Drake TR-3 restoration/Repair - Advice & Help needed..

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by KM5PA, Dec 31, 2021.

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  1. KM5PA

    KM5PA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here are some more photos of the project.

    The completely stripped and repainted case. The paint I used was a Rustoleum paint and primer in one, the finish is satin. Looks exactly like what was on there. This radio did not have the "splatter" type texture on it.

    The dial was badly scratched due to the white translucent plastic piece that disburses the light from the single bulb. It was badly warped due to heat. I fixed this by holding the piece over an electric stove to warm it up to the point it became soft. Then I quickly set it on a piece of glass to cool. This brought it back to almost perfectly flat without damaging it. It does have some scratches on it as well from the dial rubbing. These are visible with a light shining through, even if turned around backwards so the scratches face the bulb. I will try polishing them out just a s I did the dial.

    A word about my dial. I inspected this dial VERY CLOSELY and I could tell the numbers were not applied to the front or the rear of the plastic. After examining the edge of the dial under 20X magnification, the dial is laminated, just like the windshield in your car. The printing is actually printed on the center layer of this lamination. This was great, that meant I could get rather aggressive with the buffing to see what could be done about these scratches.
    I ended up using some vehicle polishing in varying grits to get to what you see in the pictures. These were made by "The Chemical Guys" and they are incredible! Try some on your car you your eyes will pop when you see how good they work. Expensive, but well worth the $$. It lasts forever because you need so little to do your entire vehicle.
    Anyway, I digress, I used the medium compound on a Dremel Tool, VERY low speed and one of the larger felt buffing disks. I buffed the scratches pretty aggressively to get them where they are now. It's not perfect but it is MUCH better than what I started with. I think it will look fine once installed.
    I will have a surprise later for you when I get to discussing the blue colored film and what I plan on doing for that.... :)

    Oh, and the knobs are cleaned, buffed, and repainted as well.


    Attached Files:

    WD5GWY, KK6IYM and N0TZU like this.
  2. KK6IYM

    KK6IYM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have an air variable and a resistor with a choke winding and clip pulled off the rig. What else?

  3. KM5PA

    KM5PA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks so much norm. How about the audio transformer. the one in the radio is obviously not the correct/factory one. Let me know what I owe you.
  4. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Excellent work!

    See website via Google, "WB4HFN Drake"--

    On Home page, center, there is a stack of popular topics to start-off your reading.
    Near the bottom is piece entitled : "Drake PTO--Smooth and Silky"

    It details the complete disassembly and re-assembly of the dial--gear train-- indicator disc assemblies.

    It looks scary. It is. But if you go step-by-step, it works and all will end well. I almost destroyed as unusable a T-4XC and a R-4C in attempts to mechanically smooth-out
    the dial mechanism. All Drake assemblies, irrespective of type of gears, are almost identical.

    By indiscriminantly spraying the dial/gear assembly to remove congealed lubricant, with electronic cleaner, I inadvertently forced the petroleum-based grease to run
    into the nylon components themselves.

    N E V E R, I say again, N E V E R use petroleum-based lubricant on Nylon gears. It's counterintuitive, but they are designed to function dry. Petroleum molecules
    cause Nylon to swell.

    I didn't know this. Now I way-know this.

    WD5GWY likes this.
  5. KM5PA

    KM5PA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Excellent! I will check that information out. I will need to to set it up properly.
    You are correct about the petroleum products on plastic/nylon gears, especially old ones! The problem is, the gear on the shaft with the knob is steel. A silicone based lubricant is best to use on plastic gears, most of the time it will work fine. I use it in the automotive (I'm a mechanic) setting all the time. It's not great in high-heat situations. I think using it sparingly in this situation will not hurt one bit. The steel gear does need some sort of lubricant.

    I agree with you that most plastic gears, and some nylon gears will work just fine without lubricant, or "dry", as you state. The ability of the gears to operate dry, greatly depends on the load they are under and the environmental conditions they are working under. If they will be subjected to any form of heat and significant load they definitely need some sort of lubricant. Even if they are not subjected to heat, but under a significant load they need some sort of lubricant. Plastic and/or nylon will gall just like metal/steel gears. I have seen many automotive components fail due to lack of lubricant. A common failure I see in my line of work are the actuators under your dash that operate your various mode doors for your heat and AC system. These contain nylon gears and are subjected to a considerable amount of heat, especially in the summer months. The lithium based lubricants the factory uses will dry out and the gears will run for a while without lubricant, until the gears gall and "weld" together. When this happens, the actuator fails and must be replaced.
    The replacement actuators are often lubricated with a silicone based grease. The electric motors that run inside these actuators often have soft brass drives on the motor shafts. Most of these are worm gear driven so even a small motor can exert is significant amount of torque on these nylon gears.
    To the contrast, the servos I use on my RC planes and boats do not have ANY lube in them and the manufactures are clear not to put lube on these tiny (not nylon) plastic gears.

    So, I guess, depending on the situation the gears are subject too, kind of determines weather the gears are lubricated or not. I think in the situation of the gears inside the Drake VFO are under pretty low torque. thus operating them without any lubricant should not be a problem.
    WA1GXC likes this.

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