The Wheelz 9000 strat mod: you have to use your imagination...

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by s_tones, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    First, you have to ignore the pot depressions and the swirly in this image. They will be gone in this model.

    This is what I wanna do next. More or less a "strat conversion" of the Wheelz 9000

    here's the thing:

    1) I wanna put in an "inlayed" white ABS pickguard that matches the body contour exactly. I have not seen this done. It will stand 1mm proud with rounded over edge but match the 3D contour exactly sitting in a slightly depressed pocket.

    2) I want the pickup tabs to be invisible. In other words only the upper pickup body shows. This is hard but I think I know how to do it.

    3) PRS tried this with the "305". It's tough if you are staying with the tenon/tenon pocket setup like PRS, ie, no protruding neck "platform" as seen with Fenders, etc. There is a void that must be filled above the neck tenon somehow. PRS filled the void with a plug. You can see it if you google closely at the 305 neck mount. It blows. I have a better idea (if it works!). Maintains the continuity of the top completely.

    I am attracted to this because it poses several major design challenges. And I need something to do.
    And I think it will look cool.

    Steve







    Snap 2019-07-22 at 18.26.27.jpg
     
    CraigB, Jim_in_PA and Telemarx like this.
  2. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    254
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    If it ends up like any of your other guitars it will be fantastic.
     
  3. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,620
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Some interesting design challenges. It will be interesting to see how you tackle the pickups to hide the tabs and to see if your design allows for height adjustment.

    I tried to find a view of the PRS 305 neck mount and the plug you spoke of but I couldn't discern one.
     
  4. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    Snap-2019-07-23-15-57-01.jpg

    If you look close you can see where PRS pluged the gap just on the neck side of the pickup.
    I just cant abide this approach!
    They circumvented the pickup tab issue by using this top mounted pickup.

    Steve
     
  5. Fretting out

    Fretting out Tele-Holic

    Age:
    27
    Posts:
    709
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2019
    Location:
    Land of Mary
    They’ll have to be mounted from the back right?

    You could always something like the airline/Supro reso-glass models did and have the back be detachable (with a center block maybe)
     
  6. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    Actually, they can't really go in from the back. Well, at least the neck pickup cant because of the overlap with the neck tenon.
    The will have to be height adjusted from the back however by way of screw access holes (covered by decorative inlay covers).

    My plan is to drop them in from the top into slots that are elongated on the pick guard end. There will be a shelf on the opposite end to accommodate (cover) the tab on that side. They will drop in, slide over. Then the PG cover obscures the excess cavity in the elongated end. Hope it works! Lot of very finicky modelling and milling involved. There's a bit more to it as the springs need to come in through the back as well. But it all looks like it should work in principal.
     
  7. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    For all the CAD happy people out there:

    This is the pop-in/slide-over single coil model I am planning
    The pup is "sprung" from the back.
    springs are trapped in channels within the body and retained by a backplate
    the adjust screws penetrate the back plate for adjustment

    This will be repeated for 2 more pickups the adjust screws for which fall within the cover plate for the tremelo mechanism.

    the excess slots are then covered by a contour matched ABS pickguard.

    This is crazy to model but it's actually pretty simple in concept and probably do-able

    The biggest challenge here is the sliding in of the neck tenon.
    I'm still not sure how that's gonna work out but I'm hopeful

    Steve



    Snap 2019-07-25 at 18.56.33.jpg
     
  8. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,620
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Obviously you will be using single coils without the eyelets on the bottom flat work that stick out from the side. Have you thought about building your own that have screws that go through the pickup like a p90 without dog ears? And then have some type of pop off cover to hide the screws?

    For the tenon, I assume you will first route it without the top / cap and then route the top once glued on. For the top of the neck pocket are you going to leave the inner corners rounded or use a chisel to square them up?

    Are you planning on machining the pick guard from a block of abs or perhaps vacuum forming?

    Inquiring minds....
     
  9. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    Yes, I've seen those direct "screw thru" pups. Somebody (Seymour Duncan maybe) made them for a while but I guess not any longer. It would make it simpler by far.

    the tenon is the wrinkle for sure. The plan is, as you say, rout the backside pocket, glue up top and bottom, rout the partial topside pocket. The neck tenon then gets "shoe horned" in. The back portion of the tenon is squared off so no wedge to it. However the forward portion of the tenon still has about 1mm of wedge to it, necessarily, so this has to be rocked in with possibly some sanding of bottom tenon areas to get it to pass. I will trial this in a model first. I think it's doable.

    yes, vacuum forming for the ABS. Or, possibly, even "slump molding". It's such a mild forming job that possibly boiling the ABS sheet and just laying it on the wood form may work. Will experiment. Once formed it will by profile cut by cnc.

    Steve
     
  10. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,620
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    For the tenon, you may want to undercut the bottom of the little bit of the top piece (the bit between the pickup and end of the neck) to get a little bit of extra wiggle room. Then, either slip in a small spacer to fill that gap (can go from the neck pickup pocket) or just have it as part of the top of the tenon closet to the neck. That small bit of angle / wedge in the neck pocket is really going to make it tricky. You could mount the neck (minus the fb) before gluing the top but then it is pretty much never coming out. But then again, removing it even if you got it in the other way would be difficult. I do love thinking about design / engineering challenges. Thanks for letting us tag along!
     
  11. BluesBlooded

    BluesBlooded Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,589
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Location:
    Sherbrooke, Qc, Canada
    These are great challenge I'm sure you can manage. Will follow closely and learn new stuff. I'm very confident in your ability to pull it off.
     
  12. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    Here is the model pretty much finalized.
    Thanks for the vote of confidence Andre!

