View Full Version : Problem with Aluminum chassis
06-29-2004, 10:43 PM
Hi, I had a question for any builders/techs who may have seen aluminum chassis like old marshalls or some small builders....the chassis has a weak spot where the transformer has deformed the aluminum either through a sudden shock or years of fatigue....Do you know of any remedies for this chassis warping???Thanks...
Suppose you could fabricate a support plate, that should help strengthen the weak spot. Is it the PT or OT?
06-30-2004, 06:47 PM
Well it is by both of them, mine specifically was due to a shipping drop - FedEx - and poor packing - but I was also wondering about remedies for plexi and earlier marshalls witrh the aluminum chassis....but the fabrication is an interesting idea...
What kinda amp is it? Depending on how thick the chassis is the plates could help straighten it out depending on thickness and how badly it's bent. Another precautionary type support would be to use wooden dowels as little " legs, think I saw something like that used on a Trainwreck cuz of the thin chassis.
I built a JTM last year and use a support ring for the PT and was thinking of using the wooden legs for the OT.
07-01-2004, 07:45 AM
I use large fender (not Fender) washers on all my tranny attachment points to help distribute the load a little further out. On anything thinner than .090" aluminum, you will want to do something like that.
07-01-2004, 08:51 AM
Thanks for the info,I'd rather not ID the make, not to be coy, but it is a botique and I don't want to seem negative about their build quality....but you both seem to indicate ways to prevent this problem....so let me ask also, Is there really that much benefit from the aluminum chassis that it is worth this risk? What is the lifetime one can expect for an amp with an aluminum chassis...Is this a problem in Dumble or Trainwrecks in their later years?....GDS- your 100 watter is aluminum right?.....my damage resulted from shipping in a poorly packed box....are aluminum chassis OK to take on the road...does it depend on the thickness of aluminum?...I used to work in the bicycle business manufacturing Ti and Aluminum frames...we gave the Alu frames a 5 year life span before metal fatigue resulted in a cracked tube and assumed that the Ti would last an owners lifetime......just wondering, and I appreciate the help
Aluminum chassis area lot easier to machine than steel plus it's nonmagnetic so there are reasons a builder would prefer it but yes the thickness and I would think the alloy would matter how strong it will be. Actually I believe aluminum becomes stronger over a period of time or it can be tempered with heat.
I'm not a metallurgist so I can't give details but in the past I had some chassis made of 60/61 T5 aluminum .083 thick and I can stand on it without fear of it bending unless I jumped on it. Trainwreck amps have rather thin chassis but the trannies are mounted at one end of the chassis where it is the strongest, still I would be very careful.
The fender washers sounds like a good idea, how big of a washer do you use?
07-02-2004, 06:48 AM
I use the largest fender washers I can comfortably fit on an 8-32 screw. They are about .75 dia or maybe 7/8" dia.
I use .060" aluminum on my 18W chassis. It is strong enough for that application since the parts are relatively light. I use .125" aluminum on my 100W chassis and that is plenty strong enough to handle that amp's needs. It is also a much better design from a structural standpoint, with folded and welded corners and a fully enclosed design. The 18W is a pretty simple, chassis that isn't very strong. If you look at original JTM45s, they used aluminum chassis in .0625" and they are pretty wavy usually but they are hanging in there. I'd say with normal use, even a thin aluminum chassis will probably last a long while. You need to be careful though if you can.
Aluminum gets weaker with age. It has nothing to do with number of cycles although you can break it by bending it back and forth. Curiously though you can restore old aluminum to it's original strength (or pretty close to it) by heat treating it again. This property of aluminum separates it from steel which gets weaker with use, not age. If you bend steel back and forth a few times, it will crack and break. Aluminum will not do this (within normal use limitations.) Al is roughly 1/3 the weight of steel and about half the strength (which depends greatly on which alloys of each you wish to compare.)
I have some 7000 series aircraft aluminum that is incredibly hard and strong. It is as strong as many lower-med grades of steel. It is used on wing spars by McDonnel Douglas.
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