Instructables

Make a Guitar Amplifier Motherboard out of Phenolic

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First of all, I made this at TechShop Detroit. All of the tools used can be found in the shop, which is pretty awesome. The link for techshop is here:

www.techshop.ws

I am building a guitar amplifier from a kit, and the motherboard was made of cheesy cardboard.  I decided to make mine out of phenolic. This is one of my favorite materials to work with because is is easy to machine, and it looks beautiful. In this instructable, I will run through the steps for laying out the new motherboard and drilling/cutting it out. The phenolic I am using was salvaged from an old transformer. (Recycling... Yay!)

Tools needed:
Transfer punches
Ball-peen Hammer
drill bits
calipers
Phenolic Sheet
Template
Hand Clamps
hand Scribe
drill press
BandSaw
Belt Sander
 
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Step 1: Mark with a Scribe

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The first thing I did was mark the edges of the template using a scribe.

Step 2: Check the hole size

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The next thing I did was determine the size of the holes I needed using a caliper. I checked the size of the bit I was using against the template.

Step 3: Mark the Holes with a Transfer Punch

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After clamping the template to the phenolic, I began to mark where my holes will be. Transfer punches come in many different sizes (they can be seen in the foreground of this picture.) They allow a person to transfer a mark to the new material in the exact center of the template holes. The also aid in making precise holes with a drill because it gives a drill bit a place to register. This prevents the bit from "walking" on the surface of the material.

Using a ball-peen hammer and light blows, I tap the transfer punch, making a mark on my new piece.

Step 4: Off to the Drill Press

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After having all of my new marks made, Its time to make the holes with the drill-press. I simply line up the bit with my marks made with the transfer punch, and drill through the phenolic.

Step 5: Cut it out on the BandSaw

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After drilling all the new holes, its time to take the piece to the bandsaw to cut out the final shape.

I used a push-stick to help move the piece through the blade.

Safety first.

Nice how to. Please be advised that phenolic is a carcinogen and use of a respirator is highly advised during forming operations (to include sanding).