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Cleaning your balls


Whitewater
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Hi guys

 

I have about 35 balls in my machines and replacing them periodically is quite expensive.

 

At the moment when the balls begin showing signs of wear I use brasso followed by mr sheen to clean them.

 

I remember seeing a thread where someone used a tumbler with walnut shells to get a much better polish and prolong the use of their balls :redface

 

Just wondering if there is a cost effective tumbler or other method :017: I could use to prolong the life of my aging balls :120:

 

Any advice would be appreciated

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Cleaning your balls

 

I tumble mine every couple of months in a vibratory tumbler with corn cob media and a little autosol metal polish. Something like this would be ok. You could probably find something cheaper that would do the same job.

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com.au%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F182230755198

The media I get from a gun shop. A $30 lot lasts me a couple of restorations and some ball polishing along the way.

I did some average looking keys for my machine today using the same method. This is about 4hrs in the tumbler. The balls I do for around 24 hrs. f385032162bb3df7e87a71692cd9f131.jpg6e65f2fced3e6dd189861924b2b1e7a4.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Does this mean if they are a bit pitted they can't be tumbled ? When mine start feeling a bit rough to touch with my hand is when I usually polish them , but should I be doing it sooner ?

 

Yep, as above with @Boof Head.

My tumbler uses walnut shells and I chuck in some autosol as well. Balls - 24 to 48 hrs helps prolong their life BUT before I waste power and ingredients I check the items over with a magnifying glass to see if its worth doing.

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Cleaning your balls

 

I also throw mine in the tumbler periodically. May or may not be cost effective depending on how much you use it, but I like to recycle what I have so I use it a fair bit.

 

You can tumble them whether they're pitted or not. However tumbling will only polish what's there; it can't remove the pits.

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Don't you clean your balls in the shower?

 

Seriously now....If you use the tumbler as per the above link...Thanks BOOTS...

Can you use the standard CORN COB MEDIA for brass bullets to Clean your balls?

The boss has some of these in the warehouse so I might wack my balls in there...

Just checking that the Corn Cob is the way to go...

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Do not under any circumstances, use this stuff to clean your balls. Oh god the pain

 

Click image for larger version.

 

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How long did the pain last...? lol

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Don't you clean your balls in the shower?

 

Seriously now....If you use the tumbler as per the above link...Thanks BOOTS...

Can you use the standard CORN COB MEDIA for brass bullets to Clean your balls?

The boss has some of these in the warehouse so I might wack my balls in there...

Just checking that the Corn Cob is the way to go...

 

Yes corn cob is good

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or you can try this

you get a small peice of timber drill a hole in it with a 25mm spade bit 15mm deep doesnt need to be accurate

put ball in hole of wood and use a bench grinder to polish them there are different grades of buffing wheels

and cutting compounds start with the coarse and finish with a sisal rag wheel the ball in the timber can and does rotate allowing the ball to be polished on all sides also

you are not holding the ball so the heat transfer shouldnt be an issue

ive a tumler here with 2 grades of media and run it for 48 hrs the bench grinder method shits on the tumbler

taking about 3 mins a ball and with more effort and time you can bring back some very average balls

 

ball pictured was in average cond done this with MAV here sunday 2 mins only used 2 wheels

 

- - - Updated - - -

 

yes i need a new spade bit

 

thanks KJS

20190420_145951.thumb.jpg.fa6270bc2a0182fb9499edc7df4dbffa.jpg

20190420_145958.thumb.jpg.d55c3507c98ef23ab4a46570b963db79.jpg

20190420_150004.thumb.jpg.9e1fb0349644dde34ef9bd4d608382ce.jpg

20190420_165404.thumb.jpg.3f94e9188e6af67a37e328a012890e0d.jpg

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Just want to show you what I meant you could achieve with a little more effort i have some rusty ball here

This is 1 i will I'll spend that little more effort

 

- - - Updated - - -

 

Just want to show you what I meant you could achieve with a little more effort i have some rusty ball here

This is 1 i will I'll spend that little more effort

 

- - - Updated - - -

 

This is the end result 5 mins 3 different buffing wheels and a perfectly useable ball I'll do very rusted 1 with a member present here and get him to add his opinion

 

Sorry pics aren't brighter raining and very overcast here

20190430_151143.thumb.jpg.235c5b4e0656ebc747ff24305501612a.jpg

20190430_152338.thumb.jpg.7a8822a8025e7d0691af30b7c53fdf6b.jpg

20190430_152623.thumb.jpg.3c1e6a478f1fc4e38668ce23bab38638.jpg

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or you can try this

you get a small peice of timber drill a hole in it with a 25mm spade bit 15mm deep doesnt need to be accurate

put ball in hole of wood and use a bench grinder to polish them there are different grades of buffing wheels

and cutting compounds start with the coarse and finish with a sisal rag wheel the ball in the timber can and does rotate allowing the ball to be polished on all sides also

you are not holding the ball so the heat transfer shouldnt be an issue

ive a tumler here with 2 grades of media and run it for 48 hrs the bench grinder method shits on the tumbler

taking about 3 mins a ball and with more effort and time you can bring back some very average balls

 

ball pictured was in average cond done this with MAV here sunday 2 mins only used 2 wheels

 

- - - Updated - - -

 

yes i need a new spade bit

 

thanks KJS

 

Great idea. Thanks for sharing. You don't want to know how often my balls have slipped away onto the ground when I was trying to polish them on my buffer.

