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How to Safely Move Pinball & Arcade Machines

How to move arcade machine

When your super cool Uncle Bobby gifted you that retro arcade machine, you proudly displayed it in your living room and played it with all of your friends. You have visions of doing the same in your new home, but… how on earth will you get it there? Uncle Bobby took care of that part.

To safely move an arcade machine without the help of professional movers (now there’s one option), there are some important things to consider – and steps not to miss. Here’s how to move an arcade machine from point A to point B without incident.

Clean your game and remove any loose parts.

You don’t want to start your arcade machine’s new life with a collection of dust, so once you have unplugged it, do a thorough cleaning of all surfaces. If it comes apart at all, which some pinball machines or multi-part machines do begin to disassemble your treasure. If you are worried about putting it back together, document the process with photos and carefully pack each piece for safe travel.

Note: if you are wondering how to move a pinball machine, it is best to remove the pinballs from the game and store them safely. Use painter’s tape to secure the flippers to the sides of the machine to prevent damage, and remove the table’s legs if possible. If you want to more fully disassemble, here’s a video to show you how.

Make sure it will fit through the doorways and plan a route.

It is a major bummer when you’re already carrying the machine and you realize it doesn’t fit through the door, so measure it first and ensure that it will fit. You may need to remove doors and/or hinges, so take care of that ahead of time. Plan your route through the house and remove any obstacles that might trip you up.

Use shrink wrap to protect it on the way out the door.

Think really, really big, heavy-duty cling wrap. You’ll want to protect your machine from getting scratched as you squeeze it through your house without adding too much bulk, so a few wraps of protective plastic will do the job. Just avoid using any adhesive tape directly on the machine itself to prevent damaging the paint or art. If your machine is heavy, use a moving dolly with straps and a ramp to make transport easier and safer – and get some help from your friends!

Once outside, it’s time for blankets and padding.

During transport, keep your arcade machine even and upright as much as possible – especially if it has internal moving parts like a pinball machine. These pieces are often delicately weighted and can easily be disturbed or broken. Before loading your machine into the truck and strapping it in securely, wrap it in moving blankets or another padding to protect it during transit.
Moving your valuables on your own is not an easy proposition. If you’re not sure you can do so safely, let your movers use their equipment and expertise to make sure your prized game makes it to its new home safely!

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Unpakt Team