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Old 8th May 2014, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default wood/metal vs all-metal chassis

I apologize for throwing out such a rudimentary question, but my search is not getting me any definitive answers.

I have limited experience building tube amps. I have build a few projects from complete kits that include chassis and am taking the next step with building a st-70 "clone" using one of the driver board rebuild kits and sourcing the rest of the parts myself. It's been in the planning process for a year and there has yet to be any solder melted, and it will likely drag on over several more months as I find the occasional spare hour here or there to work on it.

I have everything but the chassis and I am not finding the Hammond chassis or similar offerings in the dimensions or look I want.


I don't have access to a metal shop and don't have a lot of skills with metal working, but I have a well-equipped woodshop and am a pretty competent amateur woodworker. What I would really like to do is buy a sheet of thick aluminum and use a step drill to cut the tube socket holes, buy a piece of steel for the bottom plate and drill some holes in it for ventilation and make the rest of the chassis out of nice figured wood, probably some pieces of curupay I have been saving for something special.
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Old 8th May 2014, 03:23 PM   #2
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Sure, why not? I think it may look even better this way than the classic chassis (I, for one, really hate the exposed driver board of the st-70).
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Old 8th May 2014, 03:30 PM   #3
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"Why not?" is precisely my question. Is there any compelling reason to use a full metal enclosure?

I agree about the driver board. I have a driver board kit that moves all the components sans tube sockets to the underside, so that's not an issue.
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Old 8th May 2014, 03:40 PM   #4
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No, there is no reason not to use a wood+metal chassis. Just don't forget to ground the metal parts, for safety.
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Old 8th May 2014, 03:40 PM   #5
wicked1 is offline wicked1  United States
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If you look through the photo thread, I think you'll find most (I'm sure at least 1/2) of the projects are built as you describe.. Wood side, aluminum plate for the top.

Don't put anything that will get extremely hot up against the wood.

Negatives, can't use the sides as heat sinks, and metal might offer a little better shielding (but probably not enough to matter).
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Old 8th May 2014, 05:14 PM   #6
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I really like wood sides and aluminum top myself. Heavy transformers mounted on top might make the top plate bow so use a heavy gauge metal. I also have never been a fan of the driver board in view on the Dynaco St-70.

Here is a link for reference to give you some build ideas:

Hammond Mfg. - Walnut Chassis with Aluminum Top Panel (HWCHAS Series)
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Old 8th May 2014, 05:34 PM   #7
wicked1 is offline wicked1  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousmockingbird View Post
Heavy transformers mounted on top might make the top plate bow so use a heavy gauge metal.
That's a good point. It took years for my first nice project to noticeably sag, but it eventually did. Now I put extra supports in the areas around the transformers. (extra mounts at the edge, or a bar across the entire chassis, under the transformers)
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Old 8th May 2014, 07:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousmockingbird View Post

Here is a link for reference to give you some build ideas:

Hammond Mfg. - Walnut Chassis with Aluminum Top Panel (HWCHAS Series)
I built an amp on one of those they look great, I used Front Panel Express for the top panel and made it with 6-mm alumimum and beveled edges.

there are also these, they are 20 gage steel with wood sides, I have used these and they are nice

Hammond Mfg. - Steel Chassis & Bottom Plates with Walnut Side Panels (1441 CWW & 1431 Series)
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Old 8th May 2014, 09:39 PM   #9
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Yes those are nice! I used the similar Hammond 1444 aluminum enclosures with the walnut sides and really liked the results.
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Old 8th May 2014, 10:09 PM   #10
Einric is offline Einric  United States
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What you're talking about is exactly what I do.
Wood chassis with metal top and back.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg front finished.jpg (485.5 KB, 265 views)
File Type: jpg rear finished.jpg (263.5 KB, 261 views)
File Type: jpg Bolted Up.JPG (565.8 KB, 256 views)
File Type: jpg Front.jpg (436.2 KB, 249 views)
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