Monday, 20 September 2010

Re-Furbishing The MFJ-941D Versa Tuner II

I was given the MFJ-941D about 8 years ago. It was in rough shape when I got it from another ham. There were bugs in it and every screw and bolts was loose. I re-soldered a couple of points along the coil inside and gave it a good shot of canned air to dislodge dust and the nasty critters that had taken up home in it. I put it away and didn’t think much about it until I was revamping my station this week. The darn thing looked really bad with deep scratches in the powder coated top cover. There were lots of paint chips and the cabinet looked grungy. The self tapping screws were faded and bare so they needed attention too. Here’s a photo before I started >

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I decided to use the same paint treatment that I had used on my Cushcraft R6000 a couple of years ago. The paint was from the auto section of our Canadian Tire store. It’s a tough paint used to touch up and paint plastic auto bumpers and I had a little left over – this would be the perfect project for it.

Surface preparation is important so I located some #320 and #600 grit sandpaper. First sanding was with the #320 grit and progressed to the #600 grade. I wiped the sanding dust off with a tack cloth and inspected my work. Sanding is not critical but I payed careful attention to the deep scratches. The bumper coating covers extremely well and I planned for at least 3 coats to hide any imperfections.
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To spray paint the top of the screws I lightly screwed them into a piece of scrap wood and spray painted them with 3 coats. The bumper coating dries very quickly, about a half hour – the screws looked new again.

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© VE3MPG  -2768 Here’s the finished product. Three coats of bumper coating, air dried for about an hour. There’s a half hour drying period between coats and no sanding between coats. The coating usually hides any imperfections and forms an extra tough scratch resistant coating – much better than the original MFJ powder coated finish. The tuner looks like it just left the factory.

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© VE3MPG  -2777 The same methods can be used for just about any ham equipment that needs sprucing up. There are some very interesting paints available at any local hardware stores.

Usually I leave painted components overnight before putting it all back together. After an hour the top cover and screws were ready as this coating dries to a hard finish very quickly.

This was a very easy project and didn’t take a lot of time or effort. If you decide to try this just make sure you have plenty of ventilation while you’re spray painting and keep your work area clean. Use a fresh tack cloth to wipe up sanding dust.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very nice Bob.

Dupli Color also a crinkle finish paint in black and red that also looks interesting. I haven't tried it yet but I am working on an on again off again project on which I intend to give it a try

I will have to try the bumper paint too. Might be a better choice than the crinkle finish.

cheers, Graham ve3gtc

Bob VE3MPG said...

I will have a look at that crinkle finish - that might be interesting for another project that I have - it's a 1/4" steel plate base I have a straight key mounted on. It's 30 years old and scratched. It was originally coated with gloss black Rustoleum and it's chipped and scratched after years of storage and use.
Thanks for reading the blog Graham and your comments.

Bob VE3MPG

VE3WDM said...

Good morning Bob, great step by step photos and the finished job looks great. I have two LDG coax switches and one Astron power supply that could use refinishing.

Bob VE3MPG said...

Hi Micheal, the job is a lot easier to do than most people think. The hard part is getting started! Thanks for reading my blog.

73 Bob VE3MPG

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob, came across your site and this looks like an idea to spice up a homemade antenna tuner that I acquired at a hamfest.

73 de Vernon - VE2MBS/VE2QQ

Bob VE3MPG said...

Hi Vernon,

Let me know how your project turns out. Thanks for reading my blog.

Bob VE3MPG