Author Topic: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?  (Read 3289 times)

Offline goldphinga

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Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« on: August 01, 2013, 03:24:54 AM »
I've seen a few mk2's with windows cut out of the Alu harp supports. Anyone know if this was standard on some pianos and if so do you think it was for weight saving? An Alu support weighs 2lbs so there's maybe 2lbs to lose off the overall weight only doing this- any ideas?

Here's a couple of pics:

http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/vintagevibe/3427358296/
http://m.flickr.com/photos/vintagevibe/3426549753/
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 02:13:27 PM by goldphinga »

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 09:32:08 AM »
Just a guess, but possibly it was done to save money on aluminum?
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2013, 12:22:20 PM »
Because of the rubber standoffs on the tonebars in the highest register, it would date the piano to the late Mark IIs around 1982.  That being said, I haven't seen enough of the late Rhodes Mark IIs to judge as they were so low in production numbers.  I haven't seent this at all on 1980 or 81 pianos, but can't rule out if they were toying with ideas before the Mark II got cut.

Could it also be a Vintage Vibe mod specifically, for weight saving?
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Offline Fred

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 08:43:04 AM »
Although we've been known to find inspiration in Swiss Cheese, that's not one of our mods... I have only encountered this on plastic keyed MkII pianos.
I do not believe there would be any appreciable money savings in such a cut. That is an extruded part, meaning the material was there upon fabrication until being removed later. In other words, it probably cost more to cut the part than what would be recouped in scrap.
I suppose it could be for weight savings, albeit minimal. An interesting note is that the plastic MkII keys weigh more than their wooden counterparts. 
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Offline The Real MC

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 10:17:31 AM »
In order to get the same stiffness in wood, the plastic has to be more dense thus extra weight is a necessary evil.  Probably the only positive of plastic is it will not warp from moisture.  The dealkiller was the plastic guidepins that are irreplaceable when they break - bad move.

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 11:58:37 AM »
The dealkiller was the plastic guidepins that are irreplaceable when they break

I beg to differ.
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Offline Max Brink

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 05:32:54 PM »
I'd be curious to know why they did this as well... It seems like it would cost more to manufacture this way and I agree with Fred that the weight would be insignificant.

There's an '83 Black Rail MK2 in my shop right now (stamped 0383 and 0933) that does have this but I haven't made note of the dates of the others that I have seen.
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Offline goldphinga

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2013, 06:51:13 PM »
Maybe they were simply hand holes for lifting the action rail/support system out of the case...

Offline Fred

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 11:22:00 AM »
...Or to allow easier access for mice. Upon entering through a leg flange, they no longer have to chew through a key or two to get to those tasty bridle straps. Who wants to gnaw on plastic anyway?
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Offline goldphinga

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2013, 04:55:35 PM »
lol!!

Offline sean

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 02:22:21 AM »

Those cutouts would allow a human to inspect the action when removed from the case.
It would be a nice way to look and see how the cams are sitting on the pedestals, and maybe peek at the dampers in action.

The Mark II piano's have the harp supports mounted to the keyframe, don't they?

Except the plastic-key units have no keyframe.   Doh!

Okay, that kills that idea.  The wooden sides of the piano case would always be in the way.

Hmmm... maybe I should uncrate my plastic key unit and see if mine has these cutouts.

Curious.


Offline sean

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Re: Cut outs in Alu harp supports- factory mod?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 02:31:35 AM »


Maybe the cutouts were added to make the designer's job easier.   When they were tinkering with the geometry and setup of the plastic key design, and had to figure out how to build millions of these pianos, they might have had a design prototype without the full case sides.  If they were working out where to locate the components on the bottom panel, it might have been handy to have these little windows cut into the harp supports.

We may never know.