Sheet Aluminum repair - Antique Radio chassis

Hello..     I need some tips as to how and accomplish the following:
I am attempting to restore an antique radio which used an aluminum
chassis that has multiple punched holes. This Aluminum chassis has been completely dissassembled so that I can througly clean it. The problem is, there are two holes on the back of the chassis which are not original (I suppose the previous owners were attempting to 'improve' the design) and I would like to know how to properly patch these holes in order to attempt and retain the original look. The two holes are approximately 1/2" in dia. It should also me mentioned that the aluminum is NOT painted and that there is some silkscreen printing near the holes which I prefer to not disturb.
If I were to have someone 'weld' up the holes with Al, is it possible to sand the area such as to make the hole reasonably invisible. I am sure that the silkscreening would be ruined in this case, but I could rescreen the area if necessary. I realize that there is probably no perfect solution, but it would be appreciated if you guys would offer any alternative solutions to this problem. I suppose the easiest thing would to simply use some screws to cover the holes and get on with life...
Anyway, thanks for any help that you may offer...
Jim
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Jim Flanagan wrote:

1/2" snapin hole plugs. ?
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wrote:

Jim, Since you are just trying to cosmetically repair the holes one thing that might work is pressing in a plug. If possible get a piece of sheet aluminum that is thicker than the chassis. 5000 series. Then, turn to the right diameter to pressfit into the hole. After pressing in you may want to peen the plug to expand it even more. This is why the thicker sheet is used. After peening mill the plug so it is just proud of the surface. .001 or so. Finally, use sand paper or a wire brish to blen in the repair. Before you do anything to the chassis practice on the sheet you bought so you know how to do it and what grit paper works best. Or if the brush is better. ERS
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A very general rule which is applied to antique furniture restoration is this. Accept the fact that an old piece which has been used will show some wear and tear, the less the better. It is better to live with cosmetic damage than to attempt refinishing. Never strip and refinish. If damage is so severe that the piece cannot be used or displayed, as if a leg were broken off a chest of drawers, then carefully replace the leg, with a similat part, but put emphasis on doing a quality repair rather than concealing the fact that the piece was damaged.
In your case, it would be more important to preserve the original surface condition and the silk-screen lettering than to disguise the fact that holes were made by someone in the past. As another lister has suggested, go to Radio Shack and buy a couple of plastic plugs for the holes.
A few scars are witness to a useful life. A refinished antique is like an 80-year-old floozy with a brand new boob job.
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What's wrong with an 18 year old....
Oh.
Nevermind. :^)
Like the man says, a decent cosmetic repair that is *reversible* would be the best. You don't know how the next owner of the machine is going to feel about an epoxy or lumiweld repair once it becomes an irreplaceable piece of vintage technology.
I do think this when I restore stuff - is anything I do going to prompt the exclaimation "my god, what was he *thinking*?" when viewed in the next century.
Jim
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They do make snap-in metal hole plugs that small, one local Lowe's has them. Anything that uses heat will be sure to fry your silkscreening. Alternatively, you could find some sort of vintage fitting to fit the hole, an earphone jack or outside antenna terminal comes to mind. Or, just accept that you aren't ever going to make it look like new again and live with the extra ventilation.
Stan
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On 10 Dec 2004 11:17:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@prolynx.com wrote:

Or get some Devon Aluminum, Labmetal, or alumaplex filler and fill the hole from the inside and gently sand the exterior to match.
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    That is what I was thinking of as I read the problem. I call them "goof plugs", but I think that the official term is "chassis plugs".

    The mention of ventilation reminds me that I used to see chasis plugs with a wire mesh screen in them -- for the purpose of ventilation. If you could find those, they might look more natural there than the goof plugs, which are bright nickel plated.
    If it were not for the need to preserve the silkscreening (or perhaps decals, depending on when it was done), I would suggest that you try some of the stuff sold for aluminum "welding", perhaps with an aluminum plug to keep the amount added to a minimum. But that might discolor with age in a different way than the aluminum, so perhaps it is not that good an idea.
    If this is in the back, where it is normally not seen, just about any of those might work well -- as well as the suggestion of putting connectors for headphones and such in the holes. (That may well be what the holes were made for in the first place.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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