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swt61

Custom Turntable Build

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I've been playing around with vinyl rigs again for a while now. Some of you will remember that I was going to build a custom plinth for a Mitsubishi LT-30 a while back, but ended up just overlaying the plinth with Wenge.

Well with my greatest resource at hand (luvdunhill) I opted for a completely custom table a while back. I purchased most of the parts earlier, but am just now finding a little free time to build the plinth.

I went back and forth on the design several times, and almost ended up using some soapstone slabs. But in the end I decided on wood. Specifically the core of the plinth will be alternating layers of 3/4" MDF and Baltic Birch plywood. 6 layers to be exact, for a total of 4.5" for the core. That ought to supply some mass. Later I'll drill the core for some Micro-Bearing fill.

Audio Points - 1.5AP-1C.5 Wide Body Threaded

The 14' x 20" core will be topped with Burled Maple veneer, and wrapped on all four sides with 3/4" Black Walnut. I'll mill a nice slight arch on the bottom of the Walnut sides, and the four corners will be 2" square Black Walnut posts w/adjustable cone feet at the bottom.

This plinth will get a Tung oil finish, most likely 5 coats. There will be a Black Walnut armboard to raise the tonearm to the desired height, and it will be adjustable in and out about 3/8" for optimum spacing between the spindle and tonearm pivot.

The tonearm is a Rega RB300 w/Incognito wiring and Pete Riggle's weight and VTA adjuster.

The platter is a VPI Aries Black Knight Black Acrylic platter about 2" thick. The bearing is the VPI Aries inverted bearing, and it's a beast. I also picked up a Black Diamond Carbon Fiber threaded record clamp.

Marc has been the driving force behind this project, helping me secure the awesome Maxon motor, custom motor pod, custom speed controller (battery powered) which he built, as well as the Pass Pearl phono stage he's finishing up.

I will most likely use a surgical silk thread belt for the time being until I decide whether I like the tape drive option better.

The plan is to run a ZYX Bloom cartridge, but for now I will have to get by with a Grado prestige that I already own.

Today I started the plinth work, and was able to get all the necessary holes measured and drilled, the 6 layers cut and glued together, and finally the Burled Maple veneer glued up.

I probably won't get a chance to get back to it until the weekend, but I'll get some pics of where I'm at thus far posted later tonight (hopefully). And this weekend will start the Walnut trim pieces and armboard. I need to get this finished up for this months Houston meet on the 25th, so this will go faster than my previous TT projects.

Stay tuned. :)

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OK to avoid a ban here's what I've done thus far.

customtable001600x450qn6.jpg

The top of the plinth core with Burled Maple veneer, and holes for bearing and tonearm. Note the small holes on each side of the rectangular tonearm hole, those are burried T-nuts for armboard adjustment.

customtable002600x450ym2.jpg

The six alternating layers of 3/4" MDF and 3/4" Baltic Birch plywood.

customtable003600x450iv4.jpg

The hole for the inverted bearing.

customtable004600x450ru1.jpg

Closeup of the tonearm and armboard mounting holes. The armboard will have the standard round hole for the Riggle VTA bushing.

customtable005600x450dj5.jpg

The larger hole underneath the plinth for the washer and nut of the inverted bearing.

customtable006600x450ek0.jpg

The hole underneath the rectangular tonearm hole, for the tonearm wiring.

customtable007600x450ib7.jpg

This cutout probably has you wondering. It's actually a cutout for drilling the bearing hole. I only have a benchtop size drillpress and the depth is about 5", so this cutout was needed to allow me to get the plinth in far enough around the drillpress post to drill for the bearing. Note that the top piece of Baltic Birch doesn't have the cutout, and was hand drilled. This of coarse won't be seen unless you turn the table over.

customtable008600x450uh4.jpg

Bearing installed. This is the washer and nut from underneath. The washer is 2" in diameter, a stout bearing for sure.

customtable009600x450pf5.jpg

The installed bearing from the top.

customtable010600x450ki2.jpg

With platter in place.

customtable011600x450sq9.jpg

Carbon fiber record clamp.

I'll try to get most of the Walnut trim work done this weekend. Once I get this and the armboard done I'll have pics of the tonearm setup.

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Ah what the heck, here's some turntable bling bling minus the armboard.

regarb300wrigglevtaweigbv3.jpg

regarb300wrigglevtaweighw0.jpg

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Since I have the technical knowledge of that block of wood, I can only say that the pics look great and I'm really impressed you're doing this at all.

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That's beautiful. I really like it :)

Thanks! The Black Walnut sides, legs and armboard should really set the Burled Maple off. That and the Tung oil.

Nice Steve. Now quit farting around and get yourself a real drill press.

The drillpress is easy, it's the shop space to place it that's tough.

Since I have the technical knowledge of that block of wood, I can only say that the pics look great and I'm really impressed you're doing this at all.

It's a really fun project, and the rewards will be great, as it should be a real contender for analog bliss. As I've said before it wouldn't be possible at all without the very generous support of luvdunhill. That guy is a treasure trove of information. If I could learn to speak and comprehend genius I could really tap into his brain.

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what does she weigh so far? :)

Also, I may have some extra environment unfriendly #12 lead shot that could work well for you. Where / how will you cut out the ballast chambers for the fill?

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what does she weigh so far? :)

Also, I may have some extra environment unfriendly #12 lead shot that could work well for you. Where / how will you cut out the ballast chambers for the fill?

