Removing DIY barriers

It seems to me that there are three fundamental obstacles for beginners in the DIY tube hobby:

  • Layout and connection of component parts for best hum/noise performance
  • Choice of parts for correct and safe ratings/types/etc
  • Chassis fabrication and layout

Complete kits with chassis, parts, PCBs, and the whole ball of wax hit all of the points, but they are a daunting investment in both time and parts. See great examples from Bottlehead or Elekit. In a baby-steps approach, I’ve begun experimenting with putting entire circuits on a PCB design (image shows the El Estudiante). This addresses the first point.

I have ideas on ways to tackle the other challenges that minimize capital requirements and keep the hypothetical business idea agile and scalable (brushin off the old business and supply chain lingo). It might even be enough to turn into a respectable side-hustle. Hopefully I’ll be posting more on what I’m calling “quarter kits” in the near future.

5 Replies to “Removing DIY barriers”

  1. Maybe modular ‘flat-pack’ chassis kits could help as well. I am lucky that I have a very well equipped workshop and the skills to ‘whip up’ a chassis, quickly and easily. It seems that a lot of people, especially those that would be most interested in kits could potentially appreciate chassis kits of some type.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is kind of the direction I’m headed! Boards with matching top plates so that at least the metal fabrication is done. A wooden frame is a little more in reach of most hobbyists I think. Component parts could be through a curated BOM on Mouser digikey, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Exactly. The metalwork tends to be the highest barrier to entry for most people, chassis wise.

    Excited to see what you put together!


  3. As a just getting into the DIY sound hobbyist, I also like the idea of partial kits.
    Sourcing some of the electronic parts adds to the fun, but sometimes, it is hard to know if you are selecting a quality/correct item. Most daunting for my first build was figuring out the parts that surface mount on the top plate.


  4. Hi! As far as EDA goes, I can’t recommend KiCad enough. I’ve tried easyeda, altium circuitmaker and I used Eagle for a long time(while it was Cadsoft) then I decided to try KiCad and after the initial discomfort of switching EDA environment, I have not looked back. Btw Micro-Cap 12 is now freeware, so no longer limited to LTSpice or ngspice(that as it happens is integrated into KiCad).


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