Instructions for the Black Widow Paddle

Copyright May 12, 2008 by Jerry Haigwood, W5JH





Thank you for purchasing the Black Widow paddle.  You will find it is a high quality product that will give you many years of good service.  Before assembling the paddle, please read through the instructions to insure you understand the order of finishing and assembly. Before you start the finishing operation, you will need to complete the subassembly process below.




Before continuing, it is a good idea to inventory the parts.  The brass machined parts come wrapped in paper towels to cushion them and to keep them from cutting the envelope.  The two small coin envelopes contain the smaller hardware.  Figure 1 shows a picture of the parts.


Figure 1









Base (brass machined part)


Stop (brass machined part)


Arm (brass machined part)


Contact Post (brass machined part)


Magnet Post (brass machined part)


Tensioner (brass machined part)


3/16 inch x 3/4 inch Cylinder Magnet


4-40 x 5/8 inch Socket Head Silver Plated screws


4-40 x 5/8 inch Socket Head Black Oxide screws


4-40 x 1/4 inch Socket Black Oxide screws


4-40 x 1/4 inch silver plated brass pan head screws


4-40 x 1/4 inch zinc plated pan head screws


4-40 x 1/2 inch brass pan head screws


4-40 x 5/8 inch brass pan head screws


4-40 x 7/8 inch brass round head screws


4-40 brass hex nuts


4-40 brass knurled nuts


#4 stainless steel inside star lock washer


Red knurled heads for #4 socket head screws


Finger pieces with black widow


3/16 inch chrome steel balls


0.200 x 0.44 inch plastic feet


#4 x 0.063 inch nylon shoulder washer


#4 ground lugs


4-40 x 0.590 inch brass hex standoffs


3/16 inch x ¾ inch  compression spring


3/16 inch O.D. x ¼ inch Compression Spring


2 inch #30 Silver Plated bus wire

Table 1


Before opening the parts, find a lid from a cardboard box.  Something about 15 inch x 15 inch with a lip of 1-2 inches works well.  Open the envelope and place the parts in the lid to keep them from rolling all over the place.  Using Figure 1 and Table 1, inventory the parts.  If you find a few extra parts, consider it your lucky day!  If you are short a part, contacts us right away and we will make sure we get you the part(s) fast.




Before proceeding with finishing or assembly, you will need to do a small amount of subassembly.  First, you will need to press the Red knurled heads onto the 8 socket screws.  There are 2 Black 5/8 inch long socket head screws, 4 Black ¼ inch socket head screws,  and 2 Silver Plated 5/8 inch socket head screws.  Thread the socket head screw into one of the brass hex spacers.  Using a vice or similar device, carefully press the Red knurled heads onto the socket screws as is shown in Figure 2. 


Figure 2


In a similar manner, Red knurled heads need to be glued and pressed onto the magnets.  First, lightly sand one end of each magnet.  Mix and apply a small amount of 2 part epoxy to the sanded end of the magnets (see Figure 2.4).  Press the Red Knurled heads onto the magnets.  Allow the epoxy to setup before handling these parts.  See Figure 2.5.



Figure 2.4



Figure 2.5


When you have pressed all the Red knurled heads onto all the screws and two magnets, you should have a set of parts that look like those in Figure 2.6.


Figure 2.6



Silver Wires


Next you will have the choice of either soldering the wires onto the paddle arms or waiting until final assembly and clamping the wires under the magnet attracting screws.  If you decide to solder the wires, read on else you can skip down to “Finishing.”


 Next you can solder the 2 inch small (#30 AWG) silver plated wires onto the paddle arms.  Please note that by soldering the wires onto the arms, you will create a left and right arm.  Before soldering the wires, sand the arms on the side where the wires will be soldered.  The sanding will remove oxidation and make the soldering go a bit faster.  You will need a good size iron (about 40-50W).  Locate the wires on the bottom side directly beneath the 3/16 inch counter bore hole. After heating and soldering the wire, DO NOT TOUCH the hot arms unless you want to remove your finger prints!  I’ve been there and done that and it wasn’t fun!  It will take a good 5-10 minutes for the brass to cool down.  Refer to Figure 3 below to see where the wires are soldered.  The arm on the left is the left arm for the paddle and the arm on the right is the right arm for the paddle.  Please note that the arms are mirror images of one another.  If you solder the wire on the wrong side, you will end up with two left arms or two right arms.  The repair is not hard just time consuming sanding solder off the arm!


