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Marelli Auretta Project Starting up!  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2020 05:13 am
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Alex Rushing
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Pre-1910 Marelli Auretta Ball motor 10" ornate fan.


Recently bought this sad case off of eBay and decided to take it on as a side project, as it is small and mostly needs fiddly work done I can do while sitting with my annoying dog at night. :imao











I've ordered everything to make the cage and struts myself, but will have to order the ball capped vaseline cup assemblies from Darryl Hudson.


Jan Hendricks was kind enough to send me the dimensions of the wires and the parring at the end joints as well.

When the cage is complete, I'll rewire the stator and brush leads(and rewrap the windings). Going to source some phenalic rod to drill for the brush brass tubes and brush assemblies. May even try to make the brush wires that cute curly style seen on some early fans. We'll see. I thought it might need a paint job, but honestly a good cleaning, some stripe tape around the motor, and a clear coat are all that is needed(possibly). We'll see how it goes down the line. Might even leave the finish as is. Hard to tell how I'll feel about it once a multi session cage fabrication is done.

This is my first true ball motor where the center of the ball acts as the windings core cast in. Very very cool. I had to do some fiddling to get it starting and running reasonably on 120V, because I believe this to be a 165V version. I have a variac that goes to 150V, and it runs very well. Some cleaning of the brush tubes and resurfacing the commutator made a huge difference in letting this fan move some air on 120V AC.


The Nichrome windings are good, but reduce the motor current to much even at 150V to run properly(fast enough to move air I should say). So temporarily I installed a half wave bridge rectifier diode that acts as a "slow" speed, but is really only 10% slower. Leads me to think this is an AC only fan. Not sure though.

Went ahead and fixed up the tension on the knife switch and batt, so the switch has good positive feedback. New lead wire (the black cord in the current photos).

Tapped the base cover holes to 8-32, and tapped the switch threads to 8-32 as well, but haven't cut the screws to size yet. There several important not-off-shelf screws missing, so had to make do with what I had readily available. the motor screws just need to be filed clean to remove burrs. Thankfully all six are there and the threads aren't buggered up. Should make strut fab easier. I also got lucky on this one, because later versions had complex stamped struts, while the early ones were nickel plated brass I believe.

The blades are pretty wrinkly, so may need to send that off to a pro for new wings in the future. :)

And I'll quit writing a book here and get to some fan porn.
























































And a quick video of it running on 150V AC.




So there it is, another older style fan I had not encountered before, but have thoroughly enjoyed working on!


Recently completed some fairly complex double round s-wires for a Whiz cage(rebuilt whole cage), and am feeling hopeful I can build a cage to do the Marelli fan justice! Also have made struts/wires for an R&M tank and an S-wire for a Whirlwind. Hopefully that little bit of experience will show acceptable results!


Thanks for looking! Please let me know what you think about the project and if you've had experience with these Italian beauties. :)

Last edited on Thu Jul 16th, 2020 05:17 am by Alex Rushing

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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2020 02:30 pm
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Sean Campbell
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Alex, that Auretta is very pretty! You were lucky to find one of the first versions. Those don’t show up all the time. I own a second version ~1912, but this is the first time I think I’ve seen one running. Mine has minor internal differences, such as interior brushes. It also has different grease cups. Is your switch porcelain? Here’s a picture of my Auretta.



These are quite possibly my favorite looking Marelli fans. Side by side, you’d be surprised how much they look like a mini Sprague Lundell! X)

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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2020 03:24 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Sean Campbell wrote: Alex, that Auretta is very pretty! You were lucky to find one of the first versions. Those don’t show up all the time. I own a second version ~1912, but this is the first time I think I’ve seen one running. Mine has minor internal differences, such as interior brushes. It also has different grease cups. Is your switch porcelain? Here’s a picture of my Auretta.



These are quite possibly my favorite looking Marelli fans. Side by side, you’d be surprised how much they look like a mini Sprague Lundell! X)

Beautiful example, Sean! It looks like a serious fan with the cage! I keep looking at mine like it appears to be a windmill without struts/cage. :D
The switch is a real Marelli Auretta switch, but from a slightly later version it has the composite base. Works great though!

I may end up having to use the second version oilers, like the ones on yours. Would it be any trouble to take some close-up photos of them?

Thank you Sean!

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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2020 04:25 pm
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Sean Campbell
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Here is a photo of the second version grease cups.



Just for giggles, here’s the inside of the second version Auretta’s motor featuring the internal brush connections.




