We need heads

Discussion in 'TASCAM Analog Forum' started by SkywaveTDR, Dec 7, 2021.

  1. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes:
    222
    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    Surely in all the World there has to be a company that can make magnetic heads. I know Photovox makes some and AM Belgium can make some but what about regular heads that would mount on a Teac or Tascam model? There will come a time very soon that people decks will become unrepairable due to a lack of heads so it is best for us to right now find a source. Does anyone have any info that I am not aware of?
  2. BRDTS

    BRDTS New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2015
    Messages:
    34
    Likes:
    12
    From:
    Los Angeles
    Gear:
    much!
    Otari Japan will do it but I believe they want gigantic buy-ins. They are the source for the current guys making machines (Ballfinger etc).

    Random stuff from the Otari Japan info.....

    "The activities of the Magnetic Head Dept. are not limited to Otari. For example, by special request, Otari has also manufactured replacements for magnetic tape heads no longer available from their original suppliers. Otari’s technology and experience can provide solutions to various requests regarding magnetic heads.
    The next page introduces the Otari Magnetic Head Dept. and provides contact information for custom magnetic head products or custom magnetic head ..."
  3. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes:
    222
    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    I had been told that the Ballfinger uses AM Belgium heads not lower grade like Otari. No one told me that Otari is still making heads until now but the guy who does the ordering just spent $15,000 so maybe he got them from there? He won't tell me where.
  4. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes:
    222
    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    Well to keep those up to date that are concerned, I have ordered some parts from Mc Master Carr to make a translation plate. This will be a attempt to mount the Pioneer heads we have made to be able to be mounted on Teac head bases. The mounting types are drastically different.
    If I am able to make a machine work with the Pioneer heads I will report more here.
    Qete likes this.
  5. Qete

    Qete New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2021
    Messages:
    16
    Likes:
    0
    From:
    Tacoma
    Gear:
    424 MKII, Porta-One, 38
    I've always had interest in manufacturing tape heads for this exact reason. I am in my mid 20s and have been thinking about this since my late teens.

    But even having exact measurements of parts/alloy compositions/magnetic flux rating etc, you can't just melt metals in your garage. Or maybe you can. I'm not a machinist.

    Excited to see if the translation plate works out.
  6. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes:
    222
    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    I have communicated with three companies to get information and one was JRF Magnetics in NJ, The other was Tony Pretto who ran IEM and then the people in Italy (Photovox) who make heads currently. So far all I have been able to get is old Nortronics heads from JRF and these were designs for the 60's I think. We need some newer modern products. If you want to get involved getting data sheets from JRF might be a good start.
  7. Qete

    Qete New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2021
    Messages:
    16
    Likes:
    0
    From:
    Tacoma
    Gear:
    424 MKII, Porta-One, 38
    Radio silence from JRF. Didn't have high hopes they'd give me any info they wouldn't give you. Was worth a try though.

    I asked a friend in MN if they could get any further info on Nortronics. Nothing yet but I'll update if I hear back.

    What head format would be most desirable? Any resources you'd recommend for learning about precision machining? Not much at my local library.
  8. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes:
    222
    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    JRF bought all the Nortronics heads including those I had at Moody Radio back then. As far as I know this is the only source for those. The dumbing down of America is where we are headed as a dumb population is one much easier to control. Most all the guys that made heads are either very old or don't have the resources to do them again. It is like an Engine builder having to make Alternators and Spark plugs by themselves- this then makes it a much larger job. Photovox in Italy is the only one making heads now- AM Belgium is on and off so it is hard to know what they are doing maybe making a few heads for Ballfinger but you can not make a living on that kind of numbers- Flux is pretty much only 1/2 track is that.
    I would like to get some reasonable priced heads for Teac like mounting and that is where the greatest demand would be as there are a lot of machines that will need these heads. This is the problem.
  9. Qete

    Qete New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2021
    Messages:
    16
    Likes:
    0
    From:
    Tacoma
    Gear:
    424 MKII, Porta-One, 38
    Noted. I'd like to think I'm not one of the "bulls" you speak of but that kind of thinking can lead to ignorant mistakes. I leave my "maybe" type work for things like old consumer playback decks that you can buy for $20 at a thrift store. If it's nice, I work in sureties. But I'll consider myself a bull for now.

    There are a few CNC shops around town. I'll see if anyone has enough time to give me some more detailed info on starting points. Perhaps advances in 3D printing hold an answer.

    Main issue I run into is conflicting information. For every person who says "do this" there is another saying "do this instead"

    Slow working for now. But where there's a will there's a way.

    To the drawing board..
  10. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes:
    222
    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    From my speaking with Tony Pretto of IEM who makes heads. He says the problem come from having the laminates made and he says they are made kind of like lithography as these laminates that make up a core and their insulator are very thin. He says that the places that used to make them are gone. The CNC machine he used was used for the finish of the head contour surface. The company that is unknown that makes the Pioneer heads says it get the head bodies from a place in China and these are the external metal cans the pole pieces go into and then the can is filler with epoxy. The coils and solder terminals are all wired together already when this is done and I thing the head working surface polishing and some minor milling around the outer case is done- I am only going by what I have been told and there are different ways to make heads. To get the basic idea the diagrams on the JRF website can help otherwise you would need to search out patent materials to find out how Canon made heads.
    http://www.jrfmagnetics.com/tapeheadintro.html
    Qete likes this.
  11. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes:
    222
    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    The bulls in the china shop are those that go on their desired way with no idea that they do not know what they are doing and actually cause more damage to the device than when they started. These guys are the cause of some totally wreck equipment as they work by a method of sparks.

    One guys asked why his transport did not work when he had the pinch roller solenoid out when I tell people do not take that lose, and then he saw sparks and then things stopped working. Why did he work on the deck with power in it and who knows what he blew out with those sparks- sparks usually cause the repair cost to start going up- so much for those that can fix items by themselves.
    Another example? A 488 Mk II was sent to me with a noise when the capstan belt was replaced. Well the noise cam from the fact that only one screw held in the plate that mounted the motor and the other two screws were missing as well as screws in the upper part of the case. When you start seeing missing or stripped screws, the Technician already knows he has some further work to do and the screws he was missing where the 2.6mm type- good thing I buy these ahead of time.