Next up is the circuit board, something I had been looking forward to for a long time: Soldering all those cool components onto a real turret board (hand-made style) and setting them out in optimal position. The nature of this project is not to get it all done as quick as possible, not even to get it done by a certain date. The point is to enjoy and learn as I go. It’s always one of those clichéd man-in-his-shed times whenever I take another 30-60 mins to complete the next step before going to work or going back upstairs to the family. So at this rate, I was sometimes only getting 1 component shaped and trimmed to size and soldered in per session. And this is kind of fun – “Ooooh the suspense of the next connection” – it always brings you back!
I have done some soldering in the past, but not quite like this. I found getting the solder on top of the turrets to go all domey and shiny quite difficult. I would often just fill the whole turret with solder and still not get a nice chrome-dome. But I started getting the hang of it with practice. Also getting the temperature of the iron is tricky. I don’t want to set it too cold or I risk burning the components while waiting for the solder to melt. And I don’t want it too hot or I’ll… risk burning the components again. But I have it a fair bit hotter now after some practice because I can apply the solder faster without freaking out.
I now appreciate why some people (gear nerds) get so excited when they see hand-made circuits in amps where the cables are all neat and the components layed out nice, because its kind of an art work to get everything so perfect looking! Bending component wires and cutting to length, then the soldering and the wiring… Looks much easier than it is.
Following the well written instruction manual from Barry at ampmaker.com made the assembly not such a bewildering task. If I had to read a schematic straight up, ok I could do it, but I much prefer the friendly guidance of Barry’s text, photos, diagrams, and helpful advice. So at this point, the turret board is ready to bolt in, check it out: