The amplifier is an integral part of your sound setup, and if you have a technical inclination, you might have considered the option of building your own at some point. It’s not as hard as it sounds at first, even if you have no specific experience with these types of circuits. The basic idea behind an amplifier on an electronic level is not that complicated. But, there are some considerations that are more practical in nature, so it is important to make yourself aware of them before starting this project.
An amplifier can fit into a very small housing in its basic form. But, if you want something more powerful, you should leave enough room for the full range of components and their heat. While you likely won’t need a dedicated cooling system to keep your amplifier running smoothly, you should still leave plenty of room for heat to escape naturally through any vents provided.
Also, don’t disregard certain types of inputs and outputs just because you’re not using them right now. You’d be pretty annoyed if you wanted to upgrade your system later on only to find that it would require a total redesign of your amplifier.
Designing and Printing the Circuit Board
You’ll also want to create your own circuit board – that’s half of the fun in this project! There are various tools on the market for that, but if you want to take this all the way, we’d recommend going with something full-featured and professional. The cost of CircuitStudio might seem luxurious at first, but you will likely find yourself doing many more similar projects in the future, so it’s a good investment if you’re interested in electronics in general.
The other fun part is coming up with a cool design for the amplifier’s housing. This can take a while, especially if you’re new to CAD software, so be prepared to set aside enough time. You can download some premade designs from the internet to speed up the process, but that somewhat defeats the point of creating your own custom amplifier.
3D printing is not really an ideal option here – you need something solid and heat-resistant. Many companies provide custom metal-cutting services, and they can often pull off some impressively complex designs thanks to their precise lasers. This may be the best route to take if you want the best combination of versatility and aesthetics. Plus, it doesn’t even cost that much nowadays.
Remember to create the whole thing with long-term maintenance in mind as much as possible. There are many ways you can accomplish this: make the housing easy to deconstruct; ensure that no components are blocking others on the circuit for easy replacement; and, leave some room for extra connections. These can all go a long way towards ensuring that your amplifier will be useful to you not just today but for many years in the future. And, it will require minimal maintenance to keep running. But, of course, be prepared to replace the occasional burned-out component.