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Copyright:   Mike Sillett


1. Intro
2. Materials
3. Tools
4. Construction

Splicing Block Made From Plastic From A Laundry Jug

1. Intro

If you are into Eight Track tapes like I am then you have your share of tape cartridges that need to have repairs made.

One of the little repairs that is quite common is fixing the splice, that is, the little strip of conductive foil that is at the heart of the playing function. It is that little splice that, upon sliding across the solenoid, causes the tape player to adjust the height of the Play/Record head and thereby play/record the correct tracks for the applicable channel desired.

On some occasions you can get by without a Splicing Block/Aid. On other occasions the splicing block really helps in getting a good STRAIGHT splice. A straight splice is essential so as not to cause the tape to become all screwed up during it's circuitous run around the tape spool inside the cart.

Splicing Blocks can be purchased, for more than I think they are worth, or they can be made. I have a friend that can make them from a block of hardwood. However he has the proper woodworking tools and the correct bits to run a groove 1/4th inch wide on that block.
I don't have all that stuff so I developed a method, utilizinfg common ordinary items that are probably in every household. My Splicing Block, or possibly a better term would be Splicing Card, can be made at home in about 10 to 15 minutes, and the majority of that time is waiting for the contact cement to dry.

This tutorial will take you through the steps to make such a Splicing Block/Aid. There are plenty of photos so you should read over the entire article before attempting to make yours.

Once you have this splicing block all done you can really dig into repairing all those great sounding tunes.

This project is reasonably easy and the parts are easy to get and very inexpensive. As already stated, the actual time to make the Splicing Block is minimal. Don't be scared by the length of this tutorial.

2. Materials

( 1. ) An empty plastic jug of some sort.
The one in this tutorial is from a jug of De-Icer that got emptied through the course of this winter. It could just as well be a laundry detergent jug or a bleach jug. Anything in that ilk but with square sides.
( 2. ) A credit card ( used as a guide )
( 3. ) Contact cement ( common rubber cement that be purchased at practically any store. I use Elmer's Contact Cement )
   Keep in mind that when using contact cement both surfaces to be joined need to have the cement on them AND that the cement must be dry before sticking the two pieces together. Once the surfaces make contact it will be difficult to move the pieces so be very deliberate when joining.

Cutting out some plastic material from an empty plastic jug

A knife or razorblade will easily cut out a chunk of plastic material you need.

From the plastic material mark out the boundary using a credit card as a guide. You will want to cut TWO pieces the same size.

photo of a credit card being used as a guide to mark the boundary area of the plastic to be cut.

Marking out the boundary on the plastic material.

3. Tools

( 1. ) Scissors,
( 2. ) Razor blade
( 3. ) Pen or pencil

4. Construction

Use the scissors to cut a piece of plastic the size of the credit card. As previously stated, you want to cut out TWO OF THESE ( more about that below).

Photo of the plastic being cut along the boundary lines.

Cutting the plastic along the boundary lines.

Now mark out an expected slot/recess area on the first card you have cut out.
The slot area will turn out to be the recess for accepting the tape that needs to be spliced.

Photo of the card with the expectant recessed area marked out.

The area that will be the recess for accepting the tape to be spliced is the more narrow area in the center. It should be a hair shy of 1/4th inch wide.

What you want to do is apply contact cement on the larger areas on both sides of the slot area ( see photo).

Showing all the parts laid out. The center card having contact cement applied on the left and right and the center being untouched

Here are the parts. The big one in the middle is the first cut-out with contact cement applied.
The smaller rectangles on either side is the second card that you cut out and which has been CUT IN HALF.
The little strip at upper-right is a strip I used to mark out the thin slot on the middle card ( the recess area ).

Now it's time to apply contact cement to the two smaller rectangular pieces. The smaller pieces are from the second card that has been cut in half.
After you cut the second card out, that is, make the second card, the straightest edges will be the outside edges of the card.
SO, when you cut that card in half you will want to make sure that the straightest edges, more than likely the outside edges of the card, is the edge to use at the slot area.

You will apply one of the smaller rectangles( with contact cement applied on the bottom) over the area of the card at the left that has the contact cement on it, making sure the nice straight edge hugs the ink line you have drawn.

