Monday, April 14, 2014

Things sometimes go wrong.

Some pickup work.

Strange set of Diablos. Basically vintage PAF repros with Diablo windings. 49.2mm spacing, butyrate bobbins, US made US steel poles and slugs, US made long leg baseplates, vintage braided wire. Can't wait to stick them in an SG or LP.


Finished up the SMB5 Stingray pickup and a set of Js.



Gluing up spalted top. Going to try a new technique. I am going to use a piece of high density foam as a spring in between a caul and the body to try and put consitent pressure on the top. Flash forward. Turned out ok but don't bother trying it as it was not better than the regular method.



The results of the change to the head on the headless.


Time for the Disaster tale. So I decided to try a Titebond glue up because this body is so light I didn't want a lot of epoxy weighing it down. Horrible idea. Note that this works but I have a suspect chunk of African Mahogany that has done this once before so shame on me for trying it again. The reason I stopped using Titebond for this is by what happens next.

So the blank warped.

And then this happened when I tried to straighten it.



The fix is to clamp it straight for a day and add a strip into the middle. Needless to say I am not happy because of all the extra work I now have to do to salvage the top.

Changed my control cavities again. Trying to speed up machine time cutting and changed the plate to extend off the body. When you start seeing it everywhere remember you saw it here first.


Headless test




Monday, March 31, 2014

Stingray Monster

Starting on a new bass pickup. While I would love to build this with large pole magnets but they are hard to find and expensive. So the design here will use more conventional parts... actually like hardware store parts. What do you need to build a pickup? Flatwork, Low Carbon Steel, and Magnets. For the pole pieces I want them large so I grabbed a piece of 3/8" cold rolled steel at Lowes. The great thing about the Music Man pickup is the big poles. The bad thing is finding parts. Basically there are no aftermarket parts so we have to do everything from scratch.

I don't have a lathe so I used a hack saw to cut the rods to length. I could use the chop saw and get them perfect but the heat generated in the rod causes the steel to change its character.


Cutting the rods with the hacksaw leaves a messy end. If you look at steel pole slugs in a humbucker they have a nice circular pattern on them from the lather cutting process. I am going to mock that out. Squared the rods on the disk sander and adjusted the lengths to suit what I am trying to do.

Next I chuck the rod in the drill press.

Then I take a mill file and put a slight bevel on the edge and clean up the face removing as many of the scratches form the sander as I can.

Now the trick. 80 grit PSA on a block of MDF. Turn the drill press on and run the rod down onto the block. This creates the swirls I need. Careful not to push too hard as you can really hurt yourself if the block flies out from under the rod.


I used a wet stone to square the end of the rod before putting the swirls in. This worked better than going straight to the sanding block. The problem with cold rolled steel from Lowes is that it is not very precisely ground and the outside is messy so I have to clean it up with a sanding spong.


And the results.

After cutting the flatware time to put it together.






Blades cut from steel and bobbins assembled.


After all the pickup work time to get some stuff done. Trying to never waste wood I get enough out of a 48 x 8 x 4/4 piece of African Mahogany to get a neck blank and a body blank. Then I trim the top to get a headplate from the top as well.