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Converting a Riggen Pickup/Guide Flag System
(or, keeping your Riggen fed and watered)
by Terry Flynn (contact by email)
This installment will cover three conversions for your Riggen that may be done individually or all together:
1) Replacing a broken Oscar plastic guide pin with a standard Tomy steel pin.
2) Replacing worn wipers with replaceable Tyco Pro wipers
3) Converting the shunt wires to the motor from being held in place by a clip to positive screw-in connections.
Here is a photo of a broken guide pin that resulted from a crash.
This particular Oscar plate had been previously converted to replaceable braided pickups.
These are the basic items needed for the conversions:
All brass screws and washers are 0-80 size. You will need a drill bit and 0-80 tap as well. These items are available from Micro-Mark.For this particular demonstration, I didn’t have exactly the proper head type or screw length. The best choice would be round slot-head screws 1/8th and ¼ in shaft length.
After you have removed the old wipers from the Oscar plate, trim off flush
the remainder of the heat-weld tab with a razor knife. Chuck up the 0-80 bit
in a Drimel tool and using hand power, drill a hole through the plate where
the heat-weld tab was. Be patient and don’t use the drill under power.
If you have a hand-held drill bit holder this will work well too. Switch to
the 0-80 tap and chase the holes to create threads.
Next, hold a brush barrel in a pair of pliers and tap threads with the 0-80
tap. No drilling will need to be done since the hole in the barrel end is nearly
This is the measurement for the shank of a Tomy guide pin. Select a size or
two smaller bit to drill the pilot hole first into the plate as seen below.
Drill the hole in the original plastic pin’s location. Again use only hand power. Chase the pilot hole with the proper size bit perhaps a few thousands small than the steel pin’s shank.
Using a Dremel cut-off wheel, create a drift slot in the plate. Finish it out
to approximately what is seen this photo...
This will probably be a bit too small but is a starting point. Try the push the pin into the plate. If there is too much resistance, open the slot a bit more.
The pin’s top plate will need to be thinned down substantially. This is important because it allows the plate to ride up into the chassis better. The thinner the top plate the better. Do the grinding before the pin is mounted. Attempting to do so while in the Oscar plate will cause the surrounding plastic to melt and release the tension needed to hold the pin in place.
Next, we are prepping the shunt wires and washers with soldering paste.
Solder only needs to be on one side of the washers. Hold the tapped brush barrels in a pair of pliers and mount the assembled shunt wires. 1/8th screw length is all that is required. Any longer and the screw shaft will interfere with the brush springs.
The shaker plate needs to have the front pin tubes cut back to avoid contact
with the shunt screws and washers This is easily done with a Dremel and cut-off
wheel. The two front body pins will also need to be trimmed back a bit.
Load the brush barrel with a brush spring. Drop a brush into the endbell slot and push the barrel home. ‘Rinse and repeat’ ;-))
Now the fun part. The wipers will need to have their holes opened up a bit
as in Photo 25. This will make it less frustrating to get the screws through
Depending on you level of manual dexterity, getting all the parts ‘loaded up’ and screwed into the plate could prove challenging. Slot head screws are far better to work with than the hex heads in this exercise. As seen here, any protrusion of the screws needs to be trimmed flush with a cut-off wheel.
One thing that I’ve had to do with Oscar plates is to keep them from
rotating by applying a small amount of hot-melt glue to the heal of the plate.
I also bridge from the post forward down the plate’s front top.
Use an appropriate tool and bend the wipers in two operations. This will create
a better ‘hinge’ for final wiper adjustment.
The same operations used for mounting the wipers onto the Oscar plate can also be used to convert an original or reproduction Riggen guide flag. These conversions may prove to be valuable as the supply of replacement plates and flags run thin.
Another good work-around is to use a Tyco Pro Type One guide flag from the black pan chassis. These flags are easily held in place by the RiggenHO Mushroom cap or an appropriate size nut.