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Old 03-16-2013, 04:55 PM
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StellarTV StellarTV is offline
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WTB: CRT rebuilding equipment

Hi all, I've been intent on learning how to rebuild CRTs for a while and I'm very serious about wanting to set up an operation... so I'm looking for the equipment. I hope this will turn out to be in part a collaborative effort, but we'll see what happens! Any info or leads are appreciated!
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:35 PM
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Justin, were you hanging out here on VK this past year?
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:48 PM
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Nope, I've had an account for years but only been active for a few months. I am aware of ongoing efforts by ETF to set up a CRT rebuilding plant...
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Last edited by StellarTV; 03-16-2013 at 11:51 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:34 AM
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Are you aware I went to RACS to learn from the masters? Believe me when I say, it's not the kind of thing you can just pick up and do like with painting or basket weaving. Just to give you some idea, here is the video footage I shot at the plant.

http://www.youtube.com/user/EarlyTel...sort=da&view=0


Sadly there is no footage of vertical lathe operation, but that knowledge is easier to learn by doing rather than seeing anyway. Glass is tricky stuff to work with, the 30 years experience of the Brothers in France was evident. Once they are gone, it's pretty much up to the collaborative efforts of those involved in the project at ETF to get something going. I will retire from active duty in 7 years, at which time the project should shift into high gear. Keep watch on the ETF site, that is where the project is being documented.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:37 PM
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Gotta start somewhere. Volunteering to learn the equipment at ETF would be a thrill but it's just not practical for me to go to Ohio to do it. It seems the only sensible thing to do is to 'learn by doing' as you suggest and get my hands on some equipment. I am not deterred to learn a new art.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:51 PM
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Just some further thoughts... while performing the art is one thing, learning how to do it by one's self in contrast to learning it from someone who is already skilled can make all the difference.

Sadly, many of the TV men I've known personally have either died, are dying, or are senile; these are men I've picked up volumes of great information from which has helped me make vintage electronics into pretty much a full time career.

I'm not yet 30, and should have plenty of time left. I also love to teach people, usually younger then myself, about what I do. It is a real thrill to have someone truly interested in the arcane trade. I don't lend much to the criticisms that I am "giving away trade secrets"... the facts are that there is WAY too much out there for me to do by myself and plenty to go around; particularly from a standpoint of restoring history.
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:22 PM
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Justin,

The big issue at this time is that there are no more companies to buy rebuilt or replacement electron gun assemblies from. Southwest Vacuum Products was the last company that manufactured and sold electron gun assemblies to the picture tube rebuilders, and SWV has now closed their doors. None of the CRT rebuilders manufactured or rebuilt guns; they all purchased new gun assemblies from SWV or one of the other gun manufacturers.

Yes, you might be able to rebuild guns yourself, if you have the right parts such as getters and cathodes and associated things like filiments etc. but even then cathodes and getters have a shelf life; if you can even find a supply.

Without a readily available source of replacement electron gun assemblies, picture tube rebuilding as we once knew it, is pretty much dead in the water.

Fortunately there are probably still hundreds of thousands of old usable crt's out there for us collector and restorers to scavenge from. Unless we watch our restored tv sets a lot, those tubes should provide viewable images on our restored sets for many many years to come.

I used to worry a lot about the availability of replacement crt's. Now I just collect them as the opportunity arises so that I have a stash of replacements when I need one. Sometimes I just obtain a tv set for the value the crt represents to me.

WRT extremely rare crt's for prewar and color sets liek the 15GP22, the jury is still out on what we will need to do about those tubes. My guess is that we will have to do whatever is necessary, even to rebuilding guns ourselves if necessary spending huge amounts of time and money to keep those very rare sets operating.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:45 PM
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That is a good point. I had the pleasure of meeting with Tom Albrecht yesterday who came to pick up a TV set I had sold on ebay. The subject of replacement guns came up and neither of us knew whether Hawkeye had a source for these or was just spending an old supply of NOS guns.

If SWV was manufacturing their own guns then it seems plausible that this could be done again... questions arise in my mind regarding possible issues with EPA; California being the WORST for those type of regulations.

Sounds like what this town really needs is a Gunsmith... I hate to mention it, but compared to Chinese manufacturing, we're living in the Wild West.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:03 PM
snelson903 snelson903 is offline
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i remember that thread this summer ,i was interested in learning about rebuilding crt's and about equitment avilibilty.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:43 PM
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Was this really such a black art that there were never any texts written on the subject? Have you guys in the know poked around in old engineering libraries? Vacuum tubes are still manufactured in a couple foreign countries, so I don't see why someone could not make CRT electron gun parts if the desire existed. On the other hand, if you're thinking on doing this for profitability, then all bets are off. Someone's going to need to have a lot of time on their hands and very deep pockets. And I do mean deep pockets relative to the TV collecting community, as in general we do tend to be a somewhat thrifty breed.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:35 PM
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Kevin, I was also thinking along those lines as far as finding guns manufactured overseas, and echo your sentiments about CRT rebuilding being a 'black art' LOL. I was dismayed when I started reading about the first attempts at rebuilding the 15GP22s and how even in the hands of a very talented few it proved difficult.

My stance was surprise at how in little over a half a century, the art has almost become lost and the knowledge of how to rebuild CRTs dwindles! As a hobbyist's fancy it absolutely cannot be done for profit; it has to be done for passion.

Going back 10 years or so I remember apprenticing in a TV shop and learning of the rebuilding process At the time the owner had a friend in the LA area that had the equipment to rebuilt CRTs. At the time we were rebuilding a lot of monitors for video poker machines in the Carson City area (these monitors were run 24/7 for years at a time) which prompted the question of rebuilding the CRTs. I remember that the man would still rebuild tubes, but wouldn't even consider doing less than 10 in a run in order to make it 'pay.' That idea fizzled out fast.
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