Saxophone Forum


by AGIII
(5 posts)
12 years ago

Cheap leak light

I have just made a very cheap, very effective leak light. To make it you need: 1 Mini Mag light 1 roll of electrical tape 1 can of some kind of spray on adhesive that is super tacky 1 12x12 inch square of silk (thick silk.) 1 shop cloth (go to a shucks store, they are red and used for wiping up anything in the garage About 3 feet of nylon cord About 6 inches of fine gauge copper wire (20 or more.) File folder A piece of tin foil. *Make sure that the light will fit past your octave mechanism, this will not work for sopranos, will work for some altos, and will work for all tenors to my knowledge. 1. Start by masking removing the beam adjuster masking the Mag Light with masking tape at the ends where you need the parts to unscrew, and then spray the glue all over the flash light 2. Remove the tape, wait for glue to dry for about 15 seconds, and then apply precut shop cloth that matches the size of the flash light. Put masking tape around it so that it makes a tight fit around the flashlight, let dry for about an hour. 3. Again mask all places that need to unscrew. Spray the leak light with glue again, remove tape 4. Let dry for about 20 seconds, and then apply the precut piece of silk that will slightly over lap the width of the shop cloth. (Make sure it is really tight.) Use a lot of rubber bands to hold it in place. Let it dry for about a day. 5. cut 3 pieces of copper wire about 4 inches in length, totally cover them with electrical tape, secure them to the sides of the flash light at the end with the light (not too far up or the reflector will be too short with electrical tape, try and make them equal distances apart, wrap the tape as tightly as possible with out ripping the silk off. *If you are unsure if the length will be enough, make the wires extra long, and trim them down later. 6. Cut out a piece of file folder that will fit down your sax, spray with glue, wait for about 30 seconds, then set the piece of folder on top of the foil, glue side down, then rip off excess foil. *Make sure it will fit past the octave mechanism. 7. Make a cradle out of the wire attached to the leak light that will hold that reflector you just made, make sure there is about 2 inches of wire before the reflector so that the big keys can be illuminated fully. *Bend wire in so that the reflector can not move. 8. you are almost done, put a piece of nylon cord about 3 and a half feet long through the hole in the battery cap in the end, tie a knot around the end of the cap, then put a piece of split tape around the cord. Fold the end of the cord over the cap, and tape the cord down to the middle of the cap, make sure it is very secure. Put a thick layer of tape around the cap of the flashlight so it can’t scratch anything, Then put a thick layer of tape around the threads on the flash light that used to hold the beam adjuster. You now have made a very effective, very cheap leak light. Mine cost about 25 dollars, the regular ones cost about 200.

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  1. by SaxMan
    (559 posts)

    12 years ago

    Re: Cheap leak light

    sorry, kind of messed up directions, hope you can understand.

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  2. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    11 years ago

    Re: Cheap leak light

    Good grief! For all the trouble, why not just use some rope lighting?

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    1. by SaxMan
      (559 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: Cheap leak light

      Cause rope lighting is hardly bright

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      1. by sax_maniac
        (984 posts)

        11 years ago

        Re: Cheap leak light

        Dude, you should stop wearing sunglasses when repairing your horn. Rope lighting will also allow you to do the whole horn at once. I know for a fact the Christmas lighting displays are up at Home Depot. That's where I got my 8 dollar rope light and it's plenty bright. Save your time and money.

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        1. by Dude In Red
          (2 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          I agree With sax_maniac. that is a lot of trouble.

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        2. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          I should have included instructions with my recommendation, so here it goes... 1. Buy rope lighting (6 foot length fills the length of the horn and gives some ambient lighting to find your tools in the dark). Get the white lights. Non-twinkling, unless you like migraines. 2. Insert non-corded end of rope light into top of saxophone. This may require unscrewing a connector piece and sliding it away. 3. Slide rope lighting into the saxophone. Be gentle. Your relationship with your saxophone should always be filled with trust. 4. Plug in the rope light. 5. Get to work.

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        3. by dforce5219
          (1 post)

          11 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          I made a really nice leak light using a D Cell flashlight. You can build this with a standard flashlight, a pair of insulated wires, soldering gun, and some electricians tape. Solder one end of each wire to the terminals inside the flashlight, feed the wires through a small hole in the flashlight lense, solder the other ends of the pair to the halogen bulb + -. Now you have a tiny leak light you can turn on & off with the flashlight switch, it's small enough to fit all the way from top to bottom on any sax, and also work on flutes and clarinets (for everyone but Saxman) The halogen bulb emits a harse bright light that is more intense and direct than any rope light or flourescent bulb I've seen other techs use. Cost: $3.50

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        4. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          Great idea - the lightbulb on a switched wire pair! I've not found that I need more light than what I get from the rope lighting. When there's a series of bulbs inside the horn, the brightness with the reflectivity works just fine. Don't know if it would work on a soprano. I'd have a hard time getting my rope light inside a flute, though. At least not without buying her a few drinks to loosen her up.

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        5. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          AAAHAHAHAHA funniest thing I read all day=) "get to work." - classic!

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        6. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          I am now using the light out of a flood light - its kind fo dangerous but very effective, the smallest leaks can be seen. Just dont leave it in for long. If I have a bunch of pads to do I stick in the fluorescent light then if I have to regulate something that isnt wanting to corrporate I stick in the rope light the top 2 are for fine tuning. The flood light really isnt necessary but for jim schmidt pads it is really nice some times it is hard to tell a leak from the brass foil...