 

I have to laugh reading this lol.

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  • 3 months later...
or you can try this

you get a small peice of timber drill a hole in it with a 25mm spade bit 15mm deep doesnt need to be accurate

put ball in hole of wood and use a bench grinder to polish them there are different grades of buffing wheels

and cutting compounds start with the coarse and finish with a sisal rag wheel the ball in the timber can and does rotate allowing the ball to be polished on all sides also

you are not holding the ball so the heat transfer shouldnt be an issue

ive a tumler here with 2 grades of media and run it for 48 hrs the bench grinder method shits on the tumbler

taking about 3 mins a ball and with more effort and time you can bring back some very average balls

 

ball pictured was in average cond done this with MAV here sunday 2 mins only used 2 wheels

 

- - - Updated - - -

 

yes i need a new spade bit

 

thanks KJS

 

I experimented a bit with this today. It works really well on most balls. Same preparation method - just drill a hole using a spade bit. I used 7/8". I used a sisal rag wheel for initial buffing and a stitched rag wheel for final polishing. I found that it was a bit cumbersome to use a larger piece of wood so I made another ball holder out of a 1 cm thick plank. The ball juts out a lot more this way, but I found that it spun more easily. The only issue I have with using pieces of timber like this is that the ball still needs to be rotated to ensure the whole ball is polished. Otherwise it only spins on a single axis.

 

20190804_050633465_iOS.thumb.jpg.009259a17d305afd38f2ffbc5972cf1d.jpg20190804_051236111_iOS.thumb.jpg.9dab0c56f2a4376f1e674b8969a19e83.jpg20190804_054757856_iOS.thumb.jpg.0232eb666463ca3908b95f4312d3c3f7.jpg20190804_054809283_iOS.thumb.jpg.ebac84deaba62547bcea454c6ce449f3.jpg

 

I think the absolute best way to make sure balls are totally polished is to buff them on a wheel to get any rust and scratches off, then finish them off in the tumbler. There are some times where the tumbler can't polish a really rusty ball while the buffing wheel can. Other times, the buffing wheel can't quite get a particular blemish or tiny imperfection out, but the tumbler can. Overkill for most people but it basically makes pinballs infinitely usable.

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I experimented a bit with this today. It works really well on most balls. Same preparation method - just drill a hole using a spade bit. I used 7/8". I used a sisal rag wheel for initial buffing and a stitched rag wheel for final polishing. I found that it was a bit cumbersome to use a larger piece of wood so I made another ball holder out of a 1 cm thick plank. The ball juts out a lot more this way, but I found that it spun more easily. The only issue I have with using pieces of timber like this is that the ball still needs to be rotated to ensure the whole ball is polished. Otherwise it only spins on a single axis.

 

https://www.aussiearcade.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=151462https://www.aussiearcade.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=151463https://www.aussiearcade.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=151464https://www.aussiearcade.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=151465

 

I think the absolute best way to make sure balls are totally polished is to buff them on a wheel to get any rust and scratches off, then finish them off in the tumbler. There are some times where the tumbler can't polish a really rusty ball while the buffing wheel can. Other times, the buffing wheel can't quite get a particular blemish or tiny imperfection out, but the tumbler can. Overkill for most people but it basically makes pinballs infinitely usable.

Use several blocks 1 for each cutting compound

 

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

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I know it's kind of fun to try to salvage an old rusty and pitted ball but at $3.95 for a brand new chrome Ninja ball it's kind of false economy. Those Ninjas are super shiny, extra hard and last super long. And let's face it its impossible to get rid of pits in the ball no matter how long you polish. And I speak from experience.
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I know it's kind of fun to try to salvage an old rusty and pitted ball but at $3.95 for a brand new chrome Ninja ball it's kind of false economy. Those Ninjas are super shiny, extra hard and last super long. And let's face it its impossible to get rid of pits in the ball no matter how long you polish. And I speak from experience.

