How are the playfields printed?
All our playfields are genuine spot-color silk screened using heavy gloss enamel inks, just like the old days, on our big American M&M Viking press. They are convection-baked after every color at 250 to 350 degrees to cure the enamel inks one-by-one, although the last few years we have chosen to slow down and air-dry between colors. While upper end UV flatbed printers have come a long way they still are not as good for spot colors as silk screening. We recently picked up a state of the art UV printer that we will slowly integrate into the mix which could really help for very small run applications.
Where does the artwork come from?
Artwork comes from a variety of sources… sometimes from original factory films, from original factory design computer files, sometimes even by some crazy person going at it old school with rubylith, but usually freshly redrawn digitally by one of the ArtTeam. Having digital redrawn artwork is far superior because it allows us to identify and often fix compromises or mistakes from the original artwork that was caused by very tight production schedules when your original game was produced.
Where do the inserts come from?
All the inserts we use come from the same original factory molds used for the last 50-60 years in Chicago, and from the same factory that made them for your original playfield! We occasionally have to deal with lost molds, but sometimes have our own made at the factory to produce the extinct part, from their equipment. We also partner with other playfield makers who have remade extinct molds, which helps too. We’re also slowly getting into making our own inserts in-house, as we work out the operation of new injection molding equipment we took over locally.
What kind of wood are CPR's playfields made from?
CPR only uses the very best wood we can get our hands on. Currently we use a very expensive custom made wood from Wisconsin. It has four layers of Maritime Hard Rock Maple and three interior layers of white ash. Normal Stern wood is a .5325″ thick with one good face of 0.060″ veneer. We upped this specification considerably. We use two THICK 0.080″ face veneers (25% thicker than normal) which allows our CNC operator, Tanner to pick the very best side for your PF and we upped the thickness of the board to 0.545″ which gives a better balance with the veneers and reduces warping. The thicker face veneers on our wood (25% thicker than anything in use anywhere) means a much denser wood surface and less ball dimples than anything ever made. Some of our finished PFs weigh more than 15lbs, and are so dense we have seen certain examples of ours PFs almost double the weight of a factory NOS board!
How do I know what is going to be made in the future?
Take a look at what the Art Team is designing. That is essentially your crystal ball into CPR’s future product line. When they design it, we make it. It’s that simple. Some artists may take 2 weeks to prepare their project, others may take 2 years. They all work at their own pace, and will deliver results on their own timeline. Please don’t email us to inquire about timelines or expected production dates of items you see the Artists working on. There are no deadlines or expectations. We’re all in this for the hobby, and the Team works at this stuff as their private lives allow it and as we all know life often gets in the way of our hobbies.
Nothing that the Art Team has chosen to design is of any interest to me or my collection. I want (insert part here) to be made.
Everything stems from artwork. If there is something you want CPR to put on its calendar, get the artwork to us. Artwork doesn’t come out of thin air, though. Far from it. It takes work, skill, and dedication. There are ways to get your artwork to come to fruition: a) If you bump into one of the artists on RGP, at a show, or at a pinball party, you can try your chances at pitching them your project idea. No guarantees – they are busy. b) Draw the artwork yourself c) Commission a colleague, buddy, or relative to do the artwork.
What about "third party" themed pinball parts?
While CPR has had great luck at a few simple third party themed repro parts, they are not the norm and take a tremendous amount of effort to secure the proper permissions from VP’s and lawyers who manage these rights. But everything we make has the required licences from both WMS and any third party rights holders. If you somehow have an in with a company that holds a special license and think it’s something that NEEDS to be made by all means please contact us and we’ll do our best to get the part into production.
I didn't get a confirmation when I sent an email to get on the list for a Playfield!?!?
We are trying to have this changed so you get an autoreply but we’re not really coders and are busy trying to get the actual parts made instead of learning HTML. All the new email boxes we create will autoreply. The lists are nothing more than a way to initially gauge the interest of a particular project. We use the lists as of a certain date to make a guestimate of how many parts we need to order and how many playfields to make. We do not close the lists off anymore as such and the mailboxes will stay in effect. Kevin will basically mark the list closed online but all future emails will hit a waiting list. When the PFs get made we go down the lists and you get an offer to buy one when we get to you on the list. Once the sellable ones are all gone we move these names in order to the top of a wait list for a possible rerun.
I heard that people are hording your playfields for profit.
Playfields are expensive to make and we try very hard to make enough so that everyone gets one. We also do not sell any amount to the same person. Guys try to pool their orders to save on shipping where possible and that only makes sense but we do stop any large orders from happening. Our wood costs have risen by over 300% in the last several years and 150% in the last year alone so our prices are trending higher for playfields anyway. We believe that as the prices rise very few people will horde as the costs and benefits won’t be as great as they have been in the past. We wrongly kept our playfield prices way too low for many years which really led to the hording issue to begin with.