Ken's K4EAA K1 Knob Page

The K1 Knobs are Ready for Shipment!
Three Finishes to Choose From!
The TS-830S shown above is sporting a new K4EAA K1 Knob in original Kenwood Bronze!   After 6 months and a lot of trials, tribulations, dollars and frustrations, I finally have a knob to be proud of, one that captures the spirit and quality of the original KB-1 - If not exceeding it in tolerance and finish!  You can read about the features below, as well as seeing movies as we worked out the machining steps necessary to produce this beautiful Spinner knob.  The anodizing is top rate, and took  six months to get it right on.   Processes, chemicals, and restrictions have changed quite a bit in 35 years, especially in this country.   It was tough to match the original Japanese finish with the new regulations, but we did it!

 Here's my early email feedback:

"Ken,  the K1 arrived today, and I must say It was worth the wait. The color is a nice contrast to the front panel of my TS-530s.  The workmanship is second to none, the polishing first rate, and the operation is very smooth. ‘Band scan’ is now done with little effort.  Keep up the excellent work,  73,  Tom, KG3Z"

"Hi Ken, pkg. arrived Sat.--- pictures do not do it justice.  Thanks again for your contributions to our great hobby.  73, George N4GLT"

"I received my new knob from you today! It is as nice as you said! Thanks for all your hard work on it! I hope you sell enough to recover your costs plus a lot more! I will do all I can to get the word out! 73, Keith W8GX"

"Ken;   The knob arrived today ... it is gorgeous.  Can you imagine a TS-830 with every knob this bright silver?  I can ... it would be AWESOME!  Chris, WD1W"

An Update from Tom - "Having used the K1 tuning knob every day for the past few weeks, I have nothing but praise for your efforts and finished product.    This knob is balanced beautifully with absolutely no tendency to fall off on either side…so well in fact I now know the tuning shaft on my TS-530s is out of true. As you said in the instructions, the initial roughness of the spinner went away after about a day of use. What developed was an outstandingly smooth tuning experience, allowing edge to edge tuning quickly and accurately. The fluting you selected far surpasses that of the original, at least for my fingers. The depth and slightly relieved edges allow for rapid movement and precise control.    Quite honestly I never realized how much that single knob contributes to enjoyable operation.  Tom, KG3Z"

"Hi Ken, the knob arrived quickly.  It works perfectly with my TS-830S and the tuning is smooth and very pleasant; cosmetically is beautiful and well finished and the color is right. Your hard work has really given a good result .  Why don't you assign a serial number to the knobs? This increases the value of the same and also of the equipment. 73' Marco I1GTE"

"Hi Ken - The new knob arrived Saturday (another record-breaking shipping speed! Thanks.).  I ordered the dark, shiny bronze style.  Fabulous doesn’t do it justice – the 830S is a dream to just tune around now.  Amazing how much difference just changing a knob can make.  I love the thing and appreciate the effort you put into it.   73, Bill K4EBE"


"Hi Ken - Just wanted to say thanks for the beautiful Knob. Came today and looks great, Steve, KU3S"

"Hi Ken - I just got the knobs and I can not believe how nice they are.  I would buy one to put on a shelf if I didn't have the Kenwood.  What a great job packing, labeling and care instructions.  Need I say more?  Rudy KB3UAY

"Hi Ken,  Received the beautiful knob today Wednesday. It exceeded my expectations in every way. Tuning the dial is a pleasure and it's much more stable in selecting a frequency especially on SSB. I like it a lot.  Thank you and 73,  Richard  K1IEE"

This knob features a weight of over 1/4lb., made from a solid billet of 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum.  It is beautifully machined and bead blasted to a satin finish, and then professionally anodized by Florida's leading precision anodizer facility.  The bright metal highlights on the top surface of the knob are then re-machined to reveal the underlying 6061.  A similarly machined 6061-T6 spinner is suspended by a stainless steel ball bearing assembly to provide the ultimate finger spinner ever produced! 
Using modern machining fixtures I was able to eliminate the deep channel machined into the base, required to hold the knob for front machining operations 35 years ago.  The solid back leaves more aluminum for a heavier flywheel effect than the original.   This knob will fit the TS-820, TS530, and TS-830 series of transceivers.   The original KB-1 would not fit the TS-520 series, likewise the K1 will not fit properly on a TS-520.    However, in the next production run, a K2 will be introduced specifically for the 520 series!    This new K2 will have a recessed pocket to accommodate the bushing that protrudes on a 520 or 520S behind the knob.

