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Copyright:   Mike Sillett


1. Intro
2. Tools
3. Materials
4. Procedure / technique

photo of an eight track held together by a rivet

1. Intro

Eight track tape cartridges have all manner of ways to be held together. Some use plastic snaps, some use screws and some use rivets.

This tutorial pertains to the type that is held together by rivets.( see photo at upper right )

RCA eight tracks constitute the vast majority of the rivet types.

This method is very easy. All that is required is a few spring loaded clothespins and a soldering iron

2. Tools

Three spring loaded clothespins
Soldering iron

3. Materials

Eight track cartridges which are held together via the rivet method. Note the rivet in the photo below.

photo showing clothespins inserted - backwards - at front of tape opening.

Here are three clothespin inserted into the tape's opening. Note they are inserted backwards.

4. Procedure

Get three clothespins together and insert them backwards into the tape cartridge's opening. What you will need to do is depress the ends that are usually depressed but after depressing slide the depressed end into the opening.

Do the same with the other two clothespins.

By putting them in backwards a reverse pressure is exerted on the edges of the opening. The only thing keeping the tape cart together is that rivet.

Plug in your soldering iron and let it get hot. Just like you would be soldering with it.

When good and hot touch the tip of the soldering iron to the rivet. Try to keep the edge of the soldering iron tip directly in the little depression in the head of the rivet. That way the soldering iron won't slip off the rivet and melt the plastic casing.

photo showing heat applied to rivet head by hot soldering iron.

Soldering iron resting in the depression of the rivet. Heat applied.

It's important that you do NOT press on the rivet head too hard. Applying to much force will counteract the three clothespins attempt to open the cartridge.

All you will do is overheat the rivet and eventually melt the plastic around the rivet. And frustratingly, the cart won't pop open.

What you want to do is apply enough force at first to get good heat transfer from the soldering iron to the rivet head and, by intuition, know that it is hot enough that you can lessen the force but still allow heat to get to the rivet. When enough heat is applied, the cart will know, it will pop open, like the photo shows.

photo showing the tape opened up by the clothespins.

Showing a tape forced open by the clothespins after the rivet was heated.

Let the clothespins do the work.

If you have old clothespins with weak springs you can strengthen them by wrapping the front end with wrapped rubber bands. Wrapped enough, you can really have some 'brutes' that will apply a lot of opening pressure.

MOST IMPORTANTLY -- after the tape has started to pop open -- make sure you turn the cart back over before opening the cart all the way. The proper side to have upwards is the front label - NOT the rear song list.
If you don't you will have a real mess on your hands.
The roll of tape that is inside will fall out!


Feel free to copy the information for your own use.

If you need a tape repaired contact me. I repair these eight tracks on a regular basis. There is a minimal charge depending on what is needed.

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