Who makes chassis'?

Messages
2,783
Hey folks,

I'm working on some ideas that are schizo twists on some classic designs.

I'm working on component pricing to try and get my cost as low as possible.

Using a Tweed Deluxe as a guideline, one of the most expensive parts in the assembly is the chassis. They are over $80 from Mojo and I'm not finding a lot of places online to buy chassis alone to shop for a lower price.

How are places like Mission Amps doing this? I presume they are having them made somewhere since I see they have their name stamped on the metal.

Wondering where one might go to get parts like that direct and how many units one would need to order to get a good price break. Any one have experience with this sort of thing?
 

audiozone

Member
Messages
280
have you looked on ebay? i've seen them on there. try entering "tube amps" and hit search. i have seen some nice ones and some cheap stuff. some were totally blank and some were punched for tube sockets and pots.

i have mine made 10 at a time by a local steel fabrication business. i have 3 sizes and the cost is about the same for them all. i'm not willing to say what i pay, but they are blank{no holes} to keep the cost down.

they do any kind of steel job from custom designs for buildings to farm equipment to amp chassis for me. i live in iowa and farm equipment manufacture is big business here. i am a machinest and i make farm equipment full time, and amps when i can. its easy for me to punch the holes, and drill the chassis myself.

they would make them from whatever i want, but i have the three different sizes all made from 16 guage steel. for my small amps thats thicker than it needs to be, and its heavy compared to aluminum. for my big amps i like it because it does not flex or rattle at all, even with a couple 15 pound transformers for a 200 watt amp on there.
 
Messages
2,783
have you looked on ebay? i've seen them on there. try entering "tube amps" and hit search. i have seen some nice ones and some cheap stuff. some were totally blank and some were punched for tube sockets and pots.

i have mine made 10 at a time by a local steel fabrication business. i have 3 sizes and the cost is about the same for them all. i'm not willing to say what i pay, but they are blank{no holes} to keep the cost down.

they do any kind of steel job from custom designs for buildings to farm equipment to amp chassis for me. i live in iowa and farm equipment manufacture is big business here. i am a machinest and i make farm equipment full time, and amps when i can. its easy for me to punch the holes, and drill the chassis myself.

they would make them from whatever i want, but i have the three different sizes all made from 16 guage steel. for my small amps thats thicker than it needs to be, and its heavy compared to aluminum. for my big amps i like it because it does not flex or rattle at all, even with a couple 15 pound transformers for a 200 watt amp on there.

Sure, Ebay is an option but I'm wanting sourcing consistent and repeatable product.

What do you use to punch your holes? I figure some sort of punch kit might be a worthwhile investment.
 

audiozone

Member
Messages
280
you might still contact some people on ebay, some of the sellers might be machine shops trying to make some extra money. or people who work at machine shops or factorys with access to industrial machines.

i do understand about not using ebay though. i personally think its always better to get custom parts made locally, if possible.

i have a couple greenlee punches. one for the preamp tubes, another for the power amp tubes. they are common tools for electricians. they turn with a wrench and punch out a hole. it can get tiring putting lots of holes [like 5,6,or 7 per chassis in 5 or 10 chassis in a row] in 16 guage steel. for mass production you can get air powered ones.

i could probably take my chassis to the place i work and put them on a cnc mill, but i try to not talk about my company too much at work... the boss doesn't ask me about my business, and i don't ask about his. who knows though, for you it might be an option to think about having it done. it costs some money, but those cnc mills do great work, do it fast, and do it exactly the same every time.

for all the different size holes i drill or punch on one of my larger amps. i would guess that what takes me an hour or more. would take about 5 or at most 10 minutes on a cnc mill at my factory job
 

PRNDL

Member
Messages
496
Many builders use the Hammond boxes, which are fairly inexpensive and come in standard sizes. You can buy custom made face plates.

Tweed chassis are much more complicated due to the chrome plating and white lettering, which explains the high price.

I've been making homemade amps and using a marker to write on the face plate. The idea is to make the amp look unique, instead of mass manufactured in a factory. Some musicians prefer that.

My latest idea is to make a little tweed amp with a 6" speaker in a 10x10 box for the 1 watt amp. I'm going to call it the "Filthy Strumpet".
 

SatelliteAmps

Member
Messages
6,168
Punching your own holes is fine for prototyping, but miserable for production. If you really want to know about the Mission style of stuff, the easiest thing is to call him. He's very nice and would probably help you source them through him.
 
Messages
2,783
Many builders use the Hammond boxes, which are fairly inexpensive and come in standard sizes. You can buy custom made face plates.

Tweed chassis are much more complicated due to the chrome plating and white lettering, which explains the high price.

I've been making homemade amps and using a marker to write on the face plate. The idea is to make the amp look unique, instead of mass manufactured in a factory. Some musicians prefer that.

My latest idea is to make a little tweed amp with a 6" speaker in a 10x10 box for the 1 watt amp. I'm going to call it the "Filthy Strumpet".

The Hammond box sounds like a good idea. Ultimately I want my own layout, not necessarily a Tweed or any other knockoff.

Any amps that I may sell will likely start with consignment in local shops I've built a good rep with over the years from my former case of perpetual GAS (building my own amps now is therapy for that) :NUTS

Anyhow, good info folks. Thanks for all the replies.
 

teleamp

Senior Member
Messages
3,478
Paul, check around with local sheetmetal shops, that will save shipping charges. For price breaks, the one I use gets reasonable with 3 or more pieces.

Heck, have Red Planet machine you a chassis!!!

For drilling holes, start with a small pilot hole and the use a step bit to do your 3/8", 1/2", and 11/16". Get GreenLee hole punches to do the 3/4" and larger holes.

Good luck, I knew that you would start building amps sooner or later.
 

mark norwine

Member
Messages
17,266
but I'm wanting sourcing consistent and repeatable product.

Then you need to find a local sheet metal shop and have them punched, folded & welded.

Then you need to find a local plater & have them finished [quickly, as "green" CRS rusts very quickly].

I was lucky: a childhood friend of mine owns a sheetmetal house, and my Dad's been in the metal finishing industry for 50 years and knows every plater in the area very well.

You'll need to do some digging. Call me old fashioned, but the yellow pages work well! You will want to....no, need to....keep this as local as possible because shipping costs will eat you alive.

And when you find your plater, be sure you know what you want. You mentioned tweed deluxe style chassis, so perhaps you want a chrome face. Fender used the term "triple chrome plated", a term that no plater on earth knows. What it means is this:

Chrome doesn't like to stick to steel. It will, but not well. What it really, really likes to stick to is nickel. But nickel doesn't like steel much either. Nickel likes copper, and happily, copper sticks to steel really well. So the "triple" process is: 1.) "strike" {light plating} the chassis completely in copper, 2.) then plate the whole thing in nickel, 3.) then plate it in Chrome.....although only the faceplate needs that. The rest of the chassis can stay nickel. In fact, that's to your advantage inside the amp as you can solder to nickel.....can't solder to chrome at all.

Yellow pages time. Find a sheet metal guy in your area.
 

Steve Dallas

Member
Messages
8,344
I draw mine in AutoCAD and email them to my local metal shop here in Dallas. Then I drive down there a week later and load them up.

I order them 10 to 20 at a time and design my amps so that as many models as possible can share the same chassis.

You can also email a CAD drawing to Nik at Ceriatone. He can actually beat my local shop's price, but the turnaround is twice as long (not a big deal if you plan ahead) and shipping is high enough to make the price savings a wash. It is also theoretically more difficult to sort out any problems that might arise since he is overseas.
 




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