Looking for cool electronics building kits
March 21, 2013 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I've been building guitar pedal kits from buildyourownclone, and it's been great fun. I'm running out of pedals I want to make for myself, and am looking for other projects, like this stereo tube amp, and maybe this sous vide. Can you recommend more electronics projects (preferably kits, so I don't have to scrounge for parts) that are cool and look good at the end?

I'm not particularly computer minded, so I'm not really looking for arduino-based kits--I'm not really looking to program anything. I like soldering.

Evilmadscientist has some cool looking kits.

Any others? Has anyone out there built a stereo tube amp? Is there another kit you'd recommend? How about a sous vide kit, or alternate project I should look at?

In addition to having all the bits and bobs, I prefer kits because I don't have a real workspace, so I'm not in a position to hack a lot together--and I do want something that looks good when I'm done.

So, for instance, this alternative tube amp kit, shown mounted on a piece of wood, is less appealing than paying (significantly!) more for the other kit which comes with a nice looking enclosure.

(I also definitely don't want to electrocute myself or burn the house down, so well documented kits from reputable sellers are highly preferred!)
posted by Admiral Haddock to Technology (9 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

Jameco also has a number of kits.
posted by plinth at 11:26 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I haven't built any of their kits, but I've ordered tubes & parts from Tube Depot, and had good experiences.

I've had friends build Ceriatone amps with good results.

MojoTone has a good reputation for speakers & cabinets - they also offer a variety of amp kits.

If you're possibly still interested in guitar pedals, I've had really good experiences with PedalPartsPlus as a source - no kits, but a wide variety of knobs & pre-drilled powdercoated enclosures & some not-so-easy-to-find parts means that I've been able to build pedals from various schematics & stripboard layouts found on the web with one order from them & one order from Mouser. (i.e. I'm not "scrounging" for parts, and I can build pedals that no-one's made a kit for.)

General Guitar Gadgets, Mammoth Electronics, Officially Licensed Circuits, and Small Bear (click "Stock List" to get to the store) all seem to have excellent reputations in the DIY pedal community, although I can't speak from personal experience (yet . . . .)
posted by soundguy99 at 11:49 AM on March 21, 2013

For tube amps Bottlehead kits produce some of the best sound around, come with very detailed instructions and have excellent online support. I hear great things about Decware also but I have only used them for speaker cone repair, and have not tried any of their kits etc. If you play guitar, Small Bear has kits and parts for making Fuzz Face clones and other pedals. Fun and easy stuff, and not too expensive either like tube amps. A good tube amp requires a high quality output transformer for the best sound and they are not cheap.
posted by caddis at 11:58 AM on March 21, 2013

Makershed has some interesting ones. The mini - theremin sounds like it might appeal to you. They are a bit arduino-based but certainly not limited to that genre.
posted by cat_link at 12:11 PM on March 21, 2013

I built my own 5E3 Fender Tweed Deluxe amp from parts, although there are a number of kits available as well. It's a big step up in complexity from a BYOC kit (I've built two of those and just got another in the mail yesterday) and there's high voltage involved but it would be a logical next step assuming you play guitar.
posted by tommasz at 12:22 PM on March 21, 2013

Allen Amps also makes some outstanding guitar amps and kits, specializing in amps that recreate and/or improve on Fender's classic tweed and black face models. The owner, David Allen, is very generous with his knowledge. Highly recommended.
posted by mosk at 12:25 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Eric Archer has a few electronic sound kits left that might interest you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:35 PM on March 21, 2013

I guess I have to retract my endorsement of Decware. They appear to no longer sell their Zen amp as a kit and the remaining kit stuff looks like it might not fit your needs. I still cannot say enough good things about the Bottlehead products.
posted by caddis at 2:27 PM on March 21, 2013

You might like the Nebulophone - it's next on my expensive project list. You can actually make some pretty neat music with it too, not just lots of random bleeps and dissonant square waves like some other DIY audio electronics projects.
posted by dialetheia at 5:07 PM on March 21, 2013

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