Figure 3




The parts are now ready for sanding and finishing (see the paddle finishing document).  Before completing the final assembly, allow plenty of drying time for whatever coating you use to cover the brass.




Welcome back from the finishing process.  I hoped your finish turned out the way you wanted it.  If you have not yet deburred the holes, you will need to do so now.  We are now ready to begin the assembly.  In about an hour or so, you will be on the air sending some of the smoothest code you have ever sent!  Let’s get started!


Set the base in front of you in the lid of the cardboard box.  Orientate it the same as Figure 4 below.  The top 3 holes are for the knurled nuts to connect to your cable.  The outside holes of the next are for the contact posts.  The center hole is for the stop.  The next 4 holes are used for the hex posts and for the ball bearing to ride on.  The last 4 holes are for the wires from the arms to go through and for the magnet posts.


Figure 4



Refer to Figure 5.  The stop is assembled to the base using a 4-40 x 5/8 inch brass screw and #4 stainless inside star lock washer.  Place the washer over the screw, insert it into the hole in the base from the bottom of the base as is shown in Figure 5.  Using the stop as a nut, screw the stop onto the screw.  Use a small screw driver to tighten the screw.


Figure 5


The knurled nuts are mounted next.  Refer to Figures 6, 7, and 8.  The two outside knurled nuts are insulated from the base using small nylon shoulder washers.  Gather the following parts:


3    4-40 x 7/8 brass screws

3    4-40 hex nuts

3    4-40 knurled nuts

1    #4 lock washer

5    #4 nylon shoulder washers

2    #4 ground lug


Locate the three holes used  for the knurled nuts.  Using a small piece of sand paper, clean off any finishing material around the bottom of the center knurled nut hole. 


Place a ground lug over one of the 4-40 x 7/8 brass screws.  Next place a shoulder washer over the same 7/8 inch screw.  Insert the screw though one of the outside knurled nut holes in the base from the bottom.  Place another shoulder washer over the screw on top of the base.  Screw a hex nut onto the screw and tighten finger tight. 

Figure 6


In a similar manner, install the same hardware into the other outside knurled nut hole.  Place a lock washer over a 7/8 inch brass screw and insert the screw through the center knurled nut hole from the bottom.  Place a nylon shoulder washer over the screw on the top of the base.  Screw a hex nut onto the 7/8 inch screw and tighten using a screw driver. 

Figure 7


Screw the knurled nuts onto the 7/8 inch screws.  Using an ohm meter, insure that the outside knurled nuts/screws are insulated from the base.  Insure the center screw is shorted to the base.


Figure 8



Refer to Figure 9.  Preassemble the contact posts.  You will need 2 machined brass contact posts, 2 Red head ¼ inch lock screws, and 2 Red head Silver Plated screws.


Figure 9



Mount the preassembled contact posts to the base using two 5/8 inch brass screws, 2 ground lugs, and 4 shoulder washers.  The contact post must be insulated from the base. 


Figure 10



To mount a contact arm, place one of the ground lugs and a shoulder washer over the brass screw.  Make sure you orientate the shoulder washer correctly.  Push the screw through the base and put and additional shoulder washer over the top of the screw.  Using a small screw driver, tighten the screw into the bottom of the contact post.  Align the contact post as is shown in Figure 13.  Align the ground lug as is shown in Figure 12.  Figure 11 shows the shoulder washer under the screw and lug.  Using your ohm meter verify that the contact post is not shorting out to the base.  In a similar manner, mount the other contact post.

Figure 11



Figure 12



Figure 13



Mount the hex spacers.  Refer to Figure 14 and 15.  Using 1 lock washer, 2 brass screws, and 1 ground lug, loosely mount the hex spacers.  Do not tighten the screws at this time.