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        7. by roni
          (3 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          After reading info provided by you guys I have managed to make my own leak light and able to detect several leaks on my sax - next I hope you guys could tell me what to do with the low Bb key that never close properly , should I bend it or raise the pad , secondly my middle and high Cs are soft and stuffy could anybody tell me why and what to do . tks

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        8. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          Is it not closing properly because the pad cup isn't making it all the way down, or is there a pad leak? If there's a pad leak, is it isolated to one side of the tone hole or the other? If you detatch the spring and just let gravity pull the pad down, does it still leak? Always do leak checks without finger or spring pressure. You want it to be as leak free as possible without extra pressure. If you've got one continuous leak - no matter how long it is - the problem can probably be addressed just by refloating the pad or adjusting (bending) the arm slightly. If you've got erratic points of contact and the pad is relatively fresh, you might have uneven tone holes which are a much larger issue. Be prepared to adjust the low B/Low Bb interaction if you make a change to your low Bb. So your middle and high C are stuffier than the notes surrounding them? Could be the action of your C key in play with the pad that closes above it. There's a pad that B and C both close. It is possible that your B key is well regulated with that pad, but your C key might not be depressing the pad properly. There's an arm that bridges across the underside of the B and C keys you might need to shim the C key point of contact with that arm using a thin layer of cork.

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        9. by roni
          (3 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          Thanking sax maniac for your info, you are right the B before middle and high C is the problem for stuffy C - upon checking the leak after releasing the spring I have discovered more leaks , there is a slight leak with the D,E and F keys and the leak on low Bb I have mentioned earlier actually more than one mm - you have suggested either I refloat the pad or slightly bending the arm - my next question is how to refloat the pad and is it alright if I just use my hands to bend it. although I am quite new with sax repai but I am usually quite handy .

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        10. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          Is the Bb gap all the way around the pad when the key is fully depressed? The Low B and Bb usually work in conjunction by one method or another. Your Low B might be fully closed without the Bb being quite all the way there. when the Low B comes to a halt, usually your low Bb does as well. If you're mechanically inclined, shim the low B key and finger the Bb firmly, you might bend the set up enough to take care of your problem. Don;t go too crazy in one shot - take your time using different sized shims. Metal likes to bend back once you've bent it, so once you've gotten things working, it might let up over the course of a day or two. If the pad contact is partial, again, a little shimming on side of the pad that's touching, then pressing the pad cup down onto the tone hole might be just enough to bend the arm into proper position. Refloating the pad is heating up the key cup until the adhesive gets pliable. With the low B and Bb, this is quite easy. Detach the springs and the guard, let the pads rest on the tone holes (horn horizontal). Heat up the back side of the cup until the pad starts to move around a bit. If you heat up both simultaneously, you might be able to kill two birds with one stone and the action might not need to be tweaked. Let the pad rest on the tone hole and don't press on the cup too much. When I float pads, I actually (very slightly) move the cups up and down so I know when the adhesive is starting to harden. When things start to stiffen up, I let things rest and fall where they may. A 1 or even 2 mm gap can generally be solved by refloating the pad - no muscle involved - just heat. What you don't want to do is mess up the continuity of the pad seal, so when you shim the pad, use something wide and flat - don't use a round pencil, though a carpenter's pencil might work as it's more flat than round. You could indent the pad seal line (which isn't the end of the world). I'm wondering. If D, E, and F are all leaking, it's possible that the pad that actuates above them might be too low. It's a balancing act when adjusting a horn's action. If you get frustrated, join the crowd. You'll work through it and before you know it, you'll be helping out your fellow sax buddies when their horns start to hiss and whine.

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        11. by roni
          (3 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          tks sax maniac for the info, I have managed to solve the Bb leak by shimming technique next can I use a hair dryer to heat up the the bach side of the key cup in order to refloat the rest of the leaking pad ?

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        12. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          It depends on what kind of adhesive was used. If shellac was used, you'll have to get it hotter than if it was glue stick from a glue gun. There are heat guns that are for that purpose, but I don't know if they're any hotter than a hair dryer. The gool 'ol fashioned way is to light a match or hold a lighter flame against the center of the pad cup and after about 10-20 seconds for a large pad like Bb, you should be able to move the pad around or it will fall out on it's own. You can refloat the pad while the glue is still gooey. Let the pad rest on the tone hole and rest the cup on the pad until it is cooled. If I'm doing a bunch of pads at once, I'll keep an ice cube handy and put it on the cup once I'm done. Be aware that the glue will contract as it cools, so take time to let things settle. You shouldn't need ice for one pad. It's also handy to have ice if you touch the cup while it's still hot. (The voice of experience...) I use a butane minitorch so I can direct the flame downward onto the pad cup. If you see smoke, STOP. That means either the glue is fully melted or you're burning something you don't want to. (The voice of experience...). If you have long hair, please put it up in a baseball cap or something. I don't let mine get past a 6 on my trimmer, personally. No, it's not a Flowbee!!!

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        13. by BandwagoNZ
          (1 post)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          and here I have been using cigarrette papers to 'feel' if there was a seal. *rushes out to shop for rope lighting

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        14. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          Pretty slick idea to use cig papers. Not usually convenient to whip out the rope light during a gig, but the rope light allows you to check bis/lower stack interaction, for example. Takes all of about 5 minutes to check out the whole horn.

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        15. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap leak light

          I have pretty big hands and that cigarette paper rips in my hands easily - and besides, its a bitch to get to some of the pads on all sides

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