Technics SL-1600MK2 DIY replacement Mat.
Some say that if you have to work for it, you savor it better. Maybe… I recently took ownership of a Technics SL-1600MK2 turntable that unfortunately came with a platter mat that had hardened to the point that it looked like ancient bakelite complete with cracks, until you pick it up and felt it only to realise this once was a rubber mat. i cant say what caused it to change its consistensy so much that any amount of flexion caused instant cracks to form on the surface… suffice to say, it was past due for a replacement. Problem is, is that these mats are rarer than hens teeth, presumably if hens teeth were available on ebay. the sl-1600mk2 uses a mat similar in thickness to the still in production sl-1200mk2 but has slots cut in them that allow the lenses of the record size auto selector to poke through and detect an infra red beam which selects the lead in point of the tonearm in full auto mode. ie, you press play.. where should the tonearm land. anyhoo… i decided to make my own replacement using a sl-1200mk2 mat. while the sl-1200mk2 peered over my shoulder feeling very naked awaiting for a replacement, the conundrum of how does one change this into that got kinda solved.
Which is which?
The cut out rubber pieces showing the diamond shaped side profile
Fits like a glove.
using a x-acto or blade didnt seem to do the job right. the width of the slot is 3/16th inches which as it turns out is a popular size of a flat head bit usually bundled with screwdriver kits. i used a dremel and ground the tip to the point of a chisel to cut out the slots in the mat. before that i lay one mat on the other and drew out the slots. the lenghts of the slots are half an inch but angled so the entire thing is 3/4th of and inch. what i did was draw the slot out, then extend it by 1/4th of an inch, then use the newly fabricated chisel tip and cut it at a 45 degree angle. worked a treat! for the straight lines and neaten things up, i used a x-acto. the first few were tough going as i explored my way through but it progressively got easier. it took about an hour to finish all the slots.
i tested the mat without carving grooves in it and whaddaya know, it works just fine. so i decided against the grooves. the mat fit like a glove, sat flat and did what a mat is supposed to do… and looks neat enough with the lenses fitting snugly in the slots doing it.
what i learnt: a new sl-1200mk2 mat is pretty soft and bruises easily.. i would suggest using a longer “chisel”.
and that folks, is how thats done. 🙂