 

well your no doing things right and how are you HAND POLISHING balls asking another $2 for each 1 you sell

All balls start off as a chunk of unpolished steel pitted and rough

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I know it's kind of fun to try to salvage an old rusty and pitted ball but at $3.95 for a brand new chrome Ninja ball it's kind of false economy. Those Ninjas are super shiny, extra hard and last super long. And let's face it its impossible to get rid of pits in the ball no matter how long you polish. And I speak from experience.

 

I just like to refurbish things wherever possible. Besides, I have a bucket of at least 40 balls to polish. If I bought new ones for that price I'd be looking at $160!

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well your no doing things right and how are you HAND POLISHING balls asking another $2 for each 1 you sell

All balls start off as a chunk of unpolished steel pitted and rough

 

Super Jets and other brands of "Chrome Plated MILD STEEL Balls" aren't something I would ever put in any of my machines.

 

Just like "Oils aint Oils" ... Balls are not just Balls!

 

From an engineering perspective, I'll start with ball bearings that are used in ball race bearing units. This is from whence pinballs were taken in the first place. There are vast varieties and grades of steel. They do not all start off equal. For a race bearing to be durable and last it is made from a Carbon Steel grade, this means it is substantially Harder than a ball made from a Mild Steel, which is considerably softer. Carbon Steel also has a resistance to alteration of its structure both physically and in terms of magnetisation, there is less iron in its makeup and the iron that is there is less prone to becoming polarised or magnetised, it is more firmly locked into its molecular orientation.

 

Move forward over half a century, and pinheads want an extremely shiny ball that they Hope (assume) will also save them maintaining their balls (and machines) as regularly as they had to in the old days. Bring to the stage "Super Jets" etc. These are Mild Steel balls which contain alot more Iron and are Much Softer, they dent much more easily. Of course they are Plated with Chrome which is Extremely Hard. . Okay, so what is the problem? . Well, it's a bit of a catch 22. The "Skin" of chrome is merely thousandths of an inch thick at it's maximum (just like wax, reapplying does not make it thicker, it has a maximum deposit thickness). If (when) your pinball strikes some other hard metal (even another ball) it will deform the Soft mild steel beneath the hard unwavering layer of chrome, and compromise the bond of the chrome layer to the mild steel.

 

So, why don't we chrome plate the Carbon Steel ball bearings? ... great question with a simple answer, the Chrome layer will not take to it adequately, leaving it prone to flaking off. . As anyone whom has messed around with old cars will likely know, when the chrome starts flaking off the rusted mild steel of the bumper bar, that super thin super hard sheet of metal becomes akin to a razorblade at the broken edge. Equally as sharp when it begins flaking away from the soft base of your "ninja" or other chromed ball.

 

The other downside to chrome balls is that they become magnetised Very readily due to the fact they are made from a softer mild steel, which is prone to becoming magnetised.

 

They are expensive because the main (only) use really for such balls is for pinball, rightly or wrongly. They are low production compared to ball bearings, and with much more limited applications. They are not used in ball bearings due to their inferior properties for the purpose. Soft, become magnetised, delaminate easily. Same exact reason I don't use them in my pinballs.

 

I rather polish my balls regularly :rolleyes , rather than miss the chrome starting to flake and cutting the inside of my pinball machine to pieces! :o

 

They can be used, and people use them .... but warning for lovers of pinball machines, you have to be just as vigilant if not more vigilant... and be prepared for your ball costs and risks to be higher. Chrome balls can't be revived by polishing once the chrome becomes compromised either.

 

Pitts in Carbon balls are easily held at bay by keeping them clean, free of contamination, and in good atomospheric conditions. Chrome plated balls are not a less demanding nor cheaper alternative, and you can't use them in games with magnets anyway.

 

Carbon balls are more durable, cheaper, and safer for the machines.

 

Also note that "highly polished" or "mirror finish" Carbon Steel Balls, are just highly polished ball bearings (a refined version of the plain Carbon Ball Bearing), these would be the premium balls to use. "Chromed Steel Balls" are a Vastly different product, with very different metal composition (the thin surface is Harder with much Softer base metal) and therefore properties.

 

Well, that's my two bobs worth out there. :)

 

- - - Updated - - -

 

*Also the word "Precision" is good to lookout for in the part description when purchasing, or you might recieve "brand new" ball bearings from the manufacturers Reject Bin, like this poor fellow did....

 

6c9f408b2574063b987fd3708542d4677f6c731e.jpeg.thumb.jpg.90e141cd75d2f9edc0f5a5e32c289fc4.jpg

 

The community wisely suggested that he send them back... note the conspicuous absence of the word "precision" in the part description. They really do not need to say "pinball", in fact, if they do say pinball it suggests they are nothing more than Reject Sub-standard carbon ball bearings, targeting pinheads so that the rubbish can be sold for more than the scrap metal that they actually are.

 

You do kinda get what you pay for. Does "BCPrecision" stand for "Before Christ Precision"? :lol

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