"Barn Find" Robotron Arcade Restoration

robotron arcade restorationI picked up this empty "barn find" Robotron cabinet from some good guys who are part of a regional pinball and arcade group who run the friendly neighborhood barn arcade. (thanks guys!)

The Robotron cabinet been converted to a World Series Baseball game and had been patiently waiting to be "brought back to its former glory." Fortunately, when a World Series Baseball arcade game conversion took place, it typically had a control panel that was actually bolted on top of the existing control panel in some manner so it meant that the original control panel would largely be left intact. Also, the original metal Robotron joystick plates and even an original washer were still in place.

By putting in some good effort, I was even able to save the original control panel overlay by removing the old on top. I filled in the eight or so small bolt holes made to secure the World Series cp on top and used color matched paint to a nice result. I already had original 4" joysticks, a marquee and bezel and original blue Robotron buttons.

The side art had also been covered up by woodgrain vinyl. Realizing this, and taking a gamble that the side art would be good underneath on the other side I figured it would be a nice restoration project.

As I peeled off the woodgrain, it lifted some of the wood and so I hand sanded the rough parts. I also used bondo and glue to repair the bottom and installed new caster blocks, casters and t-nut holders.

I decided to take the entire cabinet to Home Depot for color matched oil based paint. I then used painters tape to mask it off and paint it all by hand. First I did the gray, then the red and blue. It was a bit time consuming but well worth it and I was able to maintain the overspray look of the original manufacturing paint method this way and the trademark stickers too.

End result is a Robotron arcade cabinet that looks like a very nice original survivor with a bit of character.

Time for some more Arcade Action...

Now on to the Robotron control panel restoration and preservation ...

Here's after filling in the Robotron control panel holes with bondo. I then used color matched paint to mask them to nice effect.

Under all that converted control panel, was a diamond in the rough! No repro overlay for this guy. Even has the slightest, slightest of cigarette burn at the right, which means it's legit!

I took the entire Robotron arcade cabinet to Home Depot for paint color matching. Before bringing it in I asked the worker if I could bring in a cabinet to get it color matched.

Worker said "yeah, can't you just remove a door and bring that in?"
I said "well... not really with this one."
He replied "well what color is it?"
I said "gray, red and blue."
With a perplexed look of ugly disgust, he replied "what kind of cabinet is that?"
"That sir, would be a Robotron."
"Oh, is that the one with the two joysticks??!!"
"Right you are!"

And with that I went out and wheeled the little guy in and got the match. Had to cover the cabinet a bit as to not look ridiculous.

While waiting for the paint to be made, i thought to myself, "Do the other shoppers here realize that right now, at this very moment, a true Robotron is in their midst?" Perhaps not...

I filled in the bottom of the Robotron arcade cabinet with bondo and used wood glue to stabilize some wood planking. New caster blocks and casters were installed.

No stencils used for this Robotron. Just some blue painters tape. First I did the gray, then the blue and then the red. It turned out pretty great. I just had to be patient and cover all the areas that needed to be covered.

If you want to have great arcade games and great arcade collection - you need to have passion for the details.

Even more Robotron restoration photos... Here you can see the right side painting completed.

Now it was time to make a new monitor shelf mounting board as the original one was missing. Fortunately I had one from another cabinet to compare to so I could make a perfect replica.

Here the Wells Gardner K4900 monitor has been mounted. This arcade monitor was a virtually burn free one I salvaged from a bootleg Time Pilot cabinet that had such bad water damage on the bottom it looked like it was melting. The monitor itself is great however, and Robotrons mostly came from the factory with K4900 monitors so it was a great fit.

Robotron arcade all assembled, running and working...

And a final shot in the arcade sitting next to best buddy Joust (which is also in a factory converted Robotron cabinet). For now at least, I kept the old taped license tag sticker on the front.

And there you have it!


Please visit ArcadeMade.com for arcade and pinball T-shirts and to view the arcade game pcb price guide

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published