The Pachinko Customization Project – Disassembly

(This entry is being written after the fact, so I do not have pictures for most of the process.  I’ve added quick pictures for assemblies that are still hanging around.)

Removing the jackpot/ball management assembly

The first step of the process is taking the whole machine apart. One of the nice things about this machine is that the entire ball control mechanism (jackpot, lost ball, etc) comes off in one large piece. The Masamura Super Deluxe has 6 posts on the back that hold the jackpot mechanism to the playfield and it comes off with very little effort in one piece. I’ve had the mechanics apart to fix a stuck ball problem once before, and I know that with the time I’ve already had the machine apart, I’d forget how the mechanisms go back together. I’ll get to cleaning it, but it’ll be the last thing I end up doing, and hopefully something I can do in one sitting.


Removing the playfield access doors

The next step in the process involved removing the chrome doors holding in the playfield “glass” (actually acrylic) and the ball loading mechanism.  The playfield glass and frame was easy enough to remove, simply unscrew all of the phillips-head screws from the frame and it comes right out.   Some of the screws were in pretty bad shape, so I’ll be replacing them with similar screws on reassembly.

Once the playfield access doors have been removed, the ball loading mechanism comes out.  Again, Masamura made this particular piece easy to remove in one piece, making it possible to disassemble it at a later date when I’m closer to putting the machine back together.  Keeps me from losing parts, or forgetting how they go back together.


On the note of losing parts, one thing that I’ve done is for each “component”, I’ve put all of the parts into their own little baggies and labeled where they came from.  Like I mentioned before, I almost didn’t remember how to rebuild the ball control assembly when I tore it apart the first time.  Not going to make that mistake again!


Removing the playfield

Once the ball dispensing mechanism was removed from the playfield, I was able to then remove the playfield from the back of the frame.  First piece that had to come off was the jackpot hopper; one of the bolts passed through the plastic.  5 more bolts removed the rest of the playfield from the back, and I set it aside for later.

I don’t know if this is common with all vintage machines, but the Masamura has two guide dowels that help align the playfield when removing or attaching it.

No pictures are available for this step, as the playfield itself has been stripped at this point.


Tearing down the frame

One of the goals of this project is to remove the old formica finish from the frame and give it a more modern wood finish.  While browsing Home Depot, I came across thin natural wood veneer which should hopefully work well for this purpose.  Of course, to be able to replace the formica on the front of the frame, I need to be able to get all of the metal parts off of it.

Locks and hinges were easily removed.  The front overflow/ash tray was held on by nails, but could be gently pried off.

The two parts that gave me the biggest headache were the shooter handle and a little decorative metal piece at the top of the frame (Top left corner of the photo on my introductory post.)   The decorative metal piece had two mini carriage bolts holding a piece of metal on top of the frame. It doesn’t really have any other purpose than to serve as a decoration (at least from what I could see)  It took an afternoon with oil, vice grips and wrenches to be able to remove it and unfortunately I did end up damaging the bolts in the process.  I should be able to flip the metal plate to the other side to hide the scratches from the vice grips, so that’s fine.

The shooter mechanism was an endless sequence of bolts, with two bolts being extremely difficult to move, and I suspect that’s by design. (You don’t want the hammer to fall off the shooter bolt during play)  During disassembly, I did keep track of the order in which I removed them, and once I managed to get them all off, I put them back onto the post in the correct order.  Removing the hammer was a bit of an exercise in balance of using force to separate it from the handle’s bolt, but also to not damage it in the process.  From other posts I’ve read, this is par for the course.



At this point, I’ve got the machine in pieces such that I’m able to work on them individually.  Next post will be about removing the playfield artwork.

The Pachinko Customization Project – Introduction

This project has been in the planning phases for a while now, and it’s only recently that I’ve solidified the concept enough to start work on it.

After reading about a few restorations and customizations of vintage pachinko machines by some of the folks over at PachiTalk, I got the idea to restore the first machine I purchased, a Masamura Super Deluxe.

Image of the original Pachinko machine

The machine I started with is a Masamura Super Deluxe.

This machine is a bit rough for wear, the playfield is slightly waterspotted, but all of the mechanics are in working order (though it’s been modded to be cyclic), so it was a good candidate for restoration.  All of the electronics have been stripped from the machine (not by me), so I also have the option of putting in my own wiring.  I’ve since picked up a Nishijin B JAL to sate my cravings for vintage pachinko while the Super Deluxe is in pieces.

My current plan for this machine is to restore the machine with a Japanese Dragon theme.  To this end, I’ve currently planned the following:

  • Replace the center feature
  • Replace the bottom (green) pockets
  • Replace the playfield
  • Replace the laminate frame (not shown) with a more pleasing wood veneer
  • Replace the acrylic window with glass

While I don’t know if I’ll use this blog for much else at this time, at the very least it does serve as a central place to document the progress on this customization project.   I’ve gone through a number of preparation steps already, so the first few entries here will be playing catch-up, and may not be as detailed as future entries.  But hopefully it’ll be helpful to other people who are looking to do their own pachinko customization projects.

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