Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) *FINISHED*Subscribe
  1. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 17, 2016, 3:28 PM - Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) *FINISHED* #1

    LET ME PREFACE THIS BY STATING THESE WILL NOT BE FUNCTIONAL SWITCHES

    I remember years ago when most everyone was putting toggle switches on the right gauntlet.

    I do remember some disagreement in the ranks about whether they were toggle switches or something different. I leaned away from toggles, but still didn't know what was supposed to be there other than the thought of having some rods that stuck out from the gauntlet.

    So what did I finally settle on?

    dsc08790-jpg



    Not great I know, but at the time I felt it was closer than the toggle switches and I was kinda right. Kinda.

    Well fast forward in time and skip over a few different hiatuses I've taken from working on Boba and I come back to the boards to find that lo and behold the correct items (or modern equivalent) were figured out a number of years ago. Which are of course these...

    alcoswitch-pushbutton-switches-jpg

    So after studying them a bit and coming to the realization I have no intention of hooking them up as switches (and that I'm too cheap to shell out $20-30 bucks for them) I have decided to try and scratchbuild something that looks close enough.

    1st step was to figure out the approximate dimensions. After reaching out to the community for some help with that I got some great help from Mattcover and Jc27.

    Once I had some measurements the first thing I need is something to make the push button from. So its off to the cabinet of "STUFF I CAN'T BRING MYSELF TO THROW AWAY"

    dsc08785-jpg

    dsc08786-jpg


    I decided on this one as it is both the approximate thickness I need and should also end up shiny once I'm done with it

    dsc08797-jpg

    Next I needed something to use as a base switch to sacrifice...but where would I find such a thing?

    dsc08787-jpg

    Oh...that's handy!

    I decided to use these mini switches as the nuts on them will work with the space I have on the gauntlet and metal rod should be the right size to replace the red plastic pushbutton.

    dsc08798-jpg

    I used a Dremel cutoff wheel and cut around the body of the switch by the contacts. This cuts off the roundover that holds the switch together

    dsc08799-jpg
    dsc08800-jpg

    It actually dawns on me as of typing this that if one is careful enough with cutting you could probably still make this a usable switch. As long as you only cut through the metal skin of the switch you could still disassemble it, replace the button and glue/epoxy it back together on the circumference of the switch.

    So checking the fit of the metal rod

    dsc08801-jpg

    Looks like a winner! I cut off the end with the knurling to give me a clean surface to work with...

    dsc08802-jpg

    And it looks like my journey has begun!

    I do want to note that I do not own a metal lathe/mill so the shaping is all going to be done with hand tools and a drill press.

    MORE TO COME!
    Last edited by drokkul; Mar 20, 2016 at 7:19 PM.
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  3. Mattcover's Avatar
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    Mar 17, 2016, 3:37 PM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #2

    Well done Sir..... I can only imagine what you could build with your "STUFF I CAN'T BRING MYSELF TO THROW AWAY" drawers..... Lol.
  4. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 17, 2016, 6:40 PM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #3

    Quote Mattcover said: View Post
    Well done Sir..... I can only imagine what you could build with your "STUFF I CAN'T BRING MYSELF TO THROW AWAY" drawers..... Lol.
    Aye. The drawers are a veritable menagerie of wondrous items I've picked up off the ground.
  5. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 18, 2016, 10:31 AM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #4

    Got a little more work done!

    Like I said previously I don't own any metal turning equipment so everything is getting done by hand tool and drill press/Dremel

    The 1st thing I wanted to do was figure out how to mark the piece for visual guides while working with it. I decided to go with the same trick that metal workers use in the form of layout fluid. If you aren't familiar with this its just a blue liquid that you brush onto a piece of metal then use a scribe to scratch through the fluid giving you a pattern or a measurement layout on your piece.

    I don't have any actual layout fluid, but some people use blue Sharpie markers to achieve the same effect. After figuring out that I didn't have that either I just coated the rod with a thin layer of blue paint.

