Boat depth –
The depth of the boats is approximately 3″.
This allows all modules to fit with the power bus, *except* for the extra deep units, like the 208.
These deep units will, unless unusual, fit with the omission of the power bus.
Boat shape –
Boats of 6 space and above are made with slanted ends.
Boats of 5 space and below are made with square ends.
The slanted ends were originally for suitcase builds, to fit with the curve of the zero cases. So its technically incorrect to use them in desktop setups. But, even though theyre more expensive to make, they look cool, so i make them anyway!
Cases of 5 space and below have square ends, as, that way, the deeper 208 will still fit, whilst, on the cases with the sloped ends, the slopes eat into the internal space a little – fine for more or less evreything else, but, as the smaller cases are often used in custom builds with 208s, they are made with the square ends.
“Tinnermans” is a phrase you hear often –
Tinnerman is a brand name. Rather like vacuum cleaners have become “Hoovers” here in the uk. The Tinnerman units are actually captive nuts.
Captive nuts are used all over industry. Your car will have captive nuts, the cooker in your home, your tv – they are everywhere. They are not a rare and mystical item!
They are used to provide a cheap, and easily replaceable thread, in thin materials that would otherwise not support a thread themselves. And this is exactly the reason why they were used on the original buchla enclosures.
There are, however, other options –
Things like rivnuts, or press inserts are sometimes used in industry, where the application requires, however, both of these options, and, indeed, any fixed thread, has the massive disadvantage that they are not user serviceable. They are commonly used for areas where the thread will not be re-used many times over, or where the external side of the fixing is important.
An example of this in the synth world can be seen on, for example, Analogue Systems’ euro rack cases. The power supply on the rear of these cases utilises press fit threaded inserts. The outside of the case maintains a near flush finish, and the thread is present on the inside.
This is not a commonly accessed part of the case. The thread may be use maybe a couple of times in the units expected life span. The trade off of cosmetics vs serviceability works.
For more commonly used threads (ie the modules mounting rails), Analogue Systems, Doepfer, and virtually all of the rest of the eurorack world use tapped strips. A cheap, and easily serviceable, user replaceable thread.
People have asked why i do not fit fixed, non user serviceable threads to the buchla style cases?
As is evident elsewhere on this site, i have a preference for replaceable threads. Threads that are reused many times have a danger of failing eventually, and, my opinion is, if or when this happens, a unit should have a cheap and easy end user fix, rather than end up in landfill.
Why replace a low cost, time served, easily serviceable solution with a fixed thread, that, when it fails, wastes an entire unit?
For this reason, the units for sale from thebeast use user-replacable captive nuts, not fixed inserts.
Captive nut specifics –
The cases are cut in a way suitable for both the original “Tinnerman” brand captive nut and a European equivelent.
If you are in America, “Tinnerman” brand are, i believe, easy to come by.
In Europe they are hard to come by, however, a good alternative is sold by Farnell, under part number 7224771. You are welcome to buy these from Farnell, or i sell them also.
These clips fit the boats sold here directly (ie without modification). They will fit any other case designed for “Tinnerman” also, but the clips wont sit quite as neatly, as I’ve optimised (tiny, invisible, otherwise insignificant change!) the slot on these to fit both styles nicely.
Screw specifics –
The “tinnerman” captive nuts are based on an american standard. The tinnerman branded clips use 4-40 UNC screws. Just search ebay for 4-40 UNC.
The european captive nuts the farnell or thebeast sell use #4 (2.9mm dia) thread. This is an incredibly common thread, found on pretty much all non-metric screws in Europe. Search ebay for #4 screws and there will be lots of options. Self tapping screws generally use this thread, and will be the most commonly available screw, however, of course, the thread is cut into the clip anyway – it just happens that self tapping screws use the same thread, but you can also (less commonly) buy the same thread in non-pointed screws if you prefer!
If you’re really stuck, i sell both A2 stainless and BZP screws in the shop here, but, really, they’re all over ebay, so you probably don’t need me at all!
Silver (cheaper) boats are supplied unfinished. They are shipped with the original protective plastic film on from manufacture, which, when removed, reveals a very lightly brushed finish.
However, there may (well, probably will be) small tooling marks from the folder etc. present.
These will not affect the sound, however, some users may want to get rid of them.
There are two very easy options –
a) Get an abrasive pad, commonly known as “scotch pad” but, really, that’s just a brand name. The green plastic wiry stuff on the back of a common domestic washing up sponge is basically the same stuff. Pennies from any supermarket, if you don’t already have them under your kitchen sink!
Lightly drag, or, brush the surface to create a brushed finish. Then leave the job for at least 8 hours, for the natural aluminium oxide skin to re-form.
This oxide skin is stable, but a little porous (its the same layer as coloured anodising dyes) so may, over time, pick up environmental contaminants. It will not “rust” or fall apart, or anything like that at all, but it may change tone in a smokers studio, pick up finger prints from people with especially corrosive sweat, etc. etc. If ever required, the surface can be re-brushed using the same technique again.
b) “Polish” the surface with some proprietary “gunk”. Brands differ in different regions, but, generally, these products are made up of a slightly abrasive cutting agent, and a film to remain on the surface and seal it off from the air.
“Brasso” is an ancient product that’s been available in the uk for decades, but, again, every territory will have similar. Or, if you are into car detailing, use your car polish then wax. In technical terms, all you are doing is abrading off the upper microns of the surface and sealing it from the air. Again, many many products, but they are all doing the same basic thing.
Or again, just leave the boats as is, and enjoy their raw sound…
The silver boats are made with two customers in mind –
Purists, and to cater for the DIY builders who want an entry into the system without haemorrhaging money!
If you’re more of a Henry Ford advocate ( “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.”) then get a boat in black. They’re more money but you wont need to peel the plastic film or look at tooling marks.
Mounting specifics –
These, and every other 200 series buchla style boat on the market that I know of, are cut to Roman’s published hole pattern on the ends. There should be no incompatibility when mixing different manufactures boats and end cheeks, providing neither party have deviated from the published specifications.
Roman published these files (a screen grab of which is below) back in the first half of 2016 to allow anyone to build enclosures to house his products.
Given the volume of pre-existing case parts in circulation, it is unlikely that any manufacturer, including myself, will deviate from this hole pattern.
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