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JBasham 22nd April 2003 04:29 PM

How to Install UX4 Socket without Punch
Doing my own tube amp chassis is the hardest part of amp building for me. I'm always looking for ways to do more with fewer or cheaper tools.

Mounting UX4 sockets (for 2A3, 300B, etc.) always seems to require a chassis punch to make the mounting hole neatly. These cost $30-60 USD!

I use Klein Uni-bit step-bits for my big holes but the biggest I've found is 1 1/8 inch in diameter. I just found a UX4 tube socket that will fit the 1 1/8 hole I can get with the step bit. I've bought it, and it fits just fine:

It's a flush-mount Amphenol socket, which has a good reputation. The contact integrity looks good. The contact integrity on the ceramic EF Johnson copies I see floating around looks a little better -- but you need a 1 3/8 chassis punch (really a 1 1/2 inch to be on the safe side).

Note also -- the ceramic Sovtek UX4's sold by the same dealer are a little too large to fit in the Unibit 1 1/8 inch hole, but just a little work with a round file would cure that.

Joel 22nd April 2003 05:11 PM

Yeah, I also tend to use the amphenol sockets designed for a 1 1/8" hole. Then I can just use the same greenlee chassis punch as for octals. AES sells them.

But for the slightly larger ceramic UX4's from Angela, etc. I have had success using the 1 1/8" punch and then routing out the remainder with a dremel tool. But you must layout the outline first with a compass, for accuracy.


Saurav 22nd April 2003 05:35 PM


I use Klein Uni-bit step-bits
Could you post a link to where you get this from? The ones I've found seem to be more expensive than chassis punches.


Joel 22nd April 2003 07:04 PM

I don't think any drill bit is going to give you as clean a hole as a chassis punch will. Like any good tool, they are an investment. You'll thank yourself later on.

Also, I can punch holes for tubes while watching TV on my couch. You can't do that with a drill press. :)

fdegrove 22nd April 2003 07:15 PM


Doesn't Triode Electronics sell a complete kit of punchers suitable for all kinds of sockets for about 60$?

I don't remember wether these are Greenlees but for the occasional use I think that shouldn't matter that much.

I've only Greenlee which are expensive but last a lifetime, I can only recommend them.


Like any good tool, they are an investment. You'll thank yourself later on.


Saurav 22nd April 2003 07:57 PM


Doesn't Triode Electronics sell a complete kit of punchers suitable for all kinds of sockets for about 60$?
Yes they do, and the one stepped bit I found that goes up to over 1" was around $70, so at that point the punches are cheaper.

If I knew that I was going to build several amps in my lifetime, I'd invest in a set of good punches with no hesitation. I'm still at the "let's try it and see if I enjoy it" stage, so I want to find a meaningful balance between investing a lot in tools, versus buying cheap tools which would make me spend much more time and effort and I'd end up throwing the tools out pretty soon anyway. The punch set sold by Triode Electronics is probably the product for me, I just want to make sure there aren't any better alternatives for a casual builder.

Also, I don't have a drill press. If these large bits only work with drill presses and not with hand drills, then I need that punch set, no questions about it :)

cdeveza 22nd April 2003 08:05 PM

One tool I found very useful, assuming you have a drill press is an adjustable hole cutter. I do not think it can make whole smaller that 1 1/8", but for bigger whole like caps and such, this hole cutter is great.

Alex Deveza

mig-ru 22nd April 2003 08:06 PM

I used hole drill bits (used for door handles, etc...). I bought a 1 3/8" and 1" hole drill bits and used a rounded bastard file to smooth the edges and bring the 1" hole to the required 1 1/16" for octal sockets. Worked very well, tube and sockets fit nicely. Check out my amp thread to see the results.

Saurav 22nd April 2003 09:07 PM

Will these bits work with hand drills, or do they need to be used with drill presses? Also, pictues of the tools would help a lot, since I have very little idea about what they look like.

Ciscokid 23rd April 2003 02:40 AM

Here's a pic of cutting a 2.5" hole for a cap using an adjustable cutter and drill press:

Worked very well;)


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