So, I mentioned this a while ago in another thread although I can't recall which; things like this are why I'm really enjoying this Boba build. Last year it was large format photography whilst trying to research more about old flash units and whilst that was very rewarding I didn't have the necessary time to devote to it. Whilst trying to expand my knowledge of sweep arms and stylus brushes I acquired an old Michell Hydraulic Reference. It was in a hell of a state and whilst I don't usually feel this way about objects it was a real shame to see it in the condition it was. Unfortunately I didn't take photo's of the original condition but it was bad - really bad; The gold plating on the weights was almost completely gone, the platter shim was scratched beyond belief, the hydraulic fluid had covered the entire plinth and set semi solid, the contol cover was cracked, the tonearm was covered in something corrosive, the lid was badly beaten up, the spindle, fluid well, and thrust pad were all badly damaged and needed replacing.
These are the oldest two photo's I have and were taken after I had spent about three weeks cleaning off the old hydraulic fluid and the corrosive and replaced the aforementioned parts that I was lucky enough to acquire as spares from ebay. Unfortunately these were taken on a camera phone so don't clearly show poor state:
After I had done these things I felt the project was worth further time and investment and so I made contact with Michell Engineering (pronounced 'Michelle' like the popoular girls name and not 'Mitchell' like the thuggish brothers from tawdry British soap 'Eastenders'). Michell are still in Borehamwood where they were all those years ago when our favourite films were made. I took my TT to the factory which is the same building used back then. I imagine it is very much like it was; a lofty shed filled with lathes. Michell carried out a number of restorative steps that were either too time consuming or difficult for me to do such as replating the weights or putting a new shim on the platter and tonearm board; they also rewired the tonearm for me. After Michell's extensive work was added to my own initial cleanup I am now proud to be the owner of this:
It's the splayed legs version. The engraving on the motor indicates this one was made in 1977; the last year Michell produced these.
I bought myself a lovely Gold plated Jelco Brass platter weight to really set it off!
The platter and tonearm board were re-shimmed using a piece of aluminium shim from the late 70's; those boys at Michell don't throw anything away. Ooh. Shiny.
The SME 3009 tonearm took some real work to clean it up!
Vintage Shure V15 Version III cartridge and Stylus as it would have been back then!
Original Michell Stylus Brush (More on these later).
Original Motor worked as soon as the fuse was swapped out. The stroboscope bulb is the original. That nut on the right looks familiar.
The wheel around which the belt runs is used on the imperial Officer caps. A simple sprung loaded knob moves the rubber belt up or down onto the two different sized wheels to change from 33rpm to 45rpm. It's a very simple mechanism.
I borrowed this picture from another site. This isn't my TT but I wanted to show the fluid well that sits under the platter. It is filled with silicone fluid into which the little vane is dipped to fine tune the speed. The well is physically attached to the spindle/bearing and so directly attached to the platter so when the vane dips into the fluid it causes gentle drag as well as dampening vibrations - another simple but effect piece of design.
The hinge that flaps down to support the lid when raised is another beautifully simple solution.
Captain, she swims!
Playing Steve Hillage's 1978 album 'Green'.
The only part that isn't truly original is the acrylic lid. I do still have the original but it's not in great shape. I could probably have lived with it had a previous owner not tried to fix it with superglue. That wouldn't have been a problem in and of itself but that person left some large superglue thumb and finger prints and they looked awful.
Lastly as you know I love a comparison and this all started due to my search for sweep arms and stylus brushes. The turntable feature this one:
The models of interest to us are featured in this shot. The most common one I have found is the one that is complete and used for several Fett parts. The other two variants featured the same upper parts but I have removed them for another part of my project. The one with the larger base is used for the Super trooper weapon and slots into the end of the Graflex. The one with the nut and bolt protruding from the bottom was a late discovery. I had thought it might have been a home made modification but have now seen several of these so think it likely it was an original release. Most commonly I found the variant of most use to us on the Michell Focus One TT; this was Michell's entry level TT in the 70s which fit nicely with the apparently cheaper design of this sweep arm versus the one featured on the Reference TT and was simply stuck onto the plinth as opposed to the wingut featured on the Hydraulic Reference. If you're looking for these then ebay Germany is a good place to start. Try searching for 'Transrotor' and 'Unisweep' as well as any other terms you might be thinking of.
Here are a few pictures to demonstrate the differences between the Michell and Transcriptors Stylus Brushes. I am positive that the Michell is the correct version although as a thing in and of itself I think the Transcriptors is nicer. The Michell version has flatter end with less tapering and the cross diamond is not as fine.
Here are the bases from the two brushes. The Transcriptor one (used on the bowcaster) is on the left and the Michell on the right.
The last time I saw a pair of Michell Stylus brushes for sale on here was from Kurtyboy a while back for around £250. My research would tend to indicate that this is about the right money. You might find them for less after a long hard search but to find a pair together ready found for you like that then £250 is a steal! If that seems like a lot for a relatively unseen piece of the puzzle then I suggest you look to the quite excellent offer from Mojo Fett (Mojo Skywalker on ebay). At £25 a pair, a mere tenth of the price of real ones, those are absolutely spot on. I think they look awesome. Ditto the sweep arm part as you'll be lucky to find a real one for under £100 and as with all found parts it easier to pay than to find.
Live the dream.