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Old 14th Dec 2018, 7:19 pm   #1
Ian - G4JQT
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Default Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

I'm building one of Gerry Wells's Wadar amplifiers. The electronics was relatively straightforward, but getting the chassis smart enough to do justice to the project has - and continues to be - a nightmare.

Maybe I started off on the wrong foot, but I assumed car body sprayers would be able to do something fairly straightforward like spray a steel chassis and lacquer over some decals.

A year, a lot of money, and two car finishing companies later, today I got the call that it was ready for collection. "How did it go?" I asked, wary of previous problems that had been encountered. "OK, yes, fine."

As you can see from the photos, the lettering is not "fine" at all and has partly rubbed off during the process, particularly 'treble'. To make matters worse, apparently it will not be straight forward to just rub off the lettered panel as something I didn't really understand would happen at the edges where the paints joined, and/or possibly rubbing through the paint would destroy the finish. Even if that were possible, there's no guarantee it wouldn't happen again.

The overall paint and lacquer is excellent (although not sure the high gloss finish is an ideal choice...) and the transformer cover with "Wadar stereo amplifier", although not perfect is just about good enough.

So, the options are: live with it (but don't think I can), start the whole thing again with a different method and different businesses and to hell with the expense; stick Dymo tape over it (only half joking as it's very retro now apparently!); have some of those engraved Formica or brass panels made; or something else...

Ian

PS: Apologies for the rant, just venting my frustration, disappointment and anger.
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Old 14th Dec 2018, 9:07 pm   #2
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

What a pain
It seems a shame to start all over again as the basic paintwork looks good.

I wouldn't necessarily advocate Dymo, but there may be better labelling systems available. I accept though that unless it's done carefully it could look a bit bodged up
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Old 14th Dec 2018, 9:31 pm   #3
Radio Wrangler
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

How about a flat aluminium cover plate with engraved legends?

A good engraver can produce a very clean result. The cover plate can be sprayed whatever colour you want, anodised, alochromed or whatever, and the engraved characters can be filled with paint of whatever colour you want, or different colours. Expect a good choice of fonts including some period ones.

Alternatively a brass plate? tres retro!

Spraying clear lacquer over lettering can be iffy as the solvent of the lacquer can affect the lettering.

David
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Old 14th Dec 2018, 9:46 pm   #4
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

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How about a flat aluminium cover plate with engraved legends?
We use these folks at work for rack labelling - you can specify font and filling
https://www.identitag.co.uk/productcart/pc/home.asp
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 12:04 am   #5
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

Hi Ian,
Unfortunately, finding car body shops whose attention to detail is as good as you need is very difficult. How was the lettering applied? Did they spray the black base coat and then return it to you to apply the lettering? After that, did they lacquer the whole thing?

The base coat may be solvent or water based- depends on the bodyshop. The lacquer coat will be solvent based and as David says may well dissolve the letters.

As they have told you, rubbing down just the front will cause problems. I think to get a perfect finish, you would have to start again possibly using different materials. Not sure how you can salvage this.

Cheers
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 2:50 am   #6
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

It looks very good.
I too am a perfectionist, of many many years standing.
I have eventually after a lifetime of frustration come to accept that nothing can ever be perfect, no one does a job as well as I can do it myself.
The only problem with this is that if you accept the above, it implies that I am myself perfect, which is a total contradiction.
I have reached a stage of equilibrium where I can accept very good on the basis that it will last me out anyway so why should I continue to beat myself up?

Does this help?
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 11:18 am   #7
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

Ian,

I sympathize with this predicament and I have been through similar episodes myself.

When it happens, the first thing just accept the attempt was a failure & not good enough. Whatever you do, don't accept the compromises of the result, it will just haunt you every time you look at it.

So accept it is a loss in investment of time and money. Once you recover from that and accept it and adjust to that, it is actually all good news afterwards.

