Gorgar Pinball Restoration Episode 05

Welcome to the Gorgar Pinball Restoration Project Episode 05. Its been a little over a month since I last posted and only a couple of months since we acquired this table. It is coming along very nicely and I’m excited to wrap this one up.

Since the last review, we’ve replaced a light socket, cleaned out most of the others with a wire brush. All of the red arrows had strangely raised slightly out of the playfield, so I used the heatgun to soften the glue and push them flush with the playfield. This was a whole lot better than what we did with the Harlem Globetrotter inserts.

All the rubber rights have been replaced. And the flippers have been mostly rebuilt. What I mean by that is I replaced both plungers, as well as the nylon sleeves. The left flipper needed a new crank and end of stroke switch. It looks like it had been hacked as the EOS switch was shorter than it should be and so the crank had some additional material on it so it would still make contact. I believe this added to the lagginess of the flipper. Is that a word? We replaced all the other nylon sleeves in the solenoids for the pop bumpers and kickers.

Both of the drop target assemblies were removed, cleaned, adjusted and new decals placed on the drop targets. Playfield switches all got a good look at with many of them getting adjusted so that ball contact with the rubber now triggers them. Lastly, I took all of the plastic off the playfield and flattened it and polished it. Most of them were terribly warped. I used a technic I learned from one of the Pinball Repair blogs and used a heat gun and a couple of panes of glass. As the plastic heats up it softens ever so slightly. I then sandwiched the plastic between the glass and sat a stack of books on the glass and allowed the plastic to cool. This worked wonders with the plastic.

I’m actually enjoying playing this table more than I thought I would. The rule set is deep enough to be challenging, but not so vast that there is just no hope of achieving any of them. My last goal is to touch up the paint in a couple of places in the middle of the playfield and hit it with some spray clear. I don’t have the resources to do a full playfield restore, but if I just touch up a few places, I think it will keep it nice enough for what the machine is currently worth.

Expect a final video in a few weeks showing off the final product.

Let the 2024 Season Begin

Well, production has begun for preparations for our massive 2024 season. Its massive for several reasons. First of all, we’re going to be doing some massive shows. If you haven’t read my previous post, we’re returning to Awesome Con in Washington DC in March. We’ve also got the fantastic, Indiana Comic Con also in March, plus the Midwest Gaming Classic and GenCon, to say the least.

Shadow Tray

Another reason this season is going to be massive is because of some of the new products we’re going to be launching. We’ve got a new game or two, plus several new card storage and dice storage options coming your way. I was supposed to be off until February 1st, but my creative assistant couldn’t wait to get started, so we began production early this week. We have well over 100 new items we’re planning on making in the next 4 weeks in preparation for our first couple of shows, Geek Meet Indy and Awesome Con.

Silverwolf Illustrations is also busy putting the finishing touches on several brand new illustrations to adorn your favorite dice tray or deck box. Check out her Instagram channel for sneak peeks in the works.

Speaking of sneak peaks, we had our cell phone caddie on display for the last few shows of last year so we could get feedback from our fans. Geek Meet Indy will have first chance at purchasing the cell phone caddies with or without our Modular Game Master screens.

Deck Vault

Last but not least, we’ll be releasing our newest card storage option called the Deck Vault. This beauty has the storage capacity hard core Magic The Gathering Commander fans have been begging for. This card box will hold not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 double sleeved — yes, you heard me right — 4 double sleeved commander decks. Look for this monster to make its first appearance also at Geek Meet Indy.

Our other new arrival has yet to receive an official product name. We’ve had several people stop by our displays and comment on our dice trays and how they would make nice shadow boxes. So, we have modified our traditional design and added an acrylic slide-out panel and now you have a dice tray that can double as a shadow box to showcase your favorite dice. Optional display stands and wall mounts are being developed.

As you can see, while we’ve been taking some time off, we haven’t been idle. I hope you’ll help us make 2024, the biggest yet for Silverwood Wood Designs. Looking forward to seeing you at one of our many shows this year!

2023 Recap and 2024 Schedule of Events

It occurred to me that I had yet to post anything on social media in a way to wrap up our 2023 event schedule. I have to admit, working full time, trying to launch Silverwood Wood Designs and attending to my other responsibilities gives me little time to compile my thoughts. Honestly, I have the time, its just something I probably don’t prioritize if I were to be truthful.

For 2023, we ended up attending 26 shows over the course of the year.

In those 26 shows we visited 6 different states (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Washington DC — I know, technically not a state) not including our home base of Indiana. We did 2 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Themed based shows, 4 general craft style shows, 6 gaming centric shows, 6 Toy and Collectibles shows and 8 comic conventions. The shows ranged from less than a hundred to more than 70,000 in attendance (actually hit both extremes within 1 week).

