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Need piston installation help please

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...
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Spharticus

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Need piston installation help please

PostFri Jul 03, 2020 7:50 pm

I need the Hauptwerk hive – (I put this in the FB group as well).

I have a 3M homemade console that I bought from another user. There’s a pic of the whole thing so you get the idea. I came upon a lot of Allen pistons (2 different kinds) for a great deal, I want pistons, so that’s how we ended up here.
The keyboards are M-Audio Keystation-61-MK3 https://www.m-audio.com/keystation-61-mk3. They are removed from their cases and fastened onto the wood base you see in the pictures.

The front keyboard rail is glued *quite well* on the front of the KB platform. Planning to heat them up and take off. If I damage them I can fashion a replacement. The plastic front of the keys go down almost to the wood base.

So I see a couple options. 1) get new keyboards – nope, I just got this whole thing a month ago. 2) get the rail off the front and Dremel the key fronts so when they are depressed they don’t hit the top of the piston cylinder. I don’t know if cutting the fronts off the keys would affect the weight, pressure, anything? I could only cut the fronts of the keys where I put pistons, but I would think the weight and play of the keys would then be different, even a little bit.

Someone’s going to ask why not a launchpad or something else, and that’s because it’s important to me to stay as close to AGO spec as possible, and also staying close to the mechanics of the pipe organ I play if I ever go outside again.

Appreciate any suggestions – thank you.
Tim

Link to album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/M37WcLvdHh4WmvJA9
Entire console
#1 Side view of KB, under keys rail (upside down sorry)
#2 Same side view with one of the pistons lined up showing depth and placement on the keyboard platform, key not pressed down
#3 Same view but with second type of piston, key pressed down to see travel
#4 View from back of KB, piston set in place, key pressed down
#5 View from side, piston set, key pressed down
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engrssc

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostFri Jul 03, 2020 8:47 pm

Kinda basically what I did was to use trim stock wood from Menards. Approx 1/4" thick. Something like 1 1/4" X 8 ft. These strips come in various hardwood types. Mine are walnut. Not home where I can measure. If I recall, I used a 11/16" Forstner bit in a drill press for the piston holes. That diameter size would depend on piston being used. A relatively tight hole is good. Made a guide to keep the holes lined up while drilling I also center punched the "center" of each hole with a staking tool I drilled the hole from the "front" side. After drilling the holes, you can apply stain. I had to make spacer blocks between the manuals and the strips for clearance. After ass'y was complete, I added a couple small drops of (Gorilla) glue on the back side to keep the pistons from turning.

Wiring wise, I used "rainbow" (color coded) ribbon cable with IDE connectors on the end connecting the LITSW encoders. I separated the individual strands of the ribbon cable(s) and ran the wires thru round top staples between the pistons (on the back side of course) for cable management. Standard round top staple gun worked well. I think the staples I used were 1/2" long. Cable "exited" the piston rail in the center and spread out to the left and right.. I suppose I could have done the cabling from each side. After separating into individual strands, I left the ribbon cables intact after leaving the piston rail to mate with IDE connectors of the encoder. In my console, I installed lighted pistons, actually there were NOS from Rodgers. The stock Rodgers pistons are supplied with 5 V incandescent lamps. I took the pistons apart and converted them to LED's. Using ribbon cables worked and minimized the bulk fairly well. BTW, I use a small vise to assemble IDE connectors. I use round top staples as "anchors" with nylon wire ties to fasten cabling inside the console.

Some ideas, hope that helps.

Rgdes,
Ed
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Spharticus

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostFri Jul 03, 2020 9:39 pm

Ed, thanks for the information. I was thinking about ribbon cable... I'm going to have 50 pistons and probably 8 toe studs, so I need to find a MIDI board for all that.
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NickNelson

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostFri Jul 03, 2020 11:21 pm

Spharticus wrote:I don’t know if cutting the fronts off the keys would affect the weight, pressure, anything? I could only cut the fronts of the keys where I put pistons, but I would think the weight and play of the keys would then be different, even a little bit.


I wouldn't want to offer an absolute assurance on this, but my opinion is that the effect of cutting away even quite a large part of the front of the keys would make no discernable difference to the 'touch' of those keys. Even if it did, one could largely compensate for this by gluing an appropriate mass to the underside of the affected keys further back.

The difficulty I anticipate would be cutting away the material from the front face of the keys with sufficient exactness (I assume you would not want the 'surgery' to be visible when the key is up). Probably, some sort of jig would be a good idea.

