Retro Art Restoration: Recreating Pinball Glass

Restored arcade pinball glass with digital printing

Restored arcade pinball glass

Because we create custom digital prints, we often get interesting and unusual requests.  These are fun projects that test our creativity and show off just much our equipment can do.  We were recently asked to restore a retro pinball machine to its original pop art glory.

“The customer had purchased a used pinball machine online.  It was a “Williams Heat Wave” machine.  He said he used to play it for hours when he was a child,” Signs for Success designer Will Oakley explained.  However, when the customer received his beloved pinball machine, the glass was broken into three pieces.  “It appeared at some point someone had shot it with a BB gun,” Will said.  “We scanned the pieces he had, recreated the missing areas from scratch and reprinted the image onto a piece of glass that the customer provided.”

Before and after photo of recreated glass, pinball machine glass, digital printing

Before and after photo of recreated glass

Digital Printing

Signs for Success specializes in custom large-format digital printing.  Digital printing can translate into car and truck wraps, large signs, posters, banners, decals, and so much more.  This project incorporated our extensive knowledge and experience in backlit signs.  Digital printing makes full color backlit signs possible, but getting the color and saturation just right can be tricky when a sign is backlit half the time, and front-lit the other half of the time.  Too often, we see dark sign graphics during the day and washed out signs at night.  So we came up with a solution – layering color with white ink during printing allows a light-blocking layer so the same color and saturation can be seen whether the sign is lit from the front or back.  We used the same technique for the pinball glass.

“There are areas of the image that don’t show up until the image is backlit.  We were able to recreate these areas using layers of white ink and color,” Will explained.  When the lights come on, the graphics really pop out thanks to a layer of white ink and a second layer of color behind those images.

With a little design savvy, state-of-the-art FB500 flatbed printer, and understanding of color and white ink, we were able to recreate the broken pinball glass.  The customer was ecstatic that we were able to restore his pinball machine and will be able to once again “play it for hours.”

Tradeshow displays, retractable banner stands and promotional products are produced by Signs for Success in Spokane