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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2020 06:58 pm
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Jeff Whitfield
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This is the brush assembly that goes inside the ends of the brush holders of the early Auretta. You'll also see it on some of the larger 12-inch models. (30 cm ... if I remember). There's a small metal "plunger" that goes on the end of each lead that comes off of the stator. The "plunger" slides into the hold you see below. The screw then tightens down to hold it in place. The threads are very, very fine.
If you encounter issues of broken insulation on the brush holders, one way to repair these is to acquire some pool puddy (Russ Huber posted about this stuff. Do a search.) Measure or eyeball to determine the thickness of area of the insulation requiring replacement around brush holder so repaired area isn't too big around once you're done to insert it back into housing.  Roll the metal tubing in the pool puddy on a table to smooth it out. Paint when dry. This is an alternative to phenolic.  

FWIW: The thread patterns on the screws of the Auretta are not the same as those on the later Sciroccale. Darryl figured out, if I remember, a way to replicate the thread pattern on some of the screws for the later Marellis. These specifically are the 3 screws that hold the endbells to the center section of the motor housing.  For the earlier Marellis, I imagine you would have to send screws to him --- if you have any that you desire replicating -- for him to determine thread patterns. However, from reading above it looks like you have a plan for retapping screws. 


Last edited on Fri Jul 17th, 2020 12:01 am by Jeff Whitfield

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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2020 07:00 pm
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Richard Daugird
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I love the ornate castings. I'd want to paint it, but that's just me. Seems quieter than the other brush fans I've come across.

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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2020 09:00 pm
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Paul Carmody
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That poor fan sure found the right owner.:up:

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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 12:22 am
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Dave McManaman
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Outstanding post and series of pictures of your Auretta. Mine is perhaps my favorite fan, one I like so much I’m too afraid to mess with. LOL. Yours is in good hands!

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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 06:28 am
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Alex Rushing
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Jeff Whitfield wrote: This is the brush assembly that goes inside the ends of the brush holders of the early Auretta. You'll also see it on some of the larger 12-inch models. (30 cm ... if I remember). There's a small metal "plunger" that goes on the end of each lead that comes off of the stator. The "plunger" slides into the hold you see below. The screw then tightens down to hold it in place. The threads are very, very fine.
If you encounter issues of broken insulation on the brush holders, one way to repair these is to acquire some pool puddy (Russ Huber posted about this stuff. Do a search.) Measure or eyeball to determine the thickness of area of the insulation requiring replacement around brush holder so repaired area isn't too big around once you're done to insert it back into housing.  Roll the metal tubing in the pool puddy on a table to smooth it out. Paint when dry. This is an alternative to phenolic.  

FWIW: The thread patterns on the screws of the Auretta are not the same as those on the later Sciroccale. Darryl figured out, if I remember, a way to replicate the thread pattern on some of the screws for the later Marellis. These specifically are the 3 screws that hold the endbells to the center section of the motor housing.  For the earlier Marellis, I imagine you would have to send screws to him --- if you have any that you desire replicating -- for him to determine thread patterns. However, from reading above it looks like you have a plan for retapping screws. 


Thank you so much for all of the information, Jeff!I have both brush insert assemblies, and can put brass crimps on the wire ends to act as conductor pins. One brush holder is missing a lot of the outer material (guessing vulcanite?).
I've messed with the pool putty on some stuff, but prefer to fab stuff...if I can in my moderately equipped home workshop.
There is one complete brush assembly, and one half broke piece of a brush in the tube the spring goes into. I'd prefer a new set, but will see if that is in the card financially.
I have all six motor screws thankfully, but the heads are a bit buggered, so will file the slot deeper and file the heads clean.

At this point the goal is to make a cage. Then I need to make a big order with Darryl soon, and will see what he can do about the Vaseline cups. The ones that came on it has a ball on the top of the assembly, but I think a custom set would be much to expensive. Second variant cup assemblies should be fine.
The blade is the last addressable issue, as the wings are very wrinkled and one is torn near the hub. Would definitely want copper rivets used if the blade were to be restored. Kind of an interesting thing that catches my eye.

Goal is to get the fan complete before considering a finish approach. I am taking a break right now after making after making 7 of the eight s-wires and a front ring. Not as easy as I had anticipated. Going OK though. Rear ring wire should be here Saturday or Monday. Strut steel? Not sure when.

