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How to Never Scratch a Front Panel with Pliers
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author How to Never Scratch a Front Panel with Pliers
amphonic
I am curious how everyone else does this. There must be a better way?!? hmmm.....

My solution is very DIY but it works.

I wrapped the mouth of a set of pliers with an old t-shirt. I used spray adhesive to hold the t-shirt to the pliers and then added some electrical tape for support.

Johnisfaster
Don't let pliers play with your modular? razz
amphonic
I use them to attach pots and jacks to the Pittsburgh Modular panels and all my random diy panels. I very rarely attack a purchased module with the pliers.
neandrewthal
Use sockets to tighten the nuts?
amphonic
Will the socket scratch the panel? Do they make a socket that fits over a pot? Is there a standard tool I am missing to do this?
patchdub
a socket wrench set is most handy! generally the washer on the pot, jack or switch will protect the panel from the socket. well worth the investment coz looking at a scratched panel is a bummer.
neandrewthal
amphonic wrote:
Will the socket scratch the panel? Do they make a socket that fits over a pot? Is there a standard tool I am missing to do this?


Whether it will damage depends on the material and how hard you push. I use a ratcheting arm and sockets to tighten my pots (I don`t worry about scratching for those, the knob covers it) 1/4 inch jacks (if anything it will scratch the washer) and switches (that will leave visible scratches on lacquer coated panels if push the socket on too hard) With more durable panels like my bridechamber Klee sequencer it shouldn`t be much of an issue.

edit: yeah, what patchdub said, and I can even see in your avatar that you use washers on your switches, which I dont, so youre good.
JohnLRice
Taken from the Synth Tech FAQ http://www.synthtech.com/motmfaq.html and edited down:

A set of hollow shaft nut drivers. You can buy them individually, but it's must easier to get one of their sets. Just be sure the shafts are hollow, so the pot and switches can be driven. Using a pair of pliers to tighten the hardware is a BAD idea. First, you will scratch the paint all up. Second, you will never get it tight like using nut drivers.

Note that the price of [these] tools varies WIDELY, so shop around. Also, if you are in the US check Sears for Craftsman nut drivers (about $6ea, and you will need 1/4", 3/8", 5/8", and 1/2").

Plan on paying between $35 and $55 for a full set.



I got a set of Craftsman ones for cheap on Ebay. Becareful though because even the nut drivers can scratch an anodized panel from Front Panel Express. (probably because I got a cheap Craftsman set off of Ebay instead of paying top dollar for a set made by Xcelite?)
amphonic
Thanks John, I'll check out the Craftsman nut drivers. I can always add the t-shirt to them to ensure no scratches.
JohnLRice
amphonic wrote:
Thanks John, I'll check out the Craftsman nut drivers. I can always add the t-shirt to them to ensure no scratches.


The only time I had a problem was when I was trying to mount toggle switches on an anodized panel without using washers. Maybe it was a tiny imperfection in the driver or maybe it was just the nut itself but once I added washers there were no scratching problems.
TrashWaveform
You know they make plastic pliers right?
Just me
If you REALLY want to get spendy, there are soft tip deep sockets available that will not mar your surface. (They are usually solf through motorcycle or aircraft supply catalogs!) But the slightest bit of care and standard 1/4" or 3/8" drive deep sockets will work perfectly. (And deep sockets will fit over stuff that is too big for the center hole of Excelite nut drivers.)
Neutron7
you can make soft tip sockets with some normal sockets and some "sugru" if you happen to have some.
fonik
i use hollow shat nut drivers, with a small plastic bag to cover it (one of these small bags the electronic components come with). works fine for me.
skweeegor
fonik wrote:
i use hollow shat nut drivers, with a small plastic bag to cover it (one of these small bags the electronic components come with). works fine for me.


That's an awesome idea. we're not worthy
terrafractyl
I needed this tread... Thanks! applause
amphonic
Neurton7, Sugru looks very cool. After a quick Google, I ordered the Smart Hacks Super Pack.

Matthias, the plastic bag is a great suggestion.
daverj
Another protection for nut drivers is to cut holes in index cards and place them over the parts (after hand tightening the nuts). The hole should be larger than the nut, but just barely. That way the body of the nut driver hits the card rather than the panel. And since the card doesn't rotate with the nut driver it doesn't scratch the panel.
megaohm
daverj wrote:
Another protection for nut drivers is to cut holes in index cards and place them over the parts (after hand tightening the nuts). The hole should be larger than the nut, but just barely. That way the body of the nut driver hits the card rather than the panel. And since the card doesn't rotate with the nut driver it doesn't scratch the panel.


That is exactly what I do.
Metalphoto matte finish shows socket marks easily. Any rotation of the protective 'device' will leave a mark.
I made the hole with a simple hand paper punch, then enlarged it a bit to fit around the switch nuts.
I keep all the paper holes, too.
They are good for dropping into 1/4" knob holes to shim the knob to just the right height. Very convenient and environmentally friendly, too! hihi

p.
Neutron7
Had the camera out, so here is the sugru "soft tip socket" I did for umm. sockets.
amphonic
Just received my order of Sugru in the mail today. Can't wait to try it out.
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