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Title: Is there a better way.
Post by: Al Rettich on March 16, 2021, 10:24:15 am
I have to make some panels coming up soon.  When connecting the connectors to the panel, Iíve always used a screwdriver in one hand, and a pair of needle nose pliers in the other hand.  Was never able to get a socket around it.  Anyone else ever have a better way than needle nose pliers?
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Erik Jerde on March 16, 2021, 10:37:31 am
I have to make some panels coming up soon.  When connecting the connectors to the panel, Iíve always used a screwdriver in one hand, and a pair of needle nose pliers in the other hand.  Was never able to get a socket around it.  Anyone else ever have a better way than needle nose pliers?

Iíve thought about grinding off one side of a socket.  I did once have a socket that had thin enough walls that it did fit.  Of course that walked off.  Otherwise needle nose too.  Would love a better off-the-shelf solution too.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: James Cotton on March 16, 2021, 11:16:50 am
Anyone else ever have a better way than needle nose pliers?

XLRs I rivet these days. Rear mount with black rivets looks nice and clean.

For things that won't mount well using rivets (Ethercon pass throughs mostly which seem to multiply as time goes on) I have a nut spinner with thin walls that will go so far but still binds up generally on the second fixing.
Beyond that I use a tiny Bahco Liliput 5.5mm spanner (part number 1931M-5.5).
One end is regular spanner and the other has the opening kinda sideways on.
The sideways one really helps in tight packed panels.
Still use Needle Nose to get the nut started and that's the most difficult bit.
I use M3 nylocks to save having to deal with any washers.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Erik Jerde on March 16, 2021, 12:13:17 pm
XLRs I rivet these days. Rear mount with black rivets looks nice and clean.

For things that won't mount well using rivets (Ethercon pass throughs mostly which seem to multiply as time goes on) I have a nut spinner with thin walls that will go so far but still binds up generally on the second fixing.
Beyond that I use a tiny Bahco Liliput 5.5mm spanner (part number 1931M-5.5).
One end is regular spanner and the other has the opening kinda sideways on.
The sideways one really helps in tight packed panels.
Still use Needle Nose to get the nut started and that's the most difficult bit.
I use M3 nylocks to save having to deal with any washers.

I hate rivets.  Iíve never seen a riveted panel hold up over time and Iíve rarely seen a bolted (with nylock nuts) panel fall apart.  Iíve never seen one fall apart in an install situation.  Riveted panels are terrible to work on too.  I wonít allow them in projects Iím responsible for.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: James Cotton on March 16, 2021, 12:55:15 pm
Iíve never seen a riveted panel hold up over time

Interesting, how do you see them fail?

I started riveting because of wanting to rear mount Powercons and Speakons and pan head screws would bind on the plugs when inserting/removing so I was looking for a low profile solution.
I've rivited 500+ Neutrik connectors on my gear and never had one come loose or fail.
Plastic connectors like Powercons get a small washer at the back for the rivet to grab onto so as not to deform the plastic.
I must admit having to drill them out if you change things around is a minor inconvenience.

Considering rivets are all that holds flight cases together and they take way more abuse than any panel should they've got to be fit for purpose  :).

Either way for the screw approach the spanner I suggested or something similar in imperial if you're using odd screw sizes is a real help.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Dave Garoutte on March 16, 2021, 01:06:29 pm
These are long, but there are shorter ones.  If the OD is too big, they can be ground down.  Magnetic.

https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-16-Inch-Klein-Tools-646M/dp/B000936QV0
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Milt Hathaway on March 16, 2021, 01:20:16 pm
Anyone else ever have a better way than needle nose pliers?

Duck bill pliers. The nut's rotation doesn't twist the jaws of these like it does with needle nose.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Mike Pyle on March 16, 2021, 03:29:47 pm
Duck bill pliers. The nut's rotation doesn't twist the jaws of these like it does with needle nose.

Sounds like a quack remedy.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Erik Jerde on March 16, 2021, 03:36:30 pm
Interesting, how do you see them fail?

