Chicken Head - the Home Edition

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by kwerk, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's been a while since I made some of these but I thought I should document it this time round..

    I'm a fan of chicken head knobs. Besides liking the retro styliness, the name alone has automatic appeal. :D

    I'm an even bigger fan of chrome chicken heads, but I'm not gonna pay more in shipping than the value of the knob itself, and I can't get them here in NZ.

    In the spirit of the gator feedin, manatee touting gentleman from Florida, I ain't gonna pay for something I can make myself with means readily available.

    I've made a few sets of these in the past, using the same materials. They have held up well and still look great.

    So I started with readily available CH's I got here. To me the profile is a little lite, (as shown on right) so I used Tamiya putty to reprofile the knob to a shape I was happy with.
     

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  2. Bolo

    Bolo TDPRI Member

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    How the hell did you do that? :)
     
  3. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    I make up molding boxes from plastic coated cardboard. I'm addicted to these chocolate beasties so I have one or five of these laying round.:D

    I give the knob a spray of silicone.

    After that I whip up some plaster but in this case picked the wrong day to do it, was 31 degrees, or around 90 of your American degrees, and the stuff was going off faster than i could settle it into the mold.

    Later in the day it was cool enough to have another go.
     

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  4. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    :D
     

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  5. Bolo

    Bolo TDPRI Member

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    That's awesome! Good Job!
    What did you use to paint it, or is that the color of the putty?
     
  6. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    With only a gas torch at my disposal, my backyard foundry could best be described as "not really". With no other need for a foundry other than this application, I use a low output gas torch and fluxless aluminium brazing rod. The stuff is better for welding aluminium than it is for this job, but with encouragement it does what's asked of it.

    I use some miscastings from last time around, as well as topping up whatever is needed using fresh rod. The hardest thing is dealing with its extremely high surface tension when it's in a melted state. The process takes some time, as I need to ensure the mold is filling evenly and thoroughly by keeping the entire mold "alive", in a melted state, in order to probe and encourage it with a stainless steel implement, or "spoon", into making its way into all of the molds crevices. As the liquid cools off, i remove the slag from the surface and brush the top out and over the edges of the mold. The high surface tension causes the metal to gather in the centre of the mold, so by waiting til it cools, i can encourage it to the edges and wait a moment for it to cool itself into place.
     

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  7. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    Many of you will have come across this stuff before, but its surface tension is so high they demonstrate it by jabbing a pen thru the side of an aluminium can, then welding over the hole using a tiny amount of welding rod and its own surface tension. The stuff wouldn't wick into an alleyway, so encouraging it into the mold takes patience.

    Finally, a result:
     

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  8. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    The previous shots showed my worksurface, a pizza stone my brother gave me ofr Christmas a few years ago. I think I've used it for one pizza, so it's had more life as a fireproof surface for pseudo foundry ambitions, albeit on a microscopic level.

    And so begins a long slow process of grinders, needle files, sandpapers and so on. If the stuff molded better than it does, i'd have little work to do, but there is a long cleanup process. Fortunately, I liken it to whittling (even did it on Sunday afternoon, in the late Spring sun. Nice).
     

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  9. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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  10. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here they are after a bit of a buff up. I'll drill a shaft hole for them and drill and tap a set screw at the back. I want to build a jig for this, as I have done it by eye in the past, with good but inconsistent results.

    They wouldn't stand any microscopic observations for accurate reproduction but that's part of the charm for me. :D

    Forgive the "incorrect" background, rest assured these are going on my current tele build, however I haven't cut my control plate yet.

    They'll need a light coat of polyurethane to stop oxidation. Unlike the stuff they are made to weld together they blacken off within a couple of hours.
    I could only guess at silver content causing this. Who knows.

    More updates as I finish the jig and buy another can of poly.
     

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  11. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just as it comes out of the tube... :)
     
  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Nice job....
     
  13. norris2002

    norris2002 TDPRI Member

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    tasty.
     
  14. Sharp5

    Sharp5 Tele-Holic

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    People here constantly amaze me.
     
  15. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

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    Cool, kwerk! I didn't know a little backyard foundry was possible.

     
  16. Birdmankustomz

    Birdmankustomz Friend of Leo's

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    Sweettt
     
  17. BucksStudent

    BucksStudent Banned

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    I didn't even know metal chickenheads existed. That is cool, man!
     
  18. kiwitele

    kiwitele TDPRI Member

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  19. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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  20. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've already made and used this jig, but I thought I should show the completed process for those interested.

    The knob is firmly shored up inside the mdf holder. The size of the aperture is generic as the hand finishing process means no two knobs will ever come out the same. Shoring up is done with pieces of cardboard, and matchsticks or other suitable slivers of wood. This must be as firm as possible as the shape of the knob means it wants to slide inside the former when the pressure of the drill press takes place. The holder is then firmly screwed shut (not shown here).
     

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