious wear to the metal and wood at the front o the machine indicates that this is definitely true.

Looking at some of the wear, I suspect the machine spent some time in a road house with people wearing chains that hung of sleeves as the front of the machine shows wear in droopy spots below where hands would rest.

I have uploaded a bunch of other pictures that show the wear on various parts of the playfield. The pool at that link will grow as I document the restoration process, eventually.

PIN-BOT: Case Damage (Attacked by Rabid Squirrels??!?!?!)

I have never seen wear like this on a pinball machine. This is at the front of the machine directly below the coin door.

It looks like the machine was attacked by rabid squirrels.

Seriously — this isn’t water damage or dry rot. The wood looks like it was systematically gnawed away or something.

And the bottom of the machine has a thin sheet of galvanized steel screwed across the front 1/5th of the machine. I can only imagine that someone was trying to scratch their way into the coin box or something. I’ll definitely be taking the sheet steel off at some point just to see.

I have no idea how I’ll restore this bit. I might just try to rebuild an entire new front to the machine. The case is painted with just three colors and this would also give me the opportunity to eliminate the lockdown bar holes.



2 Responses to “One Very Beat PIN-BOT”

  1. James says:

    That’s a helluva machine, I remember dropping many a-quarter into Pin-Bot and his I hope to follow your restoration closely, as I one day would like to bring my machine westward for my own restoration project.

  2. ddolinar says:

    Dang Bill, where do you get your time? A pinball restoration project would be a ton of fun, one of my buddies recently got a Twilight Zone that needs just a little bit of love, but he hasn’t been able to find the time to work on it & I haven’t hardly had the time to go play it (it is still playable with just a few minor issues… the extra ball ramp reject the ball too easilly).

    So what you going to do about the play-field wear? Can you do anything?

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