Stripped Space Shuttle Cabinet

Setting the playfield swap project aside for a bit, I started working on the cabinet restoration. My cabinet is in pretty good shape overall, with very few nicks and a couple small gouges, but the paint on it is severely faded – not too surprising given its age. My plan is to re-paint the cabinet using spray paint and stencils for the artwork, which is three colors (navy blue, red, and white). In preparation for this, all the metal trim and hardware has to come off. Most pieces are held on with nuts and bolts and are trivial to remove. The exceptions are the stainless steel side rails, held on with twist nails. These nails have a round head and were clearly not designed to be ever removed!

I first tried using a dremel cutting wheel to file a slot for using a flat-head screwdriver on them, but I was either not be able to get enough torque on them, or broke the heads off altogether. The technique that worked the best for me was grabbing at them with stub-nose pliers and twisting. There definitely isn’t a lot to grab at though, and it required quite a bit of hand force!


As you can see, the edges of the nail head are very close to the rail here, but for most of them there’s just enough to get them started. After that, it’s pretty easy to pull them out while twisting:



For those that were particularly painful and hard to grab, I resorted to drilling the heads out and removing the nail remnant after the siderails were off. Thankfully there wasn’t anything holding the side rails on other than a couple bolts and the twist nails, so after those were removed, the side rails were removed easily.

The coin door removal was next. Easy enough, but some cleanup will be needed for the thirty year old dried-on cola inside the front of the cabinet…


Here’s the cabinet mostly stripped…



… and then moved to the garage in preparation for sanding and painting. You’ll notice I kept the wiring harness and transformers inside the cabinet – Williams didn’t paint the interior of their cabinets, and neither will I – I’m keeping it original.



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