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KMossman 3rd February 2013 02:45 AM

What is the most difficult part of 'scratch' building for you?
You have done [or will do!] an electronics project from scratch.

What is the most difficult or frustrating aspect?

making the PCB?

getting the parts?

the chassis and getting it to look good?

getting the right layout [in the chassis/cabinet/case]?


wintermute 3rd February 2013 03:36 AM

HaHa, I have trouble with all of those!! Probably the most frustrating part for me is deciding on which parts to buy. I tend to be too obsessive and think about it for ages. When I finally have decided I find that one of the parts is not available and then have to start looking again for a replacement.

This blog entry has some insights (altbeit rather verbose) into my problems ;)

Then doing the layout is probably the next biggest hassle (both of the board, note I only do verro board, I've not done my own pcbs) both of the board and of where every thing goes inside the chassis.

edit: oh and no, I haven't finished the project discussed in that blog entry ;)


KMossman 3rd February 2013 05:46 AM


Thanks for sharing! I hear ya!

IF I might suggest..............

Sounds like you might be better off doing a kit. Then 'copy' the part* you would most want to upgrade or replace, and work on that - when that is done, then install into the kit. That way you having a working device while you debate parts, re-design the PCB, etc.


*ie for a pre-amp, 'copy' the power supply, or VU, or pre-amp board, or input/output jacks, or ....

Mooly 3rd February 2013 06:46 AM

Definitely the enclosure for me, Both obtaining it and doing any metal work needed.

KMossman 3rd February 2013 07:39 AM

It is the larger holes in a metal chassis that drive me crazy. There are some shops in USA and UK and such that sell the metal 'stamps' that do a great job on making the larger holes [circular and square and rectangular] but the price deters me, although I do not have access to a drill press.

I use the crude method of drilling multiple holes, then breaking off the centre piece and grinding it smooth.

For smaller holes and to help with the layout, i use strips of [wide] masking tape. Make a layout on paper, then transfer it by eye to the masking tape. I find the masking tape helps hold the small drill bit in place until it digs in. I also do a pilot hole for the larger holes.

Gawd-forbid if I have to make a square hole.

JMFahey 3rd February 2013 07:49 AM

By far, the "mechanical" side , mainly the chassis, because of machinery needed.
It pays to become friendly with a sheet metal shop.
Then, if needed, "making it look good or Pro built".
Then, getting a *good* PCB layout.

wintermute 3rd February 2013 08:42 AM

Hi Ken, I've done a few kits, the problem this time was it was completely my own design, which made it even worse :rolleyes:

I will get there in the end, it just might take a while ;) I do have pretty much all the parts, I need to do a layout for the active crossover part of the project and that I've been having difficulty getting motivated on. I did try to get going again recently but other things got in the way.

It doesn't help having multiple projects either....


KMossman 3rd February 2013 08:55 AM


Originally Posted by wintermute (
... I've been having difficulty getting motivated on.

I find I have to be in the right frame-of-mind, else I make a mess of things...

But project workshop is by the front-door so it helps to give me a push as I have to see every time I enter

Damon Hill 4th February 2013 09:43 PM

Designing and fabricating a professional-looking chassis has stalled me many times. Getting good heatsinks for a power amp project is not easy, either.

I started a prototype chassis for my first tube amplifier, but made mistakes or overlooked details that I wished I had considered before cutting metal. I have access to a drill press now, so that's some help.

One of these daze I've got to learn how to use a PCB design program. Ought to be something for designing sheet metal, too.

KMossman 4th February 2013 09:53 PM

I tried using different PCB program but found doing it by hand is faster. I also realized that for one-offs there is no point.

Maybe try Visio for sheet metal layout?? But again I think paper and pencil work better for one-offs.

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