Jump to content

"SWITCH HOUSINGS" ~ BAKELITE REBUILDABLE?


Willys77
 Share

Recommended Posts

Looking for info on "rebuilding" and or "repairing old Switch Housings! I'm thinking these would be of the "Bakelite" variety. Has anyone had any experience with doing this sort of thing? Any suggestions on casting new housings? Is this something that would even be feasible? Feedback and suggestions wanted as it is very unlikely that I'd find any NOS Switches! Thanks for the help! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest De Soto Frank

Oh boy...

I'm not aware of anyone in the US that is casting traditional Bakelite.

I had a Bakelite control knob from a 1933 Monitor-Top GE refrigerator that was broken, and could not find anyone to make a repro.

My issue was that the "knob" also had a long and complicated cam-shaft that operated various metal switch fingers, so the knob/shaft had to be physically hard, stable (not subject to plastic deformation), have electrical insulatiing properties, etc.

In short, it had to be old-time hard, black Bakelite.

Do you have pictures of what you're working on ?

Depending on the shape of the part, location, whether or not it is visible, etc, sometimes bakelite that has broken into two or more pieces can be glued back together, and re-inforced with some sort of eternal brace ( metal clamp or band, or the like ).

I have heard of people having distributor caps reproduced for cars like Packard or Pierce 12's... distributor caps were almost always Bakelite, so perhaps the same outfit could do a switch body.... but any custom job will not be cheap.

Don't give -up on finding a new part, it's amazing what turns-up.

Doesn't seem like I've been much help, but without knowing exactly what you're working on, I can only offer general suggestions...

Perhaps somone who has gone the custom distributor cap route can offer suggestions ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bakelite is a hard rubber compound... if I remember correctly, the material was heated in a steam generator (like a pressure cooker) and pressed into moulds under extreme pressure. It isn't the sort of process that lends itself to "one off" items. If I was going to replace a Bakelite piece, I'd look into machining the part out of micarta... aka a dielectric linen based pressed phenolic resin material. I'm machining a special distributor cap out of this material for a current project, similar to the distributor plate on a magneto.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The distributor cap is only about half finished so I'll post a photo when its closer to completion. Depending on the shape you need you probably won't be able to get a "molded" look but you may be able to get something that doesn't look too "modern" and thus out of place.

jp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest BobD735

Hi,

I plugged about a 1" dia. hole in my Bakelite radiator cap, after bonding a circular brass plate to the underside. I used a mixture of J-B Weld and lamp black. When it hardened, I sanded the filled area, and I was happy with the results.

Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest De Soto Frank

That would probably be the black ones; Brunswick, Balke, & Collender in New Jersey were pioneers in "plastics", first as producers of billard balls in the 19th Century.

A descendant company, Brunswick, was functioning as part of AMF in the 1970's and '80s, at least...

Their pet name for the black bowling-ball stuff was "Ebonite", which I believe was also used to make student-model woodwind instruments (clarinets, oboes, etc.).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...