Whether you're restoring an old arcade machine, or trying to salvage a junk coin door for that Mame cabinet project, a good looking coin door is pretty important. Even if you don't actually plan on using it, an arcade cabinet just isn't authentic without one.
For this Instructable I've selected a coin door from an old Defender cocktail cabinet.
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Step 1: Step 1: Take It Apart!
First, completely disassemble the door. Make sure you put all parts into a bin you can close, because it really sucks finding lots of small parts if you dump it over by accident. Yes, I know the pictures don't show one of those containers. Let's just say after these pictures were taken I knew better. :)
Step 2: Step 2: Clean It Up!
First, I like to remove the old coating. Coin doors are generally powder coated, which is pretty much a big plastic coating over the surface.
Depending on the condition, you may be able to just remove it with a wire wheel and some time. Me? I prefer the chemical approach.
Edit - July 13, 2009: I've since changed my tune. I now use an electrolytic process to remove both rust and the old coating. https://www.instructables.com/id/Refinishing-Metal-Arcade-Game-Parts/
Step 3: Step 3: Strip 'er Down!
I like to take the chemical stripper and slather it on liberally. You could be stingy with it, but the thicker the coat of stripper, the faster and more evenly it'll strip away the old coating.
In the second picture you can see how the coating is just bubbling off. In this instance, it was making a sound much like Rice Krispies as the air got underneath the coating.
Step 4: Step 4: Paint!
After the old coating is gone, you need to make sure it's clean so the paint will adhere. A wire wheel will help remove any stubborn remaining coating, as well as any rust you may find. Don't forget to wipe it down with a rag and cleaner. I prefer alcohol. Wipe until your rag comes away clean.
Primer is important! It give the paint something to grab onto. It doesn't have to be heavy, but a light coat will give you a better paint job. Primer is thick, so it also helps to cover up any imperfections or blemishes.
A good paint is important! For years I tried getting away with using the cheap paints, but they just don't do a good job. I personally won't use anything except Rust-Oleum brand paints now, unless there's a product they don't offer for a specific purpose.
Different kinds of doors use different kinds of paint. For example, on a classic Midway style door I like using Rust-Oleum brand "Textured" paint because it's a very close match to the original coating. On over/under style doors, Rust-Oleum brand "Hammered" finish works.
For the door in this Instrucable (really a coin plate, really) I used Textured paint.
Step 5: Step 5: Don't Neglect the Insides!
The insides of the coin door are important too! I take my rotary tool and a wire wheel attachment and knock off any scale or rust on the parts. Then I paint it with brass paint to make it look nice. Just be sure to mask off anything you don't want brass colored.
Step 6: Step 6: Reassemble
Just reverse what you did to disassemble it. If the bulbs are blown you'll want to replace them.
That's it in a nutshell. Of course every door is different, and there are things I'd do to one door that I wouldn't do to another. You have to use your best judgment.