Attaching DEC Handles, the Right Way

jim stephens jwsmail at
Wed Apr 26 10:06:53 CDT 2017

On 4/26/2017 6:51 AM, Ethan Dicks via cctalk wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 9:03 PM, Systems Glitch via cctalk
> <cctalk at> wrote:
>> I'm sure most of you DEC hackers have replaced a broken DEC handle or put handles on a protoboard... I finally came across the right tool for the job, an Indestro tubular rivet set!
> When I worked for a place that made Unibus and Qbus boards, we bought
> bulk metal quad and hex handle assemblies from DEC, no number stamped
> on them.  We used a floor-stand foot-powered Stimpson rivet setter
> with a lower die that held the rivet and an upper die that set it.  I
> saved the Stimpson machine when the company closed.
> It's one of these:
>  They make
> quick work of setting rivets but overkill for hobby use.  We shipped
> over 1200 Unibus and Qbus boards, so we set well over 10,000 rivets on
> it.  I probably did at least 1,000.
>> they're 1/8" hollow brass rivets, but that a M3 x 5mm is close enough. You can buy the M3 rivets online for cheap, I paid $6 USD for 200 rivets, shipped.
> Good to know.  I still have a bag of our old stock, but if I run out...
> -ethan
Stu Phillips, a friend of ours did the insertion of metal metal Southco 
extractor handles on our boards for the Microdata 1600.  He probably had 
a machine, as the Southco levers were riveted onto our board thru holes 
in the corner and levered the board in and out of the card cage.

He made a line of the ears for the DEC manufacturers here in Orange 
County, and I've seen his SPC or Stu Phillips or Phillips company logo 
on may such products.

That business came from him owning an injection molding machine and 
someone asking him to make the handles.  His original business was doing 
jobs like the riviting and other assembly jobs around Orange county.

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