Shown Below in Dark, Shiny Bronze Anodize

Shown Below in CLEAR Anodize
I just could not capture the actual color and shininess exactly in these photos - As one testimonial said, "The pictures don't do them justice."   The dark Bronze is quite shiny and noticably darker than the front panel.   The original Kenwood Bronze is lighter than the front panel.


The K1 Series of knobs is now sold out - Anodizing problems have made them very hard to make, and I'm not too sure I want to spend any more time or money making more.

Hopefully by now, everyone who ever wanted one, now has one.  Those who purchased one should find their investment has doubled or tripled in value.   Thanks to all who supported this effort.

73, Ken

How We Made the K4EAA K1 Knob

We have begun the making of the knob bodies themselves.  Here are some completed tapered knob blanks ready for the next operations.

This is the bottom of the K-1, with LOTS of heavy 6061 T6 Aircraft Aluminum left for the desired flywheel style weight.

Looking at these beauties, the color and finish  possibilities seem endless!

Watch a Movie of the knob blanks being drilled, reamed, faced and tapered

This shows a BIG machine precisely cutting a 2-1/2" x 12 foot solid billet of 6061 T6 Aircraft Aluminum into tapered K1 knob blanks.  As in the SC-M2 video, the flood oil has been turned off, so we're cutting dry here.  Ordinarily, a waterfall of oil would be splashing over the part as it is machined.  With the door open for filming, that's not a good idea . . .   I have a blooper I'll try to link up here that shows an unexpected gusher!

Download KnobBlank WMV File  38 MByte 640x480


This photo shows the tops of the knobs completed with the nice bevel and shoulder, as found on the originals.

They are rather oily in the photo, but that oil assists the cutting tool in obtaining a startlingly nice surface finish! 

This first machining and anodizing cycle will provide a limited number of finished knobs - Actually, about as many as I could afford to make at one time!

I am maintaining a queue, and your early (non-binding) order requests are being preserved.  
Movie of the Machining of the Front Face 

This movie shows the front face of the knob being machined with the recess and the ridge being formed, as well as the nice taper on the outer front edge of the knob.  The oil flood has been turned off so we could leave the machine door open for recording.  When they are being made under full CNC control, there is a huge bath of oil constantly pouring over the material.

Download KnobTop WMV File  45 MByte 640 x 480

SO FAR ...

It's coming along slowly, but it is coming along!  The last machining cuts are the knurling and spinner and ball bearing pocket, which are mill operations.

And then it's Off To The Anodizer!


Sunday Mar 28 2010

Bingo!   We've done it, by jove!  On the left is a new K1 knob - On the right is an original Kenwood KB-1 circa 1970!

When the anodizing is finalized, the new knobs will become available.

Please watch this page for more!    - K4EAA

Survey Results So Far (watch for updates!) :

 About a third of the respondents prefer the original fit and finish - This was my goal from the onset, to reproduce an elegant but affordable replacement for the Kenwood upgrade knob of the 70's.  I will offer the original Kenwood Bronze, and have secured an anodizer that not only is familiar with the finish, but has reproduced it for collectible 1970 Kenwood audiophile gear that also used that finish on parts of their their high-end audio products.

About a half of the respondents want to see black and clear finishes - Either an elegant metallic gloss black with machined silver highlights that would compliment the rig's original colors, or a startling clear machined aluminum finish that would add Wow! to the silver highlights already present on the rigs.

Others have suggested electric colors such as deep blues and reds that would subtly contrast the conservative colors Kenwood used.  A few now have suggested GOLD anodizing!  Wow! 

I don't know about you, but all of it seems very exciting to me!   I will show the colors, have pictures of the knobs mounted on the rigs, and give you as many choices as can reasonably be provided - I'm EXCITED!

Ken - K4EAA

I couldn't resist mounting the raw, machined knob on my TS-830S . . .

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