Each time I think about building an amp I'm faced with the whole breadboard/valve socket/chassis conundrum. Cutting, drilling, filing aluminium plate, mountings etc. etc. So I thought building an Experimenter's Chassis might be a good idea - short term pain for long term gain. So I procured a sheet of 2mm ally and carefully marked it out. Then I started to drill holes. And more holes. And yet more holes. Then I had a break to let the drill cool down. And then I drilled some more holes. Enough for two each per channel of UX4, UX5, B4/5, octal and noval. Mounting holes for a choice of AE OPTs, speaker terminals and a couple of umbilicals completed the drilling.
With the protective film...
The plate was screwed to sides made from 120mm x 18mm softwood from a DIY shed.
Inside I mounted miles of tag strip fixed to valve socket fixings. A small plate on the front for phonos and volume pot finished the job. For the PSU I've been a little more pragmatic choosing to go open breadboard to facilitate playing with chokes and big caps. But eventually I think I might just build a Steve Bench-style valve series reg along the lines of the one I played with when breadboarding the C3g/Aikido phono stage to give me easily variable B+.
Back to the breadboard for the PSU, to link it to the audio stage I made a pair of umbilical cords. I wasn't convinced it was a great idea to go with umbilicals but without trying I wouldn't know. I wanted plenty of flexibility so each cord has six lengths of wire, which I first soldered to the male part of the connector. This is a reasonably delicate job and one I would have made a real mess of if I'd tackled it when I first started DIYing...
A little worried about the possibility of shorts considering flexing of the cord I added some shrink wrap which finished the job of nicely.
Finally I wrapped both umbilicals in some expandible black nylon braid. It's not perhaps as good a solution as I would hope for as there is little protection for the cables when plugging in and removing the socket. But it's a start and hopefully I'll find a sturdy metal socket that has a high voltage rating as well as current rating for HT and heater duties.
Here's a photo of the PSU breadboard, from when I was playing around with PSUs for the Bugle amp.
So now when I want to try something I should be able to knock an amp up quite quickly. Or that's my hope at least.