Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Build #3, Thread #1: My New Thinline Bass Guitar

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Freekmagnet, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Cool, I'm glad you like the thread!
     

  2. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    901
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL


    Try these guys: EHC Knobs

    http://ehcknobs.com/index.php?id=FPD

    I've never purchased from them, but they are the only company I've found that has a specific knob I need for a future build. That have a good selection.

    John
     

  3. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Woah! Those are some killer knobs. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017

  4. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    901
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Anytime. Glad to help!

    Let me know how the purchase process/ order fulfillment goes and we'll call it even!

    Love where this build is going, by the way. Great job!

    John
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.

  5. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2010
    Sacramento
    John you are such a knob... uh, I mean thanks for the knob site. I like the military knobs. Would like to find a use for the backlight knobs. I can think of a few around here that need the soft touch knobs lol.
     

  6. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    This week, I've been mostly busy working on my plug.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This is the MDF original with a coat of flat black spray paint. I've been sanding and shaping it with a little bit of help from lots of CA glue. I gave it the coat of paint to see where I was at with the sanding and shaping process. I think it came out pretty good! There's one corner that could have been better, but it's barely noticeable - I can put that side facing the bridge and no one will ever know. I'm pretty happy with the dog ears - I was a little worried about that. I'll prolly drill the screw holes tomorrow. I think I'm going with metric screws - they seem to be easier to find in the length, size and finish I'm going to need (M2.5 x 35-40mm approx).

    Ultimately, I'll coat the plug with flat black and then I'll either polish it or give it a coat of gloss lacquer. I want to prime it with the flat black because it's easier for me to see any imperfections that need to be addressed.

    Last week I dropped by Bruce's place and we kind of brainstormed and he gave me a couple of ideas for how to cast the final piece. There was one plan that was easier and one that was more complicated, but the complicated one sounds like more fun to try and execute. Currently, I'm leaning towards more fun, but my attitude may change. In the meantime, I'll keep working on the plug and prep for making the mold.

    And by the way, sometimes I just love my local Dollar Tree...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017

  7. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Ha-ha - That's a funny story. I think have that same Arduino kit. I know what you mean about the projects seeming pointless. I ended up being pretty disappointed with both the book and the kit. Beautiful package, though.

    And, I remember BASIC.

    LOAD,8,1

    I actually got a pretty lackluster grade in the computer programming class that I took in 9th grade. I never really had any interest in writing scripts until about 1999-2000. I was beginning to get work doing advertising and graphic design, and I figured that learning Flash and Action Script would really help me get more work. I found a really good book about it that was well written, informative and entertaining and that got me on my way. As it turns out, learning scripting languages both helped and didn't help. I ended up being good enough a scripting to get into trouble but not enough to be a real pro. Now, 90% of my web work is CSS. I don't write much real scripts much any more, and I actually kind of had to dust off a few chops to write that Arduino script.
     

  8. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Wow! Got these killer knobs in the mail today. A guy on another forum saw my post about knobs and sent me a handful of these. They look amazing!

    [​IMG]
     
    Zepfan likes this.

  9. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I haven't posted for a while, so I thought I'd do a quick update. Basically, I've been working on housing the coils which has proven to be a fairly complex endeavor. Most of it has been trial and error, and most of that has been stuff that's been covered in this thread before. For instance, I built one mold plug only to realize that the dog ears would make it so that I would have to cut a fairly complex base plate every time I wanted to make a pickup. So, after finishing one shape, I made another with a much simpler footprint.

    [​IMG]

    I've since decided that my new shape is also due for improvement; I might heed the advice of my neighbor Mr. Bruce again and radius my blade poles. This would serve two purposes - one, as Bruce pointed out, the string volume will be more even, and two, it would allow me to lift the pickup a little further out of the body of the instrument. The radiused top will probably give me between 1/16" - 1/8" of extra space beneath the pickup. That little bit of room is really going to count. My new shape will have to accommodate the radiused poles.

