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Mat-with-one-t

Is a DIY tonearm possible??

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Just putting it out there.  I have access to all levels of toolmaking (from one off parts to CNC to any bespoke part to any type of precision welding) in any type of metal.  

I am fully aware of the potential complexities, but when I show my genius brother-in-Law (a toolmaker with his own business, massive skill set, ability to do Autocad design, and a love of all things precision and bespoke) my VPI 10.5 arm, or pics of a Schick or Univector, he reckons it’s all do-able.

 

So, has anyone tackled an arm?

 

Where to start?  Length?  Mass?  Uni/multipivot?  Materials?  Intended cart’s?  Intended mounts? Intended use?

 

Is it best to try as simple as possible?  That is, perhaps a Unipivot rather than a complex design?  

 

Are there copyright issues in terms of basing a DIY closely/loosely on another design?  Is a “homage” acceptable? 

 

As I am researching 12” options, I thought I’d put it out there.  

 

Mat

 

 

 

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Yes, you can. I used to know a few guys who made arms from variety of materials to minimize resonances and weight and maximize strength. If you want to experiment then get Technics sl1200mk6 Japan bearings and base and experiment with the arm first. You can start with wood.  It does not even have to be round. There are a few wood types which have low resonance levels and are stiff enough. Then you can try carbon fibre and various ceramic materials to make a composite arm. Probably graphene would be great but availability is beyond reach for amateurs. Use silver wire. Easier to get that minimum resistance copper and remember that wiring has to be screened properly.

 

If you want to go all the way and make your own bearings etc then great.

 

cheers,

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"Copying" someone's design without having the exact technical specifications about the design, materials and fabrication is not covered by copyright laws. Every good scientific experiment starts by repeating what other have done in the same field and try to understand the problem better. Without that step there would be no scientific and engineering progress. That being said you should have a clear idea what are you trying to achieve and how are you going to quantify that achievement?   If you cannot do that all your DIY work is for pure personal amusement. Similar to those examples of 3D printing parts that actually do not really contribute to the tonearm performance.  Considering the complexities involved in bearing design and fabrication you will be struggling to justify your effort. 

 

Answers to all your questions should be really a natural consequence of your research and understanding of the physical problem. If that is beyond your level of knowledge or interest - just get a commercial solution and enjoy the music.  

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4 hours ago, Decky said:

"Copying" someone's design without having the exact technical specifications about the design, materials and fabrication is not covered by copyright laws. Every good scientific experiment starts by repeating what other have done in the same field and try to understand the problem better. Without that step there would be no scientific and engineering progress. That being said you should have a clear idea what are you trying to achieve and how are you going to quantify that achievement?   If you cannot do that all your DIY work is for pure personal amusement. Similar to those examples of 3D printing parts that actually do not really contribute to the tonearm performance.  Considering the complexities involved in bearing design and fabrication you will be struggling to justify your effort. 

 

Answers to all your questions should be really a natural consequence of your research and understanding of the physical problem. If that is beyond your level of knowledge or interest - just get a commercial solution and enjoy the music.  

All points noted.

however let’s not get in the creativity of the OP,  I’m sure it’s for his pleasure and he’s not going into copyright infringements.  

 

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It shouldn't be hard to design your own unipivot design, the bearings would be the hardest part to get right. After that, the arm can be made of all sorts of things with different weights etc. 

 

Then just get the geometry/alignment right, come up with an anti skating system, and you're basically there - that's all most regular tonearms are

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Thanks all.  Perhaps a unipivot may be the place to start.  As per my post, I have access to all manner of machining and can design things on autocad. Hmmmmm.   Food for thought.

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I say go for it Mat, if you have access to the tools it is a fun thing to do and can be very rewarding. I have been playing around on and off for years but they have only been pretty half arsed efforts but some have sounded half decent. My main struggle was with myself deciding on what type to build and procrastinating and building something in my head and being either too busy with the paying jobs and then too lazy in between them to actually implement those ideas. The whole proccess takes a lot of time and I do enjoy it but its hard to start one of those ideas if there is no guarantee that your arm you have just invested 12 months of thought and a little bit of sometimes expensive materials on turns out to be a cartridge destroying tool.

Dont let my frustration turn you off though as I am a bit of a hack and most things I have done have been a bit experimental.

Just DO NOT use your best cart on its maiden voyage.

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On 31/07/2019 at 8:17 AM, McCvinyl said:

I say go for it Mat, if you have access to the tools it is a fun thing to do and can be very rewarding. I have been playing around on and off for years but they have only been pretty half arsed efforts but some have sounded half decent. My main struggle was with myself deciding on what type to build and procrastinating and building something in my head and being either too busy with the paying jobs and then too lazy in between them to actually implement those ideas. The whole proccess takes a lot of time and I do enjoy it but its hard to start one of those ideas if there is no guarantee that your arm you have just invested 12 months of thought and a little bit of sometimes expensive materials on turns out to be a cartridge destroying tool.

Dont let my frustration turn you off though as I am a bit of a hack and most things I have done have been a bit experimental.

Just DO NOT use your best cart on its maiden voyage.

Sounds like familiar experiences and sage advice!   Thanks mate.....

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I have come across many posts/threads in other audio forums where people have discussed their DIY tonearms.  Searching some of these sites (I would start with the vinylengine, audiokarma and diyaudio sites first) and googling should turn up some useful ideas.

 

Good luck with your project, I look forward to reading about it here!

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There’s a project like this in the Parts Express Tech Talk forum at the moment, the gentleman is making the turntable and arm.

 

Geoff

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several months back i saw a nice DIY TT project where the tone arm employed magnets to float it at the pivot point. I'll see if i can find the web links later tonight (if someone else doesn't  beat me to it. the finished product utilised a lot of red stained wood if that prompts anyone's memory ).   

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Yes definitely possible and easy. Id suggest you stay away from high precision and expensive bits by making them design redundant. Id love to say this was my EUREKA moment but alas no. Buy a carbon fiber tube on ebay  stick it to a golf ball siting in a shot glass full of glycerin with a cocktail stick  perpendicular to the tube hanging on fishing wire. build yourself and anti skate system ( fishing wire and a weight) bung a counter weight on it paint it in clear silicon for resonance reduction. 

 

Trust me if you get this right it will out perform most arms.

 

PS its a ***** to set up. Search golf ball tonearm. otherwise fishing wire and magnets. Frivolity aside what your basically doing with both these designs is is removing the need for exotic and problematic/expensive bearing assemblies 

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