I am new and need advice.


New Member
Hi, Everyone.

I own a Video Game store that refurbs arcade machines. I order new artwork for almost all of my machines, my order get expensive fast... almost a $1000 at a time. I am now considering buying a printer... although I have no Idea what kind of printer, what vinyl to use, if I need to coat the vinyl, what type of vinyl will stuck to painted wood.

I hope someone will be able to help.

here is a link to what I would like to print:

I plan on doing my own custom art, but the link is about what I want to do.



New Member
Hiya Billybob and welcome from PA.
Are you a commercial operation or just a hobbiest?
The reason for asking is because you do have to be careful when reproducing original artwork like this. I'm sure restorations are a gray area, however, it is copyright infringement if you reproduce the art and don't get permission from the original creator of the artwork or the person that owns the design.
You can risk breaking the law, and you may never get caught. But, IMHO, the risks and penalties far outweigh the potential gain.



New Member
first of all welcome! i've learned a lot through this site and i'm sure you will too.

if you're gonna be working on the arcade machine faces you'll probably be using a lot of blockout and cast translucent vinyl. and probably some diffuser film too.

gimme a yell and i'll put you in touch with some experts in the field. with loads of experience in slot machine faces. phil


New Member
I just plan on doing this small time, the art that will go on most of them will be mostly custom designs that I will make. As far a copyright goes there is not too much of a problem for restorations go. I am not going to be reselling what I print. Except for the completed machines.

As far a what I need to print. I should be able to get by with a 24 inch, but a 30+ inch would be prefered. I would like to spend between $5,000-$10,000 for equipment.



New Member
LOL multiply your outlay by several times #1 save money Crazy!!!#2 JOB it out & save headaches & money #3

high impact

New Member
The digital print world is a scary, confusing place...one of which if you fall into may never be able to claw your way back to the light of day!

Honestly, it is much more complex than just sending a file to an overgrown desktop printer. Sub 'em out for a while and see how it goes.

Also it doesn't matter if you are not selling the reproduced art work directly. Even including it on a machine that you sell is a violation just the same. Unless your artwork is original to you.

If you insist on entering this dark dark mysterious world then start with an eco solvent printer/plotter, laminator AND get tons of training on all the above.

Good luck


New Member
iam gona be the bad man here.....
1st off....you got a business. either its good or your being cheap.
2ndly.....you think buyin the already printed stuff is expensive......WAIT.....you need $5-10k for the machine, $1-2k in supplies, $1-2k in a good computer that can run a RIP program
3rdly........NOW YOU WILL HAVE NO FREE TIME to spend with family....
4th you wont have any money FOR FUN.....
you seee where you are headed?????????????????????

Conor Knoxx

New Member
well, I might as well jump in here and prove my "newbie" status :p

The first thing I have to wonder about, is why are the prints / vinyl costing so much? How much could you need for a single arcade machine? 10 ft. sq? 20 covering every surface on the machine?

If you're paying for design work, then maybe that is the part you should start doing yourself? I understand graphics printed on vinyl to typically run in the $10 - 20 per foot range, or is this incorrect?

Many of the replies seem to focus on copyrights' of the material. He stated right off he was designing his own, so that shouldn't be an issue. Personally, I can understand the thinking / justification for this idea, but it seems to be based on an outsourcing cost that is unreasonably high.

Or am I wrong? (be gentle.... note the "newb" status! )


New Member
I have a sign shop NOT an arcade
and even I don't want a digital printer! I sub it all out -
the learning curve is just to steep
there aren't enough hours in the day anymore as it is
where the heck would I get 4 more per day to learn about
Really you should save yourself the
$$$$$., the time, and the headache
and continue having it printed by someone who
knows what they are doing.
It will be easier and safer in the long run for your company. ;)


New Member
Hiya Connor,
These are legitimate questions and not necessarily "noob" related. Maybe we need some clarification from billy to understand if he's doing restorations or making new original art - perhaps something that he needs to protect too.
I don't consider myself an expert in arcade restorations, but, as a former pinball and video game junkie, I know there could be a lot involved in the restoration process.
I would guess that the amount of printing on a typical pinball machine is probably closer to 30 or 40 square feet. So, even at a wholesale rate of $7, the price for vinyl graphics can add up quick.
If you don't have the original art, creating or recreating the design is probably the most important and the expensive part of the process. I could see some designs taking several days to create. So, yes, that may be the one place to try to save some money.
However, if you're restoring a machine and the images you're duplicating are copyright protected (which they most likely are), the cost of the fines and penalties by not buying the art from the creator or a licensor will be a lot more expensive - if you get caught.
Another question or concern I have about projects like this is how original are you trying to be and where are the graphics being applied. I'm sure you can get away with printed graphics on most projects. But, I recall most arcade games had screen printed graphics and decals may interfere with the machines performance or, more importantly not true to the original and it just wouldn't be the same.




New Member
Checker you are right most of the "true" arcade graphics are screen printed. Although most of the custom art that I buy is printed from a vinyl printer.
This is where I order from now: http://www.arcadeoverlays.com/storefrontprofiles/default.aspx?sfid=17232

This is one of the kits that I buy:

and the other one I buy:http://www.arcadeoverlays.com/store...ail.aspx?sid=1&sfid=17232&c=390819&i=27530836

now I also do purchase other stuff from them. I was looking into doing it my self because I can print whatever I need when I need it. When I order it sonetimes takes a little over a month to get my artwork... and when i get customer that order an arcade with their name on the art, amd I tell them it can take over a month to get the artwork, it discourages them a little. I make on average 30 machine a month, if I spend $200 on art work for each one thats $6,000 a month, so if I can print it my self for cost + time I think it would be worth it. I am a fast learner... I have only been working on arcades for a year now, I am pretty Proficient. oh I normally retail the arcades for $600 - $2,500, depending on what it is or how much cost is in it. I ship games all over the US.

Hope This helps a little understand what I am tring to do.


New Member
looks like you are dealing with a specialized professional outfit. I looked for reference on their site to their own need for licensing agreements with TRON or whoever owns that artwork. I suppose you would not be out of line asking them to prove to you that they have those licenses in place. If they do, you can assume part of your $220 or $160 is to cover those costs.

They could easily get into the refurbishing game, & cut folks like you out of the picture... but instead they seem to have found their niche & left room for others to fill the niche you are currently working in.

I don't know enough about their costs (licensing? ...actual product specs or sizes?) ...but I can say this, if you are not charging enough for your 30 machines a month to be satisfied in your niche... then you simply are not charging enough.

If the only concern is a timely product, I would invest 5% of the energy you would spend looking into purchasing and learning the printing business into sourcing out a different supplier with more acceptable turnaround times.

If there really isn't another source who can supply this product quickly, then you may have found another niche, supplying not just yourself, but others like you.

Take one of your purchased kits (with your custom art.. not copyright art) and find a few local signshops with large format digital equipment. Ask them if they recognize the material, the laminates & if they can fill similar orders for you in a timely manner. I wouldn't mention your thoughts regarding purchasing your own equipment. If those are standard digital printing materials, I would be willing to commit to filling orders at least twice as fast if a client came to me with original art & the plan to keep reording custom kits with their own art, supplied according to my requirements. I can't say how costs would measure up to what you pay today.. but 1 to 2 week lead time should be easy for most shops to offer.