A lot of ground to cover with such a small fan. O_o

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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 06:32 am
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Alex Rushing
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Richard Daugird wrote: I love the ornate castings. I'd want to paint it, but that's just me. Seems quieter than the other brush fans I've come across.
Thanks Richard!
Same here. It is what had drawn me to the little fan with no cage. Didn't even know what it was until after purchasing it.
It runs fairly quiet, because I am a nutjob who makes fans function as well as possible before resto begins. Haha
Probably played with the jacked up brush setup for an hour turning them and tensioning the springs to get them as quiet as possible. :imao

I'm leaning towards refinishing, because being such a small fan, a collector can easily have it Japanned after I croak. Haha

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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 06:33 am
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Alex Rushing
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Paul Carmody wrote: That poor fan sure found the right owner.:up:Many thanks for the bode of confidence, Paul! :)Will do the best possible job within my means to make this an outstanding fan!

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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 06:37 am
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Alex Rushing
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Dave McManaman wrote: Outstanding post and series of pictures of your Auretta. Mine is perhaps my favorite fan, one I like so much I’m too afraid to mess with. LOL. Yours is in good hands!Thank you very much for the kind words, Dave! :)
Indeed, not long ago I wouldn't have touched the fan with a ten foot pole, but my way of thinking is either it goes on the shelf as a decorative piece of fan history, or I could ruin the motor - still being a great decorative piece of fan history, or try the best I can to make it a complete/operational piece of antique fan history. :)

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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 06:45 am
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Alex Rushing
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Fingers are killing me, so am taking a breather with the wires. I went off of close up measured photos from Sean, and believe them to be 90% or so accurate.
Front ring I just point soldered after shaping. When the rear ring material arrives, I'll start the parring process to wrap the wires. Should be fiddly at best. :D













Had to straighten 6' of 2.5mm wire...haha.. things we do to save money.










Sorry for all the photos. Thought it might be fun to document this project!

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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 03:39 pm
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Sean Campbell
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Alex, I’m comparing your latest photos to my cage and, at the moment, I’d say your it’s pretty spot on from what I can tell. You seem to have nailed the curvature of the S wires.

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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2020 09:26 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Sean Campbell wrote: Alex, I’m comparing your latest photos to my cage and, at the moment, I’d say your it’s pretty spot on from what I can tell. You seem to have nailed the curvature of the S wires.Thank you Sean! Your photos have proven to be a true asset! Plus, feels cool making S-Wires from photos/measurements alone! :)I want the steel stock and brass rod for the back ring to come now! Haha
I used full hard brass rod 3mm and 4mm for rear ring and front ring. The 2.5mm brass wire for the S-wires is half-hard. A little stronger than a brass Emerson s-wire for reference.
The struts are coming from 1/16" tool steel. Probably overkill, but hey; gonna make a cage, best to over do it. LOL
Will have to anneal the rolled ends though. No biggie.

I'd have the cage made the same night probably if it all was here. :imao
Made 9 s-wires from the 2.5mm roll last night. Got a "mess up extra". :D
Just waiting on the rear ring 4mm brass and strut steel to arrive now.

Last edited on Fri Jul 17th, 2020 09:27 pm by Alex Rushing

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 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2020 01:35 pm
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Steven P Dempsey
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Jan Hendricks is an expert & has restored a bunch of Marellis

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 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2020 01:56 pm
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Dave McManaman
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Excellent work. That front ring and solder joint is impeccable. Did you create a jig of sorts for the nine s wires?

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 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2020 05:22 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Dave McManaman wrote: Excellent work. That front ring and solder joint is impeccable. Did you create a jig of sorts for the nine s wires?Many thanks, David! :)
I just put some DVR'd Chicago P.D. reruns on and did them by hand. Made one I felt was good to start and just made the others by hand using the first as a template. So lets hope the first one was good. Otherwise there will be 9 bad wires. :imao
The rings are lathe brass, and are super hard to bend. Probably 100% stronger than the original brass used. Was glad the wire brass ordered was much more malleable(half hard I believe was what they called it). Hands still a bit achy though. O_o

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 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2020 05:25 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Steven P Dempsey wrote: Jan Hendricks is an expert & has restored a bunch of MarellisIndeed. He was able to provide the wire gauges for the front ring, wires, and rear ring. Sean sent me measurements and close up photos of his OG cage. Those photos showed the 90 degree curve was very rounded, and was part of the last curve of the s-wires. Made them harder to make, but hopefully close to looking right. The stock for the rear ring is out for delivery!So tonight will be fun parring the loops over and spacing evenly. :)

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 Posted: Sun Jul 19th, 2020 12:47 am
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Scott Marley
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So there is no air flow on the Motor casing. wonder how hot they would get?

