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Bringing Russco Studio-Pro & Micro-Trak 303 back to life

Discussion in 'DIY' started by JUracan, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. JUracan

    JUracan New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Spain
    Hello everyone, as explained in my introduction post a few months ago I have an ITAME branded Russco turntable I want to bring back to life. I decided to create this new thread to not litter the presentation's subforum.

    Right now the project state is this:

    Done:
    • Motor turns
    • General cleaning
    To-do:
    • Plinth
    • Idle wheel rounding
    • Paint "45" light
    • Cabling
    Doing:
    • Headshell & cartridge

    I couldn't find a suitable replacement for the headshell and ditching the whole tonearm seemed wasteful (at least at my current economic status) so I decided to build one from scratch. To faster iterate in the design and correct mistakes without having to remake an aluminium part I designed the part on my computer and printed it to test the fit.

    [​IMG]

    This is the current state of the design. I'm still waiting for a cartridge to arrive so I can set the tracking weight properly. The design is not tested so I haven't shared the files anywhere, however, if someone wants to print their own just ask.

    After that I'll either leave it in plastic if I'm satisfied with the way it works (probably printed in some other colour) or I'll try to cast it in aluminium with the "lost PLA" method or maybe file it from some block.


    If anybody has some recommendations about this whole thing please share them with me. Abstain about commenting without feedback, I know this is far from ideal but this is a as-low-as-possible-budget project.
     

     

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  2. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    25,864
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    I just began a conversation with you regarding the headshell. I think I can help!
     
  3. JUracan

    JUracan New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Spain
    I just answered you. Thanks for offering your help!
     
  4. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    25,864
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    Also, your Russco Studio-Pro Model B is beautiful. Nice job on that restoration.
     
  5. JUracan

    JUracan New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Spain
    Thanks Kent! I really dig the rugged retro design! This thing is built like a tank.


    These past days I've been trying to bring the idler wheel back to life. The rubber was dry and it had dents in some places for being left stationary with the speed lever engaged. I tried and old trick I've known for some time: submerging the wheel in dishwasher soap of the Fairy type. I left it for the night and then washed the soap off. The rubber regained some of its suppleness and most of the kinks are gone. But when I tried it on the turntable the turning speed was not constant.

    I have done a very DIY recap using a wide rubber-band that comes with asparagus when you buy them here in Spain. When the glue sets I'll give it a try. If it doesn't work I'll chuck the wheel on a lathe and remove the rubber-band and then some.


    About the other parts: I have the design of the plinth in my head, it's nothing too fancy because I don't have access to many power tools but I hope it works out fine. Right now I'm trying to find someone who would give me a lift to the wood store. It's quite far away and I don't want to walk for hours lugging around some wooden boards.
    I still haven't received the cartridge I ordered so I haven't advanced in anything else.

    That's all for now, see you around.
     
  6. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
    36,773
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    I've lathe cut idlers before. If its not a two-step one where the diameters need to be critical, often you can just shave the outer bit down a small amount and get into something that will go. Failing that, maybe turn it down and cut a groove into it so an O-ring will go in to act as a "tire" of sorts.

    If you need any dimensions off the stock aluminum headshell, let me know. I have one of those arms for a project.
     

     

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  7. BillWojo

    BillWojo AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,752
    Location:
    Burlington, NJ
    Best way to machine rubber is to mount a small die grinder in the tool post with a course open grit wheel. That's the way big commercial machine shops machine rubber, they grind it. Just take light cuts and allow the rubber to cool off between passes.

    BillWojo
     
  8. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
    36,773
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    Not having a die grinder, I make do with very sharp HSS and extremely light cuts or just use sandpaper. usually if its bad enough that it needs any serious amount removed it really just needs a re-tread.
     
  9. JUracan

    JUracan New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Spain
    The diameter is not critical because the idler just acts as an intermediary between the motor pole (which has a fixed diameter) and the plate (which has a fixed diameter). The turntable allows to adjust the engagement of the idler wheel with two set screws (one for each speed), I can modify the diameter of the idler wheel as I please.

    In the end I tried the cheap rubber band re-tread and it seems to be holding fine.

    The rubber band worked alright, the strobe disc test I made showed the no remarkable variation (at least that I could tell, it was my first time using such disc).

    About the headshell, while Kent seemed to be a bit away I have continued developing my 3D printed design. The bad news is that somehow the cartridge I ordered was lost in the mail. The (kinda) good news is that a friend told me about some experiments he was doing with some cheap chinese cartridges he saw in some forum. In theory they sound alright and luckily he had bought a lot of spares to test so I bought one off him. Then I modified a little my headshell design to fit the new cartridge (it uses some special mount, not the half inch one I had in the first design). I've printed it in ABS and I'll test it with the alignment protractor when I get the chance to see if it's OK.

    About the plinth, my sister (thank you sis) drove me to some local wood place and I got some planks. Now it's the powertools that are playing hard to get. I still have the turntable on two piles of thick books. The plinth is moving at a slow pace but at least it's advancing.

    And I think that's all. Any questions are welcomed.
     
  10. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
    36,773
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    yeah standard idlers are easy, it only needs to be big enough to couple the platter to the motor.

    I've heard good things about the cheap Chinese AT3600. I think that is regular 1/2" mount though.
     
  11. JUracan

    JUracan New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Spain
    This one is even cheaper. It's the one shown in this video:
     

     

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  12. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
    36,773
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    heh, @vwestlife is a member here actually. He'd be the guy to ask for any opinions on that cartridge. I believe that is a ceramic though, not a magnetic phono cart. The AT3600 is a mag cart.
     
  13. JUracan

    JUracan New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Spain
    That's awesome. It's ceramic, yes. I might get some other cartridge after summer, I don't stay long enough in the same place for the mail to arrive.


    I'm considering adding a connector in the headshell incorporating JST female leads in the design. I might have to do some testing beforehand though.
     

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