Then put in a strip ( temporary ) that is a hair shy of 1/4th inch wide ( that's the strip in the middle in the photo below). I use just a dab of contact cement on each surface, fore and aft, so that the strip does not move.

Showing the left rectangle applied AND the temporary 1/4th inch strip being put in place

The strip will assure that when you lay in the second smaller rectangle( with contact cement on the bottom ) onto the other glued area on the card ( the one at the right in the photo ) you will have a consistently wide strip that is a 'hair shy of 1/4th inch' when that temporary strip is pulled out.

Showing the left rectangle applied AND the temporary 1/4th inch strip in the middle

Here is a view of the left rectangle permanently applied AND the TEMPORARY 1/4th inch strip laid in place as a guide.
That TEMPORARY stip will be lifted away when the second rectangle is stuck on the right side.

Now apply the second rectangle to the right side of the card making sure to hug tightly, let me say that again,
HUG TIGHTLY against the temporary guide strip. THIS is critical if you want a nice 1/4th inch recess, actually ' a hair shy of 1/4th inch' when the strip is removed.
Press down firmly to make the contact cement bind together.

showing the second rectangle applied to the right side of the card, making certain that, as being applied, the edge of the rectangle is being tightly hugged against the temporary 1/4th inch strip.

The second retangle is being applied to the right side of the card and the edge of that rectangle is being tighly hugged against the temporary strip.

Here it is all glued up. Both smaller rectangles attached and the 1/4th inch strip in place. You'll note the the strip is longer than the original card because the overhang makes it easy to grab and lift off the strip.

Showing the two rectangles cemented in place and the center strip ready to be removed.

Here is the splicing block with the two rectangle cemented in place with the center strip ready to be removed.

Now is the time to remove the temporary strip from the middle.
You now have a perfectly formed recess exactly a hair shy of 1/4th inch wide.

Removing the temporary strip from the middle to expose the recess that is a hair shy of 1/4th inch wide.

Pulling the center temporary strip from card exposing the recess which is where the tape will be held for repair.

Flip over the splicing block and you will see that the smaller rectangles that were cemented on extend over the edges of the original card that is credit card sized.
These need trimmed.

Showing the rear of the splicing block to demonstrate that the smaller rectangles which were cemented need to be trimmed.

Here is the splicing block flipped over exposing the overlapping smaller rectangles. Thes overlaps need to be trimmed off so they are even with the original card size.

Scissors will work fine to trim off the overlap.
Then trim everywhere else to make a nice even all-around splicing block.

trimming the excess from the smaller rectangles.

Using scissors to trim off the overlapping smaller rectangles.

That pretty much does it. It is now done, basically. I use it just as it is.
Pull enough playing tape out of the cartridge and lay the tape in the recess.

Photo showing the tape being placed into the recessed slot.

Push down a bit so the tape recesses itself into - INTO the recessed slot. Remember I kept saying to make sure the recess is a hair shy of 1/4th inch. That's so when you get down to the real nitty-gritty you want the tape to be held in place by the recess. If it's too wide the recess won't hold the tape.

Showing the tape in the recess and pushed down within the recess.

Showing the playing tape in place, within the recessed slot, as it would be if repairing the splice.

The tutorial seems long because I made sure not to forget to mention and show everything that is needed to be told and shown. In actuality, it will take you about 10 to 15 minutes to make one of these splicing blocks.

More than likely you will screw up during the first attempt. But you know what? You will learn from the process and the second time will be cinch.

Also, once you get the knack in making this splicing block ( splicing card ), you can also make one for repairing various other types of tapes, such as VHS, Cassette, Reel-to-Reel and/or older movies such as 8 mm, Super 8 and 16mm. It's just a matter of making the slot/groove wider or narrower.

Now all you need to know is how to replace the conductive metal strip.( that tutorial is coming soon )

SPLICING BLOCK / SPLICING CARD for Eight Track Tape repair

I sell these on occasion for $5.00 each plus $2.00 shipping in the U.S.A.

You can buy one or more from me or you can make your own using this tutorial.

Feel free to copy the information for your own use.

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Even a dollar would be helpful.

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