Microscope. 2 steps forward, 1 step.. uh sideways?

Pretty excited to get the next step of my microscope project. Don’t remember if I did a write up for it yet, but basically I want to be able to look at the tips of record needles to see if they are damaged or not. I cheaply acquired a high end microscope but ran into several problems. One issue is part of the mechanical stage was missing ( the part that adjusts the specimen around ). So I built/bought a “third arm” style clamp, affixed that to a board, then mounted the board to the mechanical stage. This gives me the precision necessary to make fine adjustments for seeing the tip of the needle. This worked out better than expected.

 

What didn’t work out was my lighting. These are super crappy photos I took by putting my iphone up against the eyepiece. They don’t really show off the main problem though, which is you need LOTS of light to see this stuff. The closer you zoom in the more light you need.

I have addressed this in the past by using a camera, and leaving the shutter open – but that involves a host of other problems ( focus, camera set up ).

That is the next challenge I’ll work on. I have a way to set up a camera, but the focal distance is different from the eye pieces. This means I have to refocus when I shift to shoot. Which is a PITA since my camera view screen doesn’t focus in real time. I have to shoot/focus/shoot/focus/shoot until I get something right.

I could just cheat and use my higher end camera for this task I guess. I’ll see. Would be nice to fix the problem for real – I think I need to adjust the distance of the camera from the lens for that to work.

Faux aging wood with vinegar/steel wool is super unpredictable

Really frustrated how different the color on these is coming out. I wanted something deep and grey/black as shown on the bottom pieces. However the two longer beams just turn really red. I even re-created my formula to have less “rust” color , and without the Tea I normally use. But I’m getting this super red red color. Already sanded it down once, thinking a grey/brown mix would be nice.

I sanded off the bulk of the red, and figured the white /yellow wood => grey. didn’t happen. Unsure how to proceed.

Fairchild 440 Turntable Part 3

Cont from Fairchild 440 Turntable Part 1 & 2 / 3

So I was left with a few problems that need fixing.

  • Tonearm rewire
  • Get new bearing ( 3/8 inch … NOT 1/4 )
  • Adjust height of TT Platter
  • Motor not spinning up quickly

I wish I had video’d this, but it was just too complicated to get it set up. I took it apart, threatened in new wire ( which was easier than expected ).

Major challenge here was getting the bottom brown disk off. At first I tried bending back the pins, but they crshed or snapped. So I used a spanner and rotated the disk… it then slipped off easily.

Stopping here for a few days while I sort out next steps.

Fairchild 440 Turntable Part 1 & 2 / 3

I picked this up at an auction to flip, but when I got it home, it was just so luscious… I really don’t want to get rid of it. Regardless of what I decide though – it needs some fixing up and basic care. There are two major problems to start with – It needs a belt, and the tonearm needs to be rewired. These are both very minor issues, but as I dig in I realize there are additional problems. Part 1 and 2 focus on

  • Replace motor mounts
  • Treat wood
  • Replace belt
  • Don’t fucking lose the bearing, because when you do your life will suck

PART1

PART2

Unresolved problems:

  • Record speed – unsure if belt is correct size
  • Platter is tipping, I need to tighten up screws on one side
  • Tone arm: solder wires together, possibly replace tonearm wiring
  • Ensure headshell is mounted properly

SUMMARY BATTLE FAIRCHILD

Time spent: -10
Times shocked: -1
Critical Piece lost: -50
Critical Piece found: +20
Core Fixes Applied: +100
New Fixes Required: -50

Score: <blink>Frenziful</blink>

PART 3: Continued here http://heavymod.com/fairchild-440-turntable-part-3/

 

 

 

Battle: Keyboard. [Roland 77 Keyboard Repair/restore]

Battle: Keyboard

Setup: 8 Roland 77 Digital Pianos. Purchased at auction. Were previously teaching pianos. Were left in sun and many melted. I was an idiot and did not inspect these before bidding. I thought they were high end Roland’s which could fetch $500 each. Off by a factor of 10.

Pass: Earn more than $100.
Win: Earn more than $200

I should be able to sell these for $50-$100 each, so I only need a few working ones to make this happen. Should be “easy”.

Skirmish 1: Success.

The first keyboard is cake. Mostly it is just dirty. I have to swap out a speaker, which is relatively easy. relatively because I had all sorts of issues trying to crimp the fucking speaker wires together. After like 30 minutes of messing up strips/crimps I just twisted the damn things together, electrical taped it, and called it a day.