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 Posted: Sun Jul 19th, 2020 03:07 am
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Alex Rushing
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Scott Marley wrote: So there is no air flow on the Motor casing. wonder how hot they would get?Seems these sealed commutator motors don't run all that hot. That goes for my sealed case Singer commutator as well, which is 110V on 120V. The Marelli, native 165V, runs just warm on 150V. The only antique fan motors that get really hot are shaded pole motors. The motors draw more current to engage rotor slip, because the magnetic field is shaded.
Commutator, or also know as brush motors, seem to be moderately efficient and run cool-warm. They just make that brush on commutator noise some people(like me) don't like very much. Some worse than others of course.
Sealed motor cases have advantages, such as in desert environments where you wouldn't want fine sand particulates in your fan motor!

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 Posted: Sun Jul 19th, 2020 03:20 am
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Alex Rushing
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So cage is complete. Just waiting on the steel stock to arrive to make the three struts.

Not all that great, but it'll suit the fan well I think. It isn't perfect, because I basically eyeballed everything copying the shape from photos.
Big thanks to Sean for the photos of his cage with a ruler for reference.
Big thanks to Jan for the wire gauges to be used on each part.


After completion.




















And just sitting on the blade for effect. Haha



Some process photos:

Made from strong brass.






Parts together.



Curved and parred the ends down. The extra length was to make sure I wasn't short anywhere. Done on belt sander.






Cut and file wrapping ends.



Getting the momentum going.



Used non toothed pliers to round over.



Getting there.



All wrapping done.



Soldering wires to back ring first.



Then after some refinement I soldered to the center ring. Had one or two move when soldering, but not bad enough to try and unsolder and redo.


And after a lot of solder filing and polishing tool marks away.


Next project will be struts!

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 Posted: Sun Jul 19th, 2020 10:31 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Thanks to some members pointing it out, I had made the mistake of using a photo from a site that didn't specify that the eight wire cage was wrong.
Got out this afternoon and fixed it. Whew. Lots of solder cleanup.








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 Posted: Sun Jul 19th, 2020 11:47 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Impressive skills Alex. Quite beyond me but I aspire to them eventually...

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 Posted: Mon Jul 20th, 2020 02:03 am
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Alex Rushing
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David Kilnapp wrote: Impressive skills Alex. Quite beyond me but I aspire to them eventually...Many thanks, David! :)
I would say it isn't as hard as it looks, but this time it would be a lie. It was a real PITA to move the wires around to correct the 8-wire mistake. Harder than the original soldering work. Haha

It is fun. I had practice making a few s-wires this year(2 for an R&M tank), one for my Whirlwind, and three double overs for a GE Whiz cage rebuild. Then experience making two R&M tank struts out of strong brass for Lawrence.

The 7/16" plastic(special heat resistant) rod should be here this week to rebuild the brush holders.
Will be ordering greasers from Darryl, and look into who can rewing the blade hub.

Getting there..haha

Tomorrow is assembly day for the 21648, so that is exciting as well! 

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 Posted: Mon Jul 20th, 2020 05:44 pm
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Richard Daugird
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If that's your first scratch-built cage, I'd say you are well on your way! Thanks for all the photos.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 21st, 2020 03:01 am
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Alex Rushing
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Richard Daugird wrote: If that's your first scratch-built cage, I'd say you are well on your way! Thanks for all the photos.Many thanks for the kind words, Richard!
Indeed from scratch and mostly by eye and rough measurements.

I've been honored with a request to do a write up for the quarterly magazine about the cage experience and first time Marelli adventure! Heaven knows I can do a writeup.  Write to much in replies as it is. Haha

And you're certainly welcome for the photos. As usual, it is done in the hopes that another member may benefit from them. :)

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 Posted: Wed Jul 22nd, 2020 04:26 am
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Alex Rushing
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Since my strut material didn't arrive today, thought I'd address the brush holder that was mostly broken.Bought some 7/16" solid plastic rod and shaved it a hair. Then found my closest drill bit to the brass tube's 8.2mm outer thickness. Drilled through and lightly hammered the brass tube in. Drilled though like the original holder that wasn't broken. One of the end pieces is not tapped like the thin screw side, so some kind of botches replacement at some point. Tapped it for a 6-32, but will revisit the screw situation so they at least match at some point. I tinned the brush leads and inserted them and tightened the end screws down, similar to how it was described as being correct, except it is supposed to be a solid pin all the wat through, which will address as well down the road.
Important thing is both brush assemblies look an function the same, as well as being relatively safe.


