    Space is going to be a big issue as the the pickup is an inch tall. Bruce hipped me to a pretty cool mounting technique, but I'm not 100% certain I'll have enough clearance underneath. I may explore recessing a portion of the mounting hardware inside the body of the pickup to make it work. Otherwise, I'll have to come up with a way to approach from the back of the bass.

    [​IMG]
    The evolution of a pickup shell.

    I'll be sanding and finishing this new shell up with CA glue this week. I found that CA gave me the texture that I'm striving for. I did a lot of trial and error with the finish. The first one (the grey primer one in the back) I tried flat spray paint, gloss spray, gloss spray buffed with steel wool, and I didn't really get to where I wanted it using a painted finish. Keep in mind that the surface is very important; the surface of the original is what comes out of the mold. I was looking for a surface that gave me the feel of some of those old hand polished semi-gloss hard plastic-y Bakelite finishes. CA sanded to 2000-3000 grit worked the best.

    For now, I'm going to think about covering the front of the pickup with a colored cap. The triple bar vibe is going to be a bear to execute. I'm considering doing some experiments with dyed white holly. My goal is to have the cap make a statement that says, "color" as opposed to "wood".

    On another note, I recently took inventory of the work I've done over the last year, and I realized that in addition to this pickup, I'd come up with 2 and maybe 3 pretty viable coil designs that I really liked. I'm hoping that once I get this housing finished, I'll be able to apply these build techniques to my other pickups.
     
    Barncaster likes this.

  10. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    901
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Nice progress on that pup mold! It's looking great. Where did your hookup find those knobs? I love the machined aluminum...

    John
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.

  11. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Thanks!

    My source said he found these knobs in a box beneath his boss's desk that may have been there for decades.

    You can find some that are pretty similar at Small Bear.
     
    Barncaster likes this.

  12. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Today I popped a test casting out of the mold and cleaned it up. I wanted a complete piece that I could cut into smaller pieces to use as additional castings for smaller parts. As an experiment, I added some Mixol pigments to it to see how it looked. It worked OK, but I had real trouble getting a nice, solid opaque look to it. It seemed like no matter how much white I added, the epoxy always remained a semi-translucent gray. I added a small drop yellow in hopes of making a cream color, but the the whole thing kind of came out a soapy yellow. I ordered some more colors. I'll continue to experiment and see if I can get it down to a refined technique.

    I had a little more trouble with air bubbles this time around. Granted, I've only cast one or two parts with this stuff, but it seems like I had less trouble with that last time. I think it may have to do with the fact that I had to do a lot of extra stirring to get the color mixed in. Next time I may mix a smaller amount of resin with the color, let it sit for an hour and then add that to a final resin mix and then add the hardener to that.

    Anyway, I spend part of the afternoon cleaning a bit of flashing off of the piece and sanding the base down flat.

    [​IMG]

    My plan was to drill some holes in the bottom and cut the block into 3-4 parts. Then, I discovered this:

    [​IMG]

    It shrank!!

    A quick search on the internet revealed that larger, thicker pieces do indeed run the risk of shrinkage. At this point I realized that this shot a big hole my initial plan. If I cast one another piece from this and then in turn cast a part from the shrunken original that would likely shrink as well... that's generational shrinkage!

    I was going to mount the terminals within the dog ears and recess them so that I could safely grind the bottom flat and glue a metal base just right to it. I came up with another way that'll work - I'll drill a series of 1/16" holes in the side of the bobbin and figure out a way to safely mount the pickup wire that way. However, that'll shoot a hole in my recessed terminal plan. I'm not worried about the main body of the shell shrinking too much; the coil is going to fill up a lot of that space leaving a some fairly thin walls of epoxy. I'm mainly worried about the ears - that's still a pretty thick hunk of resin.

