What adhesive is used to re-tip a cartridge?

The reason I ask is that I have a Shelter 501-II with a loose cantilever. The cartridge has less than 800 hours. (I'd guess) The cantilever can easily be rotated or removed with a small jewelers tweezer. I've had the cantilever out of and back into its socket a couple of times just to test it. Apart from that I'd guess the cartridge to be healthy.

If I knew what adhesive the re-tippers used, I'd just put a tiny dab of that stuff on the cantilever, put it back into its socket, align it so the stylus appears vertical, and let it set up.

Epoxy...hard to work with in such a tight and delicate area.
I'm guessing that the adhesive needs to be removable for future re-tips. Perhaps epoxy is a little too aggressive?

Also note that the area in question is where the cantilever fits into the pipe. Presumably, if the fit were close enough, no adhesive at all. In my case, there is evidence of an adhesive being used previously by the mfr.

Perhaps choice of adhesive is a closely guarded secret among cartridge designers.

At present I'm considering:
cyanoacrylate (super glue) or Loctite 222ms thread locker.
Either seems to hold well in some test specimens that I'm observing.
A third candidate: rtv silicone sealant, which would add some compliance in its joining. It has held well after a 24 hour cure period in a test subject.
All of these seals can be broken by twisting the parts being bonded.


Why not get the cartridge repaired properly by someone who already knows what to use and how to use it? Soundsmith comes to mind.
Most use epoxies. Effective but they require a full 48 hours to cure properly.

However, there are at least 2 companies experimenting with an adhesive that requires a very high temperature but cure time is very short. The downside is most cartridge bodies must be separated from the cantilever/stylus during repair as the high temperature can be damaging.
Just a quick conclusion to note that the attempt at rebonding the cantilever back into its pipe appears to have been a success.

At first I tried the Loctite. But after a 4 hour period it hadn't set up yet and I noticed that the stylus wasn't holding alignment. So I switched over to superglue. The superglue set up quickly and held the cantilever/stylus in good alignment during its curing.

Here are some photos of the before and after:


link to page with more photos:
scroll down page to find the Shelter.

Why do this? How do you know that the superglue, loctite, or anything else tried, didn't mess with the other materials in that area? I realize the 501 isn't all that great, but this probably detracts even more from its value. No?
Great work Steve! Thanks for posting that.
"Why do this? How do you know that the superglue, loctite, or anything else tried, didn't mess with the other materials in that area? I realize the 501 isn't all that great, but this probably detracts even more from its value. No?"

What I should have conveyed is that I have previously conferred with Peter Ledermann about repairing the Shelter. This was back when the problem was first discovered, a little over a year ago. At that time, his take on the Shelters is that these are not all that much fun to disassemble, if one needs to remove the aluminum body, that is. I've heard from others that have had SS re-tips on this cartridge that the ruby cantilever does alter some of the character of the Shelter sound.

My take:
There is not much to lose. It has plenty of hours on it and I'm not going to attempt to sell this thing. I'll just play it til it finally dies. Currently, it seems to be playing and sounding just like its old self.

With regard to the qualities of the 501-II. I'd probably disagree with your assessment of the cartridges' inherent sonic character. I like what it does and the way it does it. That is why I've gone to this much trouble to put it back into my working line up.

That said, it is certainly no A-90 (which I've recently heard in another system). But then it doesn't try to be. It has certain sonic attributes which I value and want to hear.

Steve, thanks for filling in the blanks. Kind of makes the thread title a rhetorical question. ;-)

I understand what you are saying about the ruby cantilever. Peter repaired my XV-1s a few years back. I agree that it does alter the sound, however for me it still allows the character of the cartridge to come through. Anyway, I understand now that you did your homework. Thank you for posting what you learned and experienced.

If I could choose my words again I believe I would have said "I realize the 501 is not that valuable used," etc. I do think the 501 is a better value than the 901. I like the 103r myself for a solid back up cart.
Kind of makes the thread title a rhetorical question. ;-)

My query was genuine. I did get some responses from folks in the industry. Thanks guys!

What I've found is that the info I was seeking isn't generally discussed in exact detail. Not freely anyway. My guess; some bits of info might be regarded as proprietary, even when the details involve commonly available products.

Anyway, superglue dissolves with acetone. So, if I wanted to remove the cantilever at some time in the future, I could use that solvent loosen the cantilever and remove it without putting undue stress on the cartridge suspension. Just think, maybe I'll find a source of high quality replacement cantilevers/stylii and be able to make my own upgrades!

I'm curious why you asked the question here. Did no one on VA know the answer?
No one anywhere offered a suggestion based on experience.

I also tried Vinyl Engine.
At VE there is a thread where broken cantilevers, of the hollow type, are being patched together using a filed down cactus spine as an internal splint. However that thread seemed to bypass anything that resembled something that a professional would do.

There has been nothing offered that was specific to my query other than scraps of interviews with industry professionals (cartridge designers). But these interviews fail to get into specifics having to do with exactly which adhesives.