Rotary Switches - Stew Mac Alternative?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by jhawk, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. jhawk

    jhawk Member

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    Hi all,

    I’ve been scouring the internet for rotary switches suitable for guitars that use a knurled split shaft for push-on knobs. I’m looking for 2p6t or 1p11t (or any throws in between).

    One of my criteria is that the threaded portion be long enough to be mounted through a rear control cavity (not mounted on a pickguard).

    I want the rotary switch to be indistinguishable from the other controls (no height differences). I’m using top hat reflector knobs, and these pots: https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...shaft-linear-taper-potentiometer-fine-spline/

    I’m finding stuff that’s kinda close, but only one perfect match so far at StewMac: https://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and_Electronics/Components_and_Parts/Switches/Rotary_Switches.html

    The stew Mac switch is $12! Shipping is another $12 on top of that! I don’t want to fork out $24 for a single switch...but I can’t find these anywhere else. I’m afraid StewMac special-orders them from the manufacturer (maybe Oak Grigsby? Who were just bought out by Electroswitch). Nobody else seems to make/carry these.

    EDIT: Actually, I just realized the StewMac knobs are coarse spline, so I’d need to find a metric reflector knob for it...ugh
     
  2. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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  3. pdxken

    pdxken Member

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    pdx. duh.
    If you join the stewmac max program shipping is free, depending on your future buying plans it might pencil out.
     
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  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    not split-shaft but i've had good luck with the alpha brand solid shaft ones from mouser
    [​IMG]
    drill out a typical plastic knob to exactly 1/4" and it'll jam on tightly to the smooth shaft and turn it fine, especially if you scratch some vertical knurls into the metal shaft. (i do make a point of prying up the little leaf spring holding that ball bearing inside the switch to make it easier to turn though)
     
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  5. jhawk

    jhawk Member

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    Yeah, perhaps for my next build I’ll invest in StewMax...sadly my near future plans can’t justify the cost.
     
  6. Steve_U1S

    Steve_U1S Supporting Member

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    ... somehow it figures that I'd note this commonality; I've been gradually adding switchable treble bleed networks into my 'shredder' guitars for many months now.
    In those instruments, I immediately disconnect the tone controls, so they're 'spare tires' from then on... so I started repurposing the 'tone control' knob by replacing the pots with switches, without changing the appearance of the instruments.
    That has had me using rotary 2-position switches of the above style (unfortunately not long-enough threaded shafts to pass through deeper rear-mounted situations for the OP).
    And the first thing that I do to them is carefully pry up the tensioner for the ball-bearing that follows the detents to create the positions in order to lighten the action of the switch, exactly as you described...
    =]
     
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  7. jhawk

    jhawk Member

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    This could work. I think maybe I’d file the shaft to a D shape, drill out the knob, and then use some epoxy to convert the knob to a d-shape?
     
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  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    nah, that's way too much work and you'd then need to destroy the knob and possibly the switch itself to ever remove them from the guitar!

    i have a 2-way just like this in my les paul (converted it to single volume so i used the other volume spot for a phase switch) and it's had a regular LP bell knob drilled out to 1/4" and just jammed on there for more than 15 years now and rock-solid the whole time.
     
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  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    a friend of mine called this kind of thing "secret sauce", where you had nifty wiring mods but it looked totally stock
     
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  10. jhawk

    jhawk Member

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    I was thinking I’d add a little oil to the shaft before adding epoxy, hopefully allowing the knob to be easily removed from the shaft.

    A simple bench grinder could probably take the shaft to a D shape pretty quickly.
     
  11. Steve_U1S

    Steve_U1S Supporting Member

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    LOL - that's awesome.
    I may have to quote that friend of yours on an ongoing basis =]
     
  12. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    Applied to cars with way too much engine for a "Sunday go-to-meeting" car, it would be called a "sleeper" ;)
     
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  13. Steve_U1S

    Steve_U1S Supporting Member

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    You fellows are awesome - now I shall have TWO different terms to quote when trying to summarize what I feel I've done to these instruments =]
    Thank you for that!
     

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