Figure 14



Figure 15



Refer to Figure 16 and place 2 ball bearings on the holes in the base as is shown.  The arms will ride on these 2 bearings. Note: it is very important that the holes that the bearings ride on have been deburred.  The edge of the hole should be smooth and free of any sharp points.

Figure 16



Assemble the arms as is shown in Figure 17.  You will need four 4-40 x ¼ inch Zinc Plated screws, 2 Silver Plated 4-40 x ¼ inch screws, and 2 finger pieces.  Insure that the holes in the arms have been deburred since the ball bearing will ride on these holes.  Please note:  If you did not solder the wires to the arms, then you must now clamp the two wires under the ¼ inch zinc plated screws used to attract the magnets. 

Figure 17



To mount the arms, refer to Figures 18 through 22.  You will need the following parts.  2 red head 5/8 inch socket screws, two 3/16 inch diameter x ¼ inch springs, the brass tension bar, and 2 ball bearings.  Place the springs over the Red head 5/8 inch socket screws as is shown in Figure 18.

Figure 18



Place the arms on the base lining up the holes in the arms with the bearings on the base. Make sure the two wires are routed through the correct holes under the magnet attracting screws.  See Figure 19 and Figure 23 further down below.



Figure 19



Holding the arms with one hand, place the bearing on the top of the holes in the arms as is shown in Figure 20.

Figure 20



Place the tension bar over the bearings and start one of the Red head socket screws (make sure the small spring is still over the screw threads) into the hex spacer as shown in Figures 21 and 22.  In a similar manner, screw the other Red head socket screw into the other hex spacer.

Figure 21



Figure 22



Tighten down the screws holding the hex spacers as is shown in Figure 23.

Figure 23



Refer to Figure 24.  Mounting the spring requires the use of needle nose pliers.  Using the pliers, carefully compress the spring in the center and insert it into the recessed holes in the arm.  Several people who built the AZ ScQRPion Paddle had problems losing the spring.  Someone suggested putting a 12 inch length of thread through the center of the spring so you can hold onto it in case the spring should go flying.  If you do loose the spring, check with Chuck Adams, K7QO, to find out how to locate lost springs!  Chuck gets down on his hands and knees and uses a flashlight shinning parallel to the floor.  The spring will cast a large shadow.

Figure 24



Preassemble the magnet post as is shown in Figure 25.  Lock the magnet with the knurled screw.  Using a 1/2 inch brass screw and #4 lock washer, mount the magnet posts as shown in Figures 25 and 26.  Note that the washer goes on the top of the base.

Figure 25



Figure 26


Refer to Figure 27.  The next step of the assembly process is to solder the wires to the ground lug under one of the screws used to hold the hex spacer.  Trim the length of the wire as necessary.  You will also need to solder the ground lugs connected to the knurled nuts and the contact posts as is shown in Figure 27. 


The last step of the assembly process is to mount the plastic feet.  Stick the feet down in the corners of the paddle.  I put a lot of pressure on them for small amount of time to help seat them.  This completes the assembly of the Black Widow paddle.  The last section of this document gives you some adjustment tips.

Figure 27



Figure 28




The Black Widow is easy to adjust.  First, with the contacts opened up wide, move the paddle arms back and forth to see how easy they are to move.  Adjust the tension bar screws (The black screws with the red heads) to apply tension to the bearings.  Excessive tension will lock the bearings and too little tension will allow the arms to move up and down an excessive amount.  By moving the arm back and forth, you can feel the difference.  After adjusting the bearing tension, you can set the contact spacing.  Most high speed operators like a very close spacing.  Loosen the lock screw on the contact post.  Thread the contact toward the arm setting it to the desired distance.  Tighten the lock screw when the optimum spacing has been acquired.  In a similar manner, set the spacing for the opposite contact.  The last adjustment sets the arm  return force.  Some operators like a very light return force.  If that is the case, you may not want to move the magnets very close and only use the spring as the return force.  If you want a stiffer feel, move the magnets closer to the arms.  The name of the game here is experiment.  Find what you like and then lock everything down.  It will stay that way for years.


Optional fingers pieces are available.  See Figure 28 for a picture of the “oblong” style of finger pieces.