I haven't weighed her but I'd guess about 40 Lbs. w/platter.

That would be awesome! My plan is to use a 2" Forstner bit to drill holes on the underside of the plinth, about an inch in from the edge, all the way around. Then use some 1/4" plywood to make plates to cover the holes, and screw them in place. This will be a massive TT.

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Holy fuckamole Steve, that is a massive table! :o Beautiful veneer. Looking forward to seeing the walnut (my favorite, btw) along with that burled maple.

Not sure about the plywood plates but I also don't have a great solution for you. Do you really need the extra weight of the shot? How about waiting on that until you hear the table in action without it?

Good luck, regardless. Fun project.

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Holy fuckamole Steve, that is a massive table! :o Beautiful veneer. Looking forward to seeing the walnut (my favorite, btw) along with that burled maple.

Not sure about the plywood plates but I also don't have a great solution for you. Do you really need the extra weight of the shot? How about waiting on that until you hear the table in action without it?

Good luck, regardless. Fun project.

I will be waiting until after I've heard the table before making a final decision. It is pretty heavy now, and the Walnut will add another 4-5 Lbs.

The 1/4" plywood would only be seen if you turn the table over, but as you suggest hopefully I won't need to bother. Actually I just had a thought...If I do use the shot fill, I'll use a rabbiting router bit to create a rabbit on each hole, then make round plugs from 1/4" ply. That will keep them flush with the table bottom, and more professional looking.

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Steve,

I'd probably forgo the shot, when it's all said and done and fully trimmed out wouldn't you think 60+lbs would be sufficient? Take it from me, moving the Menace PS is not fun and that's starting to look light compared to your beast.

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Are you planning to veneer the sides? Or are you planning to keep the layered MDF/Birch look? I'm just curious. It looks awesome as is, but I think veneer all around would be even better.

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<snip>

The 14' x 20" core will be topped with Burled Maple veneer, and wrapped on all four sides with 3/4" Black Walnut. I'll mill a nice slight arch on the bottom of the Walnut sides, and the four corners will be 2" square Black Walnut posts w/adjustable cone feet at the bottom.

<snip>

Are you planning to veneer the sides? Or are you planning to keep the layered MDF/Birch look? I'm just curious. It looks awesome as is, but I think veneer all around would be even better.

Black walnut, really thick veneer (3/4"?)...

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Are you planning to veneer the sides? Or are you planning to keep the layered MDF/Birch look? I'm just curious. It looks awesome as is, but I think veneer all around would be even better.

This was my inspiration, but of coarse mine will be taller, also my corner posts will be a bit more massive. Heck, the whole thing will be more massive in every way. This gives you a little better idea of where it's heading though.

cooltableac9.jpg

Steve,

I'd probably forgo the shot, when it's all said and done and fully trimmed out wouldn't you think 60+lbs would be sufficient? Take it from me, moving the Menace PS is not fun and that's starting to look light compared to your beast.

If your looking for good resonance control without adding a ton of mass, Kevlar is a good choice.

The resonance control is what I'm most interested in, but I'm not afraid of more mass either. Once I get this in place on my rack it's not going anywhere. Even if I have to rent a Genie lift to get it there. :P I think I may at the very least fill in the half moon cutout.

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Today I fabbed up the Walnut side pieces. They're pretty straight forward with a little arch cut into the bottom. But the have a shelf piece on the top that will stick out about 1/2" over the side, and will also cover about 3/16" of the plinth core as well, so as not to leave any gap where the Walnut side meets the Burled Maple top.

I'm not sure if that makes sense, but here's a side view drawing...

walnutsidesct3.png

They're in clamps now, but should get installed tomorrow w/pics to follow.

But just so I don't leave you empty handed, here are some pics of the holes I milled underneath the plinth to hold the shot fill damping. I knew it would be a PITA to do once the sides were in place, so I made the decision to go ahead with them. The caps are 1/4" plywood and should hold the shot in place fine.

shotfillholes1600x450jt9.jpg

shotfillholes2600x450xm2.jpg

After I install the Walnut side pieces I'll start milling the 2" square corner pieces that will also hold the cone feet. Then the armboard will finish up the woodwork.

I've decided to try out a new finish. I'm a big fan of the DIY network's show "Woodworks" and it's host David Marks is an incredible woodworker. He gives the brand names of the finish products he uses on the website, and it's not pure Tung Oil (he says he's used these products since 1984). There are two products by the same manufacturer, one is a sealer and the other is a top coat. They are oil based finishes, but with urethane and other additives. One coat of sealer and four coats of the top coat w/0000 steel wool buffings in between. They are in transit, but should arrive early this week, and I'll let you know what I think of them.

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Count me impressed !!!

Did you consider a 10" or longer tonearm?

I'll be using a heavily modded Rega RB300, but building a new armboard for another tonearm would be an easy enough modification, should I ever go that route. I left plenty of room on the plinth for longer arms.

One thing I really like about my modded Rega is that with the Pete Riggle VTA mod, it's as simple as unplugging the cables and the tonearm just slides right out w/out any retaining nut. And yes I own a second modded Rega RB300 to mount a second cartridge on. ;)

Color me the quick change artists. :cool:

Also the Walnut side pieces are out of the clamps now, and I just installed the first one. After the glue dries I'll move onto the second and so on. So I may have pics later tonight.

I'm using my biscuit joiner w/#10 biscuits. The biscuits and glue are only in the middle of the 5" pieces, so that the Walnut has room to expand and contract with the changing seasons.

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