Making a Modified SASS - Page 2

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Now start on the SASS housing, cut a backplate. In this case, 3/16" ABS ripple surface. Cut with a miter saw, final sizing with milling machine and a file. I use Stainless Steel 10-24 5/8" Oval Head Phillips machine screws to attach the backplate. The Holes in the housing for attaching it will thread nicely with a 10-24 tap.

After tapping the holes, screw the bolts from the inside, place the backplate in place and mark it by turning the screws. Drill and countersink the backplate - backplate attached.

Remove the backplate. Measure and mark the mic centers on the SASS housing front faces. The measurements shown will insure that the support holes end up entirely in the backplate. Because the MKH-20's are long enough to cross in the back, the centers have to be offset. Drill a small hole at each mark. Both faces shown below.

In these next steps, use care, the housing is fairly thin plastic and will flex if you try to go too fast or try to remove too much per pass. I feed the step drills by hand, and the boring bar with the power feed, slowly with thin cuts. Assemble the housing support on the lathe. This consists of a steady rest casting mounted on the carriage and a 1/2" thick PVC plate bolted to that. The small step drill shown. Next, using the small hole in the housing face to align the housing to the drill, clamp the housing to the support using 2 small bar clamps. On the inside of the housing two strips of 1/2" PVC spread the stress of the clamping and minimize housing flex when cutting. Make sure the housing is solidly clamped, but use care, the housing is relatively thin plastic. 2nd picture shows the boring tower in place in the chuck and the positioning of the housing.

Using the small step drill, from the back, start the front face hole. Switch to the 2nd step drill, who's largest step is 1". Carefully adjust the runout of this drill so it will cut a true 1" hole. Then finish the front hole. Verify the fit with the MKH-20. There should be only a very slight gap around the mic.

Now, without changing the alignment of the housing, attach the backplate. The surface you will be cutting is very slanted, use care. First start the hole in the backplate with the step drills. Don't allow the largest step to slip into the backplate or it's likely to catch. Now chuck up the boring tower and boring bar, the tower allows you to adjust hole diameter. Taking thin cuts, enlarge the back hole to fit one of the mic supports. The support should just slip through the backplate.

Verifying the fit of the support and mic. Now repeat the process with the other side. Be sure and mark each support for which side it goes on, I scratch a mark near the front end where it will be hidden when the SASS is together. I also make sure that mark is pointing toward the center when I finally assemble the SASS.

 To assemble, slip a mic into the support, put the combo in place, slip a spare o-ring over the mic to show where the o-ring is inside. I use 1-72 x 3/4" oval head screws, these can be obtained from . Mark, drill and countersink the holes in the face. Again with mic and support in place, mark the support for the three holes, drill, & tap the three holes. My tap is shorter than the screws, so the screws have to cut their own thread at the bottom of the hole, I use a spare screw for this before mounting the support. Mount the support, again with the mic in place to know alignment.

 Completed Modified SASS with foam insert and mics in place. Handle is the one crown has for the mic, several metal pieces that adapt to lots of things. I prefer a lighter plastic handle I salvaged from a Sennheiser suspension which can be seen on my main SASS page. Note the supports are attached only at the front face, when inserting the mics, hold the support, not the housing. Insert the mics from the rear or the two screws on the MKH will cut the o-rings and scratch inside the tube. The front edge of the mic housing should be adjusted even with the front face. Make sure support tubes are clean before inserting mics. Shown is my fabric covered Y cable to Stereo 5 pin XLR, and short 5 pin cable. What I use for hand held.

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August 2, 2004
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Copyright: Walter W. Knapp