Leveling - from playfield or back of glass?


Then level the game for him and watch all his pop feeds go SDTM. d;^)


Use the nuts for that stability. Same effect

Unless the playfield is curved… that doesn’t make sense


It actually does make sense. Even though playfields are fairly thick and have many layers, the weight of the mechs can cause them to sag down in the middle leaving the top of the playfield a bit steeper than the bottom. The side rails will pull this out somewhat but not every game has big long side rails down the entire length.


A nut flat against both the leg and the leveler is going to be more stable than a nut that’s only flat against the bottom of the leg. A game with all four levelers extended will always be more wobbly than a game with only two or three extended.

Whether it’s the curvature of the playfield, geometry, whatever, if you run a digital level up a playfield on most any game built in the last 20 years or so, the pitch will increase as you go up. The level don’t lie. Try it and you’ll see.


Once you get your playfield properly leveled you can lock it in place using the shims below. One on each side below the playfield installed with a 1/2" hex head wood screw. They have holes for the screws. Great for older Stern’s with floppy playfields (trough kicks ball into shooter lane, playfield flops up and down).


Later Stern playfields have stamped metal playfield stiffeners installed (Steve Ritchie’s idea), but the shims work better.


Which would be as I said “unless it is curved”

While there are some examples of heavilysagging pfs- these are the exception not the norm. Games from the era of the sliding rail onward have a large portion of the PF supported from underneath by the rails… it’s usually the games with the radical cut designs or were oversized for the SS eta that are problems


Yes… all the way… because you are making a big lever against the sloppy course threads of the legs that is only about 3/8th long. 3" vs 3/8th doesn’t stand a chance. A tight nut combats the slop in the threads and makes the leveler more stable and keeps it from working itself loose. Of course if you add several inches… the leveler is going to reveal its own slop in the base too. I just was responding to the point that it needs to be all the way down. It doesn’t… but that’s not saying put it 2" up either :stuck_out_tongue: besides… you’d never get the slope needed… unless you are the put the rear on blocks type :smile:


I don’t like digital devices for measuring anything.
I’ve always used an old fashioned bubble level as far down the playfield as I can get, usually between the slings. I do the same up the top of the playfield, seems to be a common method.
How do you calibrate a digital level?


You put the level on some surface (which doesn’t need to be perfectly level), hit a “calibrate” button, turn the level 180 degrees and hit the “calibrate” button again, and that’s it.

It’s really no different from how you calibrate a spirit level: adjust the tube such that it gives the same reading for two positions that are 180 degrees apart.


The level I linked above is self-calibrating. When you power it up, the first thing you see is a temperature reading. This is done to insure the level is being used within it’s proper temperature range. If it finds the correct value, the temperature is no longer shown and the current pitch or level is shown. Not sure what the temperature range is, but I’ve never had mine not power up properly.

When leveling, the level display shows arrows to tell you which side is high or low. Makes it simple to know which levelers need to be adjusted. The accuracy, 1/10th of a degree, is perfect for pinball. Any finer and it would be too fine. Hundredths of a degree is too fine. Any less and you couldn’t set pitch to 6.5 degrees, which most modern games should be set to.

Checking level with a bubble level you can get it close. Checking pitch with an analog angle finder is not accurate at all. I wasn’t a big fan of the digital levels either when they first came out. Now I won’t do it any other way.


Thanks for the replies.
It sounds like they are worth looking at next time I need one.


Phishrace thanks for the link I think I’ll pick that model up. I have a location with a cement floor that I’m constantly leveling machines. Players tend to slide the games around and I’m constantly trying to get games back to where I had them. FT has been the most problematic of them all. The feed out of a missed shot to the lock, if not leveled righ falls right down the middle. It seems to ride the Mylar line that is in the same area. Many times I’ve heard people tell me that playfield is warped, unfortunately I believe it just constantly gets nudged on that garbage floor and comes out of level.


No rubber feet on the games? I got hooked on pinball at a bar with concrete floors and we slid that Doctor Who around so much we actually wore the foot off a leg leveler.


Nope. I think I’d be glueing cabinets together weekly with the way some of these players are if they had rubber feet.


Rubber feet should lead to players moving games a lot less. Since the feet are more or less fixed, a move that would cleanly slide the game on concrete will be a massive tilt instead. We have a pretty oily old wood floor and the games are still pretty difficult to slide on the rubber feet, but it is possible on some games if you unweight the front a bit.


As someone operating games on concrete I wholeheartedly agree on the rubber feet. They are essential for keeping things sane.


Try tile!! All of the front legs of my games are on rubber feet, which I agree is totally essential. It does seem like the leg bolts need tightening more often than usual though.


Yeah, tile is the worst. My worst location was a bar with a slippery tile floor that leaned badly in one direction. Buffed a couple times a week. I got the huge grippy rubber feet and leveled them. They played fine, but they looked all off kilter on the levelers with the colored grippy feet hilighting just how crooked the floor was.

The pizza parlor had a concrete floor, but had several heavy coats of concrete paint on it. It also had a high spot that ran parallel to the wall about 4 inches out, which also made it hard to move a game. No rubber feet needed. Played almost like carpet, but made a lot of noise if you did move the game.

Slipperiest concrete I ever competed on was the original PPE location. The EM’s (tilt = game over, so liberal tilt settings) would move a foot or more during a game. You had to slide the game back over tape squares on the floor after your game. That was fun.


Well if you all swear by the feet I’ll give it a try. My new location is an old factory now brewery with you guessed it…cement floors! You guys find these at the hardware store typically?


I used the polyurethane ones from BAA, although it looks like they only have white and light blue in stock.


Marco or Pinball Life should have them. Wherever you get them, get the larger ones. The smaller ones that barely go over the leveler don’t work well. Easy to nudge the game off the foot.