I started riveting because of wanting to rear mount Powercons and Speakons and pan head screws would bind on the plugs when inserting/removing so I was looking for a low profile solution.
I've rivited 500+ Neutrik connectors on my gear and never had one come loose or fail.
Plastic connectors like Powercons get a small washer at the back for the rivet to grab onto so as not to deform the plastic.
I must admit having to drill them out if you change things around is a minor inconvenience.

Considering rivets are all that holds flight cases together and they take way more abuse than any panel should they've got to be fit for purpose  :).

Either way for the screw approach the spanner I suggested or something similar in imperial if you're using odd screw sizes is a real help.

Iíve just always seen riveted panels have rivets come loose, break, etc.  I solved the rear mount speakon problem by specifying that the holes be countersunk.  Then you use the correct color/size flat head (countersunk) bolt and it works great.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Brian Jojade on March 16, 2021, 04:07:23 pm
Iíve just always seen riveted panels have rivets come loose, break, etc.  I solved the rear mount speakon problem by specifying that the holes be countersunk.  Then you use the correct color/size flat head (countersunk) bolt and it works great.

There are different grades and qualities of rivets.  Cheap, improperly sized rivets put in by someone that doesn't know what they are doing will fail.  Done properly, they aren't going anywhere.

Upside of rivets is that they are very fast to put in, and won't work themselves loose if they vibrate.

Downside of rivets is that once in, the only option to remove them is drill them out.

Screws installed properly look a little nicer. If installed properly with locktite are just as durable as rivets.  But crappy screws, crappy holes, or improperly installed are more likely to result in failures.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: richard_cooper on March 16, 2021, 05:51:15 pm
I have to make some panels coming up soon.  When connecting the connectors to the panel, Iíve always used a screwdriver in one hand, and a pair of needle nose pliers in the other hand.  Was never able to get a socket around it.  Anyone else ever have a better way than needle nose pliers?

I don't do much of this, so understand this is an added expense and may have downsides I'm not aware of.... I've used Neutrik MFDs (https://www.neutrik.co.uk/product/mfd) and M3 screws quite a bit with no failures.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: James Cotton on March 16, 2021, 05:54:27 pm
These are long, but there are shorter ones.  If the OD is too big, they can be ground down.  Magnetic.

Looks like that one would need grinding down to have a chance. I like that it's magnetic.
Here's the one I have, the socket part is quite deep which is good. It works some of the time depending on connector type but still binds way too often.

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/nut-drivers/4601691/

Since I bought the little spanner it's all I've used.
Speaking of which....

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/spanners/6140520/

Then you use the correct color/size flat head (countersunk) bolt and it works great.

Good if you're having panels manufactured (a lot of mine were and I did go that route on some but the countersinking was quite expensive for what it was) but no good for off-the-shelf pre-punched Penn panels and the like.

Screws installed properly look a little nicer.

I use black rivets on black panels so you can hardly see them.
That's another reason I don't like countersunk screws, the CNC metal shops I've worked with use pre-anodised metal or I ship them Penn blank rack panels which again are already coated. The countersink reveals the underlying aluminium and with black screws you get a little silver ring visible.
I just like the rear mounted connectors with almost invisible fastners look.
Front mount your connectors and this discussion is completely irrelevant  :)

If installed properly with locktite are just as durable as rivets.

Nylocks all the way! No messy locktite to deal with on stuff that's already fiddly and although not reuseable if safety is a concern they still lock fine second time around for connector mounting applications.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Dave Garoutte on March 16, 2021, 09:19:52 pm
I just thought about that you could grind one side of the socket nearly away for clearance and turn the screw instead.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Steve-White on March 16, 2021, 11:46:35 pm
One way I've done panels is to use use tek screws and pilot drill the holes first.  Drive them in with a cordless impact driver - quit using cordless drill with adjustable clutch, not the same.  The cordless impact gun regulates applied torque via the speed control on the trigger so the screws can be consistently be pulled down properly.

Have pulled a lot of pop rivets as well and about two years ago on a project using stainless steel rivets I picked up a pneumatic rivet gun.  The next rack panel I assemble will be with pop rivets.  They are well suited for that use as panels require little to no maintenance and really no field maintenance.