    For some reason, I didn't want to wrap a band of metal around the shell, but right now that idea is looking like a better and better Hopefully that'll allow the epoxy to harden within a nice, stable outer shape. That'll also give me more strength around the mounting holes.

    As another option, I could make that female mold I was going to make for this. That might work as well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017

  13. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Ok, let's do a quick experiment with modeling clay and silicone...

    [​IMG]

    And while that's setting up, it looks like that shrunken casting is about the right size for a bending jig...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017

  14. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Whoops...

    Forgot the mold release! Oh well. I was going to redo that mold anyway - my drill holes were in the wrong place. I filled them and I'll sand them and make a new mold tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    I'm actually feeling better about the metal band route anyway. I think it'll come together quick - I keep forgetting that I used to hand bend small metal parts in a production environment for a living.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017

  15. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Alright, cool - I got a new mold knocked out. The metal band fits in there pretty snugly. All I gotta do is cut it, solder the seam and grind that bad boy down. I'll give it a really quick sanding - this is just a little test piece, so I'm not worried about the finish too much.

    I better remember to put a lot of wax around that band before I pour.

    Adding the band is going to make the inner diameter smaller. My screw holes are going to be a problem. I'll have to either make a bigger piece (ugh), move the screws closer to the main body (yikes) or get smaller screws (meh). I was planning on using M2.5 screws, which are pretty small. Maybe I could go down to M2(?).

    [​IMG]
     

  16. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    OK, I got those pole pieces radiused last night and tacked that seam together. Just for fun, I wanted to post an image of the coil and pole assembly before I potted the coils. The steel blades and copper wire look really big and beefy, and I felt this would be and opportune time to point out that this pickup is indeed the best pickup for metal.

    [​IMG]

    And here's my dry run...

    [​IMG]

    For the record, I don't like where the terminals are right now. My A plan didn't work, and I just did these so I could move forward. Next time I'm going to put them on the sides of the bobbins and drill holes so I can thread the wire safely through. I'm treating this wind and the casting as a scratch version to see what kind of pitfalls I'll encounter in making the final version. In fact, I used some ceramic magnets instead of the A8s 'cuz I have a ton of those ceramics laying around.

    I'll probably grind that extra lip on the metal band after I cast the piece. The soldered piece is too thin and the joint is too weak to do any work on it that requires brute force.

    I potted the coils with CPES this morning. With any luck, I'll be casting tonight or tomorrow AM.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017

  17. Barncaster

    Barncaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Another mad scientist loose in the thread!!!
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.

  18. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Quick! Better catch him!
     

  19. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    77
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I poured the mold last night. There's a lot of little nooks and crannies in this pickup, I stood there for about an hour popping little air bubbles that surfaced while I soldered pickups into my pickup testing burro. And by the way, I made some little polyurethane inserts to put into the corners, but you can't see them here. I also added a post for a ground wire.

    [​IMG]

    The pickup popped out without a hitch. I had maybe one or two tiny air bubbles, but they ain't nuthin' I can't fix.

    Note the copper foil tape - I used this to both ground the blades and keep them from sliding around while I dropped them into the mold.

    The corners of the bobbins sort of poked out of the casting - again an easy fix with a bastard file.

    I experimented with a dark brown color. Looks OK. The black definitely mixed better than the white. It's still kinda semi-translucent, which actually doesn't bother me that much. One of these days, I'm going to have to sit down and make a testing mold for casting colors. I've spent a little time cruising some of those artsy-craftsy sites - some of them Michaels folks get some pretty rocking colors and textures out of this resin stuff. We'll have to see - it's seems like the mid-toney colors will work best with the West Epoxy.

    [​IMG]

    Next, I gotta do some cleanup. I'm guessing either just sandpaper or maybe hitting the metal part with an abrasive pad on the wheel. Then I have to grind that metal lip down and add the base plate. Oh, and drill mounting holes.
     

  20. Barncaster

    Barncaster Poster Extraordinaire


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