Bottlehead Crack build log: Completed



Bottlehead Crack build log: Started building

I got sick of trying to figure out a powder coater and trying to find a mill, so I just started assembling last night.  I spent about 6 hours putting it together.  I was so tired when I was finished I could barely keep my eyes open or even mentally focus to find a power cord.  The only thing I didn't finish was wiring in the power button.  When I fired it up the tubes glowed, but no LEDs lit up.  I looked at the schematic and figured that there was no high voltage being supplied to the tubes, so I tested the supply.  Nothing.  I traced my wiring and noticed that I forgot to solder the wirewound resistor lead to 13L.  I soldered it up, fired it back up, and everything lit up like it should.  I plugged in my headphones and there was a pretty loud hiss going on, but after a minute it quieted down completely.  It sounds slightly better than before due to the Speedball.  It's been months since I've heard it, so it's impossible to be certain what difference it made.  I only got to snap one picture of a bunch of stuff mounted to the top plate.  I ran out of #4-40 torx screws, so I am going to wait until I receive the rest of them to take the final pictures.  I regret going with this silver-plated stranded wire.  Even tinned, it was a pain in the ass to wrap around terminals.


Bottlehead Crack build log: PCB mounting

I went ahead and made an order to McMaster-Carr yesterday and I got my hardware today.  Part of the order was to replace the standoffs that came with the Speedball to hex-shaped jawns.  The ones from the Speedball I drilled out and turned into the short spacers you see between the PCB and transformer bracket.  Now all that awaits is trying to find a powder coater with the color I want and someone who will let me use a mill with my bit for a few minutes.


Bottlehead Crack build log: End mill

7mm end mill for the Neutrik indent.  7mm is the exact radius of the corners.


Bottlehead Crack build log: 9-pin CNCed bracket

I got the tube socket bracket from the machinist and polished it a little.  It was machined by Accurate CNC Services in Idaho.


Bottlehead Crack build log: Speedball assembly complete

I got the board in the mail yesterday.  I really enjoyed putting this together, and I was skeptical of the posts for the heat sinks being able to be soldered.  I also took a picture of the on/off circuit PCB and the Alps PCB I made.


Bottlehead Crack build log: Speedball ½ built

The Speedball is half built.  They accidentally sent me two small boards and a small board before it's split apart.  Just waiting on the proper board to arrive.  I'm glad for the error because I didn't care for how they split the board.  It looks like it was cut with something that incises instead of something like a saw, so I was able to split my own and I used a hack saw to get a nice edge.  I still need to buy a powder coating kit, a toaster oven, and all of the Torx hardware from McMaster-Carr.  A company is CNCing the bracket I designed for the 9-pin socket.  The only other thing I need to do before I can sit down and start assembling is to machine (find someone to let me use a mill) an indent into the top plate for the headphone jack.


Bottlehead Crack build log: On/off PCB assembled

I got the PCBs made.  They sent me 10 instead of 1.  If anyone wants to buy one or more, contact me.


Bottlehead Crack build log: Laser-cut top plate

I got the top plate from the laser cutter today.  This is it after some wet sanding.




I got the plate cut at Smucker Laser Cutting & Metal Fabrication, located in Lancaster, PA.

Bottlehead Crack build log: On/off circuit progress

Finally, some real progress:




The transistor idea didn't work, neither.  I ended up just adding another output to the program.


Bottlehead Crack build log: Breadboarding and circuit ideas

I got this on/off circuit set up on a breadboard today.  The stupid voltage divider didn't work for the LEDs, so I have to try to use two transistors to control the LEDs.  They are inside of the switch, by the way.  I need to really start posting some pictures up here.  Here is the new schematic.  I haven't bought the transistors yet, but I am going to get some at RadioShack tomorrow.  It should work, in theory.

Bottlehead Crack build log: PIC programmer

Well, I got this PIC programmer, and with the help of this guy from the microchip forums named Dario Greggio I got the PIC to act as an on/off toggle with the off action requiring a button to be held down for a few seconds.  I've since designed the PCB for the circuit.  If anyone is interested in the circuit, PM me for more details.  Getting a quantity of PCBs ordered would bring down the cost, greatly.  I will draw and post up the schematic here later.

Bottlehead Crack build log: Socket alignment washers

I designed a couple more 3D models to have printed.  They are to help mount the tube sockets.  The bracket that comes with the 9 pin socket won't even hold it down to the plate, at all, and it allows the socket to move around quite a bit in the circular realm.  The thing won't even prevent it from rotating.  For the 8-pin socket, the bracket that holds it down will at least hold it tight to the plate, bit still offers almost nothing in the way of preventing it from rotating.  These washers will be bonded to the top plate with epoxy.  These are only for the dark turquoise teflon composite sockets I got.  The ceramic sockets seem to be a slight bit larger and the teflon parts came with the exact same hardware that the ceramic stuff gets.




The only material that will be available will be the "Frosted Ultra Detail" due to how thin they are.  They are 1/64" thick and then the tabs that poke up are an additional 1/32".

Bottlehead Crack build log: 9-pin socket LED soldering

I was bored and felt like soldering the LEDs and ground wire to the center post I made.


Bottlehead Crack build log: 9-pin socket LED ground standoff BS

The 9-pin tube socket that came only had a flat aluminum rivet to hold the top and bottom together.  There would have been nothing so solder to for the LEDs and ground.  I drilled out that piece and replaced it with something rigged.  I had some allen head stainless screws laying around from when I messed with RC cars a decade back.  I hammered out the metal part of a butt connector because the screw is a lot smaller in diameter than the hole.  I cut a brass motherboard standoff as short as I could while leaving a decent amount of threads inside.  Then I ground off the male threads and tinned it with solder.  When I assemble the kit I will likely just let the standoff float without the screw in it so it doesn't melt the teflon.  The sleeve I made out of the butt connector will keep the two parts of the socket held together.  I will likely order a torx screw for this part, as well.