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back to the DIY Turntables.

Garrett Roach's creation.


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Gary's comments:

"I have been a Maintenance Mechanic and avid DIY'er for many years. I have just gotten back into vinyl after about 25 years with digital formats. I was able to purchase my first real audiophile turntable, a Music Hall MMF7.1. I came across The Analog Dept website and I was so inspired by a posting by a Gentleman known only to me as Bushman that I decided to make one of my own. 

Since all I had was a few photos to go by I needed to draw up a set of plans. Using cues from the photos to gauge size I drew up a set of full size plans. I originally wanted to make this turntable out of Rosewood. But that was too expensive. I settled on Bubinga, sometimes called the poor man's Rosewood. Off to the lumber yard. With a few nice boards in hand I was off to my woodshop. 

I didn't want to waste the wood by making bad cuts, so I made full size models out of foam core board. Next the search for a suitable donor turntable for the platter, spindle and spindle bearing for a reasonable price ended when I found an old decrepit AR XA on eBay. I disassembled the turntable to get to the "T" bar support. I made a jig to hold the aluminum support and cut the bearing from the support with a hole saw. 

Now that I had most of the essential components I started to make the base. The angle cuts for the base were the hardest. I wound up using a biscuit cutter and biscuits to join the "Y" shaped base section. Next is to fabricate the tone arm/ spindle bearing component. The bearing is countersunk into the end of this piece with the hole bored for the tone arm on the other end. These two pieces are connected by a single bolt and isolated by a layer of cork/ neoprene composite material as well as rubber bushings on the bolt for additional isolation. I chose ISO Acoustics GAIA III Isolation feet for the base with circular pads of Bubinga wood under them for my final isolation. 

Now I needed a motor to spin my new table. The motor salvaged from the AR table was far too worn to use so I sourced a new one from Hurst Instruments, P/N 3001-001. The pulley was salvaged from the AR turntable and a new belt was purchased. The motor pod is built from circles of Bubinga and a short length of PVC pipe. I then laminated the PVC pipe with Bubinga veneer. The first test of the motor pod I had belt slippage issues. The motor pod was too light. I made a false bottom and filled it with lead shot. 

I then added rubber feet to the bottom. Success! I now had a functional running platter. I wanted better speed control so I purchased the Music Hall Cruse control. It works great. I also wanted to monitor speed as I was using the turntable. I sourced out and purchased a digital RPM meter from eBay that reads to one tenth of a rpm. It uses a hall effect device mounted in the base with a small magnet glued to the bottom of the platter. I then made a small box to house the digital meter. 

The final component is a good tone arm. After many different considerations like SME, Origin Live and Jelco, I settled on a used Rega RB250. I purchased this from a Gentleman in the UK that had done the rewire that these tone arms so badly need. I also replaced the plastic counterweight stub with a new SS stub and a new SS counterweight. I now had a tone arm that could hold its own with the big boys. The tone arm was fitted with an Audio Technica VM740ML MM cartridge. So how does it sound? Just wonderful. As good as my Music Hall and that says a lot. This project pushed my woodworking and engineering skills to the limit. But I'm happy I finished the project and I thoroughly enjoyed building it."