Doing the hammered-finish on the transformer bell and chassis-plate was more about getting the right paint density and drying time than anything. Hammered-finish paints need to be applied more heavily on each pass than most spray-paints (where more/multiple thin/light coats is the norm) - due to the way the various additives work to yield the hammered finish.
It was a full day before those had dried, and I gave it an extra one just to be sure.
Then I had to clean up the bottom of the chassis, where some paint had gotten underneath it, since it is used as part of the ground. Next time I would just tape off the underside, as the two minutes it would take to do that is a far cry from what it takes to get fully-cured hammer-finish paint off the metal!
Oh, and I cleaned out all of the holes in the chassis plates as well - down to the metal, since things are a tight fit (especially the fibre washers/spacers for the transformer mounting).
I let the Titebond III wood glue cure for 24 hours on the case assembly as well. Though actually assembling that only took about 5 minutes (align, tape, check alignment, final tape).
Priming was quick … but again I gave that some time to bond properly. Sanding that down afterwards wasn’t too time consuming. Maybe 20 minutes total (gently, and progressively, by hand … me, woodwork and power tools do not mix).
Now it’s just a case of waiting for a suitably dry day to do the metal-flex candy-apple red paint on the case. Which looks like mid-week - but if today gives me a weather-break I’ll certainly take advantage of it.
The actual assembly of the rest of the thing involves much less waiting as there are no glues or paints involved.
Installing the jacks, sockets, switches, pot, tube sockets and transformer didn’t take long - half an hour maybe.
And the electronic assembly/wiring and various tests you perform along the way were maybe a couple of hours (I’m not new at this, though - just hadn’t specifically built a Crack before). Though personally I would advise printing the build instructions, double-verifying everything you do, and checking off each item as you complete it.
Some things that’ll definitely make it even easier to put together (that haven’t been mentioned above) …
- Mini-hook or alligator-clip test leads for your multimeter.
- True needle-nose pliers (not just “long nose”).
- A fine-point Sharpie pen, or high-graphite content pencil, for writing terminal numbers on the back of the chassis plate.
Also, the Hakko FX-8801 hand-piece/iron running a T18-D16 tip (1.6mm, chisel), was just about ideal for this build. Most of my electronics work, and 99% of my cable builds, are done using a much smaller micro-pencil (Hakko FM-2032 fed off their FM-206 multi-station), but the extra thermal mass of the FX-8801 was really beneficial due to the much larger typical connections on the Crack.
The FX-8801 is the hand-piece included with the Hakko FX-888D, which is what I generally recommend as a solid soldering station - that also happens to be available via Amazon for under $100.
I will likely assemble the Speedball boards today. I won’t be installing them until the amp and tube have a couple of hundred hours on them however, so I can do a comparison after things have properly settled in.
I may do a high-resolution recording of the output before/after the Speedball installation for comparisons, also.