Pop rivets work and work very well.  Can they be installed incorrectly?  I would imagine so.  Pop rivets are used extensively in case manufacture, chassis manufacture, etc.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Keith Broughton on March 17, 2021, 08:05:13 am
I use a Whia nut driver and a magnetic screw driver (leave the blade on a speaker magnet for a while)
https://www.wihatools.ca/screwdrivers/nut-drivers/picofinish-precision-inch-nut-drivers (https://www.wihatools.ca/screwdrivers/nut-drivers/picofinish-precision-inch-nut-drivers)
I have found that rivets, in some cases, will loosen up after heavy use.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Rick Earl on March 17, 2021, 10:33:47 am
I have to make some panels coming up soon.  When connecting the connectors to the panel, Iíve always used a screwdriver in one hand, and a pair of needle nose pliers in the other hand.  Was never able to get a socket around it.  Anyone else ever have a better way than needle nose pliers?

I use these with no problems: https://www.wihatools.com/catalog/product/view/id/6368/s/picofinish-precision-inch-nut-driver-8pc-set-in-canvas-pouch/category/379/ (https://www.wihatools.com/catalog/product/view/id/6368/s/picofinish-precision-inch-nut-driver-8pc-set-in-canvas-pouch/category/379/)
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Brian Jojade on March 18, 2021, 02:35:42 pm

That's another reason I don't like countersunk screws, the CNC metal shops I've worked with use pre-anodised metal or I ship them Penn blank rack panels which again are already coated. The countersink reveals the underlying aluminium and with black screws you get a little silver ring visible.

A sharpie fixes that right quick.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: James Cotton on March 18, 2021, 08:00:20 pm
A sharpie fixes that right quick.

LOL you're right there, I think I ended up doing that.
Those panels were made in the days when Sharpies didn't exist in the UK but I still had some, I'd buy 4 or 5 boxes from WalMart every time I'd holiday in Florida. You can get 'em in the local supermarkets now.
I think my switch to rivets was made when I did a panel with over 120 XLRs and the cost of countersinking was significant.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Brian Adams on March 18, 2021, 08:29:23 pm
I also hate rivets on connectors. The can loosen over time, and they make it much more difficult to replace the connector, especially if they spin when you drill them out.

I typically use #4 screws. Flat head if the connector is on the outside of the panel, pan head if the connector is behind. Most nut drivers will fit in the space between the nut and the connector shell.

I prefer Keps nuts. They don't rattle loose, and you usually don't even have to secure them while you're tightening them. If I don't have room to get my fingers in there, I use a magnetic #2 phillips to hold the center of the nut while I thread the screw in. Once I start tightening, the lock washer attached to the nut holds it in place well enough to tightening the screw. A nut driver works fine too, but a magnetic screwdriver is easier for me.

Keps nuts. They're awesome. Much better than nylocks in basically every way.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Frank Koenig on March 18, 2021, 10:32:41 pm
I prefer Keps nuts. They don't rattle loose, and you usually don't even have to secure them while you're tightening them.

This. My application is likely not as demanding as you guys', but I've never had a Kep nut rattle loose and, as Brian points out, you don't need to hold the nut. --Frank
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Christian Ekren on March 21, 2021, 11:39:48 am
I have to make some panels coming up soon.  When connecting the connectors to the panel, Iíve always used a screwdriver in one hand, and a pair of needle nose pliers in the other hand.  Was never able to get a socket around it.  Anyone else ever have a better way than needle nose pliers?

The nuts for the panel connectors we use are the same size as our multi-bit screwdrivers without a bit inserted, so I just use my Stanley 62-574 (https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-62-574-Multibit-Ratcheting-Screwdriver/dp/B004NMZFDS/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=stanley+multibit&qid=1616341053&sr=8-2) as a nut driver on one side, and a normal screwdriver on the other. Can be a tight fit with the Stanley, but still much better than using a pliers.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Tim Weaver on March 21, 2021, 12:24:12 pm
Interesting, how do you see them fail?

