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Twiggy drive servicing

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Those photos that Ray found are timely, since I have a mind to service my Twiggy drives. I thought I'd check---has anyone got any tips?

Like most floppy drives of their age, the moving parts in mine are dusty and likely no longer as free-moving as they once were. Some cleaning preventive lubrication seems worthwhile. There are also a few axial electrolytic capacitors in the drives as well, which I plan to check in-circuit with an ESR meter---although I'm usually a pretty proactive recapper, I am more inclined to take a "watch and wait" approach for these boards.

Molykote EM-30L has been recommended on other forums as a good specialty grease for lubricating floppy drive mechanisms, particularly around plastic parts. It contains lithium grease as an ingredient, which is another common choice. The Twiggy Manufacturing Instructions on Bitsavers meanwhile, suggests that the rails for the head carriages may have used teflon grease, or were perhaps permanently coated somehow? (PDF page 32: "Make sure the guide rails are teflon coated").* Later on (page 56), it actually mentions using good old Tri-Flow teflon lube on the stepper motor lead screw.

(The manufacturing instructions have other encouraging notes like the one attached, and they reveal also that there are parts of the drive called "the serpent", "the froggy", and "the alien".)

My aims are to get rid of dust on moving parts at least, clean the heads, lubricate where appropriate, and inspect parts that seem perishable (e.g. foam pads, drive belts)---even though I am not sure what they ought to be replaced with if they seem degraded.

In any case, I thought I'd ask around here to see if anyone had any thoughts about this kind of work, or suggestions. Does anyone know of any other resources for servicing overcomplicated floppy drives extremely carefully?

* Funnily enough, I got in touch with the author of that document... sensibly enough he can't recall whether it was grease or a coating.

Sorry to bring up an old thread, but it looks like the question remains.

I'm hoping to track down a set of Twiggy drives at some point and have been wondering about this question, too. Is anyone familiar enough with these drives to service them properly? What would refurbishment involve? What are the potential pitfalls and, importantly, cost implications of such a service?

My experience trying to rehabilitate a Widget has made me keenly aware of my own limitations.

Some thoughts:

It seems doubtful that any Twiggy drive has been used enough to have any significant wear.

In my experience, the foam pads that press on the jacket increase friction substantially (which, along with poor belt traction, made some disks stop rotating), so I would not replace them. I wrap them up (using a piece of paper, taped) so they no longer make contact.

The felt head pads need to be present of course, so replace if missing.

If you're using old media at all, you'll need to clean the heads frequently (as often as once per disk if you are archiving originals). Accessing the rear head for inspection/cleaning is a real pain.

BLU has a head shuffle command that I use to wipe the heads on cleaning material w. alcohol (currently using a Texwipe AlphaLite as that's what is on hand). I tape a piece of the fabric over the head openings of a scrap disk; I have pondered how to make a disk shaped fixture to hold the fabric so it is quick to change and eg. has a mirror so one can see the rear head, but haven't got a good solution so far -- any ideas?

I'm now using a 3d printed contraption to tension the belt when a disk is in place (since a replacement belt isn't easy to find). I'll post the design at some point when I'm more confident that revisions won't be needed; if anyone would like to be a beta tester in the meantime, please let me know.

There is also a 3d printed jig for cutting the jacket openings to make new Twiggy media... currently have one beta tester, more are welcome.

Adjustments are few; one for speed and the other the track 0 position sensor. I recommend that you not move the track 0 sensor until there is an established method of getting it right.

I have bought 100 floppy disks with the intention of making a jig to create twiggy compatible devices, but would like to see if there is one already available - even if need to beta test. Maybe you don't mind reaching out via PM to see?

Thank you

100 disks I presume? 100 drives would be incredible!


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