Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong was our first restoration. Now before I go on I want to clarify that by restoration I mean getting it back to looking good. I am not trying to make it perfect as if it just rolled off the assembly line. It would take an incredible amount of detail work. You just can’t fix every little nook and cranny and you cannot get an exact paint match because they are not painted. They are covered with a laminate. The most common color is a light blue but the first Donkey Kong cabinets were red so that’s what we went with. It’s a long story but they were originally put into a game called Radarscope. Just Google that and you can get the details.

1. Discharged and removed the monitor – I’m sure you have heard that you can get popped really good or even killed when discharging a CRT. This is true so I would do this first. You can do the following and I do not take any responsibility for anything that may happen to you or your machine. This is just what we did. Go to Bob Robert’s page and follow the instructions for making a tool. It is very simple. Get a 12 inch screwdriver with plastic handle, then solder an 18 gauge wire onto it like shown on Bob Robert’s page and then put a clamp on the end of the wire. I used an alligator clip. I recommend you watch a few videos on Youtube to see how it’s done. Once you have discharged the monitor you can take it out. After removing the monitor we removed everything inside and labeled all the connections. I know you think you can remember them all but you probably won’t.
2. Removed Hardware and Components
  • Upper Marquee Bar
  • Marquee
  • Lower Marquee Bar
  • Bezel
  • Control Panel
  • Speaker
  • Coin Door
  • T-Molding
  • PCB
  • Power Supply
  • Wiring Harness
3. Added Casters / Painted the Base – Many cabinets have wheels on the back so you can tip them back like they are on a dolly. They are good for moving around a larger area but in smaller areas you have to walk the cabinet and it jacks up the base and the floor. We wanted to add casters and so we added some 3 inch casters and it is so much easier to move. The cabinet is slightly higher but that works for me. A lot of these cabinets are particle board so you may want to cut a piece of wood that sits inside the base. That particle board is crap and will easily break when you tighten the bolts. I drilled a 5/8 inch hole and put a 5/8 x 2 1/2 bolt through the top with a fender washer (just a big washer with 5/8 inch hole) and on the bottom I used a lock washer and bolt. I painted the underside first because I was already working on that part. We used Rustoleum Black Semi Gloss and a small roller and brush. Two coats worked well.
4. Fixed Wood and Sanded – I left out something when I wrote this so let me correct it. Before I use wood filler I rough up the wood with some 60 grit. Just enough to take the sheen off. Then I use the Bondo and the reason is so that the Bondo will adhere to the surface better. Speaking of that everyone has an opinion on it’s how to repair wood and fill holes. Some people say to use wood filler and others say to use Bondo. We tried the wood filler and it works for small stuff but the truth is that Bondo worked much better. I have one place on my Donkey Kong Junior cabinet on the back where it looks like a beaver had a snack and I was able to create the missing area fairly easy and sand it down into the correct shape. This takes around three minutes because Bondo will harden in around three minutes. I mean seriously it will harden and you won’t be able to change the form. Here is a link to a guy using the wood filler version to recreate a missing piece of board. He is using Bondo wood filler but you can do the same thing with Bondo Autobody filler. I could not find the wood filler version anywhere but Lowes and Home Depot had the Autobody version. Go figure. Dover Products.
For sanding we used 60 grit on some of the surface but 150 grit should suffice to rough it up for primer and you won’t sand down through the laminate. That is a real bitch to fix. We use a Dewalt Palm Sander and Diablo sandpaper. I think that the Diablo brand of sandpaper is really good. It just eats the paint right up.
I have read on several forums where people have gone through a DeWalt palm sander doing one cabinet and that they are no good. That my friend is a load off dook. Just don’t run it for 30 mintues straight and don’t force down really hard. Let the paper do the work and take your time. After you eat some of that blue pixie dust you will want to get out anyways. (Wear a mask and glasses.) Lastly, don’t wet sand with an electric sander. Do I really need to explain why?
5. Tape and Paint – Black or color first? Doesn’t matter. What does matter is your amount of patience. Patience correlates to the amount of shittiness you will get when you are done. In other words you must let it dry and you can wet sand in between every coat with 400 grit. If you are patient and do this it will look fantastic. Like brand new. If you don’t then it will look like crap and it will be thick and pasty. Take your time, trust me. You can use the paint with the primer in it but it’s not like just getting a gallon of primer. Primer is you friend.
We used Valspar from Lowes and the Donkey Kong red we used is “Radiant Red.”
So the steps were:
  • Fill all the holes and fix wood areas with Bondo Wood Filler
  • Sand all the wood filler and any other spots with 60 or 150 grit sand paper
  • Roll on the primer
  • Sand with 220 lightly
  • Roll on the primer
  • Sand with 220 lightly
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Touch up
Primer: Behr Oil Based Primer
Paint Color: Valspar Premium Semi Gloss / Radiant Red
Black Paint: Rustoleum Semi Gloss Quart
Flat Black / Gloss Black / Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint
6. Re-Assembly – Pretty much what it says. We put it together. One thing to remember is when you put the monitor back in and plug the annode cap back on the crt you can get zapped so next time I will do the discharge procedure again. There is probably more that I forgot but it’s pretty easy when you get going.
Now it’s on like Donkey Kong.

1 thought on “Donkey Kong

  1. Rothe: Great suggestions. While it’s prlbbaoy too late to do it for this cabinet and some of the parts I have obtained for other cabinets, I’m definately going to start keeping track of where each part was obtained.I think a lot of people don’t understand the time and dollars involved in some of these projects. Take this project for example, if reproduction side art had been available or had I opted to purchase the ink jet sideart from another source, the price could have easily gone up another $150 to $200. I’ll add that if silkscreend, reproduction side art ever becomes available I’ll put it on my machine in a heartbeat.I don’t restore my games to flip them, they are all for my personal collection and I’m rather selective about the games I obtain, unless the price is right. However, those interested in flipping or just restoring games for their personal collections can get some idea of the costs involved. As my collection grows, there may be a need to clear out some machines and it will be helpful to know what I’ve spent on the cabinet (not included here, as I don’t think it is relevant due to fluctuations in pricing based on location) and how much I’ve put into restoring it.

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