I started riveting because of wanting to rear mount Powercons and Speakons and pan head screws would bind on the plugs when inserting/removing so I was looking for a low profile solution.
I've rivited 500+ Neutrik connectors on my gear and never had one come loose or fail.
Plastic connectors like Powercons get a small washer at the back for the rivet to grab onto so as not to deform the plastic.
I must admit having to drill them out if you change things around is a minor inconvenience.

Considering rivets are all that holds flight cases together and they take way more abuse than any panel should they've got to be fit for purpose  :).

Either way for the screw approach the spanner I suggested or something similar in imperial if you're using odd screw sizes is a real help.


When I worked at the big University we built all our panels with rivets.

If a panel was going in to a "high use" (like 3-4 times a week) situation we used steel rivets. They never came apart. Ever.

Aluminum rivets would get loose over a long time, but if the panel was going to see light use we would use aluminum anyway since they are so much easier to work with.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Steve-White on March 21, 2021, 02:13:51 pm
^^^ Exactly, 304 stainless rivets don't come loose - but, who wants to argue.  I had to buy a pneumatic gun to pull the steel rivets.  We have all seen numerous loose fasteners of all types and fastener failures.  It happens, particularly if poor workmanship is involved.  It comes down to proper application.  Pop rivets were developed by manufacturing engineers in the aerospace industry.  They work and work well.  Hand an idiot the keys to a Ferrari, do we blame Enzo for the results or blame the car?

I've encountered instances of loose pop rivets over the years just like everyone else has. 
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Luke Geis on March 21, 2021, 02:25:04 pm
I was going to say Stainless Steel Rivets as being the end all be all to NEVER coming undone. But you will want a pneumatic tool to do it.

You can go crazy and insert blind nuts or Nutserts as they are called. The Keps Nuts are pretty nice though. You can go finger tight until they bite and then tighten like normal without another tool.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Steve-White on March 21, 2021, 02:40:47 pm
^^^ Keps nuts are great!  Very well suited for panel work.  Much easier to remove than SS pop rivets as well.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Ales Dravinec on March 22, 2021, 02:38:32 am
I have to make some panels coming up soon.  When connecting the connectors to the panel, Iíve always used a screwdriver in one hand, and a pair of needle nose pliers in the other hand.  Was never able to get a socket around it.  Anyone else ever have a better way than needle nose pliers?

What about these :
https://www.neutrik.com/en/product/mfd

Respectfully !
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Mike Caldwell on March 22, 2021, 08:32:00 am
What about these :
https://www.neutrik.com/en/product/mfd

Respectfully !

Those look they are formed for rear mounting D series connectors and would be a handy solution for that.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: drew gandy on March 23, 2021, 01:27:06 am
What about these :
https://www.neutrik.com/en/product/mfd

Respectfully !

Ales! Haven't seen you post in a long long time! Hope you are doing well.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Steve-White on March 23, 2021, 02:08:38 am
What about these :
https://www.neutrik.com/en/product/mfd

Respectfully !

Clean.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Uwe Riemer2 on March 23, 2021, 12:21:11 pm
Those look they are formed for rear mounting D series connectors and would be a handy solution for that.

Neutrik MFDīs can also be used for front mounting.
If you never tried these, donīt do it. You will never go back.
Only drawback in your world: MFD work with metric screws ( M3 )
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Steve-White on March 26, 2021, 07:45:18 pm
^^^ M3's are not a problem these days.  I'm tooled up for metric reasonably well as I would suspect most others will be - we've been assimilated.
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Peter Kowalczyk on April 01, 2021, 01:38:18 pm
My approach to building custom connector panels has been to order them from Markertek.  :-P
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Ed Hall on April 02, 2021, 09:06:51 am
My approach to building custom connector panels has been to order them from Markertek.  :-P

Ahh! No more difficult than signing a check!  ;D
Title: Re: Is there a better way.
Post by: Tim Padrick on April 09, 2021, 08:17:14 pm
I've used K-Lock nuts for a long time, but that Neutrik MFD looks good, especially at a bulk price.