Getting there bit by bit!

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 Posted: Wed Jul 22nd, 2020 08:48 pm
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Richard Daugird
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This is great, I just gave it a "5 Star" rating. Looking forward to the magazine article, haven't been much in the way of new content. Surprizing, I figured with so many people out of work due to the panic, ahem, pandemic, that there would be a lot of articles.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 22nd, 2020 11:56 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Richard Daugird wrote: This is great, I just gave it a "5 Star" rating. Looking forward to the magazine article, haven't been much in the way of new content. Surprizing, I figured with so many people out of work due to the panic, ahem, pandemic, that there would be a lot of articles.Many thanks, Richard! :)
I'm looking forward to chronical the Marelli journey in the magazine! :)

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 Posted: Thu Jul 23rd, 2020 05:29 pm
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Paul Souza
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I love seeing the masters at work! :up:

Last edited on Thu Jul 23rd, 2020 05:29 pm by Paul Souza

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 Posted: Thu Jul 23rd, 2020 06:16 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Paul Souza wrote: I love seeing the masters at work! :up:Many thanks for the encouragement, Paul! :
Definitely wouldn't say master yet. Maybe "guy who tries really hard"? Haha
Each project brings new lessons, especially this beautiful Marelli. The brass stock(steel was not correct, though would look more correct, as the OG struts were nickel plated) hasn't arrived yet, so to enjoy looking at it, I made wire struts from heavy bailing wire.  :hammer:
Will be fixed as soon as the brass stock arrives!


Last edited on Thu Jul 23rd, 2020 06:17 pm by Alex Rushing

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 Posted: Fri Jul 24th, 2020 01:34 pm
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Steven P Dempsey
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Super Nice - - I am testing my Marelli today for the first time

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 Posted: Fri Jul 24th, 2020 04:16 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Steven P Dempsey wrote: Super Nice - - I am testing my Marelli today for the first timeMany thanks, Steven! :)
Best of luck with your Marelli!

I don't know what model you have, but they aren't built like our usual projects. At least not the first version Auretta. Great construction, but different in several ways.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 29th, 2020 09:11 pm
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Alex Rushing
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So these aren't exactly correct for the particular fan, but since I bought the brass, I thought I'd make them from it anyway. :hammer:










Just gotta test fit them, cut the screws to length, and polish them. :violin:

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 Posted: Wed Jul 29th, 2020 09:21 pm
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Sean Campbell
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They may not be 1:1, but it looks reasonably close. The area where the screws go through should be rounded off as well though. 

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 Posted: Wed Jul 29th, 2020 10:59 pm
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Alex Rushing
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Sean Campbell wrote: They may not be 1:1, but it looks reasonably close. The area where the screws go through should be rounded off as well though. 
Thank you, Sean!

It was my mistake on the brass stock. I thought I had order 3/8", but had accidentally ordered 1/4". Ideally 3/8" or even 7/16 would have been better. And a thinner stock at that. Plus side is these struts are like a brick crap house. Full hard brass stock. :imao
And thanks for reminding me about the curve over! I did forget to round those off!

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 Posted: Thu Jul 30th, 2020 12:21 am
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Alex Rushing
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Sean,
Thanks for the correction! I am soooo happy with these!  :clap:













Last edited on Thu Jul 30th, 2020 12:22 am by Alex Rushing

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 Posted: Thu Jul 30th, 2020 01:00 am
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Sean Campbell
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Beautiful job Alex! Another Auretta lives again. :clap: I find it funny how the struts are hanging in the one picture you are holding the cage since mine has done that exact same thing. XD

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 Posted: Thu Jul 30th, 2020 07:34 am
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Alex Rushing
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Sean Campbell wrote: Beautiful job Alex! Another Auretta lives again. :clap: I find it funny how the struts are hanging in the one picture you are holding the cage since mine has done that exact same thing. XDThank you so much, Sean! :)
I am going to begin the cosmetic resto on the fan soon, and worry about the Vaseline cups and possibly a rewing in later when I save some money.
The struts turned out better than I would've expected, so even restored with wrinkled blades and needing grease cups; it'll be stunning. Currently almost done with a write-up on the project as well.
Been a lot of fun! Like a smaller, more common and much less expensive Lundell project. :D

Which, BTW, looking forward to seeing you get it completed! :)

Last edited on Thu Jul 30th, 2020 08:03 am by Alex Rushing

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