Re-useable Arcade Game Stencils

I was excited to see this post today on the Google Arcade Forum.

After tons of trial an experimentation I have landed on a solution for those looking for reusable stencils for their games. Stencils can be cut from 1/8 inch Sintra material which is basically a dense PVC foam. The resultant stencil is rigid, resistant to temperature and liquid, cleans off with a hose and scrub brush, lightweight, thick enough so pieces won’t easily break off and lays nice and flat on the surface to be painted.. and oh, each layer is color coded to the paint needed 🙂

These are still experimental for a few more weeks, and will add 80.00 to the cost of most stencils and shipping won’t be cheap as they must be shipped flat but the option will be there at last. Some games these stencils make tons of sense such as Defender and Robotron, others like Taito they just wouldnt look as good as vinyl.

I have spoken with Brian a number of times since I started collecting arcade games. He is the authority on artwork, especially stenciling arcade cabinets to restore them. He has an arcade restoration business where he sells a lot of great stuff at Oleszak Creative.com.

There is always a fair amount of discussion on restoration and stenciling arcade games on the forums, and there are some collectors who would like to buy re-useable stencils. I know I would like to buy a set of re-useable stencils. I would like to restore my Ms. Pac-man, and if possible, would like to recoup some of the cost involved in painting it. For a three piece stencil set, it could cost as much as if not more than $150. Then, add in paint and buying / renting the equipment, and it gets expensive fast.

The $150 is just the cost of the vinyl in that amount. The cool thing about Brian, he is nice enough to do the arcade stencils right around cost. If it was a big coin-op business, the markup would make the stencils astronomical.

But not only getting some of the game restoration cost back, but for me, it would be my first time. What if I mess up the coin-op game artwork I am restoring on my first try? I could do some test spray pieces, but that isn’t the same and painting a whole cabinet. If I do it wrong, and the vinyl stencils are one time use only, then I have to pay another $150 for another set?

It is a tough decision for me. Brian would have answers for all of this, and has had some great advice for the klov forums on why acetate, metal, and other plastics don’t work well for stenciling games. Mostly because they aren’t tight to the surface.

He did mention that it won’t work on certain games, and it may not work for my Ms. pac-man arcade game. But I am going to email him and see.

Update July 23rd, 2008
Checked back with Brian today to see what ever happened with re-useable arcade game stencils.

Brian did find a solution that in theory should be shippable. However, vinyl stencils with a backing and a pre-mask allow for floating pieces in the artwork. The plan was to use Sintra Board, a dense PVC Foam that could then be used to stencil multiple machines. The problem is that it will only work with certain artwork, and is highly suitable for Williams games because they didn’t have any floating pieces of artwork.

But that is just one challenge. Not only do you rule out some of the popular Pac-man games like Ms. Pac and regular you are talking about shipping multiple boards that usually measure somewhere around 3’x5′. Shipping is pretty expensive, upwards of $50 depending on where you are located.

When it is all said and done usually the cost for the materials for the multiple use stencils would be about double the cost before shipping. But, if you happen to do multiple machines, or have enough swagger to think you can resell the stencil for someone else for 75% of your cost with shipping, then these would be perfect for you.

Brian does make these stencils using a CNC router and takes custom jobs, he just doesn’t push the service because 90% of the arcade collecting community will only use them once and can’t justify the extra cost. If you are still interested, hop on Gamestencils.com and send Brian a message to see if your chosen artwork can be done and how much it would cost.

Here are some similar arcade posts

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