I have 1 piano with stand that could sell for $125.

Skirmish 2: Strip and clean

Encouraged by the easy win, I decide to go deeper. I could just walk away right now, donate the extras and move on with my life. Determined to avoid failure, and a firm believer in the sunk costs fallacy – I move forward.

After an hour of trying to pry off stickers and clean in little grooves, I remember to “work smarter not harder” – words of capitalist exploitation I learned at the knee of my rich uncle.
I rip off two of the keysets ( what I’m calling the keyboard unit inside the piano ) and two of the frames and throw them in the shower. Yep – the shower. As long as I let them dry properly, the electrical circuits wont’ get damaged, and it will get them looking nice and clean, which will help them sell. And I’m really tired of trying to clean these things the hard way.

3 days later I’m convinced they are nice and dry, and am back to work

Skirmish 3: Failure and more sunk costs fallacy

With the lowest of hanging fruit plucked, it’s time for the next rung. Easy Fixes. I’m going to start with one that has a warped frame, but otherwise is working. This warp has made some lower keys stick.

pull out the 40 goddamn screws in the bottom, pull out the keyboard ( only 4 screws… it comes out super fast ) and start moving it to a less melted frame.

Here I am halfway through. The new frame is the one above, the older frame is below. I’ve moved the left speaker and jacks into position. The rest follows pretty easily. I did try and jam some “long” screws into short screw slots, but let’s not dwell on this.

Now – I have 2 nice and clean keyboards from the shower the other day, so I’m going to drop those in. I’m pretty surprised when I find that the keyboard STILL has key sticking. How is this even possible!?! Easily answered, the keyboard really has to be forced into position – doing so stretches out the frame to allow for keys to work. NICE. All that’s left to do is test it out.. and…

some of the keys don’t play. shit. maybe the whole washing thing wasn’t so smart after all. So I pull out clean keyboard 1, drop in 2. Same issue, different keys. NOTE: This is another great place to walk away from this project. NOTE: I do not.

Skirmish 3b: fucking fuck

I’m really tired, so I’m gonna just skip through a bunch of crap. Basically I wasted 2 hours cleaning out the contacts to the boards. I did the best I could and while all keys are playing, they are not playing uniformly. For example, some of the keys will play at full force no matter how lightly they are struck. I know in general what the problem is, but I’m just too tired to work on it more, and I’ve already put in too many damn hours on a keyboard I’m maybe going to sell for $40.

Interesting part : here are the contacts, and you can see how they are a bit .. clogged.. for lack of a better word. I found some of the kid stickers covering part of one, but mostly the bad keys looked like this, and were “fixed” by just licking my finger and wiping off the contact. I thought they were fixed, but some are still playing at full velocity, and unsure how to address that. I have ideas, but.. yeah. it’s 4 am.

Roland 77 Keyboard PCB. Looks just like a regular computer keyboard, except there are two connectors. This allows the keyboard to time the difference between when the two connectors are depressed. by playing them at slightly different heights, it can interpret the speed at which you hit the key and convert this to a guesstimated velocity / loudness.

You can see some residue on the … not sure what to call this. “connector” maybe.

So, I just jammed the original dusty nasty keyboard unit in from the old frame. I’m too tired to even listen to it.

Skirmish Score:

  • Time wasted: 2 hours
  • Stuff learned: +3
  • Keyboards working: 1/8
  • Real work avoided: Lots. -20
  • Money made: $-100

SCORE: Scrotum Slammed

 

 

Straighten bass guitar neck

Nope, I don’t play the bass, but I picked one up as part of a deal. Opportunity: l2Fix bowed neck.

I started with this video, showing how to straighten the truss rod on a vintage guitar. This one has a slight up-bow ( towards the strings ). This appears to be a common problem as the strings pull on the guitar neck over time. The truss rod is designed to counter this. The more you tighten the truss rod, the more the neck will bow backwards ( down-bow ). This way you can keep the neck straight. in theory.

I followed his instructions:

  1. loosen strings and loosen truss rod nut
  2. put wood blocks on neck

    1. cut blocks to fit between frets. Tried to cut a fret line into a block and almost chopped into my finger. can’t wait to get video camera set up, so you can see all these near mangles on future projects
    2. mark blocks before cutting. this makes sure the same side is used as “up” and keeps width consistent.
  3. clamp.
  4. gently tighten truss rod nut. I’m not sure how tight it should be. so I just did it to where it felt snug without too much torque.
  5. let sit for a few hours

Score:

[blink]PENDING[/blink]