We had a lot of fun, met some really nice people, saw a lot of great cosplay, and learned quite a few things about what shows work for us and what shows do not. Sadly, almost without exception, toy and collectible shows were our worst performers. So, as you can imagine, we are not planning on returning to any of them in 2024. Oddly enough, our general craft fairs performed better than the toy and collectible shows, for the most part. That’s not to say we didn’t have dudes in the Comic and even the Gaming Conventions, we sure did, Atlanta Comic Con and Frankfort Comic Con, sorry, not coming back. Con on the Cobb, we couldn’t wait to get out of there.

We did a little over 65% of our total sales in the first 6 months of the year, and we saw steadily declining numbers as the year progressed starting in July. What caused this, we’re not sure, but we felt like the shows themselves (with a few exceptions) struggled to met their attendance goals. All the shows we attended that were repeat shows for us in the second half of 2023 had lower attendance except for MakeVention. I believe that show saw a boost in attendance this year and it showed in our sales numbers. While our hopes for the last few shows of 2023 were not met, our overall sales numbers for the year doubled year over year from 2022.

Our last official show of 2023 was on December 10th. Since then, we’ve been enjoying some time off focusing on new product development, planning for the new season, and trying to figure out new ways to excite our followers. With that we turn our eyes to our 2024 season.

We expanded our reach in 2023. For 2024, we are going to continue that search for new and exciting shows to introduce our products and try to cultivate new followers. As of right now, we are planning on adding two or three new states to our schedule this year, Missouri, Pennsylvania and possibly Illinois. With this expansion, however, we are going to try and stay focused our number one market, gaming. Based upon the results of 2023, we have decided to drop outright 10 of the 26 shows we did last year. Our goal for this year will be to still hit 18-20 shows, but hopefully have them be more successful (quality over quantity).

Yes, you saw that right, we have added GenCon to our list for 2024. I received our acceptance letter for the newly implemented Maker’s Market which takes place in the concourse between the main hall and Lucas Oil Stadium. While we were disappointed that we didn’t make it into the main vendor hall this year, this will still be a fantastic opportunity to get exposure to the largest 4 days in gaming.

Missouri we’re planning on heading out to Oz-Con in West Plains in April, and we’re looking at Geekway to the West out in St. Louis in May. For PA, we’ve been accepted at 3 Rivers Con in Pittsburg in June and I’m hoping to catch up with a buddy of mine while were out there. Illinois has numerous gaming opportunities, including one I recently discovered called Heroicon in Decatur. I’m also trying to get into Adepticon up near Chicago, but they are full already for 2024 — so maybe next year.

Booking shows is not the only thing we’ve been working on. My creative consultant and lead illustrator and I have been busy working on several new products. Right now, we’re hoping to introduce them over the course of the first several shows, with the hope of having most of them available for GenCon including the 10th anniversary edition of the Silverwood Chronicles.

So, thanks for checking us out. We’re looking forward to all of the new and exciting shows lined up for 2024, and we hope to see you at one or more of them!

Gorgar Pinball Restoration Episode 03/04

This is really episode 04, but somehow, I lost 03’s post and the corresponding video. If I find it later, I’ll update this.

To recap what has happened since Episode 02, we were very excited that with just some minor repairs, the MPU (main board) booted to the game. This was very exciting as I have been working on a sister game, Williams Firepower, for several months now, and I still do not have the main board functioning.

The excitement was short lived as I inadvertently plugged the solenoid power incorrectly. I’m sure most of you have heard that within every electronic component, there is some magical black smoke that is used to make it work and when the black smoke is released, the components cease to work. Needless to say, I let loose a bunch of magical black smoke from under the playfield. This mistake was due in part to Williams (for some reason) placing the key pin on the connector as one of the last pins, thereby allowing me to shift the connector by one place which sent voltage to places it shouldn’t have gone.

To the best of my knowledge, I either caused the following, or I eventually discovered the following as a result. We continued to blow a fuse whenever the solenoids were plugged in. After several hours of trial and error, I was able to finally discover that the right kicker solenoid was locking on. I removed it from the power, and as a result, I was actually able to boot into a game and play, reasonably well.

More trial and errors finally allowed me to figure out that I had blown a transistor Q10, and at least IC 7, and possibly IC 6 on the driver board. Fortunately, my local electronics store carried those chips and I was able to switch them out. I also discovered that one of the leaf switches for the kicker had basically disintegrated. So, I ordered and replaced it.

Lastly, the sound board has been rebuilt with new caps all around, and I burned new eproms for the Green Flipper ROMS and the Gorgar code choosing to use a single chip.

Next on the agenda will be cleaning and adjusting switches. New rubber bumpers all around, and replacement of lightbulbs. The flippers will also need to be cleaned and possibly rebuilt, we will see once I get them apart.

Gorgar Pinball Restoration Episode 02

So, I’ve been working on the power supply board as it has to be fully operation before anything else can even be checked. Its also probably the easiest of the boards to restore as there is little to no logic on the board. I replaced 3 of the 4 main capacitors. The big one (yellow) I could not find a replacement for at my local electronics shop, so I will need to source that from the beloved Internet.

