Ball polishing

Pinballs are subject to wear, even if they are made of steel. They get scratched and lose their shininess, they may even get dented. Missing shooter rubber tip will dent the balls after a few games, but also in a well maintained game the balls get rough handling. This picture shows two balls, the left one straight from game, the right one is polished.

So, how to polish pinballs at home? A felt buffing wheel with some buffing compound is good, but you have to take care not to make square balls! A good way to ensure that balls stay round is to keep them spinning while buffing. I built this system from stuff at hand:

The base is a CD case bottom part, where the disc attaches. When you turn this part over, it has a suitable hole for the ball. During buffing the ball tried to jump out, so I finished the design by cutting a two centimeter high plastic tube from a film roll container and attached it with hot melt glue to the base plate. Now when you press gently with the spinning felt wheel, the ball begins spinning and is polished evenly.

Start polishing with a felt wheel and continue with softer fabric wheel. Some polishing compound might be used. My buffing wheels came in a set with two different kinds of polishing compound, first a little rougher then smoother. After polishing, wax the ball with the same wax used on playfield. It is best to use gloves when polishing so that there will be no grease marks on the ball. A column type drilling machine is good, but you can manage with a hand tool.

When you put a polished ball in the game, you notice a difference immediately. Polished ball moves very silently and with high speed. A little work gives you better game and also saves money because you don't have to buy new balls so often. Also your playfield's life will be prolonged.