Here’s The Norwegian Tape Deck Teardown You’ve Been Waiting For

“They just don’t build ’em like they used to” is a truer statement every year. Whether your vice is CRTs, film cameras, or tape decks, you’ll know that the very best gear simply isn’t manufactured anymore. Even the day-to-day stuff from 60 years ago is often a cut above a lot of today’s equipment. [Anthony Kouttron] shows us this with his teardown of a Tandberg TCD301 from many decades ago.

The Tandberg unit is beautifully finished in wood and metal, a style of construction that’s fairly rare these days. It’s got big, chunky controls, and a certain level of heft that is out of vogue in modern electronics. Heavy used to mean good — these days, it means old. That’s not to say it’s indestructible, though. It’s full of lots of old plastic pulleys and fasteners that have aged over the decades, so it’s a little fragile inside.

Still, [Anthony] gives us a great look at the aluminium chassis and buttons and the electromechanical parts inside. It’s a rats-nest design with lots of discrete components and wires flying between boards. You couldn’t economically produce this and sell it to anyone today, but this is how it was done so many years ago.

This non-functional unit ended up being little more than a salvage job, but we’re still glad that [Anthony] gave us a look inside. Still, if you long for more cassette-themed teardowns, we’ve got the goodness you’re looking for!

Mod, Repair And Maintain Your Cassette Tapes With 3D Printed Parts

The benefit of 3D printers is that they have made it relatively easy to reproduce just about any little plastic thing you might happen to break. If you’re one of the diehards that still has a cassette collection, you might find these 3D prints from Thingiverse useful to repair and maintain any broken tapes you may have.

If you’ve ever stepped on a cassette tape, you’ll know it’s easy to crack the housing and render it unplayable. If you find yourself in this position, you can always 3D print yourself a new cassette tape housing as created by [Ehans_Makes]. The housing design only covers the outer parts of the cassette tape, and doesn’t include the reels, screws, or other components. However, it’s perfect for transplanting the guts of a damaged cassette into a new housing to make it playable once again. The creator recommends using Maxell cassette parts with the design, as it was based on a Maxell cassette shell.

For the modders and musique concrèters out there, [sveltema] designed a simple 3D printed guide for creating tape loops of various lengths. Simply adding a few of these guides to a cassette shell will let you wind a longer continuous loop of tape inside a regular cassette shell. Meanwhile, if you simply want to jazz up your next mixtape gift, consider this cosmetic reel-to-reel mod from [mschiller] that makes your cassettes look altogether more romantic.

Many called the Compact Cassette dead, and yet it continues to live on with enthusiasts. Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about keeping your cassette deck operating at its best, we’ve featured a masterclass on that very topic, too!

Wear Your Fave Cassette Tapes As A Necklace With This 3D Printed Adapter

While packing merch for a recent gig, I realised I had the opportunity to do something a little fun. I’d released an album on tape, and spent a little extra to ensure the cassette itself was a thing of beauty. It deserved to be seen, rather than hidden away in a case on a shelf. I wanted to turn this piece of musical media into a necklace.

Of course, cassette tapes aren’t meant to be used in this way. Simply throwing a chain through the cassette would lead to tape reeling out everywhere. Thus, I fired up some CAD software and engineered a solution to do the job! Here’s how I built an adapter to turn any cassette tape into a cool necklace.

Find the design on Thingiverse, and more details below!

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Cassette Lamp Is A Throwback To The Pencil-Winding Glory Days

The audio cassette was the first music format that truly championed portability. It was robust, compact, and let people take music on the go to soundtrack their very lives. It was later supplanted by the higher-quality CD and then further digital technologies, but the format remains a nostalgic highlight for many. It also inspired this excellent lamp build from [Fab].

The lamp consists of 8 clear cassettes assembled into a rough cube-like shape on a 3D printed frame. The cassettes are edge-lit from below by a set of WS2812B LEDs, letting them glow in full-color splendour. The real magic of the lamp is the interface, however. A pencil can be inserted to turn the tape reels, just like rewinding a real cassette. However, in this case, they’re attached to a pair of rotary encoders, which are used to vary the color of the LEDs. As a bonus, the entire lamp runs off a Wemos D1, making it possible to update the lamp remotely over the Internet.

It’s a stylish build that would make an excellent conversation piece in any hip maker’s loungeroom. It’s a great nod to the creator of the compact cassette, [Lou Ottens], who passed away earlier this month. Video after the break.

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Fisher Price Bluetooth Speaker Hack

A good hacker hates to throw away electronics. We think [Matt Gruskin] must be a good hacker because where a regular guy would see a junky old 1980’s vintage Fisher Price cassette player, [Matt] saw a retro stylish Bluetooth speaker. His hack took equal parts of electronics and mechanics. It even required some custom 3D printing.

You might think converting a piece of old tech to Bluetooth would be a major technical challenge, but thanks to the availability of highly integrated modules, the electronics worked out to be fairly straightforward. [Matt] selected an off the shelf Bluetooth module and another ready-to-go audio amplifier board. He built a custom board to convert the stereo output to mono and hold the rotary encoder he used for the volume control. An Arduino (what else?) reads the encoder and also provides 3.3V to some of the other electronics.

The really interesting part of the hack is the mechanics. [Matt] managed to modify the existing mechanical buttons to drive the electronics using wire and hot glue. He also added a hidden power switch that doesn’t change the device’s vintage look. Speaking of mechanics, there’s also a custom 3D printed PCB holder allowing for the new board to fit in the original holder. This allows [Matt] to keep the volume control in its original location

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