Plan a methodology to strip the chassis. For a really good finish, go for powder coating at a powder coating factory, it will give much better scratch resistance and adherence than any automotive paint and have a finish with just a tad less gloss that is helpful on a surface with irregularities.

Once that is done and you are happy with the finish, the white legends can be screen printed (you just need to fing someone in you locality that still does this with a real screen & paint).

Then when it is done properly, the memories of this bad episode will fade and you will be able to enjoy it even more and it will even make a better campfire story how you got it so good.
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 11:26 am   #8
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

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I have eventually after a lifetime of frustration come to accept that nothing can ever be perfect, no one does a job as well as I can do it myself.
Accepting imperfections in a job you have done yourself to the best of your ability is one thing. Accepting imperfections in someone else's work, who should have been able to do a top notch job, is rather different!

I must confess, having looked more closely at the front panel picture, if I was going to all that effort to do a good job, I would not be able to live with it! If this was being done on a production line, they would be rejected.
The 'treble' legend is quite bad and the 'volume' & 'on- off' look off centre to me.

Cheers
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 12:26 pm   #9
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

I think the problem here is one of right tools for the job.

Automotive paintwork specialists are more set up for large area painting and machine flatting between coats.

The high gloss looks to be the result of a 2K paint system, which will almost certainly be an isocyanate based lacquer - this will have cured to be as hard as nails now! if the surface is truly flat your best bet for a cheaper way out of the problem would be to get new decals on a contrasting background to reapply, but this seems to be a great pity.

How about getting the front of the chassis engraved, and then getting a motorcycle painter to infill the engraving, and do a spot lacquer repair to the front panel?
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 12:46 pm   #10
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

You may have been better off using a specialist commercial finisher rather than a car repair place who don't really like small intricate jobs.

Not helpful at this stage I know.
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 12:51 pm   #11
Ian - G4JQT
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. You have certainly given me some ideas. I'm aware of not letting perfection be the enemy of the good, but it's not even good, and as argus said, I'd be reminded of it each time I laid eyes on it!

I put the transfers/decals on myself after the paint was sprayed by one company that didn't want to get involved with lacquering decals. Now I know why. They were water-based and of the type the original guy said he could work with, and the guy who eventually did the lacquering.

I did consider powder coating with screen-printed lettering, but it was prohibitively expensive for a one-off job. While the Wadar amplifier is a competent performer, it's nothing special and I couldn't justify the expense and time involved in going down this route - although with hindsight...

So... I think evingar's approach is the one I'll go for, and is probably something I should have considered from the start. Small silver plaques with black engraving will probably look quite good, particularly with the over-glossy black finish. To make everything match, I'll go for the same to cover the Wadar logo etc. on the transformer box. (I tried to match Gerry's Wadar font, but even a graphic design expert couldn't track it down!)

So if you're watching this Gerry, hope you're enjoying it!

Thanks again everyone.

Ian
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 12:59 pm   #12
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

I'd go for a separate front panel of either engraved aluminium or acrylic (Perspex), the latter to have a sheet printed with the control legends affixed behind.

Either way you lose the absolute authenticity of the original WADAR but you can keep the bulk of the finished chassis, only replacing the front. The replacement panel could be held by the control mounting nuts, perhaps.

I fully sympathise as I too could not live with that lettering quality.

Tony
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 1:10 pm   #13
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

I found out years ago that car sprayers are useless at spraying anything other than cars. I had them spray a guitar and they put the paint on so thick it changed the sound of the guitar. I'd told them to lightly coat the guitar. There were also runs and 'thick' areas. Hopeless. I spray everything myself now.

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=146076
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 1:18 pm   #14
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

The process we used to use:

Flat aluminium front panels had holes punched and were then linished, ending with a very fine orbital sand. Then washed, etched and alochromed to get an inert surface @-pack paint was sprayed by hand in a water-curtain booth. The paint was cured in an oven then multiple silk screen processes printed legends in the wanted colours. with hot curing between stages. The inks used were designed to bond with the eggshell paint.