    Robert, you are absolutely right. That wedge makes it tricky indeed. The buried portion of the tenon, being straight is no problem.
    The bottom pic is an "interference analysis". I just took the surfaces of the pocket and rotated the tenon thru there step by step.
    The neck color "breakthrough" reflects the areas of interference. I plotted the interference out frame by frame and generated an "interference line" which represents
    (in theory) the total problem area. This appears to be roughly half the contact area of the tenon wedge and does not effect the visible joint areas. That still leaves a very generous contact area for gluing. And, truly, when this thing gets shoe-horned in it is not EVER coming out again.

    Two things will help substantially:

    1) As you noted Robert, cutting down that upper contact edge a bit helps. I can't take too much because it's a somewhat narrow bridge given the adjacent pickup pocket.
    2) Also, decreasing the thickness (height) of the tenon "tongue" helps quite a lot too. About 2-3mm less height there really helps.

    It appears that all the interference overlap is under 0.25mm on each side. So, basically I will just sand the area there down incrementally and just keep trialing.
    If there is an appreciable issue (which I doubt) I can just slip some epoxy in the void areas during the glue-up.

    So, quite an adventure!
    I just love this stuff - as you can see.

    Steve


    Snap 2019-07-27 at 14.32.51.jpg

    Snap 2019-07-27 at 15.18.04.jpg
    Snap 2019-07-27 at 15.26.50.jpg
     
    Jim_in_PA and BluesBlooded like this.
  13. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,089
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Someone posted this picture a few years ago and I've been fascinated to figure out how to get the pickups in. It's all through the trem cavity in the back as far as I can figure out. The back isn't so pretty.

    Nice design BTW!

    Quilt top Strat.jpg

    Quilt top back.jpg
     
    Macrogats and Jim_in_PA like this.
  14. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    Wow! That IS a bit mystifying!
    My guess is they dropped the pickups in before gluing up front and back wood.

    Doesnt look like they came in from the back unless they came thru the tenon box. The neck pickup - no way. Doesnt look like theres room.

    If they did it before glue up they are permanent fixtures!
     
  15. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    444
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Worthing, SE England
    Having spent almost 50 years working out ideas like this, I applaud you on the real genius of your solution. While it wouldn't get you thanked at any major manufacturer, it's going to look great! :)
     
  16. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,089
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Well what I worked out was they routed out a square space in the body deep enough so the pickups could be threaded through the trem cavity in the back after the cap was glued on. It wouldn't be very hard to get the neck pickup in. I drew it out on paper and I think that would work.

    You wouldn't want to put the pickups in before finishing. I want to try it someday with some scrap to test the theory. I like the looks but not the color of this one..
     
  17. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    Yep. Thats actually possible I think.
    Mill out a pathway from trem box to pass them.

    One wrinkle there: if there are screws retaining the tremelo bar springs they are usually screwed into wood on the neck side of the trem box. Where would those screws go if that area is milled out??
     
  18. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    Mockup. Body binding not shown. Maybe ABS (hate doing that!). Maybe faux binding (natural flame maple).

    Suggestions welcome
    This is probably functionally a good layout. Having the 5 way switch there is probably good I think.
    Alternative perhaps: A rotary knob switch instead of a toggle?
    The knobs will need either depressions or just a circular flattened zone. Will have to play with that.
    Planning standard strat wiring.

    Honestly, I prefer the resomax fixed bridge on this for aesthetics but the single coils look corny to me sitting up so high.
    And of course the tremelo is more true to the strat anyway.

    Steve

    Snap 2019-07-28 at 08.18.08.jpg
     
    Jim_in_PA and BluesBlooded like this.
  19. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    947
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    central CA
    Good fun.

    below is the model as it stands today. Most hurdles now pretty much dealt with (I think).
    Key to this whole project was making an "inlay-able" pickguard.
    I made this somewhat ridiculous gizmo for this purpose.
    Ridiculous because in reality the contour on this PG is really pretty subtle. You could probably just screw it down using a flat piece.
    But, what fun would that be!

    So, bought me a $20 toaster oven and jury rigged this "sort of" vacuum former using my shopvac.
    The vacuum holes are actually under the ABS just to encourage it to conform everywhere. So not a true vacuum former.
    I put the ABS (2.5mm) in the preheated oven (1 minute x 300 deg) with clamps on the end.
    Watched it droop in less than 1 minute. Pulled it out and threw it on the "former". Covered with neoprene flap just to encourage it to suck down.
    Worked GREAT! Perfectly contoured. Cost me $20. Sweet! (Last experiment I did like this cost me $300 and didn't pay off - but I got a great silk screen photo dealy-bobber out of it)

    I really wanted to minimize the screws through this PG but I'm gonna for sure have to screw in the toggle. The other two screws will be as shown.
    The toggle corner area will rely on a magnet arrangement to hold down so I don't have to crowd another screw in there.

    I've always wondered about neo magnets and their possible impact on pups. I use them a lot for covers.
    Found a great sight with a gauss calculator. Their fields do not really matter beyond a couple of cm. Probably even less.
    I think 8 gauss for my 6x2mm neo's at 2cm (vs about 1000 gauss for the alnicos). Just a factlett.

    Another factlett I discovered and hope to take advantage of:
    If you uniformly heat a 1/4" ABS strip this way 1 min at 250-300 deg it stays floppy for quite a while (3-5" I'd say)
    It bends very uniformly during this time. Much better than local heating with a blower.
    I'd like to heat the whole length (half the body circ) and form it all at once.
    Problem: oven won't accomodate 20" strips....

    Steve



    vacuum.jpg PROGRESS.jpg
     
  20. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    254
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    I posted that a while ago. I did a mock-up in pine. My version basically takes out the wood that’s usuall covered by the back Trem cover plate. The actual custom shop builder said he fished the pickups through a hole between the control cavity and the swimming pool route.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.