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Notes on Making Chassises
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Author:  BowToEd [ 26 Oct 2019, 15:56 ]
Post subject:  Notes on Making Chassises

I know most people prefer to buy their chassis and populate it. Lately people have been using 3D printers to make custom enclosures. I like making my own using folded sheet metal. Here are some things I've learned. Maybe it will help.

-My favorite chassis metal is zinc plated steel. This is sold in 8x12 sheets (20x30 cm) for a little more than $1 USD each. It's not the stiffest, but bending it and reinforcing it with braces makes it sturdy enough. It helps to have or make a metal brake. With a sturdy awl, I can punch holes in the metal for drilling larger holes or passing sheet metal screws. Large holes can be cut with a spade bit or hole saw. Heavy objects such as transformers need reinforcements to avoid sagging. Painting this metal is hard unless you have a specialized primer. If you need your project to look great, it's also possible to use contact paper or house in a wooden cabinet.

-Aluminum is preferred for many reasons for chassis material. Regretfully, I do not know where I can buy sheets of a suitable thickness. The sheet aluminum I can get at the local hardware store is thin and not sturdy. I could order thicker sheets, but the price of shipping would easily get more sheet metal. I'd get the thin aluminum to make shields for tubes, transformers, coils, etc.

-Mild steel is also an option. It is sturdier, inexpensive, and can be welded. It also takes paint with little trouble (provided you wash it to remove oils). Polishing the surface is also do-able. The drawback is that MS does not machine as easily as other metals. Some say the metal allows magnetic flux to travel through the amp, allowing noise to get into sensitive circuits.

I personally don't like the most common form of tube construction - that is, an upside-down pan with components and tubes coming out of the top. I prefer tubes laying down in a narrower case (reminiscent of gear made by Schitt) or radios in wooden boxes with removable chassises (like 1930s homemade radio equipment).

Ed

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