superman arcade machine
A friend of mine made me aware of a Superman Arcade
Machine that was being sold on the Facebook Marketplace.
I bought it and restored it. Read on to learn the process I used to restore it.
This is the original arcade machine as I bought it. It was still in good condition and both the power and the game inside still worked. The owners had purchased it at a yard sale and it sat in their basement for years, barely ever being played. The owners told me that they didn't make any restorations or changes to the arcade machine while it was in their possession.
I looked up some pictures of some other Superman arcade machines online and found that most have a Superman picture on the side panels. I wanted to add those sides to my arcade machine.
I searched the internet for arcade restorations and found a website called MK-Arcade-Restore. They had the Superman sides that I wanted and I was able to purchase them.
They arrived as 2 very large stickers.
This is when I realized I had a problem. The arcade machine that I had must have been altered at some point in the past. The sides contained a hard foam like coating and there were large bolts coming out of the sides in multiple places (I highlighted some of them in blue in the picture).
The bolts prevented me from attaching the stickers to the side panels. The bolts came out almost 1/4 inch from the side panel and therefore would not allow the stickers to lie flat. I first tried to remove the bolts. As I mentioned earlier, they were coated in some kind of hard foam material. This bonded the bolts to the sides and made it so I could not detach them. Next, I tried sanding off the bolts. Unfortunately, the bolts were metal and I would have needed a metal sander to shave them. I couldn't do that safely in my work environment and I couldn't prevent possible damage to the arcade machine, so I decided against sanding the bolts.
My next option was to make a new side entirely. I decided to add an additional piece of wood on each side. I took a piece of wood and traced each side. I cut it out and sanded it to match the shape. Next, I took a spade bit and drilled holes where the bolts were. This allowed the wood to sit flat against the sides because the bolts fit inside the holes in the wood. I didn't drill all the way through so that the sticker would have a firm back across the entire piece of wood.
I then took large amounts of super glue and wood glue to bond the wood to the arcade machine. I used a large number of clips to keep the wood in place while it dried. It took 7 days to dry.
The stickers were not cut to fit the side panels.
I placed the stickers on the panels and then used a scissors to cut a 1 inch lip around both sides.
I then folded each lip down and used super glue to keep them down.
Now that the sides were blue, the front looked very odd in its original light gray color.
I decided to paint the rest of the panels blue to match the sides.
I took an extra piece of the sticker and brought it to a paint store to have a matching paint made.
The hardest part of this process was adding on the new T-Mold. The T-Mold is the black strip that goes along the edge of the sides. I had to remove the original T-Mold in order to add the wood sides and for painting. Unfortunately, a T-Mold works by placing the middle piece (the bottom of the "T") in a pre-cut grove. This allows it to stay in place. I did not have the right cutting tool to make the hole for the T-Mold. Also, with the addition of the wood side, I needed a wider T-Mold. I tried to find T-Molds without the bottom piece, however I could not find any. Eventually, I just ordered the proper T-Mold size and used a knife to cut off the bottom part. I then used super glue to attach the T-Mold to the edge of each side. This took a lot of time, patience, and painter's tape to keep the pieces in place. It was also difficult with the curvature at the top of the arcade machine. It's not perfect, but I got it to stick.
Here is the finished Superman Arcade Machine!
It is not like-new, but it looks much better than it did before.
I also included some pictures of the arcade machine with the game turned on.