Not cheap and not easy to replicate, but that's how we got superb quality.

My home-made amplifier has a panel made from anodised aluminium extrusion, engraved and the letters filled with black cellulose paint. It looks perfect. The extrusion was scrap from the erection of some partitioning, the engraving was a homer. The knurled aluminium knobs were surplus from the sell-off at the end of KW Electronics.

David
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 1:32 pm   #15
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
I found out years ago that car sprayers are useless at spraying anything other than cars. I had them spray a guitar and they put the paint on so thick it changed the sound of the guitar.
The best spray paints for guitars are Nitrocellulose lacquers and the good news is that they are easy to get, in spray cans, in multiple colors from Luthier suppliers, just one example:

https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an...r_Lacquer.html

It is very hard to beat nitrocellulose for its amazing shine.
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 1:39 pm   #16
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
The process we used to use:

Flat aluminium front panels had holes punched and were then linished, ending with a very fine orbital sand. Then washed, etched and alochromed to get an inert surface @-pack paint was sprayed by hand in a water-curtain booth. The paint was cured in an oven then multiple silk screen processes printed legends in the wanted colours. with hot curing between stages. The inks used were designed to bond with the eggshell paint.

Not cheap and not easy to replicate, but that's how we got superb quality.

My home-made amplifier has a panel made from anodised aluminium extrusion, engraved and the letters filled with black cellulose paint. It looks perfect. The extrusion was scrap from the erection of some partitioning, the engraving was a homer. The knurled aluminium knobs were surplus from the sell-off at the end of KW Electronics.

David
How's about a photo of that David? sounds like a job done well.
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 1:44 pm   #17
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian - G4JQT View Post
I did consider powder coating with screen-printed lettering, but it was prohibitively expensive for a one-off job. While the Wadar amplifier is a competent performer, it's nothing special and I couldn't justify the expense and time involved in going down this route - although with hindsight...
Of course this is the whole curse of the problem. If a job doesn't work out, because you are not happy with it, and the folks who did it can argue it was "ok" then it is as though the money & time has been flushed down the toilet and you will unlikely get a refund. I once had a fellow tell me that the paint on a car was a perfect job with a beaming smile, the worst case of orange peel I had ever seen and I wondered what he had been smoking.

It is actually much better to push the budget on a smaller number of restorations, than doing more restorations with a lower budget for each. Also, with all the work involved, once something is assembled again, it has to be right, or its a real disaster.

It is somewhat analogous to replacing a car's exhaust system, if you plan the keep the car for a few years, it is always better replacing it with a stainless steel one, or you might find yourself doing it again later, but if you add up that cost & time wasted, it doesn't stack up not to use the stainless in the first place.
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 1:51 pm   #18
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

I think it would look smart with a front panel made from mahogany or another exotic type of wood? It shouldn't be difficult to make and a water based varnish wouldn't affect your transfers.

David
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 3:24 pm   #19
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argus25 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
I found out years ago that car sprayers are useless at spraying anything other than cars. I had them spray a guitar and they put the paint on so thick it changed the sound of the guitar.
The best spray paints for guitars are Nitrocellulose lacquers and the good news is that they are easy to get, in spray cans, in multiple colors from Luthier suppliers, just one example:

https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an...r_Lacquer.html

It is very hard to beat nitrocellulose for its amazing shine.
Indeed. My experience with cars sprayers was years ago. I have been using nitrocellulose on guitars for years now. AND.. in time it cracks and crazes like it does on vintage guitars that used the same stuff. And for those not familiar with the world of vintage guitars, that's a positive attribute, not a negative one!
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 3:51 pm   #20
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Default Re: Wadar chassis nightmare! Suggestions?

Out of interest, how has clear lacquering the front panel caused the transfers to be damaged? mishandling? chemical reaction? being rubbed off between coats? Anyone on here could do better than that.
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