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 Post subject: The Stearic Acid Chronicles
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:20 pm 
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Victor III
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Richards Laboratories http://www.richardslaboratories.com producing high quality cylinder blanks
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:28 pm
Posts: 732
Just added a new section to my website.

This new section is titled:
"The Stearic Acid Chronicles"

In it I attempt to tell the long story of my
investigation into the making of brown wax
Edison cylinder recording blanks.

http://www.richardslaboratories.com/ind ... chronicles

Chuck
"Sustained success depends on searching
for, and gaining, fundamental understanding"

-Bell System Credo


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 Post subject: Re: The Stearic Acid Chronicles
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:43 am 
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Victor IV
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A new blank with authentic formula and spiral core!
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:50 am
Posts: 1402
Location: 615 1/2 South Main Street Princeton IL 61356.
Chuck,That is a good representation of how wax is made. The whole idea is to find formulas that make the records sound the way you want them too. A blank has to cut well, have a good sound, and withstand being played too. It does involve lots of experiments, even when one knows the ratios, something as small as a change in the combination process, or a temperature a certain component is added can change the quality of the wax, quite a bit. After you find a general ratio of the materials, one is always fine tuning, in very small amounts, .01 grams can change the outcome. On top of all this, the layman would say octadecanoic acid is actadecanoic acid.... not true! There is double pressed, triple pressed, animal, palm, the amount of glycerin, olaic and palmitic acid contained therein can change the batch. Ceresine, comes in different hardness's from very soft, to hard, pearls flakes, and blocks, different ways it is made, and the melting point all change the cylinders. Small things like if a batch is poured straightway into the mold, or if it is allowed to heat and cool, produces different cylinders, ratio and everything else the same, entirely different outcomes. Most have not a clue of what is all involved in this... I have worked over it almost daily for 13 years, and have made hundreds of pounds of this wax. Your method will yield good, dependable blanks.


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 Post subject: Re: The Stearic Acid Chronicles
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:09 pm 
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Victor III
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Richards Laboratories http://www.richardslaboratories.com producing high quality cylinder blanks
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:28 pm
Posts: 732
Thank you Shawn!

I know that you like to make a high quantity
of blanks. Your process always takes in to
account speed and the total number of blanks
produced.

My focus has been somewhat different.
I work more from the standpoint of collecting
every scrap of data that I can, from each blank
made.

More and more, I am coming to see this all
as existing in the realm of statistics.
Any one blank, or any one batch of wax will not
tell its whole story. It will give clues, but
the data will not be complete. Plus the fact
that as we all know, there are, from time to
time, anomalies.

One can go off on wild goose-chases if the
occasional anomaly is taken too seriously.
What this means is if a blank, or a few blanks,
or even a whole wax batch behaves in some
unexpected and undesired way, it does the
experimenter absolutely no good to make changes
based on a single occurrence.

One of the only methods that I have found that
gives reliable data, is to repeat exactly the
things that exhibited the anomaly during the
previous test. If the unfavorable results
can be solidly duplicated several times, then
that lifts it out of the "anomaly" category.

Only after proving that the unfavorable
outcome was indeed something that tends to
happen often, can it start to be worked on
and solved. This process of testing for anomalies, has helped me to keep from changing
things needlessly. The reason is that if it's
an anomaly, it will only happen once in a great
while, and it is therefore not worth trying
to change things to get rid of.

Conversely, we can turn this philosophy inside-out and look at the favorable results
in the same light. If, for whatever reason,
a remarkably good wax batch comes along, and
some superb blanks get cast from it, this does
not necessarily mean that it will work exactly
that way the next time. The only way to know
for sure is to duplicate everything and try
it all again.

This is all about averages and trends.
In order to obtain what we are after, we must
look at large samples that contain many blanks
made from many wax batches. Only after doing
so, and analyzing all of the data, can we then
say with any degree of certainty that if I
"tweak this temperature" or "add another 0.5%
ceresin", (or whatever the current theory may
call for)... can we hope for a meaningful
result. Then, after making any carefully
thought-out small change to the process, we must begin again, fresh, and collect up another
fairly large batch of data that comes from
many repeated tests. Then when that data is
analyzed, the distribution curve of the yield
is plotted to see where everything ends up.

The goal is to maximize the yield of proper
cylinders out of any given sample size.
Say you make a dozen and ten are extra-fine.
That is good data.

To me it's not about the sheer quantity
of blanks made, nor is it about how many
metric tons of wax that has been made.
I tend to focus on producing data that can
be analyzed, and then directly coupled to
each blank. The blanks are the physical end
results of the data. The data can then be used
to slowly and very carefully improve the percentage yield of extra-fine blanks out of
each wax batch.
"Sustained success depends on searching
for, and gaining, fundamental understanding"

-Bell System Credo


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 Post subject: Re: The Stearic Acid Chronicles
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:43 pm 
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Victor IV
User avatar
A new blank with authentic formula and spiral core!
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:50 am
Posts: 1402
Location: 615 1/2 South Main Street Princeton IL 61356.
Chuck I have up till now been FORCED to make a high quantity of blanks, that is not my choice. "Collectors" are like I need 50 blanks by xx date Or Else.......I am going to say some really nasty things about you!!!! Soo, I have to hustle and do this. I would rather take a whole day to make 1 awesome blank, than to produce 10 medium quality blanks. In fact I have decided Today and Foremost..NO LOnger...NO!!!!!!!!! you are not going to force me to make 50 medium quality blanks by XXX date, and NO!!!!!!! you will not prepay your order, you will pay when your order is finished, and ready to ship.....And they will fit the mandrel perfect, they will be quiet, they will be durable, and made the right way..... End of Story!!!!! If you don't like it go elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: The Stearic Acid Chronicles
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:44 pm 
Offline
Victor IV
User avatar
A new blank with authentic formula and spiral core!
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:50 am
Posts: 1402
Location: 615 1/2 South Main Street Princeton IL 61356.
Chuck I have up till now been FORCED to make a high quantity of blanks, that is not my choice. "Collectors" are like I need 50 blanks by xx date Or Else.......I am going to say some really nasty things about you!!!! Soo, I have to hustle and do this. I would rather take a whole day to make 1 awesome blank, than to produce 10 medium quality blanks. In fact I have decided Today and Foremost..NO LOnger...NO!!!!!!!!! you are not going to force me to make 50 medium quality blanks by XXX date, and NO!!!!!!! you will not prepay your order, you will pay when your order is finished, and ready to ship.....And they will fit the mandrel perfect, they will be quiet, they will be durable, and made the right way..... End of Story!!!!! If you don't like it go elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: The Stearic Acid Chronicles
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:15 pm 
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Victor III
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Richards Laboratories http://www.richardslaboratories.com producing high quality cylinder blanks
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:28 pm
Posts: 732
Shawn,

I am going to call the Norfolk Southern
railroad now and ask them about building a
rail siding to your house.

Then we can have railroad hopper cars of
stearic delivered directly to you, along with
a few carloads of lye, sodium carbonate, and
ceresin. You will need to build a proper
warehouse that has a railroad car level loading
dock, and you will need a forklift to move the
pallets off of the boxcars.

Oh, and let us not forget the flatcars
with a few large and banded rolls of sheet
aluminum delivered from the Alcoa mills.

:mrgreen:

Chuck
"Sustained success depends on searching
for, and gaining, fundamental understanding"

-Bell System Credo


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