    I marked my line by placing the end of the rod flat to the top jaw of a caliper and rotated the rod against the bottom jaw. The jaw rubs the paint off giving a line.

    dsc08845-jpg

    I then scratched off the remainder of the paint below the line to give me a good visual guide.

    dsc08806-jpg

    Then I chucked the rod into my drill press. This gave me the ability to spin the piece and work it much like you would on a metal lathe. When doing something like this you want to place the metal as deep into the chuck as you can and not press too hard against it as it spins. The metal will flex with too much length and too much pressure and the end results will be lopsided.

    dsc08811-jpg

    Once spinning I just used a couple of different metal files to get the shape I wanted for the end. For the making the groove I decided to chuck the rod into my Dremel. This will allow me to have a little finer control. I gave it a quick spin in some steel wool to remove the blue paint.

    dsc08813-jpg

    I knew that I needed to mark where the groove should go so more blue paint added. This time I marked 2 lines (one for either side of the groove) and scratched off everything in between

    dsc08814-jpg

    The next step will be to cut the groove. I'm think I have an idea of how I'm going to do it with only 2 hands, but time will tell. I swear sometimes I feel like humans would have been better off with four arms!

    MORE TO COME!
    Last edited by drokkul; Mar 18, 2016 at 1:04 PM.
  6. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 18, 2016, 1:14 PM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #5

    I find that I am in need of a specialty tool to go forward.

    I have called upon everything that I have ever learned and every creative fiber within me to invent a new tool to get me past this dilemma.

    dsc08846-jpg

    Please do not attempt to copy this design at home. It is a very complex construction and I cannot be held responsible if you hurt yourself trying to replicate it.
  7. 01Hawk's Avatar
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    Mar 18, 2016, 3:47 PM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #6

    Tons of detail! Always enjoy scratch built stuff.
  8. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 19, 2016, 10:00 AM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #7

    I've got the shaping pretty much done.

    By using my complex tool from the post above I was able to cut the groove I needed. With the metal rod chucked into the flex shaft on my Dremel all I had to do was hold the piece straight and press it down onto the file while it was spinning to make my cut.

    dsc08815-jpg

    Here it is placed back into the body of the switch with the shape I desired.

    dsc08819-jpg

    I think that the overall shape is pretty good and isn't too far off from an Alco switch.

    Now I need to prepare the other faux switch!

    MORE TO COME!
  9. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 19, 2016, 5:58 PM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #8

    And then there were two...

    dsc08822-jpg

    MORE TO COME!
  10. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 19, 2016, 6:55 PM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #9

    I decided since these are going to be non functional I didn't want to make the holes much bigger in the gauntlets especially since they are painted. Drilling fiberglass can have a tendency to chip so I didn't want to risk it.

    I put the nut on the end of the threads with some tiny dabs of super glue and then cut off the remainder of the switch body with a Dremel cutoff wheel.

    dsc08855-jpg

    This still lets me have the tiny collar that fits around the metal rod / pushbutton.

    dsc08861-jpg

    I used a round needle file to make the holes that were already in the gauntlets just a little bit bigger. The rear length of the metal rod will slide through and get glued into place from the inside.

    dsc08858-jpg

    I want to age the metal some so next time I break out the chemicals!

    MORE TO COME!
  11. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 20, 2016, 10:50 AM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) #10

    Let's age some metal!

    I wanted to darken the metal and I have this product leftover from a Pirates of the Caribbean compass I made several years ago

    dsc08862-jpg

    But you ask...

    "How do I know if that's the good stuff?"

    dsc08863-jpg

    That's how!

    So a quick 60 second dunk and we added a little "used universe" to the nuts

    BEFORE & AFTER

    dsc08861-jpg & dsc08871-jpg
    The metal rods reacted a little weird for some reason. They both darkened on the ends and took on a "dirt" color in the middle. No sure why they reacted this way but both did it the exact same way. I think it will work okay for me.

    dsc08872-jpg

    dsc08874-jpg

    MORE TO COME!
  12. drokkul's Avatar
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    Mar 20, 2016, 7:29 PM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) *FINISHED* #11

    Well here's a quick pic of them pretty much finished compared to the original thing

    alcoswitch-pushbutton-switches2-jpg

    Hope you enjoyed the ride and please feel free to leave a comment!
  13. 01Hawk's Avatar
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    Mar 20, 2016, 7:50 PM - Re: Scratchbuilt Alco / Tyco Switches (Because I'm cheap) *FINISHED* #12

    I think they turned out really cool and you have the satisfaction of building them yourself!

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