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A man of the cloth and the steel he wields

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  1. That is definitely an Achilles’ heel of these machines.

    I’ve jammed a little metal tube on there and held it on with glue and foil tape, which is ugly but (may) work.

    The plastic pieces are also easy to remove and attach, so if you have a parts machine with good plastic, Bob’s your uncle.

    But I look forward to seeing what clever solution you’ll come up with.

  2. I think I may have a couple of those plastic levers that were salvaged from junkers, but that doesn’t fix the underlying problem – the design weakness.

    My first thought is to take the proper size copper tubing (it can be quite stiff when only a couple of inches long) and flatten the end to fit tightly on the metal lever. The copper would polish nicely and could be curved as desired. You could even knurl it if you wanted. Steel tubing (car brake lines) could work too.

    1. Metal tubing is one thought, and my mind also went to the knobs they put on knife switches. The problem with both, I think is those SCM cases that incorporate a lever in the lid that engages the escapement release lever when the lid closes. With those cases, you’d need a replacement that matches the shape, size and angle of the original lever, or it’s just going to jam when put away in it’s case.

      I’m pondering approaching a client of mine who machines racing parts out of billet aluminum. It’s a fairly simple part, I just wonder if it could be replicated in small batches for a reasonable cost. I would imagine there would be at least a small demand for billet aluminum replacements for this often broken plastic part, just as there is a small but sustained demand for the billet aluminum gears that some guy in New York makes for Selectrics.

  3. I’m not that familiar with Smith-Coronas and wasn’t aware that the lever was operated by closing the storage case cover. That brings on another level of complexity. Although almost anything can be machined from aluminum, it’s also easy to make the part cost too much. The cycle clutch gear for Selectrics you mention is an example. At $89 for the part, you could buy probably two more machines instead.

    Instead of machining the part, I would consider using a 3-D printer, if I had access to one. That could cut the cost considerably.

  4. There is joy in fixing stuff. I’m in the process of fixing a couple bits and adjusting a Remington Noiseless desk machine that just arrived. The trust mechanisms are elegant, but need TLC to operate smoothly.

    Good luck with your knob. I saw a lot of SCM parts including NOS knobs on ebay recently. That would be a good lot to split between a few people.

  5. Better get the welder out, Ted!

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