Since I have my Firepower motherboard on my bench, I decided to pull the MPU from Gorgar and just see how it would react on the bench. I cleaned up a bunch of the black suet on the board and hooked it up to the old PC power supply that I use for testing. To my surprise, the MPU appeared to boot straight up. Incredible!

If this holds out, then we could be in for a much easier restore than the Firepower. The MPU and Driver board on that system is in bad shape and is taking forever to repair. I did see that the sound board on Gorgar is pretty suspect. There is a large capacitor on it that looks really bad, I’ll need to order a replacement for that as well.

Anyway, I can’t wait to put some of this back in the machine and see just what happens. Sometimes, all you can do is just plug it in (within reason) and see what works.

Gorgar Pinball Restoration – Episode 01

Well, I did it again. I saw this machine come up at a local auction and I had to put a bid on it. Its the Williams Gorgar from 1979. It is a System 6 machine, which as it would happen, is the same generation as our other current work in progress, Firepower.

The machine was sold as “power’s on, but doesn’t work”, which is equivalent to we don’t know if it will ever play again. Judging from the back box, the electronics look remarkably good at first glance. The streak of black suet is an indication that it has not had maintenance in quite a while.

Most of the capacitors are original, these will eventually need to be changed. There is at least one visibly blown fuse (could this be the main problem). The original battery backup holder is still intact and some very old looking Ever Ready Classic batteries sit in the holder and will need to be removed ASAP. Fortunately, no visible corrosion leakage. We will definitely be replacing the battery holder with an external pack to safeguard this in the future. The playfield is not as bad of shape as the Firepower, which clearly sustained some moisture damage.

All in all, there is a higher than even chance we can get this working again. Stay tuned for updates as we go through and try to bring this puppy back to life.

Firepower Pinball Restoration Project — Episode 3

Welcome back to Episode 3. I wanted to get a video update on some minor progress that I’ve made on the machine. Two big gains is getting the head mounts repaired on the cabinet so that we could actually mount the head, and initial testing of the power supply/board, with general illumination appearing to come alive.

The one take-away from this session is that the voltage coming off the power board going to the CPU does not appear to be where it needs to be, which means I need to go back to the power board and check rectifiers and diodes.

Unboxing our Creality Falcon 2 — 22watt Laser

We made some changes here. By changes I mean we have finally gotten into the modern era of internet bandwidth. Just a few days ago, we were blessed to have fiber installed to our home out in the middle of no where, and now I have 1 Gbps of beautiful up and download speed.

Most of you are are like, so what. Well, when you spend your life as an IT professional and the last 3+ years have you working remotely on a legacy DSL circuit that at best gets you 3.5Mbps (I know its not dial-up, but I’ve been there, done that, got the T-Shirt, ripped up the T-Shirt, burned the pieces from the T-Shirt and buried the ashes), you tend to only use the internet for absolutely the bare minimum.

Hellooooo Fiber! One of the things that I have put off doing, because of stated internet limitations, has been the sharing of videos that seem to be the rave across the blogosphere. So, you should expect, or dread, a new channel of uselessly entertaining content coming forth from Silverwood Wood Designs. I promise we’ll get better with our production quality, but for now, its a matter of just churning out content, because that’s what all the publishing houses do. You know like, Disney, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.

So, without further comment, I welcome you to our first Unboxing Video, featuring our newest tool in our Wood Designs stable, a Creality Falcon 2, 22 watt laser engraver and cutter.

Firepower Pinball Restoration Project — Episode 2

Please understand that as with many of you, I only get to spend small amounts of time on my pet projects like this. As such, I’m afraid the episodes might not be the most compelling or lengthy, but hopefully that will inspire you to take the 5 – 10 minutes and just check out what I’m doing as mundane as it may seem.

In this episode, we tackle cleaning out the base of the cabinet. Petrified mud nests, mummified mouse and a plethora of quarters. I mean, a lot of quarters. I was surprised, first of all, that the money box was still inside the machine. This is the first machine I’ve purchased in which it was still in place. Unfortunately for me, the mouse had apparently decided that George Washington’s metallic presence was a great place to go to the bathroom. So, before we get to count our treasure, old George needs to have a good bath.

I also hit a lot of the plastics with some rubbing alcohol to see what yuck I could pull off. It wasn’t cutting it, so we removed all of the ones we could, there is one that is fused with a rusted screw into the playfield. I’ll probably have to drill out the screen to free it. Initial inspection of the rubber bumpers indicate that they could be salvaged, but the cost to replace all of them with new ones is so minor, I’m just going to toss them since they have yellowed so much from the environment they’ve been left in.

I hope you enjoy the progress. Little steps and we can possibly get this beast back on its feet.