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stuck microtuner

zannad

Member
Messages
410
I've just bought a Conn Wonder (1924) - the microtuner neck is stuck and while I'm waiting to see if the WD40 is going to loose the gunge a bit I've decided to post a message here for advice.
Right now, the tuning ring turns only 180 degrees and I managed to unscrew the blocking ring (the one near the cork) so the tuning ring can be pushed back a bit (up to the octave vent).
This link gives some valuable hints:
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/ConnMicrotuner.htm
still I'm not sure what bits I need to turn or force in order to unstuck the Mouthpipe...shall I reassemble the tuning ring and blocking ring together and keep turning forcibly anticlockwise so that the mouthpipe moves/extends away from the main neck? Or else, shall I try to turn the actual mouthpipe with a padded wrench?
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,959
Whatever you do, do not grip the mouthpipe with a clamp an attempt to turn it - this part might not be designed rotate (as it does on some variants).

The locking ring is off - so that's good - and now the tuning ring should simply unscrew from the crook. If it's only turning so far then either the thread is gunged up or it's damaged in some way.
As you can see in the article, it's not uncommon for this ring to be stiff or jammed - hence the need for a wooden clamp to assist in its removal. I know it'll be a hassle to make one, but using anything that doesn't spread the load around the ring may end up distorting it...and then you're really stuffed.

You could try soaking the unit in some vinegar (or dripping some down inside the ring), if there's any scale in the threads it will help to dissolve it.

Regards,
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Whatever you do, do not grip the mouthpipe with a clamp an attempt to turn it - this part might not be designed rotate (as it does on some variants).

The locking ring is off - so that's good - and now the tuning ring should simply unscrew from the crook. If it's only turning so far then either the thread is gunged up or it's damaged in some way.
As you can see in the article, it's not uncommon for this ring to be stiff or jammed - hence the need for a wooden clamp to assist in its removal. I know it'll be a hassle to make one, but using anything that doesn't spread the load around the ring may end up distorting it...and then you're really stuffed.

You could try soaking the unit in some vinegar (or dripping some down inside the ring), if there's any scale in the threads it will help to dissolve it.

Regards,
Thanks a lot for your suggestions:

The tuning ring can't be removed entirely from the crook because the pipe is stuck - the thread under the tuning ring is clear from gunge but the ring it can be unscrewed only in one direction towards the sax up to octave vent.
I understand I have to keep turning/forcing the actual tuning ring (not the mouthpipe).
The wooden clamp seems to be the only option...still waiting to see if the WD40 works - and then the vinegar too (maybe hot?).
I've been thinking of those sonic cleaners:
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=so...o=u&sa=X&ei=_5CeTpbAB4OKhQfi34hY&ved=0CHMQrQQ
anyone tried it?
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,959
Thanks a lot for your suggestions:

The tuning ring can't be removed entirely from the crook because the pipe is stuck - the thread under the tuning ring is clear from gunge but the ring it can be unscrewed only in one direction towards the sax up to octave vent.
I understand I have to keep turning/forcing the actual tuning ring (not the mouthpipe).
The wooden clamp seems to be the only option...still waiting to see if the WD40 works - and then the vinegar too (maybe hot?).
I've been thinking of those sonic cleaners:
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=so...o=u&sa=X&ei=_5CeTpbAB4OKhQfi34hY&ved=0CHMQrQQ
anyone tried it?
Ahh, I get it now (after two pints of tea)...the ring is free, the mouthpipe is jammed.
Heat is the answer - and dunking the mouthpipe section in hot vinegar would be a good start (half an hour should do it).
If you have an old mouthpiece knocking around you could fit it on the cork and use it as a handle to give you a bit more leverage. You might find it's one of those jobs where you need to wiggle it around a bit.
So, try the vinegar, then try heat and WD40 (a hairdryer should be enough - but a small blow torch would be ideal).

Don't bother with a sonic cleaner.

Regards,
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
It took a while but I've finally dismantled the microtuner!!
I've used a combination heat applied via hot gun then WD40 (1 day) then more heat then cleaning with lighter fluid then immersion in hot vinegar (3 hours) then more WD40 and locking the tuning ring on a vice with rubber covers (bought on Aldi or Lidl years ago for a fiver).
The pressure applied via rubbery vice didn't need to be too excessive for obvious reasons (to avoid distorting the neck) - just firm enough to hold the neck in a "firmish" position and then turning by hand the neck body in small decisive twists and yanks - in fact the rubbery vice allowed the tuning ring to turn at times (so apparently nullifying my efforts) but in so doing it allowed to find a better and weaker spots where the neck was actually moving away from the mouthpipe (the microtuner)....oh, and more and more WD40 and heatgun while doing this too.
Now I've immersed the dismantled bits in Coca Cola (I've run out of white vinegar) so hopefully I'm going to have them cleaned and shiny by tomorrow - ready to be reassembled. :welldone
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Thank you all for your help....all is fine with the microtuner (and the sax)...still a point about this Copper Grease (as recommended by Stephen) - initially I tried some very thick gearbox oil and the action was firm yet smooth....now with the Copper Grease the action is still firmer but not that "pleasant" - I dare to say "gritty"? Is that normal? Maybe is just a question of "feel" - shall I go back to using gearbox oil?