Nick
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Spharticus

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSat Jul 04, 2020 7:41 am

Nick you are right - others suggested a line drawn, but i like the idea of a solid template better.
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RichardW

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSat Jul 04, 2020 9:00 am

I am with Nick on the template idea.

Another idea to help with evening them up after cutting (if necessary) might be to create a sanding jig. Place the keyboards on their backs and provide a way to slide an abrasive of some sort over the key edges and gradually smooth them out. You would need to be very careful not to break the keys with any sideways pressure, though.

An idea for the mounting: Cut the front strip of wood level with the top of the plywood to maintain the edging then mount the strip just cut off set back from the key fronts. You could use a piece of metal angle to make that possible. Then fasten the wood to the angle and drill through both and mount the pistons there. Obviously other options would work out too.

No need to say that all clearances would need to be carefully checked before proceeding.

Regards,
Richard
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Jeff C

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSat Jul 04, 2020 9:58 am

A further thought.

If you have not already done so, it might be a good idea to release the clavier from the keybed, then turn it over to see how the keys themselves are constructed.

I have 3 Keystation 61 keyboards (although not mk3) and therefore I don't know if M-Audio have changed anything in the manufacturing process of the keys themselves on the latest version.

On mine, as Nick has suggested, there is already a kind of weighted mass glued under the front of each key which therefore helps to provide a semi-weighted feel when the key is depressed and, (for this purpose) also provides a natural line to which you can cut to remove the waterfall.

I found it best to turn the keyboard upside down when cutting to make the line clearly visible although it obviously goes without saying to take care with the dremel. When I did mine, I started to get worried that the cutter was actually beginning to melt the plastic keys. In fact I found it best to cut above the line and then sand-off the remaining brittle bits of plastic by hand or very carefully using the dremel sander to give a uniform look along the length of each keyboard Although I say so myself - I was pretty pleased with the result in the end.

IMHO there seems little point in only cutting where a piston will be. For me it was important for the whole thing to have uniformity. I'll find out about that later. I'm concentrating on the console right now - the pistons come next!

As far as playability is concerned, I found that there seemed to be little or no difference in the weight of each key - the front waterfall is made from fairly thin plastic anyway and only a relatively small piece of that is being removed, so you shouldn't have too many worries on that score.

Hope this helps

Regards.

Jeff
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engrssc

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Re: Need piston installation help please

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Spharticus

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSat Jul 04, 2020 11:04 am

Thanks to all - still deciding but leaning towards trimming the key fronts.
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organtechnology

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSat Jul 04, 2020 2:27 pm

Spharticus wrote:Thanks to all - still deciding but leaning towards trimming the key fronts.


Been there (where you are with respect to the key trimming) and I believe that to be the easiest route.

But my real question is why are you putting cheap keyboards in that gorgeous console. Don't you think it deserves at least Fatars? :))

Thomas
Complete Hauptwerk™ systems using real wood consoles, PC Sound Engines, Dante Audio for Home or Church. info (at) organtechnology.com http://www.organtechnology.com
Authorized Hauptwerk; Milan Digital Audio and Lavender Audio reseller.
USA and Canada shipments only.
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Spharticus

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSat Jul 04, 2020 6:50 pm

Fair question. I bought the console used and that's the way it came. I would love to replace with nice keyboards but it's only been a month since I got it
Need to recover a bit...$
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organtechnology

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSat Jul 04, 2020 8:56 pm

Spharticus wrote:Fair question. I bought the console used and that's the way it came. I would love to replace with nice keyboards but it's only been a month since I got it
Need to recover a bit...$


LOL understand :)
Complete Hauptwerk™ systems using real wood consoles, PC Sound Engines, Dante Audio for Home or Church. info (at) organtechnology.com http://www.organtechnology.com
Authorized Hauptwerk; Milan Digital Audio and Lavender Audio reseller.
USA and Canada shipments only.
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engrssc

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 11:10 am

Hi Tom,

An "added" idea, since you infer that you may be changing/replacing the keyboards in some future day, perhaps you might give thought to only adding pistons above the upper manual basically under the music rack? The idea being, you wouldn't have to go thru the considerable effort of cutting the keys and still have some combination action thru "these" pistons. You may have seen this recently post video that illustrates what I'm thinking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GhKIalPUQU

Rgds,
Ed
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Spharticus

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 11:20 am

Hi Ed - yes I am thinking about that - my 'home' church organ has all the coupler rockers in that strip. I honestly just use the generals and stepper mostly for all changes.
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engrssc

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Re: Need piston installation help please

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 11:57 am

There is also the fact that the key cutting process might make attempting to sell the existing keyboards more difficult.

Rgds,
Ed
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