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This homebrewer's lament.....

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by KC2SIZ, Jun 15, 2015.

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  1. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like to build things. Right now I have a fascination of sorts with regenerative receivers. Most of the things I build work pretty well. So long as I'm working with solder, components and circuit boards, I'm good. It's when it comes to housing my creation in some sort of chassis that I really suck. Everything I build looks like crap. It (usually) works, but it ain't gonna win any beauty contests.

    I really admire hams who can build things and make them beautiful as well as functional.

    That's the end of my rant.
  2. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    It gets better. Some good metalworking tools help.
  3. WN6U

    WN6U Subscriber QRZ Page

    This might be something to consider.
  4. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Define beautiful? I mean, what level of fit and finish are you talking about? You can get a long way with just some simple techniques. Let's see a pic!
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    One can get a reasonable looking enclosure, chassis, etc., using aluminum angle and aluminum, or galvanized iron, sheets. Now, one should have "tin snips", hacksaw, etc., to cut the materials.

    Here is an example of a simple cabinet made using these items:

    Aluminum flashing (real cheap at home improvement centers) can be used to overlay old rack panels, reused cabinets, etc.

    Of course, if commercial cabinets are available:

    For lettering, one can make decals using an ink jet printer with products available from Micromark as well as other sources:,7943.html,7942.html

    Examples of this are on the BC-312 rebuild link.

    One can also print labels on overhead transparency sheets like in this example:

    front panel lettering-1a.jpg

    Glen, K9STH
  6. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

  7. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some of my stuff looks pretty good, but I spent many hours practicing my skills as a kid. You can do some pretty amazing stuff with a hand drill and file while listening to a baseball game. Then I got some really nice machine shop tools. :)

    Zack W1VT
  8. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just a thought on that, you can heat transfer toner to many types of surfaces, including a painted front panel. It's tough to get it right, and it's not dry transfer, but it does come out reasonably robust and can be improved by spray coating with a clear coating. I use this "poor man's" method to apply silk screen to some of my diy pcb boards.
  9. N7EKU

    N7EKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    How bad can it be?

    Let's see your best and worst :)

    It's true this part of construction has a new of challenges! Control location and spacing... drilling, punching, cutting and bending... finishing and labeling... They all take a lot of thinking and skill.

    I think it is just like learning any skill -- with time and practice you will get better and better. Like I am sure your soldering has improved since you first started doing it!


  10. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I suggest the following:

    Get a copy of the ARRL Handbook from the 1955-65 time period. The construction chapter has a lot of good info on chassis layout and workshop practices.

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