Also, there is a loose action if I change direction from clockwise to anticlockwise and viceversa - this looseness is about half turn where the mouthpipe won't move (a bit like being in neutral gear). Maybe I should give the blocking ring an extra turn regardless of the grub screw's matching holes?

Now, we are getting a bit more technical here....still I hope to get some feedback.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Also, there is a loose action if I change direction from clockwise to anticlockwise and viceversa - this looseness is about half turn where the mouthpipe won't move (a bit like being in neutral gear).
Mine is exactly the same. I've always assumed that's just the way it is, a sort of 'they all do that, Sir' thing.

Re the grease, I'd have thought copper grease a bit too heavy for such fine threads. Sounds like yours has some solids in it. I've never regarded copper grease as a lubricant, more an application to facillitate disassembly. Mine's lubricated with oil.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,959
Thank you all for your help....all is fine with the microtuner (and the sax)...still a point about this Copper Grease (as recommended by Stephen) - initially I tried some very thick gearbox oil and the action was firm yet smooth....now with the Copper Grease the action is still firmer but not that "pleasant" - I dare to say "gritty"? Is that normal? Maybe is just a question of "feel" - shall I go back to using gearbox oil?

Also, there is a loose action if I change direction from clockwise to anticlockwise and viceversa - this looseness is about half turn where the mouthpipe won't move (a bit like being in neutral gear). Maybe I should give the blocking ring an extra turn regardless of the grub screw's matching holes?

Now, we are getting a bit more technical here....still I hope to get some feedback.
It shouldn't feel gritty with Copperease - but if it does then I'd go for a synthetic grease instead. I don't think an oil will hang around in there long term.

If there's free play you'll have to take it up with the blocking ring - which means you might have to drill a couple of new holes. This is pretty common - on dismantling such units it's often clear to see that the ring has been drilled two or three times.

Regards,
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
It shouldn't feel gritty with Copperease - but if it does then I'd go for a synthetic grease instead. I don't think an oil will hang around in there long term.

If there's free play you'll have to take it up with the blocking ring - which means you might have to drill a couple of new holes. This is pretty common - on dismantling such units it's often clear to see that the ring has been drilled two or three times.

Regards,
I think that "gritty" related to the coppergrease action is an overstatement...let's say that using the gearbox oil gave a better and smoother feel - the one I've used is very thick (80-90).

About that free play:
I've tried removing the grub screw and give the blocking ring an extra twist of about 70 degrees - the play is gone but is rather precarious without any fixing - I thought of using a bit of superglue (I have a superglue remover/dissolver just in case) - but I might be better off just drilling another hole.
Just a point about drilling: there is a choice here...it might be neater to drill a new hole only in the blocking ring so that externally we find only 1 hole - else, we might drill the tuning ring to match the new position of the hole in the blocking ring.
The first solution is the one I prefer, but there's no guarantee the screw will fix neatly because the thread isn't there anymore (we are just drilling a new hole).
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Mine is exactly the same. I've always assumed that's just the way it is, a sort of 'they all do that, Sir' thing.

Re the grease, I'd have thought copper grease a bit too heavy for such fine threads. Sounds like yours has some solids in it. I've never regarded copper grease as a lubricant, more an application to facillitate disassembly. Mine's lubricated with oil.
The free play can be reduced and eliminated altogether - just give the blocking ring an extra turn and see by yourself.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,959
About that free play:
I've tried removing the grub screw and give the blocking ring an extra twist of about 70 degrees - the play is gone but is rather precarious without any fixing - I thought of using a bit of superglue (I have a superglue remover/dissolver just in case) - but I might be better off just drilling another hole.
Just a point about drilling: there is a choice here...it might be neater to drill a new hole only in the blocking ring so that externally we find only 1 hole - else, we might drill the tuning ring to match the new position of the hole in the blocking ring.
The first solution is the one I prefer, but there's no guarantee the screw will fix neatly because the thread isn't there anymore (we are just drilling a new hole).
As far as I can recall it's only the outer ring that's threaded for the lock screw - the hole in the securing ring is only for locating the tip of the lock screw.
I'd be inclined to use the existing hole in the tuning ring rather than drill another.

If you're going to use any kind of glue or threadlock you should keep it confined to the area around the locking screw hole. If you use much more than that you might never get the securing